Category Archives: News & Photo Features

Democratic Race for 2020: Sanders Answers the Burning Question: How Would He Pay for his Progressive Agenda?

One of the most severe criticisms of Senator Bernie Sanders’ candidacy is the price tag of his progressive programs including Medicare for All, College for All, universal child care and pre-K, and Green New Deal and how these programs would be paid for. In the Charleston, SC debate (number 10 for anyone who is counting), Senator Amy Klobuchar charged that his plans, collectively, would cost $60 trillion, or three times the entire US economy. Now, just ahead of the South Carolina and Super Tuesday primaries, Sanders has released his plan to pay for his major policy proposals, which he handed to Chris Cuomo during a CNN town hall on February 24:

Senator Bernie Sanders, running for president, has released his plan to pay for his major policy proposals, including Medicare for All, College for All, universal child care and pre-K, and Green New Deal © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com \

College For All

It will cost $2.2 trillion to make public colleges, universities and trade schools tuition free and to cancel all student debt over the next decade.  It is fully paid for by a modest tax on Wall Street speculation that will raise an estimated $2.4 trillion over ten years.

https://berniesanders.com/issues/free-college-cancel-debt/

Expanding Social Security

Bernie’s bill to expand Social Security will increase benefits for low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities by more than $1,300 a year.  It is fully paid for by making the wealthiest 1.8% of Americans – those with incomes over $250,000 a year – pay the same rate into Social Security as working families.

This bill will also extend the solvency of Social Security into the year 2070 – ensuring that Social Security can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 50 years.

https://berniesanders.com/issues/expand-social-security/


Housing for All

Bernie’s proposal to guarantee housing as a human right and to eliminate homelessness will cost $2.5 trillion over the next decade.

It is fully paid for by a wealth tax on the top one-tenth of one percent – those who have a net worth of at least $32 million.  (Bernie’s wealth tax will raise a total of $4.35 trillion.)

https://berniesanders.com/issues/housing-all/

https://berniesanders.com/issues/tax-extreme-wealth/
 

Universal Childcare/Pre-K

Bernie’s proposal to guarantee universal childcare and pre-school to every family in America who needs it will cost $1.5 trillion.

It is fully paid for by a wealth tax on the top one-tenth of one percent – those who have a net worth of at least $32 million.  (Bernie’s wealth tax will raise a total of $4.35 trillion.)

https://berniesanders.com/issues/tax-extreme-wealth/

Eliminating Medical Debt

Bernie has introduced a proposal to eliminate all of the $81 billion in past due medical debt held by 79 million Americans.  It is fully paid for by establishing an income inequality tax on large corporations that pay CEOs at least 50 times more than average workers.  

https://berniesanders.com/issues/tax-extreme-wealth/

Green New Deal

The $16.3 trillion climate change proposal that Bernie has introduced will fundamentally transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and towards energy efficiency and renewable energy.  It will also create 20 million good-paying union jobs in the process.

It is fully paid for by:

– Raising $3.085 trillion by making the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies.

– Generating $6.4 trillion in revenue from the wholesale of energy produced by the regional Power Marketing Administrations.  This revenue will be collected from 2023-2035, and after 2035 electricity will be virtually free, aside from operations and maintenance costs.

–  Reducing defense spending by $1.215 trillion by scaling back military operations on protecting the global oil supply.

–  Collecting $2.3 trillion in new income tax revenue from the 20 million new jobs created by the plan.

– Saving $1.31 trillion by reduced the need for federal and state safety net spending due to the creation of millions of good-paying, unionized jobs.

–  Raising $2 trillion in revenue by making large corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

Key Points:

By averting climate catastrophe we will save: $2.9 trillion over 10 years, $21 trillion over 30 years and $70.4 trillion over 80 years. 
 

If we do not act, the U.S. will lose $34.5 trillion by the end of the century in economic productivity.

https://berniesanders.com/issues/tax-extreme-wealth/

Medicare for All

According to a February 15, 2020 study by epidemiologists at Yale University, the Medicare for All bill that Bernie wrote would save over $450 billion in health care costs and prevent 68,000 unnecessary deaths – each and every year.

Since 2016, Bernie has proposed a menu of financing options that would more than pay for the Medicare for All legislation he has introduced according to the Yale study.

These options include:

Creating a 4 percent income-based premium paid by employees, exempting the first $29,000 in income for a family of four.

In 2018, the typical working family paid an average of $6,015 in premiums to private health insurance companies.  Under this option, a typical family of four earning $60,000, would pay a 4 percent income-based premium to fund Medicare for All on income above $29,000 – just $1,240 a year – saving that family $4,775 a year.  Families of four making less than $29,000 a year would not pay this premium.

(Revenue raised: About $4 trillion over 10-years.)
 

Imposing a 7.5 percent income-based premium paid by employers, exempting the first $1 million in payroll to protect small businesses.

In 2018, employers paid an average of $14,561 in private health insurance premiums for a worker with a family of four.  Under this option, employers would pay a 7.5 percent payroll tax to help finance Medicare for All – just $4,500 – a savings of more than $10,000 a year.

(Revenue raised: Over $5.2 trillion over 10-years.)
 

Eliminating health tax expenditures, which would no longer be needed under Medicare for All.
 
(Revenue raised: About $3 trillion over 10-years.) 
 

Raising the top marginal income tax rate to 52% on income over $10 million.

(Revenue raised: About $700 billion over 10-years.)
 

Replacing the cap on the state and local tax deduction with an overall dollar cap of $50,000 for a married couple on all itemized deductions. 

(Revenue raised: About $400 billion over 10-years.)
 

Taxing capital gains at the same rates as income from wages and cracking down on gaming through derivatives, like-kind exchanges, and the zero tax rate on capital gains passed on through bequests.

(Revenue raised: About $2.5 trillion over 10-years.)
 

Enacting the For the 99.8% Act, which returns the estate tax exemption to the 2009 level of $3.5 million, closes egregious loopholes, and increases rates progressively including by adding a top tax rate of 77% on estate values in excess of $1 billion.

(Revenue raised: $336 billion over 10-years.)
 

Enacting corporate tax reform including restoring the top federal corporate income tax rate to 35 percent.

(Revenue raised: $3 trillion of which $1 trillion would be used to help finance Medicare for All and $2 trillion would be used for the Green New Deal.)
 

Using $350 billion of the amount raised from the tax on extreme wealth to help finance Medicare for All.

​​​ 

Democratic Race for 2020: Mayor Pete Buttigieg Releases ‘Building for 21st Century’ Infrastructure Plan

Mayor Pete Buttigieg released his “Building for the 21st Century” comprehensive infrastructure plan. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issue. It is estimated that the United States requires some $2 trillion in infrastructure investment just to keep bridges from falling down, make necessary improvements to water systems, electric systems, not to mention transition to sustainable systems that both mitigate against climate change and take the necessary steps to get to net-zero carbon emissions to stop the march to global warming. Mayor Pete Buttigieg released his “Building for the 21st Century” comprehensive infrastructure plan. It does not use the word “climate”; it refers to “sustainable” once. This is from the Buttigieg campaign:

Pete Buttigieg released “Building for the 21st Century,” a bold, comprehensive infrastructure plan that will create more economic opportunities for individuals and communities. His plan will create 6 million well-paying jobs, ensure that everyone has access to clean drinking water and affordable ways to get to work and empower local communities to lead on infrastructure development so that they can support safe, vibrant, growing neighborhoods.

“The current administration has been incapable of keeping its promise to pass major infrastructure legislation, and as a result, critical projects around the country are stalled and communities are paying the price,” said Buttigieg. “Cities and towns have been leading the way on new infrastructure partnerships and approaches, but too often the federal government does not help as it should—failing to fund and prioritize infrastructure and relying on outdated standards. Under my administration, local governments will finally have a partner in Washington. As a former mayor, I know that priority-based budgets made locally are better than budget-based priorities set in Washington.” 

Pete’s administration will invest over $1 trillion to work with states, cities, and other local governments to build the sustainable infrastructure of the 21st century. Pete’s plan will:

Create six million well-paying jobs with strong labor protections, especially in underrepresented communities. 

Commit $10 billion to attract and train a skilled infrastructure workforce, including by supporting pre-apprenticeship programs that collaborate with Registered Apprenticeships. 

Protect millions of families from lead in paint and water through a $100 billion investment in a Lead-Safe Communities Fund. The Fund will provide resources for communities to clean up and remove lead in paint, soil, and water. Pete administration’s will also replace 3 million lead service lines by 2030 and support best-in-class corrosion control practices. 

Lower water bills for over 10 million families. Pete will work with Congress to create a $16 billion Drinking Water Assistance Matching Fund that coordinates with the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The Fund will provide a federal funding match for states and local water systems that assist low-income families with water bill payments, slashing the average water bill by 50 percent – which is equal to over $600 on average – for 10 million families. 

Invest $160 billion to support cities and towns in providing equitable public transportation, including improved options for subway, light rail, bus rapid transit, and last mile service. Pete will provide dedicated funding for communities that have limited access to basic services like grocery stores to expand their transportation options. He will also dramatically expand funding for rural public transportation.

Cut the backlog of critical road repairs in half over 10 years. Pete will make sure that 50% of our roads in poor condition and structurally deficient bridges get fixed within 10 years. His DOT will require states to develop achievable plans for maintaining their roads and make progress on these plans before they use federal funds for new roads or expansions. 

Repair school infrastructure. Investing in K-12 education means investing in our schools, so students can learn in a safe and healthy environment. Pete will invest $80 billion in a new school repair program, in which states allocate grants and loans to school districts based on poverty levels. He will provide dedicated funding to help meet U.S. trust and treaty obligations to repair the Bureau of Indian Education schools. 

Mitigate past injustices in transportation planning. Since the 1950s, highway expansion projects have split apart Black and Latino neighborhoods nationwide and driven up pollution in these communities. Pete’s DOT will work with local stakeholders and nonprofits to create a list of communities that require additional investment to mitigate harms from past highway projects. He will encourage cities to use federal highway funds to revitalize and reconnect communities through innovative projects, including new underpass designs, highway caps, and turning underutilized bridges into complete urban streets.   

