Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bill Thompson Political Advisor Attacks Quinn's Critics

Hank Sheinkopf, an advisor to Bill Thompson, predicts that the growing grassroots movement against Christine Quinn, and her political doctrine of corruption and neoliberalism, will fail. What do you think ?

Democratic Party political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said that he thinks most of the protesters’ arguments against Christine Quinn are bogus.

Among the lone few truly real Progressive voices in New York City, one person spoke up to question the outrageous statements by Mr. Sheinkopf. Gerson Borrero took to Twitter to express his dissent to Mr. Sheinkopf's lack of any political ethics.

From City & State :

Despite the ongoing protests, political insiders say the [growing grassroots] movement [against Christine Quinn] probably won’t gain enough traction to affect the November mayoral primary.

“There’s always unusual things that occur in every mayoral election, and this is the first unusual thing that’s occurring here,” said Democratic Party political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, who added that he thinks most of the protesters’ arguments are bogus.

The speaker makes deals,” he said. “That’s the nature of legislative government. Her job is to make deals.”

Sheinkopf, who is serving as an advisor to mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, also downplayed Quinn’s status as the Democratic front-runner. A recent poll has her far ahead of the pack, with 35 percent of likely voters pulling the lever for her as compared with 11 percent for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and 10 percent for Thompson.

Have we reached a low point in New York City politics, where campaign consultants cannot attach the most corrupt mayoral candidate for fear of exposing the shared, underlying political corruption that exists amongst all of the mayoral candidates ?


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Look at that ass on her."

If you know whose derrière Mayor Michael Bloomberg was admiring, please give The New York Daily News a call at (212) 210-1585.

Guantanamo Farcical Military Sept. 11 Trial Feed Censorship

During Monday's military court proceedings in Guantanamo, the audio/video feed was shut off -- but nobody knows by whom ?

"Judge Col. James Pohl remains puzzled by an anonymous censor that cut the audiovisual feed during September 11 courtroom proceedings. Ryan Reilly joins Abby from the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba," reported Huffington Post.

And from The Washington Post :

David Nevin, one of Mohammed’s civilian attorneys, was discussing a defense motion to preserve any evidence from the secret overseas prisons where the defendants were held by the CIA. The motion had been declassified, but Nevin had barely gotten a sentence out when the audio feed to the media centers on base and at Fort Meade was smothered in white noise. Then the video of the courtroom was cut.

When the feeds were restored several minutes later, Judge James Pohl, an Army colonel, seemed perplexed as to not only why Nevin was censored but by whom. Pohl said he did not cut off the feed, and it did not appear that the court security officer who sits beside him did, either.

Union Rat at 304 Park Ave. South - SL Green

SL Green properties has hired Topline Drywall to work on a renovation project at 304 Park Avenue South. But SL Green and Topline Drywall are not paying the construction workers the Area Standard Wages, including neither providing or making payments for family healthcare and pension benefits. Representatives from the New York District Council of Carpenters showed up to shame SL Green to do the right thing. Please call Andrew Mathias of SL Green at : (212) 594-2700 to do all they can to make right be Topline Drywall workers -- and to see that all Area Labor Standards are met at all SL Green projects.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Man With 4th Amendment Written on Chest Wins Trial Over Airport Arrest

Aaron Tobey Wrote An Abridged Version Of The 4th Amendment on Chest In Protest Against Nude Body Scanners, Leading To Arrest, Naturally.

Aaron Tobey vs. Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security, Transportation Safety Administration (USDC Complaint) by

From Wired :

A Virginia man who wrote an abbreviated version of the Fourth Amendment on his body and stripped to his shorts at an airport security screening area won a trial Friday in his lawsuit seeking $250,000 in damages for being detained on a disorderly conduct charge.

Aaron Tobey claimed in a civil rights lawsuit (.pdf) that in 2010 he was handcuffed and held for about 90 minutes by the Transportation Security Administration at the Richmond International Airport after he began removing his clothing to display on his chest a magic-marker protest of airport security measures.

“Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,” his chest and gut read.

In sending the case to trial, unless there’s a settlement, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 and reversed a lower court judge and invoked Benjamin Franklin in the process. According to the opinion by Judge Roger Gregory:

Here, Mr. Tobey engaged in a silent, peaceful protest using the text of our Constitution—he was well within the ambit of First Amendment protections. And while it is tempting to hold that First Amendment rights should acquiesce to national security in this instance, our Forefather Benjamin Franklin warned against such a temptation by opining that those ‘who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ We take heed of his warning and are therefore unwilling to relinquish our First Amendment protections—even in an airport.

Tobey didn’t want to go through the advanced imaging technology X-ray machines, or so-called nude body scanners, that were cropping up at airports nationwide. Instead, when it was his turn to be screened, he was going to opt for an intrusive pat-down, and removed most of his clothing in the process.

Among other things, the federal lawsuit claimed wrongful detention and a breach of the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment. Tobey was on his way to Wisconsin for his grandmother’s funeral. Despite his detainment, he made his flight.

According to the suit, while under interrogation, the authorities wanted to know “about his affiliation with, or knowledge of, any terrorist organizations, if he had been asked to do what he did by any third party, and what his intentions and goals were.”

Two weeks later, Henrico County prosecutors dropped the misdemeanor charge against him, and he sued the Transportation Security Administration and others.

In dissent, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson wrote:

Had this protest been launched somewhere other than in the security-screening area, we would have a much different case. But Tobey’s antics diverted defendants from their passenger-screening duties for a period, a diversion that nefarious actors could have exploited to dangerous effect. Defendants responded as any passenger would hope they would, summoning local law enforcement to remove Tobey—and the distraction he was creating — from the scene.

