Friday, June 23, 2017

In Memoriam: Gabe Pressman

Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo

"Gabe Pressman always gave you the story straight, and always asked the tough questions that New Yorkers wanted answered.

"As people increasingly turned to TV for news, it was Gabe who became the most important and trusted face on New York City airwaves. He was a true pioneer in the industry. Gabe was the first TV reporter to bring a film crew into the street to cover news where it was happening.

"Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Gabe was the North Star for several generations of New York reporters, fighting doggedly to hold public officials accountable and to protect the rights of the press.

"I am deeply saddened by Gabe's passing, but know all New Yorkers will continue to benefit from the contributions he made over a lifetime that spoke truth to power." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

From The G-Man and The G-Man Interviews send condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. Pressman. May they all find some measure of comfort in the days ahead, and may Mr. Pressman's legacy live on for generations. Thank you, Mr. Pressman. Rest in peace


Gabe Pressman's Interview with Martin Luther King Jr.

Source: NBC News

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Obama Rips The Senate GOP Health Care Bill


In terms sharper than anything else he’s offered in his post-presidency, Barack Obama lashed into Senate Republicans on Thursday for pushing a health care bill that he framed as fundamentally inhumane. 

“The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill,” the former president wrote in a Facebook post. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.” 

“Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family ― this bill will do you harm,” he added. “And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Huffington Post 

The GOP Colluded With Racism to Hack North Carolina Election

An NBC News OpEd

While public testimonies of former intelligence agency directors and an Attorney General have provided made-for-TV drama in recent weeks, they have not yet furnished clarity as to whether a sitting President’s campaign helped Russia hack our 2016 electoral process.

Despite deep partisan divides, a consensus remains that hard evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia’s clear skullduggery would be unacceptable to Republicans as well as Democrats. With all eyes glued on Team Trump’s unfolding game of Russian roulette, however, many Americans appear to accept our homegrown hacking. 

Over the past month, while we watched “As the Trump World Turns,” four separate U.S. Supreme Court decisions made clear that Republicans in North Carolina intentionally subverted democracy through what the Court affirmed as a “racial gerrymander” and a voter suppression law that it said “almost surgically targets African Americans.”

Anyone outraged by the potential collusion of Team Trump should examine these final decisions from our highest court. Without the race-based election hacking that the Court now definitely outlaws, a Trump campaign would have never been possible. What’s more, our seven-year struggle to win this fight offers a deeply divided nation a clear way forward. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

President Accuses Democrats of Obstruction on Health Care

Speaking at a White House event on U.S. leadership in emerging technology, President Trump says it would be nice to have Democratic support for the newly released Republican health care bill, but says they will not support the effort , and he accuses them of being obstructionists on the issue. 

Source: C-SPAN

The Case for Obstruction of Justice Against Trump

This video was published on YouTube on June 20, 2017. 

Obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense. It was at the heart of Richard Nixon’s impeachment. The parallel between Nixon and Trump is almost exact. Robert Reich explains that there's already more than enough evidence of probable cause to begin an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.

Trump Tweets About Possible James Comey Tapes

President Trump has posted new tweets about the possibility that conversations between him and James Comey were taped. CBS News political director Steve Chaggaris joins CBSN with more details.

Source: CBS News

Protesters Dragged Away from Sen. McConnell's Office

Protesters were dragged away from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office while chanting "no cuts to Medicaid" after the Senate GOP revealed the health care bill draft.

Source: ABC News

Four Republican Senators Say They Oppose the Senate GOP Health-Care Plan

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he and three other Republican Senators oppose the health-care bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on June 22. 

Pelosi Criticizes Draft of Senate GOP Health-Care Bill

Source: Washington Post

Nancy Pelosi "Very Confident" of Support in Her Caucus

Source: C-SPAN

Senate GOP Unveils Health Care Bill

Senate Republicans rolled out a new health care bill today while trying to attract the 50 votes needed to pass this bill. Also, President Trump tweeted he didn't tape conversations between himself and former FBI Director James Comey. Quartz White House correspondent Heather Timmons and Washington Post political reporter Aaron Blake join CBSN to discuss.

