Politics

Immigration Activists Deliver More Than 520,000 Signatures From People Who Want NBC To Dump Trump From SNL

By Lissette Calveiro

On Wednesday night, undocumented rights activist and dreamer Juan Escalante made a trip to Rockefeller Center carrying a large box that had a 522,080 taped on it.

That number represents the amount of people who’ve petitioned NBC to drop Donald Trump as a host of tonight’s Saturday Night Live,” following his continuous racist remarks about Latino immigrants. What this number also represents is people who feel disrespected, and are flat out fed up with, the antics of Donald Trump.

The #RacismIsntFunny campaign was a collaborative effort between multiple organizations including America’s Voice, Change.org, CREDO Action, Latino Rebels, MoveOn.org, NCLR, UFW, Voto Latino Action Fund and many others.

Juan Escalante serves as Digital Campaign Manager of America’s Voice, leading the delivery of the signatures and getting them in the hands of NBC Executives.

Read More: Latino Kids Hurl Profanity At Donald Trump In Video

Aside from the hand-delivery of signatures, many of these organizations are working to host peaceful protests throughout the day to help amplify the voice of the Latino community. The hashtag #RacismIsntFunny connects people on social media and streamlines the ability to reach more people.

In case you don’t remember, NBC previously dropped the Miss USA Miss Universe Pageants that Trump is associated with.

“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values,” the company said in a statement back in June. “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBC is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”

Now, NBC has allowed Trump to return as the host of one of their most successful television shows.

One SNL encore episode costs advertisers $26 thousand for a 30-second bit; on special nights it can cost upwards of $100 thousand. Add Trump to the recipe and this becomes one of the network’s most important nights for ratings and dollars. It’s this “hypocrisy,” as Escalante puts it, that the Latino community and its allies should not stand for.

Read More: Mike Tyson Just Endorsed Donald Trump Because Of Course He Did

The now 530 thousand signatures seek to remove Donald Trump from hosting Saturday Night Live, but it doesn’t look like the network will budge.

The flash drive inside the box also holds a note with Escalante and other organization’s contact information but no one has reached back with any comments. An open letter has also been delivered to SNL talent inviting them to engage in dialogue on the subject matter.

Donald Trump may very likely continue his host duties tonight, but Escalante encourages leaders to continue to do more.

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Juan Escalante delivers petitions to NBC HQ in NYC. Photo Credit: Juan Escalante

“If they turn off the show tonight because of Donald Trump’s comments, they should turn it off indefinitely,” Escalante told Rise News. “SNL has had a troubling relationship with the Latino community in the past and we need make sure to draw the line.”

Trump is still in the top tier of the GOP primary.

As Escalante notes, Trump is an “showman” but the lack of substance and explanation toward his policies will catch up to him. Trump is an expert at getting reactions from people and it’s only a matter of time before he gets enough bad ones, Escalante said.

Escalante and his team visited the weekly “overnight line” for SNL tickets and staff tells them, it’s the shortest line they’ve ever seen.

Trump strongly believes his appearance will cause a huge boost to ratings, per usual.

During a phone interview with Fox and Friends, Trump dismissed the possibility of SNL dropping him. “Lorne Michaels is a very smart guy. NBC are very smart people,” Trump told the hosts of the Fox News morning show. “If they want to do a show with a third of the ratings, they might do that.”

Read More: How Donald Trump Is An IRL Internet Troll

Will ratings go up? Maybe. Will Trump actually make people laugh? Quite likely. What triumphs the “Trump Effect” of tonight’s SNL episode is the unity seen with groups like Escalante’s. Many are angry, and even more are over the appeal of Trump.

With studies showing you need much more than 40 percent of the Latino vote to win a presidential election, tonight may be a seminal moment in the campaign.

So, Mr. Trump, your show tonight might be HUUUUGE, but the voices of the Latino community can be just as impactful. Visit RacismIsntFunny.com to learn more about the petition and ongoing campaigns.

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Photo Credits: Juan Escalante

Authorities Investigating Potential Criminal Wrongdoing In Miami Shores Charter School Scandal

Rise News has learned that there is an ongoing investigation into allegations that members of the supervisory board of a Miami area charter school may have criminally violated Florida Sunshine Laws.

