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Republican Strategy Depends on Low Minority Turnout

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By Isaac Adul Haqq, Special to the NNPA from The Los Angeles Sentinel –

In a stunning display of bigotry and viciousness, powerful Republicans are raising millions of dollars to support an extreme crop of GOP candidates for the mid-term elections. They are called "Tea Party Candidates," and they are being funded by the Super Rich who have been promised $4 Trillion Dollars in tax cuts for their support by the GOP. These Tea Party Republicans are directly attacking Blacks, Latinos, women and gays--and they are winning votes in the process.

"The Republicans are pandering to the most primitive elements of their base," said Rev. Eric Lee of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. "The pedigrees of their candidates prove it. The GOP is running Saboteurs, Satanists, Scientologists, and Survivalists. This is just like the Nazis in Depression Era Germany attacking the Jews," he said.

At first, many pundits thought that the GOP was simply disorganized, and actually hurting their chances in November by supporting the Tea Party Candidates. Who would possibly support people like Jim Miller in Alaska, who defends hate crimes as "free speech," or Christina O'Donnell in Delaware, who practices witchcraft and wants to ban masturbation?

But then suddenly, the method to the Republican madness became clear in a new GOP document ominously called... "The Pledge to America."

In this document, the GOP calls for tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% in the country. This is the same 2% that now controls more than 50% of the nation's income, thanks largely to eight years of tax cuts given to the wealthy under President George Bush’s Administration. These tax cuts, according to leading economists, will add $4 trillion dollars to the national debt.

Clearly the cuts are meant to serve as a powerful inducement for the rich to fund these extremist Tea Party candidates, especially now since the Bush Supreme Court recently allowed unlimited corporate spending on elections.

Thus, the mid-term election strategy of the GOP is patently obvious: Reward the Super Rich for financing the Tea Party and have the Tea Party turn out the "Joe Six Packs" and the "Hockey Moms" in November.

"Mid-term elections are base elections," said a republican strategist who asked to remain unnamed. "The party that gets its traditional supporters out to vote is more likely to carry the day. And, the Republicans' base, even the parts of it that are insurgent, unpredictable, and kooky, is highly motivated right now to topple the Democrats in November."

Lee is not alone in his assessment of the Republicans running not only for the Congress but also for the U.S. Senate. Ron Brownstein of the well respected National Journal Magazine said on ABC's 'This Week,' "This is an Extreme Makeover of the Republican Party. It is the most militantly conservative class ...of candidates... in the past half-century."

To give the Tea Party extremist credibility, mainstream Republicans are working hard to support them and camouflage the more unsavory characteristics of their new would-be freshmen. For example, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has raised thousands of dollars for Nevada Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle, a Scientologist who has called for an "armed revolt' against the Obama Administration.

"I would be happy to appear at any Washington appearance that she had," McConnell said of Angle in an interview with Politico.Com, a popular online political magazine.

"Breathtaking," is how Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the GOP strategy. "...The Republicans...are raising taxes on the middle class, attacking social security, and shipping more jobs overseas. Instead of a pledge to the American people, Congressional Republicans made a pledge to the big special interests...at the expense of the middle class."

Can the Democrats recover and defend their House and the Senate majorities? That depends.

Pelosi and Democratic Majority Whip James Clyburn are visibly in the trenches, making the calls and knocking on the doors.

"Pelosi and Clyburn are vigorously and vigilantly campaigning," said Danny Bakewell Sr., Chairman of the National Newspapers Publishers Association, which represents 200 minority papers and 19.8 million readers. "They know a Jim Crow when they see one flying and are sounding the alarm."

On the other hand, Former Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia--who is also the current Chairman of the Democratic National Committee--has been slow to call for Black and minority communities to advertise, advertise, advertise to energize the base. "Given the current climate, an anti-abortionist, clinging to a slim margin in a swing state like Virginia, may not be the best general for this war," said Bakewell. "The man won't heed a call or spare a dime when it comes to us."

Meanwhile, Black leaders are doing what they can to survive the Tea Party onslaught.

"Everybody knows the Tea Party Candidates are a danger to themselves and others," said Bakewell.

