Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day Tribute 2016

Military Outreach USA honors all who have fallen in service to our nation. Visit the Military Outreach USA website to learn how you can honor those who have fallen.

Video courtesy of Military Outreach USA.

Libertarian Party Presidential Debate

The Libertarian Party holds a presidential debate at its presidential nominating convention in Orlando, Florida. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Weekly Address: Remembering Our Fallen Heroes

In this week’s address, President Obama solemnly reflected on the meaning of Memorial Day and recognized the sacrifices made by the American warriors who never made it back home. 

President Obama Delivers Remarks to Service Members

White House Foster Care & Technology Hackathon

The first ever White House event bringing together the technology and child welfare sectors. This convening highlights ways to improve our foster care system through the use of technology and lifts up best practices.

U.S. Involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan

Daniel Serwer, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Professor, discussed the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Topics included the replacement for a recently killed Taliban leader in Afghanistan, the Iraqi military’s efforts to retake Fallujah from the ISIL*, and the future of U.S. involvement in the region. He responded to telephone calls and electronic communications, including a telephone line reserved for active and retired military.

The program concluded with a video clip of Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson being interviewed May 26, 2016, for “Newsmakers.”

*The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or DAISH/DAESH in Arabic), is a militant group that has called itself the Islamic State. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Donald Trump's Rhetoric on Muslims

As the only two Muslim members of Congress, Representatives Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson (D-IN) spoke about anti-Muslim rhetoric around the world. They also talked about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric on Muslims and immigration. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Chemical Safety Legislation

The Hill's Timothy Cama discusses House passage of a bill to overhaul the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time since 1976. He also reviews the environmental, health, safety, and business implications of the legislation. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Statement from the President and First Lady on the Passing of Cassandra Quin Butts

The following statement was issued on May 27. 

To know Cassandra Butts was to know someone who made you want to be better.  And Michelle and I were fortunate enough to count her as a friend for most of our adult lives. 

Cassandra and I met as law students, and we quickly discovered a shared passion for jazz – and for public service.  It was a passion she’d chase for the rest of her life – on Capitol Hill, at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and as an advisor of mine – but above all, as a citizen, always pushing, always doing her part to advance the causes of opportunity, civil rights, development, and democracy.  Cassandra was someone who put her hands squarely on that arc of the moral universe, and never stopped doing whatever she could to bend it towards justice.

We lost her this week, at far too young an age.  But along with all her friends and family, we find comfort in the knowledge that all the good she did for so many lives on.  She made America better.  She made so many lives better, including ours.  We admired her so much.  And we will miss her deeply. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary 

Note: Information on the legacy and life of Cassandra Quin Butts is available here 

Friday, May 27, 2016

President Obama Remarks at Hiroshima Peace Memorial

President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe deliver remarks following a wreath-laying ceremony at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

2016 Hurricane Season Outlook

NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, FEMA Deputy Administrator Joe Nimmich, Laura Furgione, with the National Weather Service, and Satellite and Information Service Director Steven Volz brief reporters on the 2016 hurricane season outlook. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Senator Chuck Grassley to Pursue Inquiry in Wake of Hillary Clinton Email Audit

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks about the State Department's IG audit that said former Secretary Hillary Clinton broke department rules when she elected to use a personal email account to conduct all official business while in office. He says he plans to pursue what he calls "discrepancies" in the wake of the audit, saying, "Secretary Clinton and some State Department officials have not been truthful." 

User-Created Clip
by etouhey
May 26, 2016 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Segregation in U.S. Schools

Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) talked about a Government Accountability Office report, released on the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, that shows U.S. schools are segregated by race and socioeconomic status. 

User-Created Clip
May 26, 2016 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Who Bombed Judi Bari?

A Commentary by Noelle Hanrahan of "Prison Radio"

This week marked the anniversary (May 24th 1990) of the assassination attempt against Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney of Earth First! 

I met Judi Bari in 1990.  I interviewed her for KPFA at her rehab hospital, shortly after the car bombing that almost took her life.  She courageously continued her work.  In the early 90's she was one of the few broadcasters to air Mumia's commentaries, she featured him on her radio show on KMUD in Garberville CA.  

Judi Bari and Tanya Brannan founded the Redwood Justice Fund after the car bombing so that folks like us could fight for justice and expose political repression.  I worked closely with Judi on her case "Bari vs. USA", and planned her Bay Area memorial when she passed away from breast cancer.  We continued her lawsuit on the behalf of her estate. Prison Radio is part of the Redwood Justice Fund because of Judi's amazing organizing, her work with across race, class, and cultural divides, and her willingess to expose the FBI's CointelPro in the 90's.  Viva Judi Bari!

