President Obama’s new stand on Cuba is bold, timely and brilliant

President Barack Obama has campaigned with candidates who valued and respected the impact he brings to their race.

President Barack Obama has shown courage, independence and foresight in normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba and authorizing the release of three Cuban captives in exchange for US captives held in Cuba.

President Obama’s decision on Wednesday, December 17 to normalize relations with Cuba by exchanging prisoners, expanding trade, travel and diplomacy is the right decision at the right time.

“We are making these changes because it’s the right thing to do,” President Obama said in making the announcement. He also said Americans are “cutting loose from the shackles” of policies towards Cuba that have failed.

After more than a year of discreet negotiations which included input from Pope Francis, the two nations agreed to chart a new course towards diplomacy. It is only fitting that  President Obama has shown the foresight and grit to heed the pleas of the Pope and secure the freedom of Alan Gross, who was held captive in Cuba since December 2009, as well as a CIA operative who was held for 20 years, and in exchange return three Cuban captives that the US had in custody.

Alan Gross, expressed his gratitude at being freed.

Alan Gross, expressed his gratitude at being freed, saying he was “blessed” to be a citizen of the USA.

The cold war that has existed between the USA and Cuba began in the 1960s when the USA government tried on several occasions to assassinate former Cuban President Fidel Castro, including the Bay of Pigs debacle. The US government refused to acknowledge Castro as Cuba’s rightful leader because of his militant, revolutionary comportment. Castro surged to power as Cuba’s leader in January 1959 and has outlived all of the US leaders who plotted and tried to ensure his demise.

Immigrants from the Caribbean who are naturalized Americans know first hand how valuable Cubans are in providing the services of their doctors to developing countries so that people who are poor can have excellent medical care. Jamaica, for one, has long enjoyed a proud and rich relationship with Cuba, and when Fidel Castro walked into the funeral for beloved late Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, pandemonium erupted with people struggling to contain their excitement.

Cuban President Raul Castro.

Cuban President Raul Castro has been a more low-key President than his brother Fidel.

Raul Castro, who has been running Cuba since his brother Fidel became ill several years ago, expressed his support for the new era in relations between the two nations.

“This decision of President Obama deserves the respect and acknowledgement of our people. We have to learn the art of living together with our differences in a different way,” he said.

The decision to open an American embassy on Cuban shores for the first time in decades while opening up trade, travel and talks towards forging a strong relationship between two strong nations shows the courage, independence and brilliance of President Obama, who refuses to be shackled by a divisively destructive Congress who resent his mere existence.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, brother to current President Raul, has been in ill health for years but has reportedly retained his sharp mind.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, brother to current President Raul, has been in ill health for years but has reportedly retained his sharp mind.

When the Ebola scare was eliciting hysteria among Americans, hundreds of Cuban doctors were busily treating West Africans, rendering the selfless, excellent bedside manner for which they are well-known to their neighboring countries. It is time for the American people to shake off the remnants of obsolete thinking and embrace diplomacy as a broad, encompassing and mutually beneficial alliance that fosters the free and easy cultural exchange that is vital to a culturally competent society. President Obama, in taking this first step, again defies his detractors and moves boldly towards practical solutions to seemingly intractable problems.–OnPointPress.net. 

BREAKING: Senate confirms Dr Vivek Murthy as US Surgeon General

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2014, photo, Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, President Barack Obama's nominee to be the next U.S. Surgeon General, listens on Capitol Hill in Washington. The White House is backing off its push for quick confirmation of Obama’s pick to be surgeon general in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association and concerns among Democrats up for re-election who don’t want to make another tough vote on a controversial nominee. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 4, 2014, photo, Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the next U.S. Surgeon General, listens on Capitol Hill in Washington. The White House is backing off its push for quick confirmation of Obama’s pick to be surgeon general in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association and concerns among Democrats up for re-election who don’t want to make another tough vote on a controversial nominee. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

By Carmen Glover

After refusing to take action for more than a year, the US Senate finally acted on Monday, December 15 and confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy as the next US Surgeon General, according to World News Tonight on ABC.

