Saturday, March 25, 2017

NYC Protesters March Against Alleged White Supremacist Slaying Of Black Man

NEW YORK ― Nelini Stamp wants America to say Timothy Caughman’s name ― not the name of the man who killed him. 

“Timothy was killed by a white supremacist, by a white terrorist,” Stamp told a crowd of about 300 protesters Friday evening in Manhattan’s Union Square.

This man, she said, “came from Baltimore to New York City ― our city ― to kill black people. He killed Timothy. We will not say this man’s name because he wants to be known. Instead we will say Timothy’s name to make sure no one ever forgets Timothy.” 

Stamp, of the progressive social justice group Resist Here, then led the protesters on a solemn, 22-block march north. 

“All across NYC!” they chanted. “Resist white supremacy!” 

“Say his name!” they yelled. “Timothy Caughman!”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post

President Trump's Weekly Address

President Trump Participates in a Meeting with Medal of Honor Recipients

Date of event: March 24, 2017

President Trump Makes a Statement on Healthcare Law

Date of event: March 24, 2017

President Trump Hosts a Greek Independence Day Celebration

Date of event: March 24, 2017

AP Exclusive: US Probe of Ex-Trump Aide Extends to Cyprus

By Jack Gillum, Menelaos Hadjicostis and Eric Tucker

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government investigation of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, crossed the Atlantic earlier this year to the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, once known as a haven for money laundering by Russian billionaires.

Treasury agents in recent months obtained information connected to Manafort's transactions from Cypriot authorities, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly. The request was part of a federal anti-corruption probe into Manafort's work in Eastern Europe. The Cyprus attorney general, one of the country's top law enforcement officers, was also aware of the American request.

Manafort was Trump's unpaid campaign chairman from March until August last year, during the critical run-up to the Republican National Convention. He's been a leading focus of the U.S. investigation into whether Trump associates coordinated with Moscow to meddle in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Manafort, in a statement to the AP Thursday when asked about the Cyprus transactions, characterized them as a normal practice. "Like many companies doing business internationally, my company was paid via wire transfer, typically using clients' preferred financial institutions and instructions," he said.

Federal prosecutors became interested in Manafort's activities years ago as part of a broad investigation to recover stolen Ukrainian assets after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych there in early 2014. No U.S. criminal charges have been filed in the case. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Associated Press

Hate Groups Like Center for Immigration Studies Want You to Believe They’re Mainstream


By Heidi Beirich

In the nearly 30 years since the Southern Poverty Law Center has been monitoring the American radical right we’ve seen a major shift in the nature of organized groups that specialize in vilifying certain people because of their race, ethnicity or other characteristic.

In the beginning, they were the usual suspects: Klan factions, neo-Nazi groups, black separatists, racist skinheads and the like.

We’re in a different world today. Hate has gone mainstream. Today, the purveyors of hate don’t always burn crosses or use racial slurs. They might wear suits and ties. They might have sophisticated public relations operations. They might even testify before Congress.

They’re also more likely to be animated by a nativist or white nationalist ideology that sees the “white race” as being under siege by immigrants of color across the Western world. Reflecting this trend, our annual list of hate groups has evolved to include more groups closely linked to white nationalism.

This year, for the first time, we listed the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a nativist think tank that churns out a constant stream of fear-mongering misinformation about Latino immigrants. Predictably, the hate group designation provoked an attack by the group’s executive director, Mark Krikorian, whose March 17 commentary in The Washington Post accused the SPLC of conflating groups like the Klan with groups, like his, that “simply do not share” our political beliefs.

It’s understandable that Krikorian would recoil from being labeled a “hate group.” But the CIS has earned it – and not only because of statements by Krikorian, such as his suggestion after the devastating earthquake in Haiti that the country is so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.”

CIS is the brainchild of John Tanton, the father of the modern nativist movement, and part of a network of closely related anti-immigrant groups that Tanton founded. These groups have been responsible for much of the hysteria about immigrants that dominates conservative politics.

Tanton, a retired Michigan ophthalmologist, spent decades at the heart of the white nationalist movement. In addition to his flagship organization, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), he founded and operated the Social Contract Press, which has published numerous overtly racist tracts, including the rancid novel Camp of the Saints

Click here for the full article.

