Monday, April 23, 2018

Prince’s Death Reveals How So-Called ‘Friends’ May Really Be Enablers

I don’t know the people Prince considered to be his friends. I don’t know the kinds of things they did to warrant their place within the entertainer’s inner circle.

And it is impossible for anyone to say what may or may not have been in their hearts. But two years after the musician’s death, one thing is clear.

Prince Rogers Nelson’s friends betrayed him.

On Thursday, law enforcement investigators in Minnesota announced that no one would be charged in the 2016 death of the performer, whose body was found in an elevator in his Paisley Park home and recording studio.

According to documents from the investigation released online last week, Prince had nearly 68 micrograms of fentanyl per liter of blood in his system at the time of his death. That’s 22 times the amount absorbed by a cancer patient who regularly wears a prescription fentanyl patch to manage pain.

The fentanyl tablets Prince concealed in aspirin bottles on a bedside table were obtained illegally. 
With so many people constantly clinging to his celebrity, someone surely knows how they ended up there.

But apparently no one is talking. And that’s a shame.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Black Families Increasingly Choose to Homeschool Kids

This report was published on YouTube on April 22. 

In the last 15 years, the number of black children in homeschool has doubled from 103,000 to about 220,000. Black parents cite a number of reasons for homeschooling children, including concern over peer pressure and drugs at school -- but increasingly, they are also citing school-related racism as a reason to keep students at home. NewsHour Weekend's Ivette Feliciano reports. 

Source: PBS NewsHour

Maggie Haberman Responds to Trump Attack: He's Threatened

New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman responds to President Trump's twitter attack following an article Haberman wrote about the President's relationship with his personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

A Critical Week for Mike Pompeo, on a Rocky Path to Senate Confirmation

by Rebecca Shabad and Frank Thorp V

WASHINGTON — CIA Director Mike Pompeo starts off a crucial week in his journey to Senate confirmation as secretary of state facing a Monday committee vote that's likely to be an unfavorable one, and a razor-thin margin of support in the full chamber.

All Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as committee member Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., have announced their opposition to Pompeo's nomination. If all stick to that position at Monday's 5 p.m. ET vote, the nomination will not have enough support to be reported favorably to the full Senate.

Despite that lack of support at the committee level, Republican and Democratic leadership aides say that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., can still bring up his nomination for a floor vote and is expected to do so later in the week — regardless of the committee vote — after jumping over some procedural hurdles.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Waffle House Hero James Shaw Tells How He Disarmed Gunman

This report was broadcast on April 22.

James Shaw Jr. was at the Nashville Waffle House where a gunman opened fire, killing four people in the early morning hours on Sunday. He wrestled the rifle out of the gunman’s hands, causing the assailant to flee the scene. Hours later, Shaw addressed reporters at a press conference to tell his heroic story.

Merkel Warns of 'Different Type of anti-Semitism' in Germany

by Carlo Angerer

MAINZ, Germany — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has denounced a "different type of anti-Semitism" that has taken root in her country.

She also vowed to do everything possible to ensure the safety of Jews in Germany.

Click here for summary. 

Source: NBC News 

Somali Troops Take Over a UAE-Run Military Base in Mogadishu

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Mexico's High Murder Rate Dominates Presidential Debates

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Tramadol: Cameroon’s Low-Budget Opioid Crisis

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Jagland: ‘Would Be Disastrous If Russia Pulls Out of Council of Europe’

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Nicaragua's President Ditches Pension Cuts After Dozens Killed in Nationwide Protests

Source: euronews.

The French Community in New York Welcomes the State Visit of Emmanuel Macron

Source: euronews.

Michael Bloomberg Picks Up US Climate Bill

This video was published on YouTube on April 22.

Source: euronews.

City Scoop: Rodents Reduction, Neighborhood Policing, NYPD Heightening Traffic Enforcement

This video was published on YouTube on April 20. 

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Mayor de Blasio Announces Central Park Will Become Permanently Car Free

This video, which begins at the 14-minute mark, was published on YouTube on April 20. 

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

'I Am Going to Kill You': Man Claims He Was Beaten in NYC Because He's Jewish

A man walking home from prayer services says a man jumped him and claims it's because he is Jewish. Ida Siegal reports. 

