Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Trump Announces Move to Ban Bump Stocks

Source: CBS News

Could Banks Restrict Gun Sales in the United States?

Source: CBS News

U.S. Army Awards Medal of Heroism to 3 School Shooting Victims

Source: CBS News

Work for It. What Trump’s Tough New Medicaid Rules Mean.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Every day that Steve Olshewsky can convince himself to get out of bed and face the world is a small victory in his eyes.

After a series of panic attacks forced him out of work in 2009, Olshewsky returned to his hometown to recover with family. He's made great strides since then, thanks to medication and his work at Participation Station, a peer-run outpatient clinic for serious mental illness. There, he sits in on group sessions, teaches tai chi to members, and talks clients through rough days on the clinic phone line.

But Olshewsky, who pays for his prescriptions through Medicaid, could soon have to prove he deserves to keep his coverage under a new set of restrictions on able-bodied Medicaid recipients. The Trump administration approved the rules in January through a waiver program that allows states to experiment with changes to Medicaid. 

"I feel threatened," the 59-year-old Olshewsky said at a meeting with Participation Station members and staff to discuss the changes with NBC News last week. "If I wasn't on Medicaid, I wouldn't be sitting here."

Under the new system, called Kentucky HEALTH, non-elderly adult Medicaid recipients will have to hold a job or perform 80 hours a month of "community engagement" activity like classes and volunteering, pay a monthly premium of $1 to $15, earn their vision and dental treatment through a rewards program, and go through the enrollment process again every year. Those who fail to meet the requirements could lose their coverage or face additional co-pays. 

Click here for the full article. 

Election Security a High Priority — Until It Comes to Paying for New Voting Machines

Local election administrators across the country face new problems and threats. But their budgets for new voting equipment remain inadequate. 

by Kate Rabinowitz
When poll workers arrived at 6 a.m. to open the voting location in Allentown, New Jersey, for last November’s gubernatorial election, they found that none of the borough’s four voting machines were working. Their replacements, which were delivered about four hours later, also failed. Voters had to cast their ballots on paper, which then were counted by hand.

Machine malfunctions are a regular feature of American elections. Even as worries over cybersecurity and election interference loom, many local jurisdictions depend on aging voting equipment based on frequently obsolete and sometimes insecure technology. And the counties and states that fund elections have dragged their heels on providing the money to buy new equipment.

A ProPublica analysis of voting machines found that over two-thirds of counties in America used machines for the 2016 election that are over a decade old. In most jurisdictions, the same equipment will be used in the 2018 election. In a recent nationwide survey by the Brennan Center for Justice, election officials in 33 states reported needing to replace their voting equipment by 2020. Officials complain the machines are difficult to maintain and susceptible to crashes and failure, problems that lead to long lines and other impediments in voting and, they fear, a sense among voters that the system itself is untrustworthy.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica

The Trump Administration Goes to War — With Itself — Over the VA

Even before a searing report put the job of Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin at risk, some White House staffers were pushing a health care agenda at odds with his. The infighting has left vets frustrated, Congress confused — and a key piece of legislation stalemated.

by Isaac Arnsdorf

This article was co-published with Politico.

David Shulkin, the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, showed up to what he thought would be a routine Senate oversight hearing in January, only to discover it was an ambush.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., was the sole holdout among members of the veterans affairs committee on a bill that would shape the future of the agency. The bipartisan bill had the support of 26 service groups representing millions of veterans. But Moran was pushing a rival piece of legislation, and it had the support of a White House aide who wields significant clout on veterans policy. Neither proposal could advance as long as there was any doubt about which President Donald Trump wanted to sign.

Moran blamed Shulkin for the impasse. “In every instance, you led me to believe that you and I were on the same page,” Moran said at the hearing. “Our inability to reach an agreement is in significant part related to your ability to speak out of both sides of your mouth: double talk.”

There were gasps in the hearing room. It was an astounding rebuke for a Trump appointee to receive from a Republican senator, especially for Shulkin, who was confirmed by the Senate unanimously.

Click here for the full article.

Source: ProPublica

Robert Reich: Morality & the Common Good Must Be at Center of Fighting Trump’s Economic Agenda

Source: Democracy Now!

Students Head to Florida Capital to Press for Changes to Gun Laws

Robert Mueller Charges Another Person in Russia Investigation

Source: CBS News

Don Jr. Advises President Trump After School Shooting: Don’t Go Wobbly on Guns

In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, young survivors issued a call to action to President Trump, but his eldest son is telling him not to listen.

By Asawin Suebsaeng

As President Donald Trump surveys aides and guests at his resort at Mar-a-Lago about what to do about gun control in the wake of another school shooting, one voice close to him is advising that he not give in to those calling for stricter measures.

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, has been assuring his dad that the right move was to stay strong on gun rights and draw a hard line on the issue that helped propel him in the 2016 election. He is among the host of people talking to the president in the wake of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which resulted in the death of 17 people. But the fact that he is family makes his access more personal and his guidance more trusted.

For those hoping to turn the latest national tragedy into a robust legislative response on guns, this isn’t a good thing. While some friends have urged Trump to adopt a more balanced approach, or even for the revival of an assault-weapons ban, Trump Jr. has argued that there was no time for even a hint of reversion to the more restrictive views on guns that Trump espoused years before he became leader of the Republican Party.

