Houston Mayoral runoff: Sylvester Turner devours Tony Buzbee to reclaim incumbency

Mayor Sylvester Turner thanks his supporters and talks about his plan for the next four years during his runoff election night watch party on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Houston.

Anthony Obi Ogbo | International Guardian Houston, TX

Houston’s Mayor, Sylvester Turner last night, redeemed his tenure in a voting runoff when he smashed his rival Tony Buzbee to end a contentious electioneering moment. According to results released by the Harris County Clerk’s Office, Mayor Turner cleared the polls with a 56.04% of the votes, leaving his rival gasping with an insufficient 43.96%. 

Mr. Buzbee who equally addressed his supporters has not conceded as of press time.

From the start of the campaign till the Election Day, polls have consistently favored Mayor Turner over a lineup of challengers, but Mr. Buzbee’s overzealous rivalry infiltrated the voting populace with division and resentment.  His campaign had choreographed  a thread of sensational publication teasers, stories, media Ads, and destructive memes, accusing Mayor Turner of  unethically hiring a 31-year-resident in an airport’s Executive Internship Program.  

Mr. Buzzbee aided by a clique of media reporters amplified these claims, calling for a full investigation of Mayor Turner. He also took advantage of a pending issue between the City and Fire Fighters, accusing the incumbent of gross neglect of the police, firefighters, and flood victims. 

Mayor Turner countered with ads showing Mr. Buzzbee’s DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) mug shots and depicting his rival as ethically unfit. Though Mr. Buzzbee’s drunken-driving was dismissed, the Turner Campaign launched corruption allegations, airing television ads accusing the millionaire lawyer of donating to  the district attorney’s campaign in exchange for dismissal of his drunken-driving case.

Even as the Houston firefighter union voted unanimously to endorse Mr.  Buzbee in this runoff, his campaign struggled feverishly to defend a string of clueless actions and proposals. For instance, Mr. Buzbee’s contribution of almost $10 million to his campaign; his association with Donald Trump; and his political romance with Houston’s most outspoken anti-gay activist Dr. Steven Hotze were very extreme values inconsistent with Houston’s diverse populace.

To make matters worse, Mr. Buzbee’s vowed to fire a highly rated Police Chief, Hubert “Art” Acevedo and replace him with someone focused on “increasing more patrols instead of political grandstanding.” This was after Acevedo called out federal lawmakers over lackadaisical gun culture. This was where this contender dug his grave.

As of press time, Houston Mayoral runoff has been fought and won, with Mayor Turner tearing Mr. Buzbee apart to reclaim his tenure. He has been Houston Mayor since 2016 after he defeated King in a runoff election in 2015.  By late Saturday evening, Mayor Turner had already given a victory speech promising to represent every Houstonian as usual, irrespective of any affiliation. Mr. Buzbee who equally addressed his supporters has not conceded as of press time.

Ex-GOP House Member Reveals What Republican Lawmakers Say About Donald Trump In Private

TRUMP: Republicans are absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the president’s behavior,”

A former GOP lawmaker on Thursday spilled the beans on what his ex-colleagues in Congress are saying about President Donald Trump in private.

Ex-Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) acknowledged in an interview on “CNN Newsroom” that Republicans are in public “standing with the president for the moment,” despite the impeachment inquiry prompted by the Ukraine scandal.

They “are in a situation where they understand their base pressure, the base has not yet bolted from the president,” he explained.

“But there’s no question, having spoken to many of them privately, they’re absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the president’s behavior,” said Dent, who stepped down from Congress in 2018. “They resent being put in this position all the time.” 

Many GOP lawmakers are currently “wrestling” with whether it was more important to win their next election or preserve their legacy for years to come, he claimed. The current consensus among political commentators is that a Republican-controlled Senate will likely not vote to convict Trump if he is impeached by the Democratic-controlled House.

Earlier in the interview, Dent said he would have certainly “voted for the impeachment inquiry based on the facts as I understand them now” and “would probably support” the impeachment of Trump.

But he cautioned Democrats against moving forward until they had secured the testimony of key witnesses in the Ukraine scandal, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

“I think they need to close that loop and I don’t think they should force this or rush this,” Dent warned. “By the same token, neither should the Senate Republicans force or rush a trial.”

UK PM Johnson to Trump: please do not meddle with our election

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was best if U.S. President Donald Trump did not get involved in Britain’s upcoming election when he visits London for a NATO summit next week.

LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was best if U.S. President Donald Trump did not get involved in Britain’s upcoming election when he visits London for a NATO summit next week.

