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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Snoop Dogg

Last week rapper Snoop Dogg put up an epic video rant on his Instagram. In the verbiage that only Snoop can conjugate, he said in no uncertain terms that people should not watch the 21st century remake of the epic TV miniseries Roots that aired on The History Channel last week.

I must say that I thoroughly agree with Snoop Dogg’s position one hundred percent, though I can do without the raw language.

Roots: The Saga of an American Family was a book written by famed author Alex Haley in 1976. In the book, Haley traced his ancestral roots back to The Gambia in West Africa. He was able to trace his family lineage all the way back Kunta Kinte.

Kinte was captured as a teenager in The Gambia and ultimately sold into slavery and brought to the U.S. The book was turned into a blockbuster TV miniseries back in 1977.

The remaking is what led Snoop to do his now viral video on Instagram. His position was that he didn’t want to see any more movies about slavery. “Where are all the movies about Black success?” Snoop asked.

I totally agree with Snoop. I refused to watch the remake of Roots. I was watching my N.B.A. basketball playoffs.

Following Snoop’s rant, TV personality Roland Martin addressed the subject on his news program on TV ONE. The one point that I do agree with Roland is that more Blacks need to step up and be willing to help finance the production of some of these movies about successful Blacks. That’s a legitimate challenge that Snoop should address.

Martin launched into this tirade about Jews “never” getting tired of movies about the Holocaust. He is way off base with his analysis.

Martin and those who agree with him are missing a few, very germane points. I mean can any one name a Black person who has financed, executive produced, produced, directed, or distributed a major movie or TV program about the Holocaust? You can’t, because it hasn’t happened.

But most movies about slavery have non-Blacks in major positions of control or power; even though there may be a Black producer or director attached to the project.

I am not aware of one movie about slavery where Blacks have had total control of the process from beginning to end.

The movie “Amistad” (1997) was written by David Franzoni, directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Debbi Allen (Black), Steven Spielberg and Colin Wilson. John Williams composed the musical score.

“12 Years a Slave” (2013) was based on the life of former slave Solomon Northup and it was directed by Steve McQueen (Black) and produced by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Bill Pohlad, Steve McQueen (Black), Arnon Milchan, and Anthony Katagas. John Ridley (Black) wrote the screenplay and Fox Searchlight Pictures distributed the movie.

The 2016 version of “Roots” was written by Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Alison McDonald (Black), and Charles Murray (Black). The four-part miniseries was directed by Bruce Beresford, Phillip Noyce, Thomas Carter (Black), and Mario Van Peebles (Black).

Now, let’s look at a few of the top Holocaust movies.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” (1959) was based on the writings of Anne Frank and directed by George Stevens and written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and distributed by Twentieth Century Fox.

“Schindler’s List” (1993) was written by Steven Zaillian and produced by Steven Spielberg, Gerald R. Molen, and Branko Lustig. Steven Spielberg also directed the movie and “Schindler’s List” was distributed by Universal Pictures.

“The Pianist” (2002) was based on the book by Wladyslaw Szpilman and directed by Roman Polanski, who also earned production credits. Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde were also producers on the movie and it was distributed by Focus Features.

Do you notice anything that stands out to you here? There are no Blacks in any position of control or authority in any of these movies. The Jewish community tells their history through their own eyes and from their own perspective.

Remember, the Chinese sculptor of the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King on the National Mall in Washington, DC, Lei Yixin, was “forced” to redo the statute because some felt that the original rendering made King seem too “confrontational.

Confrontational to whom? To this day, I have refused to visit King’s statue on the Mall.

Yixin was chosen at the expense of very capable American sculptors, both Black and White. The U.S. government also allowed Yixin to bring Chinese workers into the country to assemble the sculpture. They were literally paid slave wages, but I digress.

The U.S. government spent over $120 million on the King sculptor and the money went to China and Chinese workers.

The Jewish community would never allow something like this to happen to anything dealing with their own community.

So, to Roland Martin and his supporters, let’s stop being a slave to slavery.

Raynard Jackson is founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party. BAFBF focuses on the Black entrepreneur. For more information about BAFBF, visit www.bafbf.org. Follow Raynard on Twitter @raynard1223.

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