Kanye West encourages Black Americans not to vote for Democrats

Candace Owens Says Kanye West Isn't Involved With Brexit

Kanye West encouraged black voters in the United States not to vote for Democrats at an event in New York City.

The 42-year-old musician and fashion mogul spoke at an impromptu event on Thursday where he got candid once again about politics after previously declaring his support for President Donald Trump

According to Page Six, West advised black voters: “Own your power. Your power is not to just vote Democrat for the rest of our lives. That’s not the power.”

He continued: “The power is when I talk to my lawyer … I put on my trench coat and said, ‘We’re moving these factories to America, and that’s how it’s going to be’ — and it’s lovely.”

The “Jesus Is King” rapper debuted a new algae sneaker from his popular Yeezy line and noted that he wants the product to be a beacon of American manufacturing.

“We moved the headquarters to Cody, Wyo...Our goal is to bring the manufacturing back to America — South America, North America — bring it back Stateside and to present jobs for people back here,” West said.

During his appearance at the Fast Company Innovation Festival that same day, he revived speculation that he may seek the highest office in the land.

"When I run for president in 2024, we're going to definitely- yo whatchu all laughing at?" West reacted to the laughing crowd. "When I run for president in 2024, we would've created so many jobs that, in fact, I'm going to walk.

"What I'm saying is, when y'all read the headlines, 'Kanye's crazy,' this and that, this and that, it's like one in three African Americans are in jail and all of the celebrities are in jail also because they can't say nothing! They've got no opinion! They're so scared!"

West has floated the idea of a presidential run multiple times in recent months.

Last year, West caused a firestorm when he donned a "Make America Great Again" hat and visited President Trump in the Oval Office.

His latest album "Jesus is King" hit #1 on Billboard and every song on the album made its way onto Billboard's Hot 100.

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Legendary Journalist Bill Moyers Says He Fears For The Nation For The First Time In His Life

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“Society, a democracy, can die of too many lies — and we’re getting close to that terminal moment,” he warns.

Capitalism and The Wealth Gap

When it comes to the efficient delivery of goods and services, capitalism is the proven economic model that puts people to work and products on the shelves. Whether those jobs end up paying enough money to purchase the items on those shelves is another matter, however.

The truth is that while capitalism is an excellent vehicle to promote consumption and opportunities for expression of economic freedom of choice, it is not ideally suited to ensuring that everyone has the wherewithal to avail themselves of those opportunities. With the myriad of threats facing our nation, perhaps the most dangerous is the growth of income inequality between the top one percent of the nation and the remaining 99%.

Importance of a Middle Class

As a nation we celebrate the presence of a once robust middle class, and while politicians are quick to give lip service to this critical economic segment of society, their tax and monetary policies are eating into the savings and importance of this group. This fact can be seen in the erosion of the middle class purchasing power as their influence is siphoned off in favor of upper income and corporate tax breaks.

Regrettably, the"idea" of a middle class requires more than lip service during the occasional electoral cycle to make it a viable social, political, and economic entity. The fact of the matter is, a vibrant middle class only arises when nations make the decision to foster that development.

The middle class in the United States is a little more than 70 years old. While most Americans may believe that a strong middle class has been the bedrock of our economic growth since those first rounds were fired between colonists and British Redcoats at Lexington and Concord, in reality it only emerged following the Second World War.

In 1945, the United States was the only nation who finished the war stronger than they went into the conflict. This relative strength allowed the wherewithal to foster a growing middle class. From educational grants to returning soldiers to VA home loans engineered to increase home ownership, the country had the money, political desire, and opportunity to support this growth. As such, the nation witnessed a phenomenal growth in this economic demographic in the two decades following the war.

Conservative Elite Backlash

As mentioned, the formation of a robust middle class was fostered by the political will of the nation. Tax rates on corporations and the country's richest citizens were used to pay for this expansion of this group, and they were well equipped to pay for it owing to economic success of this group during the war years. Corporate tax rates were near 90% directly following the war, and had only been scaled back to 70% by the time President Ronald Reagan assumed office in 1981.

Following the dictates of supply-side economics, Reagan slashed the tax rates on America's top earners, both personal and corporate, down to below the 30% threshold, and increasingly the burden of public expenditures have fallen on the shoulders of Middle America to bear the cost. This rising inequity has shattered the vision of the American dream for many as they find themselves increasingly priced out of sought after housing, superior education, and economic opportunities.

A Recommitment to Equality of Opportunity

For years, conservatives have championed the importance of a strong middle class in this nation while doing everything in their power to shore up their own economic position at the expense of other sectors of the economy. From slashing aid programs, designed to help society’s poorest residents, to promoting tax policies that have the effect of eviscerating the middle class, America's conservatives have adopted a short term view that buttresses their corporate bottom line, but risks the long term economic health of the nation by ensuring gross wealth inequality.