Click here for video. 

Source: NBC News 4 New York

State Republicans Warn Cuomo on Nominee Appointments

By Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY — With tensions flaring between Senate Republicans and Gov. Cuomo, the GOP says it won’t be business as usual anymore when it comes to confirming the governor’s appointments.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) sent a letter last week to Cuomo counsel Alphonso David alerting him that the Senate will no longer rush through last-minute appointments sent up by Cuomo at the end of the legislative session.

Instead, the Senate, which has confirmation powers, will break the appointments into two tiers. The first will be people nominated for paid or policy-making positions, and the second will be those getting nods for unpaid or nonpolicy-making posts.

Click here for the full article. 

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

Special Elections in New York on Tuesday Will Decide 11 Races

By Lisa W. Foderaro

Special elections in New York on Tuesday will present voters with nearly a dozen state legislative races from Buffalo to Long Island, and could prove decisive in the Democrats’ yearslong quest to capture all levers of state government.

The vacancies in the State Senate and Assembly are the result of incumbents decamping for other positions. State election officials say Tuesday will see a historic number of contests. “I can’t think of any time that we’ve had this many special elections on a single day,” said John Conklin, a spokesman for the Board of Elections.

The most critical races to the future of Democrats and Republicans are the two for State Senate, one in Westchester County and the other in the Bronx. Democrats have long enjoyed a comfortable margin in the 150-seat Assembly, but control of the Senate has mostly eluded them, because of a power-sharing arrangement between Republicans and eight renegade Democrats.

Despite a technical majority in the Senate, Democrats have taken a back seat to Republicans in the upper chamber, watching as the collaboration between Republicans and the so-called Independent Democratic Conference stymied legislation on issues like childhood sexual abuse and voting rights.

Click here for the full article. 

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

Friday, April 20, 2018

'Flashback Friday': General Wesley Clark Reveals US Plan to Attack 7 Countries in 5 Years (2007)

This video was published on YouTube on September 3, 2013. 

Source: Relax. It's on YouTube.

Former President George H.W. Bush Greets Mourners

Former President George H.W. Bush greets mourners at Saint Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, where his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, lies in repose. Mrs. Bush died April 17 at age 92.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN 

Police Militarization and State Surveillance

Author Chris Coyne discusses his book, Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN 

Hillary Clinton on Election Night: ‘They Were Never Going to Let Me Be President’

A new book from Amy Chozick has revelations and rumors about a doomed campaign.

By Gideon Resnick

“No one in modern politics, male or female, has had to withstand more indignities, setbacks and cynicism. She developed protective armor that made the real Hillary Clinton an enigma. But if she was guarded about her feelings and opinions, she believed it was in careful pursuit of a dream for generations of Americans: the election of the country’s first woman president.”

That would have been the nut graf of The New York Times story about Hillary Clinton’s historic victory that would have run under the headline “Madam President” spread across six front-page columns, according to reporter Amy Chozick’s new book, Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling.

Chozick writes that the Clinton campaign, which she covered from the beginning, had reacted furiously to the prospect of a Joe Biden run, as floated first in an August 2015 Maureen Dowd Times column and then in a reported story by Chozick. In the book, she writes that “Biden had confided (off the record) to the White House press corps that he wanted to run, but he added something like ‘You guys don’t understand these people. The Clintons will try to destroy me.’”

Throughout the book, Chozick refers to her fellow journalists in the small pool that flew on the campaign plane as “Travelers,” while referring to many Clinton staffers collectively as “The Guys.”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast 

How IBM Is Quietly Pushing Out Aging Workers

by Ranjani Chakraborty and Ariana Tobin

Last month, we reported that over the past five years, IBM has targeted its older U.S. employees for layoffs. The numbers are staggering: Since 2013, we estimated IBM eliminated more than 20,000 American employees ages 40 and over. We’ve collected the stories of over 1,400 former IBM employees and learned about their experiences during these job cuts. So exactly how does one of the country’s largest tech giants quietly push out this many older workers? Don’t we have laws to protect people at the end of their careers?

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica

Investigation Confirms Black Mothers and Babies in the U.S. Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis

This report was broadcast on April 19. 