Heidi Beirich leads the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, which publishes the award-winning Intelligence Report and the Hatewatch blog.

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center

Friday, March 24, 2017

Republicans Pull the Plug on Trumpcare

GOP leadership and the White House were unable to convince conservatives to back its repeal-and-replace bill; and Trump’s first major legislative effort came tumbling down.

By Jackie Kucinich, Asawin Suebsaeng and Andrew Desiderio

Facing certain defeat on their increasingly doomed health-care bill, Republican leaders chose to pull it from the floor Friday afternoon rather than watching it die on live television.

“We just pulled it," President Donald Trump called to tell Washington Post reporter Robert Costa around 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday. “We had no votes from the Democrats,” Trump said later in remarks to press. 

“They weren’t going to give us a single vote so it’s a very difficult thing to do…I think what will happen is Obamacare, unfortunately, will explode. It’s going to have a bad year.”

Republicans never sought any Democratic votes on this, and Trump has previously floated the idea of trying to have the Affordable Care Act cave in on itself rather than repealing it this soon.

Just minutes after the bill was pulled, a somber-looking House Speaker Paul Ryan emerged at a hastily called news conference to lament the new GOP governing coalition’s "growing pains." He refused to “sugarcoat” his party's major legislative defeat, and admitted he could not reach a consensus with hardline conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus.

“I spoke to the president just a little while ago and I told him that the best thing I think to do is to pull this bill, and he agreed with that decision,” Ryan said at a press conference following the decision. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast 

Harlem Rally: Mother of Eric Garner, Rev. Sharpton to Discuss Her Son's Case and Anti-Hate Campaign

On March 25, at 9:30 a.m., civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder of National Action Network (NAN), and Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, will take part in a special rally at NAN headquarters, 106 West 145th Street at Malcolm X Boulevard. 

In the wake of the racial attack in Times Square and ongoing attacks on Jews and Muslims, Rev. Sharpton and NAN will provide details on an anti-hate campaign that will include Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Governor Cuomo and others. 

Rev. Sharpton will also brief the community on his meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Ms. Carr will share her thoughts on this week's White House visit and the fact that the Grand Jury is still active in her son's case. 

The event will be livestreamed here and broadcast live on WLIB 1190AM

Source: Mercury

Cuomo: 'This Bill Appears to Be on Life Support for Now – It Should Be Killed Once and For All'

Statement from the Governor

"This week, Washington showed the people of this nation a disgusting display of government at its worst.

"We saw Members of Congress openly bribe one-another at the expense of their own constituents, racing each other to decimate New York’s healthcare system while attempting to ram through a piece of legislation that would jeopardize the healthcare of 24 million people and supported by only 17 percent of Americans.

"Some Republican Members of Congress apparently forgot who put them there in the first place. So let me remind them: you are elected to fight for your constituents – not hurt them.  For the first time in my life, I witnessed New York elected officials pound their chest proudly while cutting nearly $7 billion in funding for the people they serve, tripping over themselves to cut taxes for millionaires while simultaneously cutting healthcare services for seniors, women, and the disabled and killing jobs across the state.

"This bill appears to be on life support for now – it should be killed once and for all.

"Republicans leadership may have counted on the complexity of the issue to confuse the debate, but at the end of the day it’s actually quite simple. This Congress tried to play the people of this nation for a fool – they were wrong, and they lost."  

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Whistleblower Forced Out After Leaking Complaints Against Cop Who Killed Eric Garner

 NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo

A New York City agency that investigates police misconduct forced an employee to resign this week after the worker leaked information about the officer who killed Eric Garner with a banned chokehold.

The unidentified employee of the Civilian Complaint Review Board handed over grievance documents filed against Daniel Pantaleo, revealing that the officer had four substantiated complaints on record before his fatal encounter with Garner in 2014, but received next to no punishment. The complaints were published Tuesday by ThinkProgress.

The New York Police Department immediately decried the leak and sought a culprit. Top brass cited a 40-year-old law that allows it to keep disciplinary records under wraps ― and that the department suddenly started relying on last year. The employee resigned Thursday rather than get fired, according to the New York Daily News. The employee had never worked on investigations into Pantaleo’s wrongdoing.