Source: CBS News

Congressional Black Caucus Declines Second Meeting With Trump

Source: Roland Martin

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Former NYC Correction Dept. Officials Say Racism, Mismanagement Is Rampant at Agency

By Sarah Wallace

Three former high-ranking officials with New York City’s Department of Correction filed federal employment complaints on Wednesday, alleging racial discrimination.

The three officials — Charles Daniels, Senior Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Errol Toulon, Jr., Deputy Commissioner of Operations, and Dr. Keith Taylor, Asst. Commissioner of Correction Intelligence — said in their complaints that racism is widespread and rampant in the DOC and that a glass ceiling exists for minorities in upper management.

A spokesman for the DOC said it does not comment on specific employment complaints.

Click here for the full article/video. 

Source: NBC News 4 New York

Sandra Bland Act Signed Into Law By Texas Governor

This article was originally published on June 19, 2017. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a measure that seeks to prevent the circumstances that led to the death of Sandra Bland, KGBT reports.

Bland, 28, died in a Waller County jail after being detained during a traffic stop in July 2015. Her death sparked protests throughout the country, as it presented yet another example of African-Americans dying while in police custody.

Her death was ruled a suicide, but family members say she would not have taken her own life.

The law mandates county jail officials divert people with substance abuse and mental health issues toward treatment and makes it easier for those in custody to receive personal bond if they have a mental illness or disability. It also requires independent law enforcement agencies to investigate jail deaths.

Click here for the full article.  


Trump Meets with Cybersecurity and Energy Sector Representatives

President Trump met with Mayor Rudy Giuliani, General Keith Alexander, Thomas P. Bossert, and energy sector leaders today to address energy sector resilience and cybersecurity.  President Trump thanked the participants in the meeting for their efforts and underscored the importance of a continuing public and private partnership to effectively combat threats against the energy sector, particularly the power grid.

In the meeting, the leaders discussed unique challenges the sector faces and strategic initiatives, both underway and proposed, to address the evolution of malicious cyber activity.
The President stated his continued commitment to enhancing electric grid security and resilience, noting that his Executive Order “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure” is an important step towards that goal. 
The President made clear that his Administration is committed to working closely with infrastructure providers, improving the existing public and private partnership framework, and fostering collaborative relationships for effective risk management. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary  

What is the Cybersecurity Disclosure Act of 2017?


This video was published on YouTube on June 15, 2017.

In March 2017, the Cybersecurity Disclosure Act of 2017 was introduced to the U.S. Senate. The bill mandates that in all annual reports to the SEC, companies must disclose the level of cyber security expertise of the board; or, if none exists, what "other cybersecurity steps taken by the reporting company were taken into account."
To learn more about the bill itself and the specific impact it could have on cyber risk management, watch this interview featuring Steven Grossman, VP of Strategy at Bay Dynamics, and Bob Zukis, Senior Fellow with The Conference Board Governance Center.

