Saturday, May 26, 2018

In Memoriam: Assemblyman Denny Farrell

Beloved Harlem Representative Passes Away at 86

Click here for details.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Directs Flags to Half-Staff

Cuomo today directed that flags on all state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, May 29 in honor of Assemblyman Denny Farrell. "I am heartbroken by the passing of my friend, mentor and partner-in-government Denny Farrell. Denny was a compassionate leader, a brilliant political mind and a trailblazer who left an indelible mark on New York politics. He was part of a previous generation of leaders, along with Mayor David Dinkins, Basil Paterson, Congressman Charlie Rangel and my father Governor Mario Cuomo, on whose shoulders today's generation stands.

"Denny exemplified the best of politics. He was a true public servant who taught all of us what it means to be in elected office. He was fearless in his pursuit of justice.

"Denny also believed in my father when others did not, and he took me in when I was a 23-year-old campaign manager for my father. And he continued to be an inspiration for me throughout my career.

"My father once said about Denny, 'Denny is a giant in a world of little people.' In the world of politics where everything is expediency and calculating, he was a man who stood up and acted out of principle, consequences be damned. We will forever be grateful for the legacy of Denny Farrell."

 Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Statement from Assemblyman Michael Blake 

9:35 P.M. (EST) - I am sad to learn that we lost our gentle giant, former Assemblymember Denny Farrell, Jr., who left an indelible impact on me and countless other leaders. As a fellow Jamaican-American, I had pride as Denny stood in the chamber as our Ways and Means Chair defending our Assembly budget for hours during the strenuous voting process. Yet moments later, Denny and I would talk about our families in Jamaica or how to deal with the mosquitos in the country! We would chat about his car and his love for driving, which always amazed me that a man that tall would drive a car that small. As a former state Democratic Party Chair and a long time member of the Democratic National Committee, Denny would regularly ask me about the direction of our party and then he later gave me the highest honor of receiving his endorsement and his vote as one of the new national Vice Chairs. The invaluable lessons I learned through his wisdom and mentorship shall always stay with me.

I vividly remember how Denny called me to say that he was going to move forward in his committee on my signature piece of legislation to help small Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises that contract with New York State to get paid in 15 days instead of 30 days. This came after he and his longtime Counsel Michael Johnson asked me detailed questions and then Denny meticulously wrote down the bill number to review the impact it could have. I am forever grateful that he would help me enact such an impactful policy and didn't see me being a new legislator as a negative but rather as someone with potential, choosing to mentor me along the way to become a better public servant. Denny would always stop and talk to me in the hallway about The Bronx and Harlem or just ask "How are ya doing?," to make sure I was okay. I would listen and ask as much as I could because I was just as impressed with his brilliance and experience as I was with his dapper pinstripe suits. 

Denny Farrell, Jr. impacted my life for the better in immeasurable ways. I'm grateful beyond words for his service and commitment to the people, especially his absolute love for his children. Walk good my fellow yard man Herman "Denny" Farrell, Jr. Our country and state are better because of you. Continue to make history and rest in power!

Source: The Office of Assemblyman Michael Blake (District 79) 

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Message to America.....from 'The G-Man'

Memorial Day: Reflections from the 82nd Airborne Division

This video was published on YouTube on May 26, 2017. 

Fox News visits the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg to hear our nation's bravest describe what Memorial Day means to them

Tribute to African American Soldiers on Memorial Day

This video was published on YouTube on May 23, 2014. 

Note: Many of these brave men and women were regarded as nothing more than niggers by the white commanders and soldiers they served with, and they were treated as such when they returned home from war. Still, they managed to serve with distinction and honor while helping to secure victory during the American Revolution, Civil War, and World War II, among others. 

"From The G-Man" salutes them for what they endured not just overseas.....but in the United States of America.

President Ronald Reagan's Memorial Day Address (1986)

This video was published on YouTube on February 12, 2015. 

Source: The Reagan Foundation

The History of Memorial Day

This video was published on YouTube on May 17, 2015. 

Source: Reading Through History

'Flashback Friday': 1945 Newsreel Memorial Day Celebration

Note: Keep in mind that this footage was recorded in 1945. Thus, the manner in which the Japanese are described may be considered offensive.