One of the members of the board at the time of the alleged law violations was the current Mayor of Miami Shores, Alice Burch.

At least two members of the Doctors Charter School (DCS) Board of Directors and a high-ranking school official have been subpoenaed and interviewed by an Assistant State Attorney and an investigator with the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission.

Sources close to the investigation indicate that the inquiry is focused around the events of the controversial non-renewal of contract of DCS Executive Director Nick Dorn.

DCS is a highly rated charter school with 600 students nestled in the sleepy neighborhood of Miami Shores.

Rise Miami News, the predecessor website to Rise News first broke the story of the scandal in June of 2015 and showed that Burch had improperly coordinated with a few other members of the unpaid DCS board to remove Dorn in a secret meeting.

From our original report on the matter:

“Rise Miami News has learned that Burch supplied DCS board members meeting in the ‘shade’ a dossier of information that she had been collecting for over eight months, meant to act as justification for the non-renewal of the school director’s contract.

Burch has also admitted to violating state Sunshine Laws by continuing to volunteer as the de-facto secretary of the DCS board of directors while serving as the acting mayor of the Village.

Burch apologized to the Miami Shores community at a Village Council meeting on June 2 but did not discuss her level of involvement in the dismissal of Nick Dorn, the director of DCS.”

Due to the public outrage, Dorn was eventually offered a contract and a raise. Dorn accepted the contract extension but did not agree to a raise. He is currently leading the school.

DCS board meeting in June.

DCS board meeting in June. Photo Credit: Rise News

Read More: Miami Shores Mayor Actively Advocated For Removal Of Charter School Head In Closed Door Letter

While Burch did not vote in the secret meeting, she openly discussed the idea of not renewing Dorn’s contract with members of the board both before and immediately after the “shade” meeting.

Additional public records including text messages show the extent of communications between Burch and other board members. It also showed how important Burch was to the lifeblood of the board and therefore potentially to the Sunshine Law violations she later admitted to.

Read More: Text Messages, Emails Bring Into Focus Influential Role Miami Shores Mayor Played In DCS Scandal

According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the matter, the inquiry is being headed up by Assistant State Attorney Luis Perez-Medina and Miami-Dade Ethics Commission investigator Larry Lebowitz.

Perez-Medina works out of the Public Corruption Unit under Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle while Lebowitz, a former Miami Herald reporter works under Joseph Centorino, the longtime former head of the Public Corruption Unit and current director of the county Ethics Commission.

Neither the State Attorney’s office or Ethics Commission would confirm or deny that there is an ongoing investigation.

Paul Calli, an attorney and current member of the DCS board first blew the whistle on the “shade” meeting in a series of Facebook posts last spring.

In June, Calli filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission alleging that there had been violations of Section 286.011 of Florida Statutes, also known as the Sunshine Laws.

The Commission referred the complaint to the State Attorney as it said that it does not have jurisdiction over Sunshine Laws.

Miami Shores Mayor Alice Burch. Photo Credit: Alice Burch/Facebook

Miami Shores Mayor Alice Burch. Photo Credit: Alice Burch/Facebook

“The rules should not and cannot be different for elected officials and Village administrators in Miami Shores,” Calli said in an interview with Rise News. “The residents of Miami Shores do not deserve to be excluded from the political process and government administration by elected or appointed officials who hold the trust of residents and voters.  The Shores is not a fiefdom, with its residents vassals.”

 

Mayor Burch did not respond to a request for comment.

Vice Mayor Steven Zelkowitz said that he was not aware of any investigation ongoing in Miami Shores but said that public officials should be careful of Sunshine Law violations.

“I live and breathe the Sunshine Law,” Zelkowitz, a lawyer who deals with many local municipalities in his practice said in a phone interview. “I’m very cognizant and I’m very careful with it. Maybe elected officials should read the laws and understand them before acting.”

Another member of the Village council had a similar view.

“What is important is what[ever] the investigation reveals, it will help bring closure and restore confidence in our leaders,” Councilwoman Ivonne Ledesma said in an email statement.

READ: The 14 page dossier of information Miami Shores Mayor Alice Burch presented to DCS board members before secret, “shade” meeting

Miami Shores Mayor Alice Burch’s “Shade” Letter by Rich

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Cover Photo Credit: Rise News/ Rich Robinson

Jeb Bush’s Connection To A Healthcare Company’s ObamaCare Boon

This article was originally published on www.risemiaminews.com on April 10, 2015. 

