Monday, December 11, 2017

80 and Evicted: A Special Report


What Does It Feel Like to Lose Your Home So Late in Life? 

by Hannah Long-Higgins

The Bonillas

Last year, Ernesto Bonilla, 81, and his son, Ernesto Bonilla Jr, 53, were shocked to receive a letter in the post informing them they were no longer the owners of their three-storey brownstone on 5th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and would soon be evicted.

Ernesto Jr says he discovered a relative had sold the family home for $1.5m, without his knowledge.

They have not received any money from the sale and Ernesto says he hasn’t spoken to her in four years.

The Bonilla family has lived in the house since 1967. For both Ernesto Sr and his son, this was home.

But now the father and son were left to weather the eviction process.

The developer who purchased the home, the Brooklyn Home Company, declined the opportunity to comment on the sale or the eviction process. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: BBC News 

Statement from President Trump on Today’s Attack in New York City

Today’s attempted mass murder attack in New York City—the second terror attack in New York in the last two months—once again highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms to protect the American people.

First and foremost, as I have been saying since I first announced my candidacy for President, America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country.  Today’s terror suspect entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security.  My Executive action to restrict the entry of certain nationals from eight countries, which the Supreme Court recently allowed to take effect, is just one step forward in securing our immigration system.  Congress must end chain migration.  Congress must also act on my Administration’s other proposals to enhance domestic security, including increasing the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, enhancing the arrest and detention authorities for immigration officers, and ending fraud and abuse in our immigration system.  The terrible harm that this flawed system inflicts on America’s security and economy has long been clear.  I am determined to improve our immigration system to put our country and our people first.

Second, those convicted of engaging in acts of terror deserve the strongest penalty allowed by law, including the death penalty in appropriate cases.  America should always stand firm against terrorism and extremism, ensuring that our great institutions can address all evil acts of terror. 
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Enhanced Security Measures Enacted Following Mid-Town Terrorist Attack

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that following the terrorist attack in Midtown Manhattan he has directed state agencies, including the New York State Police, National Guard, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to increase security at high-profile locations around the state, including airports, bridges, tunnels, and mass transit systems. Additional personnel are being deployed to high-density areas and large public gatherings. These are precautionary measures, not based on any specific intelligence on ongoing threats.

"Today we are reminded yet again that the principles of freedom and democracy that New York represents have made us a target for those who seek to disrupt our way of life," Governor Cuomo said. "Out of an abundance of caution, we are stepping up security measures at high-profile locations and transportation hubs while the investigation progresses. We will remain vigilant. I want to thank our first responders and all other personnel who continue to risk their own lives every day in the service of their fellow New Yorkers, and I encourage everyone to go about their business and live their lives without fear."

State Police & National Guard
The New York State Police responded immediately to the incident and remain on scene working with the NYPD and other state and federal law enforcement partners. The Governor has also directed the State Police to double the number of Troopers assigned to the major transportation hubs in New York City. They have been on a heightened state of alert since before the start of the holiday season, and will continue to have an increased presence at critical state infrastructure and transportation facilities. The New York National Guard were also among the first to respond on scene. They have doubled their presence and will continue to coordinate with their law enforcement partners to provide additional assistance as needed.

Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has been in contact with key local public safety officials in New York City including NYPD, Port Authority, and MTA, as well the FBI. Commissioner Roger Parrino along with key staff from the Office of Emergency Management and Office of Counter Terrorism are on the scene or in route. The New York State Emergency Operations Center, as a precaution, has activated to Level 4 enhanced monitoring. The Division remains in a state of readiness and prepared to disseminate information to our public safety partners statewide as necessary. 

