Saturday, May 12, 2018

The 'US-UN Report': Why Did Trump Trash The Iranian Deal?


US-UN Report is a news source and weekly broadcast aiming to underscore, critique, and articulate the successes and failures of the United States’ foreign policy and international efforts. 

"Because we recognize that too often certain voices are left out of this discussion, it is our hope for US-UN Report to provide a platform that allows everyone to contribute to a conversation – specifically those directly affected by those foreign policies discussed," said Tom Osborne, creator, host and producer of the acclaimed foreign policy series. 

Assigned as reporter/producer and Bureau Chief at the United Nations in 1989 just prior to the Gulf War, Osborne covered the UN for ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings; Good Morning America and 20/20, overseeing all editorial coverage for the various prime-time news specials as well as general coverage at the UN through 2000. 

The renowned news veteran was elected president of the UN Correspondents Association in 1992. As president of UNCA, he inaugurated and chaired the 1992 series of international press conferences: The UN in the Post-Cold War Era. Convened at UN headquarters in New York, the conferences provided a forum for international journalists, members of the UN Security Council, and the UN Secretariat to discuss UN Security Council reform and transparency, an issue under intense scrutiny in the wake of UN involvement in conflicts in the first Iraq/Gulf war, and the impending crises in the former Yugoslavia. 

In this latest installment, US-UN Report tries to explain why Trump has trashed the Iran deal. It's a complicated issue with over 60 years of history. Osborne, Dr. David Kanervo and Ken McCaleb unravel decades of mistrust between our two countries, make that three including Israel. But there is more at stake now with Europe, China and Russia clinging on to whats left of the deal while the United States digs in it's heels. 

Click here to listen to the discussion. 

Source: Tom Osborne/US-UN Report 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Michelle Obama & Tracee Ellis Ross in Conversation at The 2018 United State of Women Summit


This video was published on YouTube May 6. 

Source: The United State of Women

Meghan McCain Responds To White House Aide's Comment On Sen. John McCain's Cancer


Source: The View

DL Hughley to America: Is Fear Your Excuse for Discrimination?


The commentary was broadcast on May 10.

'Mothers of the Movement' Rally at NAN's House of Justice



On May 12 at 9 a.m., the Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network (NAN ) will host Gwenn Carr, mother of Eric Garner, Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell, and Mohammed Bah’s mother Hawa Bah in celebration of Mother’s Day as they call for continued accountability for police misconduct cases from the New York Attorney General’s Office. 

The rally will be held at the House of Justice, 106 West 145th Street in Harlem, New York. 

The event will be streamed live at nationalactionnetwork.net and on Impact Television. It will also be broadcast on WLIB 1190 AM in New York City. 

Source: Mercury

NRA Sues New York, Alleging First Amendment Violations in Insurance Crackdown


The National Rifle Association (NRA) has filed a lawsuit against New York’s insurance regulator and Governor Andrew Cuomo, alleging a regulatory overreach by New York officials that has resulted in violations of the NRA’s First Amendment rights.

The NRA’s lawsuit against the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), Superintendent Maria T. Vullo and Cuomo is seeking millions of dollars in damages and comes on the back of the NRA lawsuit against Lockton Cos., claiming the insurance broker breached its contract with the firearms lobbying group by ending its participation in its member insurance program Carry Guard.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Insurance Journal

Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo 

 "The NRA's lawsuit is a futile and desperate attempt to advance its dangerous agenda to sell more guns. 

"In New York, we won't be intimidated by frivolous court actions from a group of lobbyists bent on chipping away at common sense gun safety laws that many responsible gun owners actually support. We have an obligation to protect New Yorkers, and this sham suit will do nothing to stop that. 

"While the NRA ignores students across the nation who are saying enough is enough, New York is leading the way with the toughest and smartest gun safety laws in the country. I am proud of my 'F' rating from the NRA, and I will continue to do everything I can to keep New Yorkers safe." 