Clemency Granted to Ground Zero Worker from Queens

Pardon Grant Removes Grounds for Deportation 

Governor Andrew Cuomo today issued a pardon to Carlos Cardona of Queens who was convicted of a non-violent crime in 1990.
As a result of changes to federal immigration enforcement policy, Mr. Cardona has been detained since February, after appearing for a routine U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement appointment. He has been held in Hudson Correctional Facility in Kearny, NJ and recently applied for clemency in New York. With this pardon, Mr. Cardona and his attorney would be able to reopen the Final Order of Removal showing that the grounds for deportation are no longer valid.
"In the more than 30-years since Carlos Cardona has lived in this country, he has built a family and given back to his community, including in the aftermath of 9/11 when he assisted with Ground Zero recovery efforts at the expense of his own health," Governor Cuomo said. "It is my hope this action will not only reunite Mr. Cardona with his wife and daughter, but also send a message about the values of fairness and equality that New York was founded upon."
In 1986, Cardona immigrated to the U.S., fleeing local violence in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, where his brother served as a police officer and his family faced threats from local gangs for their involvement in law enforcement and local business. At 21-years-old, Carlos Cardona was convicted of attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in Queens County on August 30, 1990. Cardona, now 48, has lived crime-free for the past 27 years.
A civic-minded New Yorker, Cardona worked as a cleanup and hazmat recovery worker rehabilitating Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.  He spent four months removing hazardous material from the wreckage, in order to make a safer space for other recovery workers and neighbors of the disaster site.  He went on to marry an American citizen who is also a former Ground Zero recovery worker. Cardona’s 19-year old daughter is currently in college working toward earning a degree to teach elementary students.
As a result of Cardona’s work on Ground Zero, he suffers from acute respiratory issues, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Without receiving this clemency, Cardona’s health issues would not be adequately addressed in his home country of Colombia.
Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation, said,  "I commend Governor Cuomo for this act of compassion for a New Yorker who sacrificed his health, in service to others at Ground Zero after the 9/11. Mr. Cardona has given back so much and conclusively turned his life around. With this pardon, Mr. Cardona will be able to make his case to stay in this country with his family, and continue to receive care for his serious medical conditions."
JoAnne Page, President and CEO of the Fortune Society, said, "I want to applaud Governor Cuomo for pardoning Mr. Cardona. I am a child of immigrants, born in a country built by immigrants who have made America great over and over again. In my 28 years as CEO of the Fortune Society, I have seen thousands of people with criminal justice become pillars of strength in their communities and families. Mr. Cardona has lived a law-abiding life for almost 30 years. He was a recovery worker after 9/11 and risked his own life to save those of New Yorkers whom he did not even know. His deportation would be a tragic loss to his family and to New York State. In issuing a pardon to Mr. Cardona, Governor Cuomo demonstrates both compassion and courageous leadership."
Joanne Macri, Chair of the Immigration Committee of the New York State Bar Association, said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for choosing to grant a pardon in this case. His act supports Mr. Cardona’s efforts to remain in New York, alongside his wife and children, in the community which has served as his home for more than 30 years, and with access to life-saving healthcare not available in Colombia. This pardon grants mercy to a deserving New Yorker with no other means of relief from the life-altering consequences of a criminal conviction that has followed him for 27 years."
Under the New York Constitution and State law, the Governor has the authority to grant commutations and pardons. The Governor has pardoned 115 individuals since taking office in 2011. The Governor's Executive Clemency Review Team continues to actively review pending applications for clemency.
These actions continue the Governor’s efforts to break down barriers for people with criminal convictions, which includes his creation of a Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration to alleviate barriers for those who have criminal convictions. In 2016, the Governor accepted recommendations from the Council for executive actions, which include requiring the Board of Parole to account for an inmate’s current risk to public safety when making a release decision, and prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to businesses seeking to hire formerly incarcerated New Yorkers.
Individuals interested in applying for clemency should visit Governor Cuomo’s clemency website at The website is a central resource for those seeking to learn more about clemency, eligibility requirements, and the application process, including submitting application materials electronically. Family members and friends of individuals serving prison sentences are encouraged to visit the website and apply for clemency on behalf of their family member or friend.
Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez Named 20th President of the University at Albany

