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Obama tells Berlin crowd: “We can’t hide behind a wall”



Barack Obama received a rock star welcome in a speech in Berlin on Thursday upon reuniting with Angela Merkel, for the first time since leaving office. Obama called upon the audience to engage in democracy telling them that prosperous nations do not “hide behind a wall” to shield themselves from the poverty or turmoil afflicting other countries.

Speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate, once cut off by the Berlin Wall, the former US president was greeted with cheers and cries of “Barack, Barack.” He urged the 70,000-strong crowd to “push back against those trends that would violate human rights or suppress democracy or restrict individual freedoms” and to “fight against those who divide us.”

Obama spoke about the suicide bombing in Manchester, which killed 22 on Monday and said he was heartbroken. Calling the world a “very complicated place,” he said: “We can see the terrible violence that took place just recently in Manchester. It is a reminder that there is a great danger of terrorism and people who would do great harm to others just because they’re different. How heartbroken we are by the loss of life, and we grieve with the families.”

Crowds gather in front of Brandenburg Gate as former U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel enter the stage for a discussion. Photo credit:  Markus Schreiber/AP

Obama said that Merkel was one of his favorite partners throughout his presidency. He spoke about her tremendous work and how he staunchly defended her refugee policy, in which she has received much criticism.

Obama discussed U.S. and international challenges and issues of concern for approximately 90 minutes without mentioning his successor Donald Trump. The elephant in the room would make its presence known, concerning Trump’s campaign rhetoric and pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep out the ‘bad guys,’ e.g., illegal immigrants and drugs.

Speaking about globalization and technology, Obama used the analogy that the world was shrinking. He said that it was not possible to stay isolated from troubles abroad as a result.

“If there are disruptions in these countries, if there is bad governance, if there is war or if there is poverty, in this new world that we live in we can’t isolate ourselves,” Obama said. “We can’t hide behind a wall.”

Making his first speech in Europe since leaving office, Obama warned against taking peace and prosperity for granted. Speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Obama said, “The world is at a crossroads.”

He did not mince words and discussed the widening inequality gap inside nations and between nations as a primary concern. Keeping the discussion on a level playing field, he said, “The world has never been wealthier, healthier and never been better educated.”

Obama spoke about sustainability and progress and told the audience that if the world could sustain the progress that he was very optimistic about its future.

“My job now is to help them take it to the next step,” he said.

Reflecting upon what has transpired in his life since leaving office, he spoke about spending the last four months trying to catch up with his sleep and enjoying the luxury of spending more time with his family.”

“I’m very proud of the work I did as president,” he said, as the audience applauded and cheered, adding he was especially proud of health care reform.

Obama told the audience that his hope was to get 100 percent of people health care. He said that the Obama administration didn’t achieve that goal but was able to get 20 million people health care who didn’t have it before. He spoke about having some regrets because his administration wasn’t able to get everyone health care.

“Now some of the progress we made is imperiled because a significant debate is taking place in the United States,” he added, again avoiding direct mention of Trump, who is attempting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare.

Obama was quick to point out that he hopes to use the “little influence” he has as a former president to help young people be better prepared for the looming challenges.

He urged his critics to weigh up the use of drones with the huge threat posed by terrorists. “These are groups that would be willing to explode a bomb in this audience right now, and we shouldn’t be too complacent in recognizing the need to fight against them,” he said.

“Hopefully over time, it’s a battle of ideas and not just a battle of weapons so that we can convince fewer and fewer young people to get involved with Isis. But as long as they’re functioning out there, we are going to have to protect our people.”

Merkel added: “We are dealing with opponents who want to destroy our entire way of life. And what worked during the cold war—deterrence, prevented war, because both sides wanted to stay alive. That doesn’t exist with the terrorist groups. They are ready to give up their own lives to destroy the lives of others, as we have just seen in Manchester, of young people, families, ordinary people.”

The forum was the highlight of a nationwide series of events to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation when the theologian Martin Luther gave birth to the Protestant church.

Video Source: Association V.A.A. YouTube Channel

#LeNora Millen    05-26-17

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



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’



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 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




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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