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Working Parents Invited to Free, New Paid Family Leave Webinars

 
A Special Mother's Day Gift

To honor Mother’s Day, New York today announced a new series of Paid Family Leave webinars to help employees understand their rights and take advantage of New York’s landmark Paid Family Leave benefit, which Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law in April, 2016. 

The new webinars explain how eligible working New Yorkers can enroll for job-protected, paid time off to bond with a child who was born, fostered or adopted within the last 12 months. Instruction includes step-by-step direction about how workers apply for and take leave.

"It’s important for New Yorkers to understand their rights under our strongest-in-the-nation Paid Family Leave policy,” Workers’ Compensation Board Chair Clarissa Rodriguez said. “This critical benefit means working parents have the opportunity to welcome and bond with their new children, forming the healthy family relationships we all value.”
The sessions are free and open to the public. Early registration is encouraged as space is limited. To register:

Tuesday, May 22, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Register here 
Tuesday, June 5, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Register here 
Tuesday, June 19, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Register here

In addition to webinars, New York State offers complete details on Paid Family Leave at ny.gov/PaidFamilyLeave. More help is available via a toll-free Paid Family Leave Helpline at 844-337-6303. Both provide resources in languages beyond English.

The bonding webinars are part of New York’s ongoing campaign to educate workers and employers about New York Paid Family Leave, which went into effect on Jan. 1. To date, the state has directly reached tens of thousands of New Yorkers through webinars and other outreach. More than 3 million people have accessed the Paid Family Leave website and more than 75,000 people have received information and assistance through the Paid Family Leave Helpline.

Paid Family Leave is employee-paid insurance that provides job-protected, paid time off from work to employees to bond with a new child; care for a seriously ill family member; and assist when a military family member is deployed abroad. In 2018, it provides up to eight weeks off at half-pay, up to a maximum of $652.93 per week. Benefits rise to 12 weeks at 67% of pay, again to a maximum, by 2021. Retaliation and discrimination are prohibited, and neither citizenship nor immigration status is a factor. 

Source: New York State Workers' Compensation Board

President Trump Remarks on Lowering Drug Prices


President Trump unveils his proposal for curbing drug prices in a speech in the White House Rose Garden. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks about the plan after the president. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

John Brennan, Lisa Monaco, and James Clapper Discuss National Security


Nicolle Wallace talks to former CIA Director John Brennan, former White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser Lisa Monaco, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper at a national security forum at the Aspen Institute.

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN 

'Invest or Sell': Digital First Media Workers Protest Outside Alden Global Capital’s New York Office


This report was published on YouTube on May 10. 

Source: Democracy Now!

White House Press Briefing

'Flashback Friday': 1950s Educational Video on 'Homosexuals'


The Danger of Propaganda

This video was published on YouTube on January 29, 2009. It is being showcased to illustrate the fact that many of the conceptualizations in this film still permeate American society.

Source: Moses F.

Trailblazers in Black History: Keith L. Black, MD


Dr. Black is among an elite group of neurosurgeons in the world who perform hundreds of brain tumor operations each year. The precision of his surgical skill enables him to remove tumors that often have been considered inoperable. Dr. Black has a unique ability to combine cutting-edge research and an extremely busy surgical practice. Since 1987, he has performed more than 6,000 operations for resection of brain tumors.

Click here for additional information. 

Source: Cedars Sinai

Her Time: Democrat Maxine Waters' Most Outspoken Moments


New Biography Recounts How Eunice Kennedy Shriver 'Changed the World'


This report was published on YouTube on May 10. 

Source: PBS NewsHour

White House Announces Artificial Intelligence Task Force


Source: CBS News

Fundraiser Aims to Provide Care Items for Lung Cancer Patients


Click here for additional information. 

Source: Mae's Breath Foundation

Black Female-Led Groups Launch National Voter Campaign for Mid-Term Election Cycle


Washington, DC – Today, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and the Black Women’s Round Table (BWR) launched its Black Voting & Power Building “Time4APowerShift” National Campaign (Unity ’18) in Atlanta, Georgia.

The NCBCP Unity ’18 is a non-partisan national campaign that focuses on leveraging the power and impact of the Black vote and collective leadership, with a special emphasis on the South, Black women, young voters and returning citizens across the country---where the Black vote will be key to shifting political power nationally and in states across the country

Unity ’18 is phase one of a four-year campaign that includes developing and organizing a long-term Black political and economic power building strategy that includes the 2018 mid-term election cycle, 2019 election cycle, 2020 Presidential election, 2020 Decennial Census and the 2021 Redistricting Fair Representation Process that will determine the balance of political power for the next decade and beyond.

In 2018, there are key elections that will impact the balance of political power----with the election of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representative, 33 U.S. Senators, 36 governors, 87 of the 99 state legislative chambers and 39 certified statewide ballot initiatives [1] including Amendment 4 in Florida that restores the right to vote for over 1.6 million Floridians with prior felony convictions upon completion of their sentences and many local races as well.

“We believe 2018 is the year of the woman that is centered in women of color.  So, we have focused a key part of our Unity ’18 Campaign on lifting up the inter-generational leadership of Black women and have partnered with over 60 national and states-based organizations and networks, that are primarily led by Black women," said Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and National Convener of the  Black Women’s Round Table. "Black women voters are not only the ‘secret sauce’ and most reliable vote for progressive candidates to win: we are leaders of many of our civil rights, women’s rights, social justice and human rights organizations.”

Campbell also noted, “NOW is the time for Black women to unapologetically seize our political power and raise our collective voices to demand that candidates running for any office address the unprecedented rollback of civil rights, criminal justice reform, affordable health care, environmental justice, gender & reproductive justice, affordable housing, immigration reform, workers’ rights, human rights and other safety net policies that are under attack by the current presidential administration and Congress---that have our communities literally fighting for our lives.”

The NCBCP launched its Unity ’18 National Campaign in Georgia in partnership with Black Voters Matter, Southern Black Women’s Rural Initiative, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda/GA BWR, HBCU Green Fund Initiative/Clayton County GA BWR, Georgia StandUP and Black Youth Vote.  The following are comments from the organization's Georgia launch partners:

Latosha Brown, NCBCP Board Member and Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter: "We know that Black women have always been on the vanguard of social change and progress in this country. We are in a defining moment in America's political history that will determine whether we go backwards or forward. I am so honored and excited to be a part of the Unity '18 Campaign because I think this campaign is grounded in exactly the kind of work we need to move forward.  We are centering the voices of Black women, supporting grassroots leadership and coordinating our efforts. When we work together, we win! We KNOW that Black Voters Matter and we will demonstrate this once again in a big WAY through our Unity Campaign work in the 2018 Midterm Election."

Adds Oleta Fitzgerald, Regional Administrator for the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic & Social Justice (SRBWI): "The Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative for Economic and Social Justice enthusiastically connects its inter-generational network of women and young women across the Black Belt of Georgia to the NCBCP Unity '18 Campaign. There is no more an important time for Black women's voices and actions than now!!"

Helen Butler, Convener of the Georgia Black Women’s Round Table and Executive Director, Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda: “It is exciting to host the kick-off of the Unity '18 National Campaign here in Georgia, where we know that power of the sister vote will have major impact in our historic Georgia elections this year. Black women are one of the strongest demographics in electoral turnout for the state of Georgia and have a definite impact in the communities they represent.  We believe our nonpartisan voter registration, voter education, voter protection and voter mobilization activities will help to ensure our communities are able to decide who should represent them and their interests.”

Felicia Davis, Convener, Clayton County Georgia Black Women's Round Table and Director, Building Green Initiative/HBCU Green Fund: “Black women lead with compassion and integrity.  We value healthy, productive families and we're blazing a path forward in urban, rural and suburban communities especially in the South where our base is strong.”

Delsa Guerrero-Castillo, President, Living Green Club @ Clark Atlanta University and Black Youth Vote member: "We believe that adopting a healthy sustainable lifestyle is one of the most powerful steps an individual can make as we work to bring about changes on campus and in the community.”

States Deborah Scott, Executive Director, Georgia Stand UP: “There are two kinds of power; organized money and organized people. We must continue to build power by building up the people power and organizing, one community, precinct, and block at a time. We have always known that black women have untapped power, seen and unseen, now it's time for us to Stand-Up and connect our power grids, lead our communities and the country!”

Source: Mercury

New DHS Policy Separates Immigrant Children from Parents


The Trump administration's decision to begin prosecuting every undocumented person who crosses the border is heartless and cruel. Criminally charging families seeking refuge from violence and persecution punishes vulnerable people for seeking asylum and forces them into federal prisons.

Click here for details. 

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center 

Populist Parties in Italy Close to a Deal


Source: euronews.

Gaza Tension as Hundreds March Towards Fence with Israel


Source: euronews.

Ortega Under Pressure: Nicaraguans Demand Resignation


Stateless in Palestine: Documentary Examines the Issue


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Ten Years On, What Remains of Somalia's 'Pirateland'?


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Iraqi Voters Angry at Corruption Ahead of Polls


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Lebanon Elections: 'There Was a Genuine Lebanese Demand for a Vote'


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Trump’s Iran Deal Exit Forces EU to Confront US ‘Cconomic Policeman of the World’


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Euphoria in Israel Could Be 'Prelude to Disaster' Following Syria Strikes


Source: FRANCE 24 English

57 Graduate from State's Recruit Firefighter Training Program

 Click on the photo to increase its size.

Governor Cuomo congratulates the 57 graduates of the Recruit Firefighter Training Program at the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control's Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls.

Click here for the full announcement and photos. 

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

Individuals with Heat-Related Health Issues Can Apply to Receive Air Conditioners


A total of $3 million is available to help New Yorkers suffering from serious health issues that are aggravated by extreme heat purchase an air conditioner. Individuals can apply now for cooling assistance through the Home Energy Assistance Program at their local department of social services.

"When the heat and humidity of summer arrives, it's important that vulnerable New Yorkers are able to stay safe and comfortable in their homes," Governor Cuomo said. "I encourage anyone with a medical condition that is worsened by high temperatures to apply now, so an air conditioner can be installed before the first heat wave hits."

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which oversees the program, has set aside $3 million in federal funding to provide an air conditioning unit or fan, to eligible households. Last year, 4,000 households received cooling assistance.

To qualify, applicants must meet existing HEAP eligibility criteria and income guidelines, which vary by household size, and have at least one member of the household that suffers from a documented medical condition exacerbated by extreme heat. For example, a household of four can earn up to $53,482 a year or $4,457 a month, and still qualify for assistance.

Cooling assistance will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Local Departments of Social Services will accept applications through August 31, or until funding runs out.

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts said, "We know that for some of our fellow New Yorkers, the summertime heat can pose a grave risk and this assistance could be potentially lifesaving. But it is vital that anyone who may be eligible, but does not have an air conditioner or cannot afford to purchase one, apply as soon as possible."

Congressman Eliot Engel said, "Summers are getting hotter and the threat posed by heat stroke, especially for seniors, cannot be understated. I applaud Governor Cuomo for supporting HEAP and I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to take advantage of this program."

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Nearly 20,000 New York City-Area Holocaust Survivors Live In Poverty


NEW YORK  — Some 45,000 holocaust survivors call New York City home and nearly 20,000 of them live in poverty.

It’s an unacceptable fact for many and the motivation behind asking for more money from the City Council to help this aging population.

Holocaust survivor Vera Liapina joined several other survivors in front of City Hall on Wednesday afternoon to show support for the Elie Wiesel Holocaust Survivors Initiative.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: CBS NewYork

City Council Dumps on de Blasio's $89B Budget for Lack of 'Common Sense'

A New York Daily News Exclusive

By Erin Durkin

More than two dozen City Council members condemned Mayor de Blasio's $89.1 billion executive budget in a letter to the mayor Thursday.