"But if the Democrats don't put some serious money into the Black and minority press and other GOTV minority groups nationwide, this is going to be a lynching. The Democrats will lose both the House and the Senate. It's not as if labor and the poor have much to cheer about right now. They didn't get the Employee Free Choice Act passed, they're way behind on immigration reform, and Black unemployment is stratospheric. These groups are loyal to the Democrats in spirit, but their spirits are low,” said Bakewell. “I hope Democratic Committee Chairman Kaine wakes up and helps Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Whip James Clyburn keep our party (Democrats) in control of the Congress."

President Obama to Black Press: 'I still need your help.'

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By J. Coyden Palmer, Special to the NNPA from The Chicago Crusader –

After nearly two years in office and his support within the Black community still high but dropping, President Barack Obama held his first press conference via telephone with Black newspapers. The 25-minute teleconference on October 18th gave the nation’s first African American president the opportunity to speak to the demographic that supported him the most during his 2008 victory. Obama used the time to campaign for support in the upcoming mid-term elections, tout the accomplishments that have been made thus far by his administration and listen to a few of the concerns the Black community has raised about his administration.

Obama began by speaking to the philosophy of his campaign, “Change,” saying it is important for the same energy that swept the community during his campaign to continue throughout his administration in order for “Change” to come. He said the public health care that was passed is just one key change he has made to help better the lives of all Americans. But, he said though progress has been made, the economy is still a major issue.

“People are still hurting out there,” Obama began. “Despite the economy showing signs of growth, there are still too many Americans unemployed or underemployed.”

The President said he expects to be in a battle with Congress to get many of his new initiatives passed. However, he said he is still willing to work with Republicans to get things moving forward. But, he added based on the political climate, he thinks it will be easier to get things done with more Democrats in Congress.

“I have a great deal of confidence that if there is a democrat here in Washington there will be folks that I can work with to continue making progress on helping small businesses and making sure there are programs in place to help blighted neighborhoods and continue to work on a new infrastructure program that can put more people to work as we continue to invest in clean energy,” Obama said. “Democrats are going to be far less likely to cut education spending by 20 percent as the Republicans have suggested. What I say to your readers is look at what the Democrats did over the past two years and there were things that were good for America and things that were good on behalf of the African American community.”

Danny Bakewell, President of the National Newspapers Publishers Association, a conglomerate of African American owned newspapers throughout the country, asked the President why the Democratic Party is not advertising with the Black press when it is the one media genre that has carried his messages from the beginning. Bakewell said with Black newspapers folding around the country due to economics, the industry needs help to survive. Obama responded that it is an issue that needs to be taken up with the Democratic Party leaders and not him as President of the United States.

“As President of the United States I can’t have a call with newspapers focusing on where advertising money is going by political parties. That’s just not appropriate,” Obama said. “What I can say is that my general approach when it comes to the federal government is there has to be an equal opportunity. You can’t just go with the vendors that traditionally have received contracts or opportunities without taking a look at non-traditional folks who may be able to do just as good of a job or a better job.”

Obama was also asked about his plan for putting more African Americans to work in his home state, considering Illinois has a 22 percent unemployment rate among Blacks. A temporary jobs program created by the Obama administration, “Put Illinois to Work,” has been praised for creating thousands of jobs, but will end next month. It has already been extended by two months.

“The program has been highly successful,” Obama said. “It is relatively low-cost and we want to renew it. We are going to need some cooperation on this issue from some of the Republicans because we may not have the votes. It’s an example of the things that we’ve done that we know work, but unfortunately not a lot of people know about it.”

Obama said the “Put Illinois to Work” initiative is part of a larger nationwide effort. However, in many communities around the country, there are complaints that the jobs created by the programs are not going to inner-city African Americans that really need them. Obama said some of that can be contributed to the implementation of the program that he has no control over.

“We have to manage this through local jurisdictions,” he explained. “What we’ve made sure of is that they don’t discriminate in hiring. “But what is also true is in a lot of cities and counties traditionally you haven’t seen enough low-income citizens trained for construction jobs. What we want to encourage are partnerships to make sure there are stepladders for those who don’t have experience in these jobs to get the skills they need.”

