Monday, October 23, 2017

Fraudulent Guardianships & Probate Courts (A SPECIAL REPORT)

The G-Man Interviews
(Rick Black)

National Investigator Alleges Attorneys and Judges Have No
Oversight and Are Making Millions from Families in Crisis

My guest for this installment is Rick Black, Director for Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG). Mr. Black left his job as an executive of a global textile company in early 2015 and now devotes himself to volunteering for guardianship reforms on a full-time basis.

He has investigated over 400 suspected fraudulent guardianship cases throughout the country as the intake specialist for the organization and has coined the phrase “Isolate the victim, defame legitimate family, and liquidate the estate” to describe the hallmarks of fraudulent guardianships. He has also exposed corruption in probate courts across the nation and helped thousands that fell victim to fraudulent guardianships.

In March of this year, he spoke at the National Forum on Financial Exploitation by Conservators, which was sponsored by the National Center for State Courts and the Department of Justice.

Mr. Black actively lobbies in Washington, D.C. for improved protections for vulnerable adults and was pivotal in promoting S178, the "Elder Abuse Protection and Prosecution Act", the nation's first adult guardianship oversight bill.

Photo credit: Rick Black

Cuomo and Schumer Oppose Repeal of State and Local Tax Deduction

Governor Cuomo and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Schumer today launched a statewide push across congressional districts to urge New York's delegation to stand up for this state's middle class and oppose the repeal or reduction of state and local tax deductions.

Source: NYGovCuomo

Louna Dennis, Mother of Matthew McCree, Attorneys File Notice of Claim for $25 Million Against DOE and NYPD

On October 24 at 2 p.m., Attorney Sanford Rubenstein, representing the estate of the late Matthew McCree, Attorney Matthew Blit, representing Ariane Laboy, and Louna Dennis, the mother of the late Matthew McCree will gather in front of the Urban Assembly School For Wildlife Conservation to announce the filing of the Notice of Claim for $25 million in damages against the New York City Department of Education and the New York City Police Department for the wrongful death of the slain teen. 

The Urban Assembly School For Wildlife Conservation is located at 2024 Mohegan Avenue, Bronx, New York. 

“There was a recipe for disaster at the Urban Assembly School For Wildlife Conservation. First, metal detectors were not installed in a school in which, in 2016, 81% of teachers reported not feeling safe, 45% of students did not feel safe, and there were two incidents of harassment with weapons," said Rubenstein. 

"Second, the school failed to follow the 'Dignity for all Students Act', a New York State statute which requires certain protocol to be followed regarding bullying which were not followed with regard to Abel Cedeno. Third, teachers were negligent in the supervision of students in the history classroom when Matthew McCree was fatally stabbed.”

Source: Rubenstein and Rynecki

President Trump Gives Joint Statements with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Source: The White House

West Wing Renovation

Source: The White House

Vice President Pence on 34th Anniversary of Beirut Attack on U.S. Marines

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN

First Lady Melania Trump to Kick Off the “Week of Inclusion” at Michigan Middle School

First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will visit Orchard Lake Middle School in West Bloomfield, Michigan to kick off the “Week of Inclusion,” part of National Bullying Prevention Month.
During her visit, Mrs. Trump will spend time in the school’s Viking Huddle Class, a 6th grade classroom that focuses on social emotional learning.  The First Lady and Mrs. DeVos will observe and participate in lessons about respecting others, kindness, and inclusion.

In addition to classroom participation, Mrs. Trump will visit with 7th and 8th grade students in the school's cafeteria in an effort to bring awareness to “No One Eats Alone,” a concept that seeks to reverse the trends of social isolation by asking students to engage in simple acts of kindness - such as making sure that no one is eating alone and students are making an effort to eat with new classmates and peers.

“As part of my ongoing commitment to the overall well-being of children, I am looking forward to today’s visit,” stated First Lady Melania Trump.  “By our own example, we must teach children to be good stewards of the world they will inherit.  We need to remember that they are always watching and listening.  It is our responsibility to take the lead in teaching children the values of empathy and communication that are at the core of kindness, mindfulness, integrity, and leadership.”

Source: The White House, Office of the First Lady 

Hollywood & Race: 'The Butler' (2013)

Source: ONE Media

Trailblazers in Black History: Tony Dungy

Anthony Kevin Dungy is a former professional American football player and coach in the National Football League. Dungy was head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 to 2001, and head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2002 to 2008.

Click here for video. 

Source: NFL

Sen. John McCain On Vietnam Draft Dodgers, Trump's Threat, Health Care

DL Hughley on Donald Trump, John Kelly, Frederica Wilson and the Fallen Soldiers In Niger

Source: MoorInfo

Trump’s Proposed Tax Overhaul Would Give Billions to Trump & Cabinet While Sparking Global “Tax War”

Source: Democracy Now!

Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, Carter Speak at Deep from the Heart Hurricane Relief Concert

This video was published on YouTube on October 22. 

Source: Reflect

Receding Waters in Houston Reveal Families’ Divergent Paths to Recovery

HOUSTON — The water burbled from the floors of Vickie Carson's cottage in the semirural northern edge of Houston, saturating everything she owned.

It seeped through the ceiling of Ebony Harrison's apartment in the impoverished Sunnyside neighborhood, dousing her newborn daughter as she slept.

It swept so swiftly into Lidia Peña's rental home in the city’s north side that she and her young son fled without taking any spare clothes.

It drove Rick Christie out of his midcentury ranch house in the southwest Houston neighborhood of Meyerland, leaving him to sleep on a couch above his garage.

Each of their homes was left uninhabitable by Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that plowed through southeast Texas in late August. Its floodwaters capsized lives of the comfortable and the struggling, black and white, Latino and Asian. Tens of thousands of people across spectrums of race and income were left without permanent places to live, inspiring a newfound saying: Harvey was the storm that didn’t discriminate.

That may change now that the water is gone. 

Click here for the full article.

Divided Democrats Seek Answers to Trump in the States

Progressive state legislators are trying to counter President Donald Trump — by taking a page out of the conservative playbook.

A group called the State Innovation Exchange (SIX) is raising its profile to lead efforts in Statehouses around the country, supporting lawmakers in advancing progressive policies and beating back Trump-influenced agendas locally.

Formed in late 2014 after the merger of three smaller groups, SIX fashions itself as the liberal antidote to the influential American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a well-funded conservative machine for Republican state-level legislation.

SIX's goal is to become a policy shop of sorts for progressive state lawmakers looking for proposals and solutions on issues like climate change, paid parental leave, criminal justice reform and the minimum wage — but its members are sharply divided on which issues to purse and and whether a liberal agenda, focused on social concerns, can fly in moderate states. Those differences spilled into view at the group's recent annual conference. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Mueller Now Investigating Democratic Lobbyist Tony Podesta

An NBC News Exclusive

WASHINGTON — Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of a federal investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, three sources with knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to the sources. As special counsel, Mueller has been tasked with investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for a non-profit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU). Podesta's company was one of many firms that worked on the campaign, which promoted Ukraine's image in the West.

The sources said the investigation into Podesta and his company began as more of a fact-finding mission about the ECMU and Manafort's role in the campaign, but has now morphed into a criminal inquiry into whether the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA. 

Click here for the full article. 

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's Sentencing Hearing Delayed

A Look at the Cuban Missile Crisis, 55 Years Later

This report was broadcast on October 22. 

Source: CBS News

Gold Star Widow Speaks About Phone Call with Trump

8th Child Reported Killed by Recalled Ikea Dresser

This report was broadcast on October 22.

FBI Undercover Sting Leads to Arrest of an Alleged Bomber in Miami

This report was broadcast on October 22. 

Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks at NYPD Graduation Ceremony

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

New York City's Large Party of Third Parties

By Laura Nahmias

A candidate running for mayor on a ballot line called “Dump the Mayor” may seem odd to the casual observer of New York City politics.

But the designation — an invention of independent candidate Bo Dietl — is part of a long and often weird tradition in city electoral politics where ballot lines can be as varied and idiosyncratic as the people whose names appear on them.

This year, city voters will have an overwhelming menu of 22 different ballot lines from which to choose. They range from Dietl’s “Dump the Mayor,” to a party line called “Solutions.” There’s an “Animal Rights” party line and a “No Rezoning 4 Ever” line.

This year’s crop of party designations does not even comprise the largest group of ballot lines the city has ever put forth in a single election, either. In the 2013 general election, there were no fewer than 29 different party designations represented on New York City ballots, including the “Flourish” line, “Dump the Dump” and the “Civic Virtue” line, which is the name of both a concept and a controversial statue that once stood in front of City Hall.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Politico (via The Empire Report) 

Leaders Criticize City College’s Likely Choice for Next President

By David W. Chen

Describing themselves as “extremely disappointed,” a group of prominent political, religious and community leaders from Harlem is lodging an unexpected 11th-hour protest against the expected next president of the City College of New York.

Former Gov. David A. Paterson, former Representative Charles B. Rangel and former Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright were among 20 people named in an email sent to The New York Times over the weekend after a report indicating that Vincent G. Boudreau, the college’s interim president, would be given the permanent post on Monday.