Councilman Mark Gjonaj (D-Bronx) and 26 other pols — a majority of the body — say they want significant changes before they will vote for the spending plan.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Empire Report New York

Alexa and Siri Can Hear This Hidden Command. You Can’t.



By Craig S. Smith 

BERKELEY, Calif. — Many people have grown accustomed to talking to their smart devices, asking them to read a text, play a song or set an alarm. But someone else might be secretly talking to them, too.

Over the last two years, researchers in China and the United States have begun demonstrating that they can send hidden commands that are undetectable to the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Inside university labs, the researchers have been able to secretly activate the artificial intelligence systems on smartphones and smart speakers, making them dial phone numbers or open websites. In the wrong hands, the technology could be used to unlock doors, wire money or buy stuff online — simply with music playing over the radio.

A group of students from University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University showed in 2016 that they could hide commands in white noise played over loudspeakers and through YouTube videos to get smart devices to turn on airplane mode or open a website.

Click here for the full article. 

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

Bharara Doesn’t Rule Out Run For AG


By Nick Reisman

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in is podcast “Stay Tuned” this morning did not rule out running for attorney general, but said he would not participate in the process being conducted by the Legislature to appoint a new attorney general.

“It does have the look and feel of a back room deal and that’s not something I want to be a part of now,” Bharara said in the opening remarks on the podcast released this morning. “They should not have a dog and pony show in the state Legislature.”

Click here for the full article.

Source: State of Politics (via Empire Report New York) 

NYPD Capt. Douglas Greenwood Deserved a Better Way to Die


By Ralph Friedman

Although I live in Connecticut now, I'm a Bronx kid who will always think of myself as a New Yorker.

Sadly, it feels like every New Yorker I've met knows someone killed on 9/11 or a first responder who gave everything he or she had on that day and in the days and weeks that followed.

It might sound like a cliché, but it's true: Those first responders are true New York heroes, and many of them continue to pay a price for their selfless sacrifices nearly two decades later.

NYPD Capt. Douglas Greenwood, a close friend and colleague for more than 25 years, was one of those heroes.

Click here for the full article.

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

NYS Partners with Crisis Text Line to Provide 24-Hour Support For People in Crisis

Albany, NY – The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) today announced the launch of a partnership between OMH and Crisis Text Line (CTL), a national not-for-profit organization that provides free, 24-hour text-based support for people who are experiencing a mental health or situational crisis. CTL has helped users who are facing suicidal thoughts, maternal depression, cyberbullying, family emergencies, anxiety and more.

“A crisis can happen to anyone at any time. Although the Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for counseling or therapy, it can offer individuals in crisis help when they need it the most,” said OMH Commissioner, Dr. Ann Sullivan. “New York State’s keyword, “GOT5”, tells anyone in distress that we’ve got the time to listen if you are in crisis and these trained counselors will be able to give you the assistance you need to deal with the situation at hand.”

By texting “GOT5” to 741-741, users are connected to a trained Crisis Counselor, who will help them sort through their crisis and develop a plan to stay safe. The trained volunteer Crisis Counselors are supervised by full-time licensed mental health professional staff.

Text messages are confidential, anonymous and secure. Data usage while texting Crisis Text Line is free and the number will not appear on a phone bill.

The Director of the OMH Suicide Prevention Office, Dr. Jay Carruthers said, “Crisis Text Line offers people help when they need it the most, at any time and any place--whether at school, work, home, or somewhere else. If you can text, you are never alone. It provides an opportunity to connect with a trained counselor during a time of need.”

By partnering with Crisis Text Line, OMH will receive data reports of all texts with the NYS keyword, “GOT5”. While users of CTL remain completely anonymous, the data collected is used to identify trends, which can help OMH to better target and improve mental health services for people in crisis situations across the state.

To help service providers, mental health departments, schools, organizations advocates, and community groups spread the word about the CTL service and New York State’s keyword and partnership, OMH has created a downloadable Marketing Toolkit that is available on its website. The toolkit includes FAQ documents, suggestions on what interested groups can do to promote the service, graphics for posters, stickers and other marketing material.

CTL was founded in August 2013 and has seen enormous growth – receiving more than 67 million messages to date.  Approximately 75% of all users are 25 years old or younger. Users seek help for a number of issues, including anxiety/stress, depression/sadness, relationship stress, suicide, bullying, and physical or emotional abuse. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have used the service to date.

CTL counselors receive over 30 hours of online training and are supervised by licensed clinicians. Supervisors are promptly brought into conversations in which the texter seems to be at imminent risk of hurting self or others.
 
If you are interested in serving as a CTL volunteer, you must be over 18, go through a rigorous applications process that includes a background check, and successfully complete the required training. Interested persons can apply through crisistextline.org. 
 
Source: The New York State Office of Mental Health

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Governor Cuomo, DAs Singas, Sini and Vance Make an Announcement on Schneiderman Case


Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo joined Nassau County District Attorney Singas, Suffolk County District Attorney Sini, and Manhattan District Attorney Vance in New York City to announce that District Attorney Madeline Singas will investigate former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. District Attorneys Vance and Sini will support the investigation.

On Tuesday, May 8, the Governor first announced that, pursuant to Executive Law § 63(2), Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas has been designated Special Prosecutor. The Governor issued a letter to Acting Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood and District Attorney Madeline Singas concerning the designation to investigate former Attorney General Schneiderman's alleged improprieties.

Source: NYGovCuomo

Colin Kaepernick Receives the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award


This video was published on YouTube on April 25, 2018. 

Source: Amnesty International

Saving Our Youth: Preventing Students from Joining Gangs


 
This video was published on YouTube on May 17, 2017. 

Jose Segura discusses why students gravitate towards gangs, and the importance of us realizing what it is that gangs provide students. He provides his vision on the work that can be done in the realm of gang intervention and youth violence prevention, and the steps that we can all take to ensure that children need not turn towards gangs in lieu of friends and family.

Segura is the team leader for the Street Outreach Network, a Montgomery County gang intervention program. Raised in Washington, D.C., he moved to Wheaton, MD with his family at the age of 12 to avoid the pervasive influence of drugs and crime in the city. After serving for 8 years in the United States Marine Corps, Segura has dedicated himself towards establishing programs to help underserved youths live safer and more meaningful lives.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Rapture, Reverence and Revolution (A Recital of Dramatic Pieces)



Click on the fliers to increase their size and obtain information. 

Source: Michael Green

Trump Welcomes American Prisoners Released from North Korea

 
Click here for video.

House Speaker Paul Ryan's Weekly Briefing


House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) held his weekly legislative briefing with reporters during which he addressed issues including recent unemployment numbers, the chance of passing immigration legislation before the November midterm elections and the forthcoming summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN 

House Democrats: Iran Nuclear Deal Withdrawal Endangers Global Security


House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and senior party colleagues condemn President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, calling it “troubling” and saying that it “defies comprehension” and endangers global security.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Pentagon Report Blames Niger Ambush on Series of Failures


Click here for details. 

Source: C-SPAN

Dam Burst in Kenya’s Rift Valley Forces Hundreds to Flee Their Homes


Geologists Warn of Explosive Eruptions in Hawaii


Israeli Military Blames Iranian Forces for Firing Direct Strike



Statement from the White House Press Secretary 

The United States condemns the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens, and we strongly support Israel’s right to act in self-defense. The Iranian regime’s deployment into Syria of offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly dangerous development for the entire Middle East. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bears full responsibility for the consequences of its reckless actions, and we call on the IRGC and its militant proxies, including Hizballah, to take no further provocative steps. 

The United States also calls on all nations to make clear that the Iranian regime’s actions pose a severe threat to international peace and stability. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Britain Apologises for Appalling Treatment of Libyan Dissident and His Wife


Source: euronews.

Trump Announces He Will Meet Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12


Source: euronews.

Security Forces Vote in Iraq Elections


Source: euronews.