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced the appointment of Dr. Havidán Rodríguez as the first Hispanic president of any SUNY four-year college in New York State history. Dr. Rodríguez’s appointment as the 20th president of the University at Albany follows the launch of the Governor’s SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute, charged with developing and supporting the next generation of executive-level Latino leaders across the SUNY system. Dr. Rodríguez joins UAlbany following 25 years of experience as a leader in higher education, previously serving as the founding provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
"Dr. Rodríguez is a proven leader with over 25 years in higher education and will bring the experience, talent and expertise we need to keep the University at Albany moving forward," Governor Cuomo said. "The SUNY system is one of the crown jewels of New York, and by working with Dr. Rodríguez we will continue to bring it to new heights and ensure the best education possible for our students. I congratulate him on this history-making appointment, and look forward to working together in the future."
"I am honored and privileged to have been chosen to serve as the University at Albany’s next president," Dr. Rodríguez said. "UAlbany has an outstanding reputation among the nation’s research universities. I thank Governor Cuomo, Chairman McCall, Chancellor Zimpher, and the Board of Trustees for their confidence in me. I am also very grateful to Michael Castellana and the search committee, and I am looking forward to working with our new Chancellor, Dr. Kristina Johnson."
The National Diversity Council today released their list of 2017 Top Latino Leaders composed of a cross section of industry experts, including business, education, policy and community leaders. Only two of the 15 recipients selected nationwide were in the field of higher education, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez was the only academic administrator to make the list.
Dr. Rodríguez comes to the University at Albany with over 25 years of experience in higher education, most recently serving as the founding provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Dr. Havidán Rodríguez is the Founding Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, and a tenured professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Prior to that, Dr. Rodríguez served as President, Ad Interim, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Texas - Pan American. Before arriving at UTPA, Dr. Rodríguez served as the Deputy Provost, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and International Programs, and Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware, where he also directed the Disaster Research Center, the oldest and one of the leading social science disaster research centers in the world. Rodríguez held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez for over a decade, and served as Director of the Minority Affairs Program for the American Sociological Association. He also has been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan’s Population Fellow’s Program.
Rodríguez received his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, his M.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall said, "With experience and expertise in areas that directly parallel the University at Albany’s own strengths and focus, it seems as though Dr. Rodríguez’s esteemed career has been pointing him in SUNY’s direction all along. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire SUNY family, I am honored to welcome him to the Capital District, and I look forward to our work together."
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “Dr. Rodríguez comes to SUNY and to UAlbany with outstanding credentials, a proven record of academic as well as research excellence, and a portfolio that suits him to the job ideally. I have every confidence that Dr. Rodríguez will foster an inclusive campus environment where students, faculty and staff are inspired to the highest levels of success."
Assemblyman N. Nick Perry, chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus and member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, said, "Dr. Rodríguez is one of the most respected and highly-regarded leaders in higher education, and I know he will continue to build on the University of Albany’s legacy of excellence during his tenure. I congratulate Dr. Rodríguez on this well-deserved appointment, and I am proud to see more prominent Hispanic leaders take on leadership roles in SUNY and across state government. I look forward to working together with him to strengthen the SUNY system and ensure we equip generations of New York’s students with the skills they need to succeed."
Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo, chair of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force and member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, said, "It is said good things come to those who wait. For 70 years New York's Latino community has waited for executive level leadership in SUNY to mirror its growing strength.  Today with the selection of an accomplished educator and administrator such as Dr. Havidán Rodríguez to head one of our flagship research colleges, history is made."
Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Attorney General Takes Action to End Abortion Clinic Harassment

