Saturday, July 1, 2017

President Trump's Weekly Address

President Trump Signs the Space Council Executive Order

This video was published on YouTube on June 30, 2017.

A Song for the Soul: U2 - 'Love And Peace Or Else' (Chicago Live)

New York Alert: Storm Threats Expected Between 12 – 10 P.M.

Residents Urged to Prepare for Severe
Thunderstorms, Strong Winds and Potential Flooding

Governor Andrew Cuomo today warned New Yorkers to take precautions as severe weather moves through the Central and Mohawk Valley regions and continues traveling east. A number of showers and thunderstorms are expected across the entire state and the National Weather Service has issued Severe Weather Watches and Warnings for several areas. There is the potential that some of the storms will reach severe limits and could be strong enough to produce damaging winds, hail, and heavy rainfall.

"With the July 4th holiday weekend in full swing, New Yorkers should stay tuned to local forecasts as severe weather is expected throughout the weekend," Governor Cuomo said. "As storms often give little or no warning, it is important to have a plan in place to protect yourselves, your children and your belongings and get indoors quickly. I encourage travelers to plan ahead and only travel as necessary to help ensure the safety of all motorists during this busy holiday weekend."

The primary threat window will be from noon to 10 p.m. today, July 1 as weather travels west to east.  An isolated tornado, as seen yesterday, is also possible with the main potential in the North Country. The North Country also remains under a flash flood watch until at least 5 a.m. tomorrow morning due to additional thunderstorms which are expected today into early this evening. These storms will produce locally heavy rainfall.

Since much of the North Country area has already experienced significant rainfall over the past 36 hours, any additional heavy rain will quickly lead to rapid rises of the small creeks and rivers in the area. Winds will be gusty today, at or above 20 mph at times, outside of thunderstorms across the state.

Winds in the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions, especially along the lakefront, are expected to exceed 30 mph outside of thunderstorms.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Muslim Ban Proves We Are The Ultimate ‘Other’

By Nida Khan

Thursday evening at 8 PM, part of Donald Trump’s Executive Order temporarily banning people from six Muslim-majority countries went into effect. Thanks to the Supreme Court, visa applications from Libya, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia will be blocked for 90 days and resettlement for refugees for 120 days unless an individual can prove a ‘credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States’. Under this vague definition, parents, siblings, stepsiblings, half-siblings or a fiancé of someone in the U.S. for example are allowed entry, but not their grandparents, nieces, nephews, uncles, or aunts. If this appears confusing and illogical, that’s because it is. As we await the ramifications of this action in the days, weeks and months ahead, as well as SCOTUS’ final ruling on the entire E.O. later this fall, the message has been heard loudly round the world and already solidified by the highest court in our country: Muslims are the ultimate ‘other’ and will be treated as such.

Earlier this year, Pew Research conducted a survey asking people to rate religious groups based on a “feeling thermometer” from 0 to 100 (0 being the coldest/most negative). Muslims were given an average rating of 48 degrees – less than the seven other religious groups in the survey. This is no coincidence. When most Americans don’t know a Muslim personally (or don’t realize that they know one), all they can base their perceptions on is what has been reinforced continually in the press, pop culture and society at large. When the U.S. is separated from much of the world – including the proverbial ‘Muslim world’ – by large bodies of water, many Americans have no concept of what a Muslim is in actuality.

Donald Trump campaigned for the highest office in the land by calling for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country until we can figure out “what the hell is going on”. Well, I can tell you what the hell is going on. This didn’t start with Trump and he’s not the only one to blame for where we are today. The SCOTUS Justices who allowed for this partial implementation to take place are guilty; the State Department that set out the arbitrary guidelines for this rollout are guilty; the news outlets that don’t bring Muslims into the conversation are guilty; Hollywood that routinely demonizes Muslims is guilty; the politicians who went along with this ban for their own political advancement are guilty; those who don’t speak up for fear of retribution are guilty; and of course well-meaning citizens who are silent because they think this has nothing to do with them or are duped into believing so are guilty.