The paperwork (embedded below) shows that Pantaleo faced at least seven complaints containing 14 allegations over his career. The review board had recommended disciplinary action against him in the years prior to the Garner case. But Pantaleo’s worst punishments involved extra training and the loss of two vacation days. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post

New York Launches Public-Private Liberty Defense Project

Governor Andrew Cuomo today launched the nation’s first public-private immigrant legal defense initiative called the Liberty Defense Project in response to the surge in demand for help that is overwhelming nonprofit organizations serving immigrants. The partnership will be supported by more than $1 million in funding to provide legal assistance and representation to immigrants in New York State, regardless of their residency status, through a network of pro bono attorneys, law students and legal professionals.

The initiative is a public-private partnership between the New York Department of State, two dedicated philanthropic allies—the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation— and a statewide coalition of 182 advocacy organizations and legal entities. Private sector law firms, legal departments at universities, bar associations and advocacy organizations, will be coordinated by the State’s Office for New Americans to provide pro bono legal and additional resources for immigrants threatened by recent changes in immigration policies.

“New York is a beacon of hope and opportunity for all, and immigrants have always been part of the fabric of this great state,” Governor Cuomo said. “During these stormy times, it’s critical all New Yorkers have access to their full rights under the law. The first-of-its-kind Liberty Defense Project will provide legal support to protect immigrants and ensure this state is living up to the values embodied by the Lady in our Harbor.”

Through a central repository managed by the Office for New Americans, the Liberty Defense Project will:

Provide legal assistance and representation to immigrants in New York State through a network of pro bono attorneys, other legal professionals and law students.

Assist immigrants in deportation proceedings.

Assist in completing and filing applications for lawful permanent residence (also known as a green card), or temporary status, as well as work permits.

Provide outreach and educational help to assist parents who are potentially at risk of deportation to fill appropriate forms and prepare emergency plans for the care of their children in case they are detained or deported.  This will enhance the work already being done at centers run by the State Office for New Americans throughout New York.

The Carnegie Corporation and the Ford Foundation have committed significant financial resources to this effort. The Carnegie Corporation has long committed to fostering a pluralistic democracy through civic integration of immigrants and the Ford Foundation’s lengthy commitment to the inherent dignity of all people aligns with the Governor’s dedication to making New York State a fair and safe place for all its residents.

In recognition of the scarcity of immigration attorneys in areas outside New York City, the Project will also partner with Equal Justice Works to place approximately 20 new attorneys and over 100 law students in communities with limited legal resources and high immigrant populations. These lawyers will work full-time to aid immigrants in New York State to access legal advice while adjusting their immigration status.

A statewide coalition of 182 advocacy organizations, 14 law schools, 21 law firms and 14 bar associations will be coordinated by the State’s Office for New Americans to provide pro bono legal services to immigrants. More than 200 experienced attorneys and paralegals will volunteer their time and work together so that immigrants are better aware of their legal options and are provided greater access to representation. During the upcoming months, volunteer attorneys will also travel across the state to help immigrants understand their rights, as part of the “know-your-rights” campaign being conducted by the Office for New Americans.
The initiative will also rely on established state partners and immigrant advocates, such as Catholic Charities, to help provide greater access to legal services for immigrants threatened by recent changes in immigration policies. They will help to organize the participation of volunteer attorneys and offer other support and guidance to this critical initiative by coordinating the participation of volunteer attorneys and offer other support and guidance to this critical initiative.

Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said: “New York’s immigrants are at the heart of our state's rich civic, and social diversity. Legal representation dramatically improves outcomes for all New Yorkers. The Liberty Defense Project will ensure that immigrants in need are provided with counsel that will protect their rights. I want to thank Carnegie Corporation and Ford Foundations for their support and commitment to this vital and much-needed assistance.”

Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation said, “We applaud the innovative step by Governor Cuomo and the state of New York to establish the Liberty Defense Project. Over the last five decades Ford’s work on immigration has focused squarely on protecting the dignity of vulnerable communities. The importance of the rule of law to protect and defend the human rights of all who live in this country is a key value underpinning our democracy since our founding and into the future.”
A full list of current partners of the Liberty Defense Project include:

1. Carnegie Corporation
2. Ford Foundation
21 Private Sector Firms/Legal Departments, including the following 10:
1. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
2. Cooley LLP
3. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
4. Greenberg Traurig LLP
5. Morrison & Foerster LLP
6. Nixon Peabody LLP
7. Ropes & Gray LLP
8. Shearman & Sterling LLP
9. Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
10. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Bar/Legal Associations
1. American Immigration Lawyers Association
2. Asian American Bar Association of New York
3. Association of Black Women Attorneys
4. The Dominican Bar Association
5. Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) – New York Regional Chapter
6. Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York
7. The LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (LeGaL)
8. Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County
9. Long Island Hispanic Bar Association
10. Metropolitan Black Bar Association
11. New York City Bar Association
12. New York State Bar Association
13. Puerto Rican Bar Association
14. South Asian Bar Association of New York
Law Schools
1. Albany Law School
2. Brooklyn Law School
3. Columbia Law School
4. Cornell Law School
5. CUNY School of Law
6. Fordham University School of Law
7. School of Law at Hofstra University
8. New York Law School
9. Pace Law School
10. St. John’s University School of Law
11. Syracuse University College of Law
12. Touro College Touro Law Center
13. University at Buffalo School of Law
Advocacy Organizations
1. 27 New York State Office for New American Opportunity Centers
2. Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
3. Immigrant Justice Corps
4. New York Immigration Coalition (150 members)
6. Safe Passage

The Department of State will begin implementation of the Liberty Defense Project by conducting training and outreach events designed to prepare pro bono attorneys for their work with immigrants:
1. April 10, 2017 – Training on Securing T Visas
2. April 12, 2017 – Family Safety Planning: Protecting Undocumented Children
3. April 13, 2017 – Survey of Immigration Law
4. May 18, 2017 – Legal consequences of criminal records for immigrants
5. May 24, 2017 – Family Based Immigration Law
6. June 19, 2017 – Deportation Defense
7. August 17, 2017 – Preventing Immigration Legal Services Fraud
8. September 15, 2017 - Survey of Immigration Law
9. October 12, 2017 – Advanced Issues in Immigration Court
10. November , 2017 - Two day Immigration Court Training
11. November 12, 2017 – Immigration Appeals
Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

WATCH LIVE: House Vote on Health Bill

Source: PBS NewsHour

President Trump Leads a Listening Session with Truckers and CEOs Regarding Healthcare

Date of event: March 24, 2017

President Trump Meets with Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge and Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Date of event: March 24, 2017

President Trump Holds a National Economic Council Meeting

Date of event: March 24, 2017

White House Press Briefing

Keystone Approval Part of Big Oil’s Master Plan for Trump

Albany – Today, President Donald Trump reversed the Obama Administration’s mandate regarding the Keystone XL pipeline. In response, Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of NewYork (EANY), issued the following statement:

“Keystone’s approval is not a one-off. It’s part of a larger scheme the fossil fuel industry hatched to make Americans more dependent on their product. They are cornering consumers into reliance.

While no one would accuse President Trump of having some master plan on policy, what’s now clear is how easily he is manipulated and cajoled into embracing whatever industry wants.

It started with attacks on basic clean air and water protections. It advanced with the dismantling of vehicle emission standards that will result in consumers paying more at the pump. It comes full circle today, with President Trump’s approval of the build-out of a pipeline through the heart of America for a product heading off to the global market. And it won’t end there. Big Oil has one goal: more profit. While the President is glad-handing his allies, he’s thumbing his nose at Americans across the political spectrum that will pay the price both out of our pockets, and with our health.”

Source: EANY

'Flashback Friday': Klan Bombing of Birmingham Church,1963

Trailblazers in Black History: Richard Pryor

Black Lawmakers Call on FBI to Help on Missing Black Girls

Black members of Congress are calling for the Justice Department to help police investigate a large number of missing children in Washington, D.C.

The District of Columbia logged 501 cases of missing juveniles, many of them black or Latino, in the first three months of this year, according to the Metropolitan Police Department, the city's police force. Twenty-two remained open as of March 22, police said.

The letter, dated Tuesday and obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, was sent by Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond, D-La., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District in Congress. They called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to "devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed."

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

Google Opens Satellite Campus for Howard University Students

A new partnership with Google will offer some Howard University students the chance to leave the "Chocolate City" for Silicon Valley.

