Saturday, March 4, 2017

Rev. Al Sharpton, Civil Rights Groups to Meet with AG Sessions

(New York, NY)—Civil Rights leader and National Action Network (NAN) President and founder Rev. Al Sharpton will meet with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, along with other civil rights groups. 

Two weeks ago, the Attorney General called Rev. Sharpton and five other civil rights leaders from civil rights organizations and they agreed to meet.

Rev. Sharpton unveiled the agenda during his Saturday Action Rally at NAN’s House of Justice this morning and it’s to discuss the following issues:
The DOJ and the Texas Voter-ID law that’s in the courts in Texas: Last week the DOJ announced it will withdrawal from the position that Texas lawmakers purposefully discriminated against voters of color by passing the nation’s strictest voter identification law in 2011. The laws were found to be discriminatory in the previous Administration under President Barack Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Rev. Sharpton and NAN will state that voting rights should not be in any way compromised. Attorney General Sessions has supported the gutting of the Voting Rights Act.
Criminal Justice Reform and specific issues that are before Congress including the federal indictment of the policeman that killed Walter Scott and shot him in the back. National Action Network wants to be clear that the Justice Department will move forward.

The Status of the investigation of the Eric Garner chokehold case
Criminal Justice Reform

Additional information will be provided soon.  

Source: Mercury

Friday, March 3, 2017

Trump Administration Considering Separating Women, Children at U.S.-Mexico Border

A Reuters Exclusive

By Julia Edwards Ainsley | WASHINGTON

Women and children crossing together illegally into the United States could be separated by U.S. authorities under a proposal being considered by the Department of Homeland Security, according to three government officials.

Part of the reason for the proposal is to deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children, said the officials, who have been briefed on the proposal.

The policy shift would allow the government to keep parents in custody while they contest deportation or wait for asylum hearings. Children would be put into protective custody with the Department of Health and Human Services, in the "least restrictive setting" while until they can be taken into the care of a U.S. relative or state-sponsored guardian.

Currently, families contesting deportation or applying for asylum are generally released from detention quickly and allowed to remain in the United States until their cases are resolved. A federal appeals court ruling bars prolonged child detention. 

Click here for the full article. 

Cuomo Delivers Remarks at 2017 Building & Construction Trades Council Winter Conference

SUNY Student Assembly Denounces Attacks on Jewish Communities

The following statement was submitted by Marc Cohen, President of the Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA). 

“In recent weeks, New York has seen numerous acts of anti-Semitic vandalism and fear-mongering targeting the state’s Jewish communities.

“The desecration of headstones at Waad Hakolel Cemetery in Rochester and more than a half dozen bomb threats made against Jewish community organizations on Long Island, in New York City, throughout the Hudson Valley and Western New York have all occurred recently. The SUNY Student Assembly stands firmly in opposition to acts of hate and discrimination, both in New York and across the country.

“The Student Assembly also commends Governor Cuomo’s swift action, calling on the New York State Police to investigate these threats and condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and bias.

“No SUNY student should have to walk across their campus or through their community in fear of being targeted for their religious beliefs or cultural background. The SUNY Student Assembly leadership will continue working with senior administration officials to ensure that our campuses remain safe and secure environments for all our students and faculty to live and learn.

“We encourage all students, faculty, staff, and community members alike to report discrimination and bias incidents to the New York State Bias Reporting Hotline at (888) 392-3644. Crimes and immediate threats should be directed to local authorities by calling 911.”
The Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA) is the recognized student government organization representing the nearly 600,000 students of the State University of New York. Comprised of student leaders elected by their peers from across SUNY’s 64 campuses, SUNY SA is committed to empowering students throughout the state, and ensuring the representation of its members on the state and national level, as well as throughout the SUNY system.

Private Prisons in the US: The Monetization of Misery

By Glenn E. Martin

Last week we witnessed the opening salvo in what we can expect will be a wholesale retrenchment of the federal policy gains we so recently made.  On February 23rd Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the directive issued last August by the Justice Department ordering the Bureau of Prisons to “phase out” the use of private prisons.  In an ominous sounding memo, Sessions wrote that private prisons would be needed “to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system  It’s been reported that CoreCivic (formerly known as the Corrections Corporation of America) donated $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration!  On the day of the Sessions announcement, the industry’s stocks soared.

In response to the Sessions announcement, I issued the following statement:

“Today’s announcement that the Department of Justice has rescinded its decision to phase out the use of private prisons in confirmation of this administration’s commitment to doubling-down on the suffering caused by four decades of mass incarceration. As long as corporations continue to monetize misery, the most vulnerable among us will continue to be subject to the human grist mill that we look to for justice in America. During the campaign, candidate Trump asked black Americans what they had to lose. The answer appears to be another generation of their children to the privatization of punishment.” 

Private prisons are notorious human rights violators. The desire for higher and higher profits inevitably leads to cutting corners when it comes to conditions of confinement. Just as insidious, private prisons have an incentive to maximize the number of days served by each person by meting out excessive infractions and preventing earlier release.  Their use as detention centers for thousands of immigrants rounded up in workplace and home raids is causing horrendous suffering.