Source: mmlearningllc

NYS Delivering Nearly 3000 Flags for Memorial Watchfire at NYS Fairgrounds

On May 26, flags will be loaded onto a vehicle at the Senator John J. Hughes State Office Building, 333 East Washington Street in Syracuse at 9:00 a.m. 

They will then be delivered to the brown parking lot at the New York State Fairgrounds where they will be handed off at 9:30 a.m. to representatives of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 103.

The Office of General Services, under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s direction, collected 2916 worn and tattered flags at drop-off locations statewide so that they can be properly retired. The flags will be delivered by Commissioner Destito and Joel Evans, to the State Fairgrounds so they can be disposed of as part of Memorial Watchfire hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 103 on May 27.   

Visit for information on the Memorial Watchfire. 

Source: NYS Office of General Services

Democratic Leader Pelosi Accuses Speaker of Abdicating Responsibilities

This report was broadcast on May 24. 

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi criticizes Speaker Paul Ryan's decision to skip a classified leadership briefing on the FBI's use of an informant in President Trump's 2016 campaign, and instead attend a Republicans-only briefing on the matter. 

Click here for video.

Trump Tells Naval Academy Grads Cynics Are Trying to Tear Down America

Source: CBS News

Amazon Alexa Echo Recorded Conversation and Then Sent to Contact

Source: CBS News

#Reporters: Stories from Israel

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Irish Local Media: Referendum Turnout Higher Than Expected

Source: FRANCE 24 English

What is the African Development Bank?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Venezuela Hit by Sky-High Inflation Despite Large Oil Reserves

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Eye on Africa: Amnesty International Says Nigerian Army Abused Women Fleeing Boko Haram

Source: FRANCE 24 English

MI6 Says Bond Myth Hampering Recruitment of Women

Source: euronews.

US Newspaper Websites Blocked in EU After Missing GDPR Deadline

Source: euronews.

Business Trends 2018: European Innovators Give Their Insight at EBS

Euronews asked business leaders and innovators about the top trends for 2018 at the European Business Summit.

Facebook Accused of Mass Surveillance

Source: euronews.

Samsung Faces $540 Million Bill After Being Found Guilty of Copying iPhone

Source: euronews.

North Korea Keeps Its Promise to Destroy Its Nuclear Test Site

Source: euronews.

Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray Speak at Planned Parenthood Rally for Title X Funding

This video was published on YouTube on May 24. 

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

ICE Arrests Surge 65% in N.Y. After Trump Took Office, While Busts of People Without Convictions Up 225%

By Jillian Jorgensen

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement drastically stepped up arrests in New York City in the eight months after President Trump was sworn in, according to a City Hall analysis.

Arrests by ICE in what the federal agency considers the New York City area — which includes several counties north of the city — increased by more than 65% in 2017, compared with the same period in 2016, according to the Mayor's Office of Immigration Affairs.

Arrests by ICE of people with no criminal convictions increased by 225% in the New York City area in the eight months following the inauguration, the city said.

Click here for the full article. 

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

DMV Tossing Personal, Sensitive Customer Information in the Trash

A News 10 WHEC Exclusive

Gov. Cuomo Vows to Make It Illegal for New Yorkers Under 21 to Buy Guns

 Accepts Nomination for Reelection

By Kenneth Lovett

HEMPSTEAD — A week after the Santa Fe high school shooting, Gov. Cuomo accepted the state Democratic Party's nomination for governor by promising additional gun laws, including raising the age to purchase firearms in New York to 21.

Cuomo ripped into President Trump and congressional Republicans for refusing to act again and again as the number of mass shootings in America has grown.

"Look how far we have sunk." Cuomo said. "Why can't our national leaders be as smart as our high school students? The answer is because they are a wholly owned subsidiary of the (National Rifle Association). They sold their souls and they sold their conscience for political contributions."

Click here for the full article. 

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

Harvey Weinstein Arrested, Charged With Rape After Surrendering to Police

by Tatiana Siegel
It was the most dramatic twist to date in the downfall of the Oscar-winning producer who is facing criminal charges on multiple fronts, including in Los Angeles and London.
More than seven months after sexual misconduct allegations involving Harvey Weinstein first surfaced publicly, the disgraced mogul has been charged with rape.
Appearing in court on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend (May 25), Weinstein was charged with first- and third-degree rape and a criminal sex act in the first degree, for forcible sexual acts against two women in 2013 and 2004, respectively.
Click here for the full article.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter (via Empire Report New York) 

Mayor de Blasio’s Emails, Uncensored and Unforgiving

A trove of City Hall emails, released under court order, shows a mayor sensitive to news media criticism and quick to lash out at aides. 