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Port Authority Police has have doubled its presence and remains on heightened alert at all of the agency's bridge, tunnel, rail, World Trade Center and other facilities. Actions include increased patrols and checks of bags, buses, trucks and trains at agency locations. Travelers are reminded to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to police or other authorities.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The MTA has increased its patrols and surveillance in order to provide heightened protection across all its agencies. The MTA Police Department has stepped up its uniformed and plainclothes presence in Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal as well as other major stations throughout the Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road network. Police canine teams and units with heavy weapons will provide extra protection as well as a noticeable sign of increased security. Railroad customers will also see surge patrols, increased step-on/step-off patrols of trains, and random bag checks at various locations. 

Behind the scenes, the MTA Police Department, MTA New York City Transit security and MTA Bridges and Tunnels Officers share intelligence information and coordinate their threat response with other police and security agencies to ensure a seamless web of protection throughout the region.

New York State Police and the New York National Guard members have been assigned to high-profile MTA locations for more than a year, and they are helping secure these locations as well as reassuring the public that the authorities are dedicated to ensuring their safety. The MTA closely monitors large public events that occur in or near its facilities and will provide heightened awareness of activities there. 

The MTA works closely with the NYPD to secure New York's subways and buses, and MTA Bridges and Tunnels Officers are using a mix of visual and technological surveillance to ensure safety at its seven bridges and two tunnels in New York City

Last week, Governor Cuomo launched a counterterrorism advisory panel, chaired by Kenneth L. Wainstein, partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, and former Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. The advisory panel also includes Raymond W. Kelly, the former New York City Police Commissioner under both Mayors David Dinkins and Michael Bloomberg, and Lisa O. Monaco, the former Homeland Security Advisor to President Barack Obama. After agreeing to chair the panel, Mr. Wainstein immediately started an in-depth evaluation of the state's counterterrorism assets, authorities, and overall effectiveness, which will result in recommendations for enhanced coordination among the state's counterterrorism authorities and strengthened security at airports, bridges, tunnels and other major assets throughout the state. Those recommendations will be formulated in conjunction with Mr. Kelly and Ms. Monaco, and delivered to the Governor in time to inform his 2018 State of the State and Budget addresses. After delivery of its initial recommendations, the panel will continue its important work, developing execution plans for their initial recommendations, further studying the state's readiness to meet today's terrorist threat, and developing other possible proposals that will enhance the effectiveness of our counterterrorism program.  

"If You See Something, Say Something"
New Yorkers are reminded to stay alert to their surroundings, and to report any suspicious activity. Reports can be made to the Counter Terrorism Center at the New York State Intelligence Center via its terrorism tip line: 1-866-SAFENYS (1-866-723-3697); or by email:

New Yorkers can also download See Something, Send Something on your smartphone to inform authorities of a potential threat. Visit for more information.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

The Plight of Puerto Rico: NY Officials Ask Fed Gov't to Approve $94.4 Billion Aid Package

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Governor Ricardo Rosselló and members of the New York Congressional Delegation today called on the federal government to immediately approve a $94.4 billion federal aid package to rebuild a stronger, more resilient Puerto Rico. Building on the efforts of New York State to help Puerto Rico rebuild after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, New York officials and business and nonprofit leaders conducted an assessment of the damage and identified specific funding recommendations to rebuild a stronger, more resilient Puerto Rico.

"Puerto Ricans are American citizens who deserve support and compassion when faced with disaster, and this federal funding is imperative to ensuring that the island builds back better than ever before," Governor Cuomo said. "We urge Congress to stop delaying this important request, take responsibility and immediately approve this critical funding."

"With the help of New York and other partners, we are on the road to recovery after Hurricanes Maria and Irma, but there is still a monumental amount of work to be done to rebuild Puerto Rico," Governor Rosselló said. "We are calling on Congress to recognize the people of Puerto Rico as equal citizens of the United States and take action to give us the help we desperately need. I thank Governor Cuomo and the New York delegation for their partnership in our advocacy and for all of their work to help the people of Puerto Rico."

