Ocasio-Cortez reminds Trump, 'I come from ... the United States'

Image result for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez +Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota,

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at President Trump, who tweeted that she and three other congresswomen of color should “go back” to their “broken and crime infested” countries, pointing out that she was born in the United States.

“Mr. President, the country I ‘come from,’ & the country we all swear to, is the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Sunday.

The freshman representative from New York, along with Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, belong to the group of progressive Democratic congresswomen that Trump referred to in a Sunday Twitter thread, saying, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” Trump tweeted.

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” his thread continued. “Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

The women were all born in the United States, except for Omar, who became a refugee at age 10 when a brutal civil war devastated Somalia, a predominantly Muslim country in East Africa. Five years after entering the U.S., Omar was eligible for citizenship and in 2000 became a citizen at 19.

“You are angry because you don’t believe in an America where I represent New York 14, where the good people of Minnesota elected @IlhanMN, where @RashidaTlaib fights for Michigan families, where @AyannaPressley champions little girls in Boston,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who has the same birthplace as Trump’s father. “You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder.”

She continued: “But you know what’s the rub of it all, Mr. President? On top of not accepting an America that elected us, you cannot accept that we don’t fear you, either. You can’t accept that we will call your bluff & offer a positive vision for this country. And that’s what makes you seethe.”

Omar, the first-ever Somali-American in Congress and the first hijab-wearing Muslim member of the House, also responded to Trump, tweeting, “Mr. President, As Members of Congress, the only country we swear an oath to is the United States. Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen.”

“You are stoking white nationalism [because] you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda,” she added.

Rep. Tlaib called for Trump’s impeachment in her response, and Pressley denounced the president’s tweets as racist.

“THIS is what racism looks like,” the Massachusetts lawmaker tweeted Sunday. “WE are what democracy looks like. And we’re not going anywhere. Except back to DC to fight for the families you marginalize and vilify everyday.”

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was accused by Ocasio-Cortez of “singling out” women of color in an ongoing feud between House progressives and the Democratic establishment, the party leader also rejected Trump’s “xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation.”

Pelosi defended the women in her camp, saying “When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again.”

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Honors KKK Grand Wizard With Proclamation

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The day of observation calls on Tennesseans to honor Nathan Bedford Forrest, a slave-owning war criminal and Klan grand wizard.

Despite public outcry, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) re-signed a proclamation Thursday declaring July 13 as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in the state, honoring the Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and former Confederate general.

Each year, according to state law, the governor is supposed to sign six such proclamations for days of observation, three of which are in honor of the Confederacy, according to The Tennessean. Though they’re mostly symbolic, the governor says he signs them out of a sense of duty.

“I signed the bill because the law requires that I do that and I haven’t looked at changing that law,” Lee told The Tennessean on Thursday.

His decision was roundly panned by the media. New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie tweeted: “Very cool that Tennessee has a day honoring a confederate war criminal and founder of America’s oldest and deadliest terrorist group.” 

Forrest is known to history as a bloodthirsty slave trader and the KKK’s very first grand wizard. In 1864, he led Confederate soldiers to commit what’s known as the Fort Pillow Massacre, according to The Washington Post. Three hundred Union soldiers, including 200 black soldiers, were murdered there, often at point-blank range.

Residents have been petitioning to remove two statues of Forrest ― including a bust from the state Capitol ― for years. But Lee defends Confederate monuments and the Ku Klux Klan as “part of our history.”

Earlier this year, Lee told The Tennessean that “The Ku Klux Klan is a part of our history that we’re not proud of in Tennessee, and we need to be reminded of that and make certain that we don’t forget it. So I wouldn’t advocate to remove that.”

At the same time, the governor said he regretted going to “Old South” parties at Auburn University as part of the fraternity Kappa Alpha Order, which reportedly sees Confederate Army Gen. Robert E. Lee as a “spiritual founder.”

The governor’s hands aren’t tied in signing such a proclamation. As The Holler points out, plenty of governors have declined to sign them in the past, especially on proclamations they don’t personally agree with. In January, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) refused to sign a proclamation in honor of the book “This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm,” by journalist Ted Genoways, because it contained criticism of President Donald Trump, according to The Hill.

Reached for comment, Gov. Lee’s spokeswoman released a stock statement reiterating that the governor is required to sign the proclamation: 

“Tennessee governors are required by statute to issue a series of proclamations each year, including Nathan Bedford Forrest Day,” said spokeswoman Laine Arnold. “The proclamation that was issued complies with this obligation and is in keeping with prior years.” 

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Could black philanthropy help solve the black student debt crisis?