Murthy a 37-year-old bachelor of Indian heritage, is the youngest doctor to hold the position and the first of Indian heritage. The Senate voted 51-43 to confirm him to the post.

Murthy’s confirmation was delayed for a year since President Obama nominated him, due to his support of gun control measures, which runs counter to many Republican National Rifle Association (NRA) supporters in the Senate. But he shared his views about guns on Twitter in October 2012 and stood firmly by his statements. On the social media site Murthy wrote that he was:

“Tired of politicians playing politics w/guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of the NRA. Guns are a health care issue.”

With the recent Ebola scare and the current influenza season which usually results in a high patient volume, Murthy’s confirmation appears to be made right on time. It is one of the few issues the Senate decided to take on before recessing for the winter break. Congress will return in January with a Republican majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives.–OnPointPress.net.

#BlackLivesMatter movement mobilize national marches vs. police brutality

New Yorkers hosted the "MillionsMarchNYC"

New Yorkers hosted the “MillionsMarchNYC” which had a strong, vocal turnout.

By Carmen Glover

On Saturday, December 13, several thousand protesters gathered at multiple sites across the country, united in one message: Rally against police brutality. The overall aim was to bring awareness to the scourge of police officers murdering unarmed Black men and boys while grand juries refuse to indict the officers for the murders. The protesters chanted and carried signs stating: “I can’t Breathe,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Stop Police Brutality” among others.

The largest march took place in New York City. Dubbed “MillionsMarchNYC” and organized by several young protesters and media mogul Russell Simmons, the “MillionsMarchNYC” started at Washington Square Park before the group marched uptown, shutting down fifth avenue, sixth avenue and Broadway. The protesters were joined by rapper Nas and music executive Kevin Liles as they marched. A 28-year-old Baruch College professor was arrested for assaulting a two police officers as the group splintered and marched across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Justice For All Rally in Washington DC.

Justice For All Rally in Washington DC.

The second largest march took place on the Freedom Plaza in Washington DC. That march was organized by civil rights groups such as the NAACP, National Urban League, the National Action Network and various youth-themed groups, helmed by young activists who have been vocal on the issue of police brutality.

The DC march was called “Justice For All” and “March Against Police Violence” and was attended by the parents and relatives of well-known victims of police brutality including Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother; Michael Brown Sr. and Leslie McSpadden, parents of Michael Brown; Katiatou Diallo, Amadou Diallo’s mother; John Crawford Sr., father of John Crawford Jr; the partner of Akai Gurley and the mother of his child; Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother. “March Against Police Violence featured speakers from the affected families.

Protesters stage die-in

Protesters stage die-in

“You kept this alive for all the families. We love you all,” said Brown, as he surveyed the crowd. “My son was just 12 years old, a baby, my baby, the youngest of four,” said Rice. “This is a great moment,” said Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother.

The group then marched towards the congressional building, joined by notables such as director Spike Lee with his daughter, and New York State Junior Senator Kirstin Gillibrand.

Protesters gathered in multiple cities over the weekend to protest against police brutality.

Protesters gathered in multiple cities over the weekend to protest against police brutality.

Smaller marches took place in Ferguson, Missouri where Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson, Boston, MA and Oakland, CA where 21-year-old father Oscar Grant was killed on the Bart train by police officers. More marches and acts of civil disobedience are expected as protesters demand action, such as assigning a special prosecutor in any case involving a police officer, even if death of the victim does not occur–OnPointPress.net.

Cam Newton cites higher power as he recovers from car crash

Newton was introspective during his first appearance since his car accident Tuesday afternoon.

Newton was introspective during his first appearance since his car accident Tuesday afternoon.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton returned to the team’s facility on Thursday just two days after a two-car accident. Newton sustained two fractures in his lower back during the accident and has been ruled out for this weeks game for the Panthers. However, Newton is more focused on his good fortune in surviving the car accident, rather than what happens on the football field.