“What we don’t do traditionally as loving allies and friends, what we don’t do traditionally, is get involved in each other’s election campaigns,” said Johnson, whose Conservative Party has a commanding lead in the polls ahead of the Dec. 12.

“The best (thing) when you have close friends and allies like the U.S. and the UK is for neither side to get involved in each other’s election.”

Trump has already waded into the election, saying in October left-wing opposition leader Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, would be “so bad” for Britain and that Johnson should do a pact with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

Corbyn has used Trump’s praise of Johnson as one of his focal messages to attack the Conservatives in his campaign, saying they would sell off parts of the much-loved state-run National Health Service to the U.S. businesses after Brexit if they win the election.

Twitter Bans GOP Rival Of Rep. Ilhan Omar Who Called For Her Lynching

Twitter Bans GOP Rival Of Rep. Ilhan Omar Who Called For Her Lynching

Twitter has banned the Republican candidate seeking to unseat Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) after she made making multiple posts about killing the congresswoman, the company confirmed Wednesday night.

Danielle Stella, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump vying for Omar’s office next year, made the remarks in two posts amplifying the racist conspiracy theory that Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, shared sensitive intelligence with the Iranian government.

“If it is proven @IlhanMN passed sensitive info to Iran, she should be tried for #treason and hanged,” Stella wrote Tuesday of Omar, who is a frequent target in right-wing attacks.

She then reportedly tweeted a picture of “a crude depiction of a stick figure hanging from gallows,” according to The Washington Times, which was the first to report on Stella’s ban.

Stella gave a statement to the Times lashing out at Twitter. 

“My suspension for advocating for the enforcement of federal code proves Twitter will always side with and fight to protect terrorists, traitors, pedophiles and rapists,” she said.

Twitter put out a simple statement about shutting down Stella’s account, which  operated under the handle “2020MNCongress.”

“The account was permanently suspended for repeated violations of the Twitter Rules,” the company said.

Barack Obama Encourages Giving Back on Thanksgiving as He Shares Photo of His Own Family Serving Dinner

The Obamas | Barack Obama/Instagram
Barack Obama Encourages Giving Back on Thanksgiving as He Shares Photo of His Own Family Serving Dinner

As many begin to ponder everything they are grateful for this Thanksgiving, former President Barack Obama is reminding everyone to give back to those in need. On Thursday, Barack, 58, shared a candid photo of himself, former First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha serving canned goods.

A little girl is seen beaming with joy as she shook Barack’s hand while Malia, 21, looked on lovingly. Meanwhile, Michelle smiled widely as she filled a bag with food as Sasha, 18, did the same.

“Today, we give thanks for our blessings, give back to those around us, and enjoy some time — and turkey, and maybe a little football — with the ones we love,” Barack captioned the heartwarming image.

“From the Obama family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving,” the former president concluded.

While it is not immediately clear as to when and where the photo was taken, the Obamas have volunteered at food banks for many years.

Just before sharing the photo, Barack delivered another message to his followers on Twitter: Be kind to one another.

“Before arguing with friends or family around the Thanksgiving table, take a look at the science behind arguing better. And it’ll never hurt to try this: ‘Listen to people, get them to think about their own experience, and highlight your common humanity,” Barack alongside a link to an article on how to argue better.

The former president’s Thanksgiving messages come after his wife shared a holiday post of her own.

On Wednesday, the former first lady shared a group shot of her and her husband with Malia and Sasha.

The photo — a rare one of them all together, amid their diverging lives and retreat from the political spotlight — was taken in May before Sasha, then a high school senior and weeks away from turning 18, left for her prom.

The Obamas have stayed busy since President Obama left office, especially in the last year.

Michelle released her memoir, Becoming, in late 2018 to smash sales of more than 10 million copies and counting. She’s since spent much of the year on a book tour that recently resulted in a Grammy nomination for best spoken word album, an award her husband won in 2006 and 2008 for his own audiobooks.

The former first lady also announced the release of a new journalBecoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, which features an intro from her and 150 questions and quotes to inspire readers to write down their own journey.

Barack has been writing himself, with his new memoir possibly hitting shelves sometime before the 2020 election. He wrote a first draft on legal pads, just as he did for his first book, Dreams from My Father.

Neither Obama has endorsed a candidate — or even hinted at a preference — ahead of next year’s 2020 Democratic primary. The nominee will run against President Donald Trump.