Pete’s agenda will build a new era of economic success that truly uplifts America’s working and middle-class families. Read the full agenda HERE

Democratic Race for 2020: Pete Buttigieg Announces New Steps To Rebalance the Economy in Favor of American Families

Pete Buttigieg, stepping up his progressive bona fides, offered his plan to rebalance the economy in favor of American families, while ensuring the largest corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Pete Buttigieg, stepping up his progressive bona fides, offered his plan to rebalance the economy in favor of American families, while ensuring the largest corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. This is from the Buttigieg campaign:

Los Angeles, CA – Today, Pete Buttigieg announced a series of proposals to rebalance the economy in favor of American families while ensuring the largest corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. 

Pete is announcing a series of proposals that will provide tax relief to the 98% of American households that aren’t in the richest 2%, including expanding the child tax credit to reduce child poverty by 2.5 million, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit by an average of $1,000 per year for 35 million American families and rolling back the Trump administration’s cap on the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT), which disproportionately hurts states like California in their efforts to enact more progressive tax policies. 

At the same time, Pete will hold Wall Street and corporations accountable for paying their fair share. As president, Pete will roll back the Trump and Reagan-era tax cuts on millionaires and billionaires, impose a Financial Transaction Tax and make big banks pay for financial crisis risk to ensure Wall Street no longer takes advantage of Main Street, and crack down on multinational corporations shipping profits and jobs overseas.  

“This president has done everything in his power to line the pockets of corporations and the wealthy, while too many working and middle class families are having to choose between child care and saving for college, and while homeownership remains out of reach for millions,” said Pete Buttigieg. “As president, I will rebalance our economy so it works for all Americans, hold Wall Street and corporations accountable, and bring fairness to our tax system so we can lift millions out of poverty and into greater opportunity.”

Pete’s plans to achieve tax fairness in America include:

  1. Expanding the Child Tax Credit to reduce child poverty by 2.5 million

Under the Trump administration, housing and health care costs have outstripped working-class wages. As President, Pete will rebalance the economy in favor of working and middle class Americans by making the current Child Tax Credit fully refundable, so every family earning under $400,000 receives $2,000 per child per year in refundable tax relief. He will also create an additional $1,000 refundable Young Child Tax Credit for children under 6. These policies will lift 2.5 million children out of poverty, including 1.5 million Black and Latino children.

  • Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. 

Pete will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and grow workers’ incomes by an average of $1,000 per year for 35 million American households. This tax cut will help put more money in the hands of workers and middle class families by offsetting income taxes and other taxes that eat into workers’ take home pay. 

  • Removing Trump’s punitive cap on the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT) for households earning less than $400,000.  

SALT avoids penalizing states and cities in high-cost areas and with robust social services, by allowing families to pay state and local taxes out of pre-federal-income-tax dollars and thereby avoid double taxation. In the 2017 Republican tax bill, while at the same time as providing tax breaks to corporations and millionaires, Trump placed a politically motivated cap on SALT. Trump’s economic adviser gloated that it would deliver “death to Democrats” by hurting families in Democratic-leaning states with high costs of living and more progressive tax policies and social services. Removing the SALT cap for families undoes Trump’s politically motivated tax increase and enables governors and mayors across the country to enact progressive tax policies. 

These efforts bring Pete’s total direct investments in the working and middle class families to $6 trillion and, in combination with his other policy proposals, will cut child poverty in half. He makes an additional $3 trillion of long-term investments in climate resilience, strengthening our infrastructure, and protecting Social Security for American workers and families. 

At the same time as providing tax relief to working and middle class Americans, Pete will hold Wall Street, corporations and the wealthy accountable to pay their fair share by:

  1. Rolling back the Trump and Reagan-era tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. 

Pete will raise the total effective tax rate on millionaires from 31% to 49%, rolling back the Trump and Reagan-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and the corporations they own. In rolling back these tax cuts – which lined the pockets of corporations, millionaires and billionaires – Pete will achieve historic tax fairness by raising $9 trillion from corporations, Wall Street, and the top 2% over the next ten years and will raise over $5 trillion from wealth and wealth income.

  • Holding Wall Street accountable through a Financial Transaction Tax and by making banks pay for financial risk. 

It’s time that Wall Street be held accountable for taking advantage of Main Street. As president, Pete will impose a .1% financial transaction tax on all stock and other securities trades to curb inequality and Wall Street gambling that causes “flash crashes”. Pete will also make big banks pay every year for the extra financial crisis risk they pose: the bigger and more threatening the bank, the more tax they have to pay. Together, these policies will raise $900 billion to pay for tax relief for working and middle class Americans and to invest in priorities like education, infrastructure and protecting Social Security. 

  • Cracking down on corporations shipping profits and jobs overseas. 

Foreign profits of U.S. multinational corporations are currently taxed at only 10.5% and on a weak “global basis” instead of a strong “per-country basis”. As president, Pete will increase the tax on corporate profits made abroad on a per-country basis at a 28-35% rate to ensure that multinational companies are held accountable when they ship profits and jobs overseas. This will raise over $700 billion to pay for tax relief for working and middle class Americans and to invest in priorities like education, infrastructure and long-term care for ailing seniors. 

Democratic Race for 2020: Warren Plan to Restore Integrity and Competence to Government After Donald Trump

Senator Elizabeth Warren, running for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, released her plan to “Restore Integrity and Competence to Government After Donald Trump” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Elizabeth Warren released her plan to “Restore Integrity and Competence to Government After Donald Trump”

Donald Trump’s presidency has been a dark period in American history. That period won’t end just because Donald Trump has left office. If we want to write a new chapter in the American story — one in which the government and economy actually work for the people — we will have to cleanse the corruption from our government and urgently act to appoint officials who will bring integrity to public service,” Warren states.

This is from the Warren campaign:

Charlestown, MA – In one year, the next president will start her first full day of work. Donald Trump will be leaving behind a disaster: agencies gutted, others run by lobbyists and rife with corruption and policies that have thrown our country into crisis. The next president will need to have the energy, expertise, and vision to safeguard our country, rebuild the government swiftly, and make fundamental changes so that it works for the American people. 
 
Elizabeth has a plan to restore integrity and competence to government after Donald Trump. She will:
 
Address the corruption and incompetence of the Trump Administration by: 

Asking for the resignations of all political appointees, including U.S. Attorneys, with an exception only for those positions necessary to preserve continuity and protect national security during the transition period.

Establishing an independent Justice Department Task Force to investigate violations by Trump administration officials of federal bribery laws, insider trading laws, and other anti-corruption and public integrity laws, and give that task force independent authority to pursue any substantiated criminal and civil violations.

Reviewing the performance of independent agencies and removing leading officials for cause where there is justification to do so. 

Identifying federal contracting arrangements that arose as a result of corruption in the Trump administration – and ending them. 

 Swiftly appoint new personnel:

Elizabeth will announce her choices for the Cabinet by December 1, 2020, other top nominations by December 15, 2020, and fully staff all senior and mid-level White House positions by Inauguration Day.

She will not hire any current lobbyists. If someone has served as a corporate lobbyist in the past, they will have a six year cooling off period and there will be no waivers or exceptions. Non-corporate lobbyists will have a two year cooling off period, and any waivers will be made public.

She will also institute a number of rules to make sure that executive branch officials are working on behalf of the people – not themselves or their former employers.

She will use a number of existing tools to swiftly fill government vacancies. 

Build a government that reflects the energy and diversity of America:

The Cabinet and senior leadership team will reflect the full diversity of America, including having at least 50% of Cabinet positions filled by women and non binary people.

LGBTQ+ people will be represented across all levels of government, including in leadership roles.

She will diversify recruitment to direct real resources toward attracting entry-level applicants for public service from HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and other minority-serving institutions, and reform high-level recruiting processes to attract diverse experienced hires into senior management positions.

She will create new paid fellowship programs for federal jobs for people from marginalized communities and low-income applicants, including formerly incarcerated individuals.

She will open up promotion pathways by requiring every federal agency to incorporate diversity as part of their core strategic plan and creating support networks through a government-wide mentorship program that centers Black and Brown employees. 

And she will recommit to President Obama’s efforts to raise the level of people with disabilities in federal service. 

Read more about her plan here and below:
 
One year from today, the next president will begin her first full day of work. She will be inheriting a government in crisis: from children in cages at detention facilities near the border to a reckless foreign policy that endangers our country and a bigoted ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries, our country will be in desperate need of immediate course correction. Further, Donald Trump will leave behind a government that has been infected by corruption and incompetence, and his vindictive actions as president suggest that he is likely to do everything he can to undermine the next president. We cannot assume that everything will be fine once Donald Trump leaves office. The next president will need to have the energy, expertise, and vision to safeguard our country, rebuild the government swiftly, and make fundamental changes so that it works for the American people. 
 
I know how to get the government working for the people because I’ve done it before. Back in 2010, President Obama picked me to get the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) up and running. We recruited a mission-driven staff and set up the organization, and it took swift action to protect Americans from financial predators and make financial products safer. From defending people with crushing levels of student debt to fighting for servicemembers and their families who were targeted by financial vultures, the agency used every tool in its toolbox to stand up for ordinary Americans. And that agency has now returned more than $12 billion directly to people who were cheated. 
 
I have also spent the last seven years in the Senate studying the intimate details of how our government works, finding the levers that can bring about big structural change, and identifying the key positions that are responsible for making these changes. And I have learned from a diverse community of experts who share my vision for progressive, structural change and who know the executive branch inside and out.
 
My agenda would make our government and our economy work for everyone. It starts with anti-corruption reforms, democracy reforms, campaign finance reforms — reforms that will break the stranglehold that corporate interests have on Washington and get our government working for the people. We’ll also make our economy work for everyone — from cancelling student loan debt to providing universal child care for every kid age 0 to 5 to investing in green manufacturing. But achieving this agenda while also addressing the crises that Donald Trump has created will require an energetic president with expertise on how the executive branch works, a real commitment to making the executive branch free from corruption, and the courage to use every tool available to deliver for working families. 
 
