What a week. It’s hard to believe half this stuff happened within the last seven days, and the torrent just keeps coming. Here’s a quick refresher on what you may have missed or forgotten.
Russians Expand Operations to U.S. Power Grid, Aviation Systems
When it comes to Russian hacks against the U.S., Russians are expanding their operations. They now include not only the political infrastructure, but also the power and aviation grids. Last week the FBI first announced that Russians were taking aim at the country's’ power sources, attempting to hack into systems for information-gathering purposes. A report on the hacks in July said Russians had attempted to gain access to power plants in more than seven states. The aggressive campaign has also included hacks into nuclear, water, and aviation systems.
The reports come after Trump announced sanctions against a Russian troll farm, two Russian intelligence services, and a close ally of Russian President Vladmir Putin, among others.
Trump Admits to Fabricating Information in Meeting with Trudeau
During a fundraising speech, Trump admitted to making up information about the trade deficit in a meeting with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. In the meeting, Trump said the U.S. runs a trade deficit with its neighbor. Trudeau countered, correctly, that the the U.S. doesn’t have a deficit with Canada.
The president, perhaps unhappy that the Canadian Prime Minister didn’t immediately agree with him even though he was wrong, doubled down, despite not knowing the truth. He insisted that the U.S. ran a deficit with Canada, though he admitted he had no idea if that was true.
He told the story at a fundraiser, proud of having made up statistics in a meeting with a world leader, because, in his mind, he was eventually proved right. If you look only at goods, as opposed to goods and services the U.S. runs a deficit. But the U.S. exports far more in services than it imports, and ultimately runs a 12 billion dollar surplus with Canada.
FEMA Removes ‘Climate Change’ From Its Strategy
The Federal Emergency Management Agency removed all citations of climate change in its four-year strategic plan. The plan does not define what contributes to a “rising natural risk,” which is the new wording for climate change found in the plan. The plan underlines terrorism and cybersecurity as “emerging threats” but there is no mention of global warming, rising sea levels, extreme weather events, or any other significant extreme weather conditions.
Just Weeks After Parkland Shooting, Another School Shooting
On Tuesday, another high school shooting took place, this time in Maryland. Reports indicated multiple people were shot, their conditions were not yet apparent. It was reported the incident however did not last long and was ‘contained’.
The shooter was targeting his ex-girlfriend who remains in critical condition. Another student suffered a shot to his leg.
Texas Bomber Dead
The 23-year old who terrorized minority families in Austin killed himself with his own explosive as police moved in on his location. While he a 23-minute video confession was left, it still leaves no indication as to the motivations for his sending bombs to families in the city.
Trump’s New Staff
Obviously we couldn’t go another week without turnover in the White House. Trump’s lead lawyer has resigned as the Russia probe heats up and H.R. McMaster is replaced as National Security Advisor by John Bolton, who just penned an Op-Ed calling for a pre-emptive strike against North Korea.
No Lulus For You
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced he may reject future requests for stipend payments from the State Senate and is only issuing half of the requested payments this time around. This announcement comes as the Republican-led State Senate was found to falsify committee titles in order to apply addition payments, or lulus, for Senators that are part of the caucus.
Reports have disclosed falsified committee titles, listing mostly IDC members as heads or vice chairs of these committees. The most recent requests for certification of false committee chairmanships were for IDC members Diane Savino and Jose Peralta. There is legislation (Legislative Law 5-a)allowing lawmakers to earn stipends anywhere from $9,000 to $34,000 for chairing committees. However 5-a does not include stipends for vice chairs.
Kushner Accused of Falsifying Permits; Tenants Group
Jared Kushner was accused of falsifying building permits according to tenants activist group Housing Rights Initiative. According to multiple news reports, Kushner is accused of falsifying more than 80 work permits involving 34 buildings in New York City.
Housing Rights Initiative claimed Kushner’s company failed to report the number of rent-stabilized units in the building. This allowed Kushner to bypass accountability measures during renovation periods and harass tenants. HRI is working in collaboration with Council Member Ritchie Torres to draft legislation which would increase accountability and oversight of the permitting process and would make a criminal referral if there was evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
‘Sex and the City’ Star Cynthia Nixon Launches Gubernatorial Bid
On Monday, Nixon launched her long-rumored bid to unseat Andrew Cuomo with a two-minute campaign commercial on Twitter. In the commercial, Nixon states she doesn’t see today’s children having the same opportunities she did at their age. Nixon is a long-time education activist and has lobbied on issues such as LGBTQ rights. Former Gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout is Nixon’s Treasurer.
With the guilty verdict of Cuomo’s right-hand man Joe Percoco, Cuomo has found himself in a hot water lately. And with Cuomo’s ambitions for higher office, a primary season is sure to be contested, which could potentially weaken any chance of a successful presidential campaign in 2020. Cuomo seems to be nervous about Nixon’s candidacy as he recently rolled out an endorsement from fellow entertainment star Elton John days before Nixon’s launch.
Nixon famously stated in a speech during the Human Rights Campaign gala that “we need to be more than the anti-Trump party. In 2018, we don’t just need to elect more Democrats, we also need better Democrats.”
Terry Gipson Exits Race For Governor
In response to Cynthia Nixon’s campaign launch, former Hudson Valley State Senator Terry Gipson has ended his.
It's a new format this week - two much shorter videos. Featured here is a lightning round talk on the ugly turn the race for NY's 12th Congressional District took. Not in a critique of the news, but in an explanation of the industry which churns it out - opposition research. Often referred to as the dark arts of politics, "oppo" is the part of a campaign which searches for and publicizes dirt on opponents.
Then we took 5 minutes to talk about the vocal debate people Cynthia Nixon's gubernatorial run has sparked over intersection of qualification, celebrity and being good on issues.
Downtown Independent Democrats Petitioning for Jerry Nadler
Saturday, March 24
8:30am – 10:00am
March For Our Lives: Rally Against Gun Violence
Saturday, March 24
10:00am – 6:00pm
Arts On Site Performance Party
Saturday, March 24
8:00pm – 9:00pm
12 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003, USA
Description:8pm Doors Open
9pm Performances Start
$10 Suggested Donation
BYOB + Donation Bar
Manhattan Democrats Executive Committee Meeting
Monday, March 26
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Brennan Center for Justice: The Constitution vs. Trumpism: Challenges to the Rule of Law in 2018
Wednesday, April 4
6:00pm – 8:00pm
First NYC Civic Fair
Saturday, April 7
1:00pm – 5:00pm
99 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016, USA
Description:The first NYC Civic Fair. Groups from all over the city, focusing on all different aspects of politics, campaigns, issues and civics will be there to meet the public! We'll also have representatives from all levels of the Democratic Party. RSVP https://www.facebook.com/events/1992372737679874/