Sum 41 Music Video Parody Concert – Resist Trump Video Filming

February 3, 2017

Sum 41 Music Video Parody Concert – Resist Trump Video Filming

Saturday at 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Brookwood Park
N Caroline St, Herkimer, New York 13350

We are filming our next music video that’s a parody of Sum 41’s In Too Deep. With Trump now President, the time to unify and drop differences is NOW. This song encourages people to drop what they are doing and get out and organize and gather together in solidarity. This video will include clips from the Women’s Marches, Airport Protests and whatever else will happen before February 4th. The Resistance begins with everyone coming together to embrace similiar values, ideologies, and fight for a better world rather than going backward.

Our goal is to have about 50 to 100 people show up from 730 PM to about 10pm on Saturday.

For Saturday: Show up at Brookwood Park right at 730pm. Some will come earlier to set up the actual performance scene. We will have hopefully a stage set up and we will have a band that is set to mockingly play the parody song. Your goal is to show up with enthusiasm and just be a part of the band crowd. I will reach out to individual people who confirm themselves to the event. I would like to grant certain people parts during the video for specific scenes. Tim Lyon will be directing the video.

More details to come. But please. This video is unifying and truly powerful. I will send you the audio track privately if you rsvp this event. Please take the time out to show up if you can.


February 1, 2017



Now celebrating 19 years of community organizing, the Central New York Citizens in Action invites YOU to be part of a movement for progressive change based on shared social values. We believe in educating, advocating, and legislating for the collective good. Join us!

You can view newsletter on:




Please consider attending the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR) Press Conference in Response to the Executive Order Halting Refugee Resettlement this Wednesday in the MVRCR-DeSales Auditorium at 12 noon. Please come and show your support for our residents, past present and future, as we hope a packed auditorium shows solidarity to refugees and immigrants and also shows our public officials how many of their constituents are concerned over these horrible policies.


In response to President Trump’s executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR) will hold a press conference Wednesday, February 1st at 12:00 pm in the DeSales Auditorium, 309 Genesee St. Utica, NY.


• The U.S Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is being suspended for 120 days for all populations with a few exceptions.

• It sets a new refugee resettlement priority— requiring the United States to no longer prioritize the resettlement of the most vulnerable— but those who are fleeing religious persecution and are minorities in the country they are fleeing.

• Syrian refugees have an indefinite bar on being resettled, until such time that the President determines that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP.

• The order further bans residents of seven countries, including green card holders, from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Sudan from visiting or entering the U.S. for 90 days. Other countries may be added to the list.

• It creates new screening procedures for refugees and other visa applicants in the U.S. and may require asylum recipients and others— to undergo additional screening.

• Provides for a new procedure to allow states and localities to discriminate against refugees by deciding whether they can be placed in their state or communities.

• It is essential that we stand firm and fight for the rights of refugees and our shared American values.

We stand with the American people in strong opposition to this Executive Order which turns our backs on refugees, in particular Muslim refugees. Utica has a 36-year history of welcoming refugees of all faiths who have added to the vibrancy and economic growth of our city. We reject the notion that Christians would be given preferential admittance before their Muslim neighbors. Closing our borders to refugees based on their national origin runs contrary to our constitutional values and is not only insidious, but dangerous. We call on members of this new administration and Congress to do everything in their power to reverse this order.

What You Can Do Today About Immigration
Wednesday’s pronouncement about building the wall and limiting refugees demands a public response. Please download this You Are Welcome Here poster and post them all around your neighborhood.

Here are additional posters you can post at your home and business!!




In addition to the executive orders announced last week that denied admission to refugees and other immigrants, there have been reports that the Trump Administration will order more restrictions on immigrants who use or would be expected to use public benefits. The order would make certain lawfully present immigrants or applicants more at risk of being designated a “Public Charge.” Under current law, that designation applies to receipt (or expected receipt) of cash assistance (such as TANF or SSI) or long-term nursing home care. The new order could include many additional benefits (SNAP? WIC? We don’t yet know.)

The Executive Order has not yet been announced but a draft was leaked to the press. Based on existing law, changes to “public charge” language by executive order would not apply to refugees/other humanitarian immigrants or to decisions about naturalization, but could apply to immigrants seeking to become lawful permanent residents (LPRs). Expectation that they would be/have been “public charges” would be grounds for denying a visa application or adjusting status; that current LPR’s who leave the country for more than 180 days could be denied readmission; current LPR’s who utilized benefits within 5 years after entering the country could be deported.



Please join us at the next meeting of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. to help us resist Trump-Pence-Ryan agenda that flies in the face of our progressive values. We must protect the rights of and demand respect for refugees, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and the LGBQT community. We must stand up to Republican proposals that will take away our health and Social Security benefits and services for children and the elderly. Our meeting will provide an update on local, state, and national efforts to fight back policies, laws, executive orders, and cabinet appointments that take away our rights, erode our democracy, and benefit the 1% at the expense of the rest of us. Learn how you can get involved and become part of the movement to block Trump’s divisive agenda. We will have break out groups such as protecting rights of the vulnerable, communications, election mobilizing, and lobbying. The meeting will be held on Thursday, February 2 between 7 and 9 pm at the DeSales Center, 309 Genesee St. Utica. It is across the street from the Munson-Williams Proctor Institute in Downtown Utica. Parking is available next to the building. Thank you for your support.


Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, (NY-22)
512 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515


I pledge to resist Trump’s hate filled agenda.
I pledge to stand up to Trump’s hate filled agenda by actively supporting candidates who will:

Create an economy that works for EVERY person, not just the super-rich and corporations

Overhaul our criminal justice system with the goal of ending mass incarceration of Black, brown and poor individuals

Make massive investments in green energy and other infrastructure to mitigate the effects of climate change

Fight for policies that dismantle structural racism, sexism and economic inequality

Become a member at this link:


We applaud the Senator’s work in opposing the Trump administration and urge him to continue his efforts! Please find below his statement:
After the first week of the Trump presidency it’s clear our country is at a cross roads. In his first week in office the president has stomped over our proud American tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees, trafficked in alternative facts, and is attempting to fill his cabinet with billionaires and bankers. What kind of country do we want to be: one that helps the middle class and those struggling to get there or one that further rigs the system in favor of the special interests?

The people that the president has nominated to serve in his cabinet will have incredible power over millions of Americans and in shaping what kind of country we are going to be.
I’ve made it very clear I will vote NO on nominees DeVos (education), Tillerson (state) and Sessions (attorney general). Nothing will change that, and while I will continue to demand that each nominee issue a public statement on his or her views of President Trump’s Muslim Ban, I will vote against nominees who will be the very worst of this anti-immigrant, anti-middle-class, billionaires’ club cabinet. Rep Mick for Budget Director, Rep Tom Price for Health and Human Services, Steve Mnuchin for Treasury, Scott Pruitt for EPA and Andy Puzder for Labor have repeatedly shown they will not put the American People or the Laws of our nation first, and I will vote against their confirmations.


Members of Congress are debating a repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and major cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and other health coverage programs. We know consumers are Mulvaney looking for ways to get involved in the fight for health care.

Here is what you can do this week:
Ongoing: Tell your elected officials to #ProtectOurCare. Call-in at (866) 426-2631.
Ongoing: Share what quality, affordable health coverage means to you. If you or a loved one has benefited from the ACA, please share your story with us. Please call 315-725=0974 or email



Thursday, Feb 2, Noon-1:00 PM
outside Senator Schumer’s district office (100 S. Clinton St.), map

Facebook Event
DETAILS: On January 24, President Donald Trump signed two executive orders calling for the approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, owned by Energy Transfer Partners and TransCanada, respectively.

We can’t let Trump’s anti-environmental agenda threaten our water, air, food, undermine civil rights and commit our planet to climate chaos.

Join in the resistance to fight back.

Join us in a Statewide Day of Action On February 2nd to give Senator Schumer a message – our environment, our health and our right to clean air and water are not for sale.

As Senate Minority Leader and the highest-ranking Democrat, Schumer must lead the charge to resist Trump’s anti-environmental agenda and block his disastrous Cabinet appointments.

February 2nd 12pm-1pm Senator Schumer’s Syracuse Office – James M. Hanley Federal Building, 100 S Clinton St, Syracuse, NY 13261


Following the devastating actions of President Trump this past week, New Yorkers banded together to stand up for immigrants and refugees. Help us keep the momentum going! With reports that the Trump administration may take even more anti-immigrant actions in the next week, it is more important than ever for us to make our voices heard.
Here are five things you can do in the next five days to stand up and support immigrant and refugee communities:

• ASAP Flood social media with demands to reverse President Trump’s harmful and un-American executive orders and call out New York Congressional Reps who support these orders, like Rep. Peter King and Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island, Rep. Claudia Tenney of Utica, and Rep. Tom Reed of Ithaca. Say thank you to Rep. Grace Meng of Queens for introducing legislation to repeal the ban on refugees.
.@repleezeldin @realDonaldTrump’s Exec Orders are un-American & unconstitutional. I call on you to stand up for what’s right! #NoBanNoWall
.@reppeteking @realDonaldTrump’s EOs are immoral and just wrong. Reverse your position! #NoBanNoWall #OurNY @thenyic
.@claudiatenney @realDonaldTrump’s Exec Orders are wrong! Refugees make your district stronger! #NoBanNoWall #OurNY
.@reptomreed @realDonaldTrump’s Exec Orders are dangerous – Refugees need to be integrated not excluded! #NoBanNoWall #OurNY
Thank you @RepGraceMeng for legislation repealing @realDonaldTrump’s unconstitutional Exec Order #NoBanNoWall #OurNY

• Wednesday: Voice your opposition to unqualified and anti-immigrant nominees, particularly Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions. Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos will be voted on by the full Senate any day now, we need you to call and tweet at moderate Republican senators like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowsi ASAP. We are also standing by for an announcement about a Supreme Court pick tonight. If this individual is outside the mainstream and has voiced unconstitutional xenophobic views, we’ll need to mount resistance immediately.
.@senatorcollins Protect our children’s future – vote NO on @BetsyDeVos for Secretary of Education #NoDevos #OurNY
.@lisamurkowski vote no on @BetsyDeVos – she’s dangerous for our schools, children and country #NoDeVos #OurNY
• Thursday: Donate to immigrant advocacy organizations. The NYIC and our members need your support now more than ever.
• Friday: Join us for Jummah prayer at JFK Airport, standing in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors, those detained in airports across the US, and those unable to fly home. We will circulate further details, but plan to arrive by 11:45 a.m. outside the Terminal 4 Arrivals Hall.
• Saturday: Host a postcard party! Social media is great, but handwritten letters have a much greater impact. Invite family and friends over to tell your representatives that you demand justice for immigrant communities. Messages can be as short as a sentence or two about recent executive orders, pending nominees, and why the first two weeks of the Trump presidency don’t represent the values of America. Click here to find address of your congress person.
We at the CNYCIA are so grateful for your support, and for everyone in our great State who believes in opportunity & justice for all. This is Our New York.



Please join us in Albany this Friday to organize a statwide coalition to fight back against Trump’s attack on health care and safety net programs! We will have a van from Utica. Please RSVP 315-725-0974 or

With our new President & new Congress – all the advancements that we have fought long and hard for over the past 50 years are under attack.

That is why we are reminding you to reach out to your organizational leaders in every region in the state to join us for a vital statewide planning meeting to help organize to stop the attacks on our health care, vital social safety net programs and much more.

It is important that we have representation from each of our targeted Congressional district so that we can form effective regional teams to fight back

Join Forces to Resist the New D.C. Agenda
Friday – Feb3 – 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM
1199/SEIU Office – 155 Washington Ave, Albany

We Have Joined Forces – Renew the American Promise & NY Health Care for America Now

Other Sponsors : Center for Independence of the Disabled in NY, Citizen Action of NY, Fiscal Policy Institute, Hunger Action Network, Metro Health Care for All, NY Statewide Senior Action, NYS Alliance for Retired Americans ,1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers, Central NY Citizens in Action

Commentary: Signs Suggest Trump Budget Will Feature Unprecedented Cuts Plus Large Tax Cuts Favoring Wealthy
In a new commentary, Robert Greenstein outlines the mounting signs suggesting that the forthcoming Trump budget may contain cuts harsher than those in recent House GOP budgets, which themselves would have slashed programs and services across much of the budget.
The budget Republicans approved last spring, for example, contained a stunning $6 trillion in domestic cuts over ten years, shrinking spending outside of Social Security, Medicare, and interest payments to just 7 percent of gross domestic product. That’s less than three-fifths its average level over the past 40 years and a little more than half its average level under President Reagan.
Yet those unprecedented cuts may not be enough for the Trump Administration.
Reports say the Trump team is meeting with career staff to assemble a budget with $10 trillion or more in savings, of which about $8.5 trillion would be cuts to programs outside defense.