Aaron Tobey vs. Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security, Transportation Safety Administration (USDC Judge Rulin... by

Monday, January 28, 2013

Downtown Hospital Needs Lifeline ; Calls to Action on Single Payer and Fracking

From the Demand A Hospital (St. Vincent's activists) e-mail list : 

Begin forwarded message:

From: Demand A Hospital <>
Subject: NEWS ALERT : Downtown Hospital on brink of collapse ; plus, CALLS TO ACTION on Healthcare and Fracking
Date: 28 janvier 2013 21:00:18 UTC-05:00
To: Demand A Hospital <>

Dear All :

NEWS ALERT.  From our friend, Barbara Ruether, that Downtown Hospital has been on the verge of financial collapse and will be acquired by New York-Presbyterian.

This article points out how Downtown Hospital had to double the beds in the neonatal intensive care unit in 2010, which was when St. Vincent's Hospital was closed.  Downtown Hospital could not afford the expansion of maternity care, but the State Department of Health gave Downtown Hospital no extra support in the face of the closing of St. Vincent's.  In contrast, Medicaid reimbursement rates were cut by Gov. Cuomo.  It is almost three years since St. Vincent's closed, and we are still dealing with the severe effects to public health.  And the State Department of Health still has no plan to equally fund all of our hospitals and medical centers, so that each hospital can fully meet the needs of all patients.  

NY-Presbyterian to bail out Downtown Hospital
Lower Manhattan's last medical center on brink of collapse.
By Barbara Benson @Barbara_Benson
January 27, 2013 5:59 a.m.

The last remaining hospital in lower Manhattan, financially unstable after years of operating losses, is being bailed out by a wealthy uptown white knight, Crain's New York Business has learned.

New York-Presbyterian Hospital has asked state health officials for permission to acquire New York Downtown Hospital, the only institution below 14th Street since St. Vincent's Hospital closed in 2010. Downtown "has experienced persistent, significant financial difficulties that threaten its future viability," New York-Presbyterian officials wrote in December in a request to the New York State Department of Health. '[Downtown Hospital] is projected to have a significant operating loss in 2013, unless the current situation is changed."

Downtown will become the sixth campus of New York-Presbyterian. Currently a 180-bed community hospital, Downtown may look very different as a campus of an uptown owner, although it was not clear late last week what plans the huge health system has for Downtown. "[The facility will] transition into a sustainable and financially feasible model of care," according to New York-Presbyterian's application to the state.

The proposed deal seems similar to the transaction struck last week between Montefiore Medical Center and New York Westchester Square, a bankrupt Bronx community hospital. Both Montefiore and New York-Presbyterian are buying financially troubled community hospitals. Under Montefiore's ownership, Westchester Square will cease being a hospital and will have only emergency, surgical and primary care services.

Unlike its Bronx counterpart, Downtown will stay a hospital, simply because lower Manhattan can't do without one. Manhattan overall has 6.3 hospital beds per 1,000 residents. Lower Manhattan has a paltry 0.57. New York-Presbyterian executives believe they can save Downtown by improving the "quality, delivery and efficiency of the existing services."

"Our plan is for Downtown to remain a community hospital," said a New York-Presbyterian spokeswoman, declining to elaborate further. Jeffrey Menkes, Downtown's president and chief executive, declined to comment.

Downtown has been in the New York-Presbyterian health system's sprawling network since 2006 but is a separate corporate entity. Downtown has struggled for years, even selling off a parking lot to developer Bruce Ratner in 2004 to raise cash.

New York-Presbyterian, meanwhile, is a behemoth with nearly $4 billion in revenue. It employs some 20,000 workers, including 6,000 doctors, and has nearly 2,300 beds.

Heavily reliant on Medicaid
The uptown health system expects to be able to absorb Downtown's losses and assume all its outstanding debt. Under new ownership, Downtown would become a "financially viable division of NYP Hospital," according to the state filing.

New York-Presbyterian blames Downtown's financial collapse on federal and state reimbursement cuts and the hospital's inability to either boost revenue or reduce costs. Downtown is heavily reliant on revenue from Medicaid, the government program for low-income and disabled people, which covers 45% of the patients it discharges. Among patients treated in the emergency department, 20% are uninsured.

Downtown also has been forced into the red by maternity care. Between 2002 and 2011, the number of obstetric patient days grew about 3.3% a year, prompting the hospital to convert eight regular beds to maternity beds, for a total of 24. That move followed a doubling of beds in 2010 in the neonatal intensive care unit. Now the neonatal IC and maternity units lose more than $1 million a year, thanks to high staffing and operating costs, pricey medical malpractice insurance and low reimbursement rates.

Despite that shaky financial foundation, Downtown is the only hospital serving the 314,273 New Yorkers who live below Houston Street—not to mention the daily surge of 750,000 people who work in the area. And once the September 11 Memorial and 1 World Trade Center come online, those numbers will spike even more.

Downtown evacuated before Superstorm Sandy hit, based on the assumption that lower Manhattan would lose electrical power. It suffered no damage beyond the loss of revenue for about a week. And a good thing, too: In early January, more than 20 passengers from a ferry crash in lower Manhattan were treated at Downtown.

A version of this article appears in the January 28, 2013, print issue of Crain's New York Business as "NY-Presby to bail out Downtown Hospital".

CALL TO ACTION / HEALTHCARE.  Please contact the new State Senator Brad Hoylman.  He has been assigned to the Investigations and Government Operations Committee, which is charged with investigating the state's infrastructure collapse in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Please contact Sen. Hoylman with your concerns about the lack of adequate full-service hospital care in New York City : 

District Office
322 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1700
New York, NY 10001
United States
Phone: (212) 633-8052
Fax: (212) 633-8096

Albany Office
Room 413, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
United States
Phone: (518) 455-2451
Fax: (518) 426-6846

Here is information to read before you contact State Sen. Hoylman :  please make a plug for the single payer bill that is being discussed and reviewed by the state legislature.  