Rest assured that we will be working with our partners in the private prison divestment and immigrants’ rights movements to bring an end to this sorry episode.  Prisons should never be for profit. The monetization of misery is not acceptable.  

Glenn E. Martin is the founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA, an organization dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in half by 2030. JLUSA empowers people most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform. 

President Trump's Weekly Address

Swearing-in Ceremony for HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson

Swearing-in Ceremony for Dept. of Energy Secretary Rick Perry 

Officials Arrest Former Reporter In 8 Bomb Threats On Jewish Community

Mixed Race Marriage in America: A Tribute to Mildred and Richard Loving

This video was published on YouTube on July 10, 2014. 

In 1958, a mixed-race couple, Mildred and Richard Loving, were arrested and then banished from the US state of Virginia for breaking its laws against inter-racial marriage. Nine years later, Mildred and Richard Loving won a ruling at the Supreme Court declaring this sort of legislation unconstitutional. 

What It Means To Be Black In America? (Celebrity Addition)

This video was uploaded to YouTube on July 22, 2008.

Trailblazers in Black History: Sherman Hemsley

Sherman Alexander Hemsley was an American actor and comedian best known for his role as George Jefferson on the CBS television series All in the Family and The Jeffersons, Deacon Ernest Frye on the NBC series Amen and B.P. Richfield on the ABC series Dinosaurs. For his work on the The Jeffersons, Hemsley was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award.  He won an NAACP Image Award. 

While Hemsley was on Broadway doing Purlie, Norman Lear called him in 1971 to play the recurring role of George Jefferson in his new sitcom, All in the Family. Hemsley was reluctant to leave his theatre role, but Lear told him that he would hold the role open for him. Hemsley joined the cast two years later. 

The characters of Hemsley and co-star Isabel Sanford were supporting occasional roles on All in the Family, but they were given their own spin-off, The Jeffersons, two years after Hemsley made his debut on the show. 

The Jeffersons proved to be one of Lear's most successful shows, enjoying a run of 11 seasons through 1985. 

This video features Hemsley discussing how he created "George Jefferson".

Additional information is available here.

Source: Wikipedia

Obama Returning to Spotlight with JFK Award, Deal for His Memoir

Former President Barack Obama has been named this year’s winner of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and scored a lucrative deal for his upcoming memoir. His former attorney general says Obama is “ready to roll” helping Democrats get elected. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports for TODAY.

DHS Intel Document Contradicts Case for Trump's Travel Ban

A Rachel Maddow Show Exclusive

Rachel Maddow reports on a Department of Homeland Security document obtained exclusively by The Rachel Maddow Show that shows that the national security justification for Donald Trump's travel ban is not credible. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent, joins for analysis.

Mike Pence Used a Private AOL Account to Conduct State Business

Vice President Mike Pence used a private email account to conduct public business as Indiana's governor, his spokesman confirmed late Thursday.

In response to an Indianapolis Star story based on public records obtained by paper, Pence spokesman Marc Lotter said: "Government emails involving his state and personal accounts are being archived by the state and are being managed according to Indiana's Access to Public Records Act." 

The newspaper reported Thursday that emails provided through a public records request show that Pence communicated with advisers through his personal AOL account on homeland security matters and security at the governor's residence during his four years as governor.  

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

As Sessions Sidelines Himself, What’s Next in Russia Inquiries?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal leaves any Justice Department investigation of alleged Russian election interference temporarily in the hands of an official who began his career as a prosecutor under President Ronald Reagan and was promoted by Barack Obama.

Sessions on Thursday stepped aside from taking any role in federal inquiries into Donald Trump's presidential campaign, including whether officials or surrogates had improper contacts with the Russians. Sessions had a meeting last year in his office with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, which he said was unrelated to the campaign.

That means it's the job of Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente to oversee any investigations related to the presidential campaigns by the FBI or Justice Department attorneys. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

What are Russians Saying About Trump, Jeff Sessions and Sergey Kislyak?

US President Donald Trump has called the attacks of the US Democratic Party against Attorney General Jeff Sessions “a witch-hunt.”

“They lost the election and now, they have lost their grip on reality. The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total witch hunt!” Trump said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional,” continued Trump’s statement. 

“Trump is repeating Nixon’s mistakes,” reads a headline in Russian national newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets". BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg has a look at this, and some of the other Trump-related headlines in Russia.

Click here for the full article.

Source: euronews.

British PM Appeals for UK Stability Amid Brexit Preparations

Prime Minister Theresa May 

By Seamus Kearney

As Britain finds a new international role post-Brexit, the stability of the UK will be crucial.

That plea from the British Prime Minister in a speech in Scotland, where there is increasing talk of a new referendum on independence if the nation is forced into leaving the EU.

Theresa May insisted there is no economic case for breaking up the United Kingdom.

She also cited one example that concerns Scotland. 

Click here for summary/video.

Source: euronews.