Obama said the same can be said in the energy efficient job genre, in which they are retrofitting homes around the country to make them more energy efficient. He said there has been some difficulty in finding young people who need training and then hire them as apprentices in areas such as window installation and other areas.

“It’s not only a clean energy agenda, but also a job initiative,” Obama said. “Every program we initiate, we try to tie a job-training component to it. But I am the first one to admit some of the Recovery Act funding could have gone to a state that doesn’t have one of these programs already up and running. Their priority could have been just to get the road fixed as quickly as possible so they may have just hired the folks who traditionally they have been using without enough attention to make sure they are opening up new opportunities for more people.”

The President was asked what he is doing to combat the high dropout rate within the Black community. He said his focus has been on identifying low-performing schools and putting nearly $2 billion into those schools to improve retention rates. He said they are starting to see the implementation of proven programs to address the problem and it is something that will be monitored during the coming two years.

Public Order Breaking Down in Conakry, Guinea, As Vote Nears

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Fighting broke out between supporters of Guinean presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo and police, just prior to the much-delayed run-off vote.

In one incident, supporters, gathered to welcome Diallo after he returned from campaigning, were caught in a melee of rock throwing and tear gas, witnesses said.

In another suburb, a group of women gathered at the headquarters of a political party that supports Diallo, also were dispersed by police. Diallo has threatened to boycott the vote unless the head of the national independent electoral commission, who allegedly favors rival Alpha Conde, resigns.

Diallo, a former prime minister, officially won 43% of votes in June's first round, while Conde took 18%.

Meanwhile, one year after the massacre of 157 people during a peaceful rally in Conakry, no army official suspected of taking part in the killings has been brought to court in Guinea, which is still split by political divisions.

Both the United Nations and the International Criminal Court said acts committed on that day constituted crimes against humanity.

Uganda Urged to be Self-Sufficient and Refine Its Own Oil

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

With massive discoveries of oil in Ugandan territory, officials are facing pressure from oil companies to export crude oil to Mombasa, Kenya, for refining. But nationalists in the government say refining should be done at home.

Now, a study by a Swiss engineering firm, confirms that a refinery inside Uganda would create many spin-offs for the domestic economy in the form of jobs and taxes.

The Norwegian funded study shows that Uganda would be saving more than a billion dollars annually if it were to build its own oil refinery.

There are already willing partners to build the plant. China and Libya have shown interest and Iran has offered to build the plant and more.

As of 2009, more than two and a half billion barrels of oil were found in three of nine exploration blocks. Local groups have begun demanding to see Production Share Agreements (PSA), which outline the percentage of oil money the government will receive.

Greenwatch (a public-interest environmental law NGO) has filed suit to see the PSAs to assess oil project impacts on the environment and protect citizens' rights to a clean and healthy environment. This case is scheduled to be heard shortly.

Coca-Cola Consolidated Settles Racial Bias Claim

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Company Ordered to Compensate Black, Latino Job Seekers

Special to the NNPA from The Charlotte Post –

Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated of Charlotte has agreed to pay $495,000 in back wages and interest to 95 African-American and Hispanic job seekers for racial discrimination.

The applicants applied in 2002 for sales support positions at the company’s Black Satchel Road distribution facility in Charlotte. The settlement follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

In addition to back pay, the Coca-Cola bottler agreed to make offers of employment to the applicants until at least 23 are hired. Those hired will receive retroactive seniority benefits they would have accrued from July 1, 2002, if not for the discriminatory actions of the company.

“The Labor Department is firmly committed to ensuring that those who do business with our government do not discriminate in their employment practices,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “Being a federal contractor is a privilege that comes with an obligation to ensure equal opportunity in employment.”

This plant is the second largest Coca-Cola bottler in the nation and a major supplier of Coke brand products to military and government installations under a number of federal contracts.

OFCCP’s investigation of the company’s hiring practices found Coca-Cola Consolidated failed to hire qualified minority applicants at a comparable rate to non-minorities. OFCCP’s statistical analysis determined that the disparity in hires was too great to occur solely by chance. Additionally, OFCCP found that the bottler’s records revealed instances in which rejected minority applicants had more experience and education than some non-minority hires.

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