Muslims in the U.S. only constitute about 1% of the population. When a group is in such a minority, routinely stereotyped and misrepresented, and then further silenced by not having a seat at the table, are we really surprised that the majority don’t appear to care if we start shifting policy that impacts their family members directly or people of that community? When the Trump Administration rolled out its initial Muslim ban in January, there were massive protests at airports and elsewhere around the country, as well as a flurry of attorneys that literally sat on the floor with their laptops writing briefs to assist those caught in the middle of the chaos. It was a beautiful moment; Americans of all stripes were standing, marching and protesting in solidarity with the Muslim community. Unfortunately, that level of outrage has not sustained itself in the months since. While there were protests at some airports and cities on Thursday as part of the Muslim ban 2.0 launched, they weren’t nearly on the level that we saw earlier this year. And even though there was some coverage of this ban, there was more indignation and attention paid to Trump’s tweets about Mika Brzezinski than there was about restricting entry into the United States from six countries (granted, the Brzezinski story absolutely warranted coverage, but it dominated the news cycle and made all else an afterthought).

Click here for the full article. 
Source: The Huffington Post

New Law Permitting Photo I.D. as Evidence at Trial in Effect Starting Today

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that effective July 1, juries in New York State will be allowed to consider the most reliable evidence that identified the perpetrator of a crime: a photo array shown to a witness by police. Previously, State law prohibited photo arrays from being introduced as evidence at trial. New York State also has adopted a standard protocol for law enforcement to follow when showing photos to witnesses for purposes of identifying the perpetrator of a crime. This identification procedure reform law includes safeguards to protect innocent people from arrest and conviction and represents another milestone in Governor Cuomo's efforts to improve the fairness, transparency and effectiveness of the State's criminal justice system.

"This administration has fought tirelessly to ensure our criminal justice system works for all New Yorkers, and today we have taken another step forward,” Governor Cuomo said. “Photo identification evidence can be a powerful tool to convict a perpetrator and protect the innocent, and these new procedures lay out a fair and effective path to help ensure criminals are caught and justice is served."

Research indicates that photo identification is most reliable when conducted closest to the time of a crime or initial sighting and when it is the first procedure used to identify a suspect. Photo arrays can be highly effective at confirming whether a person was, in fact, involved in a crime. This helps to protect innocent people from arrest and conviction, and holds guilty individuals accountable.

ID procedure reform was included in the enacted State budget, which also required the State Division of Criminal Justice Services to establish the standard protocol for law enforcement. The protocol adopted by the State includes a number of safeguards, including requiring an investigator who does not know the identity of the suspect or where the suspect’s photo is located within a photo array to show the photos to a witness. 

The Division of Criminal Justice Services used an identification procedure model policy previously approved by the State's Municipal Police Training Council as the basis for the protocol and worked with criminal justice stakeholders to ensure it aligns with the latest research, protects against misidentifications and meets the needs of police as they conduct investigations. The Council, composed of representatives from law enforcement agencies and academia, endorsed the protocol as its new model policy, which agencies can use to create their own written policies.

Governor Cuomo included identification procedures reform – and a mandatory requirement of police to video record interviews with individuals in custody for serious offenses, including homicide, sexual assault and kidnapping – in his Executive Budget. Both reforms were supported by the District Attorneys Association of New York State, the Innocence Project, and the New York State Bar Association. The legislation requiring video recording takes effect on April 1, 2018.

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe, who also is President of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York, said, "A prosecutor's sworn duty is to ensure that the guilty are tried and convicted with fairness and the innocent are exonerated. This can only be achieved by utilizing the most reliable evidence available. It is widely recognized that photo arrays offer the best opportunity to obtain fair and accurate identifications. DAASNY appreciates the efforts of the Municipal Training Council to update the policies and protocols concerning photo identification procedures. This will ensure that law enforcement and prosecutors understand the recent changes to the criminal procedure law and have guidance on best practices concerning the use of the identification procedures."

