Thursday, February 23, 2017

White House Press Briefing

Oval Office Chat: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

President Trump spoke today with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reiterate America’s strong bilateral cooperation with Canada.  President Trump underscored the importance of America’s relationship with Canada for addressing the problems facing both countries, as well as the opportunities for both countries.  To that end, President Trump emphasized the importance of working closely with Canada on cross-border issues, including implementation of his Administration’s actions to protect America from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals and others.  The two leaders noted their desire to continue building on the countries’ deep partnership, which has been strengthened by their meeting on February 13. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary 

The Anti-Semitism of Breitbart Under Stephen Bannon

As President Trump is pressured to substantively respond to the rise in anti-Semitic incidents since his election, a new analysis reveals that Breitbart News under Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon fostered a comment section — a sample of Breitbart’s readership — that increasingly reflected language specific to the white nationalist “alt-right” movement, including anti-Semitic sentiment.

Comparing the language of Breitbart commenters to the language of the most aggressive far-right extremists online — e.g. language used by Twitter users who advocate for violence against minorities and are openly pro-Nazi — we can see a clear trend of increasing similarity over a three-year period, the bulk of it under Bannon. Bannon left Breitbart to join the Trump campaign in mid-August 2016 but the editorial focus of the site stayed the course he set it on. 

Click on the graph to increase its size.

Diving deeper into anti-Semitic sentiment we see a similar trajectory. In early 2013, the term “Jewish” was used in a similar way as “white” or “black” as a racial/ethnic descriptor, which is similar to how "Jewish" is used in the mainstream press. By 2016 on Breitbart, however, “Jewish” had morphed into an epithet, used in similar contexts as “socialist” or “commie.”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center 

Bonus report: Trump Adviser Bannon Assails Media at CPAC

New York Takes Action to Combat Hate Crimes and Anti-Semitism

Date of Governor Cuomo's presentation: February 23, 2017

CPAC 2017 LIVE Stream

Source: Right Side Broadcasting

President Trump Leads a Listening Session with Manufacturing CEOs

DNC Race: Jaime Harrison Drops Out, Endorses Tom Perez for Chair

ATLANTA - Jaime Harrison, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, dropped out of the race for Democratic National Committee chairman to endorse front-runner Tom Perez Thursday, potentially putting victory within the former labor secretary's reach.

Harrison announced his move on MSNBC and in an email to DNC members.

 "Tom and I have dedicated our careers to helping people through public service," Harrison said in the email. "With so much at stake, our next Chair will lead the fight of a generation. We must all fight side by side. I'm standing by Tom Perez's side, and I hope you will join me in doing the same."

Harrison was said to have had the third largest number of votes committed to him in a crowded field of eight candidates, and he could bring as many as 20 votes into Perez' column, according to a source familiar with the situation.

That might be enough to put Perez over the top on the first round of voting Saturday in his struggle against his closest rival, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Cuomo Issues Directive: School Districts Must Protect Transgender Students

Statement from the Governor 

“As the federal government seeks to roll back the progress we have achieved toward equality, we in New York will never stop fighting to ensure the LBGTQ community and all Americans are afforded the equal protections guaranteed to them by the United States constitution.

“The misguided action taken by the federal government last night runs contrary to the New York Promise of individual freedoms. With the stroke of a pen, they seek to move this country backwards.

“Today, I am urging the State Education Department to issue a directive to all school districts making it clear that – regardless of Washington's action – the rights and protections that had been extended to all students in New York remain unchanged under state law.

“In New York, whether you are gay, straight or transgender, Muslim, Jewish or Christian, rich or poor, black or white or brown, we respect all people – and we will continue to enforce our laws and stand united against those who seek to drive us apart.”

​The Governor issued the following letter to the State Education Department: 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew Cuomo 

Denzel Washington and Constanza Romero Wilson Discuss "Fences" and the Brilliance of August Wilson

This video was published on YouTube on January 28, 2017. 

Air Date:: 01/16/2017

A look at the film adaptation of August Wilson's 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Fences," with the film's producer and star, Denzel Washington, and Constanza Romero Wilson, the wife of August Wilson. 

Source: tv guidetrap

Saving Our Youth: The SAVE Organization

Through a cadre of volunteers and the resourcefulness of student members, SAVE chapters are growing and making a positive difference across the nation.  SAVE is a unique and powerful approach to youth safety because it recognizes the role that young people can take in making schools and communities safer.   Because SAVE chapters are established and operated by students, the opportunity to spread the message of nonviolence to young people and their communities is enhanced when SAVE chapters exist.  Focusing on crime prevention, conflict management and service projects, SAVE students are providing positive peer influences in violence prevention efforts. 

