Politicos, Officials, City Workers Join WorldPride NYC 2019 March

By Karen Rubin, News& Photo Features

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo was joined at the WorldPride 2019 parade by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chris Quinn, Randi Weingarten, Adriano Espaillat, Jim Gaughran, Jen Metzger, David Weprin, Amy Paulin. Chad Griffin, Alphonso David, Counsel to the Governor, State Senator Brad Hoylman, who’s been a champion, Kristen Browde, Dolores Nettles, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, as well as Cuomo’s three daughters Cara, Mariah, Michaela. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

What a difference 50 years makes – from the Stonewall Uprising when the forces of government were marshaled against the gay and lesbian community, to today, when government officials and even members of New York City’s Police Department, flocked to take part in WorldPride NYC 2019, the largest Pride event in history.

US State Senator Charles Schumer, with his familiar bullhorn, declared,, “I was the first US Senator to march, and I won’t be the last.”

US Senator Charles Schumer. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, revved up the crowd to chant “ERA, ERA” and Congressmembers Jerry Nadler and Nydia Velazquez joined the parade.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York State officials were there in force, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, who appropriately crowed about the gains a progressive legislature accomplished, NYS’s first black woman Attorney General Leticia James, Comptroller Thom DiNapoli, and a score of state senators and assemblymembers..

NYS AttorneyGeneral Letitia James. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Cuomo did not come empty-handed: he used the occasion to sign into law legislation banning the gay and trans panic legal defense (S3293/A2707), fulfilling his pledge to ensure nobody uses this abhorrent legal defense strategy in the State of New York. The Governor signed the measure, a key component of his 2019 Justice Agenda, on WorldPride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. The Governor also vowed to double down next legislative session on his campaign to legalize gestational surrogacy, which the Assembly failed to take up this year.

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The gay and trans panic defense is essentially a codification of homophobia and transphobia, and it is repugnant to our values of equality and inclusion,” Governor Cuomo said at a press conference on the street before joining the parade. “This defense strategy isn’t just offensive – it also sends a dangerous message that violence toward LGBTQ people is somehow OK. It’s not, and today we’re sending this noxious legal tool to the dustbin of history where it belongs.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, who is running for the Democratic Nomination for president, marched with the city’s First Lady Chirlane McCray.There were also the NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer with his family, Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams, members of the City Council including Speaker Corey Johnson,

There were contingents from just about every city agency, from Sanitation to Transportation, the Department of Social Services, to the Bar Association and teachers.

WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“In the month of June, we celebrated 50 years of Pride here in New York State and around the world,” stated New York’s Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul. “We marched in parades from Buffalo to Albany, and finished the month with World Pride in New York City this past weekend.

“We celebrated how far the LGBTQ+ community has come since the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, and reflected on the progress we still have to make.

“Throughout this legislative session over the last six months, we made history. GENDA is now the law of the land, ensuring permanent protections for transgender New Yorkers. Young people are now protected from the barbaric practice of conversion therapy. Finally, with the stroke of a pen, we ended the legalized hatred that was once allowed by the gay and trans ‘panic’ defense. 

“I am always proud to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and continue the fight for equality.”

LGBT Bar NY applauds the victory of New York State banning conversion therapy. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Here are more highlights:

US Senator Charles Schumer. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Congressman Jerry Nadler. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
State Senator Brad Hoylman. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
State Assembly Member DickGottfried. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and family. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

See more photos:

Record Numbers Turn Out for WorldPride NYC 2019, A Celebration of Pride & Joy

See also:

At WorldPride NYC Parade, NYS Governor Cuomo Signs Law Banning Gay, Trans Panic Legal Defense

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© 2019 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 editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Record Numbers Turn Out for WorldPride NYC 2019, A Celebration of Pride & Joy

WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News& Photo Features

They came together in celebration, not anger or fear. The common thread among the 150,000 who marched, coming from around the world and across the country, and the estimated 2.5 million who watched along the WorldPride NYC 2019 parade route: Free to be me.

The parade, which took eight hours to complete and was estimated to be the largest Pride event in history, was particularly poignant, honoring the 50th anniversary since the Stonewall Uprising, which are considered the trigger to the modern LGBTQ movement.

WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Jim Foray, among the Grand Marshals at the parade, was there that night. He was living just a block away and recalled the Stonewall as a “sleazy bar where we were grateful and exploited.” The bar, reputedly owned by the Mafia, was regularly raided by the police.

WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

What a difference 50 years has made, noted Julian Sanjivan, NYC Pride March Director. “They had no way of knowing what the next 50 years would bring, no way to know they were starting a global movement, changing hearts and minds everywhere.” And who could have expected an openly gay and married man, a mayor from South Bend, Indiana, Peter Buttigieg, running for President.

Fear and loathing has given way to pride and joy.

WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Five Grand Marshals lead both the 50th NYC Pride March: the cast of POSE, represented by Dominique Jackson (Elektra), Indya Moore (Angel), and MJ Rodriguez (Blanca); Phyll Opoku-Gyimah; Gay Liberation Front; The Trevor Project and Monica Helms.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah is the nucleus of the award-winning celebration and protest that is UK Black Pride. Widely known as Lady Phyll – partly due to her decision to reject an MBE in the New Year’s Honours’ list, to protest Britain’s role in formulating anti-LGBTQ+ penal codes across its empire – she is a senior official at the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) trade union as the Head of Equality and Learning. She’s a community builder and organizer; a Kaleidoscope Trust Trustee; an Albert Kennedy Trust patron; Diva Magazine columnist, and public speaker focusing on race, gender, sexuality and class.

WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Gay Liberation Front was the very first LGBTQ activist organization formed after the Stonewall Rebellion. The courageous members of GLF fought to give political shape and direction to a whole new generation of LGBTQ militancy that spread with unprecedented vigor and impact across the nation and the world.  

WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The organization works to save young lives by providing support through free and confidential programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat. They also run TrevorSpace, the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, and operate innovative education, research, and advocacy programs.

Monica Helms is a transgender activist, author, and veteran of the United States Navy, having served on two submarines. She is also the creator of the Transgender Pride Flag, in 1999, and subsequently donated the original flag to the Smithsonian Institution in 2014.

WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

It was indeed a demonstration of world pride – there were marchers from Copenhagen, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Portugal, Australia, Holland, and so many other places.

American cities and states were represented as well, from coast to coast and in between – from Palm Beach and Orlando to Palm Springs, San Francisco and Venice (California), Austin to Washington DC, Brooklyn, Boston, even Native American tribes.

Here are highlights from the WorldPride NYC 2019:

WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Austin Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Capital Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Boston Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Brooklyn Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Orlando Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Palm Springs Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Ft. Lauderdale Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Houston Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Tampa Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Twin Cities Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Italian LGBTI Association. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Bologna Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Germany. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
United Kingdom. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Portugal Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Amsterdam Pride. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Blackfeet Nation. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Celebrating 43 years. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Paying homage to Gilbert Baker, founder of the Rainbow flag WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Paying homage to Gilbert Baker, founder of the Rainbow flag WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
What a difference 50 years make. WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WorldPride NYC 2019 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

A clear sign of the changing times was the outpouring of elected and government officials who joined the march. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo used the occasion to sign into law legislation banning the gay and trans panic legal defense, a key component of his 2019 Justice Agenda,.

See also:

At WorldPride NYC Parade, NYS Governor Cuomo Signs Law Banning Gay, Trans Panic Legal Defense

See next: Officials Join WorldPride NYC Parade 2019

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© 2019 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go towww.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging atwww.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us onfacebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

At WorldPride NYC Parade, NYS Governor Cuomo Signs Law Banning Gay, Trans Panic Legal Defense

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo did not come empty-handed to the WorldPride NYC 2019 parade, perhaps the largest LGBTQIA+ Pride event in history: Cuomo used the occasion to sign into law legislation banning the gay and trans panic legal defense © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News& Photo Features

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo did not come empty-handed to the WorldPride NYC 2019 parade, perhaps the largest LGBTQIA+ Pride event in history: Cuomo used the occasion to sign into law legislation banning the gay and trans panic legal defense (S3293/A2707), fulfilling his pledge to ensure nobody uses this abhorrent legal defense strategy in the State of New York. The Governor signed the measure, a key component of his 2019 Justice Agenda, on WorldPride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. The Governor also vowed to double down next legislative session on his campaign to legalize gestational surrogacy, which the Assembly failed to take up this year.

“The gay and trans panic defense is essentially a codification of homophobia and transphobia, and it is repugnant to our values of equality and inclusion,” Governor Cuomo said at a press conference on the street before joining the parade. “This defense strategy isn’t just offensive – it also sends a dangerous message that violence toward LGBTQ people is somehow OK. It’s not, and today we’re sending this noxious legal tool to the dustbin of history where it belongs.”

At a press conference before joining the parade, Governor Cuomo said, “What a great, great day this is. New York is so proud. New York is so, so, so proud to host WorldPride. 

“New Yorkers are just New Yorkers. Look, all New Yorkers should be very proud because New York has always been the home of the LGBTQ equality movement, always. It all started here. It started at Stonewall, it started when we hosted the first Pride Day ever. And we’ve kept that legacy alive. This is the leading State in the United States of America for LGBTQ equality. And we don’t just say it, we do it. We prove it here in New York.

“What was the first state to address AIDS and announce the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic? New York. What was the first state to end discrimination against transgender people? New York. What was the first big state to pass marriage equality and send a message across the nation? New York. What was the first state to pass GENDA and end discrimination against transgender people? New York. What was the first state to ban conversion therapy? New York.

“And today, we’re going to sign a bill that ends the codification of homophobia. Because we have now as a law in this state, something called the gay and trans panic defense. That a person can argue – they were so emotionally disturbed when they found out a person was gay or trans that that is actually a justification or an excuse for murder. Not in this state. We are going to – not in this state. Not in this state. Not in this state. Not in this state. Not in this state. And we are going to end the gay and transpanic defense and we are going to do it right now. I will sign this now and end this law. It is now over.

“Congratulations, New York. Let’s lead once again.”

The gay and trans panic defenses allow those accused of violent crimes against LGBTQ people to receive a lesser sentence, and in some cases, avoid conviction, by placing the blame on a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The passage of this bill would close a loophole in state law that currently allows individuals to use the gay and trans panic defenses after attacking another person based upon a perception, or discovery of, that victim’s gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Senator Brad Hoylman said,”By banning the so-called gay and trans panic defense, New York is sending a message to prosecutors, defense attorneys, juries and judges that a victim’s LGBTQ identity shouldn’t be weaponized against them. I’m proud to be a member of a legislature that protects the rights of LGBTQ New Yorkers and thank Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Assemblymember O’Donnell for their leadership on this critical issue. As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, I am extremely grateful to Governor Cuomo for signing this critical piece of legislation into law and look forward to continuing to work with him to make New York a more inclusive, equitable home for the LGBTQ community.”

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo was joined at the WorldPride 2019 parade by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chris Quinn, Randi Weingarten, Adriano Espaillat, Jim Gaughran, Jen Metzger, David Weprin, Amy Paulin. Chad Griffin, Alphonso David, Counsel to the Governor, State Senator Brad Hoylman, who’s been a champion, Kristen Browde, Dolores Nettles, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, as well as Cuomo’s three daughters Cara, Mariah, Michaela. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Delores Nettles said, “In 2013, my daughter Islan was killed in Harlem for being who she was. Her attacker used the discriminatory ‘trans panic’ defense. I am so grateful that New York is banning this legislation so that no mother has to go through this again. We must keep fighting so that all trans people can live free from violence and discrimination. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for advocating tirelessly for this bill and for signing it into law today.”

“Banning the “gay and trans panic” defense in New York is an important and long overdue step toward treating the LGBTQ community equitably,” Ethan Rice, Senior Attorney, Fair Courts Project at Lambda Legal. “LGBTQ people in New York should never have to experience violence. When it happens, LGBTQ people certainly should not be faced with blame for this violence. These “defenses” have no place in our justice system. Lambda Legal commends the Governor for signing this bill today and for his ongoing advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community.”

NYC’s Pride Center celebrating at WorldPride NYC 2019. There was much to celebrate: Governor Cuomo had just signed legislation banning the gay and trans panic legal defense © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Glennda Testone, Executive Director of NYC’s LGBT Community Center said, “New York State government has taken another great step in the right direction, legally halting some enduring elements of homophobia and transphobia ingrained in our society. After establishing marriage equality, passing GENDA and ending conversion therapy in our state, Governor Cuomo showed that he is not done fighting for LGBTQ equality, and neither are we. We thank him for taking the gay and trans panic defense out of New York’s court system and for his commitment to equal rights for all people.”  

“Using an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender as a defense for violent behavior is abhorrent and will not stand in the State of New York,” Harlem Pride and The NYC Black and Latino LGBTQ Coalition said. “We applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership and dedication to protecting the LGBTQ community and closing the legal loophole keeping this archaic practice in place.”

