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UN President Visits Cuba, Signs Peace Agreement


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

NEW YORK, NY —  United Nations General Assembly H.E. Mogens Lykket is in Cuba to attend the signing of a bilateral ceasefire and surrender of weapons.

On Thursday, he will join the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the Security Council, Ambassador François Delattre of France, to witness the signing in Havana of the bilateral ceasefire and laying down of arms agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

While in Havana, the President is also expected to have a number of bilateral meetings.

Lykket, who was elected by the United Nations General Assembly  to serve as the President of its seventieth session, will be accompanied by his wife Mette Holm and a number of staff from the Office of the President. Lykketoft is an economist by training and a veteran parliamentarian and government minister.

The signing of the peace agreement is a culmination of three years of talks between the two parties. The talks have resulted in the reconciling positions on issues of comprehensive rural reform, political participation, combating illicit drug trafficking and attention to victims.

Heading the ceremony will be Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia and other dignitaries.

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Senate Rejects Murphy Background-check Provision and ‘terror gap’ Bill


WASHINGTON – For the second time since the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the U.S. Senate has rejected an effort to expand FBI background checks of gun purchasers.

Lawmakers also killed an effort to bar those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing weapons, as well as two competing GOP proposals.

The 44-56 vote on the legislation that would expand FBI background checks, sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was scheduled after Murphy held a nearly 15-hour filibuster last week to press GOP Senate leadership to allow votes on gun legislation. Sixty votes were needed for approval.

The effort to bar those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns, called the “terror-gap” provision, failed on a 47-53 vote.

“Today’s votes would never have occurred were it not for the loud voices of the American people echoing through the halls of the Capitol last week,” Murphy said. “After the deadliest shooting in American history, Senate Republicans weren’t even going to discuss, let alone vote on, measures to stop this endless mass murder enveloping our country.

Murphy, who gave the last speech before the Senate began to vote on the gun legislation – amendments to a spending bill that would fund the Commerce and Justice Departments – said it was likely all measures would fail, given the deep partisanship in Congress over gun control. But he said it was a test that put senators on the record on the issue. “We are going to see where people stand,” he said.

Murphy lost the support of three Democrats on the background-check vote, Sens. Heidi Heitcamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana. He picked up support from only one Republican, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois.

The Murphy amendment was a modification of legislation rejected by the Senate a few months after the Sandy Hook shooting that claimed the lives of 20 first graders and six educators. It would have expanded FBI background checks to sales at gun shows and by individuals over the Internet. It also would have stripped federal policing grants from states that do not fully report felons and those involuntarily committed to mental institutions to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

At a press conference after the defeat of proposed gun legislation are, left to right, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Chris Murphy and New York's Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Ana Radelat / CTMirror.org

At a press conference after the defeat of proposed gun legislation are, left to right, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Chris Murphy and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Before the vote, several Republicans criticized Murphy’s efforts.

“To hear my colleague discuss it, you would think these gun shows are lawless free-for-alls that sell guns to felons and terrorists,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

The Senate also rejected, on a 53-47 vote, a Republican proposal sponsored by Grassley that also would have added funding to the FBI background check system. But the GOP proposal would have allowed some of the people now barred from purchasing a gun because they have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution to purchase a gun.

Also rejected was a rival proposal sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that would have allowed the U.S. attorney general to block a gun sale to someone on the terrorist list, but only after going to court to obtain permission.

“They aren’t even half measures,” Murphy said of the GOP proposals. “They are just shields for members who don’t want to do the right thing.”

The Senate visitors’ galleries, usually empty at that time of the evening, were filled with people, some wearing orange “Enough is Enough” tee shirts in commemoration of the victims or the Orlando shooting.

After the failed votes, several Democrats vowed to continue the fight.

“We are not giving up or going away,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said his reaction to the failure of the background check and “terror gap” legislation was the same as it was when the Senate three years ago failed to approve new gun restrictions.

“Shame on you,” he said.

Blumenthal also said the Orlando shootings have altered “the political dynamics” regarding gun safety. “It is a sea change,” he said.

Sen. Corey Booker, D-N.J., said, “If we do nothing, more people in this country will likely die.”

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla,. asked “what am I going to tell 49 grieving families” in Florida? “Sadly, I’m going to have to tell them the (National Rifle Association) won again,” he said.

A compromise?

Like the legislation that would expand FBI background checks, the amendment that would bar people on the terrorist list from purchasing weapons has failed before. It was rejected the day after the mass shooting in San Bernardino in December.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal urges the Senate to support expanding background checks Monday.

C-SPAN

Sen. Richard Blumenthal urges the Senate to support expanding background checks Monday.

Sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the amendment would have allowed the U.S. attorney general to ban anyone on the FBI’s various terrorist watch lists from purchasing a weapon, leaving the discretion on whom to bar to the Justice Department because there might be times the move would tip off a suspect that they are on the watch list.

“The amendment gives the Justice Department an important additional tool to prevent the sale of guns to suspected terrorists while ensuring protection of the department’s operational and investigative sensitivities,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is also trying to use the terrorist list to bar the sale of guns in Connecticut, but for six months has said he’s been negotiating with the White House counsel’s office.

“There has been no official decision,” said Malloy spokesman Devon Puglia. “If the request is approved, we will sign the executive order right away.”

Right after the vote, Malloy blasted the GOP-controlled Congress for failing to act on gun control.

“The senators who voted against this legislation tonight should be ashamed,” he said. “Not only for voting against the vast majority of Americans who overwhelmingly support these common-sense policies, but also for putting their own interest before safety.”

Republicans argued the list of people affected by the “terror gap bill” would be too broad and strip those banned of a constitutional right to own a firearm without due process.

To try to brook the divide, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is trying to fashion a compromise that would prevent people on the “no-fly list” and a “selectee list,” a roster of people who are subject to additional screening before boarding a plane, from purchasing weapons.

The federal terrorist contains about 1 million names, but all but about 5,000 of these people live overseas. There are about 1,000 people on the “no-fly” list and about 1,700 on the “selectee list” who are living in the United States.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was supportive of Collins’ efforts, “everybody likes Susan,” he said. But he was skeptical enough Republicans would vote for the compromise.

Murphy said Collins’ effort “could be something that works,” but also said the Maine senator has not released details of her plan.

Contributor: ctmirror.co and crooks and liars.

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BIA says Schaghticoke Petition is Lacking


WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Indian Affairs on Thursday said a petition for recognition from the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe is missing four key elements that would allow the application to move forward.

“The department finds your recently submissions of material, together with [an earlier application for federal recognition filed in 1994] do not meet the requirements for a documented petition,” Lee Fleming, director of the BIA’s Office of Federal Acknowledgement, wrote in a letter to tribal Chief Alan Russell.

The Schaghticoke Indian Tribe said it had filed a petition for federal acknowledgement last week.

The BIA, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, said the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe petition, which it distinguished from another filed by the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation that was ultimately rejected, lacked certification from the group’s governing body, “a concise, written narrative” explaining how the tribe meets the criteria for recognition, supporting documents, and membership lists.

Tribal representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In signing off, Fleming wrote, “we look forward to receiving SIT’s documented petition under the 2015 regulations.” The BIA streamlined the federal recognition process last year.

If the SIT completes its petition, it will find strong opposition to its bid from the state’s political establishment.

“We oppose recognition, and we’re confident they do not meet the criteria for recognition,” said Malloy spokesman Devon Puglia.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called the effort “frivolous,” and said he would fight it.

In response to concerns from Connecticut’s politicians, when the BIA changed its regulations last summer it also barred tribes who have been denied recognition from reapplying.

This week, the BIA also sent letters to the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation and the Eastern Pequots – two state-recognized tribes that lost their bid for federal recognition –  telling them they can’t acknowledge “an entity that previously petitioned and was denied federal acknowledgement.”

The BIA said the only recourse for these tribes is to win an act of Congress giving them recognition.

The Schaghticoke Indian Tribe says it’s a different group from the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation and is allowed to seek recognition under the new regulations.

If it were granted, the tribe could revive decades-old land claims.

The General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut gave the Schaghticokes about 2,500 acres of land, but the reservation shrank because of what the tribe says were illegal land grabs.  Some of this disputed land is owned by the Kent School, the Town of Kent, Connecticut Light and Power (now Eversource) and other private entities.

The contentious issue has hounded Kent First Selectman Bruce Adams, forcing his town to pay legal fees for decades to fighting land claims. He was dismayed by the SIT’s plans.

“When does ‘no’ mean ‘no’?” Adams asked. “Is there ever going to be an end to this?”

Federal recognition would also open the door for federal grants and low-income loans. It would exempt reservation residents from state and local taxes and allow the tribe to open a casino.

In Connecticut, only two tribes have won federal recognition, also after protracted battles with the state’s political establishment concerned over land claims, losses of tax revenues and the establishment of casinos.

They are the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegans, who have run casinos in the state since the 1990s.

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President Obama Gives Last Commencement Address At Air Force Academy


By Ann-Marie Adams | @annmarieadams

The United States is better positioned to lead in the 21st Century, President Barack Obama on Thursday told graduates at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

In his final commencement address, Obama strayed away from politics and focused mostly on foreign policy, pressing his good neighbor policy toward other countries.

“America cannot shirk the mantle of leadership,” Obama said. “We can’t be isolationists. It’s not possible in this globalized interconnected world.”

Obama reflected on his seven and as Commander-In-Chief and defended his decision on failing to plan for the aftermath of the U.S. airstrikes in Libya. He also defended his decision to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The commencement address was the third for President Obama in 2016, and the 26th and final one of his presidency.

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Why Many Say Thank You to a Cosby Prosecution


By Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Disgraced actor-comedian Bill Cosby had two words to say to Pennsylvania District Judge Elizabeth McHugh when she ruled that he must stand trial for sexual assault. The words were “thank you.” The two words were more than simply a case of Cosby being polite. For dozens of women the words were a vindication. These are the women who came forth to say that Cosby drugged, fondled, molested, abused, intimidated, and of course, raped them over the course of many years. They suffered mightily for coming forth. They were lambasted from pillar to post as liars, cheats, sluts, publicity seekers, and every critic’s favorite, gold diggers.

earl-hutchinsonThousands of others never bought Cosby’s long, loud and bitter denials that he was the innocent victim of a giant the-hartford-guardian-Opinioncon game, or the serial denier’s favorite, the victim of a sinister plot by take your pick: the “white man,” “white media,” “white establishment” or simply some unnamed, nebulous white conspirators to bring down a fabulously popular, rich, supremely successful black man. They also said “thank you.”

There were also more than a few legal experts who did not buy the virtual article of faith that there were no legal grounds to prosecute him because the statute of limitations had long since run out on most of the claims. There were just too many alleged victims. That meant that there had to be a case somewhere that fit the bill for a legal prosecution.

Meanwhile, Cosby fed into the conspiracy paranoia and the public trashing of the women by filing motion after motion to duck a prosecution, and defamation of character counter suit after countersuit against his various women accusers. His holding action sufficiently muddied the stream to cast doubt while delaying what was almost certain to be the inevitable. That was his painfully long delayed plop into a court docket.

In the much cited unsealed affidavit Cosby swore to in 2005, he confessed to giving drugs to one woman and getting drugs for other women he wanted to have sex with. This was tantamount to a smoking gun confirmation of what many of his alleged victims claimed, and that was that he plied them with drink and drugs before he sexually waylaid them.

Even without the affidavit, it was not true that a sexual abuser could get away with their crime simply by waiting out the calendar. More than two dozen states have no statute of limitation depending on circumstances in the nature and type of sexual assault. If the evidence was compelling, a Cosby could indeed be prosecuted even decades after the assault in those states.

This gross misconception about prosecuting sexual crimes implanted the dangerous public notion that rape or sexual abuse could be minimalized, marginalized or even mocked because the clock had wound down on when the crime could or even should be prosecuted. A Cosby prosecution rightly tosses the ugly glare back on the wrong public perceptions about rape and sexual abuse and how easily the crime can still be blown off. And it is.

The Iowa Law Review, in March, 2014, found that rape is routinely underreported in dozens of cities. The rape claims were dismissed out of hand with little or no investigation. The result was there were no report, no statistical count, and no record of an attack.

The study zeroed in on the prime reason for this, namely disbelief. It’s that disbelief that assures men such as Cosby are reflexively believed when they scream foul at their accuser. They lambaste their character and motives. If things get too hot, they toss out a few dollars in hush money settlements and the screams are even louder that it was all a shakedown operation in the first place and the victim is further demonized.

This wasn’t the only reason it took so long to prosecute Cosby. He wasn’t just another rich, mediagenic celebrity whose wealth, fame and celebrity status routinely shielded him from criminal charges. Cosby and men like him have deep enough pockets to hire a small army of the best PR flacks around to spin, point fingers, and hector the media that their guy’s pristine reputation is being dragged through the mud precisely because of their fame, wealth, talent and, of course, goodwill.

Cosby was a special case even by the standards of the rich and famed celebrity world. For a decade he reigned as America’s father figure, not black father figure, but father figure. He embodied the myths, fantasies, and encrusted beliefs about the role that a caring, loving, engaged dad is supposed to have with his family. This rendered him almost untouchable when it came to casting any dirt on his character. That’s all past now, Cosby is now just Cosby, the accused rapist, and that’s reason enough to say “thank you.”

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His latest book is How “President” Trump will Govern (Amazon Kindle) He is an associate editor of New America Media.

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Carly Fiorina Urges GOP Unity, Yet Won’t Speak Trump’s Name


STAMFORD – Carly Fiorina seemed to endorse Donald J. Trump, if only by inference Tuesday night. She never allowed herself to say his name, yet vowed to do everything “to make sure that Hillary Clinton is not our next president.”

Presumably, “everything” includes entering a polling place to cast a vote for Trump, even if he is, at least for the moment, the Nominee Who Cannot Be Named, right?

Fiorina, 61, who lingered to chat with well-wishers after her speech at the Connecticut Republicans’ annual fundraiser, the Prescott S. Bush Awards Dinner, just smiled when a reporter interrupted with that question.

“I’m sorry, I’m meeting with voters right now,” Fiorina said, keeping her gaze directed at the Republicans who wanted to shake her hand and pose for pictures. “Sorry, you heard the speech. That’s all there is.”

Fiorina stopped only when the question was repeated.

“We’re not doing interviews,” she said. “You heard the speech. That’s what you got.”

It was good enough for her audience. Her vow to do anything to deny Clinton the White House was rewarded with hearty cheers and a standing ovation, as was a call for unity. Republicans shrugged off the refusal by Fiorina, who has said she is “horrified” by Trump, to explicitly endorse him.

“She gave an endorsement to Trump without mentioning him by name,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven.

“That’s what I thought,” said Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton.

Carly Fiorina.

ctmirror.org

Carly Fiorina

Linda McMahon, the two-time U.S. Senate nominee and major GOP donor who will be a Trump delegate in Cleveland, said Fiorina told her before the speech she intends to campaign for down-ballot Republicans. A willingness to campaign for Trump didn’t come up.

“She and I didn’t really talk politics in that way,” McMahon said.

It’s been a tough month for the 61-year-old Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive who lost a U.S. Senate race in California to Barbara Boxer. On May 2, she fell off a stage while introducing Ted Cruz in Indiana. A day later, she fell off political radar screens, her brief time as Cruz’s running mate ended by Trump’s smashing win in Indiana.

Before Cruz dropped out, the Connecticut GOP faced the unnerving prospect of a keynote speech by a woman intent on telling them they erred by voting for Trump by a landslide in the April 26 primary.

Fiorina offered wan praise for Trump at the outset of her 30-minute speech.

“Our nominee has raised Twitter to an art form. Let’s face it,” she said.

Fiorina said she never mastered how to pack a punch into its 140-character form, but she read that potential Hilliary slogans were trending. She offered a few.

“ ‘It’s my turn, dammit.’ ‘Four out of 10 people find me tolerable.’ And my personal favorite: ‘Experience you cannot trust,’ ” she said.

Fiorina quickly dropped the jokes and delivered a scathing appraisal of the candidate who would be the first female president, a fact that does not seem to be exciting the Democratic base, male or female.

“So, now they are beginning to continuously remind people abot the historic nature of her candidacy, that she is a woman and therefore women must vote for her,” Fiorina said. “So, Mrs. Clinton, I have news for you. I am a woman, and I am not voting for you.”

The crowd whooped and applauded.

Fiorina said Clinton’s gender was no basis for other women to support her for president.

“Feminism is what each and every woman has an opportunity for to live the life she chooses and to use all of her God-given gifts,” she said. “That is feminism, and as a feminist I will do everything in my power between now and November to make sure that Hillary Clinton is not our next president.”

The crowd stood and cheered louder. Their speaker would not say the name of their nominee. She would not promise to vote for him. She would not urge others to vote for him. Maybe she would one day before November.

For now, it was enough that they knew what she meant.

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In Hartford, Mayor and Unions Step Back From the Brink


HARTFORD — Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and the city’s labor unions, its council and its legislative delegation took steps Thursday toward defusing a fight that threatened to politically isolate the new mayor as he tries to keep Connecticut’s capital city out of bankruptcy.

In a press conference at the State Capitol, union leaders stood with legislators and council leaders to say they could deliver between $8 million and $12 million in concessions, an olive branch to a mayor they decisively stopped from obtaining sweeping new authority to impose taxes and remake labor contracts.

“I want to thank the unions for that firm commitment. Today is a good day, but a tough day,” said Rep. Matt Ritter, D-Hartford. “I want to thank the mayor for bringing forth into light some of the difficult decisions he has to make.”

Bronin responded with his own upbeat news conference at City Hall, ignoring the awkward optics of state legislators and council leaders standing with union leaders, publicly urging the mayor to take a more conciliatory approach.

“I take that as a good-faith first step,” Bronin said. “We’re going to have some very tough decisions and some very tough negotiations still ahead, but I take our labor leaders at their word that they are willing and ready to make real, substantial concessions as a part of an overall effort to get the city of Hartford on the path to recovery.”

With deficits that are projected to hit $48.5 million in 2017, $69 million in 2018 and $88 million in 2019, Bronin says he will need to obtain more than $12 million in concessions and will still have to shrink the workforce through layoffs.

The city has a budget of $533 million, including $284 million for schools. Its authorized non-education workforce for 2016 is 1,429 full-time positions, including 452 police officers and 356 firefighters.

“Even the deepest cuts, and even very substantial concessions, don’t get us over the deficits we face in the years ahead,” Bronin said.

None of the union leaders at the press conference said concessions were reliant on a no-layoff pledge. The presidents of the police and fire unions, Rich Holton and Vince Fusco, said no one was challenging the existence of a fiscal crisis.

“We did not create the problems afflicting our great city, but we fully intend to be part of the solution,” said Shellye Davis, a school paraprofessional and president of the Greater Hartford Labor Council.

Bronin, 36, a Rhodes Scholar and former legal adviser to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, took over as mayor of Hartford, an impoverished city that serves as capital of the richest state in the U.S., on New Year’s Day. He defeated Pedro Segarra, the incumbent, in a Democratic primary.

In his first weeks in office, Bronin said that previous administrations has obscured a structural financial crisis by refinancing the city’s debt and using one-time revenues, such as the sale of a city garage, to balance the budget.

Rep. Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, speaks at a press conference with union leaders, council members and legislators.

Mark Pazniokas / CtMirror.org

Rep. Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, speaks at a press conference with union leaders, council members and legislators.

His solution was to ask the General Assembly for unprecedented powers: Under the auspices of a new Hartford Financial Sustainability Commission, he could renegotiate labor deals and impose taxes on tax-exempt institutions.

Hartford Hospital, Trinity College, the University of Hartford and major non-profits objected to the new taxing authority, while labor leaders complained that Bronin was acting precipitously in seeking to free the city of its labor commitments.

“In less than the 90 days in office, Mayor Bronin has decided to use his time pushing this legislation instead of bringing everyone to the table where they could figure this out together,” Lori Pelletier, the head of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said in testimony submitted to the legislature. “Mr. Bronin’s strategy provides an interesting insight to his views on workers and their representatives, and that is it’s his way or the highway.”

The only applause came from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, which saw the proposal as a wedge that could help other struggling cities narrow the long list of property exempt from the only tax municipalities can impose: the property tax.

But Bronin soon found himself alone, potentially eroding his influence at the outset of what is likely to be a difficult four-year term. The city’s delegation to the General Assembly refused to push the mayor’s bill, and the City Council voted 8-1 on Monday to reject a resolution supporting it.

On Thursday, the measure died from inaction in the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee when the panel declined to take it up at the last meeting before its deadline for reporting out legislation.

Bronin declined to say the legislation was a mistake.

“Look, I think the legislation helped shine a light on the crisis that we face, and I think it created some conversations that might not otherwise have been had,” Bronin said.

He left little doubt he would be back at the General Assembly next year looking to define the state’s financial relationship with its cities, particularly its capital city, where half the property is tax exempt. With a high tax rate, a stagnant tax base, the nation’s second smallest percentage of home ownership and the state’s highest poverty rate, Hartford cannot afford to raise taxes, he said.

“Our mill rate right now is 74. In New Haven and in Bridgeport, it’s down in the low 40s. I don’t believe we can do an across-the-board mill rate increase without killing the city,” Bronin said. “It might happen quickly. It might happen slowly. But if we continue to raise the burden on our small businesses and our mid-sized employers, we’re going to see more and more of them shut down, shutter their doors and leave town. And we cannot afford to do that to the city of Hartford.”

Photo courtesy of ctmirror.org.

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Study: Blacks and Latinos Are Most Affected by Gun Violence


Four in 10 African Americans have been personally impacted by gun-related violence and believe “there is a perception that the rest of the country doesn’t care about it.”

That’s what was written in a new study on gun violence being released Thursday.

A comprehensive study, “Engaging Communities in Reducing Gun Violence: A Road Map for Safer Communities,” will be released by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the Urban Institute and the Joyce Foundation.

The comprehensive joint effort is an attempt to bring together communities, policymakers, scholars and other stakeholders to focus on strategies and solutions to confront gun violence. The debate around the issue is at times misdirected toward more sensational gun crimes rather than on efforts to listen to the people in communities disproportionately affected by the problem.

The Benenson Strategy Group conducted a total of 1,200 interviews by phone, dividing them between 600 African Americans and 600 Hispanics across the U.S., from Feb. 22-28, 2016. It’s particularly noteworthy that all respondents were registered voters likely to cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election Nov. 8.

The focus of the effort around the study was to give those who are affected by gun violence an opportunity to connect with policymakers and to give continued attention to day-in-and-day-out gun violence that has a far-reaching impact. Media attention often focuses on mass shootings when statistics show that day-to-day violence has much more impact.

The report focuses on African Americans, who account for over 50 percent of the victims of gun homicide. It also points out that gun violence is the second-leading cause of death for Latino males between ages 15 and 34.

Not surprisingly, given what has been uncovered regarding stop-and-frisk data in large metropolitan cities, the polling data revealed that “more than half of African Americans and 1 in 3 Hispanics have had a negative interaction with law enforcement.”

The poll also revealed concerns related to interactions with police.

From the study: “There is a particularly strong concern around interactions between the police and young men of color; 82 percent of African Americans and 65 percent of Hispanics agree that they ‘frequently worry about interactions between the police and young men of color.’ ”

The report also found “that 8 in 10 African Americans and 2 in 3 Hispanics frequently worry about interactions between police and young men of color, even though most believe police make their communities safer.”

The Joint Center, led by George Washington University Law Professor Spencer Overton, convened more than 100 members in communities on the issue of gun violence that involved clergy, police, the formally incarcerated and elected officials. Those sessions included stops in Richmond, Va., Milwaukee and Stockton, Calif.

Overton, Joel Benenson of the Benenson Strategy Group, pollster Ron Lester of Lester and Associates, Sarah Rosen Wartell of the Urban Institute and Ellen Alberding of the Joyce Foundation will announce the study at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a Washington, D.C.-based political reporter who writes the Crew of 42 blog. She appears regularly on NewsOne Now with Roland Martin on TV One. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Leads Grow as Trump wins Big, Clinton Narrowly in Connecticut


Connecticut propelled Republican Donald J. Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton closer to their parties’ presidential nominations Tuesday, with Trump winning a landslide and Clinton holding off a tenacious Bernie Sanders.

Trump won all five primaries Tuesday along I-95: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Clinton lost only Rhode Island. Connecticut was the last state placed in her column, a win declared around 10:30 p.m. by the Associated Press and most networks.

“I consider myself the presumptive nominee,” Trump said in televised remarks from New York City.

Rep. Tony D’Amelio, R-Waterbury, one of the few elected officials here to endorse Trump, said it was time for other Republican officials to shake off their reservations about the brash billionaire, who has belittled foes, demonized Muslims and undocumented immigrants, and accused GOP leaders of trying to rig what may yet be a contested convention in Cleveland.

“I think it’s time for the Republican Party to come together,” D’Amelio said. “He just swept the entire Northeast, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the rest of it. There is a strong movement in this country for Donald Trump. I think his message is resonating throughout the nation.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a top Clinton supporter who now will begin work as co-chair of the Democratic platform committee, said the state’s voters made the right choice.

“Secretary Clinton is the right candidate to move our country forward and grow our economy from the middle out,” Malloy said. “As she has proved throughout her career, Hillary Clinton gets results, and I am proud to have endorsed her candidacy.”

Clinton tweeted a thank you to the state.

Sanders says he will continue to campaign.

“If you heard the boss on TV tonight, Senator Sanders made it clear – we’re going forward,” Paul Feeney, the director of his Connecticut campaign, told about three dozen supporters at a hotel in Meriden. “We knew in Connecticut that it was going to be a tough crowd for us. Closed primaries have been tough for this campaign.”

A spokesman for the Connecticut Democratic Party had no estimate Tuesday night of how the state’s 71 delegates would be apportioned. Clinton already had commitments from 15 of 16 superdelegates. The remaining 55 would be awarded based on the results statewide and in each of the five congressional districts.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump invites Rep. Tony D'Amelio, R-Waterbury, onto the stage with him at Crosby High School in Waterbury on Saturday.

Kyle Constable / CTMirror.org

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump invites Rep. Tony  D’Amelio, R-Waterbury, onto the stage with him at Crosby High School in Waterbury on Saturday.

The only question for Trump seemed to be whether he had shut out Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the second-place finisher, in the 4th Congressional District of Fairfield County. Connecticut is sending 28 delegates to the Republican convention in Cleveland, including three superdelegates.

“We’re going to go over the numbers in the morning, but it looks as though Trump won everything,” said J.R. Romano, the Republican state chairman.

Kasich’s state chairman congratulated Trump, but said the campaign would not concede the nomination.

“If Trump gets to 1,237, he has earned the nomination, but until that happens, I know that everyone is going to work their darndest to create an environment in which there is an open convention,” said state Sen. Tony Hwang of Fairfield, the state chairman of the Kasich campaign.

For a first-ballot victory, Trump needs 1,237 votes in Cleveland.

Clinton appears to need about 250 more delegates to reach the 2,383 necessary to win the nomination in Philadelphia.

Trump closed his campaign with boisterous rallies Saturday in Waterbury and Bridgeport, part of a four-day blitz that drew every candidate to Connecticut except Ted Cruz, the Texas senator.

Trump won 58 percent of the vote. Kasich, the choice of many Republican officials, finished second with about 28 percent, and Cruz of Texas was a distant third.

Clinton won about 52 percent of the Democratic vote.

Clinton had a 9 percentage point lead over Sanders in a Quinnipiac University poll a week ago and was backed by nearly every prominent Democrat, led by Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and the entire congressional delegation. A survey by Public Policy Polling showed Sanders, who drew an audience of 14,000 to the New Haven Green on Sunday, within two percentage points over the weekend.

Sanders looked to Connecticut and Rhode Island for wins that would bolster what began as a Quixotic campaign by a 74-year-old self-described Democratic socialist and became a surprisingly strong challenge to a former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton poses for a picture with a supporter after her rally at the University of Bridgeport on Sunday.

kyle constable / ctmirror.org

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton poses for a picture with a supporter after her rally at the University of Bridgeport on Sunday.

He was declared the winner in Rhode Island after 9 p.m., his first and last bit of good news.

The cities, where Sanders generally has lagged in previous primaries, were slow to report, but New Haven’s Democratic chair, Vinnie Mauro, said he believed Clinton would comfortably  win his city, despite a huge college population at Yale, Southern Connecticut State University and the University of New Haven. Clinton won the African American neighborhoods and ran slightly ahead in some Yale precincts, he said.

“Secretary Clinton really had a good turnout,” he said.

Clinton won 57 percent of the vote in New Haven, 70 percent in Hartford, 65 percent in Bridgeport and 64 percent in Stamford. Her margins were close in Waterbury, New Britain and Meriden. Sanders carried eastern Connecticut, including the college towns of Mansfield, Middletown and New London

CNN exit polling showed Clinton winning 69 percent of the black vote and 57 percent of the woman’s vote.

With an unlikely path to the nomination for Sanders, Clinton supporters here have been waiting for his surge to play out, letting the party begin to work to corral the new voters drawn by the Vermont senator’s call for Democrats to attack social, racial and economic injustice.

Bernie Sanders had the biggest rally in Connecticut, but still lost.

Kyle Constable / CTMirror.org

Bernie Sanders had the biggest rally in Connecticut, but still lost.

“It’s never easy, but I think it will be a lot easier in the Democratic Party than it will be in the Republican Party this year,” Malloy said after voting earlier Tuesday. “I think that’s very clear. You can almost see the Sanders folks and the Clinton folks take a bit of a turn to get ready.”

EMILY’s List, the influential group that backs Democratic women who support abortion rights, immediately sent an email directed at Connecticut voters, calling Clinton’s victory in the state “a victory for women across the nation.”

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy reached out to Sanders.

“Bernie is a good friend and he ran a strong race, and I know he’ll do what it takes to ensure Democrats keep the White House,” he said.

Speaking in Philadelphia, Clinton took care to compliment Sanders and his supporters.

“I applaud Sen. Sanders and his millions of supporters for challenging us to get unaccountable money out of our politics and giving greater emphasis to closing the gap of inequality,” she said. “And I know together we will get that done. Whether you support Sen. Sanders or you support me, there is much more that unites us than divides us.”

The Working Families Party, the labor offshoot that endorsed Sanders, was not ready to let go of Sanders’ issues, even if his candidacy dimmed considerably.

“This isn’t over. Every vote and every delegate for Bernie Sanders is a declaration of support for big progressive ideas, and a peaceful political revolution that will change this country in the coming years,” said Dan Kantor, the national director. “We need a fair economy and a real democracy, and the fact that so many people across the country, especially young people, share this view is cause for great optimism.

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich speaks at Glastonbury High School Friday with his traveling national debt clock running behind him.

Kyle Constable / CTMirror.org

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich speaks at Glastonbury High School Friday with his traveling national debt clock running behind him.

Clinton was declared the early winner Tuesday in Maryland and Delaware, the first of what Malloy hoped would be a number of wins placing her on the verge of becoming the first woman to win a presidential nomination in the U.S.

“After today, she will be well over 2,000 delegates and really within a hair’s breath of the actual nomination, which will come in the not-too distant future,” Malloy said.

The Republican primary was no contest. Trump led in every public poll in Connecticut, and exit polling indicated he would end the evening with about 60 percent of the vote.

After the polls closed, his campaign was unsure only of results in the 4th Congressional District of Fairfield County, where Kasich won three of the district’s 17 communities, Darien, New Canaan and Westport and .

“We clearly won the other four districts. The likelihood is if he maintains his percentage statewide, it would be hard to lose the 4th District,” said Ben Proto, who is working for Trump in Connecticut.

Proto echoed D’Amelio and suggested it was time for the GOP’s elected officials to join the campaign – or risk being out of sync with their constituents.

“They are going to have to take a real hard look at this and take a look at their towns,” Proto said.

Aside from Trump’s strong showing, Proto said the campaign fielded reports all day of other voters who turned up at the polls to vote for him, only to be told they were ineligible in Connecticut’s closed primary as unaffiliated or Democratic voters.

Over the weekend in Connecticut, Trump mocked the idea of toning down his rhetoric and trying to act more presidential. On Tuesday night, he was respectful to Cruz, but his final message before exiting was to denigrate Clinton as a candidate whose only asset was gender.

“I think the only card she has is the women’s card. She’s got nothing else going. Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote,” Trump said. “The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card, and the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her, OK?”

Some Connecticut Republican legislators still were cool to their front runner after his victory and clung to the shrinking hope of an open convention.

“Neutral and silent” is how Rep. Livvy Floren of Greenwich, where Trump beat Kasich, 48 percent to 41 percent, described most of her fellow Republicans in the General Assembly. “Neutral and silent is how we’ll remain until the end.”

Kyle Constable contributed to this report.

Posted in Business, Featured, Hartford, Nation/WorldComments Off on The Leads Grow as Trump wins Big, Clinton Narrowly in Connecticut

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Bernie Sanders Pushes for High Voter Turnout to Win


By Ann-Marie Adams | @annmarieadams

HARTFORD – Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders on Monday called for “citizens united” in Connecticut to show up at the polls and vote for him.

“If voter turn out is low, we will not win,” Sanders said. “If voter turnout is high, we win.”

The Vermont Senator also noted that a Democratic Presidential Candidate is not going to win on brand loyalty. Each of the two candidates have to “reach out to independent voters.”

“I think I’m qualified to do just that,” Sanders said.

Sanders made his second stop in Connecticut after visiting New Haven on Sunday. On Monday he made a campaign stop at Riverfront Plaza in Hartford. At 11:00 a.m.

In his speech, Sanders pledged to repeal the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United, which is a conservative non-profit organization in the United States. It is best known for the U.S. Supreme Court case on campaign finance known as Citizens United v. FEC.

Citizens United’s stated mission is to restore the United States government to “citizens’ control,” seeking to “reassert the traditional American values of limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families, and national sovereignty.

Sanders for President Rally themed “A Future to Believe In” at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza drew about 1,000 people.

“It looks to me that Hartford is ready for a political revolution,” said Sanders, pledging to transform America: working class people, and others who are disenchanted with America. “When I talk about a political revolution, it’s not a complicated process.”

In other words, he said, a political revolution means everyone has a vote.

Sanders is among the five presidential candidates to visit Hartford and other parts of Connecticut.

Ohio Governor and GOP candidate John Kasich visited  Sacred Heart University two weeks ago and Glastonbury High School on Friday.

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump was in Hartford two weeks ago and returned to Connecticut on Saturday  at Crosby High School in Waterbury then in Bridgeport at the Klein Memorial Auditorium.

Also on Saturday, Hilary Clinton, who was in Hartford on Friday, campaigned in New Haven with Rep. Rosa DeLauro. She spoke about her plans to raise the minimum wage and fight for equal equality.

While in Hartford, Clinton held a discussion on gun violence with local residents and Sandy Hook victims at the Wilson-Gray YMCA. And her daughter Chelsea Clinton campaigned for her at Dunns River, a Jamaican restaurant in Hartford’s North End.

Posted in Business, Featured, Nation/World, PoliticsComments Off on Bernie Sanders Pushes for High Voter Turnout to Win

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