Nigeria’s Second Niger Bridge: group lauds Julius Berger, President Buhari for project delivery progress

Chief Ikunna: “Each of us came away thrilled and very grateful for this very functional project, which will ease traveling time and boost business across the country. “

By Antnony Obi Ogbo | International Guardian

Igbo intelligentsia Forum has concluded its onsite fact-finding assessment trip of the ongoing Second Niger Bridge Project with a positive report. After a touring of the entire 11.9km stretch of the construction site, the group described their trip as “a fascinating and rare experience” and endorsed the project as  “Engineering at its finest.”

Igbo intelligentsia Forum is a global group of non-partisan political strategists of Igbo ancestry, passionate about the socio-political progress of the Igbo ethnic group.   

“Each of us came away thrilled and very grateful for this very functional project, which will ease traveling time and boost business across the country. Already real estate prices in the in Asaba, Atani, Ogbaru and Oba are rising significantly,” the group leader, Chief Joseph Chukwuma Ikunna, reported.

IMAGES FROM THE FACT-FINDING ASSESSMENT TRIP: After a touring the entire 11.9km stretch of the construction site, the group described their trip as “a fascinating and rare experience” and endorsed the project as  “Engineering at its finest.”

The Second Niger Bridge project was initiated by the former President Goodluck Jonathan, and the vision has since been sustained by the present government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I personally conclude, by thanking President Buhari for his input in ensuring that a proper funding structure was put in place last year, to fund the project. When the project is concluded and commissioned in 2022, President Buhari definitely deserves a lot of the credit. The Managing Director of Julius Berge and the Project Director confirmed to us, that payments were being made regularly and timely. An experience that was alien to them in Nigeria,” Chief Ikunna said.

The Second Niger Bridge is a fundamental national infrastructure, with immense socio-economic benefits for the adjoining states and indeed the entire nation. The scope of work also includes a construction of 1.6 km long bridge, 10.3 km Highway, Owerri interchange, and a toll station. Upon completion, the bridge will ease traffic flow, improve road safety, and create greater opportunities for local residents by advancing the commercial viability of the immediate area and regenerating economic life.

While a formal report of this assessment  is yet to be released, Chief Ikunna thanked Uche Orji, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA),  a major partner project, stating that their “contribution to this project in every respect, has been both valuable and enviable.”  

“Finally, credit should be given to the quality, the expertise and the speed at which the contractors, Julius Berger are performing at, in building not just one, but three bridges, despite the marshy swampy terrain which is being filled to heights of 7metres in some places, whilst using the latest technology to speedily drain excess water from areas that require filling,” he said.

Nnamdi Kanu blasts Allen Onyema; alleges “he is a liar”

“What I said in my last broadcast may have led to his recent investigation for fraud.”

Guardian, Houston, TX – Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, has called the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema a ‘liar.  Onyema, the Nigerian businessman who owns the country’s largest airline, was recently indicted by U.S. authorities on charges of fraud and money laundering.

In a report published this morning by Eloti TV news site, the IPOB leader alleged that “Onyema lied against him to please his Fulani masters.” This allegation was part of the comments which the IPOB leader aired in a live broadcast on Sunday.

KANU (forefront): “He said he wanted to see how there could be peace with our people in the North. He said we should take pictures with some people he came with and I agreed. All of a sudden one day he granted BBC an interview and lied against me.” ONYEMA (Background) allegedly laundered over $16 million of the proceeds by transferring it to other accounts, the Department of Justice said.

He was quoted as saying, ”People have asked me to clarify the visit of Allen Onyema to my house. I think what I said in my last broadcast may have led to his recent investigation for fraud. ”Allen Onyema came to my house and we talked about things happening in Nigeria, including the hate speech.

Kanu continued, “He said he wanted to see how there could be peace with our people in the North. He said we should take pictures with some people he came with and I agreed. All of a sudden one day he granted BBC an interview and lied against me. Then I reminded him that I know more about him than he can even imagine. After my statement the Fulanis went after him, they know that IPOB will not fight for him for undermining our struggle to restore Biafra’s independence. I will not ask him further questions, I believe he has learnt his lessons.”

”Onyema wanted to please his Fulani masters but now they have turned against him,” Kanu added.

Nnamdi Kanu’s allegation is coming after Onyeama was charged with bank fraud and money laundering.

He was alleged to have moved more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.

According to the release by the United States Department of Justice, Onyema  allegedly moved “more than $20 million from Nigeria though United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes,” The company’s chief of administration and finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, was also charged with bank fraud and identity theft in the same case,

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer fired in dispute over discipline of SEAL

Spencer opposed President Donald Trump’s order that Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher remain in the elite SEALs.

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was fired Sunday by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who ordered that a Navy SEAL who was acquitted of murder be allowed to remain in the elite commando corps, the Defense Department said.