Guillermo Chacon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS and founder of Hispanic Health Network said,”As we celebrate LGBT Pride and the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising we recognize that outlawing the gay and trans panic defense is long overdue in New York.  We appreciate that this legislation will be signed to ensure this can never happen again and that people impacted by homophobia and transphobia are no longer taking the blame for this antiquated loophole. We thank Governor Cuomo for advancing this important issue and I look forward to him signing this law to increase protections for the LGBTQ community.”

Rod Townsend, Community Leader said, “A person’s gender identity or sexual orientation is never a justifiable reason for violent attack, and Governor Cuomo closes the loophole in state law that allowed for it in cases of first degree murder today.  We look forward to seeing justice for individuals impacted by these crime and will fight to further limit the use of this appalling “blame the victim” strategy in cases of violence against LGBTQ people everywhere.”

Amanda Babine, Director of Policy & Programs at the New York Transgender Advocacy Group said,”Banning the ‘gay and trans panic’ defense was a huge win for the LGBTQI community, especially for our Transgender, Gender-Non-Conforming, & Non-Binary siblings. This year alone, ten Transgender women of color have been found dead, one right here in New York. The New York Transgender Advocacy Group stands with pride next to Governor Cuomo as he continues to be a champion for the LGBTQI community here in New York State.”

Brooke Malloy, Executive Director, Rockland County Pride Center said, “New Yorkers do not tolerate hate. We are a state of love and inclusion, and hold firm to our belief in equality for every person. The fact that there ever was a legal defense for crimes committed against the LGBTQ community, specifically based on their actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation is disgusting. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his leadership in ending this abhorrent law, and for always speaking up and protecting LGBTQ New Yorkers.”

Kelly Metzgar, Executive Director, Adirondack North Country Gender Alliance said,”New York State prides itself on being an inclusive, progressive state, where every person can feel safe and welcome. With his work to end the gay and trans panic defense, Governor Cuomo continues to ensure that everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, receives equal protection under New York State law. I wish to personally thank Governor Cuomo, on behalf of residents in the Adirondack North Country for his relentless work to defend the rights of all who call this beautiful state our home.”

Christopher Goodwin, Supervisor of The MOCHA Center Rochester said, “We at The MOCHA Center and Trillium Health applaud Governor Cuomo for taking swift, progressive action to protect and uphold the rights of LGBTQ New Yorkers. Thanks to his efforts, a dangerous loophole rooted in hate has been erased from our criminal justice system. The gay and trans panic defense should never have been allowed. LGBTQ New Yorkers are grateful that we can now feel safer knowing that we are one step closer to having our lives equally valued and represented under the law.”

Jeff Rindler, Executive Director, Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center said, “This revision to our legal system has been long overdue. The human rights of LGBTQ New Yorkers are non-negotiable, and now this hateful excuse will no longer be a permissible defense for homophobic and transphobic hate crimes, which are on the rise. For transgender women of color who experience higher rates of violence, this law is the next step in solidifying protections for our community. I applaud and thankGovernor Cuomo and all the advocates and legislators who worked tirelessly to pass this legislation.”

Kelsey Louie, CEO, GMHC said, “The beginning of the Stonewall rebellion was in New York City and it was in reaction to hate-fueled actions. Fifty years have passed since the beginning of our LGBT rights movement and New York has been a model for LGBT equality, setting a national standard that the rest of the country must follow. We thank Governor Cuomo for closing a loophole which permitted the murder of gay and trans New Yorkers due to their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. This ensures that justice will be served for LGBTQ New Yorkers who are the victims of homophobia and transphobia.”

Kristen Prata Browde, Board President, LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York and Co-Chair Board of Directors, National Trans Bar Association said,”This shows the kind of change that good government can and should bring. Banning the trans and gay panic defense is a huge step towards equality for LGBTQ New Yorkers. Governor Cuomo not only recognized the absurdity of giving someone a lesser sentence or even a pass after murdering someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, he fought hard for the ban. As the Governor signs the bill he is once again showing that New York truly is a beacon to the world and to every LGBTQ person.”

The Governor also released a new video for social media featuring Delores Nettles, the mother of Islan Nettles, a transgender woman who was brutally murdered in Harlem in 2013 and whose assailant used the gay and trans panic legal defense in court. Watch the video here.

Cuomo Takes Bow in Delivering on Justice Agenda, Calling Legislative Session ‘Most Productive in Modern Political History’

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo took a deserved bow in delivering on the Justice Agenda he laid out at his inauguration, calling this year’s Legislative Session “the most productive in modern political history.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo took a deserved bow in announcing historic progressive accomplishments during this year’s Legislative Session, delivering on his 2019 Justice Agenda first laid out in December, and calling it “the most productive in modern political history.”

“These sweeping reforms will ensure social and economic justice for all New Yorkers, address the devastating impact of climate change, support New York’s ongoing commitment to workers’ rights, modernize transportation systems across the state, and enhance the Empire State’s nation-leading commitment to gender equity and LGBTQ rights. All of this was done while enacting fiscally responsible policies including holding spending growth to 2 percent for the ninth consecutive year, enacting a permanent property tax cap and cutting taxes for the middle class,” the governor’s office stated.

“Six months ago we laid out our 2019 Justice Agenda – an aggressive blueprint to move New York forward – and today I’m proud to say we got it done,” Governor Cuomo said. “At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what you accomplish, and this was the most progressively productive legislative session in modern history. The product was extraordinary, and we maintained our two pillars – fiscal responsibility and economic growth paired with social progress on an unprecedented and nation-leading scale.”

Here’s a synopsis:

Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act: This legislation enacts the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, creating the most aggressive climate change program in the nation with goals to: reach zero carbon emissions in the electricity sector by 2040; install 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035; 6GW of solar by 2025; 3 GW of energy storage by 2030; and directs state entities to work toward a goal of investing 40 percent of clean energy and energy efficiency resources to benefit disadvantaged communities. Additionally, the law creates the Climate Action Council comprised of the leaders of various state agencies and authorities as well as legislative appointments to develop a plan outlining how the state will achieve an 85% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, and eventually net zero emissions in all sectors of the economy. 

Permanent Property Tax Cap: Made permanent the 2% property tax cap, building upon the approximate $25 billion in taxpayer savings since it was implemented in 2012.

MTA Money and Management: Funded the MTA with an estimated $25 billion raised through Central Business District tolling, a new progressive mansion tax, and the elimination of the internet tax advantage. Implemented overdue MTA reforms including the developing a reorganization plan, modifying MTA Board appointments to align with appointing authority, requiring the MTA to undergo an independent forensic audit and efficiency review, and calling for a major construction review unit made up of outside experts to review major projects.

Advancing LGBTQ Rights: Governor Cuomo is enacting transformative legislation in support of LGBTQ rights, including the elimination of the gay and trans panic defense—closing a loophole in state law that allowed individuals to use the gay and trans panic defenses after attacking another based upon that victim’s gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The Governor also enacted into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and a ban on LGBTQ conversion therapy.

Establish a Farmworkers Bill of Rights: This legislation established a farmworkers bill of rights, granting overtime pay, a rest day and the right to unionize.

Enact Additional Sexual Harassment Protections: This package of reforms will lower the high bar set for employees to hold employers accountable under the New York Human Rights Law for sexual harassment by amending the requirement that conduct be “severe or pervasive” to constitute actionable conduct; extend the statute of limitations for employment sexual harassment claims filed with the Division of Human Rights from one year to three years; and protect employees’ rights to pursue complaints by mandating that all non-disclosure agreements in employment contracts include language stating that employees may still participate in government investigations conducted by local, state, and federal anti-discrimination agencies

Expand Statutes of Limitations for Rape: Statutes of limitations on rape cases impose a ticking clock on how long victims are able to come forward if they want to seek charges. Over the last year, victims who have suffered in silence for decades have bravely spoken about their abuse, and also have laid bare the state’s limited ability to prosecute their abusers due to the passage of time. In recognition of this fact, states across the country are lengthening or eliminating the statutes of limitations on crimes of sexual violence. This legislation extends the statute of limitations for Rape in the Second Degree and Third Degree, and expand the civil statute of limitations for claims related to these offenses, allowing victims greater opportunity to obtain justice.

Closing the Gender Wage Gap: Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has fought aggressively to increase safeguards for women in the workplace and close the gender pay gap in New York. This package of reforms includes legislation to expand the definition of “equal pay for equal work” to prohibit unequal pay on the basis of a protected class for all substantially similar work and to close any loopholes employers try to use to pay people less on the basis of their gender, race or other protected classes; as well as a salary history ban, which prohibits employers from asking or relying on salary history of applicants and employees in making job offers or determining wages.

Reauthorize and Expand the MWBE Program: The Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program has been highly successful since its inception, establishing the highest goals for MWBE participation in the entire nation and awarding thousands of state contracts to minority-owned and women-owned businesses. This legislation reauthorizes the MWBE program and extends the provisions of law relating to the participation of MWBEs in state contracts to ensure this effective program continues.

Tenant Protections: This package of reforms, known as Housing Stability and Tenant Protection act of 2019, enacts the most sweeping, aggressive tenant protections in state history, safeguarding affordable housing for millions of New Yorkers.

Remove the Non-Medical Exemptions for Vaccines: The United States is currently experiencing the worst outbreak of measles in more than 25 years, with outbreaks in pockets of New York primarily driving the crisis. As a result of non-medical vaccination exemptions, many communities across New York have unacceptably low rates of vaccination, and those unvaccinated children can often attend school where they may spread the disease to other unvaccinated students. This new law will remove non-medical exemptions from school vaccination requirements for children and help protect the public amid this ongoing outbreak.

Ensuring Quality Education: School aid increased by over $1 billion, bringing total school aid to a record $27.9 billion. In addition, new reporting requirements will address imbalances in the distribution of resources by prioritizing funding at the individual school level in order to advance a more transparent, equitable education system.

Makes the Jose R. Peralta DREAM Act a Reality: Finally opens the doors of higher education to thousands of New Yorkers by giving undocumented New York students the same advantages given to their citizen peers, including access to the Tuition Assistance Program and state administered scholarships such as Excelsior.

Expands Eligibility for the Excelsior Scholarship Free Tuition Program: As the state’s successful free tuition program enters its third year, students whose families make up to $125,000 annually will now be eligible to apply for the program, allowing more than 55 percent of full-time, in-state SUNY and CUNY students—or more than 210,000 New York residents—to attend college tuition-free when combined with TAP assistance.

Criminal Justice Reform: Sweeping criminal justice reform was delivered by eliminating cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent offenses, ensuring the right to a speedy trial, and transforming the discovery process.

Continued Investment in Infrastructure: Builds upon the Governor’s unprecedented commitment to invest $150 billion in infrastructure projects over the next five years.

Delivering on the Gateway Tunnel Project: This legislation establishes the Gateway Development Commission and creates a comprehensive rail investment program for purposes of the project. This bi-state effort, in cooperation with New Jersey, represents significant progress on a crucial project for our nation’s economy and security while restoring our role as a global leader in infrastructure.

Protecting the Environment: The launch of the Green New Deal—the most aggressive environmental protection initiative in the nation, the ban of single-use plastic bags, launch of the food waste recycling program and investment of an additional $500 million in clean water infrastructure, increasing the State’s historic investment to $3 billion, all of which serves to protect New Yorkers while combatting some of the most pressing threats to the environment.

Keeping New Yorkers Healthy: By codifying provisions of the Affordable Care Act, New Yorkers can rest assured that their health needs will be covered, regardless of Washington’s actions.

Supporting Workers’ Rights: Extended Janus protections to all local governments and guaranteed the right to organize and collectively bargain.

Promoting the Democracy Agenda: To boost New York’s voter turnout and ensure that New York’s elections remain fair and transparent, the following initiatives were enacted this year: synchronized federal and state elections, pre-registration for minors, early voting, universal transfer of registration, and the advancement of no-excuse absentee voting, and same-day registration.

Common Sense Gun Reform: Building upon the SAFE Act—the strongest gun control legislation in the country—additional measures were enacted this year to ensure guns were kept out of the wrong hands, including the Red Flag Bill, ban on bump stocks, and extending the background check waiting period.

Signing the Child Victims Act: The signing of this long-awaited legislation provided necessary relief to child victims of sexual abuse by amending New York’s antiquated laws to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions, regardless of when the crime occurred.

Closing the LLC Loophole: Closed the LLC loophole by limiting political spending by an LLC to a total of $5,000 annually, which is the same limit as corporations. The new law also requires the disclosure of direct and indirect membership interests in the LLC making a contribution, and for the contribution to be attributed to that individual.

2019 Women’s Justice Agenda Accomplishments: With the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, Comprehensive Coverage Contraceptive Act, and the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, as well as the ban on revenge porn, and strengthened protections for breastfeeding in the workplace, Governor Cuomo continued his commitment to ensuring fairness and equality for women across New York State.