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s public political beliefs and personal financial gain seem to have been at odds during his time as a member of the board of directors of Tenet Healthcare.

The potential republican candidate for president stepped down from the company in late December, a move that came as no surprise to political watchers. But with the announcement, new attention is focusing on what Bush actually did at the nation’s third largest for profit hospital chain and whether he supported the corporation’s embrace of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

Just to put into perspective how big of a boon ObamaCare has been for Tenet, it’s CEO Trevor Fetter reported in a November 2014 press release that the company’s net earnings grew over 59% from the same time in 2013. Fetter said that 40% of that growth had come as a direct result of ObamaCare reforms.

Specifically, the additional revenue came from the Medicaid expansion in five states which Tenet operates in and a decrease in uninsured and “charity” hospital admissions.

“We drove an accelerating contribution in the third quarter from healthcare reform, with sequentially higher declines in uncompensated care and increases in Medicaid volume,” Fetter said in the release. “We achieved another quarter of strong performance across every dimension of our business.”

“It would make sense to pay Jeb Bush, because he’s a well connected guy.”

Bush joined Tenet soon after leaving public office in early 2007 and served until the last day of 2014. Bush came on the board shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused the company of wide spread Medicare fraud between 1999 and 2002.

The government said that Tenet’s strong earnings in those years came about because of the company’s “exploitation of a loophole in the Medicare reimbursement system.”

Tenet refused to admit or deny the allegations made in the SEC complaint and agreed to pay a $10 million civil penalty. However, it did also pay $725 million to settle a Justice Department inquiry on the same matter.

Bush was brought on in part to help clean up Tenet’s corrupt image and instill greater public confidence. That strategy seemed to have worked.

And Bush was not the only politician on the ten-member board. Former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska spent over a decade on the board starting in 2001, then temporarily stepped down in order for run for senate in 2012 and quickly rejoined it after losing. Kerrey did not respond to a request for comment.

According to multiple experts on corporate finance and governance, it is not unusual for politicians to be brought into the fold of companies.

“It is to most boards advantage to have people from both sides [of the political spectrum]”, Carlos Parra, a professor and Corporate Sustainability expert at Florida International University (FIU) said. “It would make sense to pay Jeb Bush, because he’s a well connected guy.”

That “well connected guy” happens to be a conservative leader and a son and brother to American presidents. Bush is also according to multiple polls, an early frontrunner in the 2016 republican presidential primary.

Bush at a town hall meeting event at Adams Opera House in Derry, New Hampshire. Photo Credit: Michael Vadon/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Bush at a town hall meeting event at Adams Opera House in Derry, New Hampshire. Photo Credit: Michael Vadon/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

He also really doesn’t like ObamaCare, at least not in public.

In an interview on ABC’s “This Week” in October 2013, Bush emphatically said that, “Obamacare, flawed to its core, doesn’t work.”

But while he was publicly opposing President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, he and his company were profiting from its successes.

According to an SEC filling, Bush was paid $128,000 in cash and received $170,000 in stock options, for just under $300,000 in total compensation from Tenet in 2013.

2013 was a banner year for Tenet as it turned out. The company finalized a blockbuster deal to buy up Vanguard Health Systems, which increased the number of hospitals under Tenet’s management from 49 to 77.

Fetter told CNBC that the merger was sought after because of Vanguard’s footprint in states that had embraced the Medicaid expansion, or soon would. In other words, Fetter sounded confident that the law would be staying in place.

“Any board member has a higher calling to the shareholders than his political beliefs”

“The more you’re exposed to states with large numbers of uninsured people today, the better it is for a hospital in the future,” Fetter said in the cable interview.

Some find Bush’s perceived cognitive dissonance on the issue to be potentially problematic.

“If it were to come out that he were opposing ObamaCare but while on the board he was privately supporting it, then that would be a huge conflict,” Everett Wilkinson, a South Florida Tea Party leader said in a phone interview. “If I was on the board of Tenet Healthcare, I would not be happy that the president of the company came out and supported the legislation.”

A Bush spokesperson told the Washington Examiner that the former governor strongly opposed ObamaCare in Tenet board meetings.

