06 26 2016
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  • ST. LOUIS (AP) — A draft of the Democratic Party's policy positions reflects the influence of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign: endorsing steps to break up large Wall Street banks, advocating a $15 hourly wage, urging an end to the death penalty. Hillary Clinton's supporters turned back efforts by Sanders' allies to promote a Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system and a carbon tax to address climate change, and freeze hydraulic fracking. While the platform does not bind the Democratic nominee to the stated positions, it serves as a guidepost for the party moving forward. Party officials approved the draft early Saturday. The Democratic National Convention's full Platform Committee will discuss the draft at a meeting next month in Orlando, Florida, with a vote at the convention in Philadelphia in late July. Sanders said Friday he would vote for Clinton, the presumptive nominee, in the fall election, but so far has stopped short of fully endorsing the former secretary of state or encouraging his millions of voters to back her candidacy. The Vermont senator has said he wants the platform to reflect his goals — and those representing him at a St. Louis hotel said they had made progress. "We lost some but we won some," said James Zogby, a Sanders supporter on the committee. "We got some great stuff in the platform that has never been in there before." Added Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a Sanders ally: "We've made some substantial moves forward." Deliberating late into Friday, the group considered language on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, an issue that has divided Democrats. The committee defeated an amendment led by Zogby that would have called for providing Palestinians with "an end to occupation and illegal settlements" and urged an international effort to rebuild Gaza. The draft reflects Clinton's views and advocates working toward a "two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict" that guarantees Israel's security with recognized borders "and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity." In many cases, Clinton's side gave ground to Sanders. The document calls for the expansion of Social Security and says Americans should earn at least $15 an hour, referring to the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour as a "starvation wage," a term often used by Sanders. Sanders has pushed for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Clinton has supported efforts to raise the minimum wage to that level but has said states and cities should raise the bar as high as possible. Sanders' allies wanted the draft to specify calls for a $15 per hour minimum wage indexed with inflation. Clinton's side struck down a direct link, noting the document elsewhere included a call to "raise and index the minimum wage." The committee also adopted language that said it supports ways to prevent banks from gambling with taxpayers' bank deposits, "including an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall." Sanders wants to reinstate the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited commercial banks from engaging in investment banking activities. Clinton does not, but says her proposed financial changes would cast a wider net by regulating the banking system. Also in the draft is a call for the abolition of the death penalty. Clinton said during a debate this year that capital punishment should only be used in limited cases involving "heinous crimes." Sanders said the government should not use it. Sanders, a vociferous opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was unable to get language into the document opposing the trade deal. As a result, the party avoided an awkward scenario that would have put the platform at odds with President Barack Obama. Clinton and Sanders have opposed the deal. Committee members backed a measure that said "there are a diversity of views in the party" on the pact and reaffirmed that Democrats contend any trade deal "must protect workers and the environment." In a setback for Sanders, the panel narrowly rejected amendments that would have imposed a tax on carbon and imposed a national freeze on fracking. The panel deliberated for about nine hours following several late nights and long hours of policy exchanges between the two campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. Sanders, in a statement, said he was "disappointed and dismayed" that the group voted down the measure opposing the TPP. But he was pleased with the proposals on Glass-Steagall and the death penalty — and vowed to fight on. "Our job is to pass the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party," he said.
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Control the mind, mold the opinion, and you can capture the soul. In other words, as Thomas Paine once said, 'The pen is mightier than the sword.'
African Americans through the ages have been taught to obey authority and to hate or question each other; the mainstream press will slant the news against us. It will take our leaders and make them appear shady and delusional. Oh how quick they are to even name who our leaders should be. If we depended on the Associated Press, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc. to describe what takes place in our world we would be a race of mass confusion. We just can't trust them alone.
Thank God that for the last 180 years we have had our own news outlet. The word describing activities in our communities and around the world faithfully is reported in the Black news media. We get it as it is and understand what it means. As the old saying goes, 'If it is in Jet, believe it'. Jet and other weeklies such as the Chicago Crusader, Washington Informer, Los Angeles Sentinel, Amsterdam News and the daily, The Chicago Defender, describe the activities that go on in our communities.
The biggest proof of the importance of the Black Press was best exemplified with the overwhelming success of the Million Man March. While the mainstream media vilified the march's visionary, Minister Louis Farrakhan, and his able assistant, Ben Chavis, the Black Press, along with Black Radio, got the message out. It ran free ads and editorials about the planning and logistics.
We got there at 5 a.m. and there were already 150,000. That number swelled and swelled, and by noon there were more than 1.6 million Black men standing in place seeking atonement and swearing to a purer lifestyle and protection of the Black family. How many souls were saved at that event? Most likely every one of the 1.6 million.
Don't let anyone around you under estimate the power of the Black Press. It is a modern day drumbeat that delivers the word that no other medium can.  You just can't trust all that the mainstream press will print. Editorial liberties and literary malfeasance do exist and will sneak up on you in a heartbeat. A prime example was last week at the NNPA Press Week dinner.
The NNPA awarded the Honorable C. Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, its prestigious Newsmaker of the Year Award. Mayor Nagin was eloquent in his acceptance speech and gave the audience an update on the rebuilding of his city.  It was positive and upbeat for all who were there. Two days later, the Washington Post painted a totally different picture of the event. Never did they say he was given the prestigious award.  The article insinuated that his speech was full of accusation against the White establishment and was at best a racial commentary laced with victimization. The Post insinuated but then the New Orleans Times Picayune stated it as fact.
Luckily, the Mayor and I were holding a press conference in New Orleans on the day of the Times Picayune assault.  The press conference turned into an exchange about the accusations. We did a pretty good job clarifying and rebuking the 'hit' against the Mayor by the Washington Post and then the Times Picayune. A tape of the speech eventually emerged on the Internet and it vindicated the Mayor.
My people if you want the real story get it from your Black Press. Don't think that the story written by the mainstream is pure, true and has your best interest at heart. Support the Black Press.

Harry Alford is co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

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