“As far as when I’m coming back, who cares? I’m just thankful to have breath in my lungs,” said Newton as he answered questions during a seven-minute press conference on Thursday. Newton expressed how thankful he is to be alive sharing, “I’m on somebody’s fantasy [team] and I think it’s the man upstairs.”

Newton answered questions Thursday after spending a day in the hospital following his car accident.

Newton answered questions Thursday after spending a day in the hospital following his car accident.

Newton told the media that he was fully aware throughout the process of the accident and was able to give specific details of the crash. The Panthers have ruled Newton out for this Sunday’s game but have not made a determination as to how long he will be out for the season.

The Panthers may have slim playoff hopes but as far as Newton is concerned, he’s just happy to be alive.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a training and benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Ghetto Youths International set to release new album in time for Christmas

The Members of Ghetto YOuths

The members of Ghetto Youths International, which include some of the Marley men (Damian, Stephen and Jo Mersa), Wayne Marshall and Christopher Ellis.

By Tiffany Mea

Ghetto Youths International, the record label owned and operated by Bob Marley’s sons Damian, Julian and Stephen, will release the brand new compilation “Ghetto Youths International Presents Set Up Shop Volume 2″ on December 23, 2014. The 15-track compilation follows Volume 1 that was released in February 2013 and peaked at #1 on U.S. Billboard Reggae Album chart.

The latest installment is produced primarily by the Grammy-winning brothers Stephen and Damian Marley. The album features new material from the entire Ghetto Youths roster, including Jo Mersa, Black-Am-I, Christopher Ellis, Wayne Marshall and the label’s founders, along with dancehall artist Cham. The compilation’s lead single Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s “Is It Worth It? (Gunman World),” which contemplates a killer’s conscience, will be accompanied by short film music video directed by acclaimed visionary Nabil Elderkin (Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver and Seal). Set in Morocco, actor Saai Taghmaoui (American Hustle, La Haine and Three Kings) takes on the role of a hitman-for-hire in Elderkin’s latest visual opus.

image

In addition to “Is It Worth It? (Gunman World),” Ghetto Youths International Presents Set Up Shop Volume 2 features a variety of thought-provoking material. Damian’s motivational opener “Hard Work” is lauded as “a pulsing blueprint for flipping funds” according to The FADER, while his collaborative effort “The Living Breed” featuring Black-Am-I, Jo Mersa, Illestr8 & Biggz General rallies for social change, boasting a powerful hook stating “we are the last of dying breed and the first of a new generation…”

Dancehall’s multi-faceted singjay Wayne Marshall talks about life choices on “On The Corner” (inspired by REM’s “Losing My Religion”) and proclaims to “Nah Give Up” on his single featuring Tarrus Riley. Carrying a similar sentiment, Julian Marley alongside Junior Reid encourages to push forward when times are tough on the uplifting anthem “Never Too Ruff,” while the culturally driven singer Black-Am-I contemplates the beauty and struggle of life back home on “In The Ghetto.”

Christopher Ellis, the son of Jamaican music icon Alton Ellis, “takes classic rocksteady/first wave reggae and gives it a new look” (Vice Noisey) on “Roller Coaster” and gives a fresh take on “Better Than Love” with the remix featuring Irie Love. Jo Mersa (the eldest son Stephen Marley and grandson of Bob Marley) represents a new generation too with his contemporary sound that blends dancehall, pop, and EDM – evident on “Sunshine” and the hypnotic “Rock and Swing.”

The set also features dancehall artist Cham showing how he rolls on “Sh@t” and Stephen “Ragga” Marley’s hard-hitting anthem “Bongo Nyah” with Damian and Spragga Benz. Then, Stephen and Damian team up again on the mesmerizing track “Strike Hard.” With poignant lyrics matched with top-notch modern production, the genre-bending compilation is sure to reach reggae’s core contingent along with a new generation of fans. The album has been available for pre-orders effective Dec 9-OnPointPress.net-.