Esper asked for Spencer’s resignation after President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher would retain the gold Trident insignia signifying his status as a member of the Sea, Air, and Land Teams, or SEALs. Spencer told reporters on Friday that he believed the review process over Gallagher’s status should go forward.

In a letter to Trump, Spencer said he acknowledged his “termination,” saying the president deserved a Navy secretary “who is aligned with his vision.”

“Unfortunately, it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me,” Spencer wrote.

Image: Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer speaks at the Pentagon on Sept. 7, 2017.
Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer in 2017.Department of Defense via Reuters file

“In regards to the key principle of good order and discipline, I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Shortly thereafter, Trump tweeted that he was displeased not only by the way that “Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy” but also because “large cost overruns from [the] past administration’s contracting procedures were not addressed to my satisfaction.”

“Therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper,” he wrote. He said he would nominate retired Adm. Kenneth Braithwaite, the U.S. ambassador to Norway, to succeed Spencer.

The Navy sought to eject Gallagher and four other sailors from the SEALs after Trump intervened to direct that Gallagher not be demoted following his conviction of having posed for a picture with the corpse of a teenage fighter for the Islamic State militant group.

Esper directed that Gallagher retain his Trident pin, the Defense Department said in a statement. Undersecretary Thomas Modly becomes acting Navy secretary pending Braithwaite’s confirmation hearings.

The dispute flared into the open last week after NBC News and other organizations reported that the Navy was convening a review board to consider whether Gallagher should remain in the SEALs after he was convicted of posing with the ISIS fighter’s corpse but acquitted of having killed the young man.

Trump tweeted on Thursday that “the Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” saying the case was “handled very badly from the beginning.” Earlier, the president had overturned the Navy’s decision to demote Gallagher, which would have severely affected his retirement pay.

In response, Spencer told reporters on Friday that he believed Gallagher’s review process should go forward. Multiple sources told NBC News that Spencer had privately told the White House that a tweet wasn’t an official order and that if Trump was ordering the Navy to end the review board proceedings, he needed to do so in writing.

Image: Edward Gallagher and Andrea Gallagher
Navy Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher and his wife, Andrea Gallagher, walk into military court in San Diego on June 24, 2019.Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images – file

The Defense Department said Sunday that Esper had learned that — contrary to what he was saying in public — Spencer privately proposed to the White House both that Gallagher’s rank be restored and that he be allowed to retire as a SEAL. It said Esper was never informed of the private proposal.

The Defense Department said Esper had lost “trust and confidence” in Spencer “regarding his lack of candor over conversations with the White House.”

Enemies within: Novice African-American Women Judges might be under vindictive surveillance

Judge Smoots-Thomas is in trouble today because she is not  Senator Ted Cruz. Novice African-American Women Judges must reassess their community activities, political conduct, and financial practices to comply with the demands of their new designation.

After a Harris County District Court Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas was indicted and later suspended for allegedly misappropriating $26,000 in campaign contributions, it became obvious that “Black Girl Magic Texas,” might be under disgusting surveillance. Every move, every breath might be under systemic scrutiny.  “Black Girl Magic Texas,” represented 19 Black women (17 beginners) who ran for a judge in Texas Harris County–and all 19 won. Together, they made history, becoming the largest group of Black female judges to be elected at the same time in Harris County history.


BY ANTHONY OBI OGBO

The fine art of judging is a complex phenomenon provoked by thoughtful application of law and the test of constitutionality.  


Smoots-Thomas’s indictment was brutal. For instance, earlier this month, she was led into a federal magistrate’s courtroom in Houston wearing handcuffs where she pleaded not guilty to all charges. Her attorney, Kent Schaffer, said the judge’s prosecution was political.  Schaffer, a partner at Schaffer Carter & Associates in Houston, claimed it happened because Smoots-Thomas was an African American and a Democrat.  Smoots-Thomas was first elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012 and 2016.

Schaffer was right. Smoots-Thomas is Black and Blue. It was obvious that a sudden change of the County’s court districts from red to blue would come with dire consequences. This strain actually started years back when the “Black Girls Are Magic” campaign mantra was conceived. But this campaign was only a strategic move to elect African-American women in various sectors of the society where they were under-represented. “Black Girl Magic Texas,” was later accomplished in the Judiciary when 19 Black women who ran for a judge in Texas Harris County won.

PRIVILEGED: Texas Senator Cruz (left) had a similar issue and was neither arrested nor handcuffed. Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton (middle) conveniently ran for reelection even as he was grounded with a filthy securities fraud indictment. He narrowly won this race. Judge Smoots-Thomas (right) is in trouble today because she is neither Cruz nor Paxton.