Barry Scheck, co-director of The Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law, said, "The Innocence Project has worked tirelessly to advocate for changes that will prevent wrongful convictions. We have advocated for these reforms and believe they are an important step toward achieving that goal. We commend Governor Cuomo for championing these reforms; they will make a difference."

Yates County Sheriff Ronald G. Spike, who serves as Chairman of the Municipal Police Training Council, said, "Identification procedures must have proper protocols to ensure just and fair investigations, and the Municipal Police Training Council's model policy has now been enhanced to meet the new law's requirements. I commend everyone who assisted the Council by providing thoughtful and relevant feedback to ensure the policy and protocol will benefit all police agencies as they seek to implement the new requirements."

The Municipal Police Training Council, members of which are appointed by the Governor, sets minimum training requirements for newly-appointed police and peace officers; develops training for police officers appointed to supervisory positions; and designs and approves model policies, among other responsibilities. The Office of Public Safety at the Division of Criminal Justice Services staffs the Council and reviews curricula submitted by law enforcement agencies and training academies to ensure that each course meets or exceeds the Council's minimum standard for topics and hours.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

1 Killed, 6 Injured in Shooting By Doctor at NYC Hospital: Police

Source: ABC News

This Week in Washington: Health Care Delayed, Travel Ban Implemented

This video was published on YouTube on June 30, 2017. 

Source: CBS News

China Has Warned US Against Arms Sales to Taiwan

This video was published on YouTube on June 30, 2017. 

Source: PressTV News Videos

Tributes Paid to 'True European' Helmut Kohl

Source: euronews (in English)

France's Marine Le Pen Placed Under Formal Investigation

Source: euronews (in English)

Philippines: Protest Marks Duterte Anniversary

Source: euronews (in English)

Hong Kong's Model 'Will Not Change'

Source: euronews (in English)

Friday, June 30, 2017

President Trump Gives Joint Statements with President Moon

Controversial NRA AD Stops Short Of Encouraging Violence Against Anti-Trump Protesters

Source: Roland Martin

Naomi Klein: The Worst Is Yet to Come with Trump, So We Must Be Ready for Shock Politics

This video was published on YouTube on June 30, 2017.

Source: Democracy Now!

Oval Office Chat: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

President Trump spoke today with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey about numerous subjects, including ways to resolve the ongoing dispute between Qatar and its Gulf and Arab neighbors while ensuring that all countries work to stop terrorist funding and to combat extremist ideology. President Trump emphasized the importance of all our allies and partners increasing their efforts to fight terrorism and extremism in all its forms. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

The Power of the Pen: New Bill Signed Into Law

On Friday, June 30, 2017, the President signed into law:

H.R. 1238, the “Securing our Agriculture and Food Act,” which requires the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to carry out a program to coordinate DHS efforts related to defending the food, agriculture, and veterinary systems of the United States against terrorism and other threats. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

How Vietnam Affected America in 1968

This video was published on YouTube on January 16, 2010. 

Source: David Hoffman

100 Years Later: The Espionage Act & the Free Press

This video was published on YouTube on June 30, 2017. 

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Imprisoned in Eritrea: Seyoum Tsehaye, Journalist

This video was published on YouTube on June 14, 2017. 

Meet Vanessa Berhe, founder of One Day Seyoum, an organization working for the release of imprisoned journalist Seyoum Tsehaye in Eritrea. Eritrea has consistently ranked among the world’s worst jailers of journalists and has topped CPJ’s Prison Census of Sub-Saharan African countries with the most imprisoned journalists for the last 10 years.

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Press Freedom in the US: Assaults on Political Reporters

This video was published on YouTube on June 6, 2017. 

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

The Future of Race in America: Michelle Alexander

This video was published on YouTube on October 16, 2013

Source: TEDx Talks

'Flashback Friday': 'Harvest of Shame' (1960) by Edward R. Murrow

This video was published on YouTube on November 24, 2010. 

The original broadcast of one of the most celebrated documentaries of all time, 1960's "Harvest of Shame," in which Edward R. Murrow exposed the plight of America's farm workers.

Source: CBS

Trailblazers in Black History: Charles "Buddy" Bolden

This video was published on YouTube on September 4, 2014. 


Rep. Robin Kelly: I've Pleaded, I've Screamed, I've Cried' For Gun Legislation

Trump Endorses Repeal-First Strategy if Health Care Deal Not Reached

Joe Scarborough: White House Wanted Apology to Make Nat'l Enquirer Story Disappear

Venus Williams 'At Fault' in Fatal Car Accident, Police Say

Source: ABC News

Senate to Begin July Recess with No Health Care Bill

Source: ABC News

Cuomo to Election Commission: 'We Will Not Be Complying with This Request'

Statement from Governor Cuomo 

"The President's Election Commission is sending requests to all 50 states for the personal information of all voters in each state – including names, dates of birth, the last four digits of Social Security Numbers, and voter history. The electoral process is sacred and New York law has strong safeguards in place to prevent sharing of sensitive voter data and harassment against those who exercise their right to vote.
"New York refuses to perpetuate the myth voter fraud played a role in our election. We will not be complying with this request and I encourage the Election Commission to work on issues of vital importance to voters, including ballot access, rather than focus on debunked theories of voter fraud." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

SPLC Board Member Visits America's 'Huddled Masses' at Immigrant Detention Center

By Elden Rosenthal

Hidden away in the woods of southwest Georgia sits the euphemistically named Stewart Detention Center. The facility, owned and operated by the for-profit corporation CoreCivic, holds men that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is seeking to deport.

Located just outside the tiny rural community of Lumpkin, Stewart is surrounded by two tall fences topped with razor wire. Access is severely limited. No one is allowed a contact visit. Lawyers may not bring a laptop or even a phone into the facility. It is a prison, plain and simple.

Inside are 1,900 adult men. Some were picked up near our Southern border. Some were arrested in the towns where they had lived peacefully for years.

Earlier this month, I spent a week working as a volunteer lawyer at Stewart as part of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s new Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative. The initiative has a small permanent staff in Lumpkin living in a double-wide trailer, along with SPLC lawyers who travel back and forth from Atlanta, 140 miles away, and a rotating number of volunteer lawyers.

I learned some immigration law on the fly, interviewed detainees, and appeared at two hearings. Most days lasted 10 hours.

The work was intense. It was also deeply disturbing.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center 

Attorney Norman Siegel and Others to Read 1776 Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution on July 4

Civil Rights Attorney Norman Siegel and others will, once again, gather to read parts of the original 1776 Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights

In addition, the group will also read parts of the recently created 2017 Declaration of Independence, declaring independence from certain policies and practices of President Trump.

Over 900 individuals representing 40 states and the District of Columbia have signed Declaration 17.
The readings will take place on Tuesday, July 4, from 12:00-1:30 at 72nd Street and Riverside Drive. 

“Come celebrate the 4th of July and heighten the public understanding of the relevant purposes of our Nation’s founding documents,” said Siegel. 

Source: Declaration 17

Minority Students in New York City Colleges Are Less Likely to Graduate Than Others

By Jillian Berman

New York City students of all races are increasingly attending college, but there’s still a wide racial gap when it comes to enrolling and persisting in college.

That’s according to a recent study from researchers at New York University, which followed students who started 9th grade in 2003 and 2008 through high school and beyond. Roughly 48% of Latino students who started high school in 2003 enrolled in college, the lowest share of any racial group, compared with 73% of Asian students, the highest share of any racial group — a gap of about 25%. For students who entered high school in 2008 that gulf remained about the same, though the share of students of both races entering college increased.

“The city is doing everything they’re supposed to do, they’re getting more students into college,” said Kristin Black, a fellow at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools and one of the authors of the study. “And yet we haven’t been able to crack that equity problem.”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: MarketWatch (via The Empire Report) 

Albany Takes A Wary View Of Constitutional Convention

By Nick Reisman

From the Morning Memo:

Add Gov. Andrew Cuomo to those skeptical of a constitutional convention.