The report's findings indicate that more than 472,000 housing units were destroyed and severely impacted, hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans have left to seek refuge in shelters or homes of family and friends, the agricultural sector was nearly totally destroyed, including the loss of almost 80 percent of planted crops and nearly all of the water and wastewater were rendered inoperable. The breadth and depth of this devastation presents an opportunity to "begin again" and rethink the design of major components of the island's infrastructure, invest in the quality and resiliency of its housing and public buildings and modernize how basic services are delivered to residents. 

The plan focuses on three areas of assistance: Public Assistance Program; Hazard Mitigation Grant Program; and a Community Development Block Grant.

Within these areas, the plan identifies sectoral impacts with specific and strategic investments to rebuild stronger and better. The full report is available here

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said, "Puerto Rico is a part of our country and it is home to more than three million American citizens. The mayor of San Juan had a simple request since the start of the devastation: 'Do not forget us and do not let us feel alone.' We have an obligation to help our citizens during what will be a longer than anticipated period of rebuilding."

Congressman Eliot Engel said, "For months, we in the New York Congressional Delegation have called on our colleagues in Washington to help us do more for Puerto Rico. The devastation our fellow citizens endured there was catastrophic, and additional aid is not only necessary, but critical in order for the island to make a full recovery. I am proud to join Governor Cuomo, Governor Rosselló, and my Congressional colleagues today in standing up for Puerto Rico, and urge Congressional leadership to take up this aid package immediately." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Long Island Family's Video Addresses Opioid Crisis

Lake Ronkonkoma, NY - Believing that awareness creates change, a Long Island family has created a video to shed light on the opioid crisis that has reached epidemic proportions.

The Moloney family, who operates Moloney Family funeral homes in Suffolk, produced the 30-second public service announcement.

Nearly 500 people have died from opioid overdoses on Long Island in a year - the highest death rate in the state. This past summer, 22 people died in a two-day period.

"The Moloney family and staff are on the front lines of this terrible epidemic” says Peter Moloney, a partner of Moloney Funeral Homes. “Every day we deal with the sadness and heartbreak of families experiencing loss of life due to the drug problem. People need to be aware how severe the situation is."

The Moloneys invested in the production of the video and funded its placement on major networks. They have also invested in a social media campaign to reach as many Long Islanders as possible.

The video explains how the opioid problem is taking the community’s dreams and heart, but not its hope for a solution.

The video and a list of links to help people battling drug addiction can be viewed here

Source: Steve Harper, CJA

Dennis Rodman Talks to Guam Media About North Korea, PotCoin

This video was published on YouTube on December 6. 

Source: kuamnews

NAACP Head: Roy Moore Is Using Racial and Religious Fearmongering to Sway White Alabama Voters

Source: Democracy Now!

Suspect Evidence Informed a Momentous Supreme Court Decision on Criminal Sentencing

The U.S. Sentencing Commission helped send more people to prison for longer terms. A shame it was created to address a nonexistent crisis. Here's how the Supreme Court got misled. 

More than 30 years ago, Congress identified what it said was a grave threat to the American promise of equal justice for all: Federal judges were giving wildly different punishments to defendants who had committed the same crimes.

The worries were many. Some lawmakers feared lenient judges were giving criminals too little time in prison. Others suspected African-American defendants were being unfairly sentenced to steeper prison terms than white defendants.

In 1984, Congress created the U.S. Sentencing Commission with remarkable bipartisan support. The commission would set firm punishment rules, called “guidelines,” for every offense. The measure, signed by President Ronald Reagan, largely stripped federal judges of their sentencing powers; they were now to use a chart to decide penalties for each conviction, with few exceptions.

Five years later, a legal challenge to the sentencing commission wound up before the U.S. Supreme Court. In a case titled Mistretta v. U.S., the court was asked to consider whether Congress had overreached by taking on what seemed to be a role for the judiciary. In an 8-1 decision, the justices determined that the sentencing commission was constitutional. And they took care to say that the commission was also needed — to end the widespread and “shameful” sentencing disparities produced by the biases of individual judges.