New capital funding investments this year include:

  • Full Funding for Extreme Winter Recovery: $65 million in State funding for the Extreme WINTER Recovery program. Provides enhanced assistance to local governments for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of local highways and roads impacted by New York State’s harsh winter weather. This unprecedented infrastructure investment in local roads and bridges is in addition to the $478 million in State funding provided through the CHIPS and Marchiselli programs, and $200 million for PAVE-NY and Bridge NY.
  • $120 Million Public Housing Investment: Building on the State’s unprecedented $550 million investment in the New York City Housing Authority, the Governor and Legislature are providing an additional $100 million in capital funding to help support its ongoing transformation while providing $20 million to support housing authorities and other housingoutside of New York City.
  • $100 Million for the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative: The Governor and Legislature are providing $100 million in capital funding to support the State’s up to $300 million commitment to communities impacted by Lake Ontario Flooding. Launched last month, the REDI Commission is working with localities along the shoreline to identify and support projects that will reduce the flooding risk to infrastructure while strengthening the region’s local economies.
  • $20 Million for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority: A $20 million capital appropriation is provided to support the first year of a five-year $100 million commitment from the Governor and Legislature to theNFTA to fund a five-year capital plan for maintenance and improvements of Metro Rail.
  • Penn Station 33rd Street Entrance: $425 million in capital funding will support the Penn Station 33rd Street Entrance project, and others associated with improvements to the Long Island Railroad. Just last month, the Governor unveiled final design renderings for the new main entrance to Penn Station located at 33rd street and 7th Avenue, which will provide much needed direct access to the LIRR Main Concourse and the New York City Subway.
  • $20 Million Investment in Public Libraries: A $20 million capital appropriation to public libraries will help libraries across New York State as they continue to transform into 21st century community hubs.
  • $30 Million for Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program: A $30 million capital appropriation will support the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program, which under the Governor’s leadership is enabling independent colleges across the state to make critical investments in their infrastructure and equipment by providing matching capital grants.
  • $25 million Security Investment to Protect Against Hate Crimes: A $25 million capital appropriation is included for security projects at nonpublic schools, community centers, residential camps, and day care facilities at risk of hate crimes because of their ideology, beliefs, or mission.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Releases Plan to End Private Prisons and Exploitation for Profit

Senator Elizabeth Warren, seeking to be the Democratic candidate for President, has released her plan to root out the profit incentives standing in the way of real reform of the criminal and immigration systems © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Prior to her appearance at the NALEO Presidential Candidate Forum, Elizabeth Warren released her plan to root out the profit incentives standing in the way of real reform of our criminal and immigration systems. Her plan would ban private prisons and detention facilities, stop contractors from charging service fees for essential services, and hold contractors accountable by expanding oversight, transparency and enforcement.

“Last month Caliburn International — a for-profit company whose subsidiary operates Homestead, the largest detention center for unaccompanied migrant children — hired John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff. Caliburn has profited directly off of the Trump administration’s inhumane immigration policies — while children at Homestead are reportedly kept in unsanitary, prison-like conditions, often for months. Now John Kelly is cashing in, too,” Warren stated.

“Rep. Pramila Jayapal and I have demanded answers. But this is just the latest example of private prison companies wringing billions out of federal taxpayers. I’ve been after these companies to come clean about their practices and human rights abuses. Every answer just raises more questions.

“We didn’t get here by chance. Washington works hand-in-hand with private prison companies, who spend millions on lobbyists, campaign contributions, and revolving-door hires — all to turn our criminal and immigration policies into ones that prioritize making them rich instead of keeping us safe. From 2000 to 2016, the private prison population grew five times as quickly as the overall prison population. And the profiteers multiplied, too: today, nearly 4,000corporations make money off mass incarceration.

“President Obama took steps to lower the incarceration rate and wind down private prisons, but these companies got their biggest break yet when Donald Trump landed in the White House. With Trump, private prison companies saw their chance to run the same playbook for our immigration system. They poured money into lobbying for “alternatives” to ICE detention centers. And boy, did it pay off. Private detention centers have made millions implementing Trump’s cruel immigration policies, as the number of detained children quintupled in just a single year. Today 73% of detained immigrants are held in private detention facilities.

“The companies running prisons and detention centers regularly sacrifice safety to boost their bottom line. Private facilities have higher rates of assaults than federal prisons. They violate federal rules by putting incarcerated people into solitary confinement to fit more bodies in the building. They impose forced laboron immigrants just to make a buck. Multiple detainees have committed suicide. And now, under Trump, babies are getting sick and dying from their detention centers.

“The government has also stood silently by while private contractors providing services in both public and private centers come up with extortive schemes to make millions off of the backs of incarcerated people. Prison phone companies charge as much as $25 for a 15-minute call, forcing families into debt just to stay connected to loved ones. Commissary contractors mark up prices, and companies coerce detainees to work for as little as a dollar a day just to afford basic necessities like toothpaste.

“While contractors getting paid taxpayer dollars cut corners to maximize margins, the government has turned a blind eye. Food companies make millions but serve bug-infested food to save cash. An investigation into a prison transport company that allowed at least five deaths and a sexual assault to occur under their watch has gone nowhere.

“And today, the exploitation doesn’t end when individuals emerge from prison or detention. Current law pushes money into the hands of for-profit supervision companies, many of which are run by the same private prison corporations. These companies get rich by making people just getting out of prison — often with huge debts — pay outrageous fees for monitoring and supervision services like ankle monitors. Some have gone so far as to threaten individuals with reincarceration.

“This is exploitation, plain and simple. Our criminal and immigration systems are tearing apart communities of color and devastating the poor, including children. Women — especially women of color — are particularly saddled with the financial burden. We need significant reform in both criminal justice and in immigration, to end mass incarceration and all of the unnecessary, cruel, and punitive forms of immigration detention that have taken root in the Trump Administration.

“The first step is to end this private profiteering off cruelty.

“The government has a basic responsibility to keep the people in its care safe — not to use their punishment as an opportunity for profit. That’s why today, I’m proposing my plan to root out once and for all the profit incentives perverting our criminal and immigration systems.

“Here’s what I’ll do:”

  • Ban private prisons and detention facilities. There should be no place in America for profiting off putting more people behind bars or in detention. That’s why I will shut down the use of federal private detention facilities by ending all contracts that the Bureau of Prisons, ICE, and the U.S. Marshals Service have with private detention providers. And I will extend these bans to states and localities by conditioning their receipt of federal public safety funding on their use of public facilities.
  • Stop contractors from charging service fees for essential services. Companies shouldn’t be able to treat incarcerated individuals as captive profit centers. We should prohibit contractors from charging incarcerated and detained people for basic services they need, like phone calls, bank transfers, and healthcare. I’ll also keep contractors from imposing exploitative price markups on other services they provide, like commissary or package services. And I’ll prohibit companies from charging for re-entry, supervision, and probation services, too — because no one should have to pay for their own incarceration, whether it’s inside a facility or outside of one.
  • Hold contractors accountable by expanding oversight, transparency and enforcement. It’s time to shine sunlight on the black box of private services that receive taxpayer dollars. I’ll close the ridiculous FOIA loophole that lets private prison subcontractors operate in the shadows. I will put in place an independent Prison Conditions Monitor within the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General. The Monitor will keep contractors from cutting corners to make a quick buck by setting enforceable quality standards, regularly auditing and investigating contractors, and terminating their contracts if they fall short. I’ll direct the Department of Justice to prosecute companies that blatantly violate the law. And I’ll make sure companies are held accountable no matter who’s in the White House by allowing people to bring a lawsuit against abusive contractors who violate their rights.

“Washington hands billions over to corporations profiting off of inhumane detention and incarceration policies while ignoring the families that are destroyed in the process. We need to call that out for what it is: corruption. Incarcerating and detaining millions for profit doesn’t keep us safe. It’s time to do better,” Warren stated.

Read more about Warren’s plan to end private prisons here.

Senator Amy Klobuchar Releases Plan for 100 Actions for Her First 100 Days as President

US Senator Amy Klobuchar, at the official launch of her 2020 Presidential Campaign, has released a list of 100 concrete actions she would take in her first 100 days as President of the United States © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

US Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for President, released a plan outlining the more than 100 concrete steps she would take in her first 100 days as President of the United States to take on the biggest challenges we face at home and abroad.

“The problems Americans are facing every single day require urgent action. That’s why Senator Klobuchar has a plan to get to work and deliver results on Day One,” the campaign stated.

Through executive action, Senator Klobuchar will begin to immediately deliver on her ambitious, optimistic agenda that will build a safer world, a stronger democracy, and a fairer economy while taking much-needed action on health care, climate change, and immigration. 

“After four years of Donald Trump, a new President can’t wait for a bunch of congressional hearings to act,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “The urgent problems our country is facing require immediate action. That’s why in my first 100 days as President I will enact an ambitious, optimistic agenda to improve our health care, combat climate change, pursue economic justice and shared prosperity, and build a stronger democracy and safer world. With these concrete steps, we will put our country back on a path of progress where people have an opportunity to get ahead.”

During the first 100 days of Senator Klobuchar’s presidency, she will:

Get the United States back in the International Climate Agreement on day one. On day one of Senator Klobuchar’s presidency she will get us back into the International Climate Change Agreement, working so that the United States maintains global leadership to address the climate crisis.

Immediately suspend the Trump Administration’s efforts to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Senator Klobuchar will immediately suspend all Trump Administration efforts — both in federal court and at the Department of Health and Human Services — that would allow insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Rebuild our relationship with our allies and restore America’s standing in the world. To rebuild the relationship with our allies that President Trump has undermined, Senator Klobuchar’s first international trips as President will be to Canada and Europe to begin restoring trust with our most important allies.

Immediately allow for the safe importation of prescription drugs from countries like Canada. Americans pay double what Canadians do for some prescription drugs, which is why Senator Klobuchar will use existing Food and Drug Administration authority to grant a waiver that allows people to import safe prescription drugs for personal use from countries like Canada to decrease drug costs for seniors and all Americans.

Fill judicial vacancies by nominating well-qualified judges on day one. Senator Klobuchar will waste no time in working with the Senate and the American Bar Association to nominate a full slate of well-qualified judges who will follow the law to fill judicial vacancies on federal courts on day one of her presidency.

Revive the aggressive protection of voting rights. Senator Klobuchar will restore the federal government’s longstanding position of challenging intentionally racially discriminatory voting laws. And while Congress works to restore the Voting Rights Act (VRA), Senator Klobuchar will direct the Department of Justice to use Section 3 of the VRA to “bail-in” jurisdictions to its preclearance requirements, allowing federal courts to place jurisdictions under the oversight requirement of the VRA.  

Prioritize cybersecurity and protect our elections and other American infrastructure from cyber attack. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make cybersecurity an immediate priority. She will issue an Executive Order launching government-wide cybersecurity initiatives, fast-tracking and streamlining procurement of modern information technology across agencies. She will also launch a cabinet-level taskforce on election cybersecurity to coordinate across agencies, including the intelligence community, on how the federal government can work with state and local governments to address cyber threats to our democracy and infrastructure. She will also introduce legislation that provides election security funding, requires backup paper ballots, and requires campaigns to report contacts from foreign nationals seeking to interfere in an election to federal authorities.

Update the standards for reviewing both horizontal and vertical mergers to ensure vigorous antitrust enforcement. To tackle unprecedented consolidation and monopoly power, Senator Klobuchar will direct the Department of Justice to update its guidelines to ensure vigorous and aggressive enforcement of our antitrust laws.

Undertake aggressive retrospective review of mergers. To tackle corporate consolidation in what she has called “the new gilded age,” Senator Klobuchar will direct her Attorney General to have DOJ’s Antitrust Division undertake aggressive retrospective reviews of mergers. She will introduce legislation to increase funding for antitrust enforcement efforts by adjusting merger filing fees and she will change the legal standards to promote competition and prevent consolidation.

Raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15. In line with her goal of increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, Senator Klobuchar will increase the minimum wage for federal contractors to that threshold.

Expand VA health benefits for women veterans and their babies. The Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2008 gave the VA the authority to provide care for newborn babies born to women veterans, but a narrow interpretation of the law is preventing access to care. Senator Klobuchar will direct the VA to expand covering the costs of medically-necessary emergency services for newborn babies of veterans.

Jump-start legislative negotiations for comprehensive immigration reform with the stated goal of passing it in the first year. Senator Klobuchar will jump-start negotiations for comprehensive immigration reform — which includes a pathway to citizenship, the DREAM Act and border security — with the stated goal of passing it in the first year of her presidency. Comprehensive immigration could reduce the deficit by $158 billion.

Protect DACA and TPS and Deferred Enforcement Departure designations. While she jump-starts negotiations for comprehensive immigration reform with the stated goal of passing it within the first year, Senator Klobuchar will undo attempts by the Trump Administration – many of which have been blocked by courts – to deport DREAMers and immigrants who are living, working and succeeding here under Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforcement Departure.

Shine a light on the corporate dark money spending. Senator Klobuchar will shine a light on the dark money by requiring publicly traded companies to disclose all political spending over $10,000 to their shareholders.

Bring transparency to dark money issue advocacy. Senator Klobuchar will direct the IRS to institute the requirement that tax-exempt organizations that engage in issue advocacy disclose to the IRS the names of individual donors who contribute more than $5,000 per year.