The forthcoming Trump budget is likely to represent the largest Robin Hood-in-reverse proposal from any President in modern history, shifting substantial amounts of income from people of modest means to those who already possess enormous wealth.
Read the full commentary here:


New York Must Block the Trump Attack on Immigrants, Women & Religious Groups

• Protect all immigrant families and kids by making New York a sanctuary state

• Block any registry of people based on their religion or ethnicity

• Ensure affordable access to abortion, contraception, and reproductive health care for all New Yorkers by passing the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act

• Offer driver’s licenses to all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status by requiring the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a license to any New Yorker who can establish state residency

• Extend the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) to the entire state and ensure that no New York family will be torn apart simply because they cannot afford counsel


New York Must Fight Income Inequality. New York Must Block the Trump Tax Breaks for Corporations and Billionaires and Invest in New York’s Communities

• Expand and extend the millionaires’ tax to capture explosive income gains among the super-rich

• Enact state law to close the carried interest loophole that only benefits hedge fund and private equity billionaires

• Create new state tax provisions to recapture the resources lost by the unfair and unnecessary Trump/GOP tax cuts for the rich. We must reinvest in the needs of New Yorkers, including public education and property tax relief

• Enact new state surcharge on corporations that pay their CEOs over 100 times more than their lowest-paid employees

• Re-enact New York state’s “Robin Hood Tax” or stock transfer tax

• Tax CEO bonuses and exorbitant pay packages designed to game federal tax laws



New York Must Block the Trump & Billionaire-Driven Attacks on Public Education, Health Care & the Safety Net

• New York must invest in our local public schools and fulfill the $4.3 billion owed to our neediest schools as a result of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity

• New York must block the privatization of public schools by expanding community schools, expanding access to pre-K and childcare services

• Mandate training and education for all school staff in anti-racist, culturally responsive practices

• Fully fund a high-quality, free SUNY and CUNY education for all state residents including undocumented immigrants and provide financial aid to undocumented students at private colleges

• Stop the Trump/GOP attack on Medicaid, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. Ensure essential medical benefits and services continue for all New Yorkers and that New York moves forward on a Universal Health Care for All system in New York

• Fully fund the END AIDS 2020 platform

• Provide quality, affordable long-term care and support for seniors and people with disabilities who wish to live at home with dignity

• Enact stronger rent laws to protect New Yorkers living in rent stabilized apartments, and end

big developer tax breaks for creating luxury developments

• End homelessness and extreme poverty in New York by:

• Fully funding 20,000 units of supportive housing statewide. The Governor

and legislative leaders need to sign the M.O.U. releasing $1.9 billion for supportive and affordable housing

• Enacting the Home Stability Support Plan to stop eviction and house homeless New Yorkers.

• Properly fund public housing throughout the state


New York Must Block the Trump Attack on Workers and Unions

• Block corporate and Trump efforts to roll-back worker protections through strategies like using forced arbitration, legalizing the misclassification of platform economy workers, and defunding enforcement agencies

• Strengthen retaliation protections to encourage workers to blow the whistle on abuse and to protect workers from retaliation when they do come forward

• Empower state agencies to perform proactive enforcement in high violation industries and substantially increase resources for complaint-driven enforcement

• Finish the work of establishing one fair wage in New York State, by eliminating the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers and getting to $15 an hour for those regions of the state left behind by the 2016 deal

• Stop the failed strategy of subsidizing corporations to “create” jobs

• Invest directly in public jobs that build our state’s social and physical infrastructure

• Expand paid family leave programs

• Pass a statewide paid sick days law

• Enact fair hours laws and safe staffing laws

• Invest in New Yorkers from early education to higher education and support worker-owned businesses statewide

• Ensure the right to collectively bargain and strengthen unions in New York




New York Must Block the Trump Attack on Our Environment & Our Climate

• Enact the Climate and Community Protection Act (S8005 / A10342)

• Stop all fossil fuel infrastructure buildout

• Pass an interstate compact of carbon taxes and rebates to support clean energy and help families using clean energy

• Work with California and other reality-based states and cities to join the Paris Climate Accord

• Defend and expand New York State actions against climate polluters, including the Attorney General’s investigation of ExxonMobil

• Establish a state constitutional right to clean, safe water for all New Yorkers

New York Must Block the Trump & Billionaire Attack on Our Democracy

• Enact public financing of elections by establishing a small donor matching system for campaigns

• Close the LLC loophole, lower contribution limits for candidates and committees and limit transfers between committees to implement a check on how much money special interests and large donors can use to influence elections

• Make voting easier and more accessible by establishing same-day registration, early voting, mail-in voting, automatic registration and 100% accessible polling places

• Restore the right to vote for New Yorkers on parole


New York Must Block the Trump Attack on Criminal Justice Reforms

• Enact a package of strong police accountability measures that includes ending solitary confinement, and closing Rikers Island Correctional Facility and Attica Prison

• Require statewide reporting on deaths in police-involved incidents and enforcement of violations and misdemeanors, including racial, gender and other demographics

• Ensure fair administration of justice, eliminate racial disparities and expand prevention and rehabilitation by overhaulingthe criminal justice system from pre-arrest to community re-entry

• Reduce the number of prisons, and number of people incarcerated, by reducing sentences through parole, bail and sentencing reform

• Raise the age of criminal responsibility and youth offender status

• Enact state law to protect domestic violence survivors facing prosecution for taking action to protect themselves and their families

• Ensure NY meets its constitutional obligation by fully funding indigent legal defense and passing a speedy trial law to address court processing delays and reduce people being held in pre-trial detention

• Ban racially discriminatory arrests for ticketable violations and end racially biased, costly and unconstitutional low-level marijuana arrests

• Empower those most harmed by the criminal injustice system by restoring the voting rights, labor rights, and eligibility to Tuition Assistance Program for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people

• End the school-to-prison pipeline. End arrest and criminal summons in schools for all non-criminal violations and misdemeanors by passing the Safe and Supportive Schools Act


Citizen Action is a member of NY ReNews, a statewide coalition working on energy democracy and climate justice.

We’re not even a week in, and the Trump administration has already begun ignoring climate science, dialing back progress, and pushing our planet toward the brink of catastrophe. In the face of federal denialism, it’s up to the great state of New York to help lead the fight to save the world.
Join thousands of other New Yorkers who are calling on Governor Cuomo to defy Trump and make climate change an urgent top priority.
Call his office today at : 1-518-474-8390

How? He can start by including the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) in the state’s 2017 budget. The CCPA tackles climate pollution in all sectors, while getting frontline communities the resources they need to weather the climate storm, and instituting key labor protections that will ensure good, family-supporting jobs in the renewable energy economy. Unfortunately, we didn’t see anything near this kind of ambition in the budget proposal Cuomo unveiled on January 17th.

Just 10 days after Trump’s inauguration, help us make sure we’re setting New York on a course to lead the nation in tackling climate change. Our futures depend on it.



The New York Immigration Coalition, along with The Fiscal Policy Institute and the New York City Office of Comptroller Scott Stringer, elected officials and advocates unveiled new legislation and analysis in favor of granting driver’s licenses to Undocumented New Yorkers.
New analyses from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and the Fiscal Policy Institute find significant social and economic benefits of extending driving privileges to undocumented immigrants. The analyses found that the policy change would help support immigrant families by expanding job opportunities, while modestly lowering insurance premiums for all state drivers and improving public safety on roadways, with the fiscal costs of implementing the proposal more than offset by added revenues. The new legislation will be introduced with full support of the Green Light NY: Driving Together Coalition, a statewide coalition of immigrant organizations who have been advocating for licenses as a way to better protect and integrate immigrant communities in New York. The new bill also provides significant data security protections to push back on overreaching federal administration.





A coalition of human services nonprofits from across New York State were joined by Assemblymembers Fahy, Gunther, Hevesi, and Rosenthal, as well as Senators Amedore and Hamilton, to call on Governor Cuomo and the legislature to strengthen the nonprofit human services sector through smart and efficient investment and systemic changes. The Executive Budget, while acknowledging the importance of human services, provided little in the way of strengthening the organizations and the sector responsible for supporting and lifting families out of poverty.

The Coalition, which is comprised of nearly 350 organizations across New York State, is part of the statewide Restore Opportunity Now campaign, which seeks to address sector health issues like fully funded contracts, competitive salaries and benefits for nonprofits needed to recruit and retain high quality staff, and program funding to meet the growing needs of New Yorkers.

The advocacy campaign amplifies a recent report highlighting the need for human services in New York communities. In many cities, child poverty exceeds 50 percent, and food security and housing continue to be pressing issues. Despite these statistics, spending in the human services sector in New York has decreased by an average of 1.3 percent per year since 2011.

Human services are the State’s first line of defense in combating pressing issues like poverty, but rising costs coupled with ever present needs and lack of investment have undermined the health of the sector, which is now at a breaking point. Fifty-eight percent of providers in the state in 2014 reported that they were not meeting the need in their communities. Only 7 percent reported that their State contracts covered the full cost of providing services. Recruitment and retention of qualified staff is also a major challenge, due to low levels of compensation, often set by government.

The Coalition is calling on the governor and legislature to take the first steps this budget session to strengthen the sector by funding the minimum wage for direct human services contracts and Medicaid reimbursements, implementing an funding a 15% floor for indirect, and continuing investment in the Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Improvement Program. These steps would ensure that human services providers continue to deliver essential services efficiently and effectively.

Coalition members will also participate in an advocacy day today, meeting with more than 20 Assemblymembers and Senators.

“Our investments in human services aid vulnerable populations, help uplift communities, and extend ladders of opportunity to the next generation of New York leaders. We must boost our investment in this critical sector because nurturing healthy human services makes for healthier, higher quality of life communities for all New Yorkers,” said Senator Jesse Hamilton (D).
“As we stare down the barrel of a Trump Administration, it is imperative that New York invest in the future of children and families by fully funding non-profit organizations across the State,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF). “Non-profits often act as a safety net in many communities where residents struggle with homelessness and poverty. We must do everything possible to insulate New Yorkers from the coming cuts at the federal level, and funding the State’s non-profits will go a long way in protecting the most vulnerable over the next four years.”

“Like New Yorkers across the State, we are very excited about many of the initiatives put forward by the Governor in the State of the State. There are over 800,000 hardworking New Yorkers in the not for profit sector who will be involved in the implementation of many of these new initiatives including people in the mental health workforce. We need the continued support of the Governor and the Legislature to help keep funding whole for this workforce by supporting salary and benefits that allow nonprofits to recruit and retain a high quality staff,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO of Mental Health Association in NYS.

“We are here to advocate for investment in some of the most important people in New York state,” said William T. Gettman, Jr., CEO, Northern Rivers Family of Services. “Our not-for-profit human services workers are responsible for helping the children of today grow into the leaders of tomorrow who will help keep New York a great place to live,

Madison County Democratic Committee
February 2, 2017, 7:00PM

Colgate Inn
Hamilton, NY

Guest Speaker: Nancy Ries, PhD
Professor of Anthropology and Peace and Conflict Studies
Colgate University

“Trump and Putin: Kindred Autocrats or Actual Collaborators”

Community Events

I, too, am America: A Song of Race and Language
Opening Reception, Fri, Feb 3, 6-8pm, Community Folk Art Center, 805 E. Genesse Street, Syracuse
Panel Discussion/ Artist Talk, Sat, Feb 4, 2017, Community Folk Art Center, 805 E. Genesse Street, Syracuse.
This exhibition will allow for direct communication through interactive sculpture; to catch a glimpse into other’s experiences with candid photography and subject statements; and it will invite the viewer to observe social benchmarks of our past with poignant collages and prints.

A Place of Rage Screening
Wednesday, Feb 15, 7:00 – 9:00 pm. ArtRage Gallery
A Place of Rage is an exuberant award-winning documentary film by filmmaker Pratibha Parmar. The film will be introduced by Marcelle Haddix, Chair, Reading & Language Arts, Syracuse University. A celebration of the contributions and achievements of prominent African American women, the film features Angela Davis, June Jordan and Alice Walker. Within the context of civil rights, black power, lesbian and gay rights and the feminist movement, the trio reassesses how women like Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer revolutionized American society and the world generally.