The tech giant announced Thursday the creation of "Howard West," a satellite campus of the Washington, D.C. historically black college that will be stationed at the Googleplex in Mountainview, California. The new campus will serve as a three month residency for juniors and seniors in Howard's computer science program and aims to get more black software engineers from HBCUs involved in tech. 

Click here for the full article.

Nunes: 'There Was No Wiretapping of Trump Tower'

As Trump Approves Pipeline, Figures Show Most Americans Oppose Drilling on Federal Lands

In a watershed moment, more than half of the population now oppose drilling in the American wilderness — although this likely has more to do with cheap gas prices than a sudden embrace of environmental sensitivity.

According to poll data released by Gallup on Friday, the same day Donald Trump approved construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, 53 percent of Americans oppose opening federal lands for oil exploration, compared with just 34 percent who were against the idea five years ago. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News  

Health Care Vote Showdown: Republicans Look to Go Big or Go Home

Another day, another chance to pass the Republican health care plan but the outlook remained bleak in the hours heading into a Friday afternoon vote.

After a difficult Thursday for Republicans who had hoped to have passed their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, the House is back at it again — but this time with a directive from the White House that it's now or never.

As the House debated the bill ahead of the vote, Speaker Paul Ryan left Capitol Hill and traveled to the White House to update President Donald Trump on the current outlook. A tally by NBC News shows that at least 34 Republicans have said they are either "no" votes or "leaning no" -- far more than the 22 votes they can afford to lose and still pass the bill.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the White House is "still optimistic" about the bill's passage but allowed, "you can't force people to vote" for it. 

Click here for the full article. 

Paul Manafort to Voluntarily Go Before House Intel Committee in Russia Probe

The two leaders of the House Intelligence committee continued their back-and-forth Friday as tension mounts over the panel's inquiry into whether there are ties between Russia and Trump campaign officials as well as the Kremlin's potential meddling in the 2016 elections.

Into the fray steps Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's embattled former campaign chairman, who will voluntarily appear before the panel, committee chairman Devin Nunes told reporters Friday. A Senate aide confirmed to NBC News that Manafort has also offered to be interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee as a part of their investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. elections last year. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

London Attack: Police Make Further Arrests and Reveal Suspect's Birth Name

British police have made two further arrests and released one woman on bail taking the total number being held in custody over the London attack to nine.

Five people died in the ISIL-claimed assault in Westminster including the UK-born assailant, Khalid Masood.

The Metropolitan police’s counter terrorism chief, Mark Rowley, confirmed Masood went by a number of aliases, but was born Adrian Russell Ajao.

Questions remain about his motives:
“Our investigation focusses on understanding his motivation, his preparation and his associates. Clearly a main line of our investigation is what led him to be radicalised? Was it through influences in our community, influences overseas or through online propaganda? Our investigations and arrests will help with that,” said Rowley. 

Click here for summary/video.

Source: euronews.

Ankara Reacts Angrily to German Arms Export Restrictions

An angry reaction from Ankara to German restrictions on military exports has further stoked tensions between the NATO allies.

Berlin has rejected at least ten applications for arms transfers to Turkey in recent months amid politicians’ fears the weapons could be used on Turkish citizens.

Turkey’s Defence Minister, Fikri Işık, was scathing in his response.

“We expect to see common sense from Germany. Unfortunately, while we see German guns in the hands of terrorists, Germany is ignoring this and is seeming to put restrictions on Turkish weapons demands. This is unacceptable.”

Click here for summary/video. 

Source: euronews. 

Turkey's President Threatens to Tear Up Migration Deal with Europe

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again vowed to re-examine all political and administrative ties with the EU, after a constitutional referendum in April.

Speaking to CNN Turk, Erdogan warned that any review of Ankara’s relations with Europe would include a deal to curb illegal migration to the bloc.

“We can continue our economic relations with the European Union, Erdogan said but we may need to review our political and administrative ties.”
We will sit down and talk with our government and review everything from A to Z.”

Erdogan’s latest salvo comes a day after he said Europeans would not be able to walk safely on the streets if they kept up their current attitude towards Turkey. 

Click here for summary/video. 

Source: euronews.