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Obama receives JFK Profile in Courage Award

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Political Editor – LeNora Millen

Former President Barack Obama returned to the spotlight to accept the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award at JFK’s presidential library in Boston. The award is named for a 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Kennedy that profiled eight U.S. senators who risked their careers by taking principled though unpopular positions.

In one of his first speeches since leaving the White House, Barack Obama built a case against President Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, telling the Boston audience Sunday night that Congress has a duty to all Americans, not just the rich. Making his feelings known about the state of health care and the fate of uninsured Americans, Obama implored members of Congress to demonstrate political courage even if it goes against their party’s positions.

“I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential — but it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm,” Obama said at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, accepting the annual Profile in Courage Award on Sunday night.

Barack Obama spoke Sunday after receiving the John F. Kennedy Presidential Profile in Courage Award during a ceremony at the Kennedy presidential library.

In his 30-minute speech after accepting the award, Obama steered clear of partisan attacks seemingly avoiding the name of his successor President Donald Trump, who has often criticized the previous administration, and has been adamant about reversing many of Obama’s initiatives.

Obama challenged lawmakers to put conscience ahead of party loyalty. He was responding to an all-Republican House vote last week to repeal the Affordable Care Act, his signature legislative accomplishment.  The former president spoke about members of Congress who voted to pass the ACA during his presidency, only to lose their seat in later elections. “They had a chance to insure millions,” he said. “But this vote could also cost them their seats, perhaps end their political careers.”

Obama did not specifically mention Thursday’s House vote to dismantle the health care law, however, declared that while it did not take courage to help the rich and powerful, it does require courage to help the sick and vulnerable. Appealing to wavering Republicans, Obama said,

“It is my fervent hope and the hope of millions, such courage is still possible, that today’s members of Congress regardless of party are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth, even when it contradicts party positions.”

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, one of the few Republicans to attend the dinner, told reporters the Senate would write its own version of the legislation and he did not expect the House bill to survive intact. Democrats argue that the bill would undermine poor people’s health care while cutting taxes for the rich. The bill’s supporters argue it would help reduce health costs for many people.

The former president focused much of his address on the legacy of President Kennedy, as the library prepared to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth later this month.  Obama spoke of the Kennedys history of advocating for health care reform, particularly, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who died of brain cancer before the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

While the former president steered clear of U.S. affairs after leaving office, he participated in the French political debate last week by posting a message of endorsement for centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, who defeated his far right rival Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s election. Obama travels to Italy on Monday.  He will give a keynote speech on climate change and food security at Tuesday’s Seeds and Chips Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan.

 

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Business

Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Fired by Morgan Stanley for Alleged Misconduct

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Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired by the financial services firm Morgan Stanley following allegations of misconduct, NBC confirmed on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley declined to say specifically what prompted the firing. The allegations were presented after a woman who was not employed at the firm accused Mr. Ford of acting inappropriately in a professional setting.

Mr. Ford’s termination reported by HuffPost as an exclusive has been challenged by the former Congressman as “false claims.”

Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired from his position as a managing director at the financial services firm Morgan Stanley for what the company described as behavior “inconsistent with our values.”CreditMike Groll/Associated Press

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Mr. Ford denied the sexual harassment allegations, stating in a tweet on Thursday that he will be bringing legal action against the reporter, for making false claims against him, as well as Morgan Stanley for wrongful termination.

“This simply did not happen,” Mr. Ford wrote. “I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.” He added that socializing with members of the press was part of his job, and said that “false claims like this undermine the real silence breakers.”

Mr. Ford served five terms in Congress as a Democrat representing a Tennessee district after first being elected in 1996—serving as Congressman from 1997 to 207.

He joined Morgan Stanley as a managing director and senior client-relationship manager in 2011 as a vice chairman and senior policy adviser at Bank of America.

Amid the heightened scrutiny of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior toppling key figures in the entertainment and political arena, Mr. Ford is the latest high profiled man to lose his job in recent days for similar allegations.

Time magazine on Wednesday named the “Silence Breakers” its Person of the Year. They shared personal stories about harassment and assault and sparked the #MeToo movement.

According to Time, the #MeToo became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage.

In a tweet acknowledging his thoughts on the “Silence Breaker” quite pointed in his statement, Mr. Ford said the following in regards to news of his firing on Thursday, “This simply did not happen.  I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.”

In another tweet, Mr. Ford spoke about his professional demeanor and his tremendous respect for the brave women speaking out “in this important national dialogue.”  Mr. Ford was pointed in stating that false claims alleged against him “undermine the real “Silence Breakers.”

Mr. Ford appeared as a frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” MSNBC – which is owned by NBC 4 New York’s parent company.

“We are looking into the report about Harold Ford Jr.,” a spokeswoman for MSNBC said. “During that time he won’t be a guest on MSNBC.”

LeNora Millen            12-7-17

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TV One Cancels Roland Martin’s Morning Show ‘News One Now’

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TV One is canceling Roland Martin’s morning show “News One Now,” Roland made the announcement in a tweet Wednesday.

“Fam, the sad news is true. The staff of @tvonetv #NewsnewOneNow was informed this afternoon that after four years of doing groundbreaking and award-winning work, the show will cease production at the end of the year,” Martin tweeted.

Martin, who thanked audiences for their support, said the last episode will air on Dec. 21.

Roland Martin’s morning show “NewsOne Now” was cancelled due to budget cuts according to various reports from reliable sources.

“They called a meeting on Wednesday and told the staff they were canceling the show. They’re having significant financial problems and they have to scale back,” a source said. “After four years of award-winning programming and distinguished service to our viewers as the only black daily newscast on television, the network has made the difficult decision to suspend the production of NewsOne Now as a daily morning news show. The last live show is scheduled [Dec. 21],” TV One’s interim GM, Michelle Rice wrote in a memo.

Host of “News One Now” Roland Martin speaks on stage during ColorofChange.org 10 Year Anniversary Gala. (Rob Kim/Getty Images for ColorOfChange)

The news of “NewsOne Now” cancellation shocked Martin and staffers according to sources. The network had recently expanded the morning show to two hours in September.

The memo added: “While we will continue our long-standing partnership with Roland Martin to ensure his important voice can be heard across all Urban One platforms examining issues of importance to the black community, we regret this decision adversely affects several of our valued colleagues whose positions will be eliminated with the suspension of the show.”

The network issued a statement on Twitter that read, “We are committed to providing quality news to our viewers and to our long-standing relationship with @rolandsmartin #NewsOneNow who will continue to have a voice on #TVOne.”

LeNora Millen         12-07-17

 

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Editor Picks

President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

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Why declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is so controversial?

The final status of Jerusalem has always been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If the United States declares Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it would be seen as prejudging that question, deciding an issue that was supposed to be left to negotiations and breaking with the international consensus on the holy city.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital also moves the United States one major step closer to relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would be seen as cementing Israeli sovereignty over the city.

More from CNN…

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