Tenet declined to release copies of the minutes to the meetings from board gatherings during Bush’s tenure, saying through a spokesman that they were not publicly available.

It’s worth noting that many business insiders see nothing wrong with the situation.

Bruce Foerster is the president of South Beach Capital Markets Advisory Corporation, a company that offers advice to firms and corporate boards. He said that he found Bush to be an upstanding businessman who played by the rules and liked the ideological balance on the Tenet board.

“Any board member has a higher calling to the shareholders than his political beliefs,” Foerster said. “The CEO of Tenet [Fetter] has the courage to have differing opinions in the board room, which is a rare trait for a CEO.”

But Qiang Kang, a professor of finance at FIU took a different view, saying that if Bush was making a profit directly from ObamaCare than he should disclose it. “I would not call it a conflict of interest but I do think it is an interesting issue,” Kang said.

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Cover Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Drive And Decide: Councilman Wants To Lower D.C. Voting Age To 16

After receiving their driver’s license, could their next stop be the voting both?

Well in the nation’s capital at least, 16 year olds may be getting the vote.

Washington D.C. Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen introduced a bill on Tuesday, proposing that the district lowers their voting age requirement to 16 years of age for federal elections.

The “Youth Voting Amendment Act of 2015” aims to amend the District of Columbia Election Code of 1955, which currently parallels the constitution, giving citizens who are at least 18-years old the right to vote in federal elections.

Proponents of the bill say that 16-year olds already have major responsibilities and decisions that they are accountable for, so the movement to lower the voting age is warranted.

For example 16-year olds are able to operate a vehicle, have a job, pay taxes and even get tried as an adult in some criminal cases, so voting, to express their opinions, would be the next logical step.

The act also hopes to get young people excited about the political process. There was only a 38 percent voter turnout in the district’s last mayoral election, so the in the interest of increasing voter presence at the polls, this legislation could have a major impact.

Washington D.C. has a long history of progressive change, but this legislation is the first big movement towards shaking up a decade old debate.

It is worth noting that a few D.C. area municipalities have allowed voting for 16 year olds in local elections for a few years.

Should 16 and 17 year olds be allowed to vote?

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Cover Photo Credit: Collin Knopp-Schwyn/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Florida State Rep. Shares Facebook Photo That Questions Obama’s Christianity

Florida House Rep. Frank Artiles stepped into hot-water Wednesday after he shared a Facebook photo from a fellow conservative that questions President Barack Obama’s Christian faith.

The post which was posted on a pro Benjamin Netanyahu Facebook group was then shared by Artiles.

The photo uses five examples of what the world looks like “According to Liberal America”. There are references to Caitlyn Jenner, Rachel Dolezal and the #IStandWithAhmed movement.

But the most controversial photo is the first one. It is a photo that first circulated during the 2008 Democratic Primary campaign and it shows Obama dressed as a Somali Elder during his visit to Kenya in 2006. Obama campaign staffers blamed the Clinton campaign for the photo’s publication in the Drudge Report.

“According to Liberal America… This is a Christian,” the caption says of Obama.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.34.39 PM

Here is a better version of the photo in question:

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Obama is a Christian and has spoken at length about the importance of his faith. 

Artiles is a Republican who represents parts of Miami in the Florida House of Representatives. He came to prominence earlier this year after filing legislation to ban transgender people from public bathrooms.

A message sent to Artiles’ private Facebook page was not answered by publication of this piece. A spokesperson in Artiles’ Tallahassee office said she would pass along Rise News‘ inquiry to Artiles.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Screenshot (Rep. Frank Artiles Facebook)

 

WATCH LIVE: Justin Trudeau Sworn In As New Prime Minister Of Canada

Justin Trudeau, the young and dashing leader of the Liberal Party is to set to be sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada later this morning as the country braces for the end of nearly 10 years of Conservative rule.

The ceremony is expected to begin at 10:30 AM EST.

Read More: Justin Trudeau knocks off Stephen Harper and the Conservatives in historic election

Watch Live: Video feed from CBC.

Cover Photo Credit: Alex Guibord/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Snarky Obama Bashes Republicans For Weakness In Handling CNBC Debate, Says They Couldn’t Deal With Putin

President Barack Obama made fun of the Republican candidates for President for their complaining over perceived unfairness in the last GOP primary debate hosted by CNBC.