CALL TO ACTION / FRACKING.  From our friends Barbara Ruether and Carol Yost come word about this invitation from CREDO Action :  Everybody is being asked to show up to an anti-fracking demonstration outside Gov. Cuomo's Manhattan offices : 

Governor Cuomo has until February 13 to decide whether he will lift New York's fracking moratorium.1 If he doesn't lift it, he will have to announce another major procedural delay.

That gives us less than a month to put overwhelming pressure on Governor Cuomo to maintain the current moratorium on fracking. Our friends at New Yorkers Against Fracking are organizing a rally at the governor's office in New York City to tell him to ban fracking forever. Will you join them?

What : Rally to ban fracking at Governor Cuomo's NYC office 
When : Friday, February 8, at noon 
Where : Governor Cuomo's office, 633 Third Avenue, Manhattan (between East 40th and 41st streets) 

Thank you for all that you do.

@ChrisCQuinn and #CocaCola #PaytoPlay #SugaryDrinksBan Corruption (White Lines Remix)

Coke Executives Make Drop Into Christine Quinn's Mayoral Campaign

From The New York Times : Quinn, Cool to Soda Ban, Gets Donations From Coke
Published: January 25, 2013

The American soft-drink industry, fighting Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's restrictions on sugary drink sizes, is courting a lawmaker who could eventually have the influence to overturn the rules: Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker and a leading mayoral candidate.

Executives from the Coca-Cola Company donated nearly $10,000 this month to Ms. Quinn's campaign, public records show, days before industry lawyers argued against the mayor's plan in State Supreme Court.

The industry, fearful that New York City's first-in-the-nation limits will erode profits and spawn copycat policies around the country, is hopeful that Mr. Bloomberg's plan can be undone by legislative or executive action once City Hall changes hands at the end of this year.

No other mayoral candidate appeared to benefit from the beverage industry's largess, although several of Ms. Quinn's rivals, including Comptroller John C. Liu and one of his predecessors, William C. Thompson Jr., have been outspoken in their criticism of the drink restrictions.

The Coke executives' campaign contributions represented a noticeable sum for Ms. Quinn, who has expressed unease with the soda limits, which would restrict sales of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.

She has suggested that the measure is punitive and will not necessarily be effective at limiting calorie intake, as Mr. Bloomberg has argued. Still, Ms. Quinn, an ally of his, declined to take up legislation to overturn the restrictions, which were approved by the Board of Health last fall and are set to take effect in March.

A spokesman for Ms. Quinn's campaign declined to comment on Friday on the contribution.

The soft-drink industry, which has given millions of dollars to politicians as it fights taxes and restrictions on its products, has aggressively courted New York lawmakers since Mr. Bloomberg unveiled his proposal last spring.

This month, the political arm of Coca-Cola contributed $1,000 to the campaign of Councilwoman Letitia James, a candidate for city public advocate who emerged as a leading opponent of the mayor's plan, records show. In November, Melissa Mark-Viverito, another councilwoman who criticized the mayor's plan, received $75 from a marketing official at PepsiCo.

The contributions to Ms. Quinn, which totaled $9,750 and ranged from $500 to $1,500 apiece, came from 16 high-ranking Coca-Cola employees, some based at the company's Atlanta headquarters, including Clyde C. Tuggle, the senior chief public affairs and communications officer, and Sonya Soutus, a senior vice president for public affairs.

"We support candidates that promote fair policies that enrich the communities and marketplaces where Coca-Cola employees live and work," Gary McElyea, a spokesman for Coca-Cola, said by e-mail.

Officials at Pepsi also contributed $175 each to the campaigns of Daniel R. Garodnick, a councilman, and Reshma Saujani, who is running for public advocate, in the last four months. A manager for Coca-Cola in the Bronx gave $175 to the Council campaign of Robert H. Waterman, a Brooklyn pastor.

A version of this article appeared in print on January 26, 2013, on page A17 of the New York edition with the headline: Quinn, Cool to Soda Ban, Gets Donations From Coke.

This is a political parody slideshow that was composed with editorial criticism and satire.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Protest against GMHC's Exploitation of the Ballroom Community

Protesting GMHC outside the Winter Pride 2013 gala at Astoria Manor

4 Reasons Why The House Ball Community Will Boycott The 2013 LATEX BALL Sponsored By GMHC :

1. GMHC violated a 20-year-old House Ball policy at the 2011 Latex Ball. GMHC invited Jeannie Livingston from the film Paris Is Burning, which exploited and unfairly portrayed the community.

2. GMHC is cutting into the House Ball economy. By using subsidies, GMHC gives the free Latex Ball, which undercuts House Ball producers.

3. GMHC is manipulating the House Ball's natural artistic progression. GMHC packages the Latex Ball as a health program, interfering with Ballroom subculture.

4. GMHC is dividing the House Ball community. GMHC's insensitivities has soured relations within our community toward the AIDS services agency.

For more information, please visit the official GMHC ... It's a Chop ! blog.

Friday, January 25, 2013

New #nofourthterm Twitter hash tag for anti-Quinn activists

The @stopchrisquinn Twitter feed launches a new #nofourthterm hash tag for social media campaign.

Quinn uses NYPD to Block Protesters (Again) (No Surprise)

During a peaceful and legal protest against the mayoral campaign of New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYPD officers used physical force to attempt to move protesters off of a wide public sidewalk and onto the other side of the street. When we refused and maintained our right to free assembly, they used the bodies to block us from distributing leaflets.

Are the NYPD blocking anti-Quinn protesters again, because she has agreed to retain Ray Kelly as Police Commissioner ?

Speaker Quinn has become emboldened ever since she overturned term limits, got away with using millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars in an illegal slush fund, weakened the campaign finance laws, and used major real estate projects to extract campaign donations from developers in a system that many describe as a "pay-to-play" culture. Now, she is using the NYPD as her own private army. The impression that Mayor Mike Bloomberg has influenced her is an understatement.

Because of her record of corruption, activists are basically waiting for Speaker Quinn to be caught in more scandals, before the mayoral election this year.

The protest last night took place at a "housing debate" in Brooklyn.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quinn Weakens Campaign Finance Laws For Corporations

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn thinks that corporations are people, too, and that they deserve to be counted as member organizations in order to allow corporations to use corporate money to influence the outcome of elections.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn achieved a life-long dream to weaken campaign finance laws yesterday. A new bill, which was passed with almost unanimous support through the New York City Council, was nominally promised to help unions, but the dark side of the bill is a backdoor loophole that exempts corporations from disclosing election-related communications with their employees, stockholders, directors, and other stakeholders about activities that corporations undertake to endorse and support corrupt candidates.

Read also :

"City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, facing accusations that legislation she championed opened a 'gaping loophole' in New York City's campaign-finance system, backed off her proposal and oversaw the passage of a watered-down bill Wednesday that reduced the reporting requirements for unions, corporations and advocacy groups." (Council Eases Finance Rules * The Wall Street Journal)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Street Vendors Target Christine Quinn

New York's vendors face $1,000 fines for minor infractions. But City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has the power to help make things right - but she does not. Why ?

From the Street Vendor Project :

Dear Speaker Quinn,

In 2006, the Bloomberg administration quadrupled penalties on licensed street vendors, from a maximum of $250 to a maxiumum of $1,000 per ticket. After filing two lawsuits which were successful but only temporary, the Street Vendor Project turned to City Council for permanent relief. In November 2010, Council Member Stephen Levin introduced two bills to lessen the fines. Intro 434 lowers the maximum fines from $1,000 to $250. Intro 435 makes sure that fines escalate only on vendors who repeatedly commit the same infraction.

The past two years, SVP has had countless meetings with council members, chambers of commerce, and community board members. We wrote boatloads of letters. We gathered thousands of signatures. We made videos. We got a ton of press. Eventually, in April 2012, the City Council Consumer Affairs Committee held a public hearing on Intros 434, 435, and several other vendor bills. Hundreds of vendors turned out to show their support. Many immigrants’ rights and other organizations testified in favor. The University of Wisconsin even published a study showing that reducing fines would increase revenue to the city’s coffers. Yes, lowering fines would increase revenues, because vendors could actually pay them!

And yet, more then six months later, the bills have not received a vote. Why not? Christine Quinn, the Council Speaker, controls whether a vote is called. She is a supporter of easing burdensome regulations on small businesses. She has indicated that her office is “looking into“ whether to lower the fines. Yet, like with other bills, she seems to be dragging her feet. To help give her a push (and show that vendors are highly visible in the public realm and therefore powerful), SVP is posting hundreds of signs on vending carts all over the city.

Support vendors? PLEASE HELP by visiting the Street Vendor Project page and take action now.

Andrew Cuomo's Public Health Perfect Storm

Andrew Cuomo-Hospital Closings-Medicaid Redesign Team-Buffalo Bills Bailout NFL Owners 1 Percent photo

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo will be using the 2013-2014 state budget to help turn the Buffalo Bills NFL team around. Gov. Cuomo announced that the state would extend $60 million to the "floundering franchise."

"The Buffalo Bills are staying in New York, that's the good news," Gov. Cuomo told City & State. "All I can tell you is for $60 million, the Bills better win this year."

Many of the hospitals, which were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, have not fully recovered. And public health has been compromised by the ongoing spree of hospital closings under Gov. Cuomo and his henchman, the mean old man Stephen Berger. Add to that the flu epidemic, and you have all the makings of a perfect storm in public health.

Christine Quinn and the Spectra Pipeline Disaster

Christine Quinn has refused to meet with her constituents about the big dig project in her district, which is for the dangerous pipeline carrying fracked gas. Residents have engaged in civil disobedience, lying on the ground in front of the back hoes to prevent the digging. If a catastrophic explosion takes place in NYC as it has in other areas, we don't even have a hospital on the entire lower west side of Manhattan. It's a perfect storm.

Here's an excerpt from the article in today's Village Voice :

"We have 15,000 to 17,000 people living in a square mile. The human damage and the real property damage if this thing were to explode would be almost incalculable. It's not just the crater: the heat radiates out along the surface of the ground, and these explosions are so hot that if you try to bring emergency vehicles out to the area, those vehicles would melt. Running this pipeline under the city would be like putting a small-grade neutron bomb beneath the streets."

Information from this post originated at : the Defeat Christine Quinn Facebook page.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan : Conservative Bonafides

Confronting the President of Magical Thinking : A Vocation of Agony

Barack Obama and his family, the vice president and his family, other government officials, and their supporters celebrated the president's second inauguration today, which coïncided with the federal holiday commemorating the life and accomplishments of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

LGBT Americans were jubilant, because the president said some aspirational words in the second half of his inaugural address.

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well."

Immediately, the president's supporters acted in lock-step to express support for this expression of a longing for equality.

Corey-Johnson-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update photo Corey-Johnson-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-UpdateScreenShot2013-01-21at130513_zps0280c1b5.png

Corey Johnson is an up-and-coming LGBT politician, who is patterning himself after New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's doctrine of putting politically-expedient identity politics before having to deliver any government reforms. Note how the president failed to say the words lesbian, bisexual, and transgender in "LGBT," but already the president's supporters were having to say the words that the president found unspeakable.