Left: Robert Smith. Right (clockwise from left): Beyonce Knowles-Carter, Jay-Z, LeBron James and Nicki Minaj. Reuters, USA Today

When billionaire Robert E. Smith decided to pay off the student loans of the graduating class of 2019 at Morehouse College, he suggested that others follow his lead.

“Let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward, because we are enough to take care of our own community,” Smith declared in his commencement speech.

But is there even enough black private wealth in the United States to pay off all black student loan debt?

As a scholar in social transformation and African American studies, I’m intrigued by this question. It provides an opportunity to examine black wealth, higher education and the possibilities for alleviating debt, which in turn opens the door to new economic opportunities.

Black celebrities give to higher education

Smith’s gift is estimated to be worth US$40 million and will benefit 396 students.

That’s a lot of money, and he’s done it before. Before his gift to Morehouse, Smith donated $50 million to Cornell University, his alma mater, in part to support African American and female students at Cornell University’s College of Engineering.

Other black celebrities have also stepped up to fund education. Powerhouse couple Beyonce and Jay Z gave more than $1 million in scholarships to students who lived in cities they were touring in 2018.

Rapper Nicki Minaj gave 37 “Student of the Game” scholarships. LeBron James, through his foundation, promised to pay for 2,300 students to attend the University of Akron – at an estimated price tag of $100 million. Oprah Winfrey has donated more than $400 million to educational causes.

But with just five black billionaires in the United States – Smith, Winfrey, David Steward, Michael Jordan and Jay-Z – monumental gifts like the one that Smith made will likely be few and far between.

Is Smith’s claim that “we are enough to take care of our own community” true of all the black wealth in the U.S.?

Philanthropy among African Americans

A strong heritage of black philanthropy dates back to mutual aid societiesof the 1700s and 1800s in which free blacks sought to help fellow blacks facing hardships or distress and, in later years, in need of education and job training.

Black charitable giving also arose from the black church and fraternal organizations throughout the 1800s and 1900s with movements such as abolitionism, the Black Women’s Club Movement and the civil rights movement.

Mary Church Terrell, the first president of the National Association of Colored Women, described how charitable organizations had “a keen sense of the responsibility” to secure economic and educational resources, “lifting as we climb” up the ladder of social mobility. This ethic of giving was also present among the early black economic elite such as Thomy Lafon, Madame C.J. Walker and James Forten.

Black giving remains strong to this day. Despite racial wealth gaps, black families contribute larger portions of their wealth than any other racial and ethnic group. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation reports that two-thirds of all black households donate to charitable causes. This giving amounts to about $11 billion annually, most of which goes to religious organizations.

But how much of it goes to higher education? African Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum report donating 17% to education – both K-12 and post-secondary institutions and scholarship funds. That adds up to about $1.8 billion donated annually.

Counting black millionaires

The percentage of black households worth over $1 million has remained at or below 2% since 1992, or about 877,000 based on 2018 population estimates.

Among black high net worth households – those with a net worth of more than $1 million (not counting the value of their primary home) or with an annual household income of $200,000 – 49% report giving to higher education. This is significant since across all racial groups, the share of dollars donated by high net worth individuals to higher education was only 4%.

Black student loan debt

Student loan debt in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2019, making it the second-highest consumer debt category behind mortgage debt. Over 44 million borrowers owe roughly $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.

Looking at 2016 data, 86.4% of blacks completing a bachelor’s degree had some form of student loan debt, and the average amount borrowed was $34,010. If we multiply the total number of blacks that graduated with some form of debt – roughly 168,000 – by the average amount borrowed per individual, the average cumulative debt for this one graduating class was roughly $5.7 billion. This includes graduates from all colleges – public as well as private – but not community colleges.

Of course, looking at it at the most basic level, the collective wealthamong America’s black billionaires – which totals $13.4 billion with the recent addition of Jay-Z – can easily subsidize the debt of a single graduating class.

And while a more sophisticated calculation is undoubtedly warranted, a rough estimate shows that the $5.7 billion in black student debt could be covered by America’s black millionaire households if each one chose to devote $6,500 toward eliminating the overall debt.

Of course, the debt load for black students goes far beyond one graduating class. The majority of blacks in the labor force that hold a bachelor’s degree or higher have some form of student loan debt. This means that the figures for the entire black population with outstanding student loan debt across generations are significantly higher than $5.7 billion.

Robert Smith’s gift to the class of 2019 at Morehouse provoked an interesting discussion about whether black philanthropy can alleviate black student loan debt. However, one-off philanthropic efforts that help a small group of beneficiaries can’t compete with the kind of large-scale change needed to alter the course of an entire community.