 

 

Breaking: Cam Newton involved in car crash, status unclear

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (l) is being attended to at the scene of his car accident today.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (l) is being attended to at the scene of his car accident today.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Carolina Panthers starting quarterback Cam Newton was involved in a two-vehicle car accident today in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The truck Newton was driving as lifted off of its side after the accident, but clearly damaged during the crash.

The truck Newton was driving as lifted off of its side after the accident, but clearly damaged during the crash.

The truck that Newton drives was seen turned over on its side after the accident. Images of Newton being carried into an ambulance followed shortly. According to numerous sources, Newton suffered two transverse fractures in his lower back. His status for the remainder of the season has yet to be determined.

More information about Newton’s health and details about the accident will be made available in the near future.–OnPointPress.net–

Ongoing protests, demands for action, only routes to meaningful change

People protest nationwide against police brutality.

People protest nationwide against police brutality.

On Saturday, December 13, various civil rights groups will gather in Washington, D.C, to demand a national response to the spate of murders unleashed on unarmed Black men and boys by White police officers, and the refusal of largely White grand juries, impaneled by White district attorneys, to indict the officers. Some supporters will march to protest against vigilante members of the public who also kill Black and Latino residents  without provocation. While still others will march to highlight members of the Black and Latino communities killing each other in a show of disregard for their lives.

Protesters in New York City march and demand change.

Protesters in New York City march and demand change.

As people of all races and backgrounds continue to take to the street en masse, blocking streets, highways, malls, businesses and municipal buildings, politicians have begun to take notice. Also, supporters in countries as far-flung as India, France and England have held solidarity protests, holding aloft banners with the timeless message: “Black Lives Matter.” There must be no tiring in the quest to elicit meaningful change in how Black and Latino people are routinely targeted and dehumanized by police officers who are sworn to protect them. The dichotomy in police relationships between the White community and Black/Latino communities require a national overall in policing strategies.

Protesters marched in 1936 for the same issue as they are marching today.

Protesters marched in 1936 for the same issue as they are marching today.

President Barack Obama’s recent request to Congress for $75 million to fund body cameras for police officers, while noble, hardly inspires comfort, given the fact that the unholy alliance between district attorneys and police officers rendered two videotapes of Eric Garner’s chokehold murder by Staten Island detective Daniel Pantaleo unpersuasive to a predominantly White grand jury. However, it is a step in the right direction. New York Mayor Bill deBlasio’s joint announcement with his police commissioner Bill Bratton that all 35, 000 New York City police force will immediately undergo re-training is also a good step, despite the cries of hysteria espoused by Petrolmen Benevolent Association( PBA) President Patrick Lynch.

“Re-training the police force on new ways of dealing with the public and better use of force will reduce these tragedies,” deBlasio said over the weekend.

Protesters stage die-in at Grand Central Station in New York City to express outrage that the grand jury failed to indict the officers who used an illegal chokehold to murder Eric Garner.

Protesters stage die-in at Grand Central Station in New York City to express outrage that the grand jury failed to indict the officers who used an illegal chokehold to murder Eric Garner.

But those steps are just the beginning of what will be a long journey towards the type of systemic change that is necessary for Blacks and Latinos to feel safe in their homeland of America, the land of the free. It is unacceptable for Blacks and Latinos to be victimized, harassed, assaulted and murdered with impunity by police officers who run the streets like lawless gangs who answer to no one. This must stop. The anguish that is felt by the families of Garner, Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, Ezell Ford, Oscar Grant, Sean Belll, Anthony Baez, Abmer Louima, Patrick Dorismond, Jordan Davis and countless others across the country needs to be assuaged.

Black and Latino children grow up fearing the police who are sworn to protect them.

Black and Latino children grow up fearing the police who are sworn to protect them.

The trauma experienced by members of the Black and Latino communities when an innocent life is cut down by police officers whose primary responsibility is to protect but whose presence engenders fear, last a lifetime.  Police brutality targeted towards Black and Latino communities need to stop and the protests, marches and acts of civil disobedience are vital actions that must be taken to keep the issues in the public consciousness.–OnPointPress.net.