It appears that Mr. Johnson's excitement could be being based not so much on the president's promise of legal reforms that would result in LGBT equality, but, rather, on political party discipline that calls for a self-motivated unity in messaging to sway Progressive voters into believing that the Democratic Party was on their side.

But for the incomplete messaging that the president's words offer, there is no plan attached to how the president plans to "complete" our "journey."

On Facebook, some LGBT activists picked up on the incomplete messaging in the president's rhetoric, because they had noticed a pattern in his prior speeches.

Peter-Equality-Frank-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update photo Peter-Equality-Frank-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-UpdateScreenShot2013-01-21at132820_zps7eeddfbf.png

Some LGBT activists were already picking up how President Obama was unable to utter the words lesbian, bisexual, and transgender.

To the president's army of speech writers, did those words lack any dignity and respect, and, therefore, did not need to be mentioned ?

In his speech during his second inaugural ceremonies, President Obama seemed to be channeling the "great communicator," who, we may all remember, was notable for his failure to uttered the word "AIDS" until after thousands of people had died.

Barack-Obama-Ronald-Reagan-Creation-Painting photo Barack-Obama-Ronald-Reagan_zpsdcee3945.jpg

Many of the president's supporters have made a choice to be excited for the president's re-election. But ...

"By the time President Reagan had delivered his first speech on the epidemic, of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, 36,058 Americans had been diagnosed with the disease; 20,849 had died," Randy Shilts once wrote. Along a similar vein, when will President Obama say all the words in LGBT ?

So many people want to believe in the hope, change, and love that the president so skillfully articulates in his scripted speeches. We are supposed to want to believe in the magical thinking that the president really is on our side, because doesn't he, after all, say so many nice things that he knows that we want to hear ?

While President Obama's lack of clear communication during this inaugural address may not lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of our "gay brothers and sisters," he nonetheless sets the tone for that which the American people become familiar : either feelings of shame and embarrassment that prevent a president from mentioning lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender Americans, or feelings of equality and respect by dignifying and acknowledging the journeys still being made by lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender Americans.

Some activists on Facebook took a more diplomatic, but forward-looking approach to the editing of the president's words : by using the occasion of the president's rhetoric to build forward momentum on the social movement for LGBT equality in the United States.

Get-Equal-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update photo Get-Equal-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update2013-01-21at125359_zpse0265865.png

The hopes and actions of LGBT Americans and their allies are to fulfill on our shared dream for equality.

But LGBT activists and allies already exchange amongst ourselves the vision and prayers for equality.

 photo Nadine-Equality-Smith-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update2013-01-21at135407_zps678bc08c.png

For all the president's rhetoric, we already seem to have, at first blush, the president's love and affinity for our community, at least that which could be expressed in his own way. What we need now is action.

The longer LGBT Americans have to wait for full federal recognition of their equal rights, the more that members of our community remain fully exposed to legally-permitted forms of discrimination in broad areas of their life, including in the workplace.

The skepticism within the LGBT community about President Obama's commitment to true LGBT equality stems from some major examples of actions that the president refuses to take, which contradicts his rhetoric.

For example, the president refuses to sign the Federal Contractor's Employment Protections Executive Order. National LGBT civil rights groups, such as GetEQUAL, have been mounting a multi-prong campaign to pressure the president to sign the executive order, but the president refuses.

President Obama embarrassed both his administration and the Democratic Party by once having said that while he was nominally committed to the idea that all Americans shared the same civil rights, he still had to "evolve" on marriage equality. It was as if President Obama was admitting that his thoughts on civil rights resembled that of someone a little bit ignorant and a little bit intolerant, like former commissioner Bull Connor, who once, among other depraved acts of discrimination, ordered the opening up of firehoses on African American civil rights activists.

Surely, President Obama was not seriously putting himself into the same league as Bull Connor, but why was the president torturing hisself by proclaiming in speech his support for LGBT equality that could not be matched by his actions ?

And lest we neglect to mention how so many people conveniently seem to forget to remember how it took a national campaign of civil disobedience, among other actions, for national Democratic Party legislators to repeal the military's discriminatory policy known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The president's political operatives love to mention how the president "repealed" DADT, but they overlook what it took to get a bill introduced in and voted by Congress.

And if the constant push and pull amongst LGBT activists and civil rights groups to define a winning national strategy to deliver a full federal equality bill through Congress wasn't enough, activists must contend with the political trappings of trying to challenge a president who says all the right things and knows how to manipulate support for his administration. And then there are the other unknown, but nonetheless predictable, obstacles for LGBT activists as they set out to challenge power holders, who fail to act to end de jure and de fact discrimination.

Robin-GetEqual-McGehee-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-Update photo Robin-GetEqual-McGehee-Obama-Inauguration-Facebook-UpdateScreenShot2013-01-21at154835_zps7571456a.png

While community organising and activism has evolved since the 1960's with the advent of online tools and other empowering platforms of the Internet like Facebook, YouTube, and blogging, every now and then activists must overcome the occasional opening up of digital firehoses.

Read also : President Obama Must Evolve Again on Marriage Equality

MLK : I Have A Dream ; Obama : I Have A Drone

I Have A Dream ; I Have A Drone photo Dream-Drone_zps7349ece5.jpg

99 Pickets Demands Christine Quinn Allow A Vote On Paid Sick Days

99 Pickets Launches Working Group To Confront Christine Quinn Over Paid Sick Days

83% of New Yorkers support a Paid Sick Leave bill mandating that employers provide a small number of paid sick days to their workers. Though Mayor Michael Bloomberg would likely veto such a bill, support on the City Council is deep—there are enough votes to override his veto.