By J. David Goodman and Jeffery C. Mays

For years, Mayor Bill de Blasio has resisted disclosing thousands of emails between members of his administration and outside advisers, on the grounds that doing so would impede his ability to get the best, unvarnished advice.

Now it seems like Mr. de Blasio had an even more pressing and personal concern: He did not want to make public his own raw — and sometimes profane — emails to those same advisers, whom the de Blasio administration had characterized as “agents of the city.”

On Thursday, City Hall reluctantly released more than 4,200 pages of emails, the final stage in a two-year court battle that the de Blasio administration lost to NY1 and The New York Post earlier this month.

The emails shed light on the close involvement of those outside advisers from the start of Mr. de Blasio’s first term in 2014. They worked with City Hall on a range of issues from universal prekindergarten to funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Click here for the full article. 

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

Thursday, May 24, 2018

How Trump’s Nativist Tweets Overlap with anti-Muslim and anti-Latino Hate Crimes

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently spoke with two researchers in the United Kingdom who have been studying the relationship between hate speech and hate crime. They concluded that hate crimes against Muslims and Latinos occurred shortly after President Trump made disparaging tweets about those groups. Words matter, and when political leaders use bigoted rhetoric, the consequences can be particularly harmful to the groups targeted.

Click here for the full report. 

Source: SPLC

Mayor Offers Apology to Sterling Brown, Community Leaders After Taser Video Released

Source: TODAY'S TMJ4

President Trump Posthumously Pardons Boxer Jack Johnson

'Truckin' Putin's Miracle Crimean Bridge

By Askold Krushelnycky 

Russia’s war in Ukraine has entered its fifth year. Skirmishes and killings continue every week but have long ago faded from the headlines – perhaps because they have reached “an acceptable level of violence”.

I was a teenager when I first heard that chilling term uttered by a British politician in 1971 referring to the low intensity war in Northern Ireland between the British Government and IRA terrorists. The conflict had erupted in 1968 and would last for 30 years with a steady stream of bombings and shootings leaving a trail of dead and maimed children, adult civilians, British soldiers and Catholic and Protestant terrorists. 

But, apart from occasional “spectaculars” killing and wounding dozens of victims, the violence seemed to barely register with Britons on the mainland. The deaths of a couple of British soldiers in Belfast sometimes made just a few paragraphs in the newspapers.  Many in Northern Ireland understandably felt forgotten as if the rest of the world had become bored with their ghastly situation.  

It was Home Secretary Reginald Maudling who declared the conflict was at “an acceptable level of violence” – which many took to mean that London had given up on trying to end the killing and was resigned to keeping it within reasonable parameters.

The Russians invaded, then annexed, Crimea in February 2014 and by spring had stirred up violence in parts of eastern Ukraine as a pre-cursor to snatching more Ukrainian territory. Soon fighting flared with large battles, which sometimes saw hundreds dead in a day.

The conflict has taken more than 10,000 lives - most civilians - including 298 passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, shot down over Eastern Ukraine in on July 17, 2014.  All the evidence pointed to Russia but, as has become routine, Moscow lied indignantly and denied involvement. But today (May 24)  a report compiled by independent international investigators confirmed the ill-fated airliner was blasted out of the sky by a Russian military unit.

But by the autumn of 2015 a parlous ceasefire called the Minsk Agreement depressed the death rate dramatically. Ukrainian soldiers and civilians still died every week. But they died in dribs and drabs instead of job lots.  Press attention shifted to the mass slaughter in Syria and many Ukrainians felt their country’s conflict plight had been consigned to the back burner in the way the people of Northern Ireland must have thought with the “troubles” simmering away at an acceptable level of violence.

Acceptable as a cynical statistical model unless, of course, one of your relatives or friends featured in that week’s statistics.

So it was fitting that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, who shattered the postwar world order by invading and sparking conflict in Ukraine marked the ignominious anniversary last week (May 15) by opening a bridge connecting Russia with occupied Crimea.

Putin himself officially inaugurated the bridge, hailed as Europe’s longest, by driving the first vehicle to make the 19 kilometer journey from Russia across the Azov Sea’s Kerch Strait.

Known for his “Village People” propensity for dressing up in tough-guy costumes – he’s previously appeared as an air force pilot, biker, rally driver, diver and hang-glider – a Truckin’ Putin, wearing jeans and wind-cheater jacket rolled into the occupied Crimean peninsula.

However, as he purposefully shifted the gears of his big truck, it must have been difficult for him to maintain a smile when he considered that the bridge, far from being a monument to martial triumph, is a stark symbol of the Kremlin’s failed plans to rebuild a new Russian empire.

After seizing Crimea, Putin tried to snatch a huge crescent of Ukraine from its eastern borders, sweeping south and to its western frontiers. That would have created a land corridor from Russia to Crimea, which received most of its utilities, including water, food, fuel etc by road and rail from the Ukrainian mainland.

But that didn’t happen because, to Moscow’s astonishment, vastly outnumbered Ukrainian volunteer battalions managed to hold back pro-Russian forces and limited them to occupying a portion of the country’s eastern Donbas region.

Most of the world does not recognize Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula and has stopped trade with it. Everything to keep Crimea going has had to be expensively brought in by ferry or plane from Russia sending the cost of living soaring for those on the peninsula. Tourism, a vital slice of Crimea’s economy, crashed.

So the bridge became an obsession for Putin who devoted billions of dollars to the project and called the structure “a miracle” when it was completed six months early. A previous bridge in the same place collapsed decades ago because the seabed does not anchor structures well and the weather is often bad.  Some say that the combination of corruption, lax engineering skills, and rushed work will make it a miracle if the structure endures.

The EU, US, Canada and many others condemned the bridge as an attempt to tighten Moscow’s illegal occupation.

Despite the hoopla surrounding its “opening”, the bridge isn’t very useful yet as the roads leading up to it on both the Russian side and in Crimea won’t be ready until at least 2019. Ukraine’s foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, tweeted: “Both ends of the bridge lead nowhere.”

In similar fashion the Minsk Agreement, intended to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, isn’t going anywhere fast either. It calls for not only a ceasefire but also for the withdrawal of Russian troops and pro-Moscow forces from the occupied areas, return of control of all its borders to Ukraine, and elections for a political arrangement in the region that reflects the interests of the local population, many of whom are ethnic Russians.

There has only been one day without fighting since the agreement was signed in 2015 and the rest of its provisions have stalled because Moscow’s armed forces – whether regular or Kremlin-armed proxies – remain in the occupied Donbas area and control the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Earlier this month I spoke to Kurt Volker, the US special envoy charged with trying to help settle the conflict. He was not very optimistic about the future as he hasn’t heard from his Russian counterpart for more than three months since floating a plan to bring in UN-mandated peacekeepers to control both sides of the conflict line and create the conditions for bringing normality back to the region.

Volker said he has not seen any signs that Moscow is willing to engage “seriously” to resolve the conflict despite the fact it has nothing to gain from continuing it. “There won’t be recognition of territory taken by invasion and Moscow will only suffer more in terms of sanctions and lost lives”, he said.

Volker recommended, after his first visit to the front lines last summer, the US supply Ukraine with Javelin anti-armor missiles and earlier this month 210 missiles and 37 launchers arrived in Ukraine, something which has enraged the Kremlin.

The arrival of the state-of-the-art Javelins won’t cancel out Russia’s vast advantage in men and material over Ukraine, but it will even up the odds if the Kremlin launches another major attack. The Javelins have certainly has boosted morale considerably.

Volker hopes that Putin, after being inaugurated earlier this month (May 7th) as Russia’s leader yet again,  might feel confident enough to make “a constructive response” to the UN peacekeeper plan.

But he’s not holding his breath and said if Russia continues its adversarial course the US and other western countries will continue to stand by Ukraine because that is necessary to “re-establish the fundamentals of the world order”.

He said: “Russia has torn up the rules as in the case of Ukraine and that has very injurious consequences.” If Moscow behaves aggressively in Ukraine without being penalized, what’s stopping it from doing the same elsewhere, asked Volker.

Meanwhile the violence at continues. Another two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and  four wounded on Monday.

Askold Krushelnycky became the Kyiv Post’s Washington, D.C. correspondent in May 2018. He has been a journalist for 40 years, mainly with British newspapers starting in 1978. During the 1990s, he reported in Europe on the fall of communism, political transformations and conflicts, including the Balkans. From 1997 to 2011, he was based in Moscow, but also served as chief editor of the Kyiv Post in 1998. He then went to Prague. He was assistant foreign editor at The Sunday Times of London and became that newspaper’s South Asia correspondent, based in New Delhi, to cover India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. He worked frequently in the Middle East. In 2006, his book “An Orange Revolution – A Personal Journey Through Ukrainian History,” was published by Random House/Harvill Secker. He was born in London. His parents were World War II refugees from Ukraine. He received a bachelor’s degree in industrial chemistry. In 2011, he and his wife moved to Washington, D.C. He became a U.S. citizen in 2016. 

NAN, Clergy and Community Leaders to Protest at NFL Headquarters

On May 25 at 11 a.m., the National Action Network (NAN) will be joined by clergy members and community activists to protest NFL owners' decision requiring players to stand during the national anthem. 

The protest will take place in front of NFL headquarters, 345 Park Avenue, in New York City. 

Attendees will include  Minister Kirsten John Foy, Northeast Regional Director, NAN, Rev. Kevin McCall, Crisis Director, NAN, Dominique Sharpton, Director of Membership, NAN, Ashley Sharpton, President, NAN Youth Huddle, Rev. Phil Craig, Queens Chapter of NAN, Rev. Steffie Bartley, New Jersey State Director, NAN Phil Gates, NAN Bronx Chapter Queenie Huling, NAN South Brooklyn Chapter, Katrina Jefferson, NAN Young Professionals, Representatives from NAN Buffalo Chapter, Tamika Mallory, Co-Chair, Women’s March, and Geoffrey Eaton, Mid-Manhattan Branch President, NAACP. 

Source: Mercury

The New COINTELPRO? Meet the Activist the FBI Labeled a 'Black Identity Extremist' & Jailed 5 Months

This report was published on YouTube on May 23. 

Source: Democracy Now!

'We Are Lurching Toward Plutocracy': Rep. Ellison on Rollback of Key Dodd-Frank Banking Regulations

Source: Democracy Now!

Trump Bill Signing Rolling Back Dodd-Frank Banking Regulations

President Trump is signing a bill to roll back some Dodd-Frank regulations Thursday. This is the first time the president will make remarks since he wrote to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to cancel their summit, which was to take place on June 12. 

Source: CBS News 

Planned Parenthood Is Asking Donald Trump’s Labor Board For Help Busting Its Colorado Union


Colorado Planned Parenthood executives, with help from President Donald Trump’s labor board appointees, are fighting their health center workers’ unionization efforts in a case that could set a precedent for workers’ rights nationwide.

The case is Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood Inc. v. SEIU.

Staff for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, in coordination with SEIU Local 105, won the election for their union in December 2017. But shortly after the vote to unionize, Planned Parenthood leadership, instead of recognizing the new unit, turned to the Republican-controlled National Labor Relations Board to challenge the outcome. The Planned Parenthood bosses won the first round, and the appeal will now move to the full five-member labor board.

In April, Trump labor board appointees Marvin Kaplan and Bill Emanuel sided with Planned Parenthood’s argument that the union ought to include all the clinics in the regional agency, which spans three states. Meanwhile, former President Obama’s appointee, Lauren McFerran, voted against the appeal and in favor of the workers. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Intercept_

Police Instructor Analyzes Sterling Brown Taser Video

A former police officer and current instructor on proper arrest and use of force tactics joined TODAY’S TMJ4 to offer insight into what happened in the body cam video of an officer tasing Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown.

Source: ESPN

Maine Tries 'Ranked-Choice' Voting: A Ballot Can 'Count' More Than Once

by Jane C. Timm

To win a primary race in Maine next month, candidates will have to do something unusual: Aim not just to be voters' first choice, but their second, third and perhaps fourth choice, too.

Maine is the first state to use the ranked-choice voting system for statewide and federal elections, earning plaudits from advocates who say it is a step toward making the U.S. a better, less polarized democracy.

