Friday, October 14, 2016

U.S. Poised For Unprecedented Cyber Assault Targeting Russia

The Power of the Pen: New Bills Signed Into Law

On Friday, October 14, 2016, the President signed into law:

S. 246, the “Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act,” which establishes the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children.  

Statement by The President

Today I am pleased to sign into law S. 246, the "Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act," which will create the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children. The Commission is tasked with the important work of undertaking a comprehensive study of Federal, State, local, and tribal programs that serve Native children, and making recommendations on how those programs could be improved. Over the past 8 years, my Administration has been committed to working closely with tribes to strengthen our nation-to-nation relationships and to forge a brighter future for all our children. During my own visits to Indian Country, I have been inspired by the talent and enthusiasm of young people who want nothing more than to make a positive difference in their communities. From the Indian Child Welfare Act to working to return control of Indian education to tribal nations, I am proud of the progress we have made over the past 8 years. I applaud the Congress, and in particular Senator Heitkamp, for the efforts that made this new law possible.
The bill provides for a Commission consisting of three individuals appointed by the President and eight individuals appointed by congressional leaders, and would place this Commission in a specific office within the Department of Justice. While I welcome the creation of this Commission, it cannot be located in the executive branch consistent with the separation of powers because it includes legislative branch appointees (who here are empowered to direct other executive branch agencies to provide additional resources to the Commission). I am therefore instructing the Attorney General to treat the Commission as an independent entity, separate from the executive branch.
Upon signing the bill my Administration will begin seeking appointments for the Commission from the Congress so we can implement this legislation as soon as possible. I look forward to seeing the Commission's work in the years to come -- work that will help ensure all our young people can reach their full potential.
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

House Speaker Paul Ryan Lays Out Republican Vision Ahead of Election

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks to college Republicans in Madison, Wisconsin about the GOP’s legislative agenda and the 2016 election. He calls on voters to “raise your gaze now more than ever...stand with us.” 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Montana Republicans Warmly Embrace a White Nationalist's Legislative Candidacy

By David Neiwert 

Despite a long background in far-right radicalism, youthful Taylor Rose’s campaign enjoys deep and broad support within the state’s GOP. 

Taylor Rose likes to project a fresh-scrubbed, wholesome image to his fellow Montanans while campaigning for a seat in the state’s House of Representatives. It’s easy for the blonde-haired, blue-eyed and clean-shaven 28-year-old from the rural Columbia Falls area to do, flashing a toothy grin and ranting about the need to get the federal government out of workers’ hair and open up the state’s timberlands to lumber operations.

The image, combined with a pleasing message (Rose likes to label himself a “pro-labor Republican”) and a slick campaign, have all raised the prospects that Rose might be able to pull off an upset win over incumbent Rep. Zac Perry, a Democrat, in the race for the House seat in District 3, which historically leans Republican.

What many voters may not realize, however, is Taylor’s long history of deep involvement with the white nationalist movement, and the dangerously bigoted worldview he has promoted since his teenage years –– a history well documented by the SPLC and the Anti-Defamation League in the years leading up to his campaign.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Southern Poverty Law Center

Settlement Securing Job Training For Women Veterans Reached After SPLC Complaint

A North Carolina ministry has agreed to ensure its federally funded job training and residential program for homeless veterans doesn’t discriminate against women – resolving a sex discrimination complaint the SPLC filed on behalf of female veterans who were not given access to the same job training classes as men.

The agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Labor requires the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry to revise its programs and policies to ensure equal access. Program staff will also receive anti-discrimination training. The SPLC and Asheville-based attorney Meghann K. Burke filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center in 2012. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Southern Poverty Law Center

NAN and Rev. Al Sharpton to Launch Month-Long Haitian Relief Drive at Saturday Rally

On October 15, from 9 to 11 a.m., the National Action Network (NAN), Rev. Al Sharpton and Peter Herbert Bernard, Haitian Consul General, will launch a relief drive at NAN headquarters during Sharpton's weekly radio broadcast. 

For the next month, until December 1, 2016, NAN will collect and send supplies to Haiti to support the relief efforts and those affected by tragedies. 

Items can be dropped off at the House of Justice auditorium, 106 West 145th Street at Malcolm X Blvd., Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

To see the full list of accepted items, click here.

The event will be broadcast on WLIB 1190 AM and streamed live at

Source: Mercury

Presidential Policy Directive on Cuba

Statement by President Obama 
Today, I approved a Presidential Policy Directive that takes another major step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. This Directive takes a comprehensive and whole-of-government approach to promote engagement with the Cuban government and people, and make our opening to Cuba irreversible.

In December 2014, following more than 50 years of failed policy, I announced that the United States would begin a process of normalizing relations with Cuba. Since then, we've worked with the people and the government of Cuba to do exactly that – re-establishing diplomatic relations, opening embassies, expanding travel and commerce, and launching initiatives to help our people cooperate and innovate. This new directive consolidates and builds upon the changes we've already made, promotes transparency by being clear about our policy and intentions, and encourages further engagement between our countries and our people.

Consistent with this approach, the Departments of Treasury and Commerce issued further regulatory changes today, building on the progress made over the last two years, to continue to facilitate more interaction between the Cuban and American people, including through travel and commercial opportunities, and more access to information. This follows previous changes that helped facilitate interconnectivity between our peoples, and to promote economic reforms on the island by providing access to the dollar in international transactions. These changes are representative of the progress I saw firsthand when I visited Havana to personally extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. The quick flight over 90 miles of blue water belied the real barriers of the past that were crossed that day, but my interactions with everyday Cubans told a promising story of neighbors working to build broader ties of cooperation across the Americas.

Challenges remain – and very real differences between our governments persist on issues of democracy and human rights – but I believe that engagement is the best way to address those differences and make progress on behalf of our interests and values. The progress of the last two years, bolstered by today's action, should remind the world of what's possible when we look to the future together. 
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

The Evangelical Vote and Campaign 2016

CBN News Chief Political Correspondent David Brody examines the choice facing evangelical Christian voters as they consider whether to cast their ballots for Republican nominee Donald Trump on November 8. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Discusses Community Policing

The Attorney General talked about criminal justice reform, community policing, and civil rights. She spoke with Michel Martin. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

'Flashback Friday': Bill & Hillary Clinton, Extramarital Affairs (1992)

This video was published on YouTube on October 24, 2015. 

Source: Classic New Orleans TV

Trailblazers in Black History: Grace Jones

Singer and actress Grace Jones was born in Jamaica in 1948 and was raised there and in Syracuse, New York. At age 17, she left college to pursue a career in modeling and eventually moved to Paris, France, where her striking appearance made her a success. In 1977 Jones transitioned into the music world when she was signed to Island Records. She released several albums over the next few years, including 1981's Nightclubbing, before reinventing herself yet again, appearing in several feature films during the 1980s and '90s, including the James Bond picture A View to a Kill and the comedy Boomerang. Since then, Jones has continued to act, record and perform.

Additional information is available here


Department of Justice to Collect Data on Police Shootings, In-Custody Deaths

The Department of Justice announced several steps Thursday to start collecting nationwide data on interactions between law enforcement and civilians, including police shootings and in-custody deaths.

The move follows demands born out of protests surrounding the deaths of unarmed black people in places like Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland.  

So far, the task of aggregating information on police shootings has largely fallen to news media — most notably The Washington Post and The Guardian.

In a statement announcing the new initiatives, Attorney General Loretta Lynch called them "vital efforts toward increasing transparency and building trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve." The pilot data collection program is set to begin early next year.

Click here for the full article.

Hillary Clinton Extends Her Battleground Map Lead

Clinton expands her battleground-map lead

After one of the craziest weeks we can remember in the 2016 race -- the Access Hollywood audio of Trump, WikiLeaks, the nasty debate in St. Louis, the accusers against Bill Clinton, the accusers against Donald Trump, and plenty of new polls -- here's where the NBC battleground map stands. Hillary Clinton has expanded her lead and now has 287 electoral votes in her column, which is more than the 270 needed to win the White House. Trump has 157 electoral votes in his column, which is down more than 30 for him from last week. And we have 94 electoral votes in Tossup. Last week, our map was Clinton 268, Trump 190, and 80 in Tossup.

Likely Dem: CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA (182 electoral votes)

Lean Dem: CO, ME (3 EVs), MI, MN, NH, NM, NC, PA, VA, WI (105)

Tossup: AZ, GA, FL, IA, ME (1EV), NE (1 EV), NV, OH, UT (94)

Lean GOP: AK, IN, KS, MO, MT, ND, SC, SD, TX (85)

Likely GOP: AL, AR, ID, KY, LA, MS, NE (4 EVs), OK, TN, WV, WY (72) 

Click here for the full article.

Crucial Pennsylvania is One of 15 States Not Using Paper Vote Records

Black Female Doctor: Delta Discriminated, Barred Me From Sick Passenger

Dr. Tamika Cross, an OBGYN resident at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston, wrote in a Facebook post that she was on a flight from Detroit last week when someone two rows ahead her of starting screaming for help.

"I naturally jumped into Doctor mode as no one else was getting up," she wrote on Sunday in the account that has been shared more than 35,000 times. 

Click here for the full article.

Nomi Prins: Welcome to the Artisanal Money Era

In her latest interview Nomi Prins dives deep into what is happening within the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and central banks within what she defines as the Artisanal Money Era.  In the discussion Prins’ gets to the heart of what all of this means for the everyday person just trying to stay afloat.

After being asked about Central Banks and what ordinary people need to know she responded, “The power that some of these central banks have had with the Federal Reserve, ECB, The IMF… Has really increased tremendously in terms of not just interest rates that were prevailing (which were negative to zero) but also the way in which they are moving economic growth, or stifling economic growth by instead fortifying financial institutions and private banks.” 

“They have taken a multiplied role beyond what their stated purpose was in terms of politics, economics and financial systems than they have in the past. They are not stopping. It is a new era we are in. I call it an artisanal money era.  They create money. They move money. They have always done that but now it has more power attached to it from a political and economic standpoint.” 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Daily Reckoning

Transgender Journalist Kicked Off Flight For Shirt Depicting U.S. Flag Upside Down

By Ryan Velez

A Black transgender journalist is making headlines, not for her work, but being kicked off of a United Airlines flight for wearing an upside-down American flag T-shirt and a Black Panther superhero hat, according to The Daily Mail.

According to Amanda Stevens, she was preparing to board her flight from Albany to Chicago to cover the world championships of online battle game League of Legends. At this point, a representative of United initially raised some concerns about her shirt. She was told that the shirt, from the discontinued PacSun clothing line of rapper A$AP Rocky, made the pilot of the flight “uncomfortable.” Dear @united this shirt shouldn’t make your pilot uncomfortable enough to warrant having me spoken to and told to take it off,’ she wrote on Twitter.

While Stevens was allowed to board the plane, issues continued when she had a “tense exchange” with a flight attendant who asked her to put her bag under her seat. Finally, she was asked to remove her hat, designed with the logo of the Marvel superhero Black Panther. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Your Black World News

Damian Marley Converts Deserted Californian Prison Into A Prescription Marijuana Farm

By Victor Ochieng

Damian Marley, Bob Marley’s youngest son, has made known his plans to go into the marijuana business. Reports reveal that the reggae star is converting an empty prison in California into a prescription marijuana farm.

The 38-year-old Marley is partnering with Ocean Grown Extracts to purchase Claremont Custody Center in Coalinga for a total sum of $4.1 million. The venture will involve growing marijuana in the 77,000-square foot piece of land and distributing their produce to state dispensaries.

The legendary reggae singer Bob Marley, who passed away in 1981, converted to Rastafarianism and even said he believed cannabis “opened up a spiritual door” for him.

Speaking to Billboard magazine, Damian said, “Many people sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up. If this helps people and it’s used for medicinal purposes and inspires people, it’s a success.”

The junior Marley firmly said they’ll strictly grow specific types of the plant.

“A lot of things – integrity of the product, something that I myself would use personally; also, something that I don’t mind young people being involved in, that is a big thing for me.” 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Your Black World News

Where's the $10 Billion Dollars for Haiti?

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York

You should know that last week, Haiti was devastated by Hurricane Matthew, leaving a death toll of more than 900, destroying towns, villages, homes, schools, businesses, and leaving most of the island in disrepair.

You should also know that in 2010, Haiti was hit by an earthquake, practically destroying almost the whole island, leaving 200,000 people dead, and survivors devastated with famine and disease.

In 2010, after the earthquake, there was a national effort to help rebuild Haiti.  According to reports, $10 billion dollars was raised to rebuild it.

It is important for you to know that in 2010, even though $10 billion dollars was raised and the whole island could have been rebuilt, that was not done.

In a New York Post column titled “Al Nixed Haiti $$” Richard Johnson wrote:

“The Rev. Al Sharpton doesn’t want any money going to rebuild Haiti from the devastation of Hurricane Matthew until we find out what happened to the $10 billion that was meant to rebuild Haiti after the earthquake in 2010.”

Mr. Johnson continued: “What happened to the money that was given the last time? We need to look into it,” Sharpton told me. “I don’t know where the blame lies.”

Ladies and gentlemen, we all know how Haiti is one of the poorest islands in the hemisphere, and when natural disasters strike, suffering gets worse.

Sean Penn, along with other celebrities created organizations to raise money to help rebuild Haiti.

It is a shame that after six years, even before Hurricane Matthew hit, the people in Haiti continue to suffer devastation.

You should know that even though people are getting together once again to raise money for Haiti, I agree with Reverend Al Sharpton that money should not be given to Haiti until we know who is profiting from Haiti’s suffering.

We need to get together and press the authorities to find out where the $10 billion dollars went and why that money did not help the people in Haiti.

Can you imagine what we could do with $10 billion dollars? There are countries whose annual budgets are less than  $10 billion dollars.

Reverend Sharpton, I am with you. Where's the $10 billion dollars that was given to Haiti?

I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know. 

Update - On October 17, Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz submitted the following statement. 

"To everyone who has inquired and responded to me about my article WHERE ARE THE 10 BILLION DOLLARS FOR HAITI?, I'm aware of many investigations being reported by the media about mismanaged money by the Clinton Foundation, the State Department, the Red Cross and other organizations that promised much and did not deliver relief efforts for Haiti."

NAACP To Vote On Controversial Charter Moratorium

With help from Kimberly Hefling, Mel Leonor, Mike Vasquez and Michael Stratford

NAACP TO VOTE ON CONTROVERSIAL CHARTER MORATORIUM: The NAACP is set to vote this weekend on a controversial resolution calling for a halt to charter school expansion. It’s not exactly a new stance for the NAACP, which has passed numerous resolutions critical of charters since as far back as the late 1990s. But charter schools have seen rapid growth in recent years and are under increased scrutiny, so this vote is attracting a lot more attention — and resistance — than those in the past. “Now people are really asking harder questions. It’s no longer a boutique kind of thing,” Julian Vasquez Heilig, a professor of educational leadership and policy studies at California State University-Sacramento, told Morning Education.

The fight over charter schools is a sort of “civil war in the black community,” said Heilig, who researches charters and is a member of the NAACP, as well as a charter school critic. The NAACP vote is significant, in part, because charters are popular among many black parents — more than a quarter of students attending charter schools are black, whereas black students make up just 15 percent of the nation’s overall enrollment. Pro-charter groups have long held up charters as a better option for low-income and minority students who have been let down by the public school system, so if the NAACP takes an even stronger stance against the schools, it could be a blow to the charter movement.

The battle over the NAACP vote reflects a broader rift in the Democratic Party. To the dismay of the education “reform” community, the Democratic Party platform language adopted this year in Philadelphia was far less friendly toward charter schools than in previous election cycles. The Clintons are longtime charter school supporters, but late last year Hillary Clinton seemingly took a page from critics’ playbook when she stated that most of these schools “don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them.” The comment was praised by teachers’ unions, who are among the loudest critics of charter schools. (Hillary Clinton’s remark in July at the NEA convention that traditional public schools and charter schools should share ideas was met with boos.) The tug-of-war within Democratic circles is also playing out in the blue state of Massachusetts, where charter supporters and opponents have spent millions of dollars in a clash over a ballot initiative that would lift the state’s cap on charter school expansion. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Politico

Addabbo Wants To See De Blasio Out

by Anthony O’Reilly, Associate Editor 

With a little more than a year left before Election Day 2017, state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) told the Queens Chronicle last Thursday there’s one person he’s not going to support: Mayor de Blasio.

During a wide-ranging interview with the Chronicle, Addabbo had a simple response when asked if he’d back de Blasio for a second term next year.

“No,” he said. “I really hope someone credible runs against him.”

The senator — who served with de Blasio in the City Council from 2001 to 2008 — said there were a few reasons he will not endorse hizzoner.

One of them was de Blasio’s unresponsiveness to elected officials’ concerns on issues ranging from their constituents’ quality of life to the proposed placement of homeless people at a Holiday Inn in Maspeth. The same couldn’t be said when Mayor Bloomberg was in office.

“With Bloomberg, he would at least tell you why you were wrong,” Addabbo joked. “But at least he responded to you ... he didn’t make you feel embarrassed.” 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Queens Chronicle (via The Empire Report)

Cut Ties to Donald Trump, Big Donors Urge R.N.C.

WASHINGTON — Several of the Republican Party’s most generous donors called on the Republican National Committee on Thursday to disavow Donald J. Trump, saying that allegations by multiple women that Mr. Trump had groped or made inappropriate sexual advances toward them threatened to inflict lasting damage on the party’s image.

To an elite group of Republican contributors who have donated millions of dollars to the party’s candidates and committees in recent years, the cascade of revelations related to Mr. Trump’s sexual conduct is grounds for the committee to cut ties with the party’s beleaguered standard-bearer, finally and fully.

“At some point, you have to look in the mirror and recognize that you cannot possibly justify support for Trump to your children — especially your daughters,” said David Humphreys, a Missouri business executive who contributed more than $2.5 million to Republicans from the 2012 campaign cycle through this spring and opposed Mr. Trump’s bid from the outset.

Bruce Kovner, a New York investor and philanthropist who with his wife has given $2.7 million to Republicans over the same period, was just as blunt. “He is a dangerous demagogue completely unsuited to the responsibilities of a United States president,” Mr. Kovner wrote in an email, referring to Mr. Trump. 

Click here for the full article. 

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

City & State: Winners & Losers, 10/14/16

There’s only a few weeks left in this tumultuous presidential campaign, and with all the twists and turns nobody can tell how it will end. Of course, the All-Seeing Trump may have an idea, but should we be careful what we wish for? All we know for sure is who are the latest Winners & Losers.


Sean Basinski – After a two-and-a-half year battle, the director of the Street Vendor Project may soon see the fruits of his labor on every corner. The New York City Council plans to introduce legislation to modernize the quagmire of regulations that has spawned a black market for food vending permits. However, one reform would double the permits, which is sure to face opposition and has already riled up at least one midtown business leader.

Bhairavi Desai – The president of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance crashed Uber's party thanks to a state Department of Labor ruling that two drivers were in fact employees, and not independent contractors, a status for its drivers that the ride sharing company has consistently pushed. The drivers will be able to claim unemployment insurance, meaning the company will have to pay its part of the bill. While this seems a small victory, it could have larger implications in future cases.

Click here for the full listing.  

Source: City & State (via The Empire Report)

When Preet Bharara Was Asked If He Would Prosecute Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

An evening with the ‘Sheriff of Wall Street.’ 
NEW YORK: An hour or so before the second presidential debate commenced between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday, where they verbally dueled on who is the evil incarnate, closer to their respective homes, an interesting question was posed to Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, at the New York University: would he prosecute Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for their egregious violations of laws?

Bharara’s answer: “next question”, came after a quick look around of the audience at the Rosenthal Pavilion atop the Kimmel Center, in Manhattan, with a smile on his face.

But the following question, this time from the founder of the Indo-American Arts Council, Aroon Shivdasani, at whose request Bharara had agreed to do the closing night honors of an annual literary festival which was attended by among others, Shashi Tharoor and Suketu Mehta, was on the same lines, asking if Trump would be prosecuted for myriad instances of breaking the law, including for the now defunct Trump University, and Clinton for her missing e-mails. 

Even Seema Mody, the global markets reporter for CNBC, who earlier conducted an excellent Q&A with Bharara, jocularly goaded him on, tried to get an answer from the ‘Sheriff of Wall Street’ to perhaps one of the most important questions of this year’s race for the White House.

The answer from Bharara was, however, noncommittal and ambiguous, but gave a little bit more; yet remained anybody’s guess as to what he really would have said if only his closest confidante was present: “You expect me to comment on this in front of a hundred people…” before he trailed off, adding for good measure: “Next question.” 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The American Bazaar (via The Empire Report)

From Wikileaks: ‘I Need Zephyr To Not Be A Pain In The Ass to Hillary’


A pair of Hillary Clinton supporters swapped emails in March worrying whether Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout might act like what one termed “a pain in the ass” by supporting Bernie Sanders just as the progressive Vermont senator was coming on strong in his presidential primary bid, according to an email string including in the Wikileaks hack of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.

The twist ending: Teachout had already endorsed Sanders three months earlier.