That’s great news for the workers of New York. Unfortunately, the Speaker of the City Council, Christine Quinn, doesn’t personally support the bill. And rather than simply voting against it, she’s using her power as speaker to stop the City Council from even voting on it.

Quinn is harming millions of workers, simply to please her allies in the 1%. It’s time to put a stop to this. It’s time to hold Christine Quinn accountable.

99 Pickets is planning a campaign of creative direct action, to highlight Quinn’s embrace of the 1% and rejection of the democratic process. If you’re interested in getting involved, please use the form below to sign up.

Sign up : Working Group: Quinn/Paid Sick Days Campaign

Friday, January 18, 2013

Nydia Velázquez Calls For Vote on Paid Sick Days

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez demanded a vote on the paid sick days bill, which was introduced almost three years ago and has a veto-proof majority of sponsors in the City Council (37 out of 51). But New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn blocks a vote, because Speaker Quinn receives support from pro-business lobbyists Emily Giske and Kathryn Wylde.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Central Park 5 Rally At Foley Square

Central Park 5 - Protest For Justice photo 2013-01-17CentralPark5-Protest-OccuEvolve_zps72e6f219.jpg

Late this afternoon, a rally took place to honour and support the "Central Park Five," a group of young, innocent men, who were wrongly convicted of a crime that they did not commit.

"Media coverage at the time portrayed the teens as guilty, and used racially coded terms like wolf pack to refer to the group of boys accused in the attack. Donald Trump took out full-page ads in four city newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty so they could be executed. However, the convictions of the five were vacated in 2002 when the real rapist came forward and confessed to the crime, after the five defendants had already served sentences of almost seven to 13 years. New York City is refusing to settle a decade-long civil lawsuit brought by the men," reported Democracy Now!

Today's rally took place in Foley Square, near the federal courthouse. Amongst the supporters for this rally were members of Occu Evolve.

Five innocent Black and Latino teenagers were wrongly arrested, tried, and convicted in a sensational case known as the "Central Park Jogger."

Among the issues compounding the injustice that befell the Central Park 5 are that the Bloomberg administration refuses to settle the civil lawsuits brought by the innocent men whilst at the same time demands documentary footage that would violate the First Amendment rights of the documentary filmmakers behind the film, "The Central Park Five."

Susman and Quinn Violate Campaign Finance Disclosure (No Surprise)

Is Pfizer executive Sally Susman, who has reached her cap of in-kind campaign contributions to Christine Quinn's undeclared mayoral campaign, deliberately trying to exceed campaign finance restrictions ? What kind of shady campaign finance chair is running Speaker Quinn's mayoral campaign ?

Speaker Quinn has had a history of campaign finance ethics. Remember how Maura Keaney has had several questions raise about her campaign work on behalf of Speaker Quinn, including getting busted one time, which resulted in fines imposed on Ms. Keaney ?

Will Christine Quinn Fight for ATU 1181 ?

Can the bus drivers and matrons, who are strike, count on New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to stand up for ATU 1181 union members ? Or will Speaker Quinn, as usual, kiss up to Mayor Bloomberg, as he tries to bust yet another union ? Let's see what The New York Daily News is reporting : "Fellow mayoral wanna-be City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is straddling the fence."

Protest Against Christine Quinn At The New School

Last Tuesday, over one dozen protesters gathered outside the New School on West 11th Street in a demonstration against New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Josh Isay at the Protest Against Christine Quinn at the New School, Josh Isay walks through a picket line of protests against Christine Quinn before the start of a political education forum at the New School.

Josh Isay, one of Speaker Quinn's campaign consultants, tried to walk into the New School without drawing attention to himself, but many of the protesters knew who he was. Above, Mr. Isay was photographed hustling inside to the education form whilst clutching his cup of coffee ; in the background is the community organiser, Donny Moss.

Speaker Quinn is running an unannounced campaign for mayor this year, and activists across New York City are protesting her horrible record on term limits, the use of slush funds, her blockage of the paid sick leave bill, the closing of so many hospitals in New York City including St. Vincent's, and her support to fully-fund the NYPD's practice of using stop-and-frisk.

Protest Against Christine Quinn at The New School, Protest Against Christine Quinn at the New School

Christine Quinn Was Booed at MLK Forum Up In Harlem

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, an undeclared candidate for mayor, was booed at the Rev. Al Sharpton's Martin Luther King Jr. forum, after she had suggested that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly should stay on as mayor, reported the news Web site DNAinfo.

For a long time now, activists are pressuring Speaker Quinn to de-fund the resources from NYPD that allow the police department to carry out its unconstitutional program called stop-and-frisk.

More and more, people are standing up and speaking out against Christine Quinn. We each have our own reasons. But the more that we find the courage to stand up, the more that other people will join us, until our individual voices become a rising chorus. We demand reforms, and we won't accept anything less.

Read more : Christine Quinn Booed at Martin Luther King Jr. Day Forum in Harlem

New Petition Asking For Clawback of Nobel Peace Prize From Obama

New petition on : Norwegian Nobel Committee: Rescind the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to President Barack Obama in 2009

In consideration of the many reasons listed on the petition, and other uses of the American military, we petition that the Norwegian Nobel Committee and the Nobel Prize organization rescind the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to President Obama in 2009.