Judi was nearly killed in a still-unsolved assassination attempt on May 24, 1990, when a motion-triggered pipe bomb wrapped with nails exploded directly under her driver's seat. She and Darryl Cherney were driving through Oakland, California when the bomb exploded. They were on a speaking tour to recruit college students for Redwood Summer, a campaign of nonviolent mass protests against corporate liquidation logging.

Judi was seriously injured and disabled by the bombing, while Darryl eardrum burst and he was injured as well.  

But instead of investigating the bombing as attempted murder, as the evidence clearly showed, the FBI, with the willing collaboration of the Oakland Police, tried to frame Judi and Darryl for the bombing, further victimizing them by false arrest and accusing them of knowingly transporting the bomb that nearly killed them.

It was a deliberate, politically motivated effort to target and "neutralize" Judi, Darryl and Earth First!, and to discourage people from joining Redwood Summer.

When it was finally time for the District Attorney to present evidence in court, the FBI and Oakland Police didn't actually have any, and no charges were filed. The Oakland Police closed their "investigation," but the FBI continued theirs, telling the media that Judi and Darryl were their only suspects. 

 The FBI then used the pretext of investigating the bombing as cover for a nationwide investigation of Earth First!, creating dossiers on over 500 people.
A year after the bombing, when it was clear that the FBI and OPD were making no genuine effort to solve the bombing, Judi and Darryl filed a federal civil rights suit against the FBI and OPD. The suit claimed false arrest and unlawful search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. It also claimed a politically-motivated conspiracy in violation of the First Amendment which attempted to suppress their free speech by discrediting them in public perception as violent extremists.

The evidence was presented in a jury trial that began on April 8, 2002, and ended June 11 with a stunning vindication of Judi and Darryl, and a $4.4 million award of damages.

“This case is not just about me or Darryl or Earth First!,” Judi said. “This case is about the rights of all political activists to engage in dissent without having to fear the government's secret police.”

Prison Radio works today to honor Judi's legacy.  

Attorney General Conducts Raid at SUNY Polytechnic

By Tom Precious, News Albany Bureau

ALBANY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has increased his investigation of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, conducting a raid Thursday afternoon at an office once used by a veteran lobbyist who has ties to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, his family and his inner circle, a source close to the investigation said.

Schneiderman last fall issued subpoenas in a bid-rigging investigation of a contract awarded, though never signed, between the SUNY college headed by Alain E. Kaloyeros and a politically connected developer to build a dormitory near the campus.

However, a source earlier this month said Schneiderman’s interest in SUNY Polytechnic has not been limited just to the scuttled dormitory deal.

The raid, executed with a search warrant, included an office formerly used by Todd Howe, a Washington-based lobbyist who worked for Whiteman, Osterman & Hannah, whose clients included Fort Schuyler Management Corp. and Fuller Road Management Corp., two SUNY Polytechnic entities that were created to do high-tech projects across the state, including the Buffalo Billion program. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Buffalo News and The Empire Report

Reminder: Patriotic Items are Always Sales-Tax Free

The New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs joins with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to remind all New Yorkers that flags of the United States, New York State, military service and prisoners of war are exempt from sales tax. 

United States flags are fully exempt from NYS and local sales tax year-round no matter who buys them or where they are purchased. The same is true for Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Prisoner of War (POW)/Missing in Action (MIA) flags.

"I encourage New Yorkers to take advantage of this tax exemption and proudly display our nation's flag as we remember and honor those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country," said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Jerry Boone.

“The NYS Division of Veterans’ Affairs joins with the Tax Department in encouraging citizens to pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of our veterans and their families,” said Division Director Eric Hesse. “We also encourage veterans and their loved ones to visit our website at for information about veterans’ benefits and support services.”

Military service flags are those that have been approved by the United States Secretary of Defense. These flags include the Blue Star and Gold Star banners put on display by family members of service members. A gold star represents a family member who died while serving in the Armed Forces; a blue star represents a family member who is serving now.

In addition to the flags, certain military decorations, including ribbons, medals, and lapel pins are exempt from sales tax when sold to an active military member or veteran. Accessories sold together with the flag to put it on display are free from sales tax as well.

The exemption for POW/MIA and military flags was authorized by legislation in 2012. The United States flag and New York State flag have been exempt since the sales tax was first enacted in 1965.

Veterans and those serving in the military should also visit the Tax Department’s Veterans’ property tax exemption webpage and Information for military personnel & veterans webpage. 

Source: New York State Department of Taxation and Finance