Mistretta was a momentous decision, but it’s now clear the high court relied on evidence that was flimsy and even flat-out wrong.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica

EU Finance Ministers Warn US Administration Over Tax Bill

Click here for details. 

Source: Financial Times

Mayor de Blasio Provides Information on Attempted Terrorist Attack

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Bernstein: Fox News Hosts Are Abetting a Cover-Up

This report was published on YouTube on December 10.

Carl Bernstein says that many Fox News hosts are "abetting a cover-up" by attacking Robert Mueller's investigation while seeming oblivious to President Trump's factual errors.

U.S. Joint Drills Simulate Attack Targeting North Korea Missiles

SEOUL, South Korea — The U.S., Japan and South Korea began joint exercises Monday to simulate how they would target Kim Jong Un's ballistic missiles in the event of an attack, military officials from South Korea and Japan said.

North Korea last week said the outbreak of war was "an established fact" following another set of U.S.-South Korea exercises — although the isolated country has often issued such fiery rhetoric without action.

Monday's drills involved two U.S. destroyers, as well as one warship each from Japan and South Korea, a South Korean military spokesman told NBC News. 

Click here for the full article.

Hollywood & Race: 'Glory Road' (2006)

In 1966, Texas Western coach Don Haskins led the first all-Black starting line-up for a college basketball team to the NCAA national championship.

Trailblazers in Black History: Simeon Booker

Pioneering Black Journalist Dies at Age 99
WASHINGTON — Simeon Booker, a trail-blazing journalist and the first full-time African-American reporter at The Washington Post, died Sunday at the age of 99, The Post reported.

Booker died in Solomons, Maryland, according to The Post, citing his wife, Carol. 

Booker served for decades as the Washington bureau chief for the African-American publications Jet weekly and Ebony monthly. He was credited with bringing to national prominence the death of Emmett Till, the 14-year old African-American boy whose brutal murder in Mississippi became a galvanizing point for the nascent civil rights movement.  

Click here for the full article. 

Dems Scrambling to Mobilize African-American Voters for Doug Jones

Over 18 Crucial Days, What Did Trump Know and When?

Trump 'Kept Kissing Me' in Trump Tower, Woman Says: 'I Was Devastated'

Depression May Start Much Earlier Than Previously Thought

Gunman Allegedly Terrorizing Drivers on Michigan Highways

Moore Denies Allegations in New TV Interview

This report was broadcast on December 10.

Poll: One Third of Americans Consider Gun Violence 'a Crisis'

Source: CBS News

Rohingya Refugees Say They Fear Being Sent Back to Myanmar

Venezuela: Main Opposition Parties Barred from 2018 Presidential Vote

Netanyahu in Paris: We Will Not Be Lectured by Erdogan

Trapped in Libya, Migrants Face Torture and Slavery

Source: FRANCE 24 English

WTO Meets in Buenos Aires Under Cloud of US Protectionism

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Syria: Putin Orders Partial Russian Troop Withdrawal in Surprise Visit

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Brexit Talks: Has a Disorderly Divorce Been Averted?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Trump Jerusalem Decision: Arab League Demands Reversal

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Iraq: PM Al-Abadi Announces Recapture of Last Jihadist-Held Zones in the West of the Country

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Macron Presses Netanyahu on Jerusalem

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Saturday, December 9, 2017

President Trump Gives Remarks at the Opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Source: The White House

Trump’s Visit to Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Underscores National Tension

The opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum promised to be a celebratory event long in the making. Civil rights icon John Lewis, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, Rep. Bennie Thompson and Myrlie Evers-Williams — widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers — were slated to attend and commemorate a milestone for a state that has long been haunted by its difficult racial history.

Then this week, just days before Saturday’s opening, President Donald Trump accepted an invitation from the state’s governor to attend.

By Friday, Lewis, Thompson, Lumumba and many other noteworthy Mississippians and civil rights heroes all said they would boycott the event.

They claimed the president did not support the spirit of the new institution and would only distract from the ceremony. Instead, some said they would visit the museum another time, rather than share the moment with a man they consider to be a divisive figure. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News  

For Alabama, Tight Senate Election is About State’s Identity and Future

This report was broadcast on December 8. 

6 California Wildfires Burn Out of Control

Obama Invokes Nazi Germany in Warning to US

This report was broadcast on December 8. 

Trump's Controversial Remarks on Race

Trump Holds "Make America Great Again" Rally

This report was broadcast on December 8. 

Source: CBS News

U.S. Department of Labor Releases Latest Jobs Report

Source: CBS News

What to Expect in 2018, According to The Economist

Source: CBS News

Sanders Statement in Response to Roy Moore Slavery Comment

In response to a comment by Republican Senatorial Candidate Roy Moore who recently said that the last time America was great was during slavery," Senator James Sanders Jr. stated:

"Has this man lost grasp of his senses. I take personal offense, on behalf of my great, great grandparents who were branded, raped, cut to pieces, burned alive - and those were the kindest things done to them. The only greatness about that time were those individuals, black and white, who gave their lives fighting the American Civil War to put an end to the madness of slavery. Their bodies littered the south in the name of stopping this terrible crime. If this is your idea of how to make America great again, Mr. Moore, I want no part of it. On behalf of my children and their children, and their children's children, we will not go back to slavery, nor do we want to see any other race enslaved."

Source: The Office of State Senator James Sanders, Jr.

Israel's 54 Year Old Nuclear Reactor a Safety Risk

Mikheil Saakashvili Re-Arrested in Ukraine

Myanmar Amy Accused of Targeting Rohingya Children

South Africa’s 'State Capture' Scandal Widens

Argentine Submarine: Families Push for Search to Continue

PM Netanyahu's Remarks on US President Trump's Statement

This address was broadcast on December 6. 

Source: IsraeliPM

Trump's Jerusalem Move Roundly Condemned at UN

France Pays Homage to Late Rock Icon Johnny Hallyday

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Tahrir Square, a Melting Pot for Egyptian Revolutions

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Migrants: Caught in the Fire Between Libya and Italy

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Friday, December 8, 2017

FBI Probing Cuomo Office's Hiring Practices

Click here for summary.


Governors and Federal Agencies Are Blocking Nearly 1,300 Accounts on Facebook and Twitter

ProPublica filed public-records requests with all 50 governors and 22 federal agencies. Here’s what it found.

by Leora Smith and Derek Kravitz

Amanda Farber still doesn’t know why Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan blocked her from his Facebook group. A resident of Bethesda and full-time parent and volunteer, Farber identifies as a Democrat but voted for the Republican Hogan in 2014. Farber says she doesn’t post on her representatives’ pages often. But earlier this year, she said she wrote on the governor’s Facebook page, asking him to oppose the Trump administration’s travel ban and health care proposal.

She never received a response. When she later returned to the page, she noticed her comment had been deleted. She also noticed she had been blocked from commenting. (She is still allowed to share the governor’s posts and messages.)

Farber has repeatedly emailed and called Hogan’s office, asking them to remove her from their blacklist. She remains blocked. According to documents ProPublica obtained through an open-records request this summer, hers is one of 494 accounts that Hogan blocks. Blocked accounts include a schoolteacher who criticized the governor’s education policies and a pastor who opposed the governor’s stance against accepting Syrian refugees. They even have their own Facebook group: Marylanders Blocked by Larry Hogan on Facebook.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica

From the WH Press Secretary: The Violence and Humanitarian Conditions in Yemen

The United States is gravely concerned by the recent escalation in violence and continued dire humanitarian conditions in Yemen. We urge all parties to immediately cease hostilities, reenergize political talks, and end the suffering of the Yemeni people. We condemn the Houthis’ brutal repression of political opponents in Sana’a, including the killing of their former ally Ali Abdullah Salih and his family members, as well as their reckless missile attacks against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its partners are arming, advising, and enabling the Houthis’ violent actions, which accelerate the cycle of violence and human suffering, obstruct the flow of humanitarian aid, and disrupt efforts toward a political resolution.