On Thursday, Cuomo said at a news conference he thinks “the devil’s going to be in the details” when it comes to the structure of the convention.

“Who are the delegates? Who would control it? What are the issues? I think that’s what New Yorkers want to know,” he said.

“If the convention is going to be run by the people who currently run the government, then I would say the purpose of the convention is basically defeated.”

To be fair, Cuomo had sought to change the structure of the convention before, proposing a plan to study how to change the delegate-selection process, spending $1 million to “create an expert, non-partisan commission to develop a blueprint for a convention,” according to his 2016 agenda book.

“The commission will also be authorized to recommend fixes to the current convention delegate selection process, which experts agree is flawed,” Cuomo said at the time.

At the time, Cuomo was bullish on the prospect of convening a con-con, which voters can determine later this year in a referendum. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Spectrum News/State of Politics (via The Empire Report) 

Pro-Choice Lawmaker and Holocaust Survivor Simone Veil Dies at 89

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Chinese President Xi Jinping Attends Hong Kong Military Parade

Source: euronews (in English)

Trump Travel Ban Sparks Protests

Source: euronews (in English)

Germany to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

Source: euronews (in English)

Sarin Gas Used in Syria - Watchdog

Source: euronews (in English)

Liberation of Mosul is 'Imminent'

Source: euronews (in English)

Germany Warns Turkey Presidential Bodguards Named by USA Not Welcome at G20 Summit

Source: euronews (in English)

Insiders: UK Heading for "A Fairly Hard Brexit"

Source: euronews (in English)

EU Leaders United on Climate Change Ahead of Tricky G20 with Trump

Source: euronews (in English)

Blow to Murdoch's Bid to Take Over Sky

Source: euronews (in English)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Mumia Abu Jamal Case: Court Threatens Sanctions - If DA Does Not Produce Discovery

The following statement was submitted by Noelle Hanrahan, a private investigator and the director of Prison Radio.

Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker has threatened the Philadelphia District Attorney's office with sanctions if they do not produce the discovery he ordered in Mumia's criminal case "Cook v. Commonwealth".  See the Order here!

The court has ordered that the DA examine more records, produce indexes proving that they searched, and an order to turn over all documents that might show former Philadelphia DA Ron Castille and PA Supreme Court judges direct involvement in Mumia's criminal case. This is based on the U.S. Supreme Court determination that Ron Castille's refusal to remove himself from cases where he played a key role in the prosecution constituted irreparable harm to the defendants.

This is legal opportunity is the first clear path to restoring Mumia's criminal defense appeals in quite a while, there will be others.  

House Passes 'Kate’s Law' and No Sanctuary for Criminals Act

Statement from President Trump

During my campaign, I met many grieving families who all had the same plea: lawmakers must put the safety of American families first.  Today, I applaud the House for passing two crucial measures to save and protect American lives.  These were bills I campaigned on and that are vital to our public safety and national security.  The first bill, Kate’s Law, increases criminal penalties for illegal immigrants who repeatedly re-enter the country illegally.  The bill is named for Kate Steinle, who was killed by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times.  Every year, countless Americans are victimized, assaulted, and killed by illegal immigrants who have been deported multiple times.  It is time for these tragedies to end.

The second bill, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, restricts taxpayer grant money to cities that prevent their police from turning over dangerous criminal aliens to federal authorities.  Sanctuary cities are releasing violent criminals, including members of the bloodthirsty MS-13 gang, back onto our streets every single day.  Innocent Americans are suffering unthinkable violence as a result of these cities’ reckless actions.  The House bill also includes what is known as Grant’s Law and Sarah’s Law.  These provisions, which prevent the release of dangerous criminals awaiting removal proceedings, are named for two slain Americans whose parents I spent time with during the campaign.

The implementation of these policies will make our communities safer.  Opposing these bills, and allowing dangerous criminals back into our communities, our schools, and the neighborhoods where our children play, puts all of us at risk.

Now that the House has acted, I urged the Senate to take up these bills, pass them, and send them to my desk.  I am calling on all lawmakers to vote for these bills and to save American lives. 
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary 
Note: You can learn more about this development here

President Trump Gives Remarks at the Unleashing American Energy Event

White House Press Briefing

Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks Honoring 2017 NYC Public School Valedictorians & Salutatorians

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

A Look at Trump's Final Day in the Oval Office, If Ever Impeached

With Congressmen Al Green and Brad Sherman leading the charge for impeachment, From The G-Man wondered what would happen if they were successful in their bid, especially if Special Counsel Mueller's investigation determined criminal acts had been committed. Well, this is how the last day in the Oval Office would probably play out if President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were told to "hit the bricks". 

With all of the economic, political and social upheaval taking place in and outside of the United States, try and find the time laugh.

Governor Cuomo Signs Two-Year Extension of Mayoral Control of New York City Schools

Source: NYGovCuomo

Increasing Security for U.S.-Bound Flights

Source: CBS News

House Russia Probe Eyes Longtime Trump Bodyguard

Source: ABC News

Fears of Hackers Targeting Hospitals, Medical Devices

Source: ABC News

Speaker Calls President's Tweet About Mika Brzezinski "Inappropriate Comment"

 Paul Ryan
 Click here for video.

Congressional Democrats to Trump: 'Stop the Disrespect' on Twitter 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN

Saving Our Youth: The Benefits of Martial Arts

By Alison Hendrie

With a bloodcurdling cry, your 6-year-old leaps into the air in a karate kick, raising your hair and blood pressure simultaneously. Before you panic and pad the walls, try channeling this urge into a martial arts class.

Activities like tae kwon do, kung fu and aikido are a fun way for both boys and girls to achieve fitness and focus. Some parents may think they also promote violence, but that's a myth, according to experts. The martial arts actually help teach self-discipline and socialization skills. In fact, many parents whose children have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report great success with these programs because self-control and concentration are exactly the skills underdeveloped in ADHD kids.

A typical hour-long class begins and ends with a bow to the teacher, or master. After a warm-up, students practice the art's particular skills, which may include kicks, punches and blocks. Each requires concentration and strict attention.

Progress is often marked by the belt system, which takes the beginner from a white belt through a variety of colors until black. Testing for each new level, generally every three months, is a good exercise in setting and achieving goals.

But, say experts, it's the respect kids learn, whether from bowing or standing still and waiting for the next command, that can be the most important benefit: It often carries over into school, helping to improve behavior and even grades, according to recent research. 

Click here for the full article.


Trailblazers in Black History: Tony Humphries, DJ Icon

Tony Humphries became a New York City, US DJ in the early 1980s. He was one of the earliest proponents of house music and has been instrumental in spreading the genre on both sides of the Atlantic.

Humphries' work encompasses studio production and remixes. He held radio slots on WRKS 98.7 Kiss-FM and Hot 97, and DJ residencies at clubs including Club Zanzibar (NJ) and Ministry of Sound in London, UK.

Additional information is available here

Source: Wikipedia

Diversity & Hollywood: Michelle Rodriguez, Halle Berry Speak Out

Halle Berry, the only black woman to ever win a best actress Oscar, said her 2002 win turned out to be meaningless, and "Fast and Furious" star Michelle Rodriguez warned she may quit the action movie franchise unless filmmakers "show some love for women."

Their comments proved a reality check for women in Hollywood on Wednesday even as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it invited 298 more women to join its ranks in a bid to improve diversity at the organization behind the Oscars. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

Video of Off-Duty Police Officer Pinning Black Teen Sparks Outrage

A video of an off-duty police officer in Lansing, Illinois, pinning a black teen to the ground on his front lawn has sparked outrage and concern.