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

House Democrats Look to Hire Parkland Students to Work on Gun Violence Issues

by Alex Moe

WASHINGTON — Student survivors of gun violence descended on Washington en masse earlier this year during the massive March for Our Lives on March 24. Now some lawmakers would like to bring them back for an entire summer.

House Democrats are inviting students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — who survived a mass school shooting in February — to come intern in their offices, working on gun violence prevention.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Chinese Investments in Crucial U.S. Technology Could Be Causing National Security Concerns

A six-month Politico investigation reports Chinese companies are actively looking to acquire and invest in U.S. startups that are working on technology that is vital to the U.S. military and economy. According to Politico, the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment is not adequately staffed to review all investments that could pose national security threats to the United States. Cory Bennett, deputy national security editor for Politico, joins CBSN to discuss his reporting.

Did Ukraine Pay Michael Cohen to Facilitate White House Talks?

Source: CBS News

EU Antitrust Regulators Have Accepted Concessions Made by Gazprom, Will Not Issue Fines

Source: euronews.

Hamas Under Pressure After Gaza Protests Fail to Bring Change

Pakistan Merging 'Lawless' Region with Province Near Afghan Border

Burundi Accused of Widespread Rights Abuses Before Referendum

Ramadan in post-ISIL Iraq: 'For Us It's Only Hunger and Poverty'

Presidential Meeting Signals 'Another Chapter' in Franco-Rwandan Relations

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Campaigning Continues Ahead of Irish Abortion Referendum

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Viva Technology Conference Opens in Paris as Macron Seeks French Dominance

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Trade Truce: US-China Tensions Cool, But is a Trade War Still Possible?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

UCCA Pays Tribute to Col. Yevhen Konovalets

The following statement was submitted by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA). 

On May 23, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the largest grassroots representation of Americans of Ukrainian descent, marked 80 years since the assassination of one of Ukraine’s greatest statesmen, revolutionaries and military leaders - Col. Yevhen Konovalets. Struck down by the cowardly time-bomb of an NKVD agent, his body was discovered on the streets of Rotterdam, Germany, in 1938, almost 12 years to the day after the assassination of his close friend and comrade-in-arms, Symon Petliura.
Born in Zashkiv, outside of Lviv, Col. Konovalets was a man deeply dedicated to the cause of Ukraine’s independence, rising to the rank of commander of the Corps of Sich Riflemen, commandant of the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO) and finally as co-founder and first elected leader of the Supreme Council of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).

One of the most prominent Ukrainian leaders of the 20th-century, Konovalets led an international effort of organizing Ukrainian veterans' associations throughout the diaspora as well as the establishment of foreign-language press bureaus in order to help garner political support for Ukraine’s independence; this included his personal appeals to the League of Nations to address the issue of Ukrainian sovereignty.

Col. Konovalets’ once wrote, “Neither the enemy’s prisons, deportations, nor the death of individual fighters will destroy the will of the Ukrainian people to an independent life, because Ukraine is an unconquerable bastion of heroes.”

Unfortunately, his words still ring true today, as the valiant men and women of Ukraine are once again forced to defend their independence and territorial integrity against the very same tyrants who for centuries have kept the Ukrainian nation in chains.

On this solemn anniversary, UCCA pays tribute to the unconquerable and unbreakable spirit of Col. Yevhen Konovalets, a true hero in Ukraine’s ongoing quest for freedom. May his legacy continue to be an inspiration for Ukrainians worldwide in their ongoing promotion and defense of the Ukrainian state.
In Ukrainian
23 травня,  Український Конґресовий Комітет Америки (УККА), найбільше представництво американців українського походження, вшановує 80-ту річницю бивства одного з найбільших державних діячів України, революціонера і військового провідника, полковника Євгена Коновальця. Вбитий бомбою агентом НКВД, його тіло було знайдено на вулицях Роттердаму, у Німеччині в 1938 році, майже  у 12-ту  річницю  з дня вбивства його близького друга і товариша по зброї, Симона Петлюри.

Народжений в Зашкові, за межами Львова, полковник Коновалець був відданий боротьбі за українську незалежність, зростаючи до ранґі командира Корпусу Січових Стрільців, опісля до коменданта  Української Військової Організації (УВО) і нарешті як співзасновник і вперше обраний провідник Організації Українських Націоналістів (ОУН).

Один з найвидатніших українських провідників 20-го століття, Коновалець  очолив міжнародні зусилля в організації асоціяції  українськоих ветеранів по всій діяспорі, а також у створенні іноземних бюр преси, щоб отримати політичну підтримку незалежності України включно з його особистимі закликами до Ліги Народів, для вирішення питання суверенности України.

Полковник Коновалець колись написав такі слова: "ні ворожі в'язниці, ні депортації, ні смерть вояків, не знищать волю українського народу до самостійного життя, оскільки Україна є непереможним бастіоном героїв."

На жаль, його слова якже правдиво звучать і сьогодні, коли волелюбний народ України знову змушений захищати свою незалежність і територіяльну цілісність проти тих же тиранів, які протягом століть тримали  українську націю в ланцюгах.

У цю сумну річчницю, складаємо честь непереможному і непорушному духові полковника Євгена Коновальця, справжнього Українського героя у його постійноому змаганні до волі. Нехай його легендарна спадщина продовжує бути джерелом натхнення для українців по всьому світу у їхніх змаганнях збереження вільної, незалежної і демократичної Української Держави.

Trump Issues Letter to Kim Jong-un, Cancels Meeting

Click on the letter to increase its size. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks at U.S. Navy Reception In Honor of Fleet Week New York 2018

This video was published on YouTube on May 23. 

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Mayor de Blasio Makes Education Announcement

This video was published on YouTube on May 23. 

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Happening in Harlem: Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson Birthday Tribute

The Schomburg Center has partnered with Divine Rhythms Productions to debut the May 25 performance Raising The Bar. Conceived and Choreographed by Award-winning collaborators Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Derick K. Grant, and Jason Samuels-Smith, Raising The Bar is a new revue celebrating the timeless relationship between tap dance and jazz: two of the most popular original African-American art forms that has since been embraced worldwide.
Raising The Bar challenges perceptions of the standard chorus line, where dancers are instead offered moments to shine in their own right, through dynamic and intricate arrangements. Reminiscent of great American Vaudeville, the show concept while inspired by the era, includes a more contemporary feel. Solo acts feature some of the Tap community's own leading voices across styles and generations.

@SchomburgCenter #BojanglesBday

Click here to register. 

Source: The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture

Ethan Hawke: City Leaders Must Protect New York City Libraries

Greetings to all New York City residents. 

Stories take many forms. We read and reread our favorite books, watch movies, go to the theater, scroll through our phones, and learn our favorite song lyrics or poems. No matter how we consume stories, we seek them out because of their power, their grip on us. We turn to stories to find out about others and ourselves and to make sense of our lives.

As a storyteller, I've acted in films and on the stage. I've directed feature films and a documentary. I've written novels, a children's book, and a graphic novel. Each form has its own challenges and rewards. But each one has allowed me to communicate a story I believe to be essential.

I'm proud to be a Board member of The New York Public Library and a co-founder of its Young Lions Fiction Award. I consider a library to be a sacred institution because it safeguards millions of stories—and gives all New Yorkers free access to this treasure trove.
Today I'm asking you to join me in calling on City leaders to protect a precious resource: New York City's libraries. Will you add your name now?

Just last night, my 16-year-old son asked me, "Do people really still use libraries?" I was happy to be able to tell him yes. It's a fact: More people than ever are visiting their neighborhood branches and using the myriad free resources the Library provides. They're downloading music, checking out books, and viewing the Criterion Collection's films—for free. They're also enrolling in ESOL classes, improving their digital literacy, and taking their toddlers to story time—also for free. And this list goes on and on. The public library is a more vital community center than ever before.

But to keep all of this going we need support from City leaders more urgently than ever. The cost of continuing to provide these vital free resources has increased, especially with the Library's dedication to expanding hours of operation and six-day service. Without City funding, we could lose our ability as New Yorkers to tell, read, and share stories—the very things that define us.

Strong support for the Library from City leaders has never been more important. 

We might not all be writers or directors or actors, but at heart we're all storytellers and seekers. Stories are how we see and make sense of the world. The New York Public Library allows everyone to participate in the best stories from every place and every era. What's more, the Library gives everyone the means to tell their own stories—whether that's by learning another language or a new job skill, or simply reading a great book that illuminates another aspect of the world.