 

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A growing number of Texas Republicans are calling on the governor to halt the execution of a death row inmate who says he's innocent

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  • A growing number of Republicans are demanding that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott call off the execution of Rodney Reed amid new evidence that casts doubt on his conviction.
  • A public campaign to spare Reed's life now counts celebrities such as Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, and Oprah Winfrey, as well as the European Union's ambassador to the US.
  • Reed, now 51, was convicted of raping and strangling 19-year-old Stacy Stites while she made her way to work at a supermarket in Bastrop, a rural community about 30 miles southeast of Austin.
  • Reed has long maintained that Stites was killed by her fiance, former police officer Jimmy Fennell.
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — In his five years as Texas' governor, Republican Greg Abbott has overseen the execution of nearly 50 prisoners while only once sparing a condemned man's life, after a victims' family asked him to do so.

But Abbott — who has proudly referred to the death penalty as "Texas justice" — has never confronted such intense pressure to halt a lethal injection like he is facing in the case of Rodney Reed, who is set to die this month for a 1996 killing despite new evidence that even a growing number of Republican legislators say raises serious questions about his guilt.

On Saturday, supporters of Reed held their biggest protest yet outside the governor's mansion, escalating a public campaign that now counts Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian and Oprah Winfrey among the celebrities who have urged Abbott to call off the Nov. 20 execution. So, too, has the European Union's ambassador to the US.

"Only thing I would tell him is, honestly, just look at the evidence," said Rodrick Reed, Rodney's brother.

It's unclear if the public pressure is making any impression on Abbott, who was a law and order state attorney general before he was elected governor. Abbott hasn't spoken publicly about Reed's case. Even Republican lawmakers who are close to the governor and have lobbied his office in recent days and weeks for a reprieve say they're in the dark about his thinking.

"They said the governor has heard about it and is taking a very deliberative and thoughtful analysis," Republican state Rep. Matt Krause said. "But they didn't give me an indication one way or the other on which way he'd be."

Reed, now 51, was convicted of raping and strangling 19-year-old Stacy Stites while she made her way to work at a supermarket in Bastrop, a rural community about 30 miles southeast of Austin.

Reed has long maintained that Stites was killed by her fiance, former police officer Jimmy Fennell. Reed says Fennell was angry because Stites, who was white, was having an affair with Reed, who is black. In recent weeks, Reed's attorneys have presented affidavits that support his claims, including one by a former prison inmate who claims Fennell bragged about killing Stites and referred to Reed by a racial slur.

Reed's lawyers say other recent affidavits also corroborate the relationship between Stites and Reed. Fennell's attorney has said his client didn't kill Stites, and prosecutors maintain that they believe Reed is guilty.

Texas remains the death penalty capital of the US even as executions nationwide hover at historic lows. Last year, about half of the 25 executions nationwide took place in Texas, which has put to death eight people so far this year.

Support for the death penalty has been declining in recent years, but in Texas, Abbott hasn't relaxed his position. A practicing Roman Catholic, Abbott breaks with the church on the Vatican's view that capital punishment can never be sanctioned, and efforts to scale back the types of crimes that carry the death penalty in Texas have stalled under his watch.

Only once has Abbott spared the life of a convicted killer shortly before the scheduled execution: Last year, he accepted a rare recommendation of clemency from Texas' parole board and commuted the sentence of Thomas "Bart" Whitaker, who fatally shot his mother and brother. Abbott did so after Whitaker's father, who was also shot, asked for mercy.

It's not the first time Abbott's decision-making has been in the spotlight over a high-profile death penalty case. While serving as Texas attorney general in 2011, Abbott ruled that a state forensic panel could not consider old evidence in the case against Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed for a fire that killed his children but whose guilt remained in question after his death because the arson science used to convict him had since been debunked.

In a letter to Abbott this week, more than a dozen Republicans said that getting it wrong with Reed could "erode public trust — not only in capital punishment, but in Texas justice itself."

"We have a lot of executions, right? We're Texas," said Republican state Rep. James White, who has served in the Legislature for nearly a decade. "This probably is the first one I've directly reached out to the attorney general's office and the governor's office on. Not on the prospect that I believe that Mr. Reed is innocent. But I do believe there is a lot of information and evidence that does deserve to be vetted."

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Trump launches African-American outreach effort for 2020

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During the 2016 campaign, candidate Donald Trump stood in front of largely white crowds and asked black voters to consider, "What the hell do you have to lose?"

Trump offered that same message Friday as he launched a black voters coalition in Atlanta, Georgia. While Trump's campaign had said his message would focus on his record and gains for black Americans under his watch, Trump instead spent most of his time demonizing Democrats and appearing to try to pit minority voters against immigrants.

"The Democrats have let you down," Trump told the crowd of several hundred supporters, including several who wore red "BLACK LIVES MAGA" hats. "They've dismissed you. They've hurt you. They've sabotaged you for far too long."