The email criticized James B. Milliken, the chancellor of the City University of New York, the college’s parent entity, as well as William C. Thompson Jr., chairman of CUNY’s Board of Trustees, for failing to include their “input, insight and influence” in the search process.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Times (via The Empire Report) 

Cuomo Reaches Out to Green Party as He Shores Up Liberal Credentials

By Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY — As he tries to mend fences with New York progressives, some of Gov. Cuomo’s top staffers for the first time are regularly reaching out to the minor Green Party.

Cuomo’s secretary to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos have been in more frequent contact with leaders of the environmentally focused party, Green Party officials say.

The governor himself popped in for about 15 minutes during one meeting between his aides and party leaders, officials said.

Some of Cuomo’s staff also attended a recent meeting of 350 Brooklyn, a local activist group with ties to the Green Party that is focused on climate change. One source said Cuomo Counsel Alphonso David was scheduled to attend the meeting but was called away at the last moment. In his place, Cuomo’s deputy secretary for the environment and others showed up.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The New York Daily News (via The Empire Report) 

Schumer: 'All 48 Democrats' Support Health Care Compromise

As Far Right Rises, LGBTQ Gun Group Hits Firing Line in NY

By The Associate Press

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The former pacifist pumped a shotgun at the firing line.

Lore McSpadden never touched a gun before the Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club started this past year. Now McSpadden is among the shooters routinely yelling, “Pull!” and blasting at clay pigeons angling over a mowed field near Rochester.

Trigger Warning members are anxious about armed and organized extremists who seem increasingly emboldened. Their response has a touch of symmetry to it: They started a club to teach members how to take up arms.

“It’s a way to assert our strength,” said Jake Allen, 27, who helped form the group. “Often, queer people are thought of as being weak, as being defenseless, and I think in many ways this pushes back against that. And I want white supremacists and neo-Nazis to know that queer people are taking steps necessary to protect themselves.” 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Daily News (via The Empire Report)

South Korean FM: 'Time is Running Out to Prevent a Nuclear North Korea'

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Japan's Stocks on Record Winning Streak After Abe's Election Victory

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Holograms Enter the Classroom: Teaching Science Through Immersive Live Experiences

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Philippines: Authorities Claim Victory in Marawi Battle Against Islamists

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Glyphosate: Should the EU Re-Authorise the Weedkiller Chemical?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Catalonia Referendum: Is Article 155 the Only Way Madrid Could Solve the Crisis?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

EU Summit: Macron's Policy on Undocumented Migrants Could Work

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Andrej Babis, the Czech Republic’s Own ‘Donald Trump’

Source: FRANCE 24 English

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Seeks Arab Help in US Effort to Isolate Iran

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Legislation Delivers Health Benefits to Volunteer Firefighters Across New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed legislation to deliver health care benefits to volunteer firefighters who have been diagnosed with certain cancers.

"New York is forever grateful to the 96,000 volunteer firefighters who selflessly put their own personal safety at risk in order to keep their neighbors and communities safe, Governor Cuomo said. "With this measure, we will provide these courageous New Yorkers the protections they need and the peace of mind they deserve."

Currently, volunteer firefighters are eligible for accidental disability and death benefits through Workers' Compensation if they are injured in the line of duty. Effective January 1, 2019, firefighters will also be eligible for health benefits to support treatment for life-threatening cancers.

Under the bill (S1411B- A711B), volunteer firefighters who contract certain cancers will receive access to tax free disability and death benefits. Specifically, volunteer firefighters diagnosed with lung, prostate, breast, lymphatic, hematological, digestive, urinary, neurological, reproductive systems, or melanoma cancer will be automatically eligible for health benefits if:

Upon entry to volunteer, a physical exam did not show any evidence of the cancers covered by this bill; individuals have at least five years of service fighting fire in the interior of buildings; and the firefighter is currently active or within 5 years of his or her last active date.

Senator Joseph A. Griffo said, "The brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day and volunteer to keep our communities safe should not be burdened with unexpected medical bills from illness they received while on the front lines of fire emergencies. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and the Legislature, these courageous New Yorkers will now receive the health benefits they deserve and the opportunity to lead a quality life in the community they have worked so hard to help protect."

Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther said, "To the New Yorkers who may have contracted an illness due to their bravery battling flames and smoke - help is being delivered. Thanks to the Governor's action to provide benefits to our volunteers, we are taking necessary steps to support our heroic firefighters and thank them for their dedication to protecting communities across New York."

Kenneth Pienowski, President of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York said, "This is a great day for New York State. Governor Andrew Cuomo and our elected representatives in Albany have acted to decisively protect those who protect the people of this great state. New York's brave volunteer firefighters now have the protections and help they need in the tragic event of a cancer diagnosis. We are tremendously grateful to the Governor for his action. We also thank State Senator Joseph Griffo, Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, Assemblymember Anthony Brindisi, and Assemblymember Brian Kolb for their leadership and support through this entire process. Because of them, the future generation of volunteer firefighters will not have to face cancer alone."