Donald Trump has done serious damage to our government. Of over 700 key government posts requiring Senate confirmation, the Trump administration has failed to confirm nearly a third. At both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, less than half of all key positions have been filled. The Trump administration has had 28 acting cabinet secretaries over three years – more than the total number of acting secretaries in either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama’s eight years in office. Senior career civil servants have been leaving the Trump administration at a record pace. Approximately 1 in 5 members of the Senior Executive Service left the administration in 2017 – a far greater share than during previous transitions, draining the agencies of long-held expertise and institutional knowledge. 
 
Of the positions he has filled, Donald Trump has been stacking the government with lobbyists, campaign donors, and cronies. Halfway through his first term, he had already hired 281 lobbyists into political appointments. Shortly after being elected, thirty-eight percent of those he picked for high-level government jobs were donors and during his first two years, 40% of his ambassadors came from outside the foreign service. The mix of industry insiders and donors has both created turmoil and opened up an opportunity for big businesses to tilt the rules in their favor. This government run by and for lobbyists has dismantled workplace safety and environmental rules, health care protections, and dozens of other programs and regulations that benefit working people. 
 
Rebuilding our government to work for the people won’t just happen. It’s going to require painstaking work, extraordinary drive and urgency, and a serious plan to root out the corruption and incompetence that Trump will leave behind. That means cleaning out the corruption that has infected the government, and it means moving immediately to fill key jobs and set up agencies with capable officials committed to putting the public interest first. 
 
Addressing the Corruption and Incompetence of the Trump Administration
 
On day one of my presidency, I will take aggressive steps to root out the corruption and incompetence of the Trump administration and to hold that administration accountable. I will:  

Remove all political appointees. Rooting out the corruption in our government starts with wiping the slate clean on political appointments. Donald Trump gave influential, high-ranking positions to his donors, friends, and political allies. I will ask for the resignations of all political appointees, including U.S. Attorneys, save only those positions necessary to preserve continuity and protect national security during the transition period. 
 

Prevent political appointees from burrowing into career positions. The law outlines clear rules that help prevent political appointees from circumventing standard hiring practices and “burrowing” into the government by converting from a political appointment into a career position. I will strengthen enforcement of rules around conversion from appointed positions to career civil service to root out officials who attempt to burrow into agencies.
 

Establish a Justice Department Task Force to investigate corruption during the Trump administration and to hold government officials accountable for illegal activity. Donald Trump has run the most corrupt administration in history. He was impeached for withholding foreign aid in an effort to try to benefit his re-election campaign. He has enriched himself and his business through the power of his office. And there are public reports of potentially illegal corruption in every corner of his administration. If we are to move forward to restore public confidence in government and deter future wrongdoing, we cannot simply sweep this corruption under the rug in a new administration. That’s why I will direct the Justice Department to establish a task force to investigate violations by Trump administration officials of federal bribery laws, insider trading laws, and other anti-corruption and public integrity laws, and give that task force independent authority to pursue any substantiated criminal and civil violations. I have also committed to establishing a task force to investigate accusations of serious violations by immigration officials during the Trump era. 
 

Review the performance of independent agencies and remove leading officials for cause where there is justification to do so. For good reason, the heads of independent agencies can only be removed for cause — for example, if they neglect their duties or engage in malfeasance while in office. My administration will review these agencies and determine whether any of these agency heads warrant removal for cause — and I will not hesitate to use my for-cause removal authority if the facts justify it.
 

Identify federal contracting arrangements that arose as a result of corruption in the Trump administration – and end them. The corruption in the Trump administration extends beyond those who work for the government directly to those who have won contracts to execute government services. For example, Donald Trump repeatedly pushed the Army Corps of Engineers to award a border wall contract to a particular company; the company won the contract despite not meeting the standards for a bid. My administration will review major contracts executed under the Trump administration to identify conflicts of interest and other forms of corruption and take action to cancel any contracts procured as a result of corrupting influences.  

Swiftly Appoint New Personnel Who Will Undo the Trump Administration’s Disastrous Policies, Restore Integrity to Government, and Fight on Behalf of the American People
 
It would be foolish to assume that after Trump is gone, the government will start moving in the right direction all on its own. This will be no ordinary transition between administrations. One year from now, the next president will take charge in the middle of multiple crises – from the border, to our foreign policy, to the undermining of health, safety, and environmental rules, to the hollowing out and corruption of our public institutions.  
 
My transition will move faster than any transition in modern history to identify appointees and develop plans for making change starting on day one. Unlike previous transitions, we will not be able to assume good faith cooperation on the part of the outgoing administration, and we do not have an outgoing administration that shares even the most basic values. There will be no time to lose in putting teams in place to address the crises this administration has brought on our country – and to take action on the extraordinary challenges that the American people face. 
 
And that is why I am committing to announcing my choices for the Cabinet by December 1, 2020, other top nominations by December 15, 2020, and fully staff all senior and mid-level White House positions by Inauguration Day. Historically, the Obama administration was the most successful at sending nominations to the Senate, delivering 35 nominations for confirmation on his first day in office. As president, I will send the largest package of nominees to the Senate for confirmation on day one. In addition, I will have the senior and mid-level ranks of my White House fully staffed on day one, so that we can hit the ground running.
 

  Trump Obama GW Bush Clinton  GHW Bush
Day 1 28 35 13 25 18
Day 100 71 190 85 176 95
Day 200 277 433 414 345 315

 
Source: Partnership for Public Service, Center for Presidential Transition
 
have often said that personnel is policy. The choices of who to appoint are policy choices, because individuals make policy decisions. But personnel is also performance. If our government doesn’t have good people, it can’t perform for the American people. To meet this ambitious schedule while also ensuring that our government reflects the interests of all Americans, I will focus on three key areas: instituting hiring rules and practices that end the revolving door and prevent corruption; building an administration that reflects the experiences and diversity of our country; and using all available tools to swiftly fill vacancies.
 
Ending the Revolving Door and Preventing Corruption
We must ensure that the next administration isn’t afflicted by the corrupting influence of money that plagues Washington. I have introduced the biggest anti-corruption legislation since Watergate and my first priority as president is to pass my Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, so that we can clean up every aspect of Washington policymaking. 
 
But there are many actions a president can take all by herself, and my administration will adopt the strictest anti-corruption hiring rules of any administration in American history. And that starts by ending the revolving door between big corporations and their lobbyists and government jobs.

My administration will not hire any current lobbyists.  If someone has served as a corporate lobbyist in the past, my administration will require them to have a six year cooling off period before they are eligible for a government position, and there will be no waivers or exceptions. Non-corporate lobbyists will have a two year cooling off period, and any waivers will be made public. 

My administration will not hire employees of for-profit federal contractors, unless I personally review the situation and decide it is in the national interest. For-profit contractors and licensees do business with the government – they are often awarded huge contracts and licenses for important federal projects. Unless I make a specific exception, my administration will not hire employees of such firms into the agencies or departments that awarded contracts to their former employers for four years after their last contract or license was awarded.

My administration will not hire executives of companies that break federal law or are under investigation unless six years have passed since the conclusion of the investigation or enforcement action. People in the private sector can have valuable experience to bring to public service. But too often, government agencies hire senior executives at companies and banks that have broken federal law, are subject to enforcement actions, or are under investigation. Leaders of companies and banks that don’t follow the law should not be in a position of public trust developing and enforcing the law. These appointments stop in my administration. 

My administration will not hire any person who receives a “golden parachute” from their employer. “Golden parachutes” – payments, bonuses, salaries, or other forms of compensation contingent on accepting a position in the federal government – create the impression that the recipients will work in their former employers’ best interest – not the public’s. A Warren administration will not allow such arrangements. 

In addition to these hiring restrictions, my administration will institute rules to make sure that executive branch officials are working on behalf of the people – not themselves or their former employers: 

To prevent conflicts of interest, officials in my administration will have to divest from any individual stock, bond, or other investment that federal ethics officials determine may be directly influenced by the actions of the employee’s agency. 

Senior officials in my administration will be required to divest from all complex investments – including individual stocks and bonds, as well as commercial real estate and privately-owned or closely-held businesses. 

Senior officials must also commit to divesting any interests in family trusts if ethics officials determine that an asset belonging to the trust might pose a conflict of interest.  

Further, executive branch officials who have not been Senate confirmed must recuse themselves from matters affecting their former employer, direct competitor, client, or organization that an employee belonged to in the last four years.  Senior officials will be prohibited from being employed by or consulting for the private sector while simultaneously working in the federal government. And anyone who volunteers for the federal government, including White House staff and advisors, will have to agree to abide by all federal ethics rules too. 
 
The revolving door goes both ways, and too often, people in government depart and take jobs working at the very firms they had been regulating. At best, this creates the appearance of corruption. At worst, individuals who are thinking about their next job corrupt the policymaking process to favor potential employers. We will end this kind of revolving door corruption. 

Senior members of my administration will be required to pledge not to accept a lobbying appointment after finishing their official duties – for life. This will apply to all members of my Cabinet, heads of agencies, my Vice President – and me.  

All other members of my administration will have to commit to not lobby their former office or agency for two years after they leave the administration – and six years if they become corporate lobbyists – or until the administration ends, whichever is longer.  

Senior government officials in my administration will also have to pledge for a year not to work for or accept payment from any company that has lobbied their department or office within the past two years. 

Senior government officials in my administration will be asked to commit not to work for any giant bank or company worth more than $150 billion, any federal contractor receiving more than $5 billion in revenue from federal contracts, or any market-dominant company, as determined by the Attorney General, for four years after leaving their post. And anyone in my administration who participated in the process of granting a contract or license to a for-profit contractor will also be required to agree not to accept a job with that contractor for at least four years after leaving government service. 

Both President Obama and President Trump issued their own ethics pledges at the start of their administrations – and despite good intentions, both failed to curb the number of lobbyists and government officials that spin through the revolving door. That’s why the steps I have outlined here will eliminate the loopholes in previous ethics pledges, principally by expanding the definition of ‘lobbyist’ to include anyone who is hired to influence government, not just those who are required to register as a lobbyist under current law. Additionally, my plan requires every executive branch employee – not just political appointees – to abide by these rules as a condition of their government service and extends the cooling off periods for executive branch staff to prevent them from lobbying their former agency or office through the end of an administration. And it removes the president’s ability to waive these requirements for corporate lobbyists and executives of law-breaking companies.
 
Building a Government that Reflects the Energy and Diversity of America
It is not enough, of course, to have people in government who don’t have conflicts of interest. We need people who are passionate about the mission of their agencies, deeply understand the needs and experiences of all Americans, and reflect the diversity of the American people. 
 
Under the Trump Administration, we have seen appointees who are actively hostile to the mission of their agencies. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos doesn’t believe in public education. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler doesn’t think climate change is a top priority. As President, I will appoint people who want to fulfill the purposes of our government, not undermine it — and that starts with some serious departures from the Trump Administration. For example, I will appoint: 

A Secretary of Education who has been a public school teacher.

A Secretary of Labor who has been a labor leader, and appointees to the National Labor Relations Board who have a record of fighting for workers.

A Secretary of Agriculture who has a demonstrated commitment to advocating for Black farmers.

A Secretary of Homeland Security who is committed to undoing the damage caused by the Trump administration and who believes that immigration makes our country stronger, not weaker.

Department of Justice officials who believe in voting rights and the rule of law – including for the president.

Antitrust officials who will aggressively scrutinize mergers, bring challenges to vertical and horizontal mergers, and are not afraid to take on big tech, big ag, big pharma, and other consolidated industries. 

A Securities and Exchange Commission chair who will require corporate political spending disclosure, strictly enforce our securities laws, and use all existing tools to require robust disclosure of climate-related risks.

A Federal Communications Commission chair who will restore the 2015 Net Neutrality rules, block monopolistic mergers by media and telecom corporations, and protect the Lifeline program that helps low-income Americans afford broadband Internet. 

An EPA head who believes in the urgency of addressing climate change and protecting our environment. 

Federal Reserve officials who believe in the agency’s full employment mandate, recognize that inflation fears have been overblown for years, and who are willing to let wages grow. 

Our government officials can best serve the American public when they reflect the diversity of the country itself. The federal government does a dismal job on diversity and inclusion. The share of Latinas in the federal workforce is about half that of the entire workforce. Even though Black women are disproportionately represented in the federal workforce, they are nearly absent from its leadership ranks. White workers make up nearly 80% of the senior civil service despite making up only 63% of the overall federal workforce. The Obama administration worked to raise the proportion of people with disabilities to more than 14% of the federal workforce, but that dropped to 9.2% under Trump. My administration will be committed to diversity and inclusion, starting on day one. I will: 

Build a Cabinet and senior leadership team that reflects the full diversity of America, including having at least 50% of Cabinet positions filled by women and non binary people.

Ensure representation of LGBTQ+ people across all levels of government, including in leadership roles.

Diversify recruitment to direct real resources toward attracting entry-level applicants for public service from HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and other minority-serving institutions, and reform high-level recruiting processes to attract diverse experienced hires into senior management positions.

Create new paid fellowship programs for federal jobs for people from marginalized communities and low-income applicants, including formerly incarcerated individuals.

Open up promotion pathways by requiring every federal agency to incorporate diversity as part of their core strategic plan and creating support networks through a government-wide mentorship program that centers Black and Brown employees. 

Recommit to President Obama’s efforts to raise the level of people with disabilities in federal service — and I will include federal contractors and internship programs too.  

Using Existing Tools to Swiftly Fill Government Vacancies
To implement the kind of big, structural changes I have proposed, we will need to address the substantial vacancies in career civil service positions left behind by the Trump administration. For example, the State Department lost a significant percentage of its employees in the first year of the Trump Administration alone. The federal government has a number of tools to expedite hiring processes, and a Warren administration would use them to put well-qualified public servants to work as quickly as possible. For example:

My Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) will use its direct hire authority to identify areas of severe shortage and allow agencies to waive competitive hiring processes in these areas of critical need.

My administration will use its Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment authority to fill certain positions with veterans using expedited hiring processes. 

My administration will reinstate qualified government officials who left public service through a streamlined hiring process, and 

I’ll also ensure that federal agencies effectively use agency-specific hiring authorities to fill key positions. 

Finally, I will designate officials at OPM to work with agencies to ensure that they are using their hiring authorities as effectively as possible while also prioritizing diversity in hiring and following all relevant laws, regulations, and administration policies. 

Read Warren’s plan here

NYS Makes $4.3 Million in Grants to Reduce Food Waste, Help Hungry New Yorkers & Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Following a Gold Coast International Film Festival screening of the documentary “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,” panelelists discussed the issue of food waste, how it directly contributes to climate change, and what the state, local community and individuals can do to help solve one of the greatest problems of the 21st century. The panel consisted of Randi Shubin Dresner, president & CEO of Island Harvest, Halie Meyers chief of staff representing NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky and NYS Assemblyman Steve Englebright. Not shown, Kendrick Repko, Brand Lead, Sustainable Retailing for Stop & Shop. The documentary, from executive producer Anthony Bourdain, gives persuasive argument and offers realistic solutions for changing the way food is raised, distributed, stored, processed, purchased, cooked and recycled. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York State has made $4.3 million in grants for 111 projects across the state that will help prevent hunger and reduce the disposal of food waste though food donation and recycling. The grants will support efforts by municipalities and organizations, such as pantries and soup kitchens, to help divert scraps for recycling and reduce the amount of organic waste by redirecting excess, edible food to New Yorkers struggling with food insecurity.

“Wasted food hurts needy families facing the terrible challenges of food insecurity and harms the environment by growing landfills and contributing to climate change,” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said“These awards are the latest step New York is taking to help local governments and community organizations support smart investments that prevent food waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by food disposal, and provide nutritious and healthy food to combat hunger across New York State.”

Wasted food has significant environmental, social, and economic impacts and these grants help support municipalities and emergency food relief organizations by improving food rescue efforts and diverting food scraps from disposal in landfills. Reducing the landfilling of food scraps is also recognized as a valuable mitigation measure in the state’s ongoing fight against climate change. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will administer the grants.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “It is a sad fact that Americans waste about 25 percent of the food purchased, leading to negative impacts on our environment and a waste of food resources that could otherwise be used to help people in need. The projects supported by the grants announced today are a combination of public outreach initiatives and innovative, common-sense approaches to promoting food recycling, helping the hungry, and reducing waste to build stronger, healthier, and environmentally sustainable communities.”

Municipal Food Scraps Reduction, Food Donation, and Food Scraps Recycling Grants

DEC is awarding a total of $3.28 million in grants to 27 municipal projects that will use innovative and comprehensive approaches to support wasted food prevention and reduction initiatives, streamline food donation and rescue efforts, and/or develop organics recycling programs and facilities. Many projects involve strategic partnerships with community-based organizations to reduce the volume of wasted food and food scraps entering the municipal waste stream. This is accomplished through the development and implementation of wasted food reduction education and outreach programs and by establishing municipal composting and other organics recycling infrastructure. Among the highlights of the municipal grant projects:

  • City of Cortland $195,936: The funding will support the Cortland Food Project Rescue and Waste Prevention, a comprehensive community education campaign focused on wasted food prevention and reduction. The city will develop and implement Cortland’s first local food rescue system and volunteer network to seek out large quantities of “past prime” produce that program staff and volunteers will be trained to process into value-added food products. The city will then coordinate with existing local hunger projects, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and the planned commercial community kitchen and entrepreneurship program to be located at the Homer Avenue Revitalization Project site;
  • Town of Ossining $99,145: The town will create a comprehensive food scraps recycling pilot program to serve approximately 38,300 residents and neighboring areas. The town will: purchase collection bins for several public sites, including nearby Environmental Justice communities and for residential home use; develop informational materials to include in the kits residents will use in their homes; and Teatown Lake Reservation will begin community education events and programming regarding food waste prevention and reduction, composting, and the town-run food scrap recycling program;
  • Tompkins County $70,426: The county will address wasted food prevention and food donation by targeting apartment complexes and multifamily units in the county. The project will educate tenants and property managers, focusing on smart shopping, smart storage, and smart food prep; site a food hub cooler for sharing excess edible food, with leftover donations going to Friendship Donations Network (FDN) for further distribution throughout the Tompkins County community; provide tenants with free toolkits to collect food scraps from their kitchens for composting; and develop “kitchen to compost” educational materials; and
  • Village of Sleepy Hollow $11,286: The village will develop and launch a comprehensive food scraps recycling program that includes: education efforts and materials that are accessible for all residents, despite income or language barriers; create a food scraps recycling program that offers 500 free starter kits (countertop food scraps collection pail and storage bin) to residents for composting; and create outreach materials designed to reach all demographics in the village, including Spanish-language translations, and engaging low-income residents and seniors in the participation of the project.

Emergency Food Relief Organization Grants

Food pantries and other local emergency food relief organizations are on the front lines when it comes to helping those in need. These organizations often rely on donations of food through partnerships with local businesses, farms, and other food donors to supplement their inventories of wholesome food. However, as many of these food pantries and organizations are volunteer-run and have limited funds, they often do not have the resources to establish these partnerships or purchase the necessary storage equipment and vehicles to transport donated perishable foods. Due to these challenges, highly nutritious, perishable food that is ready to be distributed to food pantries and soup kitchens — such as fresh produce ­— often goes to waste, despite the efforts of donors and food rescue organizations.