Trump spoke at the launch of a new "Black Voices for Trump" outreach initiative dedicated to "recruiting and activating Black Americans in support of President Trump," according to the campaign.

Trump predicted he would win reelection in 2020 with "a groundswell of support from hardworking African American patriots."

Such prediction have been met with skepticism from critics, however, given Trump's consistently dismal approval rating with black voters.

Trump has spent much of the last four years engaged in racially charged attacks, going after minority members of Congress, claiming "no human being" would want to live in "rodent infested," majority-minority Baltimore and insisting there were "very fine people on both sides" of the deadly Charlottesville protest against white supremacists.

Shortly after landing in Georgia on Friday, Trump retweeted a call from one black supporter for submissions for a "#MAGACHALLENGE" competition featuring Trump-friendly rap songs. Trump said he would be announcing the winners and inviting them to the White House to meet with him and perform.

"I think black Americans are not the audience for these outreach efforts," said Theodore Johnson, a senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice who is an expert in race and politics. While Trump might be able to maintain the low level of black support he received in 2016, or perhaps expand it by 1 or 2 points, Johnson sees little evidence the president can change many minds.

"I think this is not going to move the needle at all," he said.

Before launching the new effort, Trump met with supporters at a fundraiser that was expected to raise about $3.5 million for a joint committee benefiting the Republican National Committee, the Trump campaign and the campaign of Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. Nearby, a small group of protesters chanted, "Lock him up!"

Scores of protesters also gathered outside the convention center where Trump was speaking, chanting, "Impeach and remove."

Carl Dix, of the group Refuse Fascism, said he thought the launch was aimed at trying to send a message to Trump's white supporters that he's "not a racist. 'I've got black friends.'"

In 2016, 6% of black voters supported Trump, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of people who participated in its polls and were confirmed to have voted. There is no indication his support is growing. Polling shows that African Americans continue to be overwhelmingly negative in their assessments of the president's performance, with his approval hovering around 1 in 10 over the course of his presidency, according to Gallup.

Yet Trump's campaign dismissed the numbers, insisting the campaign has seen favorable movement and arguing the president can increase his margins with black voters by bringing new people into the fold.

"The polls have never been favorable for Trump, and the only poll that matters is on Election Day," said senior campaign adviser Katrina Pierson.

The campaign has launched similar coalitions for women, Latinos and veterans.

Darrell Scott, a black Ohio pastor and a longtime supporter of the president who is co-chair of the new coalition and spoke at Friday's event, said that in 2015 and 2016, supporters trying to sell Trump to black voters could only point forward to things they anticipated from Trump.

"Now that it's 2020, we're able to point backwards and to some very definitive accomplishments that the president has done," Scott said. "He delivered on promises he didn't even make."

During his remarks, Trump pointed to passage of bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation, which Trump signed into law last year, along with his ongoing support for opportunity zones in urban areas and new investments in historically black colleges.

"I don't know anyone who's done that kind of work outside of the president on attacking those big issues or trying to stop drugs from coming into the neighborhood and, at the same time, giving people second chances," said Ja'Ron Smith, deputy assistant to the president and one of the White House's few minority high-ranked officials.

He also pointed to a series of economic gains, including the fact that black unemployment hit a record low last year, with fewer blacks living in poverty. But Trump and his campaign also have a tendency to exaggerate the gains, giving Trump credit for trends that were years in the making, seizing on momentary upticks, cherry-picking favorable statistics and ignoring more troubling ones, such as black homeownership and net worth.

But Trump also worked to demonize the Democratic Party.

"For decades, the Democrats have taken African American voters totally for granted," Trump said claiming, "They didn't do anything for you."

"The betrayal of the black community" by Democrats is "unbelievable," he told them, adding, "It's amazing you've stayed so long, to be honest."

Trump also tried to pit the black community against immigrants, saying Democrats care more for people who have entered the U.S. illegally than African Americans. He wrongly claimed that Democrats had shut down the government last year to secure benefits for illegal immigrants and said they have never done anything similar for the African American community.

A September AP-NORC poll found that only roughly 3 in 10 Americans say the things Trump has done as president have been good for African Americans. And just 4% of African Americans said they think Trump's actions have had a positive impact on African Americans in general, while 81% said they think they've been bad.

Yet even if he can't win over black voters, some suspect that's not the point. As long as the campaign can keep on-the-fence voters from casting their ballots for the eventual Democratic nominee, the campaign will be helping Trump inch closer to a second victory.

"I do think the main objective is to discourage turnout," said Johnson. "I absolutely think this is about creating doubt in black voters' minds about the Democratic nominee" so people feel like "there's almost no one worth voting for."

And he said fears were growing it might work.

"There is a pretty tangible fear among black Americans that Trump is going to win again because black turnout won't be enough to mute the white turnout," Johnson said. "There's a sense that in 2020 he's going to win again."

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