Source: Democracy Now!

Federal Civil Rights Prosecutors Recommend Charges for NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the Killing of Eric Garner

Click here for the article. 

Source: The New York Daily News

Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network Call Upon
AG Sessions to
Pursue Civil Rights Charges Against Pantaleo

New York, NY (April 20, 2018) - - - Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network (NAN) are cautiously hopeful that federal civil rights prosecutors have recommended charges against New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo for the killing of Eric Garner and are calling upon Attorney General Jeff Sessions to follow the recommendations.

Rev. Sharpton and the National Action Network (NAN) have crusaded on behalf of the family of the unarmed Eric Garner since his death by chokehold in 2014 and have called for the Department of Justice to charge NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo with civil rights charges.

Rev. Al Sharpton will discuss this further on the final day of NAN’s convention on April 21 during NAN’s live broadcast, which will be livestreamed at 

Source: Mercury

David Buckel: Dying So Others Will Live

"Future Hope" Column

By Ted Glick

“I’ve no doubt he wanted his actions viewed optimistically. He wanted this to be viewed as a positive act of love for the planet. I have no doubt in his mind he believed what he was doing was a way to effect positive change.”  

- Marisa DeDominicis, executive director of Earth Matter NY, on the self immolation death of David Buckel, quoted from The Guardian

On April 14th David Buckel, who I’ve never met or even heard of, took his life as a protest against climate disruption and environmental degradation caused by fossil fuels. In an email to the NY Times right before he set himself on fire, he said: “Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result – my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.”

According to news sources, he was passionate about the environment. In his last years he worked effectively to develop a composting project at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Prior to that he had a long history of fighting for causes he believed in. He was a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society and Lambda Legal, and he helped to win important legal victories for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

As far as I know, this is the first death of a U.S. American by self immolation since the deaths of five people during the 1960’s in protest of the Vietnam war—Alice Herz, Norman Morrison, Roger Allen LaPorte, Florence Beaumont and Ronald Brazee.

I hope there are no more self immolation deaths. It is not a tactic I would ever suggest to anyone or encourage them to consider.

However, I fully understand why, in the world we are living in today, someone who gets it on what is happening to our severely wounded planet, its people and all of its life forms, and who wants to do something about it, would consider it.

I’ve never considered self-immolation, but more than once I’ve taken action that involved the risk of serious injury or even death. For example, in 1972, I took part in what became a 40-day, water-only hunger strike to try to stop the Vietnam War.

Click here for the full article.


Cuomo Speaks at the New York State Nurses Association Rally

Source: NYGovCuomo

New York Implements Measures to Protect Children from Sex Traffcking

A multi-prong effort has been launched to further protect children from sex trafficking, including legislation to strengthen prosecutors' ability to seek justice on behalf of child sex trafficking victims. While federal law recognizes no child willingly becomes a prostitute, New York law requires prosecutors to prove force, fraud or coercion was used to make a child participate in prostitution. Frequently, the only way to do this is through the testimony of the child victims sought to be protected. The Governor's legislation would effectively remove this requirement, and give prosecutors the ability to seek proper justice for these victims without the need to put them through the trauma of appearing in court.

"This is nothing short of a modern day slave trade that preys on children and the most vulnerable among us and it must be shut down once and for all in New York and beyond," Governor Cuomo said. "These reforms will close dangerous loopholes in the law that allow these human misery agents go free and will give law enforcement more tools to help protect victims and bring human traffickers to justice."

Aside from the fact that the idea of children being able to consent to prostitution contradicts other aspects of the law protecting children from sex crimes, the requirement to prove force, fraud or coercion creates a number of problems for prosecutors seeking to convict child sex traffickers. Often times, meeting this standard requires victims to testify against their trafficker which can lead to additional trauma for an already-traumatized victim.

Further, these victims are frequently convinced that they are in a loving relationship with their trafficker, leading to their refusal to testify or their provision of testimony that they engaged in prostitution out of love and not because of force, fraud or coercion. In these cases, this can result in downgraded charges with lesser sentences than those penalties associated with sex trafficking and the child may then return to the trafficker for the abuse to continue.  This program bill adopts legislation previously advanced by Senator Andrew Lanza and Assembly Member Amy Paulin. 