DEC is funding 84 projects with $1.1 million to support projects including: hiring food recovery staff focused on developing donation partnerships; purchasing efficient cold storage equipment; kitchen equipment to prepared rescued, perishable produce; vehicles to transport rescued food; and the implementation of hyper-local perishable and prepared food recovery and distribution networks. In addition, several projects include the establishment of nutrition and cooking classes to help them use the food they receive from the pantries most efficiently. These classes and workshops help clients reduce wasted food and stretch limited food budgets. Highlighted grant projects include:

  • Iris House $13,720: Iris House in Central Harlem will use the funds to support efforts to distribute food closer to the residents of East Harlem in New York City. Iris House will use part of the grant funds to cover the operation costs of a van to transport food pantry bag distribution to pop-up locations in East Harlem to save residents the costs of transportation to Central Harlem. Iris House will also develop and distribute brochures about nutrition and to advertise their services and provide information about free food availability;
  • Second Chance Foods $15,000: Second Chance Foods is not-for-profit food rescue organization in Carmel, New York, that will use the grant to support the salary of a kitchen manager to process rescued food into cooked meals or prepare parts of meals to donate to local food programs. By processing rescued food such as blemished produce and unfamiliar foods, Second Chance Foods makes more rescued food “usable” by soup kitchen managers and pantry clients, preventing wasted food and increasing the amount of wholesome food available to people;
  • Comfort Food of Washington County, Inc. $12,420: Comfort Food Community serves a rural county with limited access to grocery stores and a significant percent of the population in poverty. CFC will hire a seasonal Food Recovery Assistant to improve gleaning efforts at the 35 farms in their service area through volunteer recruitment and management, as well as coordinating and supervising rescue efforts. The Food Recovery Assistant will also work on outreach and education elements of the Fresh Food Collective. CFC will also use these grant funds to dedicate staff time to developing recipe cards and coordinated meal kits for the gleaned produce to help ensure that recipients of the produce are able to use all of it properly and incorporate more nutritious food into their diets; and
  • Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Inc. $15,000: Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Inc., is not-for-profit organization in Saratoga Springs dedicated to urban agriculture, farmland conservation, community empowerment, and increasing access to fresh, healthy produce. The farm will install a “Giving Garden” dedicated to growing food for food pantries and will use the grant to hire a farm manager to oversee the Giving Garden and associated donation partnerships; construct a wash/pack station to properly prepare freshly harvested vegetables in a safe, reliable, and convenient way; and install a walk-in cooler to store food before it is donated to local pantries.

A complete list of awardees/grantees and summaries of projects is available at the DEC website. For more information about how to reduce food waste in all New York households: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/98102.html.

New York State has long been committed to the fight against hunger and Governor Cuomo has launched groundbreaking initiatives and programs in recent years, including the Council on Hunger and Food Policy, Vital Brooklyn, and the No Student Goes Hungry initiative to combat hunger, improve access to healthy, locally grown foods, and bring New York-grown foods and beverages to underserved communities. The grants announced today also build upon the success of the 2019 Food Donations and Food Scraps Recycling law signed by the Governor, that requires all designated food scraps generators to first donate edible food to those in need, and secondly, to recycle food scraps if a viable recycling facility is located within 25 miles. In response to this crucial legislation, DEC has provided $800,000 to Feeding New York State for additional resources to handle the anticipated influx of donated food.

The grant announcement was made at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in Latham, to help prepare New Yorkers for the statewide ban on plastic carryout bags, which begins March 1. DEC, in coordination with Feeding New York State, will distribute reusable bags to food banks across the state as part of DEC’s efforts to encourage consumers to bring their own bags whenever and wherever they shop. Feeding New York State helps feed millions of people each year through more than 5,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other programs.

The BYOBagNY initiative is part of New York’s comprehensive outreach campaign with state and local partners to educate retailers and consumers about the plastic bag ban, which will help reduce the scourge of plastic bag waste in the state’s environment and communities. New Yorkers use an estimated 23 billion plastic bags annually—each for about 12 minutes—and approximately 85 percent of this staggering total ends up in landfills, recycling machines, waterways, and streets. For more information about the outreach efforts and details of the law’s implementation, visit DEC’s website.

Trump ‘Acquittal’ Triggers New Protests Vowing ‘We Will Remember in November’

Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

The widely anticipated vote to “acquit” Trump, impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, was never in doubt, though activists had hoped nationwide protests would shame Republicans into at least allowing witnesses and evidence into their show “trial”. But the activists are still determined for Trump to be held accountable – along with the Republicans in House and Senate who have been complicit enablers in higher and higher crimes and misdemeanors, breaching the public trust.

Mere hours after the Republicans voted to acquit – with the singular exception of Senator Mitt Romney who acknowledged Trump’s abuse of power – hundreds took to the streets, vowing to continue the protest, turn Trump out of office and “flip the Senate”. “We will remember in November,” they chanted as they marched from Columbus Circle, just across one of Trump’s Manhattan buildings, down 57th Street o Fifth Avenue, and passed the Trump Tower, to 42nd Street Public Library.

Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

About 2,500 people in all participated in the protest, met by fewer than a dozen pro-Trumpers.

They are calling for continued investigations and for Congressional oversight so that Trump isn’t able to skate away, as in the 2016 campaign, hiding his tax returns which most likely would have shown financial ties to Putin and Russian oligarchs (who made outsized donations to his inaugural and bought condos at inflated rates), and made secret payments to hush up a porn star, causing Trump to be labeled “Individual 1” in the prosecution of his “fixer” Michael Cohen, now imprisoned, and the 10 counts of obstruction of justice which the Mueller Probe found, saying they would have indicted but for a Department of Justice “policy” against indicting a sitting president.

Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In reaction, Trump, who used the State of the Union like a political rally  – even offering to broadcast the names of donors “live” – followed up with continued smears against any and all who have opposed him, even threatening to unleash the Department of Justice to do the very thing – political witch hunt – that he says he was the victim of. Except that there has never been any evidence or any testimony offered that contradicts the crimes he is accused of, only the abuse of his political power to extort complicity.

Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Indeed, it is now revealed that the Treasury Department, which has stonewalled lawful requests from Congress for Trump’s tax returns (it is actually a law), based on some sort of invasion of privacy of a US citizen, and has sequestered the mandated audit of Trump’s returns while in office, has been probing Hunter Biden to supply Senate Republicans with dirt.

The question is how long Republicans can ignore substantial majorities of people who want climate action, gun safety, immigration reform, voting rights and preservation of the Rule of Law and the fundamental premise that no one, not even a president, is above it.

There were more than 300 marches and protests around the country in towns large and small – marches in places from New York City and Petoskey, Michigan to Wasilla, Alaska; rallies in 46 states and Washington, D.C. and a “flash mob to say thank you to Sen. Romney” at his office in Salt Lake City.

Here are highlights from the rally, march and protest in New York City, one of dozens held around the nation on Wednesday, February 5, 2020:

Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Rally, march and protest in New York City after Trump acquitted by Senate Republican © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

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© 2020 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

March for Truth Rallies Demand Witnesses, Evidence in Trump Impeachment Trial

Stop the GOP Cover-Up. March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidence in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

With chants of “No More Cover-Ups. We Want Witnesses” and “What do we want? Witnesses. If we don’t get it, Shut It Down,” protesters took to the streets in New York City as well as Washington DC and 30 other cities to demand Senators uphold their oath for an impartial examination of the truth before a vote to convict or acquit Donald Trump of his office as President of the United States.

In New York, a couple of hundred protesters organized by the NYC Coalition to Impeach and Remove gathered in Times Square, and then marched down to Herald Square. Here are highlights:

“Trump is Guilty.” March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidence in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Demand Truth.” March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Imminent Threat.” March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidence in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Trump is Guilty.” March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidence in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Marching down Broadway. March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Grow a Spine. March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidences in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidence in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Stop the GOP Cover-Up” March for Truth, NYC calls for witnesses, evidence in Trump Impeachment Trial © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Rallies were also held in:

Dallas, Texas

Phoenix, Arizona

Raleigh, North Carolina

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Maryville, Illinois

Lexington, Kentucky

Portland, Oregon

Hillsborough, Oregon

Brea, California

St. Petersburg, Florida

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Gulfport, Mississippi

Danville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Hudson, Wisconsin

Bangor, Maine

Tucson, Arizona

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Clarksville, Tennessee

Salt Lake City, Utah

Denver, Colorado

Phoenix, Arizona

Chico, California

Anchorage, Alaska

Charlotte, North Carolina

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© 2020 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Women’s Marches Are Opening Salvo to 2020 Election

Raring to Rise & Roar, Women’s March on New York City, Jan. 18, 2020 (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

The Women’s Marches that took place across the country – some 250 of them including Washington DC and New York City – are the opening salvo to the 2020 Election. Make no mistake, this was about voting, realizing that all the issues that they care about hinge on the coming election and not on changing the minds of lawmakers who currently control the levers of power: reproductive freedom and a woman’s right to self-determination; access to the ballot and access to health care; climate action and environmental justice; gun safety and domestic violence; gender equity, sexism and misogyny; discrimination and sexual harassment; immigration reform and human rights. They are all on the ballot this November.

And the Supreme Court and all the courts now dominated by radical right-wing judges that seek to roll back women’s rights, civil rights, voting rights, health-care-is-a-human-right. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, hold on,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer declared as the march set off down Columbus Avenue, passed the Trump International Hotel, where the most animated expressions of outrage against Trump and his administration were manifest.

A singular, unifying message emerged: Dump Trump and his henchmen and his enablers.

And a theme for the New York City march organized by Women’s March Alliance (womensmarchalliance.org): Rise & Roar.