Tue. Feb. 7 – a Childcare/Pre-K lobby day AND a state-level Health Care for All NY lobby day

Feb. 13 – Environment Budget Hearing Action on Climate Justice (NY Renews) – (

February 16 – Raise the Age Call In Day 518-455-2800
I am calling to urge you to pass comprehensive ‘Raise the Age’ legislation in the state budget due April 1st. New York is one of only two states that prosecutes all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults for any offense, no matter what. This has been proven to jeopardize public safety and does not match what we know about how to help young people get back on track. I urge you to support Raise the Age this session and to do the whole package! Thank you.

President’s Week: February 20-25 – Congressional Recess!!! (Health Care focus)
Please contact your member of Congress to stop ACA repeal. Please call your Representative to tell him/her to Say no to ACA repeal, cuts to Medicaid/Medicare/SNAP/Housing and federal corporate tax breakes. We are planning many events during this time.

Tue, March 7 – Raise the Age Lobby Day – Save the Date

Also: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 – Driver Licenses for ALL NY, Albany Day
Join for a day of legislative visits to speak up for licenses for all in NY.
Send an email to to reserve your seat.
For almost a year, we have been building community support and leadership among our members to win driver licenses for all immigrants in NY.
We will be part of a Broad Coalition of Elected Officials and Advocates that will unveil new legislation and analysis In favor of granting driver’s licenses to undocumented New


April 23-25: People’s Action “Rise Up” Founding Convention
Purpose: To publicly launch People’s Action as a political home for our affiliates, as a movement leader for our allies, and as a powerful counterpoint to the politics of white nationalism / fascism that has hijacked our democracy.

April 29th – People’s Climate March II in DC

Justice Works 2017: June 3 & 4 at the Desmond, Albany, New York


Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.
(Utica-Rome Chapter of Citizen Action of New York)
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 411; Utica, NY 13503-0411

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. was developed from the Utica Citizens in Action, a multi-issue public interest association affiliated with Citizen Action of New York. It was founded in 1997 to address critical social, economic and environmental issues facing residents of Oneida, Herkimer, and Madison Counties. Members of our group worked to empower low and moderate income Central New York residents to participate in shaping the policies that affect their lives, such as economic justice, environment, housing, education, economic development, health care, public benefit programs, and consumer issues. Our projects include research and policy development, public education on a wide range of public policy issues, development of educational materials, community outreach and grassroots organizing, coalition development, training, and lobbying. Please join our email list by sending an email to with the subject heading – Join List. We also invite you to become a member of our group and attend our meetings.

\Please Join Us! – Workshop: What Stands Between Us? The Issue of Race in America & our Community

January 25, 2017

Date: Thursday, 1/26/2016 Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Place: Utica Public Library
Second Floor, Gallery
Presented By: Patrick L. Johnson

RSVP: (315) 601-6002

The Workshop is free and open to the public. Light lunch will be served.


This is a workshop that addresses the issue of racism in America and more importantly here in the Mohawk Valley. It will place on Thursday, January 26th at the Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee Street, Utica (Second Floor). Parking is in the rear. We will begin at 9am and end at 3 pm. The purpose of this forum is to raise our awareness about the impact racism has in our lives – even when we may not be aware of it. The presenter will create an atmosphere that will allow all participants to share their experiences and concerns about racism in America. This workshop will afford the participants an opportunity to have an authentic conversation; one that is intended to be enriching and insightful. There will also be opportunities to offer solutions for a better community. One of the primary purposes of this workshop is to heighten our awareness as to how present racism is in the workplace and other areas of our life….even when we may not notice. Many people have not been offered the opportunity to have an honest dialogue about race relations. This is that opportunity.

We will explore what it means to be White, Black, Asian, Latino. What are your experiences given the racial identity that you hold? What stands between us? Although many would say that race relations have gotten better in America, what are the unresolved issues that keep us disconnected? One of the best things we can do for starters is begin to have honest conversations. It’s often what we don’t talk about that often produces polarization.

The participants in this forum will be fueled with new insight that will help them create a warmer and more welcoming work environment. This discussion will be thought provoking and engaging. We will not only gain a better understanding of others, but more importantly ourselves. In doing so, we find genuine ways to connect with people who are different than us, because we have been willing to ask the questions that help bring a better understanding of different groups. This workshop has proven to be an eye opener for many, also liberating and empowering.

This workshop will be unique and a little different from what we are accustomed to in the sense that we are asking the college to create a space for a small group of people FROM the community to join us in this very important discussion. This is done for at least a few reasons:
1. When having a discussion on race, it is critical to have voices, experiences and perspectives that are not a part of MVCC – it brings a different perspective.
2. Because of our internal relationships here at MVCC, it is helpful to have an external, fresh perspective from outsiders so that questions can be asked that we may not have thought about.
3. The more diverse and different professions we have in the room, the more we are able to consider how race impacts different areas of our life. Bringing in outside perspectives and experiences stimulates the discussion and heightens our awareness and aids in our professional growth.

As the Mohawk Valley emerges into a very diverse community, we can no longer afford to put this conversation on the shelf. I invite you to join this important dialogue.

*A light lunch will be served


January 16, 2017



JANUARY 16, 2017


Now celebrating 19 years of community organizing, the Central New York Citizens in Action invites YOU to be part of a movement for progressive change based on shared social values. We believe in educating, advocating, and legislating for the collective good. Join us!

You can view newsletter on:



Community groups are sponsoring a counter-inaugural rally and teach-in entitled: “Say No To Trump’s Agenda: A Unity Rally For A Progressive Future.” It will be held between 1 – 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 21 at the DeSales Center, 309 Genesee St. Utica.

Designed to mobilize Central New York residents against Trump administration policies, the event will include speakers, workshops on issues and organizing, skits, music, films, lunch, networking, and exhibits. The teach-in will discuss the proposed polices of the Trump administration, their impact on local residents, and how persons and groups can fight back against Trump’s agenda.

The rally is free and open to the public. The DeSales Center is across the street from the Munson-Williams Proctor Institute in Downtown Utica. Parking is available next to the building.

Sponsors include Citizen Action of New York, Central New York Citizens in Action, Move-On, and other local, state, and national groups.

The Utica event is one of the rallies and protests this week which are planned in hundreds of cities against the inauguration of Donald Trump. The Women’s March on Washington is expected to draw as many as 200,000 attendees.

John Furman, President of the Central New Citizens in Action, stated: “The Counter-Inaugural Rally will help local residents to fight back against the excesses of the Trump administration, while empowering activism and laying the groundwork for a progressive resurgence. We will use this rally to build a community-wide coalition to resist the Trump administration polices such as giving massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, stripping health insurance from millions of Americans, gutting critical climate and consumer regulations, restricting voting and civil rights, and creating a climate of fear, hate, and repression.”

For more information, please call 315-725-0974, email or visit www. or



The Central New York Citizens in Action and our partners are seeking speakers, musicians, actors to perform skits, sound and video equipment, a movie screen, lcd projector, and volunteers to help us hold a counter-inaugural rally to protest Trump policies on Saturday, January 21 between 1 – 5 p.m. at the DeSales Center, 309 Genesee St. Utica. We are having a meeting this Tuesday at the DeSales Center at 7 p.m. to help plan the event. The event will consist of a rally, speakers, workshops on organizing and issues, music, films, potluck lunch, networking, and exhibits. We need your help to organize this event. Please download the attached poster at our web site ( and distribute. Please invite your family, friends, co-workers, clients, and neighbors to this important event.

Here are specific things you can do to help:
1. Bring a dish to share (We need beverages, salads, pizza, paper products, etc.)
2. Set up the hall Friday night at 7 p.m.
3. Make signs opposing Trump and bring them with you either Friday or Saturday.
4. Write a short play that attacks Trump’s policies and provides positive alternatives (Humor is recommended!)
5. Volunteer to perform a skit.
6. Play music and sing protest songs!
7. Suggest films we can show.
8. Invite your friends and families to attend.
9. Make speeches and hold workshops.
10. Make a large pledge of resistance poster so everyone can sign.
11. Encourage your group to bring literature and have a table.
12. Make copies of the event poster and put them up in the community and local colleges.
13. Encourage your group to endorse it.
14. Develop issue positions which we can run off.
15. Provide a financial contribution to help defray costs.
16. Become a member of Citizen Action of New York to continue the struggle!

Please call 315.725.0974 or email to volunteer.
Trump’s First 100 Day agenda includes repealing environmental regulations, Obamacare, and the Dodd-Frank Act, giving the rich and big corporations a huge tax cut, destroying the labor movement, and putting in place a cabinet that doesn’t believe in the Voting Rights Act or public schools or Medicare or the Fair Housing Act. We must join together in solidarity for the protection of our rights, families, health, safety, democracy, and diverse communities. Our goal is to build a community-wide solidarity coalition to resist Trumpism!


Repealing Affordable Care Act, gutting Medicaid and Medicare
would create epic healthcare crisis

On Thursday, January 12, Mayor Robert Palmieri, members of the Utica Common Council, frontline healthcare workers, and members of Citizen Action of New York, ACR Health, and community leaders sounded the alarm about what’s at stake as Donald Trump and Congressional leaders move to eliminate affordable healthcare coverage, including vital Medicaid benefits and services. Tens of millions of children, seniors and working adults including 84,723 residents in New York’s Congressional District 22 will be at risk for losing coverage. Utica area community leaders are calling on Congress to fix what is broken in the healthcare system, and leave in place provisions that have proven to help millions of Americans. Mayor Palmieri and the Utica Common Council will be presenting resolutions urging Congress to not repeal the Affordable Care Act without a plan in place that will ensure access to healthcare for all.

Congressional leaders are rushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a move that would take away health insurance coverage for 30 million Americans, including 24,781 people in Oneida County alone.

According to Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, “No law is perfect, but the Affordable Care Act has had a positive impact in people’s lives. While Congress should look at ways to improve the law, it would be irresponsible to simply repeal it without a plan to provide adequate protection for millions of Americans who depend on the Affordable Care Act for coverage.”
Here’s what’s at stake for Utica, if the ACA is repealed without an immediate replacement:

1. Over 24,000 Oneida County residents will lose coverage by 2019. [Urban Institute]
2. ·
3. 84,723 residents in CD22 will be at risk for losing coverage. This includes thousands with Medicaid coverage, 20,259 with Essential Plan coverage, and 20,219 with private plans purchased through the ACA marketplace.

4. 52 million Americans with pre-existing conditions could be denied health insurance. [Urban Institute]

5. Rolling back Medicaid expansion and block-granting the program could put 72 million low income people, including children, seniors and people with disabilities, in danger of losing health coverage. [Families USA]

6. Hospitals could lose more than $165 billion between 2018 and 2026, leading to an “unprecedented public health crisis.”[Federation of American Hospitals (FHA); American Hospital Association (AHA)]

7. The estimated direct state budget impact of the repeal is $3.7 billion. New York’s counties have been able to use the additional federal Medicaid funding through the Affordable Care Act, which goes to directly to counties and helps to lower property taxes. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act would result in a total loss of $595 million in funding. The fiscal impact for Oneida County will be $4,169,425.

“The chaos that will result from an unnecessarily rushed healthcare repeal means families will be left wondering how to pay medical bills and hospitals will be forced to choose which services to close,” said Bill Phillips, Utica Common Councilor – 5thDistrict. “We need to send a message to Congress that we cannot have these cuts in our community.”

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.

Please Join Us! – Workshop: What Stands Between Us? The Issue of Race in America & our Community
January 26th at the Utica Public Library


Please consider becoming a volunteer on one of our committees of the Central New York Citizens in Action campaign for progressive social change:

• Steering Committee
• Communications (web site, email newsletter, write articles)
• Office (data base, letters, email)
• Community Outreach (speaking to groups, membership)
• Event Set-up (food, posters, sign making, music, theatre)
• Research (conduct research on issues)
• Fundraising (organizing events)
• Emergency Response (organizing people to attend rallies and events)
• Issue committees such as Health care & retirement security
Women’s Rights & Reproductive Rights, Vulnerable communities (refugees, LGBT, racial minorities). Income inequality, social safety net, education and labor rights, Environment, Education
Please contact us at 315-725-0974 or for more information.


Please submit your articles, news items, and calendar listings to

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411 315-725-0974.


January 11, 2017

JANUARY 10, 2017


Now celebrating 19 years of community organizing, the Central New York Citizens in Action invites YOU to be part of a movement for progressive change based on shared social values. We believe in educating, advocating, and legislating for the collective good. Join us!

You can view newsletter on:



ACTION ALERT: Tell Your Representative to #ProtectOurCare

Members of Congress are voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make major cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. Please join the National Call-In Week and tell your Representative to oppose these cuts to health coverage and #ProtectOurCare.
Call (866) 426-2631

The U.S. Congress is back on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. this week and some U.S. Senators and Representatives are already talking about moving ahead with plans to roll back advances in healthcare coverage and gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA). To this we say: Not on our watch! This would put coverage at risk for nearly 30 million people. That’s not a typo. The healthcare of 30 million people is on the line.


Can you make a call to NOW and tell them NOT to repeal the Affordable Care Act?
It’s time to turbocharge our efforts. Momentum is growing across the U.S. to stop the repeal of the ACA; and polls show an overwhelming majority of people disapprove of Republican lawmakers’ plan to repeal it without knowing how they might replace it.

The time to call is now. Many U.S. Senators are starting to realize the implications of this horrible direction and Repealing the ACA without a replacement plan is reckless and dangerous for America’s families and economy! The repeal of the ACA would be devastating to families and would have far-reaching negative financial implications for our communities and nation. Hard-working people across the U.S. have benefited greatly from this new law through improvements such as:
• All new insurance plans are required to cover preventive services at no cost—like check-ups, well-child visits, birth control, cancer screenings, and vaccines.
• People with pre-existing conditions like asthma, cancer, and diabetes can no longer be denied or charged more for coverage.
• People with chronic illnesses no longer face lifetime caps on their benefits that basically cuts off their coverage when they need it most.
• Medicaid has improved and now provides coverage to millions more, including hard-working parents.
A repeal of the ACA will also have a devastating effect on our economy, resulting in a $140 billion loss (yes, billion with a B) in federal funding for healthcare and a loss of 2.6 million jobs across all states in 2019.

We are asking residents who live in the 22nd Congressional District to call Rep. Claudia Tenney Today – 866-426-2631 Toll free Or 202-225-3665 DC office.
Tell her – Please Don’t Take Away our Health Care- Do Not Repeal the Affordable Care Act – 25,000 people in Oneida County will lose their Health Care. Please do not raise the age for Medicare or turn it into a voucher program or cut Medicaid funding to our state. Please Keep your hands off our health care!

We are also asking constituents in CD 21 and CD 24 to make calls as well.

Please see below contact information for your representatives for CD 21, 22, and 24.

Representative Elise Stefanik
21st Congressional District
512 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
DC Phone: (202) 225-4611
DC Fax: (202) 226-0621

Representative John M. Katko
24th Congressional District
1123 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
DC Phone: (202) 225-3701
DC Fax: (202) 225-4042

Representative Claudia Tenney
512 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-3665
Fax: 202-225-1891
New Hartford Office
555 French Rd
New Hartford, NY 13413
Washington, DC Office


WHO: Mayor Rob Palmieri, members of the Utica City Council, community activists and healthcare workers
WHAT: a press conference
WHEN: Thursday January 12 at 3:30 PM
WHERE: Utica City Hall
WHY:Mayor Rob Palmieri and members of the Utica City Council are passing resolutions asking Congress to ensure that people do not lose their healthcare with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They will join together in a press conference on Thursday January 12th at 3:30 at Utica City Hall with healthcare workers and members of the community who will share their story on why people need to keep their health insurance. Please come to this important event.
Please bring signs but limit the messaging to preserving the Affordable Care Act.



Central New York Citizens in Action, the New York State Working Families Party, and the Oneida County Democratic Committee are teaming up to sponsor a series of candidate training workshops to recruit, train, and elect the next generation of progressive leaders. The first session of the Running to Win workshop will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 12 at the Central New York Labor Council, 287 Genesee Street, corner of Dakin Street, Utica. Parking is available in the rear. It is free and open to persons who share progressive values and are interested in running for office or assuming party positions.

“The WFP is seeking progressive champions willing to challenge the status quo and fight for a government that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected. If you are ready to join the fight, and are interested in running for office or helping out a friend, this is a workshop for you,” said Jesse Lenney, Working Families Party Upstate Political Director.

Bill Thickstun, Chair, Oneida County Democratic Committee, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Citizens in Action and the Working Families Party on this project. Donald Trump and the Republican Congress are launching an attack on all the great progressive achievements of the past 80 years–Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, civil rights, environmental conservation, progressive taxation, worker and consumer protections. We need every voice and every pair of hands to join in resisting their efforts.”

Running to Win is part of the WFP’s candidate farm team training program that arms progressives with the strategies, tools, and skills needed to win elections. Topics include fundraising, canvassing, budgeting, speeches, planning, and targeting voters; recruiting volunteers; field activities; message development; persuasion; and Election Day plans.

“These trainings will give grassroots activists in Central New York the tools they need to create positive change in their communities and create a bottom-up infrastructure of progressive leaders,” said John Furman, one of the leaders of the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Working Families Party. “Our goal is to identify, train, and support grassroots activists in the skills and strategies to create a progressive future for our community and nation as well as help them manage successful campaigns or run for office themselves.”

For more information, please email or call 315.725.0974.


Please consider becoming a volunteer on one of our committees of the Central New York Citizens in Action campaign for progressive social change:

• Steering Committee
• Communications (web site, email newsletter, write articles)
• Office (data base, letters, email)
• Community Outreach (speaking to groups, membership)
• Event Set-up (food, posters, sign making, music, theatre)
• Research (conduct research on issues)
• Fundraising (organizing events)
• Emergency Response (organizing people to attend rallies and events)
• Issue committees such as Health care & retirement security
Women’s Rights & Reproductive Rights, Vulnerable communities (refugees, LGBT, racial minorities). Income inequality, social safety net, education and labor rights, Environment, Education
Please contact us at 315-725-0974 or for more information.


Please join people from all over the nation who will be coming to Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2017 to participate in a massive demonstration along Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day.

Buses Leaving Central New York

Utica Bus

Utica buses are currently filled. To be placed on waiting list, please send an email to We suggest that people should check out the buses from Oneonta and Syracuse which have seats available.

Oneonta Bus – stops in Binghamton –call Eileen Andrews: 607 226 7994
Women’s March on Washington Bus trip. Leaving: Oneonta 1am, Norwich 2AM Binghamton 3AM $80 / person. Payment check or Paypal. For more information and to reserve your seat 607 226 7994.

Syracuse Bus – We are departing Syracuse around 2:00 AM Friday and departing DC to return to Syracuse Saturday night.
$75 – $125 Sliding Scale (Paying more helps others participate)
Scholarships available for those who cannot afford the $75.
email or call (315) 412-1485.


Designed to inaugurate hope and stand up to the Trump Administration, the Utica Counter-Inaugural Rally/Teach In will be held between 1 – 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 21 at the DeSales Center, Inc., 309 Genesee St. Utica. The event will consist of a rally and a march, workshops on organizing and issues, music, films, posters, speakers, potluck lunch, networking, and exhibits. We need help to organize this event. People can perform music, hold workshops, suggest films, make signs and posters, help to publicize the event, make speeches, act in skits, face painting for kids, and bring a dish to share. Please call 315.725.0974 or email to volunteer.


Senator Al Franken Senate Judiciary Committee
General Counsel Joshua Riley Featured Speaker

The New York State Working Families Party will host its fourth annual fundraiser on Thursday, January 26 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at The Stief, 618 Varick Street, Utica.

The keynote speaker will be Joshua Riley who has worked in Congress as a Staff Assistant to Congressman Maurice Hinchey, a legal advisor on Senator Ted Kennedy’s Labor and Pensions Committee Staff, and most recently as General Counsel to Senator Al Franken on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He will talk about the importance of protecting working families’ interests during the 115th Congress, where Republicans will control both chambers and the White House. Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi and Mayor Robert Palmieri of Utica will also speak.

Hosted by the Herkimer-Oneida-Madison Counties Working Families Party Chapter, the Winter Cocktail Party will celebrate 18 years of progressive victories on the local, state, and national levels. Tickets are $125 and two for $200 (WFP enrolled voters and regular monthly contributors can qualify for special pricing.) Tickets may be purchased by contacting John Furman (315-725-0974), Jesse Lenney (585-414-4274),, online at or by sending a check made payable to “Working Families” to: Working Families, P.O. Box 20498, Rochester, NY 14602.

Special event sponsor opportunities include: Chair Level – $1,250 (8 tickets), Champion Level – $1,000 (7 tickets), Leader Level – $750 (6 tickets), Activist Level – $500 (4 tickets), Friend Level – $350 (3 tickets). More information on the event can be found at:

Founded in New York in 1998 by a coalition of progressive unions, community organizations, and activists, the Working Families Party’s goal is to use electoral politics and issue campaigns to win concrete victories for working people. More information can be found at: .

With chapters in ten states and a supporter-base that spans the nation, the Working Families Party has won public policies that make a difference in the lives of working families, from paid sick days laws and minimum wage increases to reforms to criminal justice laws and policing practices to wins on student debt and environmental protection. The WFP’s progressive candidates’ Pipeline is recruiting, training and electing the next generation of progressive leaders.


Please submit your articles, news items, and calendar listings to

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411 315-725-0974.


January 6, 2017


Utica Counter-Inaugural Rally, CNY Contingent to March on
Washington, Candidate Training Planned

A coalition of local, state, and national organizations announced today that they are launching the Campaign of Resistance against the Trump Agenda in Central New York. Among the groups are Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., Citizen Action of New York, Public Citizen, Working Families Party, Central New York Solidarity Coalition, Cornhill Community for Change, and MoveOn.

Speakers at the news conference and rally today said that residents of Central New York will be hurt by proposed Trump policies.

✓ Many Central New York senior and disabled residents rely upon basic safety net programs which are expected to be slashed. Medicaid is likely to be turned into a block grant to states and cut deeply. Medicare is likely to be privatized and replaced with vouchers; Affordable Care Act will be repealed. SNAP/Food Stamps will be turned into block grants and funding will be sharply reduced.

✓ Rates of poverty and unemployment are higher in Upstate New York than other parts of the country. Tax and budget policies that favor the 1% at the expense of the rest of us will be put into effect, increasing inequality and condemning many to low wage jobs without benefits.

✓ Small businesses, farms, and working families are the engines for economic growth in our region. Huge giveaways to corporations will hurt small business and increase taxes for the middle class.

✓ The Trump infrastructure proposal will likely be a massive tax subsidy for private sector entities that will, for example, build a road and then own it/charge tolls on it. This will put a cost burden on struggling households and take away public control over infrastructure like water, energy, and transportation systems.

✓ The economic revival of Utica, where one in four residents is an immigrant, is threatened by Trump’s deportation proposals. Immigrants, including 700,000 “Dreamers” (young people who have temporary legal status under the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program) are threatened with deportation.

More than 40 people attended the news conference today. Representatives indicated that they are planning to hold the following actions to block Trump’s proposed policies:

1) Designed to inaugurate hope and stand up to the Trump Administration, the
Utica Counter-Inaugural Rally/Teach In will be held between 1 – 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 21 at the DeSales Center, Inc., 309 Genesee St. Utica. The event will consist of a rally, workshops on organizing and issues, music, films, speakers, potluck lunch, networking, and exhibits.

2) Central New York Citizens in Action and other groups are helping to organize buses from Clinton, Syracuse, and Binghamton to take residents to Washington, D.C. for Inauguration Day protests. Interested persons should call all 315-725-0974 or email

3) A community meeting sponsored by Central New York Citizens in Action will be held between 6 – 8 p.m. on Monday, January 9 to plan future activities, organize committees, and recruit volunteers.

4) On January 12, the first of a series of workshops will be held to identify and train progressive candidates for local party and political office Local groups are seeking progressive champions willing to challenge the status quo and fight for a government that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected. The Running to Win series is part of the Working Families Party candidate farm team training program that arms progressives with the strategies, tools, and skills needed to win elections. Topics include fundraising, canvassing, budgeting, speeches, and planning.

5) Local actions will be planned for January 12 to oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is seeking local citizens to provide stories of how they and their families have been helped by the Affordable Care Act and other health insurance programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. Persons interested should complete a survey at

6) Days of action to protest the Medicare privatization, weakening the EPA and the National Labor Relations Board, slashing the Dodd-Frank Law and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, expanding private for-profit charter schools, privatizing government functions and deporting immigrants are in the process of being planned for the next several months.

7) The Central New York Citizen in Action, along with its partners, will be conducting research to document the impact of proposed Trump policies on the lives of Central New York residents and to propose alternative policies that put people first. Reports showing the loss of funding and services will be provided to the public, media, and elected officials.

8) The groups are deploying a rapid response team of citizen volunteers to hold Upstate New York members of Congress accountable, monitor cabinet appointments, appropriations, and legislation, and act as a watchdog for the interests of working people. They will be mobilizing constituents to make newly-elected Representative Claudia Tenney (R-C-22) as well as Representatives John Katko (R-24) and Elise Stefanik (R-21) aware of how Trump policies will hurt Central New York.

Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Director, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign, said: “We believe in a nation that is of, for and by the people. But President-elect Trump has shown his administration will be the opposite – he has proposed to fill his Cabinet with corporate CEOs, billionaires and big donors. We will join coalitions like this one in Central New York that are forming throughout our nation to resist the Trump’s administration’s corporate agenda, which will put profits over the planet and its people.”

Paul Lomeo of Central New York Citizens in Action stated: “We are the vocal majority that will stand up to defend American values against the radical agenda of a reckless and vindictive President and an extremist Congress. We are the Resistance.  We accept the electoral laws that made a man chosen by a minority of voters President of the United States. However, we will fully exercise our Constitutional rights to protest his policies and educate voters on why we believe those policies are so wrong.  CNY Citizen Action will serve as the organizer of this broad coalition of people. We have many concerns about the damage that awaits us. We cannot stand by idly.  The time for mourning is over. Now, we resist and organize.”

Kari Procopio, local women’s rights advocate and member of Central New York Citizens in Action, called out lawmakers like Tenney to abandon partisan politics and support women, minorities, and the working class. “Tenney’s track record as our state representative proves she is out of touch with the real issues facing constituents,” said Procopio. “Our Campaign of Resistance doesn’t end with Trump. We will press Tenney to stand against his dangerous agenda and stand up for women’s health, equal pay for equal work, raising the minimum wage, and policies that would benefit working women and families.”

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is a multi-issue grassroots advocacy organization affiliated with Citizen Action of New York. More information regarding the regional Campaign of Resistance against the Trump Agenda can be obtained through calling 315-725-0974, emailing, or at the following web sites:
Twitter: @CNYACT


December 27, 2016



Now more than ever, we need to stand up for diversity and tolerance. We need to stand together for those who are at the greatest risk of racism, sexism, bigotry, and violence under this new administration.

During the recent national election campaign, there were many racist, misogynistic, and bigoted remarks made, fueling a climate of fear and hatred. Many local residents, particularly people of Arabic decent, Muslim faith, Asian-American, African-American, women, immigrants, disabled, and LGTBQ are concerned about their safety, feel vulnerable and under attack.

The Central New York Citizens in Action Inc. is appalled at the growing acceptance of hate speech and hate behavior. Moreover, we condemn the decline of civility during the recent campaign and what it could mean for the democratic process.


Since the election, there has been a significant increase in hate crimes. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported “867 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the United States in the 10 days after the November 8 election.”

Our community is known internationally as a diverse and tolerant community that has welcomed refugees from many nations. One in every four residents of the City of Utica is an immigrant or refugee. Our region has also been historically a national leader in the peace, civil rights, labor, women’s, and abolitionist movements.

We need to send a loud and clear message that is not acceptable to engage in bigoted and hate speech or harassment in our community. It never has been, and it never will be.

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is organizing a news conference in January to urge the Utica Common Council to support a resolution declaring Utica a hate-free zone. We need your help in supporting this resolution and enacting similar resolutions for other local governments. Another topic for discussion will be reinstituting the City of Utica Human Relations Commission. Please join us for a planning meeting at noon on Thursday, December 29 at the Tramontane Cafe, 1105 Lincoln Ave., Utica, NY 13502 (second floor) to talk about this important action to defend human rights in our community and the United States. Food will be available for purchase.

We are seeking organizations and individuals to endorse this resolution. A draft copy of the resolution will be presented at the meeting for discussion.

Please let us know you can attend or would like to get involved in this important action by contacting us at 315-725-0974 or For more information,

Photo credit:  Sylvia de Swaan

Image credit:



#TakeTrumpOn: CNY Residents Speak Out Against Trump’s Climate Rollbacks, Urge Cuomo to Lead with State Budget

December 22, 2016

dsc_0533-copy-1Climate Denying President-Elect a Direct Threat to CNY

President-elect Donald Trump has announced an oil tycoon as the nation’s top diplomat, as well as climate deniers to lead federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Energy Department. Today, Utica, Syracuse, and Central New York residents rallied against Trump’s anti-climate agenda, and called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to take Trump on.

At a news conference today, local representatives of NYRenews, a coalition of over 100 labor, community, and enviro groups across the state, came together to urge the Governor to stand up to Trump and show true climate leadership by including the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) provisions in his 2017 budget.

Few regions have felt the devastation of climate change more than Central New York, with severe weather patterns causing flooding and droughts, which endanger lives, undermine the economy, and expose the state’s aging infrastructure. Additionally, Utica, Syracuse, Rome, and surrounding communities have become the epicenter of a booming fossil fuel industry, as volatile oil cars pass homes, schools, playgrounds, and more, fouling the air we breathe and contributing to climate change, on their way to the global marketplace.



The coalition is urging people to contact Governor Cuomo as soon as possible to ensure that his upcoming state budget includes the Climate and Community Protection Act. People can call his office at 518-474-8390, or sign onto NYRenews online petition at

Representatives pointed out that the enactment of CCPA will have direct benefits for Syracuse, Utica, and Central New York residents. Groups strongly support the green jobs piece of the legislation which will simultaneously help revive Upstate New York’s struggling economy and protect our environment. It will create workforce development opportunities for struggling communities, create new locally owned businesses, and develop living wage jobs. It attaches fair labor standards to all renewable energy jobs associated with projects receiving state funding. That means that jobs in the new energy economy won’t be low-wage jobs, but high-wage, family-supporting jobs.

Local advocates also said that the CCPA will help to tighten regulations on dangerous oil transport trains put Central New York and Mohawk Valley families at risk. New York State has quickly become one of the largest transportation hubs for crude oil in the country. Billions of gallons of volatile crude oil travel through upstate cities like Utica, Syracuse, Rome, and Albany on a daily basis. The CCPA establishes a “climate test” for all state energy decision-making, ensuring that every decision aligns with the goal of decarbonizing New York’s entire economy by 2050. In the future, polluting projects like the oil trains would have a very hard time getting past this test.

United University Professions Vice President Jamie Dangler, Ph.D., said: “Scientists have demonstrated that climate change is real. Donald Trump denies this, which makes it imperative for New York State to become a leader in fighting climate change and developing a new clean energy economy. We applaud the steps Governor Cuomo has already taken to move us forward and we stand ready, as a union that represents workers higher education, to stand with leaders in state government, other labor unions, and community groups around the state in support of the Climate and Community Protection Act.”

Dr. Ken Mazlen, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, SUNY Poly, said: “Global warming was identified in 1975. Fossil fuel funded denial has left us facing an absolutely urgent threat to humanity. Since there will no support at the Federal level, it is up to the States to take action. New York State is a natural leader for the nation.”

John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizen in Action, Inc. (local chapter of the Central New York Citizens in Action, said: “Climate change is here, it’s hurting our families and neighbors, and if New York doesn’t step up to the plate, things are about to get much worse for our region. Governor Cuomo cannot wait to see what Mr. Trump will do – we already know that he plans to renege on the Paris Climate Agreement, and to roll back clean air and clean water protections to benefit the fossil fuel industry. New York has the strongest climate action legislation in the country. It’s bipartisan, and its focus on green jobs in communities like Utica holds enormous potential for our environment and our economy. If Cuomo truly wants to be America’s anti-Trump, then he’s got to step up and get bolder on climate. Trump’s federal agenda on climate is a disaster and represents an emergency for all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. It’s up to NY to lead in this moment of crisis. Governor Cuomo, it’s critical that you take Trump on and make New York the leader our country needs!”

The Climate and Community Protection Act
The Climate and Community Protection Act bill takes Governor Cuomo’s climate and clean energy commitments – including generating 50% of New York’s electricity from clean, renewables sources by 2030 – and places them into law. It also provides unprecedented investments for front line communities like those found throughout the region who are bearing the brunt of climate change already. And it grows the green economy while ensuring a Just Transition to protect workers as the shift is made away from fossil fuels towards energy sources such as wind and solar.

The bill has an unprecedented level of support from 100+ organizations which comprise the NYRenews coalition. It overwhelmingly passed the state Assembly in 2016, and has the support of a bipartisan majority of all state Senators.




NYRenews is a broad coalition of more than 50 community-based organizations, environmental justice groups, labor unions, faith groups, business leaders, and other advocates. NY Renews’ goal is to minimize the way all New Yorkers feel the effects of climate change through a comprehensive statewide switch to 100% clean renewable energy by 2050.

Members include the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., New York Working Families Organization, Alliance for a Green Economy, Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, Buffalo Coalition for Economic Justice, Catskill Mountainkeeper Citizen Action of NewYork, Communications Workers of America, Environmental Advocates of NY, NY State Nurses Association, NY State United Teachers, People’s Climate Movement NY, People of Albany United for Safe Energy – PAUSE, PUSH Buffalo, Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, Sierra Club, Syracuse United Neighbors, and Sustainable Tompkins.

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is a multi-issue grassroots advocacy organization affiliated with Citizen Action of New York. For more information, please contact the Central New York Citizens in Action at 315-725-0974 or or visit


December 20, 2016

The Central New York Citizens in Action (the new chapter of Citizen Action of New York in Utica/Rome) is organizing local efforts to block Trump’s agenda. We are ready to fight back but need your help and support. Please consider supporting the following actions:




NOTE: The date for the news conference to oppose Trump’s climate policies and to urge Governor Cuomo to adopt progressive legislation to address climate change is Thursday, December 22 at 1:30 p.m. It will be held at the Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13501, Music Room, Second floor. Parking is in the rear of the public library. The Library is across the street from the Munson-Williams Proctor Institute. We need people to bring signs opposing Trump’s position on climate issues and urging the Governor Cuomo to support NY Renews. Please arrive at 1:15 p.m.

Trump’s election is an emergency for the climate. No doubt, you have seen the news about the people President-elect Donald Trump has nominated to critical positions throughout the federal government – climate deniers and oil tycoons taking over the Departments of State and Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency. If Mr. Trump keeps his threats, New Yorkers are in trouble, and we need leaders on the state level, like Governor Cuomo to step up and take Trump on. If we’re going to see any progress over the next 4 years, the states are now going to have to take the lead. In the run up to the Governor’s State of the State address, the NY Renews coalition is going to be calling on Governor Cuomo to stand up to Trump and be a national leader on climate by passing the most ambitious climate justice policy in the country—the Climate and Community Protection Act—through his budget process.

As Cuomo seeks to position himself as a foil to Trump (and potentially re-stoke his Presidential ambitions), there may be a key opportunity to push him into truly bold action on climate. So NY Renews is organizing a series of press conferences across the state echoing this call to Gov. Cuomo. On Thursday, December 22nd, we’re going to be a press conference right here in Utica.

We need many people there to send a message that we are resisting Trump’s climate policies. We will be holding a press conference on Thursday, December 22nd at 1:30 PM urging Governor Cuomo to include the nation’s strongest climate and clean energy legislation in his 2017-18 State Budget proposal. Your attendance will help make this a great success. The news conference will be at the Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13501, Music Room, Second floor. Parking is in the rear of the Library. The Library is across the street from the Munson-Williams Proctor Institute.

We need people to bring signs opposing Trump’s position on climate issues and urging the Governor Cuomo to support NY Renews. Please arrive at 1:15 p.m. If you have any questions, please call us at 315-725-0974. We are asking organizations and individuals to attend this important news conference and endorse NY Renews.


We are in the fight of our lives. The policies and programs that safeguard and secure livelihoods for the most vulnerable among us are about to be under siege by a hostile Congress and Administration. To counter this, to protect programs critical to human needs, we must stand united!

We Need Organizations Across the Nation to Sign an Important Letter
(Deadline: January 5, 2017)

Sign a letter to the new President and Congress. (We need thousands of local and state organizations from across the nation to add to our growing list of local, state, and national groups which are standing together against dismantling the services and protections people need and for proven investments to extend opportunity and economic security to all.

When so much is at stake, why does a letter matter? It says to the Senators needed to block the passage of destructive bills that groups in their states are among thousands nationwide ready to take a stand and take action. We will use and publicize the letter on Capitol Hill and in the press.

If you’ve already signed, thanks! Please share this notice with other organizations – your help makes a big difference!

The letter says, “America’s real greatness comes from its promise to extend opportunity and economic security to all.” It stands for protecting low-income and vulnerable people by rejecting cuts or structural limits on vital programs like Medicaid, SNAP, Medicare, Social Security and SSI. It champions tax credits for low-income people and calls for fair and adequate revenues so we can make the investments we need. It stands with immigrants and against “policies and language that demean and discriminate against race, gender, immigrant status, disability or religion.”

Please read it – we believe your organization will want to sign, and we need you, both to sign and to circulate to organizations in your networks. (For individuals, there’s a petition – we need every voice!) letter text, click here. To select the letter or petition to read and sign, click here.)

The letter incorporates principles under the them Strengthening America’s Values and Economy (SAVE) for All. Thousands of organizations since 2011 have signed statements affirming these principles: that federal priorities must (1) protect and assist low-income and vulnerable people; (2) invest in broadly shared economic growth and jobs; (3) increase revenues from fair sources; and (4) seek savings from reducing waste in the Pentagon and elsewhere.

It’s never been more important to come together. The SAVE for All letter is a vehicle to do that – please get on board!

Organizations that should consider signing include (but are not limited to):

· Churches/Congregations/Synagogues/Mosques

· Local Community Organizations (PTA’s / Community Action Agencies)

· Service Provider Organizations (food banks, shelters, clinics, housing authorities, health centers, childcare providers, etc.)

· Local and State Advocacy Organizations (civil rights groups, children’s rights groups, etc)

· Local Chambers of Commerce, Businesses, Union Locals, and Charitable OrganizationsThe deadline for this sign-on letter is January 5th, 2017.

Questions? Email Joseph Battistelli (


The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is planning to organize a news conference during the week of December 26 to urge the Utica Common Council to support a resolution declaring Utica a hate free zone. We need your help to obtain support of local organizations for the resolution. Please contact us at 315-725-0974 or


Republicans plan to jam legislation through Congress to repeal Obamacare and deeply slash Medicare and Medicaid…before Trump is sworn in, handing him a bill to sign on his first day in office. This legislation would endanger health care for tens of millions of Americans. It must be stopped.

We are organizing a “Don’t Take Away Our Health Care” speak-out in Utica on January 12. More details are forthcoming. We are looking for local residents to give testimony of how cuts to their health care will hurt them.


The long-term solution to fighting Trumpism is building a local progressive political infrastructure and electing people to office who share our values. We are organizing a series of workshops to help train progressives to run for political office and party committee positions. The first training will be held on January 12. We ae looking for speakers and mentors.



We are looking for people to serve on our board of directors and the following committees:

1. Communications – write letters to editor and content for our website, produce videos, and social media, publicize events
2. Political and leadership training – train and support local progressives to run for office
3. Community Outreach and Coalition Building – conduct grassroots organizing, making phone calls, door knocking, getting organizational support
4. Organizing rallies – finding space, making signs
5. Interpreters and translators to translate material into various languages to help us organize communities.

Please call or write us if you would like to volunteer a few hours a week. We are also looking for free office space.




Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 411; Utica, NY 13503-0411

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. was developed from the Utica Citizens in Action, a multi-issue public interest association affiliated with Citizen Action of New York.  It was founded in 1997 to address critical social, economic and environmental issues facing residents of Oneida, Herkimer, and Madison Counties.  Members of our group worked to empower low and moderate income Central New York residents to participate in shaping the policies that affect their lives, such as economic justice, environment, housing, education, economic development, health care, public benefit programs, and consumer issues.   Our projects include research and policy development, public education on a wide range of public policy issues, development of educational materials, community outreach and grassroots organizing, coalition development, training, and lobbying.  Please join our email list by sending an email to with the subject heading – Join List.  We also invite you to become a member of our group and attend our meetings.


December 3, 2016


Credit:  The Atlantic


DECEMBER 2, 2016


Now celebrating 19 years of community organizing, the Central New York Citizens in Action invites YOU to be part of a movement for progressive change based on shared social values. We believe in educating, advocating, and legislating for the collective good. Join us!

You can view newsletter on:












After the Election and Beyond
Join Us Monday, December 5th
7:00 PM
Central New York Labor Council, 287 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13501
Stand up to Hate
Stand up to Inequality
Stand Up to the Trump Agenda
Join us at this important organizing meeting


The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. (Citizen Action – CNY Chapter) is holding a community meeting to organize local resistance to Trump policies. Our first meeting was a success! Our next meeting will be 7 p.m., Monday, December 5 at the Central New York Labor Council, 287 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13501 (corner of Dakin Street, entrance and parking in rear of building on Dakin Street, down the street from the Utica Public Library).

Among our priorities will be 1) mobilizing support for preserving safety net programs like Medicaid, Affordable Care Act, Social Security, SNAP, and SSI, 2) fighting cuts to human service programs, 3) declaring Utica a hate free zone and a safe and accepting community; 4) organizing buses from Utica for the Women’s March on Washington on January. 21, 2017; 5) offering training in January for people to become involved in local politics; 6) expanding Citizen Action newsletter and website.

The terrifying reality of Donald Trump poised to take power on January 20th has shaken many people to the core. Somehow, he managed to run and win as a populist, which boggles the mind. But now, unsurprisingly, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Trump will face unprecedented conflicts of interest as president, given his vast international business holdings and ties to financial institutions. It’s hard to imagine the extent of the self-dealing and blatant corruption that will likely occur under his presidency. Add in his empty promises to “drain the swamp”, with his appointment of wealthy lobbyists and insiders to key positions, along with his vindictive nature and propensity for wildly offensive behavior, and the situation begins to look very dire. That’s all without even mentioning his bigoted statements and elevation of white nationalism.

However, as concerned citizens we must not be complacent. The only way to mitigate the consequences of his presidency is to organize and push back against his extremist policies and hateful rhetoric.

On December 5th likeminded members of our community will meet to discuss a range of actions that we can take to call out Trump’s extreme hypocrisy and blatant corruption. Together, with other community organizers across the country, we can make a difference.

We can be successful in stopping the dismantling of the many vital programs we all care deeply about, but only if we work together, and build a sustainable movement in our area to support Congressional champions like Senator Schumer, and hold members of Congress and the Trump administration accountable. We must oppose weakening of climate change goals, environmental and food safety standards, anti-monopoly laws, and consumer protections.

It is important that we work together to protect each other from hate crimes. The Southern Poverty Law Center has already documented over 700 acts of hate since Election Day.

There will be much to protest under a Trump administration. His selection of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education means even more attacks on our public schools and privatization masked as ‘choice’. His immigration plan will significantly roll back immigrant rights and continue the tide of deportations. The appointment of Jeff Sessions as attorney general is good news for the Monsanto-Bayer merger and other moves toward monopolies. Attacks on unions and worker rights will put many families into poverty. Trump’s tax plan will create massive tax cuts for the wealthy, which will force austerity measures on the rest of us. Trump’s deregulation of the banking industry will trigger the conditions for another financial collapse. Stephen Bannon’s role in spreading racist and xenophobic outrages through Breitbart is chilling.

Here is what’s at stake for Central New Yorkers:

  • Big cuts to basic safety net programs – Medicaid is likely to be turned into a block grant to states and cut deeply;
  • Medicare will be privatized and replaced with vouchers; Affordable Care Act will be repealed; SNAP/Food Stamps will be turned into block grants and funding will sharply reduced.
  • Tax and budget policies that favor the 1% at the expense of the rest of us will be put into effect, increasing inequality and condemning many to low wage jobs without benefits.
  • “Huge” giveaways to corporations will hurt small business and increase taxes for the middle class.
  • The Trump infrastructure plan is starting to look like a massive tax subsidy for private sector entities that will, for example, build a road and then own it/charge tolls on it.
  • Immigrants, including 700,000 “Dreamers” (young people who have temporary legal status under the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program) are threatened with deportation.
  • There will be an early effort in January to pass a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, with its replacement to be determined later. For appropriations bills (and much other legislation), 60 votes are needed in the Senate.

Democrats can block those bills, so they have leverage.

We must organize, not mourn! We can stop some of these policies, but only if we support each other, build a local progressive movement with our own media and infrastructure, run progressives for office, organize rallies and protests, lobby legislators, and hold members of Congress and the Trump administration accountable.

To join our movement, please contact Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. (Citizen Action- Utica),
P.O. Box 411; Utica, NY 13503-0411, 315-725-0974,,,,




A fundraiser to benefit ongoing protests against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near Cannonball, North Dakota will take place beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday at the DEV, 41 Devereux St.

The protests, which started in April, are aimed at the prevention of oil pipeline construction through ancestral land of the indigenous Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Taking the title of water protectors, those who have congregated do so to protect indigenous rights as well as the tribe’s access to clean water — which they fear will be compromised if the pipeline is completed.

The benefit also will recognize local activist Aaron Dorn, who upon bringing supplies to Standing Rock, was assaulted and arrested days later. While Dorn has been released, his personal items and property are being held by law enforcement. Proceeds from the fundraiser also will be used to help Dorn’s legal fund in his fight for justice.
Musical acts, set to start performing at 8 p.m., will continue throughout the evening.

A cover charge of $5 will be applied for the festivities which will include sets by Comfy, Fig Mints, Substanance and Thomas D.

This event is for adults ages 21 and older. For information about the event or to make a donation, call 315-794-8784. Credit: Utica Observer Dispatch




The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is part of the Restore Opportunity Now (RON) campaign which is comprised of human services agencies across New York State. The campaign is holding a press conference next Thursday at 12 o’clock in Albany. We are hoping to bring as many colleagues as possible to the event. Sign on information is listed below.

In order to increase our bandwidth on issues of living wages for not for profits, we have to show the State’s leadership the kind of support we have statewide. There is no better way to show that then by joining us next Thursday. Please contact us if you would like to carpool.

Restore Opportunity Now is a statewide campaign, seeking systemic changes and key investments in the nonprofit human services sector.

We hope you will sign on today, and join us next week for our campaign launch/press conference in Albany:
Date: December 8, 2016 (Thursday)
Location: The LCA Room (130 LOB), Albany, NY 12224
Time: 12 PM
Please RSVP ASAP by clicking here.
Now more than ever, it is critical that New York State continue to be a progressive leader. This campaign will highlight the many issues experienced by nonprofits, and seek to work collaboratively with government to ensure:
• Appropriate, competitive compensation for our workforce, allowing for recruitment and retention of quality staff;
• Contracts that cover the real cost of providing services, permitting nonprofits to be innovative, efficient, and effective;
• Investments in core programs necessary to lift up communities.



You’re Invited
Citizen Action of New York
Annual Progressive Leadership Award Gala
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
6:00 to 9:00 pm
1199SEIU Penthouse
330 W 42nd Street, 33rd Floor
New York, NY
We are organizing a delegation from the Utica/Syracuse area to attend. We can help you to be part of this important event. Please contact us at 315-725-0974 or if you would like join us for a fantastic evening of fun and social justice work!!
Click here to RSVP now!
Honoring these dedicated progressive leaders:
Senior Justice Writer
NY Daily News
Greater NYC for Change
Executive Director
Arab American Association of NY
Vice President
CWA District One
Lifetime Champion Award
NYS Assemblymember
Click here to RSVP now!





Dare to be Different, a youth mentoring program based in Atlanta, will sponsor the Second Annual Family and Friends Concert at 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 17 at Believer’s Miracle Deliverance Ministries, 207 Eagle Street, Utica. It will feature national recording artist Serena Young, the Family and Friends Community Choir and other local and national performers, comedians, singers, and inspirational speakers. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available. People of all ages and faiths are welcome and are encouraged to bring canned goods which will be donated to the Utica Community Food Bank. Information regarding youth job training and educational programs, social development, leadership training will be offered at the event.

Dare to be Different plans to establish a program in Utica to help young people beat the odds by offering positive, empowering in-school, after-school and out-of-school programs, including character building, mentoring, peer-to-peer support, counseling, and tutoring.

A former resident of the Washington Courts public housing project, T. Michael Watson, founder of Dare to Be Different (D2BD), said: “The purpose of this concert is to bring cultural awareness and a sense of unity to the citizens of Utica by bridging the gap between all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The concert will give hope to youth for a better life and show them that they have the support of adults and community groups to make their dreams come true. We want our youth to” Dare to be Different.”

Mr. Watson further stated: “Our mission is to transform the thought process of youth, encouraging them to make better decisions NOW that will positively affect their future. The possibilities are endless for how ”Dare To Be Different” can change families, communities, and cities by changing one person’s perception of self. I want to introduce this program to the Utica area, because I believe it is a key essential to the growth and development of the community that I grew up in.”

The concert will feature the following performers:

National recording artist Serena Young has been singing gospel since an early age. This Rochester native was a top 5 finalist in season 7 of BET Sundays Best. Serena’s deep Gospel roots and her impeccable voice have afforded Serena the opportunity to work with Shirley Caesar, Kirk Franklin and Donnie McClurkin. Her first album was “I Surrender All.” She will be releasing a new CD in 2017.

Comedian Cuzin Maine is an Albany NY native who has been performing comedy professionally for twelve years. He has shared the stage with comedic greats such as Dick Gregory, Rickey Smiley, and Aries Spears. He made a decision to perform clean comedy routines to prove to his family and himself that it is possible to make someone laugh without using profanity.

Other performers include: Cymil Hamilton – Master of Ceremonies; Cameron Curtis – Minister of Music; Marcelle Johnson – Music Director; Marissa Jones, Psalmist.

Information on the event can be found at the following links:

Sponsors and supporters include Big Daddies and Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. For more information on how to become a sponsor and supporter, please contact T. Michael Watson (347) 409- 5353 or Natasha Pearson (315) 374-7993


By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor and Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor, Random Lengths News

Throughout its 40-year history, Project Censored has covered a lot of ground that the corporate mainstream media has missed. Begun by Carl Jensen, a sociology professor at California’s Sonoma State University shortly after Watergate in 1976, it’s become an endeavor involving dozens of faculty members and institutions working together to come up with an annual list of the Top 25 Censored Stories of the Year.

The Watergate burglary in June 1972 “sparked one of the biggest political cover-ups in modern history,” Jensen later recalled. “And the press was an unwitting, if willing participant in the cover-up.”

“Watergate taught us two important lessons about the press: First, the news media sometimes do fail to cover some important issues, and second, the news media sometimes indulge in self-censorship,” he said.

On the upside, it led to the creation of Project Censored.

As with the Watergate story, these aren’t censored in the overt heavy-handed manner of an authoritarian dictatorship, but in the often more effective manner reflecting our society—an oligarchy with highly centralized economic power pretending to be a “free marketplace of ideas.”

It may give people what they think they want in the moment, but it leaves them hungry for more, if not downright malnourished in the long run. The missing stories concern vital subjects central to the healthy functioning of our democracy. The problem is, we may not even realize what we’re missing, which is precisely why Project Censored is essential.

Another way to think about it is as censorship of what the people as a whole can hear, rather than what any one individual can say. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes it very clear: freedom of opinion and expression includes the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

This year, 221 students and 33 faculty members from 18 college and university campuses across the United States and Canada were involved. A panel of 28 judges comprised of media studies professors, professional journalists, and even a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, also participated.

In addition to its central focus on the censored stories, there are plenty of other goodies in the annual report, including a chapter devoted to “Junk Food News,” a retrospective of the project as discussed in “Project Censored Turns 40,” and a chapter on “Media Democracy in Action.”

All these reflect the fact that news isn’t just created for individuals to consume, but for citizens to debate, discuss and then take action upon. The real Project Censored, in short, includes you, the reader.

Project Censored has always dealt with specific stories, but on anniversaries like this one, the larger patterns those stories fit within are impossible to ignore. Economic inequality, global warming, petro-politics, suppression of health science, government spying, corporate influence on government, are all familiar themes that appear again on this year’s list. But a bit more ought to be said by way of introduction to this year’s top censored story, before starting the list proper.

Jensen began the preface to Project Censored’s 20th anniversary edition with the story of how John F. Kennedy killed a detailed New York Times story blowing the whistle on the planned invasion of Cuba. A shrunken, muted version ran in its place. Afterwards, Kennedy told a Times editor, “If you had printed more about the operation, you could have saved us from a colossal mistake.” This years’ No. 1 censored story is a direct descendent of the story JFK wished he hadn’t managed to kill.

1. U.S. Military Forces Deployed in 70 Percent of World’s Nations

The covert exercise of U.S. military power is a recurrent subject of Project Censored stories. This year’s top censored story joins that long tradition. It deals with the massive expansion in the number of countries where the officially unnamed war on terror is now being waged by U.S. Special Operations Forces—147 of the world’s 195 recognized nations, an 80 percent increase since 2010. This includes a dramatic expansion in Africa.

The majority of the activity is in “training missions,” meaning that this expansion is promoting a coordinated worldwide intensification of conflict, unseen at home, but felt all around the globe. Writing for TomDispatch, The Nation and the Intercept, Nick Turse exposed different aspects of this story and its implications.

Turse’s story for the Intercept focused on the development of a single base, Chabelley Airfield, in the East African nation of Djibouti. It’s an “out-of-the-way outpost” transformed into “a key hub for its secret war…in Africa and the Middle East.”

In The Nation, Turse tackled the question of mission success. Project Censored noted that, “Turse [had] reported skepticism from a number of experts in response to this question, pointing out that “impacts are not the same as successes.”

In Vietnam, body counts were mistaken for signs of success.

“Today, tallying up the number of countries in which Special Operations forces are present repeats this error,” Vietnam veteran and author Andrew Bacevich told Turse.
Turse, Nick, “A Secret War in 135 Countries,” Tomdispatch, 2015.
Turse, Nick, “The Stealth Expansion of a Secret U.S. Drone Base in Africa,” Intercept, 2015. .
Turse, Nick “American Special Operations Forces Have a Very Funny Definition of Success,” The Nation, October 26, 2015.

2. Crisis in Evidence-Based Medicine

The role of science in improving human health has been one of humanity’s greatest achievements, but the profit-oriented influence of the pharmaceutical industry has created a crisis situation. That research simply cannot be trusted. Burying truth for profit is a recurrent theme for Project Censored. The top 1981 story concerned fraudulent testing from a single lab responsible for one-third of the toxicity and cancer testing of chemicals in America. But this problem is much more profound.

“Something has gone fundamentally wrong” said Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, commenting on a UK symposium on the reproducibility and reliability of biomedical research:

[M]uch of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. . . The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming.

Horton’s conclusion echoed Marcia Angell, a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, who went public in 2009.

A classic case was Study 329 in 2001, which reported that paroxetine (Paxil in the United States/Seroxat in the United Kingdom) was safe and effective for treating depressed children and adolescents, leading doctors to prescribe Paxil to more than 2 million U.S. children and adolescents by the end of 2002, before being called into question. The company responsible (now GlaxoSmithKline), agreed to pay $3 billion in 2012, the “largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Nonetheless, the study has not been retracted or corrected, and “none of the authors have been disciplined,” Project Censored points out. This, despite a major reanalysis which “‘starkly’ contradicted the original report’s claims.” The reanalysis was seen as the first major success of a new open data initiative known as Restoring Invisible and Abandoned Trials.

While Project Censored noted one Washington Post story on the reanalysis, there was only passing mention of the open data movement. “Otherwise, the corporate press ignored the reassessment of the paroxetine study,” and beyond that, “Richard Horton’s Lancet editorial received no coverage in the U.S. corporate press.”

Lancet 385, No. 9976. 2015.
Cooper, Charlie, “Anti-Depressant was Given to Millions of Young People ‘After Trials Showed It was Dangerous,’” Independent. 2015.
Boseley, Sarah, “Seroxat Study Under-Reported Harmful Effects on Young People, Say Scientists,” Guardian. 2015. .

3. Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels May Permanently Disrupt Vital Ocean Bacteria

Global warming is a recurrent Project Censored subject. Systemic changes associated with global warming threaten human welfare and all life on earth through a multitude of different pathways. These remain largely hidden from public view. One potential pathway — directly dependent on carbon, not temperature — is through the catastrophic overproduction of Trichodesmium bacteria, which could devastate the entire marine food chain in some regions. It lives in nutrient-poor parts of the ocean, where it fixes atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium, an essential nutrient for other organisms—from algae to whales.

A five-year study by researchers at the University of Southern California and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution found that subjecting hundreds of generations of the bacteria to predicted carbon dioxide levels in the year 2100 caused them to evolve into “reproductive overdrive,” growing faster and producing 50 percent more nitrogen.
As a result, they could consume significant quantities of scarce nutrients, such as iron and phosphorus, depriving the ability of other organisms to survive. Or the Trichodesmium bacteria could drive themselves into extinction, depriving other organisms of the ammonium they need to survive.

“Most significantly, the researchers found that even when the bacteria was returned to lower, present-day levels of carbon dioxide. Trichodesmium remained ‘stuck in the fast lane,’” Project Censored noted, a finding that one researcher described as “unprecedented in evolutionary biology.”

Perkins, Robert, “Climate Change Will Irreversibly Force Key Ocean Bacteria into Overdrive,” USC News, 2015. .
Howard, Emma, “Climate Change Will Alter Ocean Bacteria Crucial to Food Chain—Study,” Guardian. 2015.

4. Search Engine Algorithms and Electronic Voting Machines Could Swing 2016 Election

Social media has played an important role in recent social movements, from the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter, but technology can potentially undermine democracy as well as empower it.
In particular, search engine algorithms and electronic voting machines provide opportunities for manipulation of voters and votes, which could profoundly affect the 2016 election.

Mark Frary, in Index on Censorship, describes the latest research by Robert Epstein and Ronald E. Robertson of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology on what they call the Search Engine Manipulation Effect, or SEME.

Their study of more than 4,500 undecided voters in the United States and India showed that biased search rankings “could shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more” and “could be masked so that people show no awareness of the manipulation.”
In an earlier article for Politico, Epstein wrote that the Search Engine Manipulation Effect “turns out to be one of the largest behavioral effects ever discovered . . . [W]e believe SEME is a serious threat to the democratic system of government.”

Because courts have ruled that their source code is proprietary, private companies that own electronic voting machines are essentially immune to transparent public oversight, as Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis documented.

In 2016, about 80 percent of the U.S. electorate will vote using outdated electronic voting machines that rely on proprietary software from private corporations, according to a September 2015 study by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

The study identified “increased failures and crashes, which can lead to long lines and lost votes” as the “biggest risk” of outdated voting equipment, while noting that older machines also have “serious security and reliability flaws that are unacceptable today.”

“From a security perspective, old software is riskier, because new methods of attack are constantly being developed, and older software is likely to be vulnerable,” Jeremy Epstein of the National Science Foundation noted.

On Democracy Now! and elsewhere, Wasserman and Fitrakis have advocated universal, hand-counted paper ballots and automatic voter registration as part of their “Ohio Plan” to restore electoral integrity.

While there has been some corporate media coverage of Epstein and Robertson’s research, the transparency and reliability advantages of returning to paper ballots remain virtually unexplored and undiscussed.

Epstein, Robert, “How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election,” Politico, 2015.
Frary, Mark, “Whose World are You Watching? The Secret Algorithms Controlling the News We See,” Index on Censorship 44, no. 4 (2015), 69–73.
Norden, Lawrence and Famighetti, Christopher, America’s Voting Machines at Risk, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law, 2015.
Goodman, Amy “Could the 2016 Election be Stolen with Help from Electronic Voting Machines?” Democracy Now! 2016.
Fitrakis, Bob and Wasserman, Harvey “Is the 2016 Election Already Being Stripped and Flipped?” Free Press, 2016.

5. Corporate Exploitation of Global Refugee Crisis Masked as Humanitarianism

The world is experiencing a global refugee crisis (60 million worldwide according to a June 2015 report, 11.5 million of them Syrian). This has been covered in the corporate media — though not nearly enough to generate an appropriate response. What hasn’t been covered is the increasingly well-organized exploitation of refugees, particularly those displaced in Syria.
An AlterNet article by Sarah Lazare—cited by Project Censored—warned of the World Bank’s private enterprise solution to the Syrian displacement crisis.

“Under the guise of humanitarian aid, the World Bank is enticing Western companies to launch ‘new investments’ in Jordan in order to profit from the labor of stranded Syrian refugees,” Lazare wrote. “In a country where migrant workers have faced forced servitude, torture and wage theft, there is reason to be concerned that this capital-intensive ‘solution’ to the mounting crisis of displacement will establish sweatshops that specifically target war refugees for hyper-exploitation.”

A World Bank press release touted “the creation of special economic zones or SEZs,” but Project Censored noted, “Myriam Francois, a journalist and research associate at SOAS, The School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, told Lazare that the development of SEZs in Jordan ‘will change refugee camps from emergency and temporary responses to a crisis, to much more permanent settlements.’”

The SEZ proposals, Francois said, are “less about Syrian needs and more about keeping Syrian refugees out of Europe by creating (barely) sustainable conditions within the camps, which would then make claims to asylum much harder to recognize.’”

Another story, by Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report described a related agreement between Turkey and the European Union to keep millions of refugees from entering Europe as “a deal between devils,” adding that Turkey has “cashed in on the people it has helped make homeless.”

In addition to the $3.3 billion in EU money, Project Censored noted:
Turkey has also sought admission to the European Union, and, with this, the right for 75 million Turks to enter Europe without visa restrictions as a condition for controlling its refugee population.

Thus, according to Ford, Turkey has engaged in a “vast protections racket trap,” effectively agreeing to protect Europe from further incursions by “the formerly colonized peoples whose labor and lands have fattened Europe and its white settler states for half a millennium.”
“Europeans will never accept Turkey into the fold, because it is Muslim and not-quite-white,” Ford concluded.
Lazare, Sarah, “World Bank Woos Western Corporations to Profit from Labor of Stranded Syrian Refugees,” AlterNet, 2016.
Ford, Glen, “Turkey and Europe: Human Trafficking on a Scale Not Seen Since the Atlantic Slave Trade,” Black Agenda Radio, Black Agenda Report, 2016.

6. More than 1.5 Million American Families Live on $2 Per Person Per Day

Even the working poor receive scant attention, but those living in deep poverty— less than $2 per day — are almost entirely absent.

Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, sociologists and authors of the book $2.00/a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America state that in 2011 more than 1.5 million U.S. families—including 3 million children—lived in deep poverty at any given month.

Their depiction of what poverty looks like reads “like a Dickens novel,” Marcus Harrison Green wrote in YES! Magazine, Project Censored noted, while in the Atlantic, economist Jared Bernstein noted that their research highlights the problematic long-term consequences of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform initiative, with its “insistence on work without regard to job availability.”

Project Censored notes that Edin and Shaefer proposed three policy changes to address extreme poverty in the United States:

First, policy must start by ‘expanding work opportunities for those at the very bottom of society.

Second, policy must address housing instability, which Shaefer described as both a cause and a consequence of extreme poverty. “Parents should be able to raise their children in a place of their own.”

Third, families must be insured against extreme poverty, even when parents are not able to work.

William Julius Wilson, a leading sociologist in the study of poverty, described their book as “an essential call to action,” in a New York Times book review, but this was a rare recognition in the corporate press.

Green, Marcus Harrison, “1.5 Million American Families Live on $2 a Day—These Authors Spent Years Finding Out Why,” YES! Magazine. 2015.
Bernstein, Jared, “America’s Poorest are Getting Virtually No Assistance,” Atlantic. 2015.

7. No End in Sight for Fukushima Disaster

Five years after the Fukushima nuclear power plant was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, the nuclear disaster continues to unfold, with the ongoing release of large quantities of radioactive waste water into the Pacific Ocean, in turn affecting ocean life through “biological magnification.”

Meanwhile the Japanese government has relaxed radiation limits in support of its efforts to return the refugee population — a move that younger people, prime working-age taxpayers, are resisting.

Project Censored cites a media analysis by sociologist Celine-Marie Pascale of American University. Pascale covering more than 2,100 articles, editorials and letters to the editor on Fukushima in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Politico, and the Huffington Post between March 11, 2011 and March 11, 2013, focused on two basic questions: “risk for whom?” and “from what?”

She found that just 6 percent of articles reported on risk to the general public, and most of those “significantly discounted those risks.” She concluded:
The largest and longest lasting nuclear disaster of our time was routinely and consistently reported as being of little consequence to people, food supplies, or environments…. In short, the media coverage was premised on misinformation, the minimization of public health risks, and the exacerbation of uncertainties.

In contrast, Dahr Jamail’s reporting for Truthout pointed out that the cooling process—still ongoing after five years—has produced “hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of tons” of highly radioactive water, much of which has been released into the Pacific Ocean. Such nuclear disasters “never end,” Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president told Jamail.

Project Censored also cited Linda Pentz Gunter, writing for the Ecologist about the Japanese government’s ongoing coverup.
“In order to proclaim the Fukushima area ‘safe,’ the government increased exposure limits to 20 times the international norm,” Gunter wrote, in order to force refugees to return home, despite medical or scientific evidence to the contrary.

Jamail, Dahr, “Radioactive Water from Fukushima is Leaking into the Pacific,” Truthout, 2016.
Pentz Gunter, Linda, “No Bliss in This Ignorance: The Great Fukushima Nuclear Cover-Up,” Ecologist, 2016.
Pascale, Celine-Marie, “Vernacular Epistem- ologies of Risk: The Crisis in Fukushima,” Current Sociology, 2016.

8. Syria’s War Spurred by Contest for Gas Delivery to Europe, Not Muslim Sectarianism

The Syrian war and its resulting refugee crisis have repeatedly gained headlines over the past five years, but the origins of the conflict, control of oil and gas, are rarely considered — the politics of which have dominated the region since before World War II. The hidden influence of oil — from climate change to campaign finance and corporate lobbying to foreign policy — has been a recurrent subject of Project Censored stories.

Project Censored cites a single September 2015 story by Mnar Muhawesh for MintPress News, but that story cites others as well, notably an August 2013, story in the Guardian by Nafeez Ahmed.

“The 2011 uprisings, it would seem— triggered by a confluence of domestic energy shortages and climate-induced droughts which led to massive food price hikes—came at an opportune moment that was quickly exploited,” Ahmed wrote, as part of a broader strategy to undermine governments in the region, as well as manipulating social movements and armed factions for the purpose of maintaining control of oil and gas.

Muhawesh and Ahmed both point, in particular, to Assad’s choice between competing pipeline proposals. He refused to sign a proposed agreement for a pipeline from Qatar’s North field through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey in 2009, because it would have hurt his ally, Russia.

“The proposed pipeline would have bypassed Russia to reach European markets currently dominated by Russian gas giant Gazprom,” Project Censored notes. Instead, Assad pursued negotiations — finalized in 2012 — for a pipeline through Iraq from Iran’s South Pars field, which is contiguous with Qatar’s North field.

Muhawesh cites U.S. cables revealed by WikiLeaks as evidence that “foreign meddling in Syria began several years before the Syrian revolt erupted.” Ahmed came to the same conclusions by drawing on multiple sources, including a RAND Corp. document, “Unfolding the Future of the Long War,” which discussed long-term policy options (trajectories) dealing with the complex interplay of energy interests and ethno-religious-political manipulations.

There’s a whole deeper level of driving forces not being reported on behind the Syrian war and refugee crisis.

Muhawesh, Mnar, “Refugee Crisis & Syria War Fueled by Competing Gas Pipelines,” MintPress News, 2015. .

9. Big Pharma Political Lobbying Not Limited to Presidential Campaigns

The pharmaceutical industry (aka “Big Pharma”) already appeared in story No. 2, “Crisis in Evidence-Based Medicine,” due to the destructive influence of its financing on the practice of basic science in testing and developing new drugs. But that’s not the only destructive impact of their spending.

Although they spent $51 million in campaign donations in the 2012 presidential election, and nearly $32 million in the 2014 midterms, Mike Ludwig of Truthout reported they spent $7 lobbying for every dollar spent on the midterms.

“The $229 million spent by drug companies and their lobbying groups that year was down from a peak of $273 million in 2009, the year that Congress debated the Affordable Care Act,” Project Censored noted. Legislation influenced all the industry’s top concerns, “including policy on patents and trademarks, management of Medicare and Medicaid, and international trade.”
The last item includes pressuring other countries to suppress the manufacture of life-saving generic AIDS drugs in India, to cite just one example.

“Pharmaceutical lobbyists also consistently lobby to prevent Medicare from negotiating drug prices,” Project Censored also noted. Coverage of their spending is scant, and virtually never tied directly to the issues that Big Pharma itself is lobbying on.

Ludwig, Mike, “How Much of Big Pharma’s Massive Profits are Used to Influence Politicians?”Truthout, 2015.

10. The Internet Surveillance Act No One is Discussing

In July 2015, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to attach the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, as an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act. However, the Senate blocked this by a vote of 56-40, in part because, unlike an earlier version, it essentially enabled intelligence and law enforcement officials to engage in surveillance without warrants.

Yet, on Dec. 18, 2015, President Barack Obama signed CISA into law as part of a 2,000-page omnibus spending bill, amid media silence — with notable exceptions at Wired and the Guardian. The act authorized the creation of a system for corporate informants to provide customers’ data to the Department of Homeland Security, which, in turn, would share this information with other federal agencies—the National Security Agency, FBI, Internal Revenue Service and others — without privacy-protecting safeguards.

In one sense it followed a familiar — if distressing — pattern, as the Guardian reported, civil liberties experts had been “dismayed” when Congress used the omnibus spending bill to advance some of the legislation’s “most invasive” components, making a mockery of the democratic process. But this one was different, since censored stories usually do not stifle powerful voices, as Project Censoredobserved:
[Andy] Greenberg’s Wired article noted that tech firms—including Apple, Twitter, and Reddit—as well as 55 civil liberties groups had opposed the bill, and that, in July 2015, DHS itself warned that the bill would “sweep away privacy protections” while inundating the agency with data of “dubious” value.

In April 2016, Jason R. Edgecombe reported for TechCrunch on the glaring inadequacies of interim guidelines to deal with privacy and civil liberties concerns, while the corporate media silence continued. And in May, Violet Blue wrote for Engadget about candidates’ positions on cyber issues. Only Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul opposed CISA, but it never became the subject of any broader media discussion.
Greenberg, Andy, “Congress Slips CISA into a Budget Bill That’s Sure to Pass,” Wired, 2015.
Thielman, Sam, “Congress Adds Contested Cybersecurity Measures to ‘Must-Pass’ Spending Bill,” The Guardian, 2015.
Edgecombe, Jason R. “Interim Guidelines to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act,” TechCrunch, 2016.
Blue, Violet, “Where the Candidates Stand on Cyber Issues,” Engadget, 2016.

The Race to Save Earth’s Most Endangered Species

by Jeff Corwin ( 2009, Rodale)

Reviewed by Richard W. Weiskopf

This book is a must for those who want to learn more about the problems of survival that animals face all over the world. The title refers to critically endangered species and subspecies that have one hundred or fewer individuals in the world today. Jeff Corwin tells in a very personal way of his travels in many parts of the world and of his efforts in behalf of many endangered and disappearing species. He spells out the effects of shrinking and disappearing habitat, global warming, pollution, chemical toxins, human overpopulation, land development, illegal hunting, exploitation as well as oil exploration and development.

Corwin makes an interesting point that I hadn’t thought about: If the species at the top of the food chain is disappearing (such as polar bear, Bengal tiger) this affects all of the many species of the entire food chain — nature’s precarious balance is put out of order, i.e. some species may overpopulate or some may severely decrease.

Again, 100 HEARTBEATS is all the more readable because of the way the author personalizes his experiences. For example, how elated he feels upon returning two cub cheetahs to the wild after a long period of training to help them survive. Species with less than one hundred individuals today include the Javan rhino, Vancouver Is. marmot, Hawaiian crow, Saychelles sheath-tailed bat, and the most endangered feline in the world, the Iberian lynx.

Among others, he describes the struggles of the Bengal tiger, Florida panther, Iberian lynx, giant panda, orangutan. He tells of the prolonged training of an orangutan and the joy of setting him free in the wild. In Indonesia The orangutan is up against loss of habitat to the growing demand for palm oil as well as illegal logging.

Here are some facts that we may not want to know about the magnitude of the problem:
In 2008 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed as critically endangered 3,246 of the 44,838 species assessed. Seventeen of the mammalian species have been reduced to populations of between 350 and 1,000. There are many, many, many thousands of species in our world. Scientists who categorize and track them report the extinction of many thousands each year. Some species exist only in a very small perhaps unique area.
One optimistic note: He mentions that American Bald Eagles have had an amazing recovery over the past thirty years largely due to the banning of DDT.

Corwin places the responsibility on all of us to do what we can to slow the relentless disappearance of our earth’s animals. It is inspiring to witness his devotion and dedication to saving the animals and by doing so helping to save our planet.


Richard Weiskopf is a member of People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358, (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.,


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