AG Schneiderman announces he's filing suit to protect
women from abuse and intimidation outside of Choices.
The following was submitted by the Office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The year after I graduated high school, I went to work in an abortion clinic. It was the year before Roe v. Wade, and abortion was still outlawed in states throughout the country. Many women still had to travel far from home for safe, legal reproductive health care.
I used to drive our patients from the airport to the clinic and back again. I still remember the fear in the eyes of many women as they tried to leave the recovery room too early because they wanted to get home as quickly as possible. Their parents or husbands or bosses had no idea they were there. Abortion was still something that was whispered about -- and draconian laws made it far more dangerous than it should have been.
After Roe, I remember thinking that the obstacles to a woman's right to control her own body would be gone for good. But even with the law on their side, women visiting clinics across the country have endured aggressive harassment, intimidation, and threats.
Yesterday, I filed suit to protect women from abuse and intimidation outside of a reproductive health clinic in Queens.
My lawsuit would establish a "buffer zone" of 16 feet from the door of the clinic to ensure that women visiting the facility can exercise their constitutional right without fear of harassment or threats.
Every Saturday morning for at least five years, an aggressive group of anti-choice protesters have gathered at the Choices Women's Medical Center in Jamaica, Queens, determined to stop women from exercising their constitutional right to control over their own bodies. These protesters intentionally collided with patients approaching the clinic -- pushing them, shoving them, and sometimes even pinning them against a wall. They've leveled death threats, telling volunteers, "You can die at any moment," and referenced mass shootings and terrorist attacks. And they've yelled threats not only at women, but at children who accompanied their mothers as they sought reproductive health care.
These tactics are not only horrifying. They're illegal.
The decision to terminate a pregnancy is deeply personal. It is often painful. Sometimes a mother learns that her own life is at risk if she carries a pregnancy to term. But it doesn't matter what the reason is. The law guarantees that women are the ones who have the right to make that choice, not a group of protesters and not some men sitting in Albany or Washington.
The law trusts women, and in New York, the law will be enforced.

Remy Ma To Start Fund For Women Who Want Kids But Can’t Afford Health Care


Remy Ma is advocating for women whose financial situations prevent them from conceiving children naturally. 

In January, the “All The Way Up” rapper opened up about her ectopic pregnancy, which resulted in a miscarriage. After having an emergency surgery, her doctor told her that her fallopian tubes were damaged and she wouldn’t be able to have any more children naturally.

“First I was distraught, I was embarrassed, I was ashamed, I felt less than a woman and [the doctor] assured me that was no way to feel and that for a certain amount of thousands of dollars, it can be fixed. And because I have the finances, I never even thought twice about it,” she told Essence.

Motivated by her own experience, the Bronx native thought of the many women who face a similar issue but don’t have the same wealth as she did. She told the publication that she intends on starting a fund for women who don’t have the financial means to get pregnant but long to have children.

Click here for the full article/video. 

Source: The Huffington Post 

Trailblazers in Black History: Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander

A native Philadelphian and life-long champion of civil rights and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race or gender, Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander was a leader in the legal, political and civic arenas of her day. Among her many "firsts" was her place as the first African-American woman to enroll in the School of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and earn the juris doctor degree.She was also a wife and mother and an unlikely comic book hero. 

Additional information is available here.

Police Brutality, Prejudice and Abuse with Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey

This video was published on YouTube on May 7, 2015. 

Police brutality from Baltimore to Ferguson and Oakland is discussed with retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey, who sheds light on why abuse and entitlement have prevented cops from protecting and serving the public. The death of Freddie Gray, reason why Darren Wilson went too far in Ferguson, and underlying trend of ‘shoot first’ has taken hold in modern police departments in America is all discussed. We also learn about her own experience joining the LAPD and her rising through the ranks in a climate that frequently treated her with suspicion, and the complex issues that continue to surround black police officers in this Media Mayhem, hosted by Allison Hope Weiner.

Source: TheLipTV

Outrage Over The Seattle Police Shooting Of A Pregnant Woman Who Called For Help

This video was published on YouTube on June 20, 2017.

Two Seattle cops shot and killed a pregnant African-American woman who called the police to report an attempted burglary at her apartment.

Source: Roland Martin

Michael Brown’s Parents, City of Ferguson Reach Settlement Deal in Lawsuit

The parents of Michael Brown, the black teenager who was shot and killed in 2014 by a white police officer, have reached an undisclosed settlement with the city of Ferguson, Missouri, in a wrongful death civil suit, according to court documents.

The amount of the settlement agreement was sealed. U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber said in an order that, "Disclosure of the terms of the settlement agreement could jeopardize the safety of individuals involved in this matter, whether as witnesses, parties, or investigators."