We call on the Saudi-led coalition to facilitate the free flow of humanitarian aid and critical commercial goods, including fuel, through all Yemeni ports and to restore commercial flights through Sana’a Airport.  The Iranian-backed Houthi militias must allow food, medicine, and fuel to be distributed throughout the areas they control, rather than diverted to sustain their military campaign against the Yemeni people. This humanitarian aid must be allowed to immediately reach all points of need. 

The United States continues to believe that the devastating conflict in Yemen, and the suffering it causes, must be brought to an end through political negotiations in accordance with relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions. Successful political negotiations are necessary to ensure that Yemen can flourish, free of the malign influence of Iranian-backed militias operating outside the structures of the state.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

On January 20th, Let's Demand Trump's Impeachment!

Future Hope Column

By Ted Glick 

Since Trump’s firing of James Comey in mid-May, the case for, the need for and the support for impeachment has become much stronger. Tom Steyer’s impeachment initiative has garnered over 2 million sign-ups so far, with a goal of 4 million. Journalist Ezra Klein recently published a thoughtful article putting forward “the case for normalizing impeachment” on Vox. A Public Policy Polling survey released in late October showed 49% of Americans support impeachment. And as early as today, a vote in the House on impeachment may be taken because of the leadership given by Texas Democrat Al Green.

The reason for all of these developments is, of course, the continuing series of duplicitous, lying, dangerous and deranged actions and tweets by the current occupant of the White House.

With Robert Mueller’s investigation of what happened in the 2016 elections yielding significant results, the metaphorical noose is, if not tightening around his neck, certainly coming into clear view for Trump, thank God. Without question, that investigation is an essential reason why support for impeachment is growing and why there is a realistic possibility, imho, that Trump could be gone from the White House before the November, 2018 elections.

But for this to happen, and for the odds to be reduced of a cornered Trump lashing out in even more destructive ways, like by trying to start a war with North Korea or Iran, for example, more is needed. There is something missing right now that was an important part of the reason why Richard Nixon was forced to resign in August of 1974.

Nixon’s resignation from office took place under different circumstances than our circumstances at present.

One difference is that Nixon was much more popular than Trump, winning his reelection campaign in 1972 by a landslide. Trump lost the popular vote.

There was one specific development that was the reason for Nixon’s demise: the Watergate burglary and all that was revealed after it about Nixon’s multi-faceted, organized, illegal campaign against the Democratic Party. For Trump, it’s a veritable multitude of one despicable thing after the other, far too many to count.

Another big difference, though, is the control of Congress in 2017 by Republicans. In 1974 it was controlled by Democrats, which meant that investigative committees set up by Congress back then were led by people serious about getting at the truth of what happened.

The apparent skill and tenacity of the Mueller investigation may mitigate that problem somewhat.

But there was something else back then that doesn’t yet exist today: a nationally-connected, grassroots impeachment movement.

Click here for the full article.

Civil Rights Leaders Decline Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Invite Over Trump's Attendance

Source: Roland S. Martin

'The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump': Psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee on Growing Mental Health Concerns

Source: Democracy Now!

Harold Ford Jr. Blasts Misconduct Claim That Led to Firing by Morgan Stanley

The investment bank Morgan Stanley said Thursday that it had severed its ties with former Rep. Harold Ford Jr., a managing director at the bank, citing an accusation of misconduct.

Ford, who is also a political commentator on MSNBC, forcefully denied the accusation and threatened to sue both the bank and the woman who accused him, identified in his statement as a journalist. 

The Huffington Post, which first reported the allegations, said the journalist accused Ford of forcibly grabbing her one evening after a business meeting, and then continuing to email her after the incident, leading her to ask that the contacts stop. NBC News has not confirmed the details of the accusation nor spoken to the accuser, who was not identified in the Huffington Post.  

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News