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https://theconversation.com/could-black-philanthropy-help-solve-the-black-student-debt-crisis-117734

Democrats have moved ‘too far to the left,’ says BET network founder Bob Johnson

Image result for robert johnson bet

  • America’s political establishment is riven with partisanship that has become “very wicked and very mean,” said entrepreneur and media mogul Robert Johnson
  • Johnson describes himself as a long-time centrist and Democrat
  • He supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election but has since praised Trump

America’s political establishment is riven with partisanship that has become “very wicked and very mean,” said entrepreneur and media mogul Robert Johnson, who added that the Democratic Party has become too liberal for his liking.

“The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left,” Johnson, the founder of cable network BET and RLJ Companies business network, told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble Tuesday.

“And for that reason, I don’t have a particular candidate (I’m supporting) in the party at this time,” he said. “I think at the end of the day, if a Democrat is going to beat Trump, then that person, he or she, will have to move to the center and you can’t wait too long to do that.”

Johnson described himself as a long-time centrist and Democrat. He publicly supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. However, he has since expressed admiration for some of Donald Trump’s policies, particularly those related to the economy.

“I think the economy is doing great, and it’s reaching populations that heretofore had very bad problems in terms of jobs and employments and the opportunities that come with employment … so African-American unemployment is at its lowest level, ” Johnson said.

Johnson became the country’s first African-American billionaire after selling Black Entertainment Television in 2001, according to Forbes.

“I give the president a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large amount of Americans,” he said. “I think the tax cuts clearly helped stimulate the economy. I think business people have more confidence in the way the economy is going.”

Despite the U.S. dispute with China over trade, Johnson said that “overall, if you look at the U.S. economy … you got to give the president an A+ for that.”

‘No give or take’

Johnson expressed concern that there is “really no give or take in terms of trying to come to an understanding of how best to run the country” between President Trump and the Democratic Party.

“If business people are concerned about anything, it’s the clear, clear partisan politics that’s become very wicked and very mean. And that’s not helping the American people, and it’s not helping America as a global nation.”

Asked about Trump’s style of leadership —considered divisive by many in America and beyond — Johnson remarked that Trump has “got his own style,” though he perhaps needs to “step back a little bit from some of his showmanship.”

“A lot of people are not going to like that style,” he said, “but when he says he’s going to try to do something economically, you have to give him credit for taking some specific steps to do that.”

“At the end of the day, the American people are looking for someone who can deliver economically and deliver on opportunities,” he said.

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https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/09/democrats-too-far-to-the-left-bet-networks-bob-johnson-says.html

Former Wharton Admissions Officer Says Trump Benefited From Family Connections

Image result for trump in prep school

James Nolan told the Washington Post that Fred Trump Jr. asked him to help get his brother, Donald Trump, into the prestigious Wharton School of Business.

When Donald Trump is praising himself for being a “very stable genius,” he often cites his attendance at the Wharton School of Business as proof.

Trump got his degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s business school in 1968, and he still brings it up as evidence of his intelligence.

“I went to the Wharton School of Business,” he’ll have you know. “I’m, like, a really smart person.”

However, a former admissions officer at the school said that the president got into the prestigious school mostly due to his genes rather than his genius.

James Nolan told the Washington Post that he was working in the admissions office in 1966 when a good friend, Fred Trump Jr., called asking for a favor.

“He called me and said, ‘You remember my brother Donald?’ Which I didn’t,” Nolan, 81, told the paper in an article published Monday.“[Trump Jr.] said, ‘He’s at Fordham and he would like to transfer to Wharton. Will you interview him?’ I was happy to do that.”

Nolan recalled that when he met with the future president, he saw no signs he was dealing with a world-class intellect.

 “I certainly was not struck by any sense that I’m sitting before a genius,” he said. “Certainly not a super genius.” 

Nolan said he wrote a report about Trump and said he doesn’t remember the details, but “it must have been decent enough to support his candidacy.”

Although it was common for children of wealthy and influential people to be admitted before other applicants ― especially if there were big donations made to the school ― the Post said there is no evidence that Fred Trump Sr. made a large donation to the school to help his son.

Still, the interview is just another example of how Trump, a self-proclaimed self-made man, benefited greatly from family connections and wealth.

Last year, the New York Times reported that, contrary to the president’s claims that he transformed a “small loan” of $1 million from his father into a “massive empire,” Fred Trump Sr. actually loaned his son at least $140 million in today’s dollars.

Trump’s dad also helped his son avoid financial ruin more than a few times, such as in 1990 when he sent one of his bookkeepers to Atlantic City in 1990 to buy $3.5 million in casino chips so his son could make a bond payment.  

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https://www.huffpost.com/entry/donald-trump-wharton-school-family-help_n_5d239166e4b01000e1b6c573

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