Brown's parents, Michael Brown, Sr., and Lesley McSpadden, filed a wrongful death suit against the city of Ferguson, Wilson, and the town's former police chief in 2015.

Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. A grand jury later declined to indict Wilson. Wilson in November of 2014 resigned from the Ferguson Police Department. 

Click here for the full article.

Mobb Deep’s Prodigy Left Us a Lesson in Mortality

"There’s a war going on outside no man is safe from.”

The year was 1995, but Mobb Deep front man Prodigy’s words still ring true for young black men across the country living in the inner city. The fear of intra-community violence, harassment by the boys in blue and self-medicating to escape it all — these were some of the themes in Mobb Deep’s music that dominated the airwaves throughout much of the 90’s.

Born Albert Johnson, Prodigy, one-half of the Queensbridge hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, passed away Tuesday. His family released the following statement: “Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth.” 

Click here for the full article.

Republican Senators to Get Their Health Care Bill This Week

WASHINGTON — Republican senators are expected to learn the contents of legislation to overhaul health care on Thursday as their party leadership continues to work toward a vote on it before they leave town for the July 4 recess.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that he would release a "discussion draft" of legislation to both his Republican members and the public later this week, and he acknowledged for the first time that a vote would "likely" take place next week.

So far, the public has received little information about the contents of the bill that would revamp nearly 20 percent of the economy and affect millions of Americans except through the few leaks to the press.

Most senators haven't seen the substance of a bill yet either, in large part because they still haven't finalized some of the controversial components needed to bridge divides among Republicans as they search for the 50 votes needed to pass it. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

Puerto Rico Grapples With Foreclosure Crisis as Thousands Lose Homes

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Elvis Guzman opened the letter, saw it was in English and took it to his lawyer for translation.

The 59-year-old who sells recycled metal for a living figured it was another letter from the bank warning his family that they were behind on their mortgage payments. But the news from the attorney shocked him.

"He told me I was losing my home. When he told me that, I burst into tears," Guzman recalled. "You have no idea the depression I'm going through. I am going to fight tooth and nail for this house."

An average of 14 families lose homes every day to foreclosure in Puerto Rico, more than double the rate a decade ago as the island faces a real-estate crash worse than the one that sparked the Great Recession on the U.S. mainland. Families across Puerto Rico are moving in with relatives, becoming homeless or simply fleeing to the U.S. mainland with destroyed credit records as the island's government struggles to restructure a portion of its $73 billion public debt and help the economy emerge from a decade-long recession. 

"It's the crisis no one is talking about," said Ricardo Ramos, a professor at the Legal Assistance Clinic of the University of Puerto Rico. "This has so, so many consequences." 

Click here for the full article. 

Treasury Designates Individuals and Entities Involved in the Ongoing Conflict in Ukraine

Action Underscores U.S. Commitment to Maintain the Strength of Existing Sanctions in Furtherance of a Diplomatic Solution to the Crisis in Ukraine
June 20, 2017
Washington -- The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today reinforced existing sanctions on Russia by designating or identifying a range of individuals and entities involved in the ongoing conflict under four Executive orders (E.O.s) related to Russia and Ukraine. Today’s action is designed to counter attempts to circumvent U.S. sanctions and will maintain alignment of U.S. measures with those of our international partners. It will also provide additional information to assist the private sector with sanctions compliance. These steps are consistent with the U.S. commitment to seek a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine and to facilitate Crimea’s return to Ukraine.  U.S. sanctions on Russia related to the situation in eastern Ukraine will remain in place until Russia fully honors its obligations under the Minsk Agreements. U.S. sanctions related to Crimea will not be lifted until Russia ends its occupation of the peninsula.
These designations will maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “This administration is committed to a diplomatic process that guarantees Ukrainian sovereignty, and there should be no sanctions relief until Russia meets its obligations under the Minsk agreements.”
In today’s action, OFAC designated 38 individuals and entities under Ukraine-related authorities, including one entity that has engaged in the evasion of existing sanctions, two Russian government officials and two individuals acting for or on behalf of a government official, two entities that are owned or controlled by an individual previously designated, and 11 individuals and entities that operate in the Crimea region of Ukraine. 
As a result of today’s action, any property or interest in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the United States must be blocked.  Additionally, transactions by U.S. persons involving these persons are generally prohibited. 
OFAC also identified 20 subsidiaries that are owned 50 percent or more by the previously-designated AK Transneft OAO (Transneft), subject to Directive 2 under E.O. 13662, which prohibits U.S. persons from dealing in new debt of greater than 90 days maturity of the sanctioned entities. 
Click here for the full report. 
Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury

Trump: The 'Peace' Candidate

By Steven Jonas

"Shortly after noon on August 31 , [1939, Chancellor Adolf] Hitler [of Germany secretly] ordered hostilities against Poland to begin at 4:45 a.m. the next morning. At 8 p.m. on August 31, Nazi S.S. troops wearing Polish uniforms staged a phony invasion of Germany, damaging several minor installations on the German side of the border. They also left behind a handful of dead concentration camp prisoners in Polish uniforms to serve as further evidence of the supposed Polish invasion, which Nazi propagandists publicized as an unforgivable act of aggression."

Of course, the planning for this operation had been going on for quite some time, as had been the flood of Nazi propaganda about how the "poor German residents" of Poland were being "horribly mistreated" by the Polish Government. (The Nazis has used the same excuse for the invasion of Western Czechoslovakia in September, 1938, summarized for all time by the single word "Munich .") But even with that run-up, the Nazis still set up a "false flag" operation, even though hardly anyone in the world at the time (with the possible exception of the pro-Nazi political forces in the United States and Great Britain) would believe it. 

(It happens that false flag operations had been going on for quite some time. For example, at the time of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48 a first-term U.S. Congressman from Illinois thought it very possible that President Polk had mis-located an attack by Mexican troops on those of the U.S. along the disputed border, and that that attack had occurred on Mexican, not U.S./Texas territory. He introduced what were called the "Spot Resolutions," designed to determine just where the original attack had occurred. His Congressional initiative went nowhere and at the next election he lost his seat in the House because of that initiative. His political career was put on hold for some years because of that event, but he did eventually achieve higher office in the U.S. His name was Abraham Lincoln.)

And so why am I telling these stories of false-flag and possible false-flag operations. Well, numbers of good friends and long-time colleagues of mine took the position during the last Presidential campaign that Donald Trump, at least as compared with Hillary Clinton, was the "peace" candidate. After all, he spoke admiringly of President Vladimir Putin (the first name "Vladimir" being the only discernable characteristic that Putin has in common with the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin). He changed a component of Republican National Platform from one that sharply criticized Russia over the "Ukraine" events to one that softened it sharply. He openly asked the government of President Putin to hack Hillary Clinton's email files. More importantly, he did talk about "de'tente" with Russia (even though that word was always used to describe the easing of relations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. [or China], not another capitalist power). And so on and so forth.

And so, the proto/21st/century fascist tendencies that Trump revealed right from the beginning of his Presidential campaign were set aside as concerns by certain parties in the U.S., in search of "peace." For one thing, Clinton, who at one time had talked about establishing a "no-fly zone" over parts of Syria, was considered a strong war hawk. (If she had won and had she implemented that policy that could have led to a shooting war between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. --- ooops, I mean Russia. It does happen that there are some folks, including some seemingly experienced ones, who seem to get the two confused. History lesson, folks: the U.S.S.R. was, in terms of the ownership of the means of production at least, a socialist nation, while the Russia is organized around a rapacious, robber-baron style of capitalism, based on a large set of means of production which were stolen from the people of the U.S.S.R. at time of its collapse, aided and abetted by U.S. stooge, the former Communist --- and drunk --- Boris Yeltsin.) 

Click here for the full article.