“But what if he did?”


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FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2018 file photo, Michael Cohen, former lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building in New York. A report by BuzzFeed News, citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, says that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen regularly briefed Trump on the project. The Associated Press has not independently confirmed the report. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2018 file photo, Michael Cohen, former lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building in New York. A report by BuzzFeed News, citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, says that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen regularly briefed Trump on the project. The Associated Press has not independently confirmed the report. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)


Giuliani: ‘So what’ if Trump and Cohen discussed testimony

By ERIC TUCKER

Associated Press

Monday, January 21

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani left open Sunday the possibility that Trump and former personal attorney Michael Cohen might have discussed Cohen’s congressional testimony.

But, he added, “so what” if he did?

Giuliani told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he did not know if Trump had discussed with Cohen a 2017 congressional interview at which Cohen has admitted lying about a Trump Tower real estate project in Moscow. He also acknowledged in a separate interview with NBC News that conversations about that project stretched throughout 2016, including possibly up until October or November of that year.

The question arose in light of a BuzzFeed News report from last week that said Trump had instructed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen relayed that to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators. Mueller’s office took the unusual step of issuing a statement disputing the story. BuzzFeed said it stands by its reporting.

Giuliani said in interviews with CNN and NBC that Trump never directed Cohen to lie to lawmakers. But on CNN he acknowledged the possibility that Trump and Cohen might have discussed Cohen’s testimony, saying that while he had no knowledge of such a conversation, he wasn’t ruling it out and that it’d be “perfectly normal” anyway.

“I don’t know if it happened or didn’t happen,” Giuliani said, later adding, “And so what if he talked to him about it?”

Giuliani’s suggestion that dialogue about the Trump Tower project could have stretched into the fall of 2016 extends the timeline for negotiations well beyond what the president has publicly acknowledged. Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress by saying that he had abandoned the project in January 2016 even though prosecutors say he actually continued pursuing it into that June.

Giuliani said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that Trump recalled having conversations with Cohen about the project throughout 2016, though there “weren’t a lot of them.”

“The president also remembers — yeah, probably up — could be up to as far as October, November,” Giuliani said. “Our answers cover until the election. So anytime during that period they could’ve talked about it. But the president’s recollection of it is that the, the thing had petered out quite a bit.”

Giuliani made a similar comment last month on ABC News when he suggested that the president knew that Cohen was pursuing the project into 2016.

“According to the answer that he gave, it would have covered all the way up to — covered up to November, 2016. Said he had conversations with him but the president didn’t hide this,” Giuliani said.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and chairman of the House intelligence committee, said the panel planned to investigate why Cohen made false statements to Congress and determine what exactly Cohen and Trump might have discussed about his testimony.

“Congress has a has a fundamental interest in two things first in getting to the bottom of why a witness came before us and lied and who else was knowledgeable that this was a lie,” Schiff said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

The Conversation

What shaped King’s prophetic vision?

January 15, 2017

Author: Kenyatta R. Gilbert, Associate Professor of Homiletics, Howard University

Disclosure statement: I have received funding for my work from The Fund For Theological Education, Louisville Institute First Book Grant and the Andrew Mellon Foundation – Summer Research Grant at Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.

The name Martin Luther King Jr. is iconic in the United States. President Barack Obama spoke of King in both his Democratic National Convention nomination acceptance and victory speeches in 2008:

“[King] brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial…to speak of his dream.”

Indeed, much of King’s legacy lives on in such arresting oral performances. They made him a global figure.

King’s preaching used the power of language to interpret the gospel in the context of black misery and Christian hope. He directed people to life-giving resources and spoke provocatively of a present and active divine interventionist who summons preachers to name reality in places where pain, oppression and neglect abound.

In other words, King used a prophetic voice in his preaching – the hopeful voice that begins in prayer and attends to human tragedy. Indeed, the best of African-American preaching is three-dimensional – it is priestly, it is sage, it is prophetic.

So what led to the rise of the black preacher and shaped King’s prophetic voice?

In my book, “The Journey and Promise of African American Preaching,” I discuss the historical formation of the black preacher. My work on African-American prophetic preaching shows that King’s clarion calls for justice were offspring of earlier prophetic preaching that flowered as a consequence of the racism in the U.S.

From slavery to the Great Migration

First, let’s look at some of the social, cultural and political challenges that gave birth to the black religious leader, specifically those who assumed political roles with the community’s blessing and beyond the church proper.

In slave society, black preachers played an important role in the community: they acted as seers interpreting the significance of events; as pastors calling for unity and solidarity; and as messianic figures provoking the first stirrings of resentment against oppressors.

The religious revivalism or the Great Awakening of the 18th century brought to America a Bible-centered brand of Christianity – evangelicalism – that dominated the religious landscape by the early 19th century. Evangelicals emphasized a “personal relationship” with God through Jesus Christ.

This new movement made Christianity more accessible, livelier, without overtaxing educational demands. Africans converted to Christianity in large numbers during the revivals and most became Baptists and Methodists. With fewer educational restrictions placed on them, black preachers emerged in the period as preachers and teachers, despite their slave status.

Africans viewed the revivals as a way to reclaim some of the remnants of African culture in a strange new world. They incorporated and adopted religious symbols into a new cultural system with relative ease.

Rise of the black cleric-politician

Despite the development of black preachers and the significant social and religious advancements of blacks during this period of revival, Reconstruction – the process of rebuilding the South soon after the Civil War – posed numerous challenges for white slaveholders who resented the political advancement of newly freed Africans.

As independent black churches proliferated in Reconstruction America, black ministers preached to their own. Some became bivocational. It was not out of the norm to find pastors who led congregations on Sunday and held jobs as school teachers and administrators during the work week.

Others held important political positions. Altogether, 16 African-Americans served in the U.S. Congress during Reconstruction. For example, South Carolina’s House of Representatives’ Richard Harvey Cain, who attended Wilberforce University, the first private black American university, served in the 43rd and 45th Congresses and as pastor of a series of African Methodist churches.

Others, such as former slave and Methodist minister and educator Hiram Rhoades Revels and Henry McNeal Turner, shared similar profiles. Revels was a preacher who became America’s first African-American senator. Turner was appointed chaplain in the Union Army by President Abraham Lincoln.

To address the myriad problems and concerns of blacks in this era, black preachers discovered that congregations expected them not only to guide worship but also to be the community’s lead informant in the public square.

The cradle of King’s political and spiritual heritage

Many other events converged as well impacting black life that would later influence King’s prophetic vision: President Woodrow Wilson declared entrance into World War I in 1914; as “boll weevils” ravaged crops in 1916 there was widespread agricultural depression; and then there was the rise of Jim Crow laws that were to legally enforce racial segregation until 1965.

Such tide-swelling events, in multiplier effect, ushered in the largest internal movement of people on American soil, the Great “Black” Migration. Between 1916 and 1918, an average of 500 southern migrants a day departed the South. More than 1.5 million relocated to northern communities between 1916 and 1940.

A watershed, the Great Migration brought about contrasting expectations concerning the mission and identity of the African-American church. The infrastructure of Northern black churches were unprepared to deal with the migration’s distressing effects. Its suddenness and size overwhelmed preexisting operations.

The immense suffering brought on by the Great Migration and the racial hatred they had escaped drove many clergy to reflect more deeply on the meaning of freedom and oppression. Black preachers refused to believe that the Christian gospel and discrimination were compatible.

However, black preachers seldom modified their preaching strategies. Rather than establishing centers for black self-improvement (e.g., job training, home economics classes and libraries), nearly all southern preachers who came North continued to offer priestly sermons that exalted the virtues of humility, good will and patience, as they had in the South.

Setting the prophetic tradition

Three clergy outliers – one a woman – initiated change. These three pastors were particularly inventive in the way they approached their preaching task.

Baptist pastor Adam C. Powell Sr., the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AMEZ) pastor Florence S. Randolph and the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) bishop Reverdy C. Ransom spoke to human tragedy, both in and out of the black church. They brought a distinctive form of prophetic preaching that united spiritual transformation with social reform and confronted black dehumanization.

Bishop Ransom’s discontentment arose while preaching to Chicago’s “silk-stocking church” Bethel A.M.E. – the elite church – which had no desire to welcome the poor and jobless masses that came to the North. He left and began the Institutional Church and Social Settlement, which combined worship and social services.

Randolph and Powell synthesized their roles as preachers and social reformers. Randolph brought into her prophetic vision her tasks as preacher, missionary, organizer, suffragist and pastor. Powell became pastor at the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. In that role, he led the congregation to establish a community house and nursing home to meet the political, religious and social needs of blacks.

Shaping of King’s vision

The preaching tradition that these early clergy fashioned would have profound impact on King’s moral and ethical vision. They linked the vision of Jesus Christ as stated in the Bible of bringing good news to the poor, recovery of sight to the blind and proclaiming liberty to the captives, with the Hebrew prophet’s mandate of speaking truth to power.

Similar to how they responded to the complex challenges brought on by the Great Migration of the early 20th century, King brought prophetic interpretation to brutal racism, Jim Crow segregation and poverty in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Indeed, King’s prophetic vision ultimately invited his martyrdom. But through the prophetic preaching tradition already well established by his time, King brought people of every tribe, class and creed closer toward forming “God’s beloved community” – an anchor of love and hope for humankind.

The Conversation

Who are the federal workers affected by the shutdown? 5 questions answered

January 14, 2019

Author: Nevbahar Ertas, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Disclosure statement: Nevbahar Ertas does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

The current government shutdown is now the longest in American history, affecting about 800,000 federal employees out of 1.8 million full-time civil servants, not counting military personnel and postal workers.

Of those, about 380,000 have been furloughed, meaning that they cannot work or get paid. The rest, whose positions are categorized as essential, are working without pay.

Here’s a closer look at some quick facts about the U.S. federal workers.

1. Who are they?

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s federal employee database, about 57 percent of federal workers were male and 43 percent were female in 2017. About 63 percent were white and 19 percent were black. Over half of the workforce had a college degree and about a quarter also had an advanced degree.

The federal civilian workforce has grown older than the American workforce overall. The average federal worker was 47.5 years old in 2017. Just about 16 percent of federal workers are under 35 years old, compared to 40 percent in the private sector. More than a quarter of federal employees are over 55.

2. Where do they work?

They might be your neighbors. More than 80 percent of the federal workers work or live outside of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

According to Governing magazine’s calculations, nearly every state has a least a few thousand affected employees. OPM shows that California tops the list with 152,466 federal workers, followed by Virginia, Texas, Maryland and Florida.

More than 18 percent work for the Department of Veterans Affairs. In fact, almost 60 percent of the federal workforce is employed by just five agencies: the VA, Army, Navy, Homeland Security and Air Force.

3. How much do they make?

Under open government transparency guidelines, records of most public employees of the U.S. federal government is public record.

As of 2017, the average salary among 375 agencies was US $69,344.22. In fiscal year 2017, about a quarter of the federal workers made less than $56,143.

How does this compare to the average American worker? Researchers disagree over how to compare salaries between public and private sectors. Studies comparing federal employees to workers in other sectors arrived at different conclusions about the sector with the higher pay and the size of the pay disparities.

Salary varies considerably by position, agency and tenure. For example, in fiscal year 2017, the average salary for clerical workers was just shy of $42,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their median tenure – number of years with their current employer – was 8.3 years, highest among government employees, and much higher than the 3.8 years for private sector employees.

4. What do they do?

Federal workers perform a variety of critical roles in service of the country, such as developing science and technology; protecting the waterways; certifying commercial aircrafts; screening passengers; ensuring food safety and inspection; investigating crime; and providing emergency care.

Federal workers are employed in over 300 different occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the latest available data by FederalPay.org, the most common federal occupation was nurse, followed by miscellaneous administration and program positions, and compliance inspectors.

5. What does this mean for the future?

Complaints about the size of the government and pledges to shrink the federal bureaucracy are not new. But public administration research shows that politicians exaggerate alleged governmental waste and misconceive the federal government as bloated, while ignoring the increasing role of private sector partners.

The size of the federal workforce has remained pretty flat since 1960s, increasing by about 8 percent from 1962 to 2012. Meanwhile, both the U.S. population and the congressionally mandated rules and regulations have more than doubled in size. Federal spending has grown exponentially during that time, due to entitlement spending – pensions, health care and welfare – and the increasing inclusion of nongovernmental actors via outsourcing and contracts.

In the face of looming retirements in the federal service, agencies are concerned about how to attract and retain the next generation of workers. Some of my research focuses on public service motivation – the desire to serve the public and the society, a trait that government workers possess at higher levels. Many forgo opportunities in private sector, because they care deeply about the mission of their agency and their role in serving the public.

In a 2015 study, I examined work motivations and turnover intentions of young workers in the U.S. federal agencies. While they are similar to their older counterparts in terms of their work motivations, they are much more likely to consider leaving their jobs. Problems in hiring and retention would most likely be exacerbated by the shutdown, as well ongoing issues such as weakening civil service protections; salary freezes or delay in appointments; and attacks on certain agencies.

Comment

TJ Martin: “In a 2015 study, I examined work motivations and turnover intentions of young workers in the U.S. federal agencies. While they are similar to their older counterparts in terms of their work motivations, they are much more likely to consider leaving their jobs. Problems in hiring and retention would most likely be exacerbated by the shutdown, as well ongoing issues such as weakening civil service protections; salary freezes or delay in appointments; and attacks on certain agencies”

Having immediate family, friends and associates in high ranking positions across the Federal Government allow me to bring your 2015 study up to date because things have changed drastically since then

Once Trump was elected new ( qualified ) applicants and inquiries across the board for federal jobs dropped by some 20- 45%.

With a 55% increase since of early retirement … leaving the employ of the government .. and internal transfers ( mainly from ICE CBP EPA )

Also as an aside. The military since Trumps’ election has been having extreme difficulties attracting new ( qualified ) recruits. With one high ranking general stating 85% of all new inquires and applicants across all branches are either under educated, incompetent, have criminal backgrounds … or all of the above

With the current shut down along with Trump’s constantly expressing his utter disdain for ALL federal employees including military personnel exacerbating the situation

OPINION: Reading Black newspapers

Melissa Martin, Self-syndicated Columnist

In the United States and other countries today, many cities publish newspapers in various languages for racial and ethnic groups. Reading news stories written by journalists, reporters, and columnists from your own background gives an opportunity to view events through your own cultural lens.

Black Americans, Black Canadians, Black British, Afro-Caribbean/African, Afro-Arab, Afro-Iranians, Afro Turks, Afro-Dutch, Afro-Spaniards, Afro-Russian, Afro-Mexicans, Afro-Brazilians, African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem—not an exhaustive listing. In dominate Australia, Blacks are regarded as Aboriginal. As Roberta Sykes, a prominent Black activist surmised, “‘Black’ is inclusive of all Black people.”

National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA) is a trade association of 200 regional and local African American-owned community newspapers in the United States. Founded 75 years ago, NNPA has promoted the voices of citizens in black communities. www.nnpa.org.

BlackPressUSA.com is the public news website of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). “The Black Press believes that America can best lead the world away from racial and national antagonisms when it accords to every person, regardless of race, color or creed, full human and legal rights. Hating no person, the Black Press strives to help every person in the firm belief that all are hurt as long as anyone is held back.” www.blackpressusa.com.

“The Richmond Free Press focuses primarily on the city’s black community, which includes many people who are not covered—and sometimes seem unnoticed—by the daily newspaper. But our audience also looks to us for our perspectives on national and international events,” affirms Regina Boone in a 2017 article, “Why I’m Devoting a Year to Helping Black Newspapers Survive.” www.cjr.org/.

In her 2007 book, Freedom’s Journal: The First African-American Newspaper, Jacqueline Bacon provides an in-depth analysis. In 1827, Samuel Cornish and John Russwarm started the publication in New York. “To African-Americans, oppressed, silenced, and long denied the opportunity to publish their views in most white newspapers, the appearance of Freedom’s Journal in 1827 must indeed have appeared like the outset of a storm,” declared Bacon.

The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords (a film by Stanley Nelson) documents the history of many newspapers founded by and for African-Americans, beginning with Freedom’s Journal and proceeding through the contemporary era. www.pbs.org/.

For a list of current Black newspapers in the USA, visit www.blacknews.com.

Black Newspapers in Ohio

Although the Call & Post is the oldest Black newspaper in Cleveland, The Aliened American was actually the first. It was published first on April 9, 1853, by William Day. www.callandpost.com.

The Columbus Post is a weekly newspaper based in Columbus, Ohio and focuses on local and national African American news and issues. www.columbuspost.com.

The Minority Communicator Newspaper is an African-American family owned Newspaper since 1988 serving the community for 29 years, in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Dayton. www.communicatornews.homestead.com.

The Reporter Newspaper, operating since 1969, serves greater Northeast Ohio:

Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Medina, Warren, and surrounding areas. www.thereporternewspaperonline.com.

The Cincinnati Herald—the city’s black newspaper of record since 1955. www.thecincinnatiherald.com.

The Toledo Journal is Northwest Ohio’s oldest African American owned weekly newspaper. www.thetoledojournal.com.

The Sojourner’s Truth, started in 2002, is a weekly newspaper serving the African-American community in the Northwest Ohio area. www.thetruthtoledo.com.

For a list of International news sources around the world visit www.nationsonline.org.

The first Black South African newspaper, Imvo Zabantsundu (Opinion of the People), was published by Thanda Press in King William’s Town as an independent political newspaper for Black people. www.sahistory.org.za/.

The Voice, founded in 1982, is the British national Afro-Caribbean weekly newspaper operating in the United Kingdom. www.voice-online.co.uk.

Why do Caucasian children, adolescents, and adults need to be exposed to diverse newspapers? America and the world are full of people and we need to learn about different races, nationalities, cultures, languages, customs, and beliefs. Exploring newspapers that explore, recognize, and celebrate human diversity and multiculturalism may teach us to embrace and embody fairness, equality, and justice for all as well as promote empathy for marginalized minorities.

“Whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves,” penned James Baldwin (Letter from a Region in My Mind: Reflections, November 17, 1962 Issue).

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in the Southern Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.

FILE – In this Dec. 7, 2018 file photo, Michael Cohen, former lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building in New York. A report by BuzzFeed News, citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, says that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen regularly briefed Trump on the project. The Associated Press has not independently confirmed the report. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2019/01/web1_122168035-f191f43342944ee384f01b32b7dc1899.jpgFILE – In this Dec. 7, 2018 file photo, Michael Cohen, former lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building in New York. A report by BuzzFeed News, citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, says that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen regularly briefed Trump on the project. The Associated Press has not independently confirmed the report. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
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