The discussion of events in the 19th Congressional District race comes in an exchange between attorney Koethi Zan, a member of the Town of Ghent’s Democratic apparatus and an accomplished thriller author, and Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress. (The exchange begins as a larger conversation about the 20th reunion of their Yale Law School class.)

“Is terry teachout running in your CD?,” asked Tanden, mistaking the author of “Corruption in America” for the Wall Street Journal drama critic and Duke Ellington biographer.

“Zephyr. Yes. Big problem,” Zan replied before appearing to allude to Zephyr Teachout’s primary opponent Will Yandik. “But I got mad at our guy bc he has weak political instincts. I set him up with great connections (not just donors but real strategists) and he failed to follow up etc. Zephyr is going to lose big time here. Our guy would have won but he has no path to win the primary. Ugh. I could go on and on. See I am learning politics from the ground level up. Haha.”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: (via The Empire Report)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

White House Happenings: The Hispanic Heritage Month Reception

The First Lady Speaks on the Film 'We Will Rise'

The new film tells the story of adolescent girls overcoming incredible challenges to achieve their educations and change their own lives, with contributions from Mrs. Obama, Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto, and CNN journalist Isha Sesay.

White House Conversation on Drones/The Future of Aviation

Chief of Staff Denis McDonough hosts a conversation on the future of aviation and its impact on America's future.

António Guterres Elected as the Next U.N. Secretary-General


Statement from President Obama

On behalf of the United States of America, I congratulate António Guterres on his election today as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.  As a founding member and host country of the United Nations, and a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, the United States pledges to provide our full support to Mr. Guterres when he assumes leadership of the United Nations on January 1, 2017

Since its inception, the United Nations has played a central role in resolving armed conflicts, preserving stability, lifting billions out of poverty, delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance, and promoting the fullest enjoyment of human rights worldwide.  With tens of millions displaced, U.N. peacekeepers deployed at record levels, climate change already impacting countries worldwide, and extremists targeting innocent civilians, the international community has never relied more on the United Nations than it does today.  We have every confidence that, as a former Prime Minister of Portugal and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Guterres has the character, vision, and skills needed to lead the United Nations at this critical moment and to reform its organizations and operations to better meet these unprecedented challenges.

As the United States welcomes Mr. Guterres to his new role, I also want to take this opportunity again to pay tribute to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his decade of service to the U.N.  Secretary-General Ban has galvanized the international community behind efforts to address climate change, pushed the United Nations to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts, and advocated for universal values and human rights. He has been a valued partner for the United States and we thank him for his leadership. 
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary 

Reflections of a President: His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Jack Greenberg

Statement by the President on the Passing of His
Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Jack Greenberg

On behalf of the people of the United States, I offer my heartfelt condolences to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, her children and grandchildren, and the people of Thailand on the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.  His Majesty the King was a close friend of the United States and a valued partner of many U.S. Presidents.  I had the honor of calling on His Majesty the King during my visit to Thailand in 2012, and recall his grace and warmth, as well as his deep affection and compassion for the Thai people.

As the revered leader and only monarch that most Thais have ever known, His Majesty was a tireless champion of his country's development and demonstrated unflagging devotion to improving the standard of living of the Thai people.  With a creative spirit and a drive for innovation, he pioneered new technologies that have rightfully received worldwide acclaim.  His Majesty leaves a legacy of care for the Thai people that will be cherished by future generations.

The American people and I stand with the people of Thailand as we mourn His Majesty the King's passing, and today we hold the Thai people in our thoughts and prayers.   

Thanks to Jack Greenberg’s devotion to justice, millions of Americans have known the freedom to learn and work and vote and live in a country that more faithfully lives up to its founding principle of equality under the law.  The son of immigrants who had fled anti-Semitism, he believed that civil rights was a cause for all Americans, regardless of race or circumstances of birth.  As a leader of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, he followed in the footsteps of his mentor,  Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and pushed our nation to confront some of our most profound challenges.  

Jack served in our Navy at Iwo Jima and Okinawa and then, at just 27 years old, he helped argue the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case that desegregated our schools.  A decade later, he represented Dr. King in Birmingham Jail.  He learned quickly that change would not come overnight -- that it would take many generations, more court cases, and nationwide movements to even begin realizing the dream of civil rights for all Americans.  But Jack’s calm temperament and intellectual approach to moral arguments perfectly suited him for the fight; he knew, after all, that history was on his side.  Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Deborah, his children, and all those who loved him dearly and have benefited from his strong sense of right and wrong. 
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary