Friday, November 24, 2017

Oval Office Chat: Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Recep Tayyip Erdogan

President Trump spoke today with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt to offer condolences to the people of Egypt after the heinous attack on worshippers in Egypt’s North Sinai province. The President condemned the attack and reiterated that the United States will continue to stand with Egypt in the face of terrorism. The international community cannot tolerate barbaric terrorist groups and must strengthen its efforts to defeat terrorism and extremism in all its forms.

President Trump also spoke today with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.  President Trump reaffirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Turkey, particularly in combating terrorism in all its forms and fostering regional stability.

On Syria, the two leaders discussed the importance of implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 and supporting the United Nations-led Geneva Process to peacefully resolve the civil war in that country.  President Trump and President Erdogan underscored the need to end the humanitarian crisis, allow displaced Syrians to return home, and ensure the stability of a unified Syria free of malign intervention and terrorist safe havens. 

Consistent with our previous policy, President Trump also informed President Erdogan of pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria, now that the battle of Raqqa is complete and we are progressing into a stabilization phase to ensure that ISIS cannot return.  The leaders also discussed the purchase of military equipment from the United States.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary   

President Trump Thanks Members of the Military via Video Teleconference

This video was published on YouTube on November 23. 

Source: The White House

The First Lady Receives the 2017 White House Christmas Tree

This video was published on YouTube on November 20. 

Source: The White House

Michelle Obama at Pennsylvania Conference for Women

Former first lady Michelle Obama talked about life in and after the White House and about women’s empowerment at the annual Pennsylvania Conference for Women. Shonda Rhimes, the creator and executive producer of the television shows “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” moderated the conversation. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN 

John Kerry Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey were two of the speakers honoring Former Secretary of State John Kerry as he received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The Boston ceremony included a message from President Obama, a video tribute from former Vice President Joe Biden, and a speech about leadership and the state of the world by John Kerry

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN 

#MeToo Founder Tarana Burke, Alicia Garza of Black Lives Matter on Wave of Sexual Harassment Reports

A Democracy Now! Special

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on 'Indefensible' Whitefish Contract To Restore Electricity to Puerto Rico

Source: Democracy Now!

'Flashback Friday': Buddy Holly Plane Crash News And Footage (1959)

War is Hell: Veterans Describe Killing During Wartime

Note: Some segments contain strong language. 

Source: Cut

Violence Against Transgender People Has Gotten Worse

Click on the graph to increase its size.

This article was published on November 20. 

2017 has been a particularly deadly year for trans individuals, according to two new reports.

Fatal violence against transgender individuals has increased in recent years, reaching a record high in 2017, according to two new reports.

At least 25 transgender people have been killed in violent crimes in the United States this year, making it the deadliest year for the trans community in recent years, according to a new report released by LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.

The report, released ahead of Monday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, found that 84 percent of trans victims of fatal violence in 2017 were people of color; 80 percent were trans women, and more than 75 percent were under the age of 35.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post

Saving Our Youth: Prison Inmate Confessions

Source: Omeleto

Trailblazers in Black History: Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.

The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson is the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the oldest technological research university in the United States, where she has led an extraordinary transformation since 1999. 

Described by Time Magazine as “perhaps the ultimate role model for women in science,” Dr. Jackson has held senior leadership positions in academia, government, industry, and research. 

A theoretical physicist, Dr. Jackson holds an S.B. in Physics, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics, both from MIT.

In September 2014, United States President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Jackson as Co-Chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, where she served until January 2017. 

Dr. Jackson also served on the U.S. Secretary of State International Security Advisory Board from 2011-2017, and the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board from 2013-2017. 

From 2009 to 2014, Dr. Jackson served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), and, as part of PCAST, was Co-Chair of the President’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC).

Additional information is available here

Source: Rensselaer and NationalMedals

Rev. Al Sharpton to Visit Meek Mill

During the National Action Network's (NAN) weekly rally on November 25, Rev. Sharpton will discuss his scheduled visit to Meek Mill on November 27 as a continuation of NAN’s criminal justice reform efforts.

In the 1990’s, Rev. Sharpton and others helped Tupac Shakur get out of solitary confinement at the request of his mother, and NAN has been monitoring other civil rights cases across the country.

The rally will take place at 10 a.m. at 106 West 145th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem. 

The event will be broadcast on WLIB 1190 AM, the NAN website, and the IMPACT Television Network.

Source: Mercury

Denzel Washington Film Spotlights Why 'Activism is Heroism'

by Mashaun D. Simon

In the midst of a contentious political climate and a country divided by racial tensions, writer/director Dan Gilroy has one hope – that viewers of his latest movie "Roman J. Israel, Esq." will understand the valor of activism.

“What I am trying to do is pay homage to those who commit themselves, those who try to make the world a better place,” Gilroy told NBC News during a phone coversation. “There is a price that comes with being an activist. Activism is heroism, particularly given the fact many activists fight and very few people are made aware of their contributions.”

In theatres nationwide Wednesday, the movie, starring Denzel Washington, centers on a civil rights lawyer who thrives off of being in the shadows and poking holes in the injustices of the legal system.

“Roman is a guy who is utterly invisible but a hero,” Gilroy said. “Anyone could walk past him on the street and not give him a second look. He is not anyone that you would take interest in – he gets beat up, he gets mocked. But he is a man who carries justice and fairness in his mind and in his heart.”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Baltimore Detective Sean Suiter Killed Day Before Testimony in Police Corruption Case

When Suiter was killed with his own weapon, he was set to testify before a federal grand jury the next day against eight elite officers already indicted in a police corruption investigation.

Flynn's Team Cuts Ties with Trump: Does It Signal Cooperation with Russia Investigators?

Should Washington Begin Regulating Facebook? Some Lawmakers Say Yes.

WASHINGTON — For weeks, Facebook has been under intense scrutiny in Washington after revelations about Russian attempts to use the platform to influence the 2016 elections. Now, some lawmakers are talking about turning that scrutiny into action.

There are new calls on Capitol Hill for stronger federal regulation of Facebook, possibly requiring greater transparency and disclosures for digital political ads. But lawmakers have yet to take up more sweeping reforms that some internet policy experts and advocates believe are necessary to protect users of the social-media platform, given Facebook’s outsize influence and vast stores of personal data.

In early September, Facebook said it had traced $100,000 in politically motivated ads that ran during the 2016 presidential campaign to a Russian troll farm, reaching about 10 million people. Testifying before Congress a few weeks later, Facebook officials revealed that the total audience for Russian-backed content was many times larger, reaching an estimated 126 million Americans — a third of the U.S. population — during the 2016 campaign. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

Supreme Court to Consider Whether Police Can Track Cell Phone Data

Oxford Circus Incident: Shops Evacuated Around Oxford Circus Tube Station

Did Tillerson Violate Law Regarding Child Soldiers?

This report was broadcast on November 22.

Source: CBS News

Toddler Denied Father's Kidney Has Successful Transplant Surgery

City Scoop: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Housing New York 2.0, West 181st Street Named “Flight 587 Way”

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Attorney General Schneiderman: NY Needs a New Law to Prevent Hacks and Curb Identity Theft

The following was statement was issued today by NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Nobody should be forced to worry about the security of their personal information when shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But the constant barrage of recent hacks and data breaches makes the threat of identity theft all too real.
Just this week, Uber became the latest company to report a breach -- one that my office is investigating. We've seen breaches at Target. T.J. Maxx. Yahoo. Marshalls. eBay. Home Depot. Anthem. And the biggest known breach of Social Security numbers happened just a few months ago at Equifax, exposing the personal information of more than 140 million Americans, including more than 8 million New Yorkers.
These breaches were outrageous -- and preventable. But there’s good news: the NY State legislature can pass my legislation -- the SHIELD Act -- to prevent hacks like these from ever happening again.
New York's data security laws are toothless and outdated. While cybercrime has evolved, our laws have stayed the same. If we had stronger standards in place before the Equifax hack to fix these loopholes, that breach may have been avoided.
We can't afford to wait for Congress to act. It’s up to us here in New York. 
That’s why I'm asking advocates, businesses, and New Yorkers like you to join me in calling on New York’s legislators to pass the SHIELD (Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security) Act to make our state a national leader in data security.
Under this bill, companies would be required to: maintain reasonable safeguards for our data: the more sophisticated the company, the more robust the safeguards; and report breaches that expose our usernames and passwords, biometric data, or private health data -- not just those breaches that expose social security numbers or other financial data.
Data breaches are more frequent than ever. They're jeopardizing our privacy and our financial information. Stopping them is in everyone’s interest. Passing the SHIELD Act will enable my office to hold companies accountable, and make sure New York law finally applies common sense standards to businesses of all different sizes.  
In solidarity,
Eric Schneiderman Signature - Small

Rumors Intensify Over NYPD Chief of Department Replacement

By Graham Rayman and Stephen Rex Brown

Rumors that Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan would be promoted to the NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed cop gained steam Thursday, despite concerns from Hispanic fraternal groups that the department’s brass is becoming too white.

Monahan would replace Chief of Department Carlos Gomez, who will retire on Dec. 31.

If Monahan is promoted, there would be no Hispanics in the NYPD’s uppermost uniformed ranks, which are often referred to as the department’s “super chiefs.”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Daily News (via The Empire Report) 

Egypt North Sinai Attack: 'It Started with a Bomb, and Attackers Shot People Fleeing the Mosque'

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Is Trump Slamming Door on Muslims' American Dream?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Argentine Missing Submarine: 'This is a Severely Underfunded Naval Force'

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Emmerson Mnangagwa Swearing-In as President

Emmerson Mnangagwa's First Speech as Zimbabwe's President


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Did Grace Mugabe's Rise Cause Her Husband’s Downfall?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

The Refugees of Manus Island

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Palestinian Reconciliation: Will Fatah, Hamas Agreement Succeed?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Myanmar and Bangladesh Sign Deal to Return Rohingya Refugees

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Luncheon and Coat Giveaway at Evangelical Crusade Christian Church

Source: Attorney Sanford A. Rubenstein 

Here Are the White House Visitor Records the Trump Administration Didn’t Want You to See

The Trump White House tried to block public access to visitor logs of five federal offices working directly for the president even though they were subject to public disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act. Property of the People, a Washington-based transparency group, successfully sued the administration to release the data and provided the documents to ProPublica. 

You can review the listing here

Source: ProPublica

Extreme Digital Vetting of Visitors to the U.S. Moves Forward Under a New Name

ICE officials have invited tech companies, including Microsoft, to develop algorithms that will track visa holders’ social media activity.

The Department of Immigration & Customs Enforcement is taking new steps in its plans for monitoring the social media accounts of applicants and holders of U.S. visas. At a tech industry conference last Thursday in Arlington, Virginia, ICE officials explained to software providers what they are seeking: algorithms that would assess potential threats posed by visa holders in the United States and conduct ongoing social media surveillance of those deemed high risk.

The comments provide the first clear blueprint for ICE’s proposed augmentation of its visa-vetting program. The initial announcement of the plans this summer, viewed as part of President Donald Trump’s calls for the “extreme vetting” of visitors from Muslim countries, stoked a public outcry from immigrants and civil liberties advocates. They argued that such a plan would discriminate against Muslim visitors and potentially place a huge number of individuals under watch.

ICE officials subsequently changed the program’s name to “Visa Lifecycle Vetting.” But, according to the ICE presentation, the goal of the initiative — enhanced monitoring of visa holders using social media — remains the same.

Speaking to a room of information-technology contractors, hosted by the Government Technology & Services Coalition, Louis Rodi, deputy assistant director of ICE Homeland Security Investigations’ National Security Program, said the agency needs a tool equipped with “risk-based matrices” to predict dangers posed by visa holders, with the social media of those considered a threat under continuous surveillance throughout their stay in the U.S.

“We have millions and millions and millions of people coming every year, and subsequently departing, so we have to be smart about it,” said Rodi to a room of representatives from companies like Microsoft, Accenture, Deloitte and Motorola Solutions. “And I’m sure there are tools out there that can help.”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica

Facebook (Still) Letting Housing Advertisers Exclude Users by Race

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg

After ProPublica revealed last year that Facebook advertisers could target housing ads to whites only, the company announced it had built a system to spot and reject discriminatory ads. We retested and found major omissions.

by Julia Angwin, Ariana Tobin and Madeleine Varner

In February, Facebook said it would step up enforcement of its prohibition against discrimination in advertising for housing, employment or credit.

But our tests showed a significant lapse in the company’s monitoring of the rental market.

Last week, ProPublica bought dozens of rental housing ads on Facebook, but asked that they not be shown to certain categories of users, such as African Americans, mothers of high school kids, people interested in wheelchair ramps, Jews, expats from Argentina and Spanish speakers.

All of these groups are protected under the federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to publish any advertisement “with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.” Violators can face tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

Every single ad was approved within minutes.

The only ad that took longer than three minutes to be approved by Facebook sought to exclude potential renters “interested in Islam, Sunni Islam and Shia Islam.” It was approved after 22 minutes.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica

Trailblazers in Black History: Leslie Ann Peterson Esdaile Banks

This video was published on YouTube on October 20, 2011. 

Source: 2020VisualMedia

The 'I Am Woman' Series: Penny Marshall

This video was published on YouTube on January 11, 2016.

Source: FoundationINTERVIEWS

Caller Who Threatened Rep. Maxine Waters Faces Up To 10 Years In Prison If Convicted

Source: Roland S. Martin

The Uncounted: New York Times Finds US Airstrikes Kill Far More Iraqi Civilians Than Pentagon Admits

Source: Democracy Now!

FCC Moves to Gut Net Neutrality, Ignoring Public Support & Laws Upholding Equal Internet Access

Source: Democracy Now!

Republican Women in Alabama Begin to Turn on Roy Moore

The GOP Senate candidate was always divisive. Now he’s grown toxic. 

By Patricia Murphy

ANNISTON, Alabama—B.L. Shirley is a Republican woman from a Republican county who always—always—votes Republican. And yet, on a windy, grey morning last weekend, the Talladega, Alabama, retiree found herself in, of all places, a Democrat’s campaign office, wondering just what she could do to defeat the GOP candidate running for a seat in the U.S. Senate from her state.

“Roy Moore,” she said, when asked why she would go canvassing for Democrat Doug Jones before the special election on Dec. 12. “I think Roy Moore is an impostor. I am a Christian and I don’t want to be counted in his camp. He’s a divisive person.”

If Jones is to pull off a victory, it will be because women like Shirley knocked on doors, called neighbors, and worked to convince otherwise skeptical voters that his opponent is fundamentally unfit for the office he’s seeking. A few weeks ago, that seemed like a tall order. As the election nears, it no longer appears quite so improbable.

Allegations that Moore routinely pursued teenage girls and in some cases assaulted them when he was a single man in his thirties have caused Republican voters in Alabama to reassess their options. Some have decided to rally around the nominee. But others have recoiled, leaving Moore in real risk of losing his attempt to take over the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast

Haitian Family 'Terrified' as Trump Administration Moves to End Protected Status

by Daniel Arkin

Just before bedtime on Monday night, Reginald Lysias sat his 6-year-old daughter down and told her something he knew would break her heart.

"I told her we have to go to Haiti," Lysias recalled. "She asked me, 'Why?' I told her that President Donald Trump doesn't want us to stay in the U.S."

The girl cried all night.