The video shows the officer crouching over a 15-year-old boy named Jordan, pinning him with one knee and a hand variously on his neck and upper chest. The video was posted online Monday by Ann Falls, who said in a Facebook post that she is a cousin of the teen seen in the video. The incident took place Saturday.

“Let me go,” the teen is heard telling the officer.

“No, you come on my property I’m going to f***ing kill you,” the officer responds.

The boy's friend, a white male teen, is heard in the background telling the officer, “Let him go dude.” 

Click here for the full article. 

More Than Half of Hate Crimes Aren’t Reported to Police


WASHINGTON — The majority of hate crimes experienced by U.S. residents over a 12-year period were not reported to police, according to a new federal report released Thursday that stoked advocates' concerns about ongoing tensions between law enforcement and black and Latino communities.

More than half of the 250,000 hate crimes that took place each year between 2004 and 2015 went unreported to law enforcement for a variety of reasons, according to a special report on hate crimes from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Hate crimes were most often not reported because they were handled some other way, the report said. But people also did not come forward because they didn't feel it was important or that police would help. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

Democrats Split on Joining GOP for Health Care Fix

The divisions and infighting plaguing the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare are contagious — the Democrats face a rift of their own on health care.

Once-unified Democrats are splintering into competing factions over how to best move forward, with progressive lawmakers and activists aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., telling NBC News Wednesday they see the problems in the GOP as an opportunity to double down on their preferred health care reforms, like single-payer health insurance. They have shown little to no interest in negotiating with Republicans.

On the other hand, several Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., have said they have in mind a variety of modest changes to Obamacare that they’d love to sit down and discuss with Republicans. Schumer even invited President Donald Trump to a bipartisan meeting with all senators.

That difference in how to approach improving the health care system has created a stark split in messaging within the Democratic party — a divide the White House has rushed to exploit. 

Click here for the full article.

U.S. Defines Who Can Enter Under Travel Ban

The State Department on Thursday determined who will be allowed into the U.S. following the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week to uphold large parts of President Donald Trump’s travel ban against visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries.

Visa applicants from those six countries — Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the U.S. to enter the country, two State Department officials confirmed to NBC News.

In addition, all existing visas will still be honored, State Department officials confirmed. 

Click here for the full article. 

Senator Diaz: 'Governor Andrew Cuomo Should Bring Back the Commuter Tax'

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

You should know that an article titled “City Has to Pay Up If It Wants Better MTA Service, Cuomo Says” written by Ben Fractenberg in the June 23, 2017 edition of DNAInfo begins with the following sentence: “Governor Andrew Cuomo said the city should put its money where its mouth is in funding the MTA to help fix the beleaguered subway system.”

Instead of asking New York City to pay more money into the MTA, wouldn’t it be more responsible for Governor Andrew Cuomo to push for the reinstatement of the Commuter Tax? Shouldn’t our beloved Governor at least pose this as a possibility and open the subject for hearings, studies and political implications?

It is important for you to know that back on May 27, 1999, former New York State Governor George E. Pataki signed a bill into law to repeal the Commuter Tax.

That piece of legislation was rushed through the Senate and Assembly for a vote, with no hearings, no debate and no studies on the tax break for people who commute to New York City, use our police, fire, sanitation, hospital, parks and other municipal services when needed.

The commuter tax used to help defray the cost of municipal services that New York City provides to one and all, and when it was taken away, it was an additional financial burden placed on everyone who lives in the five boroughs of the City to pay for those services.

In other words, people who don’t live in New York City and come here to work and shop, expect for us to host them so they can take advantage of our municipal services, which include our failing subway system.

Now, with all of the problems that the MTA faces, how could Governor Andrew Cuomo say that the citizens of New York City should pay even more money for these services?

Instead, if we reinstate the Commuter Tax, people from Long Island, Westchester, and Upstate New York who come to New York and use our transportation system can help to pull their fair share of the burden.

I urge Governor Cuomo to lead the way, and instead of asking New York City residents to chip in and pay more money, he should really help the City by bringing back the Commuter Tax.

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