Please feel free to also contact the Norwegian Nobel Committee directly :

E-mail : or by Telephone : (+47) 22 12 93 00

War on Hunger

A tragic photograph illustration is going viral on Facebook. It depicts a huddled child, who appears diminished from hunger, and above the child appears bombs that are being dropped. On the illustration appears the message that global hunger could be eradicated with $30 billion, or about as much money that is spent on global war and military operations in just 8 days.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Anonymous - Message to America

Hello all of America. Hello Mister president. We are Anonymous. Dear Mister president, We would like to ask you, are you happy with what you have allowed the United States to become? The entire country a war machine, people rising in protest against you, and the city governments allowing the brutal beatings and arresting of citizens across America. By allowing this to happen you are a disgrace to the office of presidency. You mister president, you need ought rightfully to set your political career aside and focus on the city streets of your own country. So far you have done nothing about the thousands of people arrested in the streets for exorcising their first amendment rights. Stop and listen to the people you took an oath to uphold, stop treating the people of America like terrorists with the building of FEMA camps to imprison all who stand up against political control. You Mister President are a failure to America.

Citizens of the United States. The corporations that profit from permanent war need us to be afraid. Fear stops us from objecting to government spending on a bloated military. Fear means we will not ask unpleasant questions of those in power. Fear permits the government to operate in secret. Fear means we are willing to give up our rights and liberties for promises of security. The imposition of fear ensures that the corporations that wrecked the country cannot be challenged. Fear keeps us penned in like livestock.

And yet, Who will govern the governors? There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves. We alone, if well informed, are capable of preventing the corruption of power, and of restoring the nation to its rightful course if it should go astray. We alone are the safest depository of the ultimate powers of government.

It is for this reason that our constitution was written. America, and the world at large is becoming informed and in turn preparing. Soon, We the people will no longer stand by in silent consent. This is a call to every citizen, this is a message to all of government.

Knowledge is free. We are anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

Is Gun Control Distracting Us From Obama Social Security Cuts ?


VIDEO : NYPD Beating Queens Teen - YMCA

(Revised : Wednesday 20 Feb 2013 6:50 a.m.) This appears to be the true story behind the YouTube video, which keeps disappearing : Queens teen accuses NYPD of police brutality

We need a federal commission to investigate the NYPD use of brutality and other misconduct.

A few police officers hold a Queens teenager down on a sidewalk for unknown reasons. In this undated video, the few police officers receive backup assistance from other officers, who then begin to use excessive force against one sole young man. Police can be observed twisting the young man's limbs, and it appears that some police officers kick the young man's body.

(When this video was first uploaded to YouTube, the young man was described as a student from a Flushing high school. But in the time since, he is described as 19 year old Robert Jackson, who was enrolled in classes at the Flushing YMCA.)

No word, yet, from New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn about the NYPD's use of excessive force against young men in New York City.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gov. Cuomo's Desperate Primal Scream For Political Attention (And For Political Cover)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo went on a verbal tirade during his State of the State speech last week, stopping short of foaming at the mouth, calling for gun control as a distraction from the fact that Gov. Cuomo is trying to close more New York City hospitals during the healthcare crisis created by Hurricane Sandy and the flu epidemic.

#NewYorkMRT #BergerCommission

Financial Women's Association - Protest Against Christine Quinn

On Tuesday, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has yet to formally announce her mayoral campaign, is giving her "first campaign speech" (according to the press) at a high profile education event in Greenwich Village. The event is full, and press will be there. We need a good turnout of activists to display our posters and distribute handouts to attendees.

"I wouldn't normally schedule a morning protest, but this is too important an event to skip," said Donny Moss, from the Facebook group, Defeat Christine Quinn.

What: Protest Against Quinn

Where: 65 West 11th Street (btwn 5th & 6th Aves.)

When: Tuesday, Jan 15th - 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

NYT's Free Pass to Richard Socarides on DOMA and DADT

From Michael Petrelis :

''What we're never going to see from the Times is an in-depth examination of the public and private records of exactly what Richard Socarides did in his duties to Clinton when DOMA, HIV travel and immigration bans, and DADT were enacted and codified into federal law harming thousands of LGBT persons and people with AIDS.''

Read More :

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Noah St. John's ''The Last Mile'' Performance on NPR Going Viral

Teen Awarded NPR's Top Storytelling Performance Prize for Powerful Tale About His Two Gay Moms: ''The Last Mile''

Snap Judgment, NPR's spoken word and storytelling show, recognised 15-year-old Noah St. John with its Performance of the Year for his explosively moving story about his two moms and the moment he thought he might lose the family he had always known.

From Cleve Jones, on Facebook :

Thank you Andy Towle, for posting this on Towleroad. I've never met Noah St. John but I was so amazed and delighted by this video that I posted it on FB twice. Now, overnight, we've taken Noah's YouTube hits to over 48,000. Please. Share. This.

I'd love to see Noah on the Ellen DeGeneris show, AC 360 or anywhere else his beautiful storytelling could reach people's hearts.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ed Koch Endorses Fracking, Wants To Emulate Saudi Arabia

Scientific Study Links Flammable Drinking Water to Fracking

Ed Koch just called fracking the most ''liberating'' industry for New York State on NY1 tonight, because it would make New York into Saudi Arabia.

One of my Facebook friends wrote that maybe what Mr. Koch believes he sees as our future shared similarity is this : very little drinking water.

Federal Judge Limits NYPD Stop-And-Frisk Program In Bronx Apartments


Judge Shira A. Scheindlin issued a major court order finding that the New York Police Department routinely make unconstitutional "street stops" outside "Clean Halls Buildings" across the Bronx and and must immediately end this unconstitutional practice, reported the citizen journalist Javier Soriano.

Judge Scheindlin found that for years the NYPD has known or should have known that its officers routinely violate constitutional rights through the Clean Halls program. Nonetheless the Department fails to adequately train officers about when they may legally make trespass stops, and that this practice “has risen to the level of deliberate indifference,” Mr. Soriano reported.

Where does the NYPD get the budget to pay for all the man-hours and resources it uses to keep carrying out its unconstitutional ''stop-and-frisk'' program ? From the City Budget. And who kisses each other on the cheeks, each time the City Budget is approved and passed ? Christine Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg. During Quinn's speakership, at least 3.7 million New Yorkers have been stopped and frisk. If we all believe that stop-and-frisk is unconstitutional -- and that is what this judge is telling us -- why are our elected politicians funding this program with taxpayer money ?