According to three sources with knowledge of their conversations, the president and Trump Jr. repeatedly discussed gun control over the long Presidents’ Day weekend, often as they both closely watched a TV airing footage in real-time of young Parkland students savaging the president for his inaction.

When polled on his opinions on the matter, the first son emphatically replied that the president must not waver on his pro-gun stance, whatever the impassioned calls for reform. Trump Jr., according to these sources, reminded his father that inching toward gun control would be immediately taken by his conservative base—as well as major donors and motivated activist networks, including the National Rifle Association—as an unforgivable betrayal.

Eric Trump, his middle son, readily agreed.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast

Abbas Seeks Alternative to US as Peace Mediator

Mexico Election: Independents Seek to Shake Up Presidential Race

Oxfam Apologises to Haiti Over Sex Scandal

Ireland's Economy in a Post-Brexit World

Source: Al Jazeera English

Davis Sets Out Vision of Britain's Post-Brexit Global Relations

Source: euronews.

Seige of Afrin Imminent as Turks Make Slow Progress in Northern Syria

Source: euronews.

Libya Repatriates 250 African Migrants

Source: euronews.

UAE's Minister of the Environment Talks Climate Change

Source: euronews.

The World is 'Failing' Its Newborn Babies — UNICEF

Source: euronews.

Real Economy: Getting Europe's Banks Healthy and Lending

Source: euronews.

Inside the Murky Business of Cobalt Mining in DR Congo

Source: FRANCE 24 English

FRANCE 24: News Roundup

Eye on Africa: Zuma's Ally Atul Gupta Challenges Asset Freeze

Source: FRANCE 24 English

What's Behind Germany's Steep Drop in Juvenile Crime?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Monday, February 19, 2018

NYS Federation of Taxi Drivers: 'A Crackdown is Needed to Protect Our Drivers'

The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers (NYSFTD) has asked the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to increase patrols that can surveil drop off locations and provide protection to drivers that are being robbed on a daily basis.

"We estimate that two out of 10 rides in the Bronx and Brooklyn go unpaid. These fare beaters are hurting our drivers financially and creating a very serious and dangerous environment,” said NYSFTD member Jose Vilori.

“We need a crackdown of fare beaters. Drivers are losing millions of dollars annually because of these thugs and no one is doing anything to stop this practice. The NYPD must join the TLC in this effort and serve as a look out when a drop off is being made by a driver. We deserve to be protected. We drive without any protection from the authorities, and all we get is fines, harassment and suspensions and that is not right. Drivers are being assaulted and beat up if they try to collect on these fares,” said Fernando Mateo, spokesman for the NYSFTD.

"The NYSFTD is urging the TLC to start immediately with this operation. Our drivers cannot continue to be ripped off and, in some cases, assaulted, robbed and murdered by these fare beaters."

Source: The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers

San Juan Mayor Calls for End to Puerto Rico’s Colonial Status Amid Slow Hurricane Maria Recovery

Source: Democracy Now!

Washington Journal: Donald Trump's Impact on the Presidency

Historian Doug Brinkley provides an analysis of Trumps's influence on the office. 

Source: C-SPAN 

Trailblazers in Black History: Ryan Coogler

This video was published on YouTube on June 28, 2017. 

"Black Panther", "Creed" and "Fruitvale Station" director Ryan Coogler discusses how he started in film.  

Source: crushing corporate

Hollywood & Race: 'Three The Hard Way' (1974)

Source: Mortado's Trailer Park

Angela Bassett: 'Now is the Time' for 'Black Panther'

MSNBC's David Gura talks with actress Angela Bassett, one of the stars of "Black Panther."

Report Shows Ties Between Opioid Makers and Patient Groups

Trump Says Russians ‘Laughing’ Over Election Interference Indictment

The president was critical of the Russia investigation on Twitter this weekend, writing that if Russia’s goal was to create discord, then the investigation and partisan divide show they succeeded.

Why Does Restoring Full Power in Puerto Rico Seem Like a Never-Ending Task?

About a third of Puerto Rico's residents — over 900,000 — are still living without electricity five months after Hurricane Maria battered the island on Sept. 20th of last year.

As power restoration efforts continue against all odds, it's still hard for officials to say when the power will be fully restored, the question on everyone's mind.

“I would hesitate to give you a date,” said Lt. Col. John Cunningham of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the deputy commander for the Task Force Power Restoration on the island. "We would like to go faster, but right now we’re going as fast as we can."

"The largest challenge has been logistics: getting the materials we need," Cunningham told NBC News. “Because it is a tropical island, they need specific conductors and materials that can resist the tropical weather and there’s a limited number of suppliers available to purchase specific materials for the island." 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Mumia Abu-Jamal: Major Rallies Scheduled as Court Could Reinstate Appeals

The following statement was submitted today by Noelle Hanrahan, a private investigator and the director of Prison Radio

To the friends and supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal: 

Be ready to pack the court for Mumia! There are two days where we need to show up: February 26th and March 27th. This court case could reinstate his appeals, open his criminal conviction, and lead to his freedom. 

Additional information is available here.

LeBron James Responds to Fox News Host's Comments on Political Opinions

Family Who Took in Alleged Shooter Speaks Out

Survivors of the Parkland School Shooting Demand Change

A New York Firefighter Honors Shooting Victims by Performing Acts of Kindness

This report was broadcast on February 18.

Civilian Death Toll Rising in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Ukraine: Thousands Demand Return of Saakashvili