Propose landmark legislation that drives our changing economy forward and provides opportunity to all Americans. Our laws and our policies have not kept pace with our changing economy and the digital revolution. That’s why Senator Klobuchar will propose landmark legislation to take on monopoly power, empower our workers, and protect consumers’ privacy and health data privacy. She will also invest in quality child care, raise the minimum wage, provide paid family leave, support small business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as establish portable, worker-owned UP Accounts for retirement savings. She will also allow students to refinance their loans at lower interest rates, provide tuition-free community college and technical certifications, and expand Pell Grant eligibility and award amounts. To pay for these policies and reduce the debt, Senator Klobuchar will repeal the regressive portions of 2017 Republican tax reform, equalize tax rates for capital gains and ordinary income, put the Buffet rule in place, and close the carried interest and big oil loopholes.

Immediately close the “boyfriend loophole.” Senator Klobuchar leads legislation in the Senate to close the ‘boyfriend loophole’ by preventing people who have abused dating partners from buying or owning firearms, and she will take executive action to get it done immediately.

Introduce gun violence legislation. Senator Klobuchar will introduce gun violence legislation including putting universal background checks in place, closing the gun show loophole, and banning bump stocks, assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

Consider gun violence as a public health issue in CDC studies. Senator Klobuchar will direct the CDC to study gun violence as a public health issue and help identify approaches to reduce gun violence and save lives.

Propose a historic investment in public education. Senator Klobuchar will propose a historic investment in America’s education system that will fully fund education, increase teacher pay, and rebuild our crumbling school infrastructure.

End the misguided overuse of secret RFS small refinery waivers that have been granted to big oil companies at the expense of farmers. Senator Klobuchar will completely overhaul the EPA’s small refinery waivers and greatly increase transparency, ensuring that RFS waivers meant for small refiners do not go to big oil companies like Chevron and ExxonMobil and that these secret waivers do not line the pockets of big oil companies at the expense of farmers.

Protect federal employee labor rights. Senator Klobuchar will immediately rescind Executive Orders signed by President Trump that severely restrict federal workers’ rights, including the right to collectively bargain.

Prioritize mental health and addiction. Senator Klobuchar will take immediate action to combat substance use disorders and prioritize mental health, including launching new prevention and early intervention initiatives, expanding access to treatment, and giving Americans a path to sustainable recovery. This includes addressing workforce shortages for nurses, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals in many areas of the country and it means addressing the lack of hospital services and treatment beds.

End attacks on tribal sovereignty. Senator Klobuchar will respect tribal sovereignty including by stopping the Department of Justice from taking anti-sovereignty positions in litigation, directing the Department of Health and Human Services from deferring to states on Medicaid rules for tribal members, and increasing meaningful tribal consultation.

Make a plan to connect every household to the internet by 2022. Senator Klobuchar will work to close the rural-urban divide by connecting every household to the internet by 2022. This means directing federal support to close the last mile gap, overhauling broadband coverage mapping by establishing processes to verify carrier-reported data, and encouraging public-private partnerships in the areas of greatest need.

Restore the Clean Power Plan. To address the climate crisis, Senator Klobuchar will bring back the goals established by the Clean Power Plan, which set emissions standards for states with respect to reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

Bring back the fuel-economy standards. Senator Klobuchar will restore and strengthen our fuel economy standards, which are key to fighting climate change. The Trump Administration has weakened the fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks and has challenged the right of California and other states to follow more stringent standards.

Introduce sweeping legislation to address the climate crisis. Senator Klobuchar will introduce sweeping legislation to combat the climate crisis that builds on the framework of the Green New Deal, including a massive investment in green jobs and infrastructure, promoting rural energy development, supporting tougher building codes, buy clean, better greener transportation, appliance standards and climate resilience.

End “pay for delay” agreements that increase the cost of prescription drugs. Senator Klobuchar will take aggressive action to crack down on drug companies that are — in effect — paying the makers of generic drugs to delay cheaper versions of drugs from getting into the market.

Outline a plan to cut childhood poverty in half in ten years and end it within a generation. Senator Klobuchar will put forward a plan to cut childhood poverty in half in ten years, including expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Care Tax Credit, SNAP benefits and overhauling our country’s housing policy.

Restore and strengthen overtime rules. Too many American workers have been working overtime without getting paid for the extra hours. Senator Klobuchar will restore and strengthen the Obama Administration’s overtime rules to expand overtime pay to millions of workers, increasing the maximum salary for a worker to qualify for the overtime pay they’ve earned.

Propose legislation to get us to universal health care. Senator Klobuchar will propose legislation that gets us to universal health care, which includes creating a public health care option by expanding either Medicare or Medicaid, as well as improving the Affordable Care Act to help bring down costs to consumers through reinsurance, providing cost-sharing reductions, expanding premium subsidies, and continuing delivery system reform. Her legislation will also provide additional consumer protections and lower the costs of prescription drugs through aggressive reforms including lifting the ban that prohibits Medicare from negotiating the best possible price. These programs significantly reduce cost to consumers and help promote choice.

Develop best models of care to address disparities in maternal and infant mortality and address the shortage of maternity care health professional in underserved rural and urban areas. Senator Klobuchar will immediately implement a new law that tackles the shortage of maternity care health professionals —including nurses, midwives, and obstetricians — in underserved areas, and she will develop best models of care to address racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality.

Stop Trump sabotage of the ACA by ending workarounds that allow states to raise premiums for sicker people and shift ACA premium subsidies away from lower-income enrollees. Senator Klobuchar will eliminate the Trump Administration guidance that provides states more flexibility to increase insurance costs for sicker people and shift premium subsidies away from low-income enrollees.

Remove the citizenship question from the Census. Senator Klobuchar will direct the Department of Commerce to remove the Trump Administration’s citizenship question that was added to the 2020 Census from the short form during preparations for the 2030 Census.

Prevent outsourcing of jobs overseas by closing tax loopholes on corporations’ overseas earnings. The 2017 tax law instituted a new minimum tax on corporations’ overseas earnings but applied the tax on a global or “blended” rate, encouraging companies to move physical operations and jobs overseas. Senator Klobuchar will direct the IRS to mitigate the worst effects of this law and crack down on attempts to minimize tax liability through outsourcing.

Provide incentives for employers to adopt paid family leave and child care benefits. Senator Klobuchar will reward federal contractors by providing additional points during the contract bidding process if contractors offer paid family leave to their employees or child care benefits.

Restore freedom to travel to and trade with Cuba. Fifty years of an embargo have not achieved America’s policy objectives in Cuba. Senator Klobuchar believes that a better path forward would allow Americans the freedom to travel and conduct business there and that lifting the trade embargo will open a huge export market, create American jobs, and support both the Cuban and American economies. She will revive policies to expand the ability of Americans to travel to Cuba and facilitate U.S. exports to the island using credit to the maximum extent allowed by current law while respecting human rights and property claims against the Cuban government.

Create a clemency advisory board and position in the White House that advise the President from a criminal justice reform perspective. Senator Klobuchar will create a clemency advisory board as well as a position in the White House — outside of the Department of Justice — that advise the President from a criminal justice reform perspective. The clemency advisory board will investigate and review requests for clemency for federal offenses and ultimately prepare a recommendation for the President.

Aggressively combat illegal Chinese steel dumping. Senator Klobuchar will ensure the federal government is aggressively combating illegal Chinese steel dumping including through expanded personnel to enforce our trade laws and increased inspections of steel imports at ports of entry. She will also direct the U.S. Department of Labor to expedite approval of Trade Adjustment Assistance petitions for workers from the affected mining operations.

Restart the President’s Export Council. Senator Klobuchar will restart the President’s Export Council, which brings together business, labor, and agricultural leaders with Members of Congress and key Administration officials to help promote a comprehensive export and trade strategy.

Reverse dramatic proposed funding cuts to diplomacy and foreign assistance. Senator Klobuchar will reverse this Administration’s shortsighted approach to diplomacy and US foreign assistance. The FY2020 budget request would cut diplomacy and development funding by 23 percent, including a 30 percent cut to humanitarian assistance and a 22 percent cut to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

End the sale of junk insurance policies that eliminate existing protections for consumers. Senator Klobuchar will end efforts to provide short-term junk insurance that eliminates existing protections for consumers like protections for people with pre-existing conditions and Affordable Care Act requirements to cover essential health benefits.

Restore protections for journalists and protect the First Amendment. Senator Klobuchar will restore former Attorney General Eric Holder’s guidance on protections for journalists so that they are not jailed for doing their jobs.

End the family separation policy. Senator Klobuchar will issue an Executive Order putting an immediate end to the cruel and inhumane policy where the government is taking kids away from their parents and ensuring children are reunited with their parents without delay. She will also reverse this administration’s attempt to overrule the Flores Settlement Agreement, which prevents prolonged detention of children and prevents children from being detained in inhumane conditions by requiring basic levels of food, water and health care.

Restore staffing levels at the Department of Agriculture. Under the first two years of the Trump Administration, between December 2016 and March 2018, USDA had more staff departures than any other federal agency. This has severely impacted USDA’s ability to carry out its mission on behalf of rural communities and farmers. Senator Klobuchar will restore staffing levels to the appropriate levels.

Protect student borrowers. Senator Klobuchar will restore and strengthen rules that allow students who believe they were defrauded by their colleges to apply for loan forgiveness, providing relief to thousands of additional students.

Crack down on gun manufacturers and dealers that break the law. Senator Klobuchar will increase inspections and strengthen enforcement to crack down on gun manufacturers and sellers that violate the law.

Commit to strong financial regulation. Senator Klobuchar will rescind Executive Order 13772, which has allowed the Treasury Department and other financial regulators to weaken critical safeguards put in place after the financial crisis. She will commit to strong financial regulation that levels the playing field and promotes economic stability and growth.

Stop the use of noncompete agreements to stifle competition and hurt workers. Senator Klobuchar will instruct the FTC to initiate a rulemaking addressing anti-competitive noncompete agreements that prevent low-wage workers from pursuing new employment opportunities.

Strengthen minimum wage enforcement efforts. Senator Klobuchar will strengthen enforcement and expand investigations to make sure that are wage laws are properly enforced and that workers are able to recover back pay when the government rules in their favor.

Lift the ban preventing qualified transgender people from serving in the military and restore protections for the LGBTQ community. Senator Klobuchar will direct the Department of Defense to lift the ban on military service by transgender people. She will reverse the harmful anti-LGBTQ administrative actions taken by the Trump Administration when it comes to education, health care and civil rights, and she will work to pass the Equality Act in year one of her presidency.

Protect LGBTQ people from government-sanctioned discrimination. Senator Klobuchar will stop efforts to give federal protections to those discriminating against LGBTQ people. She will end all efforts by the Department of Justice that argue that transgender people do not have protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Prioritize LGBTQ antidiscrimination policies across the federal government to address homelessness, suicide and access to life-saving drugs. Senator Klobuchar will expand efforts to reduce LGBTQ homelessness, address LGBTQ suicide rates, and increase access to PrEP. She will create an office of LGBTQ Antidiscrimination within the White House Domestic Policy Council to coordinate these efforts across federal agencies.  

Propose a bold infrastructure plan to rebuild America and re-establish the Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure. The Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure was intended to provide the federal government with expertise from key sectors on infrastructure policy, but President Trump disbanded the council. Senator Klobuchar will reinstate the council to execute her first budget proposal: a bold, comprehensive infrastructure plan. This trillion-dollar investment includes repairing and replacing our roads, highways and bridges, building smart climate infrastructure, ensuring clean water, modernizing our airports, seaports and inland waterways, expanding reliable public transit options, rebuilding our schools, and overhauling our country’s housing policy. The plan will be paid for by changes to the tax code including adjustments to the corporate tax rate.

Restore asylum for the victims of gender-based violence. Senator Klobuchar will overturn former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s opinion in Matter of A-B and restore protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence seeking asylum in the United States.

End anticompetitive practices that increase the price of prescription drugs.  Many pharmaceutical companies have found loopholes in regulations that allow them to block or delay cost-saving competition like refusing to provide samples or share important information about how to distribute a drug safely.  As President, Senator Klobuchar will instruct HHS to issue regulations to stop anti-competitive practices and help reduce the cost of prescription drugs.

Reduce racial disparities in disciplining students. Senator Klobuchar will re-issue guidance directing schools to reduce racial disparities in how they discipline students, which prompted more than 50 of America’s largest school districts to institute discipline reform.

Bring cyber-security expertise into the Defense Department immediately. Senator Klobuchar will direct the Department of Defense to immediately provide adequate staffing for cyber security programs, as Congress has already provided the Pentagon with special authority to recruit civilian cybersecurity experts.

Strengthen prosecution of white-collar criminals. Senator Klobuchar will direct the Attorney General to issue a memorandum to federal prosecutors to strengthen prosecution efforts for individuals who are personally responsible for white-collar, corporate crime and tax fraud.

Expand Medicaid reimbursement for people receiving mental health or substance use treatment.  While she works to pass a permanent legislative solution, Senator Klobuchar will make it easier for states to qualify for waivers that allow for Medicaid reimbursements for people receiving mental health or substance use care in facilities with more than 16 beds.

Fully fund the IDEA and reinstate the guidance protecting the rights of students with disabilities. Senator Klobuchar’s budget will fully fund IDEA to support students with disabilities. In addition, Senator Klobuchar will reinstate documents protecting the rights of students with disabilities after Secretary DeVos rescinded 72 guidance documents outlining those rights.

Restore oversight to eliminate discriminatory lending practices. Senator Klobuchar will direct financial regulators to restore Community Reinvestment Act protections, develop policies to encourage financial institutions to make loans and investment in local communities, especially communities in need, and conduct greater outreach to assess the true credit needs of certain areas.

Provide Americans a strong taxpayer advocate. The IRS Taxpayer Advocate exists to help taxpayers navigate tax laws and serve as an ally when Americans need to engage with IRS representatives. But the Trump Administration refused to designate the Taxpayer Advocate Service an “essential service,” forcing it to close shop during the government shutdown and leaving taxpayers without a crucial ally. Senator Klobuchar will designate the IRS an essential service so taxpayers have continued access to this support and advocacy.

Encourage reinsurance programs. Rather than penalizing states who put reinsurance programs in place, which happened under the Trump Administration, Senator Klobuchar will encourage states to adopt reinsurance programs that stabilize the state’s insurance marketplace, lower premiums, and allow more people to access to affordable, quality health care.

Provide incentives for states and localities to adopt sentencing and prison reforms. Congress passed the First Step Act, which changed the overly harsh sentencing laws on nonviolent drug offenders and reformed our federal prisons. But the reform only applies to those held in the federal system. The new law doesn’t help the nearly 90% of people incarcerated in state and local facilities. Senator Klobuchar will create federal incentives so that states can restore some discretion from mandatory sentencing for nonviolent offenders and reform the unconscionable conditions in state prisons and local jails.

Restore staffing levels at the EPA. The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer staff members than President Reagan’s EPA had in his final year in office. Senator Klobuchar will restore appropriate staffing levels to allow the agency to effectively protect the environment.

Strengthen the Minority Business Development Agency. The Minority Business Development Agency provides technical and managerial expertise to help minority business overcome social and economic disadvantages. President Trump has proposed eliminating the agency, but as President, Senator Klobuchar will ensure it has the resources it needs.

End Illegal Robocalls. Senator Klobuchar will coordinate efforts to end illegal robocalls across the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, and Department of Justice and direct the Department of Justice to aggressively pursue robocall scammers while working with Congress to increase penalties for aggravated violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Ensure funding for Planned Parenthood, end the gag rule, and restore the Title X program.  Senator Klobuchar will reverse the Trump Administration’s decision to change the Title X program to ban health providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving funding under Title X. And she will fight for legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade and protects women’s reproductive rights.

Remove barriers to education for homeless and foster youth. Senator Klobuchar will direct her Secretary of Education to remove barriers to higher education for homeless and foster youth, including by ensuring grant programs identify, recruit and prepare homeless and foster students for college.

Restore staffing levels at the Office of Civil Rights and the Office of Federal Student Aid. The Trump Administration has dramatically cut staffing levels at the Department of Education. Senator Klobuchar will restore staffing levels at the Department of Education, including at the Office of Civil Rights and the Office of Federal Student Aid, which has created obstacles for processing more than 87,000 borrower defense claims as well as impeded investigations into Title IX violations.

Prevent misclassification of workers. Senator Klobuchar will rescind the Department of Labor guidance under the Trump Administration that makes it easier for businesses to misclassify workers, which can result in reduced benefits, lower wages, discrimination, diluted worker protections, and abdications of legal responsibilities.

Expand investments in veterans telehealth services. Senator Klobuchar will further expand investments in VA telehealth to ensure rural veterans have access to medical professionals, especially for mental health services.

Ensure funding to prevent and respond to violent hate crimes and address racial discrimination. Senator Klobuchar will fully staff and fund the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service, a non-investigative office of “peacemakers” founded by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provides communities facing racial and other conflict with confidential services to ease tensions.

Reinstate the National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee to immediately start addressing the climate crisis. The National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee was charged with translating the findings of the National Climate Assessment into concrete goals. Senator Klobuchar will reinstate this committee that President Trump let expire.

Improve free tax filing. Senator Klobuchar will direct the IRS to prevent tax preparation vendors from steering low-income taxpayers toward paid products, which has reduced the use of free filing products. She will also direct the IRS to devote greater resources to the enforcement of vendors’ obligations under the Free File program.

Reverse the Attorney General’s memo directing federal prosecutors to seek the most severe penalties in all cases. Senator Klobuchar would reverse former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s memo limiting federal prosecutors discretion and requiring them to seek the most severe penalties possible in all cases. She will also restore the Smart on Crime initiative, which had been hailed as a positive step forward in rehabilitating drug users by focusing on more serious drug cases and fewer indictments carrying mandatory minimums. Senator Klobuchar will start the evaluation process to reschedule marijuana, collecting the required scientific and medical evaluations and recommendations.

End attempts to reduce federal housing subsidies. Senator Klobuchar will reverse the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to federal housing subsidies that could triple rent for some households and be particularly harmful for seniors, families with children and people with disabilities.

Promote net neutrality. Senator Klobuchar will use federal contracting requirements to encourage broadband providers to honor net neutrality principles and promote a free and open internet.

Support agricultural research. The Trump Administration has repeatedly proposed budgets for USDA that cut billions for rural development, conservation, and research. These include the forced closure of agricultural research laboratories and stations. Senator Klobuchar will give these important programs the support they deserve.

Put rules in place to prevent pay discrimination. The Trump Administration has tried to block rules that require large companies to disclose what they pay employees by sex, race, and ethnicity in an effort to prevent pay discrimination. Senator Klobuchar will end the Trump Administration’s legal efforts to prevent the rule from taking effect.

Prevent the expansion of private school vouchers. Senator Klobuchar will stand firmly with our public schools and end discussions of Secretary Betsy DeVos’s $50 billion proposal to fund private school vouchers.

End the travel ban. Senator Klobuchar will put an end to the administration’s travel ban, recognizing that immigrants don’t diminish America, they are America. While security and vetting should stay in place, the Trump Administration’s ban was wrong.

Support the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership program helps small manufacturers innovate, upgrade their technology and improve production. Senator Klobuchar will support and expand this program, which the Trump Administration has tried to eliminate.

Hold for-profit colleges accountable if they put profits above students. The Trump Administration has repeatedly delayed rules requiring vocational programs at for-profit higher education institutions to show that they provide gainful employment for their students. Senator Klobuchar will hold for-profit colleges accountable if they put profits above students by ensuring that these protections are in place.

Establish a new senior fraud prevention office. Senator Klobuchar will establish a new senior fraud prevention office to educate consumers, expedite the handling of complaints, and coordinate prevention efforts across the federal government.

Collect data to address LGBTQ disparities. Senator Klobuchar will ensure all federal data collection efforts accurately reflect the needs of LGBTQ communities including reinstating LGBTQ data in the foster care system and Older American Act that the Trump Administration has tried to stop collecting.

Reopen and expand the Office for Access to Justice. Senator Klobuchar will reopen and expand the Office for Access to Justice, which makes access to legal aid more accessible to people and has the stated goal of making sure the justice system delivers outcomes that are fair and accessible to all, irrespective of wealth or status.

Raise the refugee admissions cap. Under President Trump, the State Department has dramatically lowered the annual cap on the number of refugees that can be resettled in the United States. Senator Klobuchar will direct the State Department to restore the cap to at least its pre-Trump Administration level.

Invest in the Veterans Health Administration. Expanding access to private care cannot come at the expense of fully funding and even expanding the current Veterans Health Administration (VHA) infrastructure. Senator Klobuchar will direct the VHA to use data on private care usage only as a means to help guide investments in its own growth, not as a way to further privatize its core functions.

Strengthen the National Science Foundation. Senator Klobuchar will fully support the National Science Foundation and ensure that research decisions are being made by researchers and scientists, not politicians.

Expand apprenticeships. Senator Klobuchar will direct her Secretary of Labor to analyze the use of apprenticeships for in-demand occupations and to launch a nationwide campaign to expand apprenticeship opportunities and their benefits.

Reinstate joint employer rules that protect workers’ rights. While the Trump Administration attempted to rewrite the “joint employment” standard, Senator Klobuchar will restore guidance recognizing the responsibilities of joint employers to their employees.

End the Trump Administration’s censoring of climate science. Senator Klobuchar will end Trump Administration efforts to censor climate science through actions like deleting climate-focused websites, removing the phrase “climate change” from reports, and preventing government scientists from attending conferences on climate change.

Set ambitious goals to reduce the carbon footprint of the federal government. The federal government has a significant carbon footprint. As President, Senator Klobuchar will set ambitious goals to increase the efficiency of federal buildings, data centers, and vehicles, reduce water consumption, and increase the use of renewable energy.

Reassess the granting of Medicaid waivers, including states that have privatized Medicaid. Senator Klobuchar will conduct a reassessment of the granting of Medicaid waivers for states that wish to privatize the program and impose discriminatory work requirements.

Restore disclosure rules that counter workers’ organizing efforts. Senator Klobuchar will restore a rule rescinded by President Trump mandating public disclosure when employers hire consultants to counter workers’ union organizing efforts.

Prevent federal funding from being used to arm teachers. The Trump Administration has indicated that it would consider providing federal funding to arm teachers. Senator Klobuchar will prevent any federal funding from being used for arming teachers.

Impose full sanctions on Russia for hostile act against the United States and its allies. In 2017, Congress passed legislation providing additional authorities for the President to impose sanctions on Russia in response to its election interference and other aggressive actions. The Trump Administration has resisted full implementation of these sanctions. Senator Klobuchar will use these authorities to the fullest extent possible to impose serious costs on the Putin regime and its enablers for hostile acts against the United States and our allies.

Improve train safety. The Trump Administration blocked a proposal to require two-person train crews for safety. Senator Klobuchar will direct the Department of Transportation to restart this rulemaking and she will also restore a number of rules to improve train safety.

Protect students from discrimination and violence. Senator Klobuchar will repeal Title IX regulations proposed under the Trump Administration and restore guidance reminding universities of their obligation to protect students from sexual violence.

Direct the Department of Defense and VA to track servicemembers and veterans exposed to toxic chemicals. Currently, servicemembers’ exposure to toxic chemicals such as mold, caustic fumes, open air burn pits, and airborne chemicals during military operations are not being properly documented and tracked by the Defense Department or VA. Senator Klobuchar would direct these agencies to record any environmental health hazard exposure in a servicemember’s records during deployment, and the record would then follow the servicemember through his or her career and into veteran status.

Expand loans for and investments in local communities in need. For the past 40 years, the Community Reinvestment Act has encouraged financial institutions to make loans and investment in local communities, especially low-income and minority communities. Senator Klobuchar will protect the CRA and instruct financial regulators to conduct greater outreach to assess the true credit needs of their communities.

Overhaul ethics rules for White House employees and other senior officials. Senator Klobuchar will make clear that the President and Vice President must follow our conflict of interest laws, do more to investigate foreign agents who lobby in the United States, give the Office of Government Ethics more enforcement power, and provide additional protections for all Special Counsels.

Support and strengthen the Economic Development Administration. The Economic Development Administration works directly with communities and regions to promote competitiveness and innovation. It has a proven track record of success and on average every $1 of EDA infrastructure funding generates $15 in private investment. Still, the Trump Administration repeatedly proposed eliminating the agency. Senator Klobuchar will ensure the agency has the resources to carry out its mission.

Restore reporting requirements of civilian casualties. Senator Klobuchar will issue an Executive Order restoring requirements for the release an annual report on the strikes undertaken by the U.S. military and Central Intelligence Agency outside of war zones and assessments of military and civilian deaths resulting from those strikes.

Work to re-enter the Iran nuclear agreement. The 2015 nuclear agreement imposed verifiable limits on Iran’s nuclear program that would prevent it from building a nuclear weapon. Senator Klobuchar will negotiate to bring the United States back into the nuclear agreement with the goal of avoiding war and a nuclear-armed Iran.

Connect more families to housing in higher opportunity neighborhoods. Senator Klobuchar would expand the pilot for mobility housing vouchers that allow families with children to use their vouchers in higher opportunity neighborhoods.

Prosecute unscrupulous payday lenders. Senator Klobuchar will direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Justice Department and other agencies to prosecute unscrupulous payday lenders that engage in predatory practices and charge customers exorbitant interest rates.

Undertake a comprehensive review and restore environmental protections repealed by the Trump Administration. The Trump Administration has revoked dozens of guidance documents and rules that protect people’s safety, health and the environment when it comes to our power plants, oil refineries, national parks and wildlife refuges, offshore drilling, pipelines, and oil and gas development. Senator Klobuchar will undertake a thorough review of all the repealed guidance and rules, and work to restore our environmental and safety protections.

Ensure fair labor practices and safe workplaces for federal contractors. Senator Klobuchar will restore policies ensuring fair pay and safe workplaces for federal contractors.

Protect health care workers’ right to organize. Senator Klobuchar will rescind an anti-union regulatory change enacted by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services that prevents union dues from being deducted from Medicaid-funded paychecks of home health care workers.

Direct the Department of Health and Human Services to consider VHA facilities when designating Health Professional Shortage Areas. Senator Klobuchar has long pressed for HHS to consider adding VHA facilities as Health Professional Shortage areas. Once designated, these facilities have access to health professional students with scholarships and loan forgiveness who pledge to practice in the program for at least two years. As President, Senator Klobuchar would direct HHS to revise its current regulations for defining Health Professional Shortage areas to include VHA facilities.

Stop the diversion of funds needed to modernize our military bases from being used for the border wall. President Trump is diverting funding meant for modernizing our military bases in order to build his border wall. Senator Klobuchar will rescind his national emergency declaration and return funding for its intended purpose.

Visit our troops stationed in combat zones. Visiting our military servicemembers serving in harm’s way is a long-standing Presidential tradition. Senator Klobuchar will visit U.S. troops in combat zones within her first 100 days in office.

Reopen international U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices. The Trump Administration is shutting down international USCIS offices – which deal primarily with international adoptions, family visa applications, petitions for citizenship for military members stationed in foreign countries, and citizenship applications, along with help on refugee processing and investigations of fraud. Senator Klobuchar will direct USCIS to reopen its international offices.

Reduce State Department vacancies. Senator Klobuchar will immediately direct her Secretary of State to accelerate hiring for key positions.

Prevent people with severe mental illness from acquiring guns. Senator Klobuchar will restore a rule requiring the Social Security Administration to submit records of people with severe mental illness to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Curtail arms transfers and other support for the war in Yemen. Saudi and UAE military operations in Yemen have killed thousands of civilians and contributed to a humanitarian crisis that has left millions displaced and starving. The conflict shows no signs of ending, but the Trump Administration continues to go to extraordinary lengths to provide weapons and other support to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, including circumventing the standard Congressional approval processes. Senator Klobuchar will order a stop to arms transfers and support to the Saudi and Emirati forces until a negotiated settlement to the conflict is achieved.

Reinstate visas for same-sex partners of foreign diplomats. Senator Klobuchar will reverse the Trump Administration policy change of no longer issue family visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats or employees of international organizations who work in the United States.

Renew efforts to prevent another financial crisis. The Office of Financial Research, an independent bureau within the Treasury Department, was created by the Dodd-Frank Act to collect information on financial system risks, perform long-term research, and develop risk measurement and monitoring tools to help prevent future financial crises. Senator Klobuchar will restore the mission and stature of the office.

Protect funding for the Northern Triangle. Senator Klobuchar will end all Administration discussions to cut off direct assistance funding for Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, recognizing that the cuts present a serious risk to our national security and undermine efforts to address the underlying conditions driving migration to the United States.

Crack down on money laundering and tax evasion. Senator Klobuchar will crack down on money laundering and tax evasion by empowering Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to aggressively implement new rules for identifying the “true” owner of financial accounts, especially large accounts used in financial transactions where the incidence of fraud and tax evasion is high. And she will call on Congress to enact legislation imposing greater disclosure requirements.

Protect retiree pensions. The Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA) allows underfunded multiemployer pension plans to request permission from the Treasury Department to reduce retiree benefits in order to improve their financial condition. Senator Klobuchar believes retirees are entitled to the benefits they’ve earned during their working lives and will recommend that Treasury heighten the scrutiny of any applications to reduce retiree benefits under MPRA.

Combat segregation in housing. Senator Klobuchar will suspend Housing and Urban Development Secretary Carson’s proposed changes to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which would weaken efforts to combat segregation in housing policy.

Invest in adult basic education. Senator Klobuchar will reverse President’s Trump proposal to cut basic education programs for adults, and launch an initiative focused on increasing opportunities for adults to master literacy and basic math skills.

Restore consumer protections. Senator Klobuchar will direct the Department of Commerce, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Department of Transportation and other consumer protection agencies to re-evaluate any Trump Administration actions that have weakened protections for consumers.

Maintain protest rights on public property in Washington, DC. Senator Klobuchar will end the Trump Administration attempts to limit protest rights in Washington, DC, like closing 80 percent of the White House sidewalk and putting new limits on spontaneous demonstrations.

Prevent abuses by IRS private debt collectors. Reports suggest that the IRS private debt collectors have abused and harassed low-income taxpayers whose tax debts are relatively small. Senator Klobuchar will overhaul the program and limit these abuses.

Invest in Alzheimer’s research. Senator Klobuchar will commit to preventing, treating and facilitating a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. She will also immediately expand initiatives that provide support for family caregivers.

End the Justice Department’s reliance on private prisons. As President, Senator Klobuchar will phase out the use of private prisons by directing the Department of Justice to decline to renew or reduce the scope of contracts when the contract reaches its end.

Restore national monuments. Senator Klobuchar will restore the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to protect their ecological and the tribal cultural significance and undertake a review of other boundary adjustment and management changes initiated by the Trump Administration.

Prioritize health care delivery system reform to reduce health care costs. Senator Klobuchar will immediately identify value-based delivery system reforms, including in Medicare and Medicaid, and she will create incentives for employers and insurers to expand new payment models.

Expand the open enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act so more people can get insurance coverage. Rather than shortening the open enrollment period on the exchanges from November 1st to December 15th, which happened under the Trump Administration, Senator Klobuchar will expand the open enrollment period for exchange enrollment so more people can access health insurance.

Investigate deceptive online travel practices that hurt consumers. Senator Klobuchar will direct the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Transportation to investigate deceptive and fraudulent practices by online travel booking websites.

“Senator Klobuchar is committed to governing from opportunity and taking administrative actions when it comes to our foreign policy and security, veterans, health care, education, income inequality, worker protections, economic justice, immigration reform, unions, civil rights, climate change, the environment, criminal justice reform and gun violence prevention. She will be updating these goals with your ideas,” the campaign stated.

NYS Accepting Applications for Luminate Accelerator to Spur Optics, Photonics, Imaging Enterprises, Key Initiative in ‘Finger Lakes Forward’ Revitalization

Former knitting mill being repurposed in Seneca Falls, gateway to the Finger Lakes. New York State is accepting new applications for Illuminate NY, one of  the world’s largest business accelerators for startup firms in the optics, photonics and imaging industries, with a $1 million the top prize. Illuminate is one of the initiatives to revitalize the Finger Lakes economy © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York State has just announced that Luminate NY – one of  the world’s largest business accelerators for startup firms in the optics, photonics and imaging industries is now accepting applications for Round III of the innovative competition. Selected teams will compete for one of 10 available slots in the third cohort of companies.

The Luminate NY accelerator, located in Rochester, assists promising optics, photonics and imaging companies with advancing their technologies and businesses through the assistance of a six-month mentoring program. Once selected, teams will compete for follow-on funding, including a $1 million top prize; $500,000 second prize; and two $250,000 prizes that will be awarded to two teams. The Luminate NY program is funded by the transformative Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

“Luminate NY is a globally recognized competition and resource for the most promising new companies in the cutting-edge fields of optics, photonics and imaging,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “This accelerator represents just one of the many strategic industry investments New York is making to foster new business growth and improve job opportunities as we continue working to propel the Finger Lakes economy forward.”

“Our business plan competitions have proven to be a catalyst for driving great ideas and job growth across the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.”Luminate NY is part of our strategy to encourage collaboration and provide support to the growing OPI industry in the Finger Lakes region. As we begin a new round, we remain committed to embracing Rochester’s spirit of innovation to deliver ambitious plans focused on the future.”

Luminate NY, which is administered by NextCorps, is looking for entrepreneurs from around the globe who are interested in solving OPI challenges, including but not limited to: machine vision, inspection, biophotonics, security, surveillance, augmented and virtual reality and autonomous vehicles. The winning teams must commit to remaining in the region for at least 18 months.

Applicants for Luminate NY must be incorporated, have at least two full-time employees and should have proven their core technology, preferably having developed a working prototype. Once admitted, companies will receive assistance, including capital, access to comprehensive lab facilities for technology development, education, and business mentoring. Applications will be accepted now through September 23, 2019.

The recruitment for new OPI-enabled technologies comes just one week before Luminate NY’s second cohort of companies competes for $2 million in follow-on funding. The free “Light Tomorrow with Today” Demo Day event will be held on June 27, 2019, at the CGI Big Tent at the Rochester International Jazz Festival. One company will be awarded $1 million, with the additional $1 million to be awarded to three companies based on judges’ ratings.

Luminate NY continues to build on the region’s historically strong OPI industry sector. Rochester is home to the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics’ Test, Assembly and Packaging facility at Eastman Business Park, the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, the Rochester Institute of Technology and to more than 100 local OPI companies and 17,000 employees who are building on the region’s legacy as a global imaging leader.

For more information about Luminate NY, click here.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. New York State has already invested more than $6.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan—investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion; and, the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

Joe Biden Releases His Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution & Environmental Justice

Vice President Joe Biden, in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for President, released his plan for a Clean Energy Revolution & Environmental Justice © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With Democrats clamoring for the Democratic National Committee to host a climate debate for candidates, several have issued their own climate action plans, including Vice President Joe Biden. The Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution & Environmental Justice details how a Biden Administration will tackle the moral and economic imperative of climate change on day one. 

“More severe storms and droughts, rising sea levels, warming temperatures, shrinking snow cover and ice sheets – it’s already happening. We must take drastic action now to address the climate disaster facing the nation and our world,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “Science tells us that how we act or fail to act in the next 12 years will determine the very livability of our planet. That’s why I’m calling for a Clean Energy Revolution to confront this crisis and do what America does best – solve big problems with big ideas.”

Here is an overview:  

The Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution & Environmental Justice 

Addressing the global threat of climate change and revitalizing America’s economy

From coastal towns to rural farms to urban centers, climate change poses an existential threat – not just to our environment, but to our health, our communities, our national security, and our economic well-being. It also damages our communities with storms that wreak havoc on our towns and cities and our homes and schools. It puts our national security at risk by leading to regional instability that will require U.S military-supported relief activities and could make areas more vulnerable to terrorist activities.

Vice President Biden knows there is no greater challenge facing our country and our world. Today, he is outlining a bold plan – a Clean Energy Revolution – to address this grave threat and lead the world in addressing the climate emergency.

Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face. It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.

If we can harness all of our energy and talents, and unmatchable American innovation, we can turn this threat into an opportunity to revitalize the U.S. energy sector and boost growth economy-wide. We can create new industries that reinvigorate our manufacturing and create high-quality, middle-class jobs in cities and towns across the United States. We can lead America to become the world’s clean energy superpower. We can export our clean-energy technology across the globe and create high-quality, middle-class jobs here at home. Getting to a 100% clean energy economy is not only an obligation, it’s an opportunity. We should fully adopt a clean energy future, not just for all of us today, but for our children and grandchildren, so their tomorrow is healthier, safer, and more just.

As president, Biden will make the United States a world leader to address the climate emergency through the power of example, by ensuring the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050.

The Biden Plan will: 

  1. Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050. On day one, Biden will sign a series of new executive orders with unprecedented reach that go well beyond the Obama-Biden Administration platform and put us on the right track. And, he will demand that Congress enacts legislation in the first year of his presidency that: 1) establishes an enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets no later than the end of his first term in 2025, 2) makes a historic investment in clean energy and climate research and innovation, 3) incentivizes the rapid deployment of clean energy innovations across the economy, especially in communities most impacted by climate change.
  2. Build a stronger, more resilient nation. On day one, Biden will make smart infrastructure investments to rebuild the nation and to ensure that our buildings, water, transportation, and energy infrastructure can withstand the impacts of climate change.  Every dollar spent toward rebuilding our roads, bridges, buildings, the electric grid, and our water infrastructure will be used to prevent, reduce, and withstand a changing climate. As President, Biden will use the convening power of government to boost climate resilience efforts by developing regional climate resilience plans, in partnership with local universities and national labs, for local access to the most relevant science, data, information, tools, and training.  
  3. Rally the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change. Climate change is a global challenge that requires decisive action from every country around the world. Joe Biden knows how to stand with America’s allies, stand up to adversaries, and level with any world leader about what must be done. He will not only recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change – he will go much further than that. He will lead an effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets. He will make sure those commitments are transparent and enforceable, and stop countries from cheating by using America’s economic leverage and power of example. He will fully integrate climate change into our foreign policy and national security strategies, as well as our approach to trade.
  4. Stand up to the abuse of power by polluters who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities. Vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted by the climate emergency and pollution. The Biden Administration will take action against fossil fuel companies and other polluters who put profit over people and knowingly harm our environment and poison our communities’ air, land, and water, or conceal information regarding potential environmental and health risks. The Biden plan will ensure that communities across the country from Flint, Michigan to Harlan, Kentucky to the New Hampshire Seacoast have access to clean, safe drinking water. And he’ll make sure the development of solutions is an inclusive, community-driven process.
  5. Fulfill our obligation to workers and communities who powered our industrial revolution and subsequent decades of economic growth. This is support they’ve earned for fueling our country’s industrial revolution and decades of economic growth. We’re not going to leave any workers or communities behind.

The Biden plan will make a historic investment in our clean energy future and environmental justice, paid for by rolling back the Trump tax incentives that enrich corporations at the expense of American jobs and the environment. Biden’s climate and environmental justice proposal will make a federal investment of $1.7 trillion over the next ten years, leveraging additional private sector and state and local investments to total to more than $5 trillion. President Trump’s tax cut led to trillions in stock buybacks and created new incentives to shift profits abroad. Joe Biden believes we should instead invest in a Clean Energy Revolution that creates jobs here at home.     

The Biden plan will be paid for by reversing the excesses of the Trump tax cuts for corporations, reducing incentives for tax havens, evasion, and outsourcing, ensuring corporations pay their fair share, closing other loopholes in our tax code that reward work not wealth, and ending subsidies for fossil fuels.

This all builds on Vice President Biden’s years of leadership on climate change – from introducing one of the first climate bills in the Senate to overseeing the largest clean energy investment in our country’s history, the Recovery Act and to mobilizing the world to achieve the Paris Climate Accord.

Vice President Biden has committed that Biden for President will not accept contributions from the oil, gas and coal corporations or executives. 

For more on Vice President Biden’s plan, watch THIS video, view the policy HERE.

Worse than Watergate: Former Prosecutor Discusses Nixon-Trump Parallels & Case for Impeachment

Nick Akerman, former Watergate prosecutor, discusses parallels between Nixon and Trump and the case for impeachment for obstruction of justice at Temple Emanuel of Great Neck, Long Island  © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News& Photo Features

With House Judiciary Committee hearings beginning on the Mueller Report and the possibility the findings might trigger hearings to impeach Donald Trump, it is helpful to hear from Nick Akerman, who served as Assistant Special Watergate Prosecutor with the Watergate Special Prosecution Force under Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski which ultimately led to the resignation of Richard Nixon. He is an expert on criminal and civil application of the Racketeer and Corrupt Organizations Statue (RICO), the Economic Espionage Act, the federal Securities Laws, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and State Trade Secret and Restrictive Covenant Laws. He also is an expert on computer crime and the prosecution of competitively sensitive information and computer data. Akerman, who appears regularly on MSNBC on subjects including the FBI’s ongoing investigation into alleged Russian tampering with US elections, recently opined on the comparisons between Watergate and Trump’s culpability during a talk on “The Critical Issues Confronting Our Nation”  at Temple Emanuel of Great Neck. Here are highlights and some notes:

There is the obvious comparisons but differences:  in Watergate, a bunch of American guys flew up from Miami, burglarized Democratic National Committee, took documents. A low tech operation and they got caught in a low tech way –they put tape over door and cop caught them. What was insidious about what happened [in 2016 campaign] is that it was a high tech operation against DNC, this wasn’t done by individuals in the United States but by Russians, sitting at computers in Moscow, hacking into DNC as referenced by fact 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted by Mueller’s team.

In Watergate, we never knew what the burglars were trying to get; by the time they were caught, they didn’t get much.

Here, Russian operatives were hacking into DNC on multiple occasions, taking documents which they used and released during the course of 2016 presidential campaign that clearly had impact on what happened in campaign.

Back in Nixon era, had a conspiracy between Nixon and a foreign power in 1968 – which we didn’t learn about until 40 yrs later [so it never was part of the impeachment]- there was suspicion that Nixon had scuttled the Vietnam peace process during the 1968 campaign because he was concerned Johnson would settle and his lead over Humphrey would disintegrate –We learned later from notes of H.R. Handelman, that Nixon orchestrated it– that Anna Chenault interceded with the South Vietnamese government to keep them from coming to peace table. [As a result], Nixon make the war go on for four more years and some 26,000 Americans were killed (after 1968; 58,000 Americans altogether. Johnson knew of Nixon’s interference, confronted Senator Dirkson and said Nixon’s action constituted treason, but Johnson couldn’t release the information publicly, because would have revealed the US was bugging the South Vietnamese government]. Johnson was concerned that if he released that information that Nixon had interfered during campaign, it would appear that he was trying to throw the campaign to Humphrey.

In that, it sounds familiar: Obama was also concerned that it would appear he was exposing Russian interference to aid Trump in order to tilt the election to Hillary Clinton. [But it was also because when he presented the information to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, he refused to support it and Obama did not want to appear partisan.]

What Mueller said destroyed Trump’s claim of total exoneration based on Attorney General William Barr’s so-called summary of Mueller report. Mueller said, “If we had confidence the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

What kind of statement is that to make about the president of the United States? This is not a ringing endorsement of innocence by any means.

Mueller basically said he was tied to regulations issued by Department of Justice that don’t permit DoJ to indict a sitting president.

In Watergate, we didn’t have that problem [the rules governing Mueller as special counsel were very much constricted after the renegade Starr, and more constricted that the Nixon special counsel]. Archibald Cox was really independent, not part of DoJ, but careful to follow DoJ guidelines and regulations. When he was fired and Leon Jaworski came in, the staff believed Nixon should have been indicted but Jaworski overruled – in retrospect he was right – Congress was involved, the American public was being informed. His view: impeachment process was going on and he should provide evidence to the House Judiciary committee. So he could do the job. That’s not what we have today.

Mueller in his statement said it was also important to investigate a sitting president, to preserve evidence when memories are fresh and documents available. [Documents have already been destroyed, or kept out of the hands of investigators.)

What does that mean in prosecutor speak? Why is it important to investigate while the trail is hot? It might be that the people who conspired with the president could be prosecuted. More importantly, what he’s saying is that if the president committed crimes, the evidence should be put together, and if leaves office within statute of limitations (for obstruction of justice it is 5 years), so if leaves after one term, he is subject to being indicted.

[Some want to pass a law suspending the statute of limitations while a sitting president can’t be indicted, if that is the DoJ policy; note: that is only policy, not part of the Constitution or any law that prevents a sitting president from being indicted.]

[But because under the current policy, a sitting president can’t be indicted, that leaves the only remedy to Congress to impeach, especially since Trump has blocked evidence and witnesses.]

Mueller report lays out a complete trial for obstruction of justice- 8 instances of obstruction – any one of which anybody but a sitting president could be, should be, and has been convicted of.

There is a statement by over 1000 former DoJ employees and prosecutors (including me) who said precisely that: if this evidence were out there on anyone else, that person would have been indicted and convicted of obstruction.

For example, Trump requested [former FBI Director James] Comey drop the FBI investigation into [National Security Adviser] Michael Flynn – that purpose was to impede and stop the investigation.

Trump tried to stop Russian investigation by firing Comey – he admitted that to Lester Holt on tv and to the Russians [in the Oval office].

He tried to stop the investigation by firing [Special Counsel] Bob Mueller and asked [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of investigation into Russian meddling in the election to only focus on future elections, and not 2016.

He attempted to influence and probably did influence his former campaign manager Paul Manafort to refuse to cooperate with Mueller, and that was extremely significant [because Manafort had such critical insight into what happened during the campaign, while Mueller was unable to get the Russians who were out of reach; recall Trump also jumped at the suggestion of handing over the former Ambassador McFaul in exchange for Putin extraditing the Russians, and allowing Putin to interrogate Americans Putin suspected of interfering in his election, like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.]

Trump publicly attacked his former fixer Michael Cohen and Cohen’s family, to intimidate him to not cooperate with Mueller investigation.

Why? Because there are practical problems with respect to charge anyone in the Trump campaign: the US doesn’t have subpoena authority in Moscow and other countries, so it is  not an easy investigation. Whereas with Watergate, almost everything happened in the US, we could subpoena records, witnesses, and didn’t have to worry about foreign agents in foreign countries not subject to subpoenas.

But one huge problem: our federal criminal law does not address this new digital age. We had no problem in 1973 finding crimes – burglary was simple. Our laws have not kept up with new technology.

Page 167 of the Mueller report, right in the middle of the redacted portion relating to dissemination of stolen docs and emails from the DNC, right before the Democratic National Convention, is a whole series of emails disseminated by Wikileaks at the direction of the Kremlin to sow dissention of Sanders versus the Clinton supporters.

Within 30 minutes of the release of the Access Hollywood tape [in which Trump gloated over his ability to grab women by the pussy, because being a celebrity he could get away with it], Wikileaks, with the Russians, was releasing the Podesta emails to distract attention away. [It also came out simultaneously to Obama Administration releasing information of Russian waging a disinformation campaign on social media.]

This was pretty slick, sophisticated operation. But if you look at the Mueller report, it ruled out charges on the  theory that trafficking in receipt  of stolen property under National Stolen Property Act only covers tangible property, not intangible. Mueller couldn’t charge beyond reasonable doubt the crime of trafficking in stolen property, because it was data.

As for collusion, which is cooperation  members of Trump campaign were cooperating in accepting this help. That is an important distinction, because of the difficulty in investigating crimes outside US – DoJ has no subpoena power in Russia, no ability to extradite Russians indicted for hacking into DNC or other Russians involved in use of social media to suppress Clinton vote – other major allegations –

[That makes no sense, since the government frequently prosecutes theft of intellectual property, which this was, and because it is illegal for a campaign to accept anything of value from a foreign country, which opposition research and social media campaign surely had value. They have the evidence that they could present at trial – even in absentia, if the Russians don’t want to defend themselves, that is their choice. But the evidence would show that Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort learned at the Trump Tower meeting that Putin wanted to help Trump win the election; that Manafort met on several occasions and delivered polling data that would help the Russians target enough communities in the swing states to suppress the Clinton vote and give Trump the 77,000 votes, across three states, that clinched the Electoral College. Kushner met with head of sanctioned bank and likely promised overturning sanctions; Michael Cohen and Felix Slater were negotiating the Trump Tower Moscow deal; Roger Stone was the intermediary with Wikileaks, and Wikileaks was working with the Russian hacker, Gucipher 2.0, and Michael Flynn met with Russians to guarantee that Trump would overturn sanctions.

[Here’s the thing: Trump, himself, probably only wanted to cement relationship with Putin for when he lost the election, but Putin saw the advantage in having a puppet in the White House who would overturn sanctions on Russian banks and businesses and individuals, promote oil and fossil fuels (the foundation of Russia’s economy) while dismantling the shift to clean, renewable energy; weaken US support of NATO, Paris Climate Agreement, and Iran Nuclear Agreement,  break US as a global power while Russia and China become dominant political and economic powerhouses around the world including the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Trump may not have cared to win the presidency, but Manafort, Flynn, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Robert Mercer certainly did and were serving as agents of Russia. Meanwhile, other Trump-connected figures, like Broidy and George Nador, were working on behalf of Saudi Arabia and UAE and not only did Trump support their embargo of Qatar, where the US has its largest military base in the Middle East, but now is allowing Saudi Arabia to have the technology for high-tech bomb components.

[The fact that Putin and others knew about the private dealings, and who knows what from before, like money laundering for Russian oligarchs with Trump Organization properties and tax evasion, that made him and many of his aides like Michael Flynn all vulnerable to kompromat and doing Russia’s will.]

There are two buckets [of criminal activity]: the break in at DNC, hacking emails, stealing documents, while a group another group of Russian intel officers in St. Petersburg, was involved in social media disinformation campaign to microtarget Clinton voters and suppress their vote by passing fake news about Clinton – 13 Russian intel operatives were indicted February 2018 on this use of social media. [But what is not readily realized is how closely the Russian campaign dovetailed with the Trump Campaign’s social media disinformation campaign operated by Brad Parscale, now Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, who boasted about a disinformation campaign designed to suppress votes by women, blacks and liberals; Parscale was connected to Cambridge Analytica, a Steve Bannon/Robert Mercer entity, that linked up with Russia, and in England, was connected to the Brexit disinformation campaign. Facebook and Twitter had their own professionals embedded in Parscale’s office, while both social media giants were also disseminating the Russian bots.]

What we learn in Mueller report: Manafort provided  [Russian agent Konstantin] Kilimnik with polling data multiple times, not just in cigar bar – but multiple times, on one occasion, in context of talking about battleground states, PA, MI, WI. If you take those three states with 66,000 votes among them, that’s how Trump won [the Electoral College]. So we have evidence, from [Rick] Gates (Manafort’s right hand man who revealed to Mueller), we have kalynick, Russian agent, getting polling data, talking about 3 states in particular, and Russians micro-targeting voters to suppress vote, but Mueller had to prove somebody in the Trump campaign engaged in conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt.

[See: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/08/manafort-russian-poll-share-konstantin-kilimnik-trump-investigation-2016-election-latest].

[Here’s the thing about surveillance and Trump’s charge of spying: they were monitoring the Russians and these encounters with Trump-connected Americans came up. Trump never said anything uncovered was untrue; to the contrary, his insistence that he must have been spied upon is proof that what they uncovered was accurate. The point of counter-intelligence is to determine if foreign agents have infiltrated or turned Americans into agents or moles, witting or unwitting “useful idiots.”]

The three states that elected Trump, on multiple occasions were talking about using data to send false news to potential Clinton voters, but what you can’t do is execute search warrant on St. Petersburg, pick up Russians for questioning.  Mueller knew the key to investigation was Paul Manafort  [so needed Manafort to turn and give evidence. That’s where Trump’s obstruction comes in, dangling the possibility of a pardon if he would just shut up].   

In the end Mueller had a failure of proof because Manafort lied to him. When Manafort appeared before judge in DC, Amy… she found he lied about polling data [so why didn’t Manafort get more time, or have cooperation deal torn up?]. He was covering up the campaign; he was given 7 ½ years [a tiny amount of time for a guy who committed some $50 million in tax and financial fraud and basically was paying off his debts by selling out the country, essentially handing over secrets to a foreign power]. He was also indicted by New York State. The issue is whether at some point will he realize he doesn’t want to spend full 7 ½ years and cooperate – if he does, the Mueller team is no longer in place, so we are left with AG Barr who is basically a political hack for Trump and has done everything to paint rosy picture of Trump’s involvement, lied about what was in Mueller report, setting up situation for a month before the report was released, giving the impression Trump was exonerated by the report, when he wasn’t.

So it is an open question: what happens if Manafort decides to cooperate, if Roger Stone, right in the middle of dissemination of stolen documents, interacted with Gucifer 2.0, what happens if these people suddenly decide to cooperate? [More likely Barr’s DoJ will stop any investigation or prosecution altogether so the truth never comes out, the evidence is destroyed and Trump skates free.]

Impeachment, the “I” Word

That leaves us with the House of Representatives and the impeachment process.

Impeachment is a whole different animal – a political process not a legal process [I always hear that it is ‘political’ but what does that mean? Shouldn’t it be about Rule of Law, not about which party is in power?] The House doesn’t have to show evidence beyond reasonable doubt to start an impeachment case – doesn’t have to deal with same standard, but the House acts as grand jury, in doing so, brings charges, which then go to Senate, and it takes 2/3 of the Senate [67 votes] to remove somebody from office, based on impeachment from House. The obvious problem now is that 2/3 of Senate is not in any way, shape or form, going to remove Trump from office and the public is just not there at this point [which is why Trump and new fixer Rudy Giuliani have been undermining Mueller and the FBI, in the “court of public opinion”]. I totally believe Pelosi is correct, the public just doesn’t understand what Trump did.

[But it is chicken and egg- Trump has obstructed access to the evidence which would change public opinion and force the Senate to vote to impeach or else look like they support a criminal in the white House. In Watergate, the House finally was able to force Nixon to give over the tapes that damned him.]

Barr purposely muddled waters when he issued  the ‘summary’ of the Mueller report – Mueller report over 400 pages, it is long and takes some background in knowing what happened beforehand.

The other significant document is the New York Times – the long [investigative] report they have done on Trump’s taxes. It is no coincidence Trump doesn’t want to turn over taxes – they go through that long history of tax avoidance, and what the Trump family did [and the fact he lost more money than any other American] – but if boils down to a long history of tax evasion – evading gift taxes, estate taxes, income taxes. Most of what was reported in the Times is passed statute of limitations, 6 years – but other matters.

[But here’s where impeachment would come in –not for a crime that is avoided because of statue of limitations, but shows unfit for office, unfit to be the one issuing tax policy, financial protections for consumers that he wants to overturn, shows he is vulnerable to blackmail from others who knows he committed tax fraud, bank fraud, lying to mortgage companies and insurance companies, as well as lying to the government, and the likelihood of money laundering, as well. These practices make him vulnerable to blackmail and collusion by anyone who knows, and the Russians could certainly have found those documents, like any other secret document. It’s like when an old drunk-driving offense is dug up during the campaign. But there are criminal financial practices that Trump apparently engaged in within the 6 years, and even during his time in office.]

In 2016 [during the campaign], we know that Trump sold two properties at 100 Central Park South, to son Eric for $330,000, even though the Trump Organization valued at $800,000 and $700,000, essentially passing assets not at true value,  just like Fred Trump did to Donald to evade gift taxes.

Trump knows that the real vulnerability to him are the tax returns. Also, he doesn’t want the facts of Mueller report to be brought to life.

Keeping the Public in the Dark

One thing in Watergate: Cox was appointed in May 1973 and by June 1973, the Senate select committee was in full gear, there were TV hearings where people understood what happened, we had testimony that the burglary was connected to the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP), John Dean [White House counsel] laid out the elaborate obstruction of justice plot, the hush money to Watergate burglars – so as of summer of 1973, the public was pretty well educated.

[But Watergate was essentially one crime at the center, the burglary, when Trump campaign involved many different illegal, unethical activities, including the tacit agreement with the Russians that would overturn sanctions, which motivated the Russians to commit crimes on Trump’s behalf, which Trump encouraged, egging on the release of Wikileaks, for example. In some ways, Trump committed his offenses in the open, including saying on TV he fired James Comey because of the Russia investigation giving the impression, ‘how could it be illegal if he does it openly.’ But many more are surreptitious and convoluted. But Trump is already named as Individual Number 1 in campaign finance violations, which had it been any other president, would have been sufficient on its own to initiate impeachment.]

We haven’t had that. Prior to the new [Democratic-controlled] House, it was controlled by Republicans who kept everything out of the public [except when Nunes forced the release of FISA materials, intending to signal to intelligence officers to back off], the Senate didn’t do anything in public. What has to happen now has to be to bring the Mueller report to life: get McGahn [and Hope Hicks, Don Jr., Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Jared Kushner] to testify; these are people who worked at the Trump White House or still do, who have already provided testimony to the Mueller team.

One of things Trump administration tries to do – same as Nixon – is to stonewall. By not providing witnesses, documents. The recent court rulings are significant – tax returns. Most significant in last the 10 days is that New York State can provide tax returns to the House committees, and NYS tax returns mirror the federal returns.

Federal statute requires treasury to produce tax returns [What makes you think was Trump submitted to State jibed with Federal return?]

Where this is going will be a road to slog – court actions, committees – their job is to bring life to 435 page report that most American don’t have time or inclination to read.

[Why stonewall? First place, to diminish the weight of the charges; second, to push the process into the election campaign so he can argue that it is only political, and get the DoJ to impose its policy, which Comey conveniently ignored, of indicting or prosecuting someone during a campaign. That’s why there was a hiatus before the 2018 election.]

Around same section, p 176 –there is a prosecution decision Mueller explains that’s redacted –about whether or not to charge federal computer crimes statute. But just as the same as Russian intel officers who had hacked, Mueller concludes he doesn’t have enough evidence. The statute is computer fraud and abuse statute – hacking statute – the only reason to charge anybody would be if he were actually involved in the hacking done by Russians. We don’t know what’s under the redaction, but it is significant.

You can pick up bits and pieces. It is important that the public know about and be brought to attention.

AG Barr Muddies Waters

What Mueller writes about the law refutes that letter that Barr provided the White House and DoJ as a ‘job’ letter to be appointed as new AG. [It shows his ignorance of the law.] You wouldn’t want a first year law student to be writing, it’s just wrong. He says obstruction of justice doesn’t apply to anything other than a judicial proceeding which is wrong, the DoJ brings it up with FBI cases all the time. In Watergate, the principles in obstruction were charged with cover up of the FBI investigation, just like Trump did with Comey and Russia.

In the letter Barr provided to White House and DoJ [which is why Trump appointed him] Barr says that corrupt intent doesn’t apply because it’s an ‘amorphous’ statute. But there is a specific charge: simply acting with improper purpose to corruptly interfere, impede and obstruct a due administration of  justice – straight forward. Yet Barr doesn’t buy into that. Barr was never a prosecutor, always a political appointee, and never tried a case. It’s disturbing for somebody who is AG supervising everyone else doing that.

Watergate was essentially simple, as you point out, and reduced to one crime, a two-bit burglary and a cover up – Trump’s crimes are many.

What about security of voting systems? If Russians can hack into the DNC (and voting rolls in 20 states), what protection is there?

That is a huge problem. The [Trump administration] has said we don’t have evidence Russians hacked in [to voting machines] but the systems are so antiquated, they don’t have means to capture audit trails to know if anyone did.

[The intelligence contractor Realty Winner is in prison for five years for blowing the whistle on the attempt by Russian military intelligence to attack U.S. elections, specifically by trying to “phish” more than 100 local election officials, which is not given the credit it should for opening the Russian investigation, separate and apart from George Papadoplous. See https://www.npr.org/2018/08/23/641229886/reality-winner-sentenced-to-5-years-3-months-for-leaking-classified-info. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blocked Obama’s attempt to expose Russian meddling during the 2016 campaign, also is blocking House bill to modernize voting equipment.]

[Here’s the biggest problem: while the Constitution has a provision for Impeachment, there is no provision to review an election that has been stolen. You can have a criminal billionaire who pays hackers to flip switches to win the Electoral College, pay them a cool million dollars apiece to sweat out a year or so in jail, or pardon altogether.

[It’s circular – Trump will obstruct, stonewall, and don’t know that witnesses won’t destroy evidence, docs, tapes, unless there is impeachment inquiry.

[But I don’t understand the confusion over prosecuting for collusion – or conspiracy – when clearly, there were over 100 contacts between Trump, family, associates, campaign aides, and the Trump campaign benefited from the social media disinformation campaign to targeted districts, very possibly based on the polling data that Manafort supplied; from telegraphing his interest in lifting sanctions, weakening NATO, selling nuclear arms to Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea, and knowing (from the Trump Tower meeting with Kushner, Manafort and Don Jr)  that Putin favored his election. It makes no sense that they can’t prosecute because data was stolen, not material, but data is intellectual property and it is criminal to steal intellectual property – which has value. So does the social media campaign waged by Russians based on  Trump campaign’s own polling data, which by the way mirrored what Brad Parscale was doing – with an objective to suppressing turnout by women, blacks and liberals –  who is now Trump’s 2020 campaign manager. And what about the Cambridge Analytica link which had Russia, Wikileaks (and Roger Stone), the Mercers and Steve Bannon and Brad Parscale’s fingerprints.]

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Warren ‘Economic Patriotism’ Agenda: Address Climate Change With $2 Trillion Plan for Green Manufacturing and Create 1 Million Jobs

Democratic candidate for President, Senator Elizabeth Warren unveiled an Economic Patriotism Agenda that includes $2 trillion in investment in green manufacturing which would create 1 million jobs © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Charlestown, MA – Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Senator from Massachusetts who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, laid out her vision of economic patriotism, calling for using new and existing tools to defend and create quality American jobs and promote American industry. Warren will continue to release individual plans reflecting how economic patriotism should shape our approach to specific parts of the American economy. She released the first plan: A bold $2 trillion investment of federal money over 10 years in American green research, manufacturing, and exporting — which includes ambitious new ideas to link American innovation directly to American jobs, and focuses on achieving not only the ambitious domestic emissions targets in the Green New Deal, but also spurring the kind of worldwide adoption of American-made clean energy technology needed to meet the international targets of the Green New Deal.

The plan is designed to ensure that American taxpayer investments in combating climate change result in good American jobs. The plan makes a historic $400 billion investment in clean energy research and development, and includes a provision that any production stemming from that federally-funded research should take place in the United States. It also makes a massive $1.5 trillion commitment to federal procurement of clean, green, American-made products over the next 10 years, and requires that all companies that receive federal contracts pay all employees at least $15 per hour, guarantee 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, let employees exercise collective bargaining rights, and maintain fair schedules at a minimum. According to an independent analysis from Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, these provisions ensure that Warren’s Green Manufacturing Plan would boost economic growth and create more than a million new jobs right here at home.

Warren’s plan also includes a Green Marshall Plan — a commitment to using all the tools in our diplomatic and economic arsenal to encourage other countries to purchase and deploy American-made clean energy technology. It creates a new federal office dedicated to selling American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology abroad, with a $100 billion commitment to assisting countries to purchase and deploy this technology — supporting American jobs while supplying the world with the clean energy products needed to cut global emissions.

Warren’s plan also identifies specific cost offsets that, according to the Moody’s economic analysis, cover nearly the entire cost of her plan: her Real Corporate Profits Tax, ending subsidies for oil and gas companies, and closing tax loopholes that promote shipping jobs overseas.

Warren’s Green Manufacturing Plan comes after her Public Lands Plan, two in a series of proposals as she continues to lay out her vision for how we implement the Green New Deal.

“The climate crisis demands immediate and bold action. Like we have before, we should bank on American ingenuity and American workers to lead the global effort to face down this threat — and create more than a million good jobs here at home,” Warren said.

Read more about Warren’s vision of Economic Patriotism here.

Read more about Warren’s Green Manufacturing Plan here.