Lysias, a 40-year-old pastor at a Baptist church in Northern California, is one of as many as 60,000 Haitians living and working in the U.S. on a temporary residency program created after a catastrophic earthquake rocked the Caribbean nation in 2010. The Trump administration has announced that it plans to end "temporary protected status," or TPS, for those Haitians on July 22, 2019.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

More Remains of Sgt. La David Johnson, Killed in Niger Ambush, Recovered

Four weeks after his funeral, more remains of slain U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson have been identified, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday.

The remains were retrieved from the spot near the village of Tongo Tongo, Niger, where Johnson and three other American soldiers were ambushed and killed on Oct. 4 by ISIS-linked militants. 

They were found during a Nov. 12 inspection of the site by a joint task force force of FBI and military investigators and later identified via DNA testing, Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement.

“We can confirm that the Armed Forces Medical Examiner has positively identified these remains as those of Sgt. Johnson,” she said. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

US Navy Aircraft Crashes Into Sea Near Japan

In Memoriam: David Cassidy

Source: CBS News

Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks at Rally Opposing Republican Tax Plan

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

New York Cares: Holiday Toy, Coat and School Supply Drive Launched

A statewide holiday drive has been launched to benefit families in need across New York. Donations of new unwrapped toys, coats and school supplies are being sought to assist community-based organizations during the holiday giving season.

"New Yorkers are tough, but they are also kind and willing to step up to help those in need," Governor Cuomo said. "This holiday season I encourage all New Yorkers to continue this great tradition and share some of the joy of this season with the less fortunate among us."

The Office of General Services has set up drop-off locations across the state for businesses and individuals to bring the new unwrapped toys, coats and school supplies, which will be distributed to families in underserved communities throughout New York. The drop-off locations will be collecting donations from Monday, November 27 through Friday, December 15.

The drop-off locations are as follows:

Alfred E. Smith Building, 80 South Swan St., Albany
New York State Capitol, Washington Avenue, Albany
Empire State Plaza Main Concourse, Empire State Plaza, Albany
Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza, Albany
Agency Buildings 1,2,3,4 - Empire State Plaza, Albany
Legislative Office Building Empire State Plaza, Albany
Robert Abrams Building for Law and Justice Empire State Plaza, Albany
Swan Street Building, Core 2 and Core 3, Empire State Plaza, Albany
Harriman Campus Buildings 5, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 12 Harriman Campus, 1220 Washington Ave., Albany  
Ten Eyck Building, 40 North Pearl St., Albany
50 Wolf Road, Albany
625 Broadway, Albany
Hampton Plaza, 38-40 State St., Albany
44 Holland Ave., Albany
328 State St., Schenectady
Senator John J. Hughes State Office Building, 333 E. Washington St., Syracuse
Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St., Watertown
Utica State Office Building, 207 Genesee St., Utica
Eleanor Roosevelt State Office Building, 4 Burnett Blvd., Poughkeepsie
Henderson-Smith State Office Building, 107 Broadway, Hornell
Binghamton State Office Building, 44 Hawley St., Binghamton
NYS State Police, 1155 Scottsville Rd. Rochester
Homer Folks Facility, 28 Hill Street Oneonta
Senator Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building, 65 Court St., Buffalo
Perry B. Duryea State Office Building, 250 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building, 163 West 125th St., New York City
Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building, 55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

New Yorkers Encouraged to Exercise Caution While Shopping This Holiday Season

Governor Andrew Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to take steps to protect their personal and financial information during the upcoming holiday shopping season. While popular shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are known for their bargains, criminals often use these days to scam unwary consumers. New Yorkers should stay vigilant when shopping this year and make sure they are aware of the steps they need to take to avoid becoming a victim of these crimes.

"With more and more New Yorkers turning to online deals this holiday season, cyber criminals are looking for ways to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers using increasingly sophisticated tactics," Governor Cuomo said. "I encourage all New Yorkers to exercise diligence to protect themselves when shopping throughout the holidays and beyond."

In 2016, there were 20,205 identity theft complaints reported by consumers in New York State. According to the FBI's 2016 Internet Crime Report, New Yorkers claimed a total loss of over $106 million resulting from cyber-related crimes. To maximize the chances of securing great online deals, while minimizing online shopping risks, consumers should engage in safe online behavior. This holiday season, and all year long, keep the following tips in mind when purchasing online.

Black Friday shopping tips:

Take Note of the Purchase and Use Rules Related to Gift Cards -- Consumers should carefully review the terms and conditions of use prior to purchasing a gift certificate or card, including the imposition of various fees, especially 'dormancy fees' for non-use. Consumers should also check the card's expiration date and determine if there are any restrictions on the use of the gift card. They should be aware of the replacement policy in case it is lost or stolen.
Be Careful Purchasing Big Ticket Items -- When purchasing big ticket items, consumers should look for warranty coverage on the item; check out stock availability; and, evaluate financing options carefully. As consumers comb retail advertisements, they should take note of the fine print and the quantity of the product available at the advertised price, as well as whether rain checks are available.
Understand Layaway Plans -- Layaway plans vary by store. Consumers should make sure they read all of the terms in the contract and have their questions answered regarding the payment schedules, refund policies and penalties for missing a payment before moving forward with a layaway. A copy of the contract and a record of payments should be retained by the purchaser.
Read the Retailers Refund and Return Policy -- Consumers should review a store's refund policy before considering a purchase. If the store does not post a return policy, the law requires the store to accept a receipted return within 30 days of purchase. It is important to inquire whether the store imposes a re-stocking fee for returned merchandise and determine prior to purchase if the item can be returned for a refund or store credit only.
Avoid Credit Card Debt -- If not careful, holiday purchases may cost consumers more than what is on their receipt. Consumers are urged to avoid credit card debt by tracking their spending, being cognizant of credit card limits, stick to a realistic budget and verify receipts and reconcile them against their statement. In addition, consumers should refrain from using their credit card for cash advances. The fees and interest on such transactions are higher than for credit card purchases.  Always review your monthly credit card statements carefully to ensure that you are being billed for the correct dollar amount.

Cyber Monday Online Shopping Tips:

Do your Research.  Shop with merchants and websites you know and trust.  Check out the seller's reputation at the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any reviews that mention potential scams or problems.  Also, review the privacy policy of the merchant website and understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used, and if it will be shared or sold to others.
Protect your Computer.  Keep your operating system and application software updated on all computers and mobile devices. Be sure to check that your anti-virus/anti-spyware software is running and receiving automatic updates. Confirm that your firewall is enabled.
Be Wary of Ads.  Avoid clicking on banner ads or pop-ups since they may link to a malicious website.  If you see an advertisement from a reputable brand for a deal or promotion that you are interested in, go to the company's website directly for more information.
Shop Safely.  Before making an online purchase, make sure the website uses secure technology.  Verify the web address begins with "HTTPS".  The "s" stands for "secure" and indicates that communication with the webpage is encrypted.   Do not use public computers or public Wi-Fi for your online shopping.  Public computers may be compromised with malicious software that steals your credit card information when placing an online order.  Traffic on public wireless networks may also be intercepted by criminals to steal credit card numbers and other personal information.
Keep Documentation of your Order.  Save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and the emails you send and receive from the merchant.  Review your credit card statements to confirm that all charges are legitimate.  If you have unauthorized charges on your account, contact your credit card company immediately.

New York State Chief Information Officer Robert H. Samson said, "The convenience and ease of online shopping continues to draw in more consumers each holiday season. As online shopping grows, so too does the risk of theft, fraud and abuse by cyber criminals. There are many steps New Yorkers can take to protect themselves this holiday season, and I encourage everyone to be cautious when shopping online to safeguard their financial information." 

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "We all enjoy the thrill of nabbing a good online bargain, and Cyber Monday is an ideal time to find such deals.  Unfortunately, the holiday season is also the high season of identity thieves and scammers.  Thus, I encourage New Yorkers to protect their hard-earned dollars and follow the online shopping safety tips offered by the Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection."

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Extra Savings with NYS Sales Tax Exemption This Black Friday

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today reminded bargain hunters and retailers that clothing and footwear items sold for less than $110 are exempt from New York State’s 4% sales tax. Several counties and New York City exempt these items from local sales tax as well.

In all, the New York State and available local exemptions provide consumers with more than $300 million in tax savings—and more than $1 billion annually.

“We don’t reserve our sales tax holidays for certain dates on the calendar,” said NYS Tax Department Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving: every day is a sales tax holiday in New York State on qualifying clothing and footwear purchases, providing consumers more purchasing power during the holiday season and throughout the year.”

Shoppers statewide who make qualifying purchases don’t have to pay the 4% state sales tax.

In addition, Chautauqua, Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Hamilton, Tioga, and Wayne counties, as well as New York City, exempt clothing and footwear purchases under $110 from their local sales taxes.

This means an exemption for shoppers of nearly 9% in New York City and 8% in the eight participating counties. Even in counties that don’t offer the exemption, qualifying purchases will still be exempt from the 4% state sales tax, though the local sales tax (ranging from 3% to 4 7/8%) will be in effect.

The state exemption alone translates into about $900 million of savings annually. The combined amount from the state and local sales tax exemptions is more than $1 billion annually.

Serious savings for shoppers

For example, a mother in Brooklyn, shopping for her child in New York City, purchases a pair of sneakers for $100, two shirts at $40 each, and two pairs of $55 pants for a total cost of $290. She would have paid $25 in sales tax without the exemption.

Likewise, an uncle in Wayne County, shopping for his niece in Lyons, purchases three shirts at $20 each and a pair of $40 pants for a total of $100. The combined state and local sales tax exemptions on his purchase are $8.

Source: New York State Department of Taxation and Finance 

Happening in Harlem: Buy Black Friday

A Cultural Retail Experience in Support
of Business Owners and Vendors

Fashion * Wine Tasting * Food * Pop Art * Tai Chi Demo 

Door Prizes at 11am

11am to 8pm, November 24, 2017
ImageNation's RAW SPACE
(7th bet 121st & 122nd)
New York, NY 10027
Source: ImageNation 

More Than 160 Groups Give Thanks to Senator Chuck Schumer

Albany, NY—In this season of thanks, a group of community, state and national organizations sent an open letter to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer today thanking him for putting the health and safety of our communities ahead of the White House’s pro-polluter policies. The “thank you” letter commended Senator Schumer for joining citizens, community leaders, and environmental leaders at an event in Lower Manhattan last month to firmly declare that he and his colleagues would fight to prevent any cuts to EPA’s budget.

The letter opened with a rebuke of the anti-people, anti-environment agenda that is pervasive in Washington, D.C. “With the Trump Administration and their allies in Congress working to gut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and rollback key environmental protections and safeguards that prevent people from getting sick and dying, it is gratifying to know that there are leaders in Washington standing up to prevent such recklessness.”

One of the signatories to the letter, Peter M. Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, said: “The Trump administration’s efforts to gut EPA will undergo a reckoning, and it begins with lawmakers and citizens saying, ‘enough is enough.’ Senator Schumer’s battle cry is a rallying point for us all to Save the EPA. We won’t stop until the agency that protects us all is spared the recklessness of those that put polluter-friendly policies ahead of public health. We thank Senator Schumer for leading the fight in D.C. and urge all New York representatives to take the same stand.”

Another signatory to the letter, Eric Weltman, a Brooklyn-based organizer with Food & Water Watch, said: “Along with Senator Schumer, we’re drawing a line in the sand in opposition to any cuts to the EPA budget. The EPA is on the front lines of protecting our children from lead poisoning, asthma, and other health problems. The EPA’s mission is to protect the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the climate we rely upon, and it needs more funding, not less.”

Underscoring the life and death consequences that communities face if the EPA is cut, the letter made it a point to thank Senator Schumer for recommitting to beat back the damaging proposals put forward by President Trump and the House leadership.

Text of the full letter can be accessed on-line here.  

Source: Environmental Advocates of New York