Dead Deal? Iran and Europe Scramble to Keep Nuclear Accord Alive


Source: FRANCE 24 English

NYS Organizations Call on Congress to Oppose Federal Budget Cuts to Critical Programs



 
New York, NY – On May 10, 2018, the New York Federal Budget Response Team submitted the following letter on behalf of 75 service providers and advocacy organizations (listed below) asking members of Congress to fully fund and defend critical programs from budget cuts. 
 
Dear New York State Congressmember:
 
We, the undersigned organizations representing New York’s social services sector, write to express our strong opposition to the partisan Farm Bill, put forth by President Trump and Congressional Republicans, that would end or reduce food assistance for a substantial number of low-income New Yorkers, including children in working families.
 
Moreover, even though the President’s budget was largely rejected, we are deeply concerned about the flawed policy proposals contained within, many of which have been echoed by Speaker Ryan and other congressional leaders under the banner of so-called “welfare reform” and now “workforce development.” Make no mistake, these are code words for making cuts to Medicaid, housing, and other programs that, when full funded, strengthen the economy, improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers, and demonstrate how we as a State value opportunity and dignity.
 
They seek every opportunity to make deep cuts to services that support low- and middle-income families, children, older adults, and people with disabilities, predictably citing the soaring federal deficit exacerbated by the outlandish $1.9 trillion in tax cuts – 80% of which will flow to the top 1%.
 
In New York, 840,000 children are lifted above the poverty line each year by safety net programs; 597,000 residents were lifted out of poverty by the earned income tax credit and child tax credit from 2011 - 2013; 576,000 low-income households rely on federal rental assistance; 2,968,000 residents received SNAP in FY 2016; and hundreds of thousands more rely on investments in job training, education, and other social services. More information on the programs included in non-defense discretionary is available here.
 
We call on the New York congressional delegation to fully fund these programs and defend them from budget cuts, ensuring that everyone has access to the services they need to live healthy and productive lives.
 
The Federal Tax and Budget Response Team is a state-based coalition whose steering committee includes FPWA, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, Fiscal Policy Institute, Human Services Council of New York, United Neighborhood Houses, and more. Last year’s effort saw more than 100 New York organizations sign on to urge Congress to reject budget cuts.
 
Source: Mercury

Governor Cuomo Planning Security and Solidarity Trip to Israel



Yesterday evening, Governor Cuomo delivered remarks at the Jewish Community Council of New York Gala Dinner where he announced he is planning a security and solidarity trip to Israel in light of escalating tension on Israel's northern border and last night's attacks. 

Source: NYGovCuomo

New York Is the Most Politically Toxic Place in America


By Jeet Heer

Until Monday night, Eric Schneiderman was regarded as a model progressive in the #MeToo era—a powerful Democrat who, as New York’s attorney general, sued Harvey Weinstein for civil and human rights violations over the movie mogul’s alleged abuse of women. But Schneiderman’s reputation and career have collapsed after The New Yorker revealed that he, too, allegedly abused women.

Four women, including two longtime partners, told the magazine that Schneiderman slapped, spat on, or punched them. He also used his political authority to intimidate them. When one of them tried to ward off his attack, he said, “You know, hitting an officer of the law is a felony.” Schneiderman’s political position served as a shield in another way: It made the women reluctant to report his actions for fear of hurting his political career.

Click here for the full article.

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

NYPD Refuses to Reveal Precinct Use-of-Force Data, Citing State Law


By Graham Rayman

The NYPD has dug in its heels and refused to turn over precinct-level use-of-force data, citing a state law that it claims makes cop personnel records confidential.

According to a footnote buried in a May 4 NYPD letter to the Department of Investigation, the agency argued that use of force statistics by precinct could be used to identify individual cops — a violation of section 50-a of the state Civil Rights Law.

But civil rights lawyers slammed the move as a direct violation of Local Law 85, passed by the City Council in 2016, which requires the department to release use of force data by precinct.

Click here for the full article. 

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