Friday, April 8, 2016

The Secret Movement to Draft General James Mattis for President

By Tim Mak

Gen. James Mattis doesn’t necessarily want to be president—but that’s not stopping a group of billionaire donors from hatching a plan to get him there.

An anonymous group of conservative billionaires is ready to place their bets on a man dubbed “Mad Dog,” hoping to draft him into the presidential race to confront Donald Trump.

Think of it as a Plan B should Trump be nominated by the Republican Party in Cleveland: swing behind retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis and press him into service yet again as a third-party candidate.

Mattis is the former commander of Central Command, which includes the strife-afflicted conflict zones of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, and has developed a reputation among troops as a general officer who cares about the little guy. This reputation blossomed into the political realm during the 2012 presidential contest, when a Marine Corps veteran started an online campaign to write-in Mattis on presidential ballots—it ultimately lacked the backing to take off.

But this situation involves far bigger players: Close to a dozen influential donors—involving politically-involved billionaires with deep pockets and conservative leanings—are ready to put their resources behind Mattis. At their request, a small group of political operatives have taken the first steps in the strategic legwork needed for a bid: a package of six strategic memos outlining how Mattis could win the race, in hopes of coaxing him in. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast

'Song of the Week': Get Together, 'The Youngbloods'

From The G-Man selects this as the Song of the Week in the wake of all the political and social upheaval in America and abroad. Listen carefully to the lyrics....and imagine the possibilities. 


President Obama Town Hall Meeting on the Supreme Court

President Obama participates in a town hall meeting with students and faculty at the University of Chicago Law School on the Supreme Court and the U.S. judicial system. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

West Wing Week 4/8/16

Making Health Care Better Series on Diabetes

The "Making Health Care Better" series will highlight the significant progress made in improving the health system over the past seven years. This first event will be focused on diabetes, and will feature experts on diabetes within and outside of government, individuals living with diabetes, and passionate diabetes activists. Through three panels and a "lightning round" interview, the event will focus on advancements in diabetes prevention, research, quality of care, and coverage.

Decision Making at the Federal Reserve

Janet Yellen and former Federal Reserve Chairs Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and Paul Volcker spoke with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria about their approach to decision making during their time at the central bank. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Analyzing Health Records Security

John Hopkins University’s Avi Rubin discusses the recent breach of records systems at several U.S. health care companies, which resulted in nearly 3.5 million records being compromised. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Discussion on Student Financial Aid and Voucher Programs

The New America Foundation releases a proposal to replace the current federal financial aid model with a voucher program that would funnel federal higher education funding through the states. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

The Standard April 15 Deadline Extended Three Days

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today reminded taxpayers that they can take three extra days to file both their federal and state income tax returns this year. The deadline is extended to Monday, April 18, 2016, because Washington, D.C. will celebrate Emancipation Day on Friday, April 15.
“The extended deadline provides a few extra days for the millions of New Yorkers who file their taxes late in the season,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Jerry Boone. “However, just because there’s extra time to file doesn’t mean you need to wait until April 18. You can complete your return now with the user-friendly software on our website,
”The Tax Department’s online "e-file for free" initiative enables taxpayers with federal adjusted gross incomes under $62,000 to save the expense of hiring a preparer by filing both their federal and state income tax returns at no cost.  
Source: New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

'Flashback Friday': Hank Aaron Breaks Babe Ruth's Homerun Record

Published on YouTube on Nov 13, 2014
4/8/74: Vin Scully calls Hank Aaron's milestone home run as he passes Babe Ruth for the most career home runs. 

Video courtesy of MLB.

Trailblazers in Black History: Rosey Grier

Uploaded to YouTube on Nov 1, 2008
Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier, as a professional football player, was a member of the original Fearsome Foursome of the Los Angeles Rams and played in the Pro Bowl twice. This feature takes a look at the life and times of this NFL great.

Video courtesy of Ready Cinematic.

Today in History: April 8th

Two Killed in Shooting at Lakeland Air Force Base

Cruz Aims to Keep Trump from a Clean Sweep in NY as Democratic Race Heats Up

Clinton Adviser: Clinton Is a Proven 'Champion' for Women's Rights

Bernie Sanders: 'Of Course' Hillary Clinton's Qualified, Let's Focus on Issues

In an exclusive Town Hall on TODAY, Democratic White House hopeful Bernie Sanders says that on Hillary Clinton's "worst day, she would an infinitely better president" than either of the GOP front-runners. He discusses women's rights and pay, his health care plan, how he would break up big banks, and when he thinks sellers of guns should be sued. 

Parents Sue NYC Education Department Over Violence in Schools

Several New York City parents and students have filed a class-action lawsuit against the city Department of Education alleging the nation’s largest school district has failed to protect children from violence and bullying. Tracie Strahan reports. (Published Thursday, April 7, 2016) 

Click here for video.

Source: NBC News

Analysis: Black Leaders Supported Clinton's Crime Bill

The resentment that black social justice activists have been feeling towards Bill and Hillary Clinton's 1994 crime bill reached its apex at a Philadelphia campaign rally Thursday in which Bill Clinton was heckled and faced down signs like "CLINTON Crime Bill Destroyed Our Communities."

In February, Michelle Alexander, law professor and author of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" penned an essay titled, "Hillary Clinton doesn't deserve the Black vote."

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 contained an expansion of the federal death penalty to include drug offenses, the "Three Strikes, You're Out" rule, and billions in funding for police, prisons, and states that made it harder for people to get parole (though Mr. Clinton neglected to mention this when he mentioned that most prisoners are incarcerated by the state).

But if Bill and Hillary Clinton were the pot, black politicians, activists, and pastors were the kettle. Their support of punitive measures actually paved the way for Clinton. It began with the man Ebony Magazine called the "front-line general in the war on drugs." 

Click here for the full article.

Zuma’s Son Says He’ll Quit Gupta Mining Firm in South Africa

Duduzane Zuma

Reuters, 08/04 18:34 CET

By Tiisetso Motsoeneng and Zandi Shabalala

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African President Jacob Zuma’s son said on Friday he would sell his investments in a mining firm owned by friends of his father amid speculation that the wealthy family is wielding undue political influence.

Duduzane Zuma’s announcement came days after First National Bank, a unit of FirstRand, joined three other South African companies in quitting as bankers and auditors of companies owned by the Indian-born Gupta family.

In a memo to staff seen by Reuters, Oakbay Investments – a holding company for Gupta businesses in South Africa – said it had approached government departments including Zuma’s office to express “deep disappointment” over decisions by banks to close its accounts.

The Presidency and Oakbay did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the content of the memo.

Citing “aspersions” against his own family, Duduzane said he would also step down as a director of Shiva Uranium, the main subsidiary of Oakbay Resources, which houses the Gupta family’s mining assets. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

Algeria Bans French Journalist in Row Over Panama Papers

Reuters, 08/04 18:09 CET

PARIS (Reuters) – France has complained to Algeria over its decision to deny a visa for a Le Monde reporter to cover a trip by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls to Algiers after the newspaper published details of Algerian officials named in the Panama Papers.

Citing documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, Le Monde reported that Algerian Industry Minister Abdesselam Bouchouareb set up an offshore company in Panama in April 2015.

Le Monde also published a front-page picture of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika among leaders it said were named in the documents, which detailed how rich and powerful figures across the world had stashed away their wealth in secretive accounts.

Algeria summoned the French ambassador on Wednesday to complain that French media reports on the issue were a “malicious campaign” and it protested again on Thursday.

“We were informed of the intention to not issue a visa,” a French diplomatic source said.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

John Kerry Visits Iraq at Key Moment of Struggle Against ISIL

Source: Euronews

ISIL Has Doubled its Numbers in Libya Says US

By Catherine Hardy | With REUTERS

Source: Euronews

Turkey and Israel Move a Step Closer to Reconciliation Deal

Source: Euronews

Fidel Castro Makes Rare Public Appearance at Havana School

Source: Euronews

Dilemma for Dutch PM Rutte After Voters Reject EU-Ukraine Partnership Deal

Source: Euronews

Ukraine Envoy Calls Dutch Vote ‘A Referendum for Eurosceptics’

Dutch voters decided to reject a trade deal between the EU and Ukraine in a referendum held on Wednesday.

Turnout was low, but it passed the 30 percent threshold to be valid.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he would reconsider the deal, even though the referendum result is not binding on his government.

Euronews correspondent Andrei Beketov spoke to Ukraine’s ambassador to the Netherlands and asked him for his reaction to the vote.

Andrei Beketov, Euronews: Your excellency….In your opinion, what is the message sent by the Dutch voters to Ukraine, and to the European Union?

Olexandre Horin, Ukrainian Ambassador to the Netherlands: This was a referendum not about Ukraine. It was a referendum about the European Union and it was a referendum for eurosceptics! So those who came to vote they have voted for different things, but not for the association agreement with Ukraine.  

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

Thursday, April 7, 2016

President Obama's Statement on the 22nd Anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda

Twenty-two years after the genocide, we stand with the people of Rwanda to commemorate the more than 800,000 men, women, and children whose lives were lost during 100 days of unspeakable violence. We honor not just the victims but also those who risked their lives to save others as well as the survivors who carry the memories of these atrocities. On this solemn day, we remind ourselves of our common humanity and shared commitment to protecting civilians and ensuring that mass atrocities of this magnitude never happen again.

Today, even as the United States grieves with the Rwandan people, we are inspired by the progress Rwanda has made in moving beyond these horrible crimes and in building a more peaceful and prosperous future for its citizens. The United States Government and the American people will continue to extend our friendship and partnership to Rwanda as we reconfirm our commitment to protecting the vulnerable, to preventing mass atrocities, and to upholding the inherent dignity of every human being. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

$13.3 Million Provided to Continue the Fight Against Gun Violence in New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced more than $13.3 million in funding for law enforcement agencies to continue fighting gun violence in the 17 counties currently participating in the state's Gun Involved Violence Elimination – or GIVE -- initiative. This initiative provides technical assistance, training and funds personnel, such as prosecutors and crime analysts, as well as overtime and equipment.

"We've worked tirelessly to combat gun violence across this state and prevent the senseless tragedies it causes," Governor Cuomo said. "The GIVE initiative gives law enforcement agencies the resources necessary for fighting gun violence in our streets, and helps create a safer and stronger New York for all."

The GIVE initiative targets communities served by 20 police departments in those 17 counties, which report 85 percent of violent crime in the state outside of New York City. This is the second year of a two-year contract, with agencies in those counties receiving the same grant award as last year. The GIVE initiative is administered by the Division of Criminal Justice Services. Its funding cycle begins July 1, 2016, and ends June 30, 2017. Those 20 police departments and their county law enforcement partners – district attorneys' offices, probation departments and sheriffs' offices – receive funding. 

Click here for the complete report. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

NATO Operations: Remarks by the Secretary General

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talked about challenges facing NATO operations and previewed its upcoming summit in Warsaw, Poland. He said many European allies were not investing enough in defense. Karen DeYoung moderated a discussion with Mr. Stoltenberg following his speech. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Articles of Impeachment Against Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Montgomery Advertiser State Government Reporter Brian Lyman joins by phone to discuss the articles of impeachment filed in the state legislature against Governor Robert Bentley (R-AL) over his romantic relationship with a former staffer. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Stanford Students Want Western Civilization Studies Back as the PC Backlash Begins

By Lizzie Crocker

Stanford students are voting on a plan to reinstate the controversial Western Civilization curriculum more than 25 years after Jesse Jackson helped kill it.

In 1988, the Rev. Jesse Jackson—then a contender for the Democratic Presidential nomination—joined students at Stanford in chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho Western Civ has got to go!”

With that spectacle, the university promptly dropped required courses in Western Civilization. Fifteen texts—a “core list” that included Plato, Voltaire, St. Augustine, and Marx and Engels—were replaced by a more diverse canon.

It was the beginning of a wave of protests against Western culture on college campuses in the 1990s that, today, has seen a resurgence in the form of trigger warnings on syllabi, safe spaces, and policed speech.

At Stanford, a backlash against this censorious student culture is taking shape in the form of a petition to reinstate the university’s Western Civilization curriculum. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Daily Beast

The Courage of Neighbors: Stories from the Rwandan Genocide

Video courtesy of Cultures of Resistance Films.

Saving Our Youth: Preventing Gangs

Video courtesy of KCRA News.

Trailblazers in Black History: Archbishop Desmond TuTu (Ret.)

Video courtesy of the DesmondTutu PeaceFoundation.

Today in History: April 7th

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Spar Over Who is 'Qualified' to Be President

Donald Trump Returns to NY to Talk Ted Cruz and 'New York Values'

Can Cleveland Police Handle Volatile Republican Convention?

This article was published in partnership with The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that covers the U.S. criminal justice system.

When the Republican National Convention storms into Cleveland in July, the security challenges will be formidable, but not just because the GOP is in turmoil.

The Cleveland Division of Police — which will oversee the 1,500 cops on its roster and as many as 3,500 more borrowed from elsewhere — is confronting its own serious internal disorder. It will be the first police agency to take on a presidential nominating convention while operating under federal oversight.

Whether that fact turns out to be a historical footnote or something more troubling depends on a number of factors, from the temperament of the crowds to the volatility of the convention itself to the ability of Cleveland's commanders to rein in a department that has been deemed seriously flawed for the way its officers use force.

A two-decade-old federal law gives the U.S. Justice Department authority to sue local law enforcement agencies that refuse to reform. Seventeen consent decrees — the strictest form of federal oversight — have been issued since 1997. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

White House 'Declines to Support Encryption Legislation'

The White House is declining to offer public support for draft legislation that would empower judges to require technology companies such as Apple to help law enforcement crack encrypted data, sources familiar with the discussions said.

The decision all but assures that the years-long political impasse over encryption will continue even in the wake of the high-profile effort by the Department of Justice to force Apple to break into an iPhone used by a gunman in last December's shootings in San Bernardino, California. 

President Obama suggested in remarks last month that he had come around to the view that law enforcement agencies needed to have a way to gain access to encrypted information on smartphones. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News