Click here for additional information. 


Rev. Al Sharpton to Speak at the New School

National civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton will discuss key issues impacting civil rights, economic and social justice and criminal justice reform at The New School on February 28 at 6:30 p.m. The event will be hosted by Maya Wiley, Senior Vice President, and Henry Cohen, Professor at The New School.

As an internationally renowned civil rights leader, activist, and founder of National Action Network (NAN), Rev. Al Sharpton has dedicated his life to the fight for justice and equality.  For decades, he has turned the power of dissent and protest into tangible legislation impacting the lives of ordinary people.  As former President Barack Obama once stated, Rev. Sharpton is a “voice for the voiceless” and a “champion for the downtrodden”. As head of NAN, which currently operates hundreds of chapters across the country including a Washington, D.C. bureau and headquarters in Harlem, NY, Rev. Sharpton has taken the teachings of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and applied them to a modern civil rights agenda.  He has been a tireless advocate for everything from police reform and accountability to protection of voting rights and education equality.  A 2016 Vanity Fair profile described him as “arguably the country’s most influential civil rights leader.” 

The event will be hosted by Maya Wiley, Senior Vice President and the Henry Cohen Professor of Urban Policy and Management at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy. Under her leadership, The New School and key constituencies are advancing the university’s social justice agenda both inside and outside of the university. Wiley’s role as Senior Vice President of Social Justice dovetails with her position as the Henry Cohen Professor of Urban Policy and Management. As a teacher, Wiley will provide a new generation of leaders with the educational and practical training to tackle pressing issues related to social justice. She will also work to initiate public policy discourses with outside partners such as governments, businesses, and nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. “They’re separate roles, but there’s a lot of interaction between them,” Wiley says. Wiley’s appointments mark the latest turn in a career defined by social advocacy. A civil rights attorney and policy advocate, she has litigated, lobbied the U.S. Congress, and developed programs to transform structural racism in the United States and in South Africa.

The New School’s Henry Cohen Lecture Series has been devoted to advancing social equity in America. This year, the series will examine how we can advance political, social and economic inclusion in the context of a Trump Presidency.  The series has a long tradition of bringing together the best minds to examine how policy efforts manifest over time as political and social environments change. The series is named after Henry Cohen, the founding dean of the Milano School, who served in that position from 1965 through 1983.

Doors open at 6 p.m. 

Source: Mercury 

Declaration 17: 'A Declaration of Independence' Opposing Trump Policies and Practices

Modeled after our country’s July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence, today 112 Americans have declared their independence from the policies and practices of President Donald J. Trump and his administration. 

The group’s goal is to heighten public understanding of the Founding Documents that articulate America’s core principles. They will sponsor public readings and discussion of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution moderated by activists, workers, authors and actors, academics, and lawyers to show how the provisions of law and universal values set forth by the founders differ from those of President Trump and his administration. 

Click here to read the full statement and to review the list of names.   

Source: Mercury

Trailblazers in Black History: Donnie Cochran

Captain (Retired) Donnie L. Cochran was the first African American aviator assigned to the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) in 1986. Cochran later assumed command of the Blue Angels in 1994.

Additional information is available here.

Source: Wikipedia

Chicago School Principals Told Not to Let ICE Agents In

CHICAGO — As educators around the United States wonder whether a crackdown on immigrants will reach their schoolhouse doors, principals in Chicago have been given a simple order: Do not let federal immigration agents in without a criminal warrant.

The stand taken by Chicago Public Schools, the country's third-largest school system, is among the boldest of the districts that have announced measures to protect those who may be living in the country illegally.

It remains unknown how much interest U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will show in schools under President Donald Trump, and there is little schools can do to thwart agents who show up with warrants, but they are acting at least in part to ease concerns of skittish immigrant communities. In districts like Chicago, where nearly half of the 381,000 students are Hispanic, there is concern that immigration authorities could grab parents outside the schools and their children inside. 

Click here for the full article. 

Mnuchin Says to Expect Complete Tax Overhaul by August

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that he wants to see "very significant" tax reform passed before Congress' August recess, in what could prove a tough task as lawmakers work through a complex agenda.

"We want to get this done by the August recess. We've been working closely with the leadership in the House and the Senate and we're looking at a combined plan," he told CNBC in his first television interview since assuming office. 

Click here for the full article. 

Angry Voters Lash Out Against GOP, Trump at Town Halls for 2nd Straight Day