(See also: Women’s March 2020: Turnout is Crucial to Rev Up Momentum for 2020 Election)

Here are highlights from the 2020 Women’s March on New York City:

“A Woman’s Place is in the White House.” Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“ERA Now!” Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Together We Fight For All”. Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Stop the War on Womens Rights; Vote Them Out Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“These Boobs Are Made for Marching.” Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Vote Vote Vote Vote” “When women’s Bodies Are More Regulated Than Guns”. Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Made in ‘Gina” Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“So Many Lies So Little Sign Space” Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Not My Dictator.” Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Gays Against Guns. Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Dump Trump. Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Women Build march for Pay Equity. Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“It’s Time to Ovary Act”. Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Blue Wave. Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“God Save America.” Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Don’t Do The Crime If You Can’t Do The Time.” Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Pregnant and ProChoice”. Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Shame.” Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WasherWomen Vote. Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Vote. I’m Tired of Still Marching” during centennial year of Women’s Suffrage. Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“2020 Vision.” Women’s March 2020, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

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© 2020 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Women’s March 2020: Turnout is Crucial to Rev Up Momentum for 2020 Election

Capitol Building still draped in flags for Donald Trump’s inauguration the day before, 750,000 crammed the National Mall to stand up for Women’s Rights and Human Rights © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

Though it is unlikely that women will re-create the 750,000 who marched on Washington with millions more around the world who turned out in 2017 in the largest single day of protest in history, vastly outnumbering those who came out the day before on the National Mall to watch Trump swear to uphold the Constitution and protect the nation against enemies foreign and domestic,  it is crucial that people turn out for the women’s marches in Washington, DC (Meet at Freedom Plaza, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave. at 10 am, womensmarch.com), New York City (at Central Park West & 72nd Street, 11 am, womensmarchalliance.org) and many other cities in 2020, taking place on Saturday, January 18.

The massive turnout of women for the Womens March in New York City (200,00) and other cities in 2018 helped propel a record number of women to Congress in the 2018 midterms, and have Democrats take back control of House © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The disappointing reality after that first spectacular Women’s March is how little it accomplished. Lawmakers could care less, based on the policies they enacted, including moving so close to repealing Obamacare except for Senator McCain’s last-second vote, and tax policy that discriminated against women’s health, and shifted $1 trillion in resources from infrastructure and services for everyday Americans to the richest 1% and corporations.  They could care less for the hundreds of thousands who pleaded for sensible gun laws, or for climate action and environmental protection.

There isn’t even the same buzz as in the 2018 march in Washington and around the country (200,000 attended in New York City, alone) , so much more significant because the protest was less about “converting” lawmakers than  mobilizing voter registration, inspiring women to run for elected office, and driving turnout in the November mid-terms.  And they did in historic numbers, putting Democrats back in control of the House which put the brakes to the extent possible on the worst impulses of Trump and the Republicans. “I can do whatever I want as president,” Trump declared at a Turning Point event with young Republicans. (After the House Republican majority’s first success in repealing Obamacare in 2017, Trump said, ‘I’m president. Can you believe it?”)

In 2019, tens of thousands marched in New York City, calling for action on a Woman’s Agenda that encompasses everything from pay parity, paid parental leave, affordable child care and pre-K to immigration reform, gun violence prevention, climate action, criminal justice reform – in other words, the gamut of social, political, environmental and economic justice. And yes, reproductive freedom.

“I’m Not Ovary Acting.” Pussy hats come out again for Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019 (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

During 2019, which opened with Trump declaring a “national emergency” to justify shutting down the federal government in order to extort billions to build his wall, migrants continued to be separated and die in custody, thousands were sent to horrific and dangerous conditions in Mexico; gun violence reached new heights; climate disasters have exploded around the globe; and reproductive freedom has been further constricted.

600,000 women lost birth control coverage last year because of the Trump Administration’s attacks on your healthcare; funding for women’s health clinics has been eliminated and artificial barriers to their operation have forced many to close. The Hyde Amendment which bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, serves as a de facto ban for a quarter of low-income women.

Women’s March NYC, Jan. 20, 2018 (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Even more is at stake in 2020, when Trump and Trumpism is on the ballot. Over this first term, he has been increasingly emboldened and unbridled, to the point where he believes he can unleash a war while schmoozing on the golf course.  

So far, the organizers of this Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington, took out a permit for 10,000.

The women’s movement, inexplicably and yet probably not, has gotten wound up, bogged down and even subverted with other issues – racism, anti-Semitism. Leaders are bending over backwards to show how progressive, how inclusive they are, and moving away from the key issues that women are fighting for.

Women’s issues wind up being about all these other issues because all of them affect women’s ability to have equal opportunity, earn what they deserve in order to provide for their families: war and peace, climate change, living wage, public education, health care, affordable pharmaceuticals, clean air and water, voting rights, gun safety, DACA and immigration reform.

But at the heart of all of them is women’s reproductive rights, under threat as never before by a radical right-wingers in Congress and on the courts determined to disregard law and precedent and overturn Roe v Wade (along with Obamacare) with a Supreme Court that has been shifted radically right because of the illegitimate appointments secured by Trump and Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (along with hundreds of judges throughout the federal court system that are long-lasting bombs to womens rights and civil rights.

The Roe v Wade decision in 1973 ruled that the Constitution protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction – in other words, it was built upon some extrapolation of privacy and property rights, rather than equal protection.

Overturning Roe v Wade would mean that women, unlike men, are not entitled to the same right to self-determination, to make their own judgments and choices for their health, their body, their family or their lives. And like all those other cases that Ginsburg argued as the leading gender rights lawyer for the ACLU before becoming Supreme Court Justice, it would re-establish the systemic barriers to women (not men) to fulfill all their aspirations and abilities. It is as Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democratic candidate for president, said, when women are forced out of the career track, they never get back to where they were if they return at all. This I s the result of unaffordable, inaccessible quality child care and the lack of universal pre-K.

“Our Bodies Our Rights.” Women’s March on NYC, Jan. 19, 2019 (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

It would essentially make women a subject of the state, forced to give up professional aspirations to care for a child, or spend inordinate amounts of money and resources on child care, put women into poverty because all of these social services are also being tied to work while doing nothing to make childcare affordable, taking away food stamps and school lunch. It’s not one thing, it’s many different elements.

As Justice Ginsburg said, “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”

“I Ask No Favor For My Sex,” Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes appearance at Women’s March on NYC , Jan. 19, 2019 (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

And the Supreme Court decision would not necessarily mean that the state you live in would determine if you might have access to abortion, which would set up a different category of unequal protection – their ruling could make abortion illegal nationwide by establishing “personhood” rights of a fetus, in which case the fetus would have more rights than its mother.

Women are marching for affordable child care, quality public education, affordable and accessible health care without higher cost for women or for pre-existing conditions (which before Obamacare rendered women of child-bearing age), or lifetime caps on coverage at a time when middle class families are spending 20% of income ($12,000/year) on health insurance, 35 million can’t afford life saving drugs they are prescribed, 30,000 die prematurely because of lack of access to health care, and 500,000 go bankrupt because of medical bills.

Women are marching for environmental justice at a time when the Trump Administration is making it easy for polluters to destroy the air and water producing creating public health issues such as  asthma affecting a child’s ability to succeed in school, and worker productivity. It means climate justice at a time when the Trump Administration is actually prosecuting those who would try to reduce carbon emissions (they are trying to prosecute the four auto manufacturers who said they would comply with California’s emissions standards for anti-trust violations), while families are losing their homes, their workplaces and communities have to spend fortune to rebuild after climate disasters.

Women are marching for gun safety so that parents and children don’t have the constant anxiety and school districts and communities don’t have to spend a fortune on security rather than programs that benefit people.

“Voting Is My Super Power!” Women’s March on NYC , Jan. 19, 2019 (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This year’s march may be the most important one, just as the 2020 election is the most important one of our lifetimes (and yes, 2016, as we now know, was the most important election up until this one).

The march is an affirmation, brings like-minded people together, validates our case, and yes, motivates and provides a platform for people to run for office, as in 2018, and win their office.

The march is not about “them” it is about us.

Women’s March NYC, Jan. 20, 2018 (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

That is why it is so very important to have a strong turnout for this year’s marches, the fourth year in a row, especially in 2020, the centennial of women winning the right to vote, especially in this election year when the nation faces an existential threat from its own government.  Women must turn out, and continue the momentum of 2018 into the 2020 election.

Virginia could be the 38th state to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which would make the ERA the 28th amendment to the Constitution, though the opponents argue that the votes by the other 37 states have expired, and we’ll have to go through this entire 60-year process all over again. (Trump’s

The opponents argue there is no reason for an amendment that certifies the equal rights of all people. But based on the policies, laws and lawsuits at the federal and state level, an ERA is more necessary than ever, because as we have seen from the Supreme Court, precedents like Roe v Wade and one-person, one-vote, or equal protection for all are fungible.

This is a crucial year for women to turn out, not allow the momentum of 2018 to be lost, but rev up for the 2020 election.

So whip out those pink pussy hats and march for women’s rights on Saturday, January 18. March as if your ability to determine your own future is at stake.

Women’s March NYC, Jan. 20, 2018 (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

__________

© 2020 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

2,500 Long Islanders March Together to Stand Against Anti-Semitism

Senator Schumer, County Executives Laura Curran and Steve Bellone, Congressmen Tom Suozzi, Kathleen Rice and Peter King, Attorney General Letitia James, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, State Senators Anna Kaplan and Todd Kaminsky, Assemblyman Charles Lavine, Dr. Isma Chaudhry of Islamic Center of Long Island among elected officials and faith leaders joining together with 2,500 Long Islanders marching to stand against anti-Semitism.

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

I thought it was impressive when a couple of dozen elected officials from state, county and local government came to a Shabbat service at Temple Beth-el of Great Neck to show support for the Jewish community after horrific attacks at a Rabbi’s home in Monsey and a massacre at Jersey City kosher grocery. I was moved by the outpouring of 25,000 mostly Jewish (surprisingly few Orthodox) who marched as a demonstration of Jewish pride and resolution over the Brooklyn Bridge, led by Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Governor Cuomo and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, and faith leaders. But what was truly awesome were the 2500 Long Islanders who marched in a show of solidarity to fight anti-Semitism and hate crimes at the county seat in Mineola, representing just about every aspect, community and culture across the length and breadth of Long Island. Marchers came from across the Island, representing more than 125 religious and community groups.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran: “We organized this march to send a clear message in one voice: Long Islanders of all faiths and backgrounds stand united with our Jewish community and against Anti-Semitism.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran organized the march and rally in solidarity with the Jewish community and against Anti-Semitism in response to horrific attacks in Brookyn, Monsey, and Jersey City, as well as incidents of Anti-Semitic graffiti at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County in Glen Cove. In December, Nassau and Suffolk Counties formed a bi-county coalition that will identify and develop a plan of action to combat and report acts of hate and bias incidents on Long Island. In conjunction with a number of organizations, today’s march marked one of the task force’s inaugural initiatives.