John P. Sroka, President of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs said, "All firefighters, regardless of whether they are paid or volunteer, fight identical fires. Because of this, all firefighters should be treated equally and receive equal benefits in the event of a cancer diagnosis. Thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, this is now a reality. New York's selfless volunteers, who sacrifice so much to protect all of us, now have the benefits that they need. The Fire Chiefs of New York applaud Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for their actions today and throughout this year's session."

Thomas Rinaldi, President of the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York said, "The Fire Districts of New York are grateful to Governor Andrew Cuomo and bill sponsors State Senator Joseph Griffo, Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, and Assemblymember Anthony Brindisi for protecting New York State's brave volunteer firefighters. Presumptive cancer coverage is an essential benefit for 21st century firefighters, and the signing of this legislation ensures that all firefighters in New York State will be equipped for 21st century fires. It is fitting that volunteers who sacrifice their time, safety, and health to protect their communities now have essential assistance available in their times of need."

Dr. Jacqueline Moline, Chair of the FASNY Health & Wellness Committee said, "Firefighters are exposed to an enormous variety of toxins and carcinogens in the line of duty and consequently are more likely to develop cancer than the general population. This is a medical fact. Because of this, it is necessary to offer additional benefits and protections to all firefighters so that if they do develop cancer, they are not left alone. The actions of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature will ensure that all firefighters in New York State will be recognized and assisted once they are diagnosed with cancer."

This legislation builds on a number of actions taken by this administration to protect the lives of both career and volunteer firefighters in New York State. Most recently, the Governor signed legislation expanding benefits for New Yorker's who participated in 9/11 response and recovery efforts. Under the bill, residents are eligible for unlimited paid leave at 100 percent of their regular salary dating back to the time of their diagnosis.

In 2015, the Governor announced the roll out of NY Responds, a universal approach to disaster response and recovery that connects emergency management agencies, fire and EMS responders with the New York State Emergency Operations Center in Albany.

Investments have also been made to upgrade the State Fire Academy, which provides critical training to first responders from communities across the state. Located in Montour Falls, the state secured $500,000 in federal funding in May, 2016 to support training efforts there, and since 2011, the Governor has invested $3 million to improve the facility and grounds.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Friday, October 20, 2017

Court Hears Arguments in Case of Undocumented Teen Seeking an Abortion

Sources: CBS News and NBC News

Federal Judge Unseals New York Crime Lab’s Software for Analyzing DNA Evidence

We asked the judge to make the source code public after scientists and defense attorneys raised concerns that flaws in its design may have resulted in innocent people going to prison.

A federal judge this week unsealed the source code for a software program developed by New York City’s crime lab, exposing to public scrutiny a disputed technique for analyzing complex DNA evidence.

Judge Valerie Caproni of the Southern District of New York lifted a protective order in response to a motion by ProPublica, which argued that there was a public interest in disclosing the code. 

ProPublica has obtained the source code, known as the Forensic Statistical Tool, or FST, and published it on GitHub; two newly unredacted defense expert affidavits are also available.

“Everybody who has been the subject of an FST report now gets to find out to what extent that was inaccurate,” said Christopher Flood, a defense lawyer who has sought access to the code for several years. “And I mean everybody — whether they pleaded guilty before trial, or whether it was presented to a jury, or whether their case was dismissed. Everybody has a right to know, and the public has a right to know.”

Caproni’s ruling comes amid increased complaints by scientists and lawyers that flaws in the now-discontinued software program may have sent innocent people to prison. Similar legal fights for access to proprietary DNA analysis software are ongoing elsewhere in the U.S. At the same time, New York City policymakers are pushing for transparency for all of the city’s decision-making algorithms, from pre-trial risk assessments, to predictive policing systems, to methods of assigning students to high schools.

Click here for the full article.

Source: ProPublica

A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace

They train to fight. They post their beatings online. And so far, they have little reason to fear the authorities.

by A.C. Thompson, ProPublica, Ali Winston and Darwin BondGraham for ProPublica

It was about 10 a.m. on Aug. 12 when the melee erupted just north of Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia.

About two dozen white supremacists — many equipped with helmets and wooden shields — were battling with a handful of counter-protesters, most of them African American. One white man dove into the violence with particular zeal. Using his fists and feet, the man attacked one person after another. 

The street fighter was in Virginia on that August morning for the “Unite the Right” rally, the largest public gathering of white supremacists in a generation, a chaotic and bloody event that would culminate, a few hours later, in the killing of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was there to protest the racist rally.

The violence in Charlottesville became national news. President Donald Trump’s response to it — he asserted there were “some very fine people on both sides” of the events that day — set off a wave of condemnations, from his allies as well as his critics.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica