Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador

Trump revealed highly classified in…

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Witness For Justice #840 A Reluctant Marcher

Witness For Justice #840 A Reluctan…

I have a confession to m...

Wine and Food Tasting Event Returns to Botanic Gardens

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Items filtered by date: April 2017

Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

Washington reacts to Trump’s disclosure of classified information

The White House and lawmakers reacted May 15 to Washington Post revelations that President Trump disclosed classified information during a meeting with Russian officials.

[Lawmakers express shock and concern about Trump disclosure of classified information]

The revelation comes as the president faces rising legal and political pressure on multiple Russia-related fronts. Last week, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump’s subsequent admission that his decision was driven by “this Russia thing” was seen by critics as attempted obstruction of justice.

One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — a key figure in earlier Russia controversies — into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.

White House officials involved in the meeting said Trump discussed only shared concerns about terrorism.

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

McMaster reiterated his statement in a subsequent appearance at the White House on Monday and described the Washington Post story as “false,” but did not take any questions.

McMaster: Trump 'did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known'

In their statements, White House officials emphasized that Trump had not discussed specific intelligence sources and methods, rather than addressing whether he had disclosed information drawn from sensitive sources.

The CIA declined to comment, and the NSA did not respond to requests for comment.

But officials expressed concern about Trump’s handling of sensitive information as well as his grasp of the potential consequences. Exposure of an intelligence stream that has provided critical insight into the Islamic State, they said, could hinder the United States’ and its allies’ ability to detect future threats.

[On Russia, Trump and his top national security aides seem to be at odds]

“It is all kind of shocking,” said a former senior U.S. official who is close to current administration officials. “Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”

In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.

Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.

What Trump’s classified revelations to Russian officials mean for allies

Washington Post national security reporter Greg Miller explains what President Trump’s potential disclosures to Russian officials means going forward. (The Washington Post)

The Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.

“Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive, and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team. He and others spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.

The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved. Officials said the capability could be useful for other purposes, possibly providing intelligence on Russia’s presence in Syria. Moscow would be keenly interested in identifying that source and perhaps disrupting it.

[Political chaos in Washington is a return on investment in Moscow]

Russia and the United States both regard the Islamic State as an enemy and share limited information about terrorist threats. But the two nations have competing agendas in Syria, where Moscow has deployed military assets and personnel to support President Bashar al-Assad.

“Russia could identify our sources or techniques,” the senior U.S. official said.

A former intelligence official who handled high-level intelligence on Russia said that given the clues Trump provided, “I don’t think that it would be that hard [for Russian spy services] to figure this out.”

At a more fundamental level, the information wasn’t the United States’ to provide to others. Under the rules of espionage, governments — and even individual agencies — are given significant control over whether and how the information they gather is disseminated, even after it has been shared. Violating that practice undercuts trust considered essential to sharing secrets.

The officials declined to identify the ally but said it has previously voiced frustration with Washington’s inability to safeguard sensitive information related to Iraq and Syria.

“If that partner learned we’d given this to Russia without their knowledge or asking first, that is a blow to that relationship,” the U.S. official said.

Trump also described measures the United States has taken or is contemplating to counter the threat, including military operations in Iraq and Syria, as well as other steps to tighten security, officials said.

The officials would not discuss details of those measures, but the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed that it is considering banning laptops and other large electronic devices from carry-on bags on flights between Europe and the United States. The United States and Britain imposed a similar ban in March affecting travelers passing through airports in 10 Muslim-majority countries.

Trump cast the countermeasures in wistful terms. “Can you believe the world we live in today?” he said, according to one official. “Isn’t it crazy?”

Lavrov and Kislyak were also accompanied by aides.

A Russian photographer took photos of part of the session that were released by the Russian state-owned Tass news agency. No U.S. news organization was allowed to attend any part of the meeting.

Team Trump’s ties to Russian interests View Graphic

Senior White House officials appeared to recognize quickly that Trump had overstepped and moved to contain the potential fallout. Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, placed calls to the directors of the CIA and the NSA, the services most directly involved in the intelligence-sharing arrangement with the partner.

One of Bossert’s subordinates also called for the problematic portion of Trump’s discussion to be stricken from internal memos and for the full transcript to be limited to a small circle of recipients, efforts to prevent sensitive details from being disseminated further or leaked.

White House officials defended Trump. “This story is false,” said Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser for strategy. “The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.”

But officials could not explain why staff members nevertheless felt it necessary to alert the CIA and the NSA.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he would rather comment on the revelations in the Post story after “I know a little bit more about it,” but added: “Obviously, they are in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening. And the shame of it is, there’s a really good national security team in place.”

Corker also said, “The chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think makes — it creates a worrisome environment.”

Trump has repeatedly gone off-script in his dealings with high-ranking foreign officials, most notably in his contentious introductory conversation with the Australian prime minister earlier this year. He has also faced criticism for seemingly lax attention to security at his Florida retreat, Mar-a-Lago, where he appeared to field preliminary reports of a North Korea missile launch in full view of casual diners.

U.S. officials said that the National Security Council continues to prepare multi-page briefings for Trump to guide him through conversations with foreign leaders, but that he has insisted that the guidance be distilled to a single page of bullet points — and often ignores those.

“He seems to get in the room or on the phone and just goes with it, and that has big downsides,” the second former official said. “Does he understand what’s classified and what’s not? That’s what worries me.”

Lavrov’s reaction to the Trump disclosures was muted, officials said, calling for the United States to work more closely with Moscow on fighting terrorism.

Kislyak has figured prominently in damaging stories about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign just 24 days into the job over his contacts with Kislyak and his misleading statements about them. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from matters related to the FBI’s Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had met and spoke with Kislyak, despite denying any contact with Russian officials during his confirmation hearing.

“I’m sure Kislyak was able to fire off a good cable back to the Kremlin with all the details” he gleaned from Trump, said the former U.S. official who handled intelligence on Russia.

The White House readout of the meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak made no mention of the discussion of a terrorist threat.

“Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria,” the summary said. The president also “raised Ukraine” and “emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia.”


California’s Educators Denounce U.S. House OK of Bill Threatening Vital Health Benefits for Nation’s Students and Families

BURLINGAME – Eric C. Heins, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association, issued this statement today about the narrow approval by the U.S. House of Representatives of the American Health Care Act that would gut vital parts of the Affordable Care Act:

“California’s educators feel today as many Americans do now that Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives just rushed to narrowly and blindly pass a dangerously flawed bill that will threaten the health care of millions of students and families. We stand with groups such as the American Medical Association, American Cancer Society and AARP in opposing this ‘Trumpcare’ scheme that would also allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and is projected to increase insurance premiums for thousands of middle-class families. We urge the U.S. Senate to reject this morally bankrupt bill that eliminates health care for more than 24 million people, while giving massive tax cuts to the rich. It also puts essential health benefits such as maternity and newborn care, dental and vision care for kids, and mental health care at risk.”


Witness For Justice #840 A Reluctant Marcher

I have a confession to make. I get awfully grumpy about all these marches.

Which is not to say I don't go. In the ten years since I moved to DC I've been to more rallies, protests and prayer vigils than I can count. I am deeply concerned about injustice, so despite my bad attitude, I show up. But every time another big one comes around, I find myself getting grouchy all over again.

"Why don't people march in their own cities?" I ask as I push through the crowds on the metro platform.

"Wouldn't a visit to your legislator be more impactful?" I huff as I clean up discarded protest signs on my walk home.

"What difference does all this marching even make?" I grumble as I lace up my shoes once again.

And every time, despite my lack of faith, I am rewarded.

Here's the thing I always forget – advocacy is not an activity best done in isolation.

Worrying about the world, reading endless articles on the Internet, and sending frustrated Tweets out into the ether will wear you down after a time. Being with other advocates; sharing stories of hope and struggle; seeing the diversity, creativity and beauty of our country first hand - these are the things that feed the spirit and fortify a heavy heart.

It is an unexpected joy to witness to your beliefs with nothing more (or less) than your physical presence. In a world where time is money, it sends a quietly powerful message.

We can only change the world if we do it together. This is not simply a statement of scale. The injustices of racism, sexism, homophobia, environmental degradation and more cannot be endured alone.

We need to surround ourselves with other warriors for justice. We need to be stretched and challenged by the stories of communities on the front lines. We need to roar in the face of oppression and challenge the political status quo. We need it, even when we do not know that we do.

Take it from me - you don't need to set aside your skepticism. You just need to show up. Bring your bad attitude if you have to, along with your walking shoes, water and snacks to share. I'll see you out there.


“Instead of Just Diving in I tell you....You Really Ought to Read the Warning Signs!”

You see, “only a Fool dives head first into something without reading the warning signs! The Warning Sign says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life!” [Romans. 6:23]. The Warning Sign says, “The person who sins will die.” [Ezekiel 18:20] The Warning Sign says, “ And I will punish the wicked for their iniquity, and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” [Isaiah 30:11]. The Warning Sign says, “Sin is not to be embraced.” The Warning Sign says: Be alert! Be on guard! Be on watch! For sin is an enemy of mass proportions. When sin is finished it brings forth betrayal. When sin is finished it brings forth grief. When sin is finished it brings forth agony. When sin is finished it brings forth brokenness. When sin is finished it brings forth alienation. When sin is finished it brings forth torment. When sin is finished it brings forth condemnation. When sin is finished it brings forth despair. When sin is finished it brings forth heartache. When sin is finished it brings forth misery. The Warning Sign says, “Sin is deceitful. Sin is desirous. Sin is destructive.” The Warning Sign says, “This is the purpose behind everything Satan does. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” [John 10:10]. The Warning Sign says, “Sin need to be closed down, burned down, demolished, destroyed, annexed, and annihilated from your life; for it kills and destroys everything it touches. The Warning Sign says, “All sin is against God. The Warning Sign says, “All sin is a violation of God’s law. “[Psalms 51:4] The Warning Sign says, “Sin Is transgression against Life [Deuteronomy 4:40; 5:33]. And the Warning Sign says, “Sin will take your soul all the way to hell!” Who is the Warning Sign: God Is!

Listen, the Bible says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon”. [Isaiah 55:7]. “It’s high time to surrender to the Lord’s Word and will... turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.” [Ezekiel 14:6]. The Bible says that when King Hezekiah became ill, the prophet came to him with a message, “...Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.” [2 Kings 20:1]. The Scriptures tell us that King Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and “wept sore” [v.3] as he repented and asked for mercy. And God is saying to you today, “Come now, and let us reason together: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool”. [Isaiah 1:18]. “…Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not… For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” [Proverbs 8:32-36]. May you swim and not drown!


Wine and Food Tasting Event Returns to Botanic Gardens

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — The Friends of the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens will host the 19th Annual Primavera in the Gardens wine and food tasting fundraising event from 2 to 5 p.m. May 21 at the University of California, Riverside Botanic Gardens.

Guests will be able to stroll through the scenic garden paths, enjoy appetizers, drink locally brewed beer and wine and listen to live music. Proceeds from the event are used to maintain and improve the gardens, fund educational programs and tours that host thousands of school children each year, and support student employees.

Appetizers will be provided by restaurants and caterers, including: Pepitos Mexican Restaurant, Mario’s Place, Cafe Sevilla, Edible Arrangements, GraPow, The Salted Pig, Marisa’s Italian Deli, Habanero Mexican Grill, ProAbition – Whiskey Lounge & Kitchen, Gandhi Indian Cuisine, the Marriott, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Anchos, Riverside Food Co-op, and UC Riverside Citrus Grove Catering. Coffee will be from Augie’s Coffee House.

Wine and beer will be offered by regional vineyards and wineries including Falkner Winery, Galleano Winery, Hart Family Winery, Maurice Car’rie Winery, Via One Hope Winery, Roadrunner Ridge Winery, Lorimar Vineyards & Winery, Canyon Crest Winery, Mystic Hills Vineyard, Inland Empire Brewing Company, Euryale Brewing Company, Wicks Brewing Co., Heroes Restaurant & Brewery, and Packinghouse Brewing Company.In addition, there will be a silent auction and live entertainment by Tom Perring, Caleb Sotelo, and Marti and the Smooth Katz.

Nearly 500 people attended the event in 2016 and a full house is expected this year. Tickets to the fundraiser are $75 per person if purchased in advance and $85 at the gate. Tickets can also be purchased by credit card at

For more information, call 951-784-6962, send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit

Parking for the event is $5. A trolley, which will shuttle guests to and from the garden entrance, will be available and free to use.

The Botanic Gardens cover nearly 40 acres and feature more than 3,000 plant species from around the world. Every year, some 50,000 visitors, including school children, enjoy the beautiful vistas and scenic pathways.

To view press release visit:


“Daughters of the Dust” Kicks Off Free Film Series

RIVERSIDE, California – The award-winning film “Daughters of the Dust” will kick off a free summer film series at the University of California, Riverside May 12-13.

The series, “Film for Thought,” is part of the Center for Ideas and Society’s Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies project. This two-year project will investigate issues surrounding economic inequality, access to higher education, religious identity and intolerance, and omitted or erased histories.

As the debut film in the series, “Daughters of the Dust” is co-sponsored by the UCR Speculative Fiction and Cultures of Science program. The screening will be hosted at the Culver Center of the Arts, 3824 Main St., on Friday, May 12, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 13, at 3 p.m. A panel discussion will follow the May 12 screening and will include: Jayna Brown, UCR associate professor of ethnic studies; Paulette Brown-Hinds, editor-in-chief of IE Voice; and moderator Derek Burrill, associate professor of media and cultural studies.

Tickets are free and may be reserved online.

“Daughters of the Dust” is a remastered and recently re-released 1991 feature film directed by Julie Dash of Los Angeles. The film follows the struggles of a multi-generational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina – former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions – to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland, even further from their roots. Dash, who is a fan of Afrofuturist science fiction and fantasy has said that she considers the film to be, in some sense, speculative fiction in the same vein.

The film was the first U.S. feature film by an African American woman director to achieve nationwide distribution. It won the Cinematography Award and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival in 1991; was selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2004; won the Excellence in Cinematography Award at the Cascade Festival of African Films in 2005; and won a Special Award from the New York Film Critics Circle Awards in 2016.

The film series will resume at the Culver Center in July and August and will include a mix of full-length documentaries and shorter pieces. Film titles and show times are available on the center’s website and on the Culver Center’s film page.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded $250,000 to the Center for Ideas and Society in January for a series of seminars, public lectures, and films geared toward thoughtful reflection on economic inequality, diversity in higher education, religious heterogeneity, and the many still-untold histories of marginalized groups. Seminars will begin in fall 2017. Participating faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students will conduct original research on seminar themes, with results to be presented at a final conference in spring 2019. In addition to the summer film series, each seminar will be accompanied by a public lecture and film.

“We value the contributions of the Inland Southern California community in thinking about these topics,“ said Georgia Warnke, director of the center. “We hope the lectures and films will encourage widespread participation.”

The current grant is the second the foundation has awarded UCR for the Advancing Intercultural Studies project. The Center for Ideas and Society was awarded $208,000 in 2014 to conduct a related series of seminars exploring existing and future aspects of diversity in the United States, and to enhance appreciation of both the problems and the opportunities to which it can give rise.


Local Protests Sparked by TrumpCare

For the past five days, protests have erupted across the country in response to House Republicans voting for TrumpCare.

The bill would strip 24 million of their health care, gut protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, and raise premiums for older Americans all so Republicans can give another massive tax cut to millionaires and billionaires.

Rod Blum, IA-1

The Washington Post: Iowa congressman walks out of a TV interview and into an angry town hall meeting

One woman complained that “You voted on this bill in a rush — there were no committee hearings. This pertains to my life. This is not democracy works and you know that. … What was the rush?”

Bob Gibbs, OH-7 Area activists rallied against GOP health care bill

Judy Alsip, a Canton resident, told council her son was diagnosed with cancer when he was a child and that provisions in the Republican bill could allow states to permit insurers to charge higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions, which is not allowed by the Affordable Care Act, if the states established high risk insurance pools to cover them.

“My young son leads a good life, lives a good life, did absolutely nothing to ask for cancer. But the AHCA could make him pay very high rates and even so high, they’re cost prohibitive and (he may) not get insurance throughout his life,” she said.

Scott Perry, PA-6

WITF: Midstate AHCA opponents to Rep. Perry: 'shame on you'

Republican Scott Perry represents Pennsylvania's 4th district, which is in the commonwealth's south central region. The day after the health care vote, he had a crowd of people outside his Wormleysburg office in Cumberland County.

One protester, Mary Rosenkrans, said Perry's support of the plan is disingenuous. She explained, his comments at a March town hall made her hope he'd take a different position. "He said he would listen to his constituents," she said. "I don't think he's listening. That's why we're here."

Brad Wenstrup, OH-2 Brad Wenstrup vote to pass GOP health bill brings protests

Several of the demonstrators said that Rep. Wenstrup is not representing them. A live town hall would give all constituents an opportunity to share their views, Sandy Sommer of Mount Adams said.

"We feel disenfranchised. We don't feel like we're being heard," she said. This is her third or fourth time Sommer said she's been out to Wenstrup's office.

"We've got no idea what the statistics are for how many have called in supporting Obamacare versus Trumpcare," she said.

Marsha Blackburn, TN-7

The Tennessean: Franklin opposition to health care changes ask for 'mercy'

Former Jars of Clay singer Dan Haseltine had one message for Franklin when it comes to health care.

"The poor and the sick lead us in generosity," he said at a press conference inside the Franklin Community Center on the corner of Natchez Street.

"When we want our kids offering more than they have to give, you need to look at the poor. Today, I stand here because I want to support good work, so the poor have the health care that they need, so they can recover with dignity and be nursed back to health."

David Valadao, CA-21 Protest against David Valadao's vote in favor of AHCA

Juanita Chavez who benefited from Obamacare said, “I believed until last night that he was going to vote the right way on this bill and I believe that he may have kept us guessing just to diminish our actions our pressure against him. I've had severe degenerative liver disease since the time I was 19 and it is only to the fact that I’ve had access to quality health care that I’m here alive today after a liver transplant in but if I become more ill it will be impossible for me to work and I will need to have access to healthcare."

Lynn Jenkins, KS-2

The Morning Sun: Community Protests AHCA

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“We are just concerned citizens making our voice heard in opposition to the AHCA,” Pittsburg resident Adriane Fain said. Before protesting the group delivered a letter to Jenkins’ office regarding the bill.

The group had concerns about health care for those with disabilities, pre-existing conditions, the elderly and newborn children born with health issues. “Twenty-four million people will lose health care — a number before CBO estimates,” Fain said.

Many of the protestors, including Harry L. Humphries, of Pittsburg, said the bill was rushed through and the Congressional Budget Office still had not looked over the costs. “They rushed it through without the American people having a chance to look at it,” he said.”

John Culberson, TX-7

Houston Chronicle: Protests target Culberson's 'yes' vote for GOP health care bill

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Under the AHCA, insurers and individual states would have more latitude to craft coverage. It is widely expected that Texas will return to high risk pools to cover those with pre-existing conditions or chronic medical needs. People enrolled are charged more and separated from the risk pool of healthier populations. Under the ACA, that was illegal.

It is the pre-existing condition questions that raised the ire of many at the gathering Sunday, including Jaime Lawson, a 37-year-old sustainability consultant who has multiple sclerosis. "I'm afraid I would end up in a high risk pool," she said.

Diane Black, TN-6 Healthcare CandleLight vigil “protest” being held at Congressman Black’s office

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These citizens are holding a candlelight vigil “protest” in response to today’s passage of the US House bill that repeals the Affordable Care Act and replaces it with the Republican’s version.

Despite the rain, community leaders, organizers, and religious leaders have gathered in this candlelight vigil regarding the recent healthcare bill that was passed by the US House.

Dennis Ross, FL-15

WMNF: Protest against Trumpcare at Dennis Ross’ Lakeland office

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There have been protests in Florida and elsewhere against Congress members who voted for the American Health Care Act on Thursday.

Matt Gaetz, FL-1

CW55: Group To Protest Local Republican Representative, American Health Care Act Monday Night

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A local Democratic group plans to protest the recent House vote to repeal Obamacare, starting at the doorstep of a local Congressman who voted in favor of the repeal.

Peter Roskam, IL-6

CLTV: Protester: “Peter Roskam today voted to let my brother die”

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REPORTER: “Protesters gathered outside a Republican fundraiser in Wheaton vowing the GOP will pay dearly for the way its members voted today.”

JAX WEST: “We did not elect you to get rid of the ACA. There are problems with it, sure. Fix it.”

REPORTER: “Many here because they have family members with pre-existing medical additions and they say there are fearful now.”

PROTESTER: “Oh my god, I am so upset. This is so personal. My entire family have pre-existing conditions.”

PROTESTER: “My brother has a pre-existing condition of cancer, and my brother is a constituent of Peter Roskam, and Peter Roskam today voted to let my brother die.”

Fred Upton, MI-6

M-Live: Upton's support of GOP health care bill sparks protest

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Some constituents of U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, are not happy with his yes vote on the GOP health care legislation, which they made clear with multiple protests at his Kalamazoo office… Later that day, Upton said he would support the legislation with an $8 billion amendment added over five years to assist those with pre-existing conditions in states that seek waivers under the Republican health care plan. That's not going to be nearly enough," Martha Faketty, of Kalamazoo said of the amendment. "It's going to cost lives."

Sean Duffy, WI-7

WSAW-TV: Locals protest in opposition of new health care bill

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Joyce Luedke was at the protest and described the bill as unfair, immoral and unchristian.

"I told Congressman Duffy we the taxpayers cover his family of 10 with quality health insurance. Has he ever acknowledged our contribution to him and his family," asked Luedke.

Joel Lewis, the organizer of Thursdays protest, said that although Obamacare is not perfect it's better than limiting access by making it unaffordable for Americans, especially those with pre-existing conditions.

"295,000 members of his district will be affected because that's the amount of people that have pre-existing conditions. So we are concerned that people will be discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions and that it will be harder for working Americans to get health care," said Lewis.

Rodney Frelinghuysen, NJ-11

Observer: Anti-AHCA Protesters Rally as Frelinghuysen Casts Yes

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“He’s called a representative and I’d actually like him to represent us,” Sarah Foye of Montville said. Foye’s son has a disability, something that she said could reduce his coverage options and subject him to discrimination under the GOP healthcare bill, known as the American Health Care Act.

Steve Knight, CA-25

Los Angeles Daily News: Constituents slam Steve Knight for healthcare vote at Santa Clarita rally

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“As President Donald Trump and House Republicans in Washington D.C. celebrated the passage of their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, some Southern Californians gathered outside one of those GOP members’ offices in Santa Clarita in a different mood.”

“We are devastated at the vote that (Steve Knight) took today to take away the rights of those that have health coverage under the Affordable Care Act,” said Celinda Vazquez, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.

Vasquez said a provision in the bill would defund Planned Parenthood, blocking patients from receiving a variety of medical services from Planned Parenthood facilities.

Darrell Issa, CA-49

KGTV - Cancer Patient Protests Issa’s Health Care Vote

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REPORTER: “Blanco says for her family this is life and death. Her husband suffers from diabetes. Her grandson has autism, and she is battling a rare form of melanoma, pigment producing cells in her membranes have turned cancerous. She currently receiving immunotherapy treatment.”

BLANCO: “It is $30,000 a dose, and I have to have a minimum, a minimum, of 15 doses.”

REPORTER: “A preexisting condition this bill, she says, wouldn't cover. And a bill that passed the House that wouldn't require insurers to charge the same rates as they do for the healthy.”

Mike Gallagher, WI-8

NBC: Protests in Appleton in response to Congress' health care vote

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Protesters gathered outside of Congressman Mike Gallagher's office in Appleton Thursday in response to the health care vote in congress.

Daniel Dillon of Marion, suffers from a chronic back injury says he's concerned about the lack of information he's received about a new bill. "It’s not fair to the American public to be doing this,” said Dillon. “We need health care reform. The Affordable Health Care Act is not perfect by any means but it does cover people like myself that otherwise could not get insurance."

Tom Nelson of Outagamie County was also at the protest.

“You're talking with everything from special education students, people with pre-existing conditions,” said Nelson. “You know just here in North East Wisconsin about 300,000 people have pre-existing conditions. What’s going to happen to them?"

Steve Stivers, OH-15

ABC6: Ohioans raise concerns about GOP health care bill

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"The problem is I have no idea (what this will do to my insurance)," said Kay Barker, a small business owner who buys her family's insurance through an exchange set up by the Affordable Care Act. "No one has any idea what this is going to do. I do know the ACA has helped us immeasurably and it is affordable." Barker was one of roughly 40 people protesting in Hilliard outside Rep. Stivers' office… "Unfortunately what this did was take it from bad to worse or from worse to worst," said Steve Wagner who runs the non-partisan healthcare advocacy group UHCAN Ohio. "There is just not the funding that's there that would make this affordable for most people that have pre-existing conditions."

Speaker Paul Ryan, WI-1

CBS58: Protesters gather outside of Speaker Paul Ryan's office after House passes GOP health care bill

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“Healthcare for all. We shall not be moved." These were the chants of protesters outside Speaker Paul Ryan's office. The group of protesters didn't budge on their hopes even after hearing the vote to repeal and replace Obamacare had passed the House of Representatives.

Nikki Aiello was protesting for her nephew, who she says is one of those 24 million people that will lose insurance. She says he was born with a pre-existing condition.

"I don't know how Paul Ryan can claim to be supportive of life when he's doing something like this that will deprive people of healthcare and will cost people their lives," stated Aiello.

Billy Long, MO-7

OzarksFirst: Worried Missourians Protest Health Care Vote

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Missourians who are worried about the future of their health care were protesting the Trumpcare vote outside of Congressman Billy Long's office in Springfield…

"We were finally in a place where we didn't have to worry about being priced out of insurance," said Crystal Brigman Mahaney with Missouri Health Care for All… "It's going to make it very difficult to have access to care for many people in our nation," said Rev. Phil Snider, a senior minister at Brentwood Christian Church, who joined protesters outside Long's office.

Scott Taylor, VA-2

Southside Daily: Crowd gathers in Virginia Beach to protest Rep. Taylor, GOP healthcare bill

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Protesters gathered at Town Center Thursday evening to hold a candlelight vigil after the House of Representatives, including Rep. Scott Taylor, voted to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare.


Erin Edlow of Virginia Beach, viewed the bill and the ACHA plan as a “travesty.”??“I am one of the 400,000 Virginians that does not have healthcare insurance because Virginia was a state that opted out of expanding Medicaid in this state,” she said. “This new plan that is going further than non-expansion in 2020 is definitely going to affect me because it’s not even going to be an option after 2020.”

Erik Paulsen, MN-3

Minnesota Star Tribune: Protests online, outside offices of Reps. Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis follow GOP health care vote

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Demonstrators gathered Friday outside Twin Cities-area offices of two Republican U.S. representatives who voted a day earlier for the Republican measure repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

About 150 people showed up outside the Eden Prairie office of U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen over the lunch hour, and another 50 at the Burnsville office of U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis. (U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, the third Minnesota Republican in the House, also voted for the American Health Care Act.)

Mark Meadows, NC-11

ABC: Protesters use die-in to show displeasure over GOP health care bill

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People unhappy with the House Republicans' health care reform bill staged a die-in at a local congressman's office Thursday…

They held signs saying the repeal of the Affordable Care Act killed them. Then they laid on the grass to illustrate what they say will happen under the new GOP health care bill. They said the legislation will have a negative impact on 200,000 people in Meadows' congressional district.

"For example, a woman with breast cancer, the Kaiser Foundation is estimating it's going to cost $44,000 for her to get into that high risk pool that Congressman Meadows and his Freedom Caucus friends have created," Kathleen Barnes, of the Transylvania County NAACP, said.

Mia Love, UT-4

AP: People With Preexisting Conditions Fret Over Health Overhaul

Utah's all-Republican House delegation voted Thursday in favor of a health care overhaul that could impact people with pre-existing conditions, triggering serious worries from people who fit that category.

Salt Lake City resident Emilee Sharp said she is considering rushing a major spinal surgery in case she loses her insurance even though her doctor warned it's risky.??"It's horrible to think that 'oh my insurance may be taken away and now I have to enter into surgery that is extremely risky; it could go wrong,” said Sharp.

Murray resident Jake Martinez, 32, said he's worried about getting health insurance in the future since he has epilepsy, considered a pre-existing condition by insurers. "Today, it really kind of sunk in that not only are we not going to potentially have health care coverage, but that it was done as a political win rather than a well-thought out plan," said Jake Martinez, a former chef who is studying social work. "That's what stings about it."

Mark Amodei, NV-2

CBS8: Nevada healthcare advocates disappointed by Trumpcare vote

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"This bill is inhumane, and a means by which to increase the profits of the health insurance industry," said Amy Vilela, healthcare advocate. Vilela's 22-year-old daughter died of a pulmonary embolism due to a blood clot. "I am the mother of a child who died because she couldn't provide proof of insurance," Vilela said. She says the hospital turned her daughter away, due to a lack of insurance. Vilela said Trump care will do little to change that.


Study Finds Exposure to Racism Harms Children's Health

New research to be presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting illustrates the unhealthy effects racism can have on children, with reported exposure to discrimination tied to higher rates of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety and depression, as well as decreased general health.

Authors of the study abstract, “The Detrimental Influence of Racial Discrimination in the United States,” will present their findings on Sunday, May 7, in the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco. For the study, they looked at data from 95,677 participants in the 2011-2012 National Survey on Children’s Health. In addition to providing physical and mental health records, caregivers of children in the survey were asked whether the child had experienced being “judged or treated unfairly” because of his or her race or ethnicity.

After adjusting for socioeconomic status, family structure, primary language and other factors, researchers found a significant link between exposure to racism and health. The average proportion of children reported by parents to be in “excellent health” decreased by 5.4 percent among those exposed to perceived discrimination, for example. Exposure to racism also appeared to boost the odds of ADHD by 3.2 percent.

The biggest reduction in general health appeared among low-income, minority children, particularly Hispanic participants, said Ashaunta Anderson, MD, MPH, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine.

Children exposed to discrimination who were from high-income households, however, also experienced negative health effects.

“White children with high income who experienced racial or ethnic discrimination had larger decreases in general health,” Anderson said, “while black children experiencing that combination of factors had increased rates of ADHD.”

The study also found that children who experienced racial discrimination had twice the odds of anxiety and depression compared to children who did not experience discrimination. In turn, children with anxiety or depression had roughly half the odds of excellent general health, and four times the odds of ADHD.

“Our findings suggest that racial discrimination contributes to race-based disparities in child health, independent of socioeconomic factors,” Anderson said, adding that coordinated efforts are needed to support children affected by discrimination with developmentally appropriate coping strategies and systems of care. In particular, she said, programs that provide positive parenting practices training and promote positive peer and role model relationships can help buffer children from the negative health effects of discrimination.

Anderson will present the abstract, “The Detrimental Influence of Racial Discrimination in the United States,” from 12:35 to 12:50 p.m. in conference rooms 2005-07.

The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting brings together thousands of individuals united to improve child health and wellbeing worldwide. For more information, visit the PAS Meeting online at

For more information, please visit:


Cops Look for Answers in Policing the Mentally Ill

Taleah Everett, 20, a woman whose family members said suffers from psychotic episodes, was driving erratically two months ago near Capitol Hill in Washington, when Capitol Police, fearing a possible terrorist act, shot at her car to stop it. She was not injured.

There was a different outcome a few months earlier in New York City. A police sergeant, responding to a 911 call last October about an emotionally disturbed person in a Bronx apartment building, shot and killed Deborah Danner, 66. He said she threatened him with a baseball bat.

The shooting sparked outrage, including from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio, reprimanded the officer and called Danner’s death "tragic" and "unacceptable."

Ironically, police had been called to Danner's home several times before to take her to the hospital during psychiatric episodes, the mayor said, and each

time, she was taken away safely.

There have been similar shootings and deaths during encounters between police and the mentally ill in cities across America. According to a Washington Post analysis, about 1 in 4 people that were fatally shot by police in 2015 were struggling with a mental health issue.

Increasingly, police are finding a large part of their job is dealing with the mentally ill, something for which they are not initially trained.

In fact, parts of the core training police receive that are beneficial in regular street encounters, such as developing “command presence,” can have the opposite effect when dealing with the mentally illness, said Matthew Horace, a CNN law enforcement analyst and former special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Consequently, many police departments are putting some or all their officers through Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) so officers will be better prepared to deal with mental illness.

Even with the heightened awareness, only 16 percent, or 1 in 6, of the nation’s 18,000 police departments are currently initiating this training, according to Laura Usher, senior manager for criminal justice and advocacy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a national organization that lobbies for the mentally ill.

The training, though badly needed, police departments said, is highly encouraged but not mandatory.

Horace that the training isn’t mandatory because it can be expensive and it can be time consuming. Many departments have less than 40 officers, he said.

“There isn’t enough man power to remove officers off the streets and place them in training,” he said. “Another factor is there aren’t enough sufficient funds.”

Washington Officer William Kelly, 47, said he receives approximately five calls a day regarding incidents involving the mentally ill. Many of the people he encounters struggle with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, he said.

Kelly and many other officers in the 4th district in Northwest Washington have undergone 40 hours of CIT, which Kelly said has helped him immensely.

Courtesy Orange County Register: Santa Ana, California officers encounter a homeless woman who suffers from mental illness. She told the officers the “world ended” and she’s “from the sky.” After the Orange County, California, Grand Jury concluded nearly every local police agency was inadequately trained to handle the mentally ill, dramatic changes were made so officers would be better prepared than ever before.

“After taking the class, whenever I receive a call of something of that nature, I now have a better understanding of the situation and can further go with handling the dispute or incident properly,” he said.

The week-long training included virtual scenarios on how to the mentally ill, lectures by experts, site visits, and role playing scenarios, he said.

He has been in countless situations where he had to defuse domestic violence calls with the suspects/victims that were dealing with a mental crisis.

The D.C. Department of Behavioral Health partnered with Washington police after realizing police encounters with people with mental disabilities has become a major issue.

Officer Kyle Mitchell, 40, said he has been a part of the Metropolitan Police Department for over 26 years, and he welcomed the training and the partnership the people in behavioral health.

“The collaboration with the Department of Behavioral Health was probably one of the best things that could’vet happened,” Mitchell said. “People don’t know how many calls we receive day-to-day with situations with people dealing with mental illness, until finally someone said there’s a better way to go about this.”

Mitchell said about 5 percent of his department are CIT certified. Officer Chris Thompson, 32, said the training has given him a sense of awareness,

“I encourage all my fellow colleagues to take part in CIT,” Thompson said. “There have been a lot of cases where we had to refer people for treatment instead of jail. I believe this has saved a lot of people.”


County wins 40 awards from National Association of Counties

San Bernardino County programs ending veteran homelessness, advancing literacy, and saving citrus trees are among 40 groundbreaking initiatives that won 2017 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The Public Defender and the Department of Behavioral Health also won a Best in Category Achievement Award for the Everyone SWIMS program which addresses the continuing problem of unnecessary hospitalization and incarceration of individuals with psychological distress and mental disorders. Everyone SWIMS stands for Self-sufficient, Well-being, In-house, Mental health services and the program helps increase access to outpatient and crisis stabilization services to the indigent population facing criminal charges.

“The County continues to be a national leader because we are always thinking of new and different ways to improve lives and save taxpayer dollars,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert A. Lovingood. “I am proud of our employees for providing top-notch services and professionalism to our county residents.”

Since 2010, San Bernardino County has garnered 242 awards from NACo, an organization that honors innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents.

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

The Board of Supervisors will recognize and honor the people and departments responsible for the winning programs and services at an upcoming public meeting.Diversity Committee Program

To view specific information about each program, visit

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