“We organized this march to send a clear message in one voice: Long Islanders of all faiths and backgrounds stand united with our Jewish community and against Anti-Semitism,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

As Assemblyman Charles Lavine read off the names of participating groups, closing out nearly two hours of speeches (notably very short speeches, that’s how many speakers there were) included on the list: Turkish, Chinese, Indian…

Former Congressman Lester Wolff, now 101 years old, joined thousands of Long Islanders in the March United Against Anti-Semitism © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Many of the speakers spoke of bigotry and anti-Semitism as being anathema to American values. But of course, Americans have a Pollyannish notion of this country’s “tolerance,” “acceptance.” The strain of bigotry, hatred and particularly anti-Semitism has always been here, even during World War II. It was muted after the Holocaust, after the US soldiers penetrated the concentration camps and saw, for the first time, that it was not “propaganda” that millions and millions were caged for extermination, that the Final Solution was real. But it was anti-Semitism that kept America from accepting refugees before, during and after the Holocaust, and no coincidence that the Palmer raids of the 1920s targeted Jewish labor leaders and the McCarthy blacklist consisted mainly of Jewish writers and officials.

The “popular” view is that anti-Semitism is back on the rise because working people feel somehow disadvantaged, though the connection eludes me. But here’s what I don’t get: in Nazi Germany, Jews were a convenient scapegoat for the genuine suffering of Germans caught in a Great Depression. That is not the case here in the United States. In fact, we are constantly told that the economy is the strongest in history, unemployment is at a 50-year low.

The rise in anti-Semitism – not just vandalism and nasty remarks but physical violence like the massacres at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, a synagogue in Poway, California, in Jersey City and the attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey during a Chanukah celebration, has been quite astonishing. Over 2,000 hate crimes against Jews in 2019. In New York City, according to the New York Police Department, hate crimes against all other groups (Asian, Catholic, Hispanic, Black, Arab, Muslim, LBGTQ) totaled 206; the number directed against Jews, just in the five boroughs? 229.

The Islamic Center of Long Island joined thousands of Long Islanders in a March United Against Anti-Semitism © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Speakers referred to the fear that Jews now feel in their own neighborhood, community, college campus. Many Holocaust survivors are being wracked with renewed PTSD, their terrors re-awakened.

Indeed, a study by the American Jewish Committee in October found that 31% of Jews hide the fact they are Jewish; 25 percent avoid certain places, events, situations out of concern for their safety. In America?  “We must be proud and not shy away,” said Eric Post, AJC NY Associate Director. “Anti-Semitism is not solely a Jewish problem. It’s an American problem. If not eradicated, it will corrode our fabric.”

There is a difference in today’s anti-Semitism, in that individuals armed with social media or semi-automatic weapons can do horrific damage that before would have required some organization or government sanction. And even if the defense is some sort of mental illness, as in the Monsey case, the question is  why the voices compel them to strike out against Jews, what is it in the culture that directs hatred in that way?

But such hate turns out not even to be solely “organic” or a representation of “grassroots” disaffection. Foreign governments, particularly Russia, as well as domestic political factions that are using anti-Semitism, racism and fomenting hate in order to sow division, disrupt and destabilize our society to tilt elections and take power – after all, it worked so well during the 2016 campaign.

Congressman Peter King joins Long Islanders March United Against Anti-Semitism © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Indeed, five of our region’s Congressional representatives – Suozzi, King, Rice, Meeks and Zeldin – are requesting FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Homeland Security acting Secretary Chad Wolf and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper conduct an investigation into potential campaigns sponsored by foreign adversaries to cause civil unrest on domestic soil.

 “Whether anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, race based or some other form of hate, internal divisions provide an opportunity for our adversaries to exploit and further divide our nation,” the letter states. “We must work together to combat those that exploit ignorance to sow division for their strategic interest.”

The letter also cites a recent FBI study that found the rate of hate crimes increased by 17 percent from 2016 to 2017 but the rate of anti-Semitic crimes increased by 37 percent in 2017 and attacks motivated by racial or ethnical prejudice doubled. The timing since Trump’s ascendancy is not coincidence; Trump has curried the support of racists and bigots and basically green-lighted their activities. No longer is racism and bigotry kept under wraps or in shadow; with Trump it is out in the open.

But to the extent America is a melting pot, that melting pot is the New York metropolitan region – the city and suburbs, especially Long Island. Which is why the dramatic escalation in anti-Semitic hate crimes our area is all the more shocking and terrifying.

Rabbi Meir Feldman, who gave the sermon at Temple Beth-el on that Friday night, had only 72 hours before been at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

State, county, town, and local elected officials stand against anti-Semitism at Temple Beth-el of Great Neck (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Our question tonight is not why there is anti-Semitism. It is simpler: what is this crazy evil thing, this abnormal force of anti-Semitism?” He shows a cartoon that is displayed at the memorial, an image of a parasite, an insect meant to be walked on but sits on top of the world, in its right eye, a symbol of money, in its left eye a hammer and sickle, the symbols of Capitalist and the communist seemingly contradictory.  That is anti-Semitism – hated by both ends, a convenient scapegoat for anybody’s discontent and any politician’s demagoguery.

“Anti-Semitism is an impossible series of contradictions,” he says. “What’s our response? How do we confront and fight this scourge of contradictions?” He says with honesty, unity, solidarity and hope.

“We must call out Anti-Semitism wherever, whenever, reveal it for what it is: insane contradictions. Identify the ideological source – right, left, White Nationalist, Black Nationalist.”

But this is the most significant difference between Germany in the 1930s (where Jews had been living for 1000 years) and now: the vast majority of elected officials are standing up and calling out anti-Semitism, initiating new laws and calling for police enforcement, as they did on Friday night at Temple Beth-el, in the March Against Hate in New York last week, and in this weekend’s extraordinary march and rally on the steps of the Theodore Roosevelt County Building.

Senator Charles Schumer, recalling that 30 members of his family, ages 3 months to 85 years old, were machine gunned down in Ukraine by Nazis when people failed to act, is calling for $360 million more in spending to secure houses of worship and federal assistance to localities to prosecute hate crimes. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

And it isn’t just speeches and marches, but actions. Senator Charles Schumer is advocating $360 million more in spending to secure houses of worship and federal assistance to localities to prosecute hate crimes; 298 Representatives have signed on to sponsor the Never Again Education Act to authorize the Secretary of Education to award grants to eligible entities to carry out educational programs about the Holocaust. (It was introduced in the House in January 2019.)

Congressman Tom Suozzi said social media makes it easy to spread and magnify hate, some of it promulgated by foreign adversaries to stir up civil unrest. It works because “there is too much ignorance.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Congressman Tom Suozzi attributed the rise in anti-Semitism to social media which makes it easy to spread and magnify hate, some of it promulgated by foreign adversaries trying to stir up civil unrest. It works because “there is too much ignorance. How many deny the Holocaust or don’t know about it? That is a recipe for disaster.” The US soldiers, he said, who were just two or three months away from liberating the concentration camps were still debating if the Holocaust was real or propaganda. “We must educate.”

The state and county are stepping up prosecution of hate crimes, as well. Governor Cuomo is proposing a domestic terrorism law that encompasses hate crimes, and is seeking resources and security funding for law enforcement and faith based institutions.

State Senator Anna Kaplan has introduced four bills aimed at combating the rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate in New York State, through education, awareness, and a stronger hate crimes statute to ensure prosecutors have the tools necessary to hold accountable those committing anti-Semitic and hate motivated crimes.

NY State Senator Anna Kaplan and State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins light Sabbath candles with Rabbis Meir Feldman and Elle Muhlbaum at Temple Beth-el of Great Neck during a service to show solidarity to combat hate crimes and anti-Semitism © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“As a Jewish refugee who came to this country fleeing anti-Semitic violence in my homeland, my heart aches over the out-of-control spree of anti-Semitic violence taking place here in New York. I’ve been proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with New Yorkers of all faiths and backgrounds as we have marched in the streets and loudly proclaimed that we will not allow anti-Semitism and hatred to take hold in New York, and today, I’m proud to announce that I am taking concrete steps to address this crisis from every direction.”

Kaplan, the first Persian-American elected State Senator: “We speak with one voice. We are never going to accept anti-Semitism in our community or anywhere. Anti-Semitism has been a plague on society for thousands of years. We have to be the generation that stands up and takes decisive action.”

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said, “We see thousands of you shoulder to shoulder, different colors, creeds, faiths, standing with neighbors, community to say ‘Enough.’ Hate is offensive to a nation born of tolerance, and it is criminal. We will work hard to arrest, prosecute, hold offenders accountable. “ She has created a hate crimes bureau. ‘We hope one day soon we won’t need it. We say no to anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, bigotry.”   

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who organized the massive display, said, “Hate has no place on our beautiful island. We have got your back,” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who organized the massive display, said, “Hate has no place on our beautiful island. We have got your back,” and introduced five Holocaust survivors.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone: “this is the one nation on earth where every form of humanity is a citizen… January 27 is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. That date is a reminder, we must stand up, any time we see bias or hate in words or actions.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone: We must stand up, any time we see bias or hate in words or actions.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Senator Schumer, relating how his great grandmother,  along with 30 other relatives aged 3 months to 85 years old, were machine gunned by Nazis in Ukraine, said, “Unfortunately people there didn’t speak up.”

NYS Attorney General Letitia James: “Not just black blood but Jewish blood [was shed for civil rights]. Hate won’t be tolerated on Long Island or anywhere in the State.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York State Attorney General Letitia James said, “As an African American, I know hate, know discrimination. An attack against one of us is an attack against all of us… During the civil rights movement, it was Jews who referred to blacks by their last name, not their first; who let Blacks enter the front door, not the back door, Jewish people who died for my people. Not just black blood but Jewish blood [was shed for civil rights]. Hate won’t be tolerated on Long Island or anywhere in the State.”

NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli: “You being here show that we will not accept this as the new normal. What we take from today, in our homes, workplaces, houses of worship, neighborhoods, that’s where we must fight hate.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said it is hard to believe how the numbers of anti-Semitic incidents, of hate, violence are going up in the New York metro area. “You being here show that we will not accept this as the new normal. What we take from today, in our homes, workplaces, houses of worship, neighborhoods, that’s where we must fight hate.” Everyone, he said, should see the “Auschwitz: Not Long Ago, Not Far Away” exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (extended until August 30, 2020). “Eli Wiesel warned of the great peril of indifference in the face of hate.”

Dr. Isma Chaudhry, president of the Islamic Center of Long Island: “As a Muslim, our moral obligation to stand by humanity suffering in pain, prosecution of hatred, discrimination. We stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters in solidarity… Nassau is making history by this strong statement of solidarity of diverse communities.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Dr. Isma Chaudhry, president of the Islamic Center of Long Island, which turned out in force for the march, said, ‘What I see today is a strong Long Island. As a Muslim, our moral obligation to stand by humanity suffering in pain, prosecution of hatred, discrimination. We stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters in solidarity… Nassau is making history by this strong statement of solidarity of diverse communities.”

Kevin Thomas, first Indian-American elected State Senator, with 13-month old daughter, says children must be taught tolerance at an early age. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Kevin Thomas, the first Indian-American elected State Senator, holding his 13-month old daughter: “My community stands with the Jewish community” adding, we need to teach our children when they are young.

Assemblyman Tony D’Urso’s family is a model of the courage that it takes. When he was just a boy, Nazis took over his village in Italy. His father protected the only two Jewish families who lived in the village, hiding them in the mountains when others would have happily given them up for a little money or food.

Assemblyman Tony D’Urso’s family was honored by the Pope and Yad Va’Shem for courageously harboring two Jewish families in the Italian countryside from the Nazis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Probably most touching was Linda Beigel Schulman, whose son Scott was a teacher-coach when he was murdered in the massacre at Parkland school in 2018. She noted that the target of his killer was a history class teaching about the Holocaust.

“We held a celebration of his life at the temple where Scott was bar mitzvahed. The rabbi asked if I wanted any security. I said ‘Why?’ Six days later, a gunman massacred Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue, simply because they were Jewish.”

Schulman’s father was a Holocaust survivor and when she taught in Germany 1977-9, “I feared telling people I was a Jew. But living in Louisiana, a woman asked me, ‘where do you hide your horns.’ Her husband attended NYU; his roommate moved out when he discovered he was Jewish.

Linda Beigel Schulman: “I know why I am here today…We are the antidote to wipe out anti-Semitism once and for all. Our voices must be heard. Silence only brings acceptance and gives anti-Semitism the fuel it needs to spread.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“I know why I am here today, why we all must be here, to have our voices heard. Over 2,000 anti-Semitic incidents in 2019 – gestures, name-calling, painting swastikas, toppling headstones, physical attacks and murder, merely because a person is Jewish or believed to be. Anti-Semitism is like a virus infecting, sometimes killing its host. The body tries to fight it off, but it lies dormant, and rears up again. If we allow anti-Semtiism to take hold in the United States, it will destroy the fiber that holds us together. E Plubus Unum – out of many, one. Without that motto is tribalism and ‘me first’.

“We need to become the best society we can. We the people are the antidote.  It doesn’t matter if Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or no religion, Asian American, Hispanic, Italian, African American, whether citizen or immigrant, if you came by airplane, ship or on foot. We are the antidote to wipe out anti-Semitism once and for all. Our voices must be heard. Silence only brings acceptance and gives anti-Semitism the fuel it needs to spread.”

Assemblyman Charles Lavine, who served as the emcee for the event, said, “For generations, tragedy after tragedy, Jews have been saying “Am Yisrael Chai” – the people of Israel live. It is time for us all Americans to stand together, united to say, Am America Chai. These are the stakes.”

Teach the children, “Stop the Hate.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Here is a list of the elected officials, community and faith leaders who participated in Long Island’s march against Anti-Semitism:

  • Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
  • Chuck Schumer, Senator
  • Letitia James, State Attorney General
  • Tom Suozzi, Congressman     
  • Peter King, Congressman       
  • Kathleen Rice, Congresswoman                    
  • Tom Di Napoli, State Comptroller     
  • Todd Kaminsky, State Senator           
  • Kevin Thomas, State Senator
  • Anna Kaplan, State Senator   
  • Jim Gaughran, State Senator
  • John Brooks, State Senator    
  • Chuck Lavine, Assemblyman
  • Judy Griffin, Assemblywoman           
  • Mike LiPetri, Assemblyman   
  • Michelle Solages, Assemblywoman   
  • Madeline Singas, NC Distirct Attorney          
  • Jack Schnirman, NC Comptroller       
  • Don Clavin, Town of Hempstead Supervisor
  • Anthony D’Esposito, TOH Councilman          
  • Charles Berman, Town of North Hempstead Tax Reciever   
  • Wayne Wink, ToNH Clerk      
  • Peter Zuckerman, ToNH Councilman
  • Veronica Lurvey, ToNH Councilwoman         
  • Viviana Russell, ToNH Councilwoman           
  • Debra Mule, County Legislator          
  • William Gaylor, County Legislator     
  • Thomas Mckevitt, County Legislator
  • Delia Deriggi-Whitton, County Legislator     
  • Ellen Birnbaum, County Legislator
  • Richard Nicolello, President Officer of County Legislature
  • Tim Tenke, Mayor Glen Cove
  • Marsha Silverman, Councilwoman – Glen Cove
  • Eve Lipenko-Ferrante, Councilwoman – Glen Cove
  • Danielle Fugazy-Scagliola, Councilwoman – Glen Cove
  • John Perron, Councilman – Glen Cove
  • Rocco Totino, Councilman – Glen Cove

Faith organizations and other groups

  • Chabad of Mineola
  • Chabad of Hewlett
  • Chabad of  Oceanside
  • Chabad of  Port Washington
  • Chabad of Manhasset
  • Chabad of Merrick
  • Chabad of West Hempstead
  • Chabad of Oyster Bay-East Norwich
  • Chabad of Brookville
  • Chabad of Great Neck
  • Chabad of Stony Brook
  • Chabad of 5 Towns
  • The Young Israel of Woodmere
  • Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst
  • Temple Israel of Lawrence
  • Sid Jacobson JCC
  • Barry and Florence Friedberg JCC
  • The Marion & Aaron Gural JCC
  • Suffolk Y JCC
  • 5 Towns Jewish Center
  • East Meadow Jewish Center and Temple Beth-El
  • Congregation Simchat HaLev
  • Interfaith Clergy Council of Syosset, Woodbury & Jericho
  • Temple Am Echad of Lynbrook
  • Islamic Center of Five Towns
  • Hillside Islamic Center
  • Temple B’nai Torah
  • Central Synagouge Beth Emeth
  • North Shore Synagouge
  • Plainview Jewish Center
  • Temple Beth Chai
  • Reconstructionist Synagouge of the North Shore
  • Shelter Rock Jewish Center
  • Cathedral of the Incarnation & the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
  • The Muslim Center of Long Island
  • Oceanside Jewish Center
  • Temple Or Elohim
  • Temple Avodah
  • Old Westbury Hebrew Congregations
  • Synagouge Kehillas Bais Yehudah Tzvi
  • Congregational Church of South Hempstead
  • United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
  • Christian Light Missionary Baptist Church of Long Beach
  • Tiberian Baptist Church of Queens
  • New Hope Institutional Baptist Church of Amityville
  • Union Baptist Church of Hempstead
  • Kingdom Family Ministry of Uniondale
  • Zion Cathedral Church of God in Christ of Freeport
  • First Baptist Church of Glen Cove
  • Antioch Baptist Church of Hempstead
  • South Hempstead Baptist Church
  • Miracle Christian Center of Hempstead
  • Westbury AME Zion Church
  • Mount Calvary Baptist Church of Westbury
  • Bethany Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Westbury
  • First Baptist Cathedral of Westbury
  • Ahavat Shalom Synagogue
  • Temple Sinai of Roslyn
  • Dioceses of Rockville Centre
  • Shuvah Yisrael Messianic Synagogue
  • Temple Beth Torah or Melville
  • Achiezer
  • Muslim Community Center of Nassau County
  • Anti-Racism Project
  • African American Museum of Nassau County
  • Moms Demand Action
  • Chinese Center of Long Island
  • NAACP Westbury Branch
  • Selfhelp Community Services
  • Western Nassau Sisterhood of Salam Sholem
  • Islamic Circle of NA-Sisters Wing
  • Muslim Children of North America
  • Indian American Muslim Council
  • Federation of American Indian Relief
  • Muslim Community of Nassau County MCNC
  • Zionist Organization of America
  • Nassau Now
  • Erase Racism
  • East Meadow Public Library
  • Voices for Truth and Humanity
  • LI Chapter of Friends of Israel  – Scouts
  • Suffolk Jewish Advisory Board
  • Interfaith Allicance, Long Island Chapter
  • Long Island Board of Rabbis
  • Commonpoint Queens
  • Merrick-Bellmore Jewish Community Council
  • Hadassah Nassau
  • Yashar, the Attorney and Judges’ Chapter of Hadassah
  • Women’s Diversity Network
  • Turkish Cultural Center of LI
  • Muslim American Community of Syosset
  • Zionist Organization of America
  • Jewish Lawyers Associations of Nassau
  • Kiwanis International and Long Island Kiwanis Clubs
  • Long Island Inclusive Communities Against Hate
  • Nostrand Gardens Civic Association
  • The Lakeview Estates Civic Association
  • New York Board of Rabbis
  • Shomrim Society of Nassau
  • Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island
  • Hewlett House
  • Nassau/Suffolk BBYO
  • Long Island Cares
  • Muslim American Community of Syosset
  • NY Metro Region of the Federtion of Jewish Men’s Clubs
  • the Long Island Latino Teachers Association
  • Long Island Torah Network
  • Raising Voices USA
  • 9/11 Calling of the Names Ceremony Organizers

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