Federal Court Ruling Ending Stop-And-Frisk By NYPD In TAP Operation Clean Halls Buildings

Protest Last Night Against Cuomo's Plan To Frack In New York State

From New York Newsday :

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 07: Anti-Fracking protesters demonstrate in front of the Waldorf-Astoria as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo visits the hotel for a function on January 7, 2013 in New York City. Fracking, a process that injects millions of gallons of chemical mixed water into a well in order to release gas, has become a contentious issue in New York as critics of the process believe it contaminates drinking water among other hazards. New York City gets much of its drinking water from upstate reservoirs. If the regulations are approved by Governor Cuomo, drilling in the upstate New York Marcellus Shale could later this year.

Monday, January 7, 2013

CIA being sued over domestic spying collaboration with NYPD

Stop-and-Frisk Protesters Focus On Christine Quinn

Stop-and-Frisk Christine Quinn

The live streamer and blogger Stop Motion Solo has blogged about the stop-and-frisk protest against Christine Quinn :

On December 30, 2012, 25 to 30 people gathered in Jackson Heights, Queens to demonstrate against the controversial NYPD policy of Stop-and-Frisk, and to hold City Council Speaker Christine Quinn accountable for her support of the policy.

... Needless to say, something is very wrong with some of the current policing practices and it is questionable whether or not Christine Quinn would work towards any reforms at all should she be elected Mayor. She already helped Mayor Bloomberg overturn the term-limits referendum. “City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a potential 2013 mayoral candidate…went out on a limb two years ago to persuade her colleagues on the council to grant the mayor’s request to overturn the term-limits law.”

Read more : Stop-and-Frisk Christine Quinn

Please donate to to support the work by Stop Motion Solo as an Independent Journalist.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bloomberg-Quinn Healthcare Cuts Cost Lives

The Bloomberg-Quinn administration have made huge budget cuts to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. Why are our elected politicians cutting the life-saving healthcare services of our safety-net community hospitals ?

Look at some past issues related to budget cuts to HHC :

* NYSNA responds to Bloomberg's FY 2009-2010 budget

* City Budget Cuts Will Privatize Dialysis Services at NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC)

* Mayor trims health spending

Join us for an omnibus protest against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, where the community demands, among other things, a healthcare system that fully-funds the healthcare needs of all patients.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Protest Andrew Cuomo : Bring A Report Card To Show He Is Failing Expectations

From the Demand A Hospital listserv of St. Vincent's Hospital activists :

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

All :

Action Alert

Governor Andrew Cuomo will be celebrating his birthday with a fundraiser at one of New York City's finest hotels. Join us outside the event.

Bring a cardboard or poster board sign and write across it : "To : Gov. Cuomo -- For Protecting Our Healthcare" and then give him a giant letter grade : F-

Date : Monday, January 7, 2012

Time : 6:00 pm

Place : Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Avenue, Manhattan

Keep In Mind That Full-Service Hospitals Are Not Yet Fully Functioning.

The VA Hospital is not yet open, and other hospitals are only partially open. During this healthcare crisis comes the State Department of Health, trying to close down Westchester Square Medical Center in the Bronx. Westchester Square is scheduled to close on March 10. Its assets will be up for auction, but it is expected that Montefiore Medical Center will purchase the hospital. If Westchester Square is absorbed by a larger hospital group, the take over may leave many community members and hospital employees rightly worried about local healthcare and jobs. Read more :

Remember how many hospitals in Queens were closed within a short time of having been merged into other hospital groups. The Department of Health uses mergers as a way to shuffle hospital debts between medical centers, which lead to financial losses and eventually to hospital closings.

All of the hospitals, which were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, are not yet fully functional. Emergency rooms have been experiencing record levels of overcrowding, especially at Beth Israel, and some full-service hospitals are now reduced to offering only "urgent care," like at Coney Island Hospital.

How can Gov. Cuomo, in his right mind, think that now is the right time to keep closing hospitals ?

Hurricane Sandy is still causing a healthcare crisis all these many months later, and Gov. Cuomo is not taking this healthcare crisis seriously. Not only are our hospitals not yet restored to being fully functional, but long term illnesses are beginning to emerge. Mold is an urgent healthcare concern for Hurricane Sandy survivors. "Homes are uninhabitable with black mold taking hold, heat and sanitation are still absent in many places. Yet the government response has been glaringly absent," was how the Occupy Sandy volunteer group described the situation last month.

Compounding this healthcare crisis is that the government is using the "healthcare crisis" as an excuse to burn hurricane debris, aggravating the lungs of hurricane survivors, who must also deal with mold. Read more :

In the face of all this, there's only one grade a person can reasonably give Gov. Cuomo : F-

Join us at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Monday night.

Date : Monday, January 7, 2012

Time : 6:00 pm

Place : Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Avenue, Manhattan

We hope to see you at this demonstration. Read more :

Update : Letter To The Editor

Another person has published a letter in The New York Daily News about St. Vincent's Hospital :

Manhattan : To Voicer Joseph Human, who thinks New Yorkers can’t afford to let Mayor Bloomberg go: The mayor, who self-promoted himself on his fiscal and management skills, is leaving New York with an outstanding debt of more than $100 billion. Our surplus taxpayer dollars were used to award high-end commercial and real estate developers with grants and subsidies while St. Vincent’s Hospital and firehouses closed, massive cuts were made to essential services and our streets were intentionally jammed for bicycles and pedestrian plazas. Nikki Love

Read more :

See you Monday night. Thank you for all that you keep doing.