As part of this administration's ongoing commitment to these efforts, the Governor has worked with the Legislature to pass new laws and introduced several initiatives to help prevent, identify, and address sex trafficking and forced prostitution in New York State. These measures include legislation that has been enacted to protect the privacy of survivors by sealing records from future employers, providing mechanisms for survivors to vacate past prostitution related convictions by creating an affirmative defense for survivors who were compelled into prostitution, and the creation of improved guidance for police departments and sheriff's offices to follow in cases involving human trafficking. 

Click here for the full announcement.

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Cardi B Inspires GGE’s April #MOOD

The following statement was submitted by Girls for Gender Equity (GGE). 

When Cardi B took to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival stage, pregnant and feisty, tongue out and twerking, she lived in her whole truth. A screen behind the popular rapper revealed the homemade videos that propelled her into stardom.

From Instagram to Cosmopolitan, Cardi B creates space for herself and for women who defy respectability politics. She has defended the legitimacy of sex work -- stripping in particular -- condemned sexual abuse in the music industry, and applauded the ‘me too.’ movement. This April, as we recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we celebrate our fight to be unabashed, unpoliced, unharmed, and unstoppable.

Click here to access the GGE newsletter.

Arlington National Cemetery: Major Development in the Wake of 'From The G-Man' Report

By Gary Glennell Toms

On January 29, 2018, From The G-Man published a special report on Joan Flowers and her nearly 25-year effort to have her father's remains transferred from an unmarked grave in Chicago to Arlington National Cemetery. 

On March 8, C-SPAN reported the following: "Arlington National Cemetery Superintendent Katharine Kelley, Army National Military Cemeteries Executive Director Karen Durham-Aguilera, and veterans service organization leaders testified before a House Armed Services subcommittee on the future of Arlington National Cemetery. They assessed the current eligibility criteria for burial and potential expansion at the military cemetery. Superintendent Kelley said if no changes are made at Arlington National Cemetery, it would run out of space by the early 2040s." 

Click here for video of the hearing. 

SPLC Lawsuit: Private Prison Company Uses Forced Labor to Boost Profits

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed suit this week against a private prison company that's maximizing profits by forcing detained immigrants to work for as little as $1 a day. Immigrants who refuse to clean, cook and maintain the detention center are threatened with solitary confinement and the loss of food, clothing, toilet paper and phone calls to loved ones – items they must purchase with their "earnings."

Click here for the full article. 

Source: SPLC

Libya: Why Haftar’s Absence Could Tip the Country Into Further Chaos

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Merkel and Macron: Can They Compromise to Push EU Reform Forward?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Cuba: Raul Castro to Lead Communist Party Until 2021

Source: FRANCE 24 English

North Korea Talks: Koreas Install a First Telephone Hotline Between Leaders

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Syria: Anti-Government Forces Give Up the Strategic Town of Dumayr in the Outskirts of Damascus

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Eye on Africa: African Members Seek to Grow Trade Value to $2 Trillion

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Governor Cuomo Signs Middle Class Recovery Act

This video was published on YouTube on April 19. 

Source: NYGovCuomo

Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange Says It Will Not Comply with New York Inquiry

By Evelyn Cheng

The head of a major cryptocurrency exchange will not comply with the New York attorney general's request for information.

"The resource diversion for this production is massive. This is going to completely blow up our roadmap!" Kraken co-founder and CEO Jesse Powell said Wednesday on Twitter.

"Then I realized we made the wise decision to get the hell out of New York three years ago and that we can dodge this bullet," Powell said. "Ordinarily, we're happy to help government understand our business, however, this is not the way to go about it." 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: CNBC (via Empire Report New York) 

Upstate NY Farmer Says ICE Officers Stormed His Farm Without a Warrant, Cuffed Him, Threw His Phone

This video was published on YouTube on April 19. 

John Collins was standing outside the milk house at his dairy farm this morning when he heard yelling coming from inside. He ran in, he says, and saw his worker, Marcial de Leon Aguilar, pinned up against the window by armed men. Video provided by Lillian Wheeler.