I joined the NYPL Board and co-founded its Young Lions Fiction Award because of my lifelong belief in the power of reading and libraries and the means they give us to transform our lives. The New York Public Library is sacred, and it needs our support right now.  

Together we can keep library doors open for everyone. Thank you for joining me today.

Ethan Hawke
Actor, writer, director, and NYPL Board of Trustees member
For The New York Public Library

Robert De Niro Bans Trump From Every Nobu Restaurant


Robert De Niro is adding some wasabi to his feud with President Donald Trump.

The screen legend, who is a co-owner of the Nobu restaurant empire, told the Daily Mail that he’s banned Trump. De Niro also said he wouldn’t remain in any other eatery with the president, either. 

It’s not clear if the restaurant’s famed chef and co-owner, Nobu Matsuhisa, shares that sentiment. 

“It’s my dream for Trump to sit next to Bob,” he told the Daily Mail. “To make them sushi!”

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Huffington Post 

The N.F.L. Kneels to Trump

By the New York Times Editorial Board

The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

The owners of the National Football League have concluded, with President Trump, that true patriotism is not about bravely standing up for democratic principle but about standing up, period.

Rather than show a little backbone themselves and support the right of athletes to protest peacefully, the league capitulated to a president who relishes demonizing black athletes. The owners voted Wednesday to fine teams whose players do not stand for the national anthem while they are on the field.

Let us hope that in keeping with the league’s pinched view of patriotism, the players choose to honor the letter but not the spirit of this insulting ban. It might be amusing, for example, to see the owners tied in knots by players who choose to abide by the injunction to “stand and show respect” — while holding black-gloved fists in the air. Or who choose to stand — while holding signs protesting policy brutality. 

Click here for the full commentary. 

IRS Takes Aim at Cuomo Plan to Ease Burden of New Federal Tax Law on New York

By Mark Weiner

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service issued a warning Wednesday to taxpayers in New York and other high-tax states whose governors have come up with plans to help taxpayers avoid new limits on federal deductions for state and local taxes.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill in April that allows New Yorkers to avoid the new $10,000 limit on deductions by turning their state and local tax payments into fully-deductible contributions to charitable trusts. Those trusts would forward the payments to government entities.

But IRS and Treasury Department officials urged caution on Wednesday, issuing a public notice that the departments plan to issue new guidance on the use of charitable contributions as a tax workaround.

Click here for the full article.

Source: (via Empire Report New York) 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

President Trump Is Not 'Above the Law': John Bonifaz Warns Against Normalizing Impeachable Offenses

Top FBI and Justice Department officials have confirmed they will meet with congressional leaders to review classified information on the handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. This comes after President Trump demanded an investigation into whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign. Trump has claimed for months, without evidence, that the Obama administration spied on his campaign. Legal experts say his tweet Sunday crossed a line by applying overt presidential pressure on the Justice Department, which could possibly set up a clash similar to the one between President Nixon and the Justice Department during the Watergate scandal.

Source: Democracy Now!

President Trump Meets with South Korean President at White House

White House News Briefing

The briefing begins at the 14:42 mark.

Source: PBS NewsHour

Cuomo Issues First Group of Conditional Pardons Restoring the Right to Vote to New Yorkers on Parole

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that he has issued the first set of conditional pardons restoring the right to vote to 24,086 people under community supervision in New York State. Building on the Governor's sweeping criminal justice reforms, this group of pardons follows the Executive Order signed on April 18 to improve civic engagement and reduce recidivism. New York State Election law provides that a Governor's pardon restores the right to vote to individuals who lose this right due to being on parole for a felony that resulted in their incarceration.

"The right to vote is fundamental and it is unconscionable to deny that basic right of citizenship to New Yorkers who have paid their debt to society," Governor Cuomo said. "Restoring a voice to men and women reentering their communities will strengthen our democracy, as well as the reentry process, which in-turn will help reduce recidivism."

The Governor's action to grant these conditional pardons reverses individual restrictions that have had a disproportionate impact on New Yorkers of color. African Americans and Hispanic New Yorkers comprise 71 percent of the population disenfranchised due to their parole status.

Click here for the full announcement. 

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo