Duterte Visits Synagogue to Apologize for Hitler Remark

October 4th, 2016

ppPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte visited a synagogue in the Manila metropolis Tuesday to personally apologize to the Jewish community for making a “terribly wrong” comparison between his anti-drug campaign and Hitler and the Holocaust in a recent speech.

Duterte had apologized to the Jewish world in a speech Sunday but he visited the Beit Yaacov synagogue in Makati city to press his expression of regret and assure that he was not racist, adding that his wife, now separated from him, has Jewish ties.

“I would like to apologize and it comes from the heart,” Duterte told members of the Jewish Association of the Philippines.

Deriding critics who had compared him to Hitler, Duterte acknowledged he erred in referencing what happened to Jewish people under the Nazi leader.

“I mentioned the word Jewish and that was what was terribly wrong and for that I apologize,” Duterte said, drawing an applause. “But I’m not one of the racist members of this republic.”

In his original remarks on Friday, Duterte raised the rhetoric over his anti-drug campaign to a new level by comparing it to Hitler and the Holocaust and saying he would be “happy to slaughter” an estimated 3 million Filipino addicts.

In that speech, the brash president said without elaborating that he has been “portrayed or pictured to be a cousin of Hitler” by his critics.

Moments later, he said, “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews … there’s 3 million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

His remarks drew shock and outrage across the world. In his apology Monday, he said he had never intended to derogate the memory of the 6 million Jews murdered under Hitler before and during World War II.

Duterte recalled his modest political roots in his speech at the synagogue and what he said was his sincere desire to rid his country of corruption and crime, especially illegal drugs. He sought understanding for his tough image.

“You know it’s my character … I am I and you are you,” he said. “God created me to be in this way.”

(AP)

NYPD: Crime Continues to Fall in New York City This Year, Compared with 2015

October 4th, 2016

nypd4New York City continues to experience a reduction in overall crime this year. There were 2,322 fewer index crimes reported year-to-date, or -3%, compared with 2015. Additionally, there were 97 fewer shootings year-to-date, or -10.9%, and 10 fewer murders year-to-date, or -3.7%; compared with 2015.

The month of September 2016 is safest September in the entire Compstat-era, with 1,163 fewer total index crimes reported, or -12.1% compared with September 2015. Reductions in the following crime categories have resulted in the lowest number of crimes reported for any September in the entire Compstat-era: robbery is down 220 crimes, or -14.3%; burglary is down 338 crimes, or -24.8%; and grand larceny auto is down 176 crimes, or -22.7%. Additionally for September 2016, Murder is down two, or -5.8%; rape is down 27 crimes, or -20.0%; felonious assault is down 89 crimes, or -4.9%; grand larceny is down 311 crimes, or -7.9%; and shootings are up 10 crimes, or +10.2%.

“The hard work of the men and women of the NYPD is self-evident, but it is also supported by a sustained reduction in crime.” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “With September’s sharp reductions in every major crime category, on top of a historically low-crime summer, we are poised for a terrific fall season. I am privileged to lead such a committed group of law enforcement professionals, and look forward to telling their ongoing stories of success.”

“After the safest summer in decades, New York City remains the safest big city in America. While other cities across the nation fight rising violent crime rates, long-term crime trends in our city continue to fall,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the police department and further proof that precision and neighborhood policing are effective. I have every faith that Commissioner O’Neill will continue to strengthen the bond between police and community, while New Yorkers do their part and remain vigilant to stop violence before it starts and help drive down crime even further.”

The Transit Bureau is down 10 crimes for September 2016, or -4.6%, and the Housing Bureau is down 63 crimes for September 2016, or -13.9%; compared with 2015.

(YWN Desk – NYC)

Witness: Ex-Ally Said Governors Discussed Report on Bridge

October 4th, 2016

chcuA onetime top ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the governor and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed releasing a false report to tamp down questions over the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal, the prosecution’s key witness testified Tuesday.

David Wildstein, who pleaded guilty in the gridlock scheme and is cooperating with prosecutors, said former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman David Samson told him the governors discussed the idea in October 2013. The report would have attributed the lane closures to a traffic study, covering up the true reason for the closures: political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee for failing to endorse Christie’s 2013 re-election, Wildstein testified.

The report was never issued.

Instead, Bill Baroni testified before lawmakers in November 2013, two months after the lane closures, that they were part of a traffic study.

Baroni, who served as Christie’s top appointed staff aide at the Port Authority, and Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, are on trial facing wire fraud and civil rights charges. They have pleaded not guilty.

Wildstein said the idea for the report came as news reporters began to ask questions about the lane closures, which gridlocked the town of Fort Lee for four days.

“My understanding was that (Republican) Gov. Christie and (Democratic) Gov. Cuomo had discussed this,” Wildstein said under cross-examination Tuesday, according to The Record, adding he was told the information by Samson. “My understanding at the time was that it would put an end to this issue.”

Cuomo spokesman John Kelly, who isn’t related to Bridget Kelly, denied the conversation between governors took place and criticized Wildstein as a “felon spinning a tale.”

“It’s just false and delusional,” Kelly said.

New York Republicans pounced on the allegation. Cuomo’s unsuccessful 2014 GOP challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, said it warrants the resignation of both Cuomo and Christie. State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox noted that former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco currently faces federal charges stemming from an unrelated investigation into alleged bid-rigging and bribery. Percoco’s attorney has said his client is innocent.

“Today’s key eyewitness testimony that implicates Gov. Cuomo in the cover-up of Bridgegate is another example of his political thuggery at the expense of New Yorkers,” Cox said in a statement.

Messages left with Christie’s office Tuesday weren’t immediately returned. Christie has not been charged and has said he did not authorize the closures or play a role in covering them up.

Wildstein also testified Tuesday that Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye, a Cuomo appointee, was to “sign off” on the false report. Foye’s attorney, Eric Corngold, disputed Wildstein’s testimony.

“Foye never had any such conversation or was given any such direction by the governor or by any of his staff,” he told The Associated Press.

A message left with Samson’s attorney hasn’t been returned. Samson pleaded guilty in another case to using his role as Port Authority chairman to influence United Airlines to reinstate a money-losing route closer to his vacation home and is awaiting sentencing.

Wildstein, a former executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees New York-area bridges and tunnels, testified earlier that Baroni told Christie about the traffic jams as they were happening and said the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee wasn’t happy that he wasn’t getting his calls returned.

(AP)

NY Attorney General Orders Trump Foundation to Stop Fundraising

October 4th, 2016

trIn a cease-and-desist notice, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has asserted that Donald Trump’s charitable foundation is breaking the law and ordered the Trump Foundation to stop fundraising in the state.

The notice was sent to the Trump Foundation on Friday, after a state investigation found that his charity allegedly lacked proper certification.

James G. Sheehan, the head of the New York attorney general’s charities bureau, wrote that the Trump Foundation “shall be deemed to be a continuing fraud upon the people of the state of New York” if the organization fails to immediately “discontinue solicitation and to file information and reports” within “15 days of this notice.”

The Trump Foundation never registered under article 7-A of New York’s executive law — which is required for any charity soliciting more than $25,000 a year in New York state, as The Washington Post first reported.

The Trump campaign said in a statement it will cooperate with the investigation but claimed political motives behind the move.

“While we remain very concerned about the political motives behind AG Schneiderman’s investigation, the Trump Foundation nevertheless intends to cooperate fully with the investigation,” the statement read.

“Because this is an ongoing legal matter, the Trump Foundation will not comment further at this time.”

(AP)

Google Gets Aggressive With New Phones, Other Gadgets

October 4th, 2016

droidGoogle ratcheted up its rivalry with Apple and Amazon by unveiling new smartphones, an internet-connected speaker that channels a digital assistant, and other gadgets the company hopes to make indispensable.

The devices announced Tuesday are part of Google’s bold move to design and sell its own hardware, instead of just supplying Android and other software for other companies to make products. Google’s previous attempts at hardware have had limited distribution and included such high-profile flops as its internet-connected Glass headgear.

This time around, Google is betting that it can design software and hardware to work seamlessly with each other. That’s an art Apple mastered over the past 15 years as it turned out finely crafted iPods, iPhones, iPads and Macs.

Borrowing another page from Apple’s book, Google is backing its expanded product lineup with the biggest marketing campaign in its 18-year history. The company isn’t disclosing how much it will spend, but made it clear the ads touting products “Made by Google” will be ubiquitous during the next few months.

“They have done some advertising in the past, but it’s never been with this kind of ‘let us take care of everything for you’ way,” Gartner analyst Brian Blau said. “This is more like Apple’s way of doing things.”

GADGETS ON PARADE

Google executives showed off a series of gadgets in rapid succession in San Francisco on Tuesday.

The new Pixel phones, starting at $650, are aimed squarely at Apple’s iPhone and could also siphon sales from the biggest manufacturer of Android-powered phones, Samsung.

Android now powers more than 80 percent of the smartphones sold around the world. But Samsung has increasingly been adding more of its own software, including its own mobile wallet, on its phones.

Analysts warned that Google’s increased emphasis on its own branded devices runs the risk of alienating Samsung, as well as LG and other longtime partners that make Android gadgets. Google, though, emphasized it still plans to work with other manufacturers, even as it tries to become a bigger player in hardware.

Meanwhile, Google’s new Home speaker represents a counterpunch to Amazon’s Echo, a similar device that has become a big hit since its release about 15 months ago. Google Home will cost $129, undercutting Echo by $50.

Google also announced a virtual-reality headset called Daydream View, a new Wi-Fi router and an update to the company’s Chromecast device for streaming video.

THE PHONE

Available in two sizes, the Pixel phones replace Google’s previous foray into smartphones with a Nexus brand introduced six years ago. Google never hailed Nexus as its own phone, but instead positioned it as an example of how it believed the Android system worked best.

In promoting the Pixels, Google highlighted a camera it says trumps the latest iPhone, a long-lasting battery and a dedicated headphone jack — a staple that Apple eliminated from the iPhones released last month. And while past Google phones primarily relied on sales through Google’s online Play store, the Pixel will also be sold by Verizon in the U.S.

Analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said in an email that Google was smart to emphasize the performance of the new smartphone cameras, as “consumers care about this a lot.” But he said other features in the new phones didn’t seem that much different from what Samsung and Apple have offered in their latest devices.

SMART ASSISTANT

The phones and speaker will serve as a showcase for Google’s digital helper, Google Assistant. The helper will respond to spoken questions such as “How do you remove wine stains out of the carpet?” and commands to control the volume of the television and other home appliances with internet connections.

Google Assistant escalates the company’s battle against Apple, which offers a virtual helping hand through Siri, and Amazon, whose Alexa concierge resides in Echo and other devices.

Google believes its assistant will be more knowledgeable, more personable and more versatile than the competition. Its confidence stems from the more than 70 billion facts that it has stockpiled in a database that it calls a “knowledge graph,” as well as the ability of its dominant search engine to quickly scan the web to retrieve a specific piece of information.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai boasts that the assistant will draw upon the company’s advances in artificial intelligence to deliver “a personal Google for each and every user.” The artificial intelligence programming is designed to learn more about the person using it with each interaction, according to Google.

That’s one reason why Google eventually wants the assistant on more devices, though the company currently doesn’t have plans to build directly into Android the way Siri is automatically included in Apple’s mobile software. Instead, Google will allow other device makers to include the assistant in their products if they want, beginning early next year.

“Search has been Google’s golden ticket for the past 20 years of the internet, and now they are hoping artificial intelligence will become the next golden ticket,” Blau said.

Still, while Google showed its new Assistant performing a variety of impressive tasks, Moorhead cautioned that similar services such as Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana haven’t fulfilled their early promises to ingrain themselves into people’s lives.

(AP)

Hurricane Matthew Slams Haiti, Takes Aim At US East Coast

October 4th, 2016

mattHurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti’s southwestern tip with howling, 145 mph winds Tuesday, tearing off roofs in the poor and largely rural area, uprooting trees and leaving rivers bloated and choked with debris. At least nine deaths were blamed on the storm during its week-long march across the Caribbean.

Forecasters said Matthew could hit Florida toward the end of the week and push its way up the East Coast over the weekend. The forecast triggered a rush by Americans to stock up on food, gasoline and other emergency supplies.

The dangerous Category 4 storm — at one point the most powerful hurricane in the region in nearly a decade — blew ashore around dawn in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, hitting a corner of Haiti where many people live in shacks of wood or concrete blocks. It unloaded heavy rain as it swirled on toward a lightly populated part of Cuba and the Bahamas.

Damage in the hardest-hit part of Haiti appeared to be widespread, but because of spotty communications, blocked roads and washed-out bridges, the full extent was not immediately clear. Nor was the number of deaths.

The country’s Civil Protection Agency said many homes were damaged or destroyed.

“It’s the worst hurricane that I’ve seen during my life,” said Fidele Nicolas, a civil protection official in Nippes, just east of where Matthew came ashore. “It destroyed schools, roads, other structures.”

Mourad Wahba, U.N. secretary-general’s deputy special representative for Haiti, said much of the local population had been forced from their homes, at least 10,000 people were in shelters and hospitals were overflowing and running short of water. The roof was blown off the hospital in the city of Les Cayes, he added.

Wahba’s statement called the hurricane’s destruction the “largest humanitarian event” in Haiti since the devastating earthquake of January 2010.

At least three deaths were blamed on the storm in Haiti, including one person whose home was crushed by a tree in Port Salut and a 26-year-old man who drowned trying to rescue a child who had fallen into a rushing river, authorities said. The child was saved.

Four deaths were recorded in the neighboring Dominican Republic and one each in Colombia and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The storm left the peninsula that runs along the southern coast of Haiti cut off from the rest of the country. Many streets were impassable because of flooding, landslides or fallen trees. Local radio reported that the water was shoulder high in parts of the city of Les Cayes.

Milriste Nelson, a 65-year-old farmer in the town of Leogane, said his neighbors fled when the wind ripped the corrugated metal roof from their home. His own small yard was strewn with the fruit he depends on for his livelihood.

“All the banana trees, all the mangos, everything is gone,” Nelson said as he boiled breadfruit over a charcoal fire in the gray morning light. “This country is going to fall deeper into misery.”

Haitian authorities had tried to evacuate people from the most vulnerable areas ahead of the storm, but many were reluctant to leave their homes. Some sought shelter only after the worst was already upon them.

“Many people are now asking for help, but it’s too late because there is no way to go evacuate them,” said Fonie Pierre, director of Catholic Relief Services for the Les Cayes area, who was huddled in her office with about 20 people.

Matthew was expected to bring 15 to 25 inches of rain, and up to 40 inches (100 centimeters) in isolated places, along with up to 10 feet (3 meters) of storm surge and battering waves.

“They are getting everything a major hurricane can throw at them,” said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Matthew briefly reached the top classification, Category 5, as it moved across the Caribbean late last week, becoming the strongest hurricane in the region since Felix in 2007.

As of 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), the storm was centered about 30 miles (45 kilometers) southwest of the eastern tip of Cuba. It was moving north at close to 9 mph (15 kph). Its sustained winds were down slightly to 140 mph (220 kph).

The center was projected to pass about 50 miles northeast of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Hours before the hurricane’s expected arrival, a light rain fell on Cuba’s easternmost city, Baracoa, and the wind began whipping the palm trees. Authorities moved residents from the three blocks closest to the sea, and about 100 tourists were moved to a hotel in central Baracoa, where windows were covered with sheet metal and wood.

Workers removed traffic lights from poles in the Cuban city of Santiago to keep them from getting blown away.

In the U.S., Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged coastal residents to prepare for the possibility of a direct hit and line up three days’ worth of food, water and medicine. The Red Cross put out a call for volunteers in South Carolina. And the White House said relief supplies were being moved to emergency staging areas in the Southeast.

“We do not know yet whether the center of Matthew will actually come ashore in Florida. That’s possible,” said Rick Knabb, director of the hurricane center.

Americans raced to supermarkets, gas stations and hardware stores, buying up groceries, water, plywood, tarps, batteries and propane. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said she would issue an evacuation order Wednesday so that 1 million people would have time to leave the coast.

(AP)

After Riff, Bill Clinton Reaffirms Health-Care Law Support

October 4th, 2016

clinBill Clinton tried to avoid muddling his message again as he campaigned for his wife in battleground Ohio a day after he described President Barack Obama’s health care law and the resulting insurance markets as “the craziest thing in the world.”

This time, Bill Clinton only briefly mentioned health care in multiple appearances Tuesday in eastern Ohio, clearly stating his support for the law and arguing that more still must be done to expand access to insurance.

It was a far cry from the former president’s Monday remarks that continued to reverberate, prompting responses from Hillary Clinton, the White House and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“You’ve got this crazy system where all the sudden 25 million more people have health care,” Bill Clinton said in Flint, Michigan, “and then the people are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.”

In Ohio on Tuesday, the former president didn’t mention his earlier riff but tacitly clarified himself. “I supported the Affordable Care Act,” he said at a Steubenville rally, while adding that continued gaps in coverage “must be fixed.”

He noted Hillary Clinton’s support for a public option” insurance plan to compete with policies from for-profit insurers, while allowing extending Medicare eligibility to anyone 55 or older.

For her part, Hillary Clinton told reporters Tuesday she’d “fix what’s broken, keep what works,” and she noted Republicans who control Congress want to repeal the law altogether — a political reality that has made it impossible for Obama himself to attempt changes in the law that he signed in 2010, since any alterations require willing partners on Capitol Hill.

Nonethless, Trump pounced. “President Bill Clinton came out and told the truth about Obamacare,” he said in Arizona, adding that Clinton “absolutely trashed” Obama’s signature legislative achievement. He thanked Bill Clinton for being “honest.”

Separately on Tuesday, the former president also sidestepped reporters’ questions about Trump bringing up his marital infidelity.

“He’s been making those attacks from the beginning of this campaign, so I don’t think that’s anything new,” Clinton said in Marietta, Ohio.

Bill Clinton’s relationship with a White House intern was the subject of his 1998 impeachment. He did not respond to specific questions about Trump’s recent suggestion that Hillary Clinton also was not “loyal” in her marriage.

“My job is very limited: I’m supposed to tell people why she’s the best choice to be president,” Bill Clinton said, seemingly aware he should avoid fanning the flames. Later, he joked in Steubenville, Ohio, “You need your Miranda warnings every time you open your mouth, because anything you say can be held against you.”

The exchanges are the latest reminder that the 42nd president is both a tremendous asset and a wild card for his wife’s candidacy.

He draws enthusiastic crowds eager to a see a former president who is anything but a normal political spouse, but he’s also generated unwanted stories, including this summer when he approached Attorney General Loretta Lynch for a private meeting at an airport. The conversation occurred days before the FBI announced that it would not recommend any charges against Hillary Clinton related to her use of a private email server while she served as Obama’s secretary of state.

Bill Clinton’s aides worked to tamp down the latest flap, casting him as enthusiastically supportive of the health-care law but eager to address lingering gaps in the insurance markets.

At the White House, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said it was not “exactly clear what argument” Bill Clinton was making in Michigan. Earnest said Obama still has “strong confidence” in the law, and he cited subsidies that still allow “the vast majority” of shoppers in the individual policy market to find affordable coverage.

“President Obama has of course acknowledged that with cooperation from Democrats and Republicans in Congress, there are some things that could be done to further strengthen the law,” Earnest said, adding that “Secretary Clinton has vowed to pursue” the same course.

The former president’s overall pitch Tuesday focused on why Hillary Clinton would be better for the economy than Trump. Bill Clinton said the GOP nominee plays on working class voters’ economic frustrations with lies and empty promises. Trump, he said, impossibly pledges to recreate a bygone manufacturing-and-coal economy, while Hillary Clinton wants new investments in infrastructure, technology and new energy sources.

“Answers work better than anger,” Bill Clinton said. “Empowerment better than resentment. Bridges work better than walls.”

(AP)

Veep Debate: Pence, Kaine Making The Case For Top Candidates

October 4th, 2016

pekaIn the only debate faceoff, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine hoped Tuesday night to carry forward a fresh burst of Democratic momentum in the presidential campaign while Indiana Gov. Mike Pence sought to steady Donald Trump’s White House bid after one of the Republican’s worst stretches of the race.

Pence and Kaine seemed unlikely to dramatically change the way voters view Trump and Hillary Clinton, who are among the most well-known figures in the country. Still, the nationally televised debate promised a spotlight opportunity for the longtime politicians to introduce themselves to Americans, energize party loyalists and potentially sway the shrinking pool of undecided voters.

For the earnest and easygoing Kaine, that meant defending Clinton’s character and reputation, her Achilles’ heel throughout the campaign. And it meant blocking any attempts by Pence — an equally genial politician — to make Trump’s controversial statements and policy proposals seem more palatable.

“When it comes to the issues, it’s hard to tell them apart,” Hillary Clinton’s campaign said of Trump and Pence in a video released ahead of the debate. “From the alt-right racists supporting their ticket to women’s health to immigration to LGBT equality to global warming to the minimum wage, it’s no wonder that Donald Trump picked Mike Pence.”

The 90-minute showdown at Virginia’s Longwood University was to be moderated by Elaine Quijano of CBS News. While last week’s first presidential debate was watched by a record-setting television audience of 84 million people, Tuesday’s contest was expected to have smaller viewership given Pence and Kaine’s lower profiles in the campaign.

In a recent Associated Press-GfK poll, more than half of registered voters said they didn’t know enough about Kaine to venture an opinion about him and about 44 percent said the same for Pence.

Trump said he would be live-tweeting the debate. During a rally in Arizona, he said the contest would be “a contrast between our campaign of big ideas and bold solutions for tomorrow versus the small and petty Clinton campaign that is totally stuck in the past.”

Clinton, campaigning in Pennsylvania, said she’d been keeping in touch with Kaine over email about his debate preparations.

“I think America is going to be very impressed and really feel positive about Tim Kaine as our next vice president,” she said.

Clinton was widely viewed as the winner of her opening debate with Trump, rattling the real estate mogul with jabs about his business record and demeaning statements about women, and responding to his attacks with calm rejoinders. New public opinion polls have showed her improving her standing in nearly all battleground states.

At least some of Clinton’s bounce is likely attributable to Trump’s conduct coming out of the debate. He redoubled his criticism of a beauty queen and her weight, one of the topics Clinton raised in the debate, and went on a pre-dawn Twitter tirade trying to disparage the former Miss Universe.

That firestorm was deflected only by revelations that Trump suffered more than $900 million in losses in 1995 that could have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for as many as 18 years, according to records obtained by The New York Times.

In Tuesday’s debate, Pence will likely find himself trying to clean up Trump’s controversies, as has often been the case since he joined the GOP ticket this summer. The governor signaled that he would frame the matters as attempts by Clinton to obscure her own record.

“The media is so busy parsing every word that Donald Trump said in the past 30 minutes, they’ve been ignoring what the Clintons (have) been up to the last 30 years,” Pence said during a campaign stop Monday night.

Pence was picked as Trump’s running mate in part because he has the conservative credentials the businessman lacks. His addition to the ticket was cheered by conservative leaders in Washington, and Trump’s supporters are hoping his debate performance will be similarly appealing for Republican voters who may still be skeptical of Trump’s ideology.

Kaine, who served as Virginia’s governor before becoming senator, is largely in step with Clinton on key issues. While he voted to give President Barack Obama fast-track authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership, he’s since joined Clinton in opposing the final version of the trade pact.

Both Pence and Kaine are deeply religious, which could bring faith to the forefront of the debate, a rarity in this campaign.

Pence was raised Catholic, but is now a Protestant evangelical. His signature line is: “I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican — in that order.”

Kaine speaks frequently about how his Jesuit mission work in Honduras shaped his life. At times, his Catholicism has run up against his governing choices. After opposing gay marriage in his 2005 gubernatorial run, he later broke with the church to support it. He says he’s personally against abortion but has consistently voted in favor of abortion rights.

(AP)

Ken Thompson, Brooklyn District Attorney, Says He Has Cancer and Will Take Leave

October 4th, 2016

ktoAs Brooklyn District Attorney, I’ve dedicated myself and our Office’s resources over the past three years to keeping the people of our great borough safe while strengthening our commitment to reform and improve our criminal justice system. Since 2014, we have become a model for prosecutors’ offices around the country – holding those who break the law accountable by setting one standard of justice for all and fighting for innocent people who were wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they did not commit.

And now I am prepared for another fight.

Recently, I was diagnosed with cancer. As a man of intense faith, I intend to fight and win the battle against this disease. I humbly seek your sincere prayers as I confront this challenge and respectfully ask that you honor my family’s need and wish for privacy during this time.

During the absences occasioned by my treatment and recovery, the Kings County District Attorney’s Office will be led by Chief Assistant Eric Gonzalez, alongside others on the executive team. I thank you in advance for your prayers and look forward to rejoining you on the battlefield for justice.

(YWN Desk – NYC)

When It Comes To Trump’s Taxes And Finances, Much Is Unknown

October 2nd, 2016

trDonald Trump reported a more than $900 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns filed in three states, as revealed in documents obtained by The New York Times that experts say could have allowed him to forgo paying federal income taxes for nearly two decades.

The revelation from a portion of Trump’s tax returns for that year gives the most detailed insight yet into the Republican nominee’s tax history during a time when his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has suggested Trump is hiding something from voters.

Some details of Trump’s tax history had surfaced before in documents from state gaming regulators and court cases. But even with the latest disclosure by the Times, several questions remain unanswered about Trump’s more recent finances because the information released to date is only partial and much of it dated.

What we do know:

___

TRUMP HASN’T PAID TAXES BEFORE

Trump reported paying no federal income taxes in 1978, 1979, 1984 and likely at least two other years in the early 1990s, according to documents unearthed by The Daily Beast , Politico and The Washington Post . Like the 1995 tax returns disclosed by The Times , Trump avoided paying taxes in those years by reporting losses that wiped out his gains.

For instance in 1984, Trump reported that he lost money and claimed on his personal tax returns that he was primarily a consultant, whose consulting business had more than $600,000 in expenses and no income. At the time, Trump had just finished Trump Tower and was quoted extensively in news reports talking up his business success.

It’s unclear if the IRS questioned Trump’s federal tax returns that year, but New York City tax authorities challenged his claims. The city fought with Trump for several years after he appealed his city tax bill. Trump lost that fight and had to pay the city taxes on more than $1 million in income.

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WHAT THE TIMES FOUND

The Times reported Saturday that Trump posted a net loss of $915,729,293 in federal taxable income in 1995. It was already well known that Trump was losing money during the early to mid-1990s, a time when his casinos fell into financial turmoil and some of his businesses filed for bankruptcy. But the records obtained by the Times show losses so large that they could have allowed Trump to avoid paying taxes for up to 18 years.

The newspaper reported that Trump made only $6,108 in wages, salaries and tips in 1995. He also reported $7.4 million in interest income and a loss of $15.8 million on his real estate and partnership holdings that year, the newspaper said.

The Times said it based its story on the first pages of Trump’s 1995 state income tax filings in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The documents were anonymously mailed to one of the newspaper’s reporters. Former Trump accountant Jack Mitnick, who prepared Trump’s taxes that year, told The Times the documents were authentic, pointing out that they reflect a printing error from his tax preparation software that he corrected by manually inserting some numbers using a typewriter. Those numbers are slightly misaligned on the documents.

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TRUMP’S RESPONSE

Trump’s campaign did not challenge the documents’ authenticity or the veracity of The Times’ story, but Trump threatened to sue the newspaper for making the information public.

“Mr. Trump is a highly-skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required,” the campaign said in a statement released Saturday. The campaign also said that Trump had paid “hundreds of millions” of dollars in various kinds of taxes over the years.

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TRUMP’S REFUSAL

Before running for president, Trump said he would release his tax returns if he ran. But since he announced his candidacy last year, Trump has refused, bucking a tradition to which presidential nominees have adhered since 1976.

Trump has repeatedly said he won’t release the documents because he says they’re under audit by the Internal Revenue Service and his attorneys have advised against him making them public. Tax experts and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen have said such audits don’t bars taxpayers from releasing their returns.

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has released 10 years of his tax returns. Clinton has released nearly 40 years of her tax returns.

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WHAT MORE TAX RETURNS COULD TELL US

So far, only portions of any of Trump’s tax returns have been made public. And everything that has been made public is decades old.

Trump’s more recent tax returns— when he was likely more successful— would show his income sources, the type of deductions he claimed, how much he earned from his assets and what strategies Trump used to reduce his tax bill.

Full returns would also show how much Trump has personally donated to charity. The Times noted that the documents they received do not indicate how much Trump donated to charity in 1995, though Trump chose not to donate to a handful of organizations listed on the state tax documents including the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Fund.

Trump has regularly boasted of his charitable giving, but The Associated Press reported more than a year ago that there is little record of substantial personal philanthropy. More recently, Trump has faced tough questions about how his namesake foundation operates.

The Washington Post has reported that Trump’s own charitable organization, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, used donations given by others to pay for Trump’s legal settlements, political contributions and even purchase portraits of Trump. The Post has also reported that the foundation solicited donations from the public without the required certification under New York state law.

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WHAT DO VOTERS SAY

Voters are split along party lines whether it’s important for candidates to release their tax returns, but more than half believe Trump isn’t releasing his returns because he’s hiding something.

An Associated Press-GfK poll last month found that 46 percent of registered voters say it is very important for candidates to release their tax returns, though Democrats were more likely say so than Republicans. A recent Monmouth University poll found that a little more than half of voters think Trump isn’t releasing his tax returns because he is hiding something from the public.

(AP)

Philippine President Apologizes to Jews for Hitler Remark

October 2nd, 2016

ppPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to Jews worldwide Sunday after his remarks drawing comparisons between his bloody anti-drug war and Hitler and the Holocaust sparked shock and outrage.

The tough-talking Duterte said his apology was intended only for the Jewish community. He lashed out again at Western critics and human rights advocates who have raised concerns over his brutal crackdown, which is estimated to have left more than 3,000 suspected drug dealers and users dead in just three months.

Duterte said in a speech in the central city of Bacolod that he never had any intention “to derogate the memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Germans.” Historians say 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis under Hitler before and during World War II.

“I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community,” Duterte said.

On Friday, Duterte raised the rhetoric over his anti-drug campaign to a new level by comparing it to Hitler and the Holocaust and saying he would be “happy to slaughter” an estimated 3 million addicts in the Philippines.

In that speech, the brash president said without elaborating that he has been “portrayed or pictured to be a cousin of Hitler” by his critics.

Moments later, he said, “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews … there’s 3 million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

While Hitler’s victims were innocent people, Duterte said his targets are “all criminals” and that getting rid of them would “finish the (drug) problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”

Germany’s government slammed Duterte’s comments as unacceptable, and called in the Philippine ambassador to the Foreign Ministry over the matter.

“It is impossible to make any comparison to the unique atrocities of the Shoah and Holocaust,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said in Berlin.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said Duterte’s remarks were “revolting” and demanded that he retract them and apologize.

“Drug abuse is a serious issue. But what President Duterte said is not only profoundly inhumane, but it demonstrates an appalling disrespect for human life that is truly heartbreaking for the democratically elected leader of a great country,” Lauder said in a statement issued from Jerusalem, where he was attending the funeral of former Israeli leader Shimon Peres.

The U.S. State Department, which is looking to sustain its long-standing alliance with the Philippines, called the comments “troubling.”

“Words matter, especially when they are from leaders of sovereign nations, especially sovereign nations with whom we have long and valued relations with,” spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. He repeated U.S. calls for Philippine authorities to investigate any credible reports of extrajudicial killings.

Also critical was Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, who said it was baffling why anyone would want to compare themselves to “one of the largest mass murderers in human history.”

Robertson said that in today’s context, Hitler would be accused of crimes against humanity.

“Is that what Duterte wants? Does he want to be sent to the international criminal court? Because he’s working his way there,” Robertson said.

Amnesty International said that Duterte “has sunk to new depths” and urged governments around the world to condemn his “extremely dangerous outburst.”

Amid the criticisms, presidential spokesman Ernie Abella defended Duterte, saying his “reference to the slaughter was an oblique deflection of the way he has been pictured as a mass murderer.”

“He likewise draws an oblique conclusion, that while the Holocaust was an attempt to exterminate the future generations of Jews, drug-related killings as a result of legitimate police operations (as opposed to so-called “extra-judicial killings” of criminals, wrongly attributed to him, as these are not state-sanctioned) will nevertheless result in the salvation of the next generation of Filipinos,” Abella said in a statement.

Duterte has asked for a six-month extension of his drug crackdown, saying he underestimated the magnitude of the problem.

His supporters and many Filipinos exasperated with widespread crime have welcomed his tough approach, but a growing number of critics, including U.N. officials, the European Union and the United States, have voiced concerns over the widespread killings and human rights violations.

(AP)