Prosecutors claim Judge Smoots-Thomas misused nearly $25,000 (not 25 million) in campaign funds between January 2016 and March 2017. Her seven-count indictment reveals that she spent the money on a home mortgage, private school tuition, jewelry, and travel. Texas law required her to report to the Texas Ethics Commission whenever she used campaign funds for non-political expenditures.

UNDER VINDICTIVE SURVEILLANCE: The chambers of the fraternity of the “Black Girl Magic Texas,” might be under vindictive surveillance. Our novice Black Judges must therefore watch out for two major evaluation competencies: effective application of judicial practice and exemplary bench demeanor.

But let me be clear, that the aim of this article is not to categorize ethical violations within race and gender. I am simply discussing an uneven justice system; inequity of law prosecution; and unequal treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system, which is one of the most serious problems facing our society. For example, Judge Smoots-Thomas is in trouble today because she is not  Senator Ted Cruz.

Texas Senator Cruz had a similar issue and was neither arrested nor handcuffed. The racially privileged Senator was caught in a deep hole of financial fraud. He ascribed his failure to disclose two bank loans totaling more than $1 million in federal election filings as a clerical oversight. An in-depth investigation of these transactions which involved Goldman Sachs Group — where his wife, Heidi Cruz, was employed at the time—and Citigroup was suppressed. Also other details regarding this scandal were under-reported.

There is also this bizarre case of the Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton who conveniently ran for reelection even as he was grounded with a filthy securities fraud indictment. He narrowly won this race. This was in 2018.

The chambers of the fraternity of the “Black Girl Magic Texas,” might be under vindictive surveillance. Our novice Black Judges must therefore watch out for two major evaluation competencies: effective application of judicial practice and exemplary bench demeanor.  

The fine art of judging is a complex phenomenon provoked by thoughtful application of law and the test of constitutionality.  In fact, the essential qualities of a good judge were explained by Socrates: “Four things belong to a judge: To hear courteously; to answer wisely; to consider soberly, and to decide impartially.” These characteristics, in conjunction with relevant moral necessities, remain the hallmark of effective exercise of the extensive powers of the judiciary.

The Novice African-American Women Judges must not just live up to expectation but also watch out for amoral conduct. This is because the enemies are within the County court districts, tapping phone lines, shuttling courtrooms, listening to every conversation, snooping manila folders–all in search of actionable misconducts and process oversights. While most of these judges are focused on the vision and honor of doing justice and administering the law, they must also make changes in their community activities, political conduct, and financial practices to comply with the demands of their new designation.  

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

Nigeria Airline CEO, Allen Onyema Indicted by U.S. for Money Laundering

“Onyema allegedly leveraged his status as a prominent business leader and airline executive while using falsified documents to commit fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.

Allen Onyema, the Nigerian businessman who owns the country’s largest airline, was indicted by U.S. authorities on charges of fraud and money laundering.

He allegedly moved “more than $20 million from Nigeria though United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes,” according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Justice. The company’s chief of administration and finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, was charged with bank fraud and identity theft in the same case, the statement said.

Department of Justice Release >>

Onyema, who is also the airline’s chief executive officer, allegedly used export letters of credit that were supposedly to fund the purchase of five Boeing 737 passenger planes by Air Peace to get banks to transfer the money, according to the Justiced Department statement. Supporting documents from a U.S. registered company owned by Onyema “were fake,”it said.

He then allegedly laundered over $16 million of the proceeds by transferring it to other accounts, the Department of Justice said. More than $3 million of the transferred funds allegedly came from accounts of organizations set up by Onyema to promote peace across Nigeria, according to the statement.

Onyema and Eghagha deny all the charges and will “vigorously defend” themselves, according to a statement prepared by their lawyers, A.O. Alegeh & Co. “The allegations are unfounded and strange,” said the statement that Onyema emailed to Bloomberg.

The Air Peace boss “looks forward to an opportunity to rebut these allegations in court,” the statement said.

Onyema founded Air Peace in 2013 and the carrier now offers numerous domestic routes in Nigeria as well as flights to other West African destinations and Dubai. The Lagos-based carrier recently won praise for repatriating Nigerians from South Africa during a wave of xenophobic violence.

“Onyema’s status as a wealthy businessman turned out to be a fraud. He corrupted the U.S. banking system, but his trail of deceit and trickery came to a skidding halt,” Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent Robert J. Murphy said in the DOJ statement.

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