“Every one of these candidates says, ‘Obama’s weak, Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out,'” Obama said to a group of Democratic Party supporters at a fundraiser in New York City Monday. “And then it turns out, they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators. If you can’t handle those guys, I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.”

Obama also used humor to defend his record in numerous area including on climate change where he said that opposition to climate science would be like ignoring the advice of 99 out of 100 doctors.

WATCH: Snarky Obama attacks GOP over “weakness” (Video: NBC News)

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Bernie Sanders Releases First TV Ad Of Campaign

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) released his first television ad of the 2016 presidential campaign yesterday.

The advertisement is titled “Real Change” and serves as a sort of greatest hits of Sanders’ life in public service starting from his activity in the Civil Rights Movement.

According to NBC News, Sanders’ campaign says that the ad buy is for $2 million and will run in the early vote states of New Hampshire and Iowa. It will start running on television on Tuesday.

WATCH: “Real Change”, Bernie Sanders’ first 2016 campaign TV ad

What do you think? Do you buy into Sanders’ vision for the country? Tell us in the comments below.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Bernie Sanders Campaign (Screenshot/ Youtube)

OPINION: Florida Supreme Court Needs To Bust Gerrymandering In State

By Dr. Marion D. Thorpe

The basic concepts of fairness and accountability have eluded some of Florida’s US Congressional Districts on a regrettably consistent basis through the years.

Though originally founded on the belief that Congressional re-districting should provide people with United States Representatives who look like them, worship like them, and/or come from where they are from, the repeated outcome of Florida’s US Congressional Districts has crossed the line when it comes to gerrymandering. On this matter the Florida Supreme Court and I are in agreement.

Reaching mutual agreement on the fact that our Congressional lines are less than fair to the people of Florida turns out to be the easy part. Reaching consensus on how best to re-draw Florida’s Congressional lines before the 2016 election has not been so easy.

The Florida Supreme Court hearing on November 10, 2015 will finalize new (and hopefully fair) US Congressional lines. As the hearing approaches, cries of desperation have been voiced more loudly by politicians than by Floridians. Quite frankly, I have a deaf ear when it comes to proponents of “coronations, incumbency, and safe-seats;” but rather, I care deeply about my fellow citizens who have been overlooked and taken for granted by “win at all cost” politicians.

As someone who traveled the State of Florida extensively (the 3rd largest state in the Union) while serving as Chief Medical Officer at the State of Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration, I am well aware that our needs in the southernmost portion of Miami-Dade county are different from other parts of the state.

Plain and simple, our US Representative must be attuned to our concerns, and more importantly, accountable to “We the People” regarding the issues that are important to us.

It is my strongest hope that the Florida Supreme Court will make certain that my fellow citizens are provided a fair Congressional election map; thus ensuring proper and accountable representation in Washington, D.C.

Marion D. Thorpe, Jr. MD MPH is the former Chief Medical Officer for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. You can follow his blog here

Cover Photo Credit: Stephen Nakatani/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Fred Thompson, Law And Order Actor And Former US Senator Dies At 73

Fred Thompson, a former United States Senator and well known actor died at the age of 73 after a battle with leukemia.

The Thompson family broke the news to the media in a statement.

“It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of grief that we share the passing of our brother, husband, father, and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville surrounded by his family,” the statement read according to the Tennessean. “Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of Lawrenceburg, his home,” the statement read in part.

From the Tennessean

“As an attorney, he helped lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. As a politician, he served the state of Tennessee for eight years as a conservative Republican in the U.S. Senate and briefly as a possible GOP presidential nominee. As an actor, he stared in some of the most prominent films and television series of his time.

At 6’5″ with a booming voice, Mr. Thompson and his larger-than-life persona played a role in several key moments that shaped the U.S. and Tennessee political landscape.”

Thompson was best known for his campaign for president in 2008 and for his role as the Manhattan District Attorney Arthur Branch in Law And Order. Thompson won 11 delegates in his 2008 race for the GOP nomination for the highest office in the land and dropped out after competing in 5 states.

Stay with Rise News as we continue to update this developing story. 

Cover Photo Credit: IowaPolitics.com/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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