Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Quinn joins Cuomo in Lifeboat rushing to save sinking U.S.S. Crowley Party Boss

Holy Shit In The News : Quinn helps Queens make the case against Mark-Viverito

As one of my activists friends said, "This does NOT mean that Melissa Mark-Viverito is bad or that Garodnick is good." I want to add to that by saying : This is all about the great lengths that corrupt political insiders go to, to strike backroom deals to determine the who becomes selected to be the next Council speaker. In this insider race, the people have absolutely NO say. The same machinations that former Council Speaker Quinn is using, each of Mayor de Blasio and Councilmember Mark-Viverito are using. How is this making "progress" ? How is this consistent with ending the rubber-stamp City Council that we had during the Bloomberg-Quinn era ? All the people, who say, "Let's reform how we pick the Council speaker ‪#‎nexttime‬," you give former Council Speaker Quinn free license to do her shit right now. How is this ‪#‎winning‬ ? Me, I've lowered my expectations. Instead of hoping that people will come forward to make a demand for reforms, I'm just hoping that one side will get so desperate to win this Council speaker race that they will break so many laws that it will trigger a federal corruption investigation. We've got about 7 days to go. Let's see who gets burned ?

Quinn's involvement augments earlier reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was also answering Queens County Democratic Political Boss S.O.S. signal.

It would be one thing if the Queens County Democratic Party was moving in a truly reform direction vis-à-vis Mayor de Blasio and Councilmember Mark-Viverito, but that's not been explained. If the Queens County Democratic Party were going to serve as a check on the mayor's expansive influence over every corner of city government, that would be great. There's room for a populist check to emerge to balance the mayor's anticipated neoliberal bent, all his fake "progressive" talk notwithstanding. But it remains to be seen how the Queens machine "evolves" in a new political landscape, where the mayor has emerged to be so dominant.

Bill de Blasio never got back to me about his AIDS platform in August

Did Bill de Blasio exploit the LGBT community for votes, only to dump core community issues now that he's gotten elected ?

After mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio took advantage of a few LGBT celebrities to undermine Christine Quinn's LGBT base of support, it appears that Mr. de Blasio was all talk and no action.

After several attempts at getting a meeting with Mr. de Blasio, who will be sworn in as the next mayor of New York City in just two hours, word comes forth of a planned protest by ACT UP at the mayor-elect's public swearing-in ceremony, it seems that the mayor-elect has brushed off any sincerity about proposing a truly reform agenda to help end the decades of official municipal neglect on a core LGBT issue: ending the HIV/AIDS crisis.

➔ RSVP : ACT UP Protests Bill de Blasio's Mayoral Inauguration

Below is the unanswered e-mail I sent to the de Blasio campaign. I was later told by supporters/enablers that I was too controversial of an activist for Mr. de Blasio to ever respond to my query.

Not enough attention has been paid to all of President Barack Obama's political operatives, who have had hand in the mayor elect's campaign and transition teams. The mayor elect's exploitation of the LGBT voting block resembles President Obama's corrupt playbook. Candidate Obama promised to pass comprehensive LGBT workplace protections, but has thus far refused to sign a presidential executive order. Former President Bill Clinton famously curried the LGBT vote, only to betray the LGBT community by passing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and enacting the military's discriminatory policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

When will the LGBT community wake up and stop getting exploited for cheap election year gimmicks ?

Begin forwarded message:

From: "LF (g-Male)"
Subject: Ed Koch and HIV/AIDS
Date: 1 août 2013 15:49:42 UTC-04:00
To: bill@billdeblasio.com, veday1945@aol.com
Cc: "LF (g-Male)"


I saw on the Internet that Bill de Blasio praised former NYC Mayor Ed Koch as one of our "greatest mayor" :


I hope you know that Ed Koch is seen as a failed LGBT leader for having done nothing to stop the initial outbreak of HIV from becoming the AIDS pandemic we all now know. Because he was afraid to come out of the closet, he let thousands of people die, especially gay men. Former Mayor Koch refused to take bold action during the 1980's out of fear of being associated with gay issues. He was and still is seen as a self-hating, closeted gay man.

So, it seemed astounding that Mr. de Blasio would praise former Mayor Koch.

If Mr. de Blasio is going to try to court the LGBT vote, we hope to hear from him soon about details of his plans to step up HIV/AIDS prevention, improving access to prevention/treatment medication, and other steps that he plans to take as part of his HIV/AIDS plan.

I'm writing this note independently, but I plan to share it with a few activists. So, I plan to share your response with some of my activist friends, too.

-- Louis

Louis Flores
1 (646) 400-1168

Bill de Blasio appoints AIDS criminal to advisory post

Bill de Blasio just appointed Stanley Brezenoff, who formerly ran the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) during the 1980's under the late Mayor Ed Koch, to be an unpaid advisor to the First Deputy Mayor. This is the same man, who did shit under Mayor Koch to fight AIDS.

Scott Levenson, who has close ties to Bill de Blasio, was paid to defeat several LGBT City Council Candidates

Sign our Change.org Petition : Bill de Blasio : Do not attend NYCLASS fundraiser to benefit Scott Levenson

WATCH : Will LGBT Groups Protest Scott Levenson for Anti-Gay Attack Ads ? (YouTube)

The Advance Group, which is providing unpaid consultants to Mark-Viverito, worked for the City Action Coalition PAC, which lists 'traditional marriage' as its platform and supported opponents of gay City Council candidates. (The New York Daily News) Did Scott Levenson sabotage LGBT civil rights attorney Yetta Kurland's political campaign ? (Scott Levenson : Biggest Loser Of The Week * NY Pop Culture & Politics)

E-mail me if you would like to plan a protest against Scott Levenson : louisflores (at) louisflores (dot) com

… the Advance Group's work on behalf of City Action Coalition-backed candidates conflicted with its work for two of its own council clients. And the outside work for the teachers union raises another potential conflict: the Advance Group not only produced mailers promoting Manhattan council candidate Yetta Kurland for the NYCLASS independent expenditure, but Strategic Consultants produced mailers touting her opponent, Corey Johnson, that were paid for by the teachers union. Mr. Johnson won the primary. (Teachers union paid $370K to fake consultant * Crain's Insider)

Why aren't the LGBT civil rights activists protesting against Scott Levenson and his "anti-gay agenda" ? And how can LGBT civil rights activists stay quiet while Ms. Mark-Viverito uses a political consulting operation that hires itself out to work against candidates specifically based on their identity ? This is discrimination and prejudice. How can Mr. Levenson and Ms. Mark-Viverito call themselves "progressives," yet enable bigotry ?

Tacopina - Kerik - Cease and Desist Demand

------ Forwarded Message
From: Louis Flores
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 00:29:52 -0500
To: "fiatjustitiaNYC@aol.com"
Subject: Re: Tacopina - Kerik - "Cease and Desist Demand "----------STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL

I don't know what you are talking about, you don't even identify yourself, but I'm blogging this email.

Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 31, 2013, at 12:13 AM, fiatjustitiaNYC@aol.com wrote:

Dear Mr. Flores and web site operators,

I noticed my name was found on your web site (NY Pop Culture & Politics, etc....) regarding a "disciplinary complaint" you or someone you publish assert I filed against Mr. Tacopina. Whether this happened or did not happen is not the point of this inquiry. I am asking you in good faith and as a requirement, that you redact my name for any web articles as I did not give permission for my name to be used nor was I ever contacted by any reporters and such stories violate protected NY privacy rights. This is in reagrd to an allegation that I filed a complaint against Mr. Tacopina after an expose by the N. Y. Daily News. Moreover, you should be advised that by publishing any complaints without the permission of the parties and the Court is a serious violation of N. Y. Judiciary Law § 90. If a complaint was filed such records are sealed by the Appellate Division to prevent privacy leaks. There are many reasons for this. As such, it is my position that you immediately CEASE AND DESIST using my name or actions on any web sites immediately. Any inquiries must be in writing. Any failure on your part to take this matter seriously may and will lead to significant damages that you may be fully responsible for. Unless you respect my position, I will take it that you, you agents and carriers assume any and all liability. Thank you for your prompt attention to this timely matter.


Joe B.

The information contained in this message may be privileged and confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by telephone or by replying to the message and deleting it and all of its attachments from your computer. Thank you.

------ End of Forwarded Message

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Council speaker race : Where are the reforms ?

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The Council speaker race : Where are the reforms ?

India’s Efforts to Aid Poor Worry Drug Makers

India has almost no choice but to over-ride drug patents. $18,000 for one course of breast cancer-fighting treatment is like 10 Lakh Rupees. Even when some drugs are priced at $140 per month, that still comes out to over Rps 8,000. These are astronomical sums for poor people.

Alka Kudesia's story is heart-breaking, and it's no surprise that pharmaceutical companies are worried by an Indian drug company's plan to begin manufacturing a generic version of Herceptin.

As it stands now, about 23,000 Indian women need Herceptin, but they cannot get it.

Dr. Peter Bach's comment is smug, insensitive, and not entirely true. There's always been pressure on highly profitable pharmaceutical companies to stop exploiting the sick and frail. Among African countries, there have been pressures for Big Pharma to lower drug prices. That India forsakes begging for lower drug prices and opts instead to over-ride patents reflects how pharmaceutical companies wrongly put profits over people.

Maybe India can over-ride many other patents and set up new drug factories -- and be the change we need to see in revolutionizing global access to live-saving medications ? Crowd source it, maybe you might find helpers.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

NY-CLASS member Robert A. Halperin defends corrupt backroom speakership deals

Animal-lovers "adopt" corruption playbook, just like LGBT activist Christine Quinn did ages ago.

Robert A. Halperin, a member of NY-CLASS, the animal rights group that helped to fund a controversial $1 million Super PAC in the recent mayoral election, today defended mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's offers of Council leadership posts, the disbursements of lulus, and other inducements, to strong-arm the City Council to pick Melissa Mark-Viverito as the next Council speaker.

It further appears that Mr. Halperin was defending the in-coming de Blasio administration from comparisons to out-going Council speaker, Christine Quinn, who had a reputation for making backroom deals, thwarting the democratic process of the City Council, and of using Council leadership positions and the distribution of corresponding lulus as ways to undermine the independence of Councilmembers.

What is notable is that in the campaign for mayor, candidate de Blasio aggressively pursued the Madame Speaker as violating the principles of checks-and-balances, because, essentially, Mr. de Blasio accused Speaker Quinn of subverting the will of the Council in deference to outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg's big business agenda. In the past, others have also noted that Speaker Quinn had subjugated herself to Mayor Bloomberg years ago, but when she first started out in politics, Ms. Quinn had been a flamboyant torch-bearer for the progressive brand. The same thing happens to everybody in politics, who start out as firebrands for reform : they flame out the minute they adopt the corruption playbook of the broken political system.

Now that it's Mayor-elect de Blasio, who is the Council's puppet master, all the phony reformers, if that's how you'd classify Mr. Halperin, have backtracked, finding no problem with how the mayor-elect plans to subvert the independence of the City Council himself.

Where are the progressive reforms ?

Isn't it sad to see a progressive-influenced movement, like the campaign to end the horse carriage trade, be corrupted into playing by the corrupt rules of the broken political system ? Isn't there an honest way to bring about reforms without having to play by the same dirty tricks as the corrupt politicos, who have spent years refusing to ban the use of horses to pull the carriages through Manhattan ?

Major Snow Storm To Hit NYC, But de Blasio Has Yet To Name Sanitation Commissioner

Do you remember the last time we had a major, who didn't take a major snow storm seriously ? Sanitation trucks got stuck in the snow, because they started too late, and some side streets in Queens looked like barricades of snow got dropped down on us, with no way of possibly getting out.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Progressives Make Pay-to-Play Deals In Council Speaker Race

Pay-to-Play in Council Speaker Race

"According to sources close to the situation, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has promised a number of committee leadership posts to City Council members in order to guarantee that Melissa Mark-Viverito is named Speaker come Jan. 8," The Queens Tribune reported today.

See : Committee Chairs Found Under The Christmas Tree (The Queens Tribune)

Three original members of the City Council Progressive Caucus, Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Woodside), and Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), were reportedly offered leadership posts in exchange for supporting Ms. Mark-Viverito's speakership.

Ms. Ferreras would be named the Majority Leader, whilst Mr. Van Bramer would be named as chair of the Finance Committee, and Mr. Dromm would head the Education Committee.

The backroom deals that reportedly secured Ms. Mark-Viverito's speakership also included an offer to David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) to head the Land Use Committee "as a means of swaying Brooklyn," The Queens Tribune report added. Committee chair assignments in the City Council come with annual bonuses called a payment in-lieu-of expenses, more commonly referred to as "lulus." Lulus can range from $4,000 to over $20,000.

See : Corrupt Lulu Payments (The New York Daily News)

What Makes The Committee Assignment Offers An Example Of Pay-to-Play ?

It’s the votes that the City Council members must “pay” to select Ms. Mark-Viverito as the next speaker in exchange for receiving the lulus that come with the committee chair assignments.

The quid pro quo is revealed in the threat that was reported in The Queens Tribune, namely, that "If you're not with them, you're not getting a committee" assignment and the lulu that comes with it. This is what makes it pay-to-play.

Granted, we don't normally think that the inducements involved in securing the votes of City Council members as pay-to-play, but when players are told that the "price of admission" is framed as a vote for a Council speaker candidate, that's another way to examine the speaker candidate votes in order to receive plum Council committee assignments and lulus.

That these Council leadership posts, and the valuable lulus that come with them, are being doled out in backroom deals proves that some amongst the next class of powerful Council leaders will owe their allegiance directly to the mayor, betraying democratic principles of separation of powers and checks-and-balances between the mayor's office and the municipal legislature.

In years past, it was widely reported that the out-going Council speaker, Christine Quinn, awarded (or withheld) Council leadership posts as a way to recompense her allies (or to punish her critics). Speaker Quinn defended this practise as a way to bring "discipline" to the City Council, which was code for being able to exert the power to single-handedly control the Council's legislative agenda. The use of committee assignments and lulus as inducements to support a Council speaker candidate would appear to be a continuation of corruptive coercion over City Council members. Speaker Quinn's own ascension to power was clouded by the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups, including County Democratic bosses, compounded by the distribution of Council leadership posts and lulus.

See : The Outsider Comes In (The Village Voice)

See also : Filling Committee Leadership Posts (The New York Times)

Much of this was documented in Chapter 8 of Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn.

The political ethic of progressivism is supposed to be about delivering reforms, not exploiting the possibility of pay-to-play. Indeed, The Queens Tribune report indicated that City Council members were being pressured into supporting Ms. Mark-Viverito's speakership. "If you're not with them, you're not getting a committee," one source told The Queens Tribune. The campaign promises by this bunch of progressives to administer the city differently from the outgoing administration are about as credible at this point as Speaker Quinn's recent protestations that she had remained faithful to her progressive roots. If there is any difference, it is that the next class of elected officials is already selling out, before they even take their oaths of office.

Left unsaid is whether these latest allegations of pay-to-play will lend urgency to other investigations into possible violations of campaign finance and ethics regulations connected to Ms. Mark-Viverito and to the lobbyists working on her speakership campaign.

Conflicts of Interests, Violations of Ethics : Clash of the Titans in the Fight to Select the Next Council Speaker

The ''Clash of the Titans'' to select the next speaker between the Democratic County bosses and their lobbyists vs. the new ''progressives'' and their lobbyists is escalating. Ms. Mark-Viverito is now threatening to fire all central Council staff that have loyalties to the Democratic County Bosses. Isn't this a violation of civil service regulations ?

See : Melissa Mark-Viverito Lobbyist Firm Never Quit, Continued Lobbying Despite Investigations

See Also : Exploiting NYC, NYS Campaign Finance Law Loopholes

Donate your Twitter account to "LGBT Civil Rights"

Please donate your Twitter account to "LGBT Civil Rights" on Donate Your Account.

The New York Times still has its head stuck in the sand on Christine Quinn

85% of Democratic primary voters rejected Christine Quinn in the mayoral election, but The New York Times still defends its baseless endorsement of a corrupt political hack.

The New York Times Christine Quinn Editorial Board Political Ethics Denial Ostrich Head Sand photo NYTimesOstrichHeadSandROB_zps0228be3f.jpg

In it's hasty review of political lowlights of 2013, The New York Times reporters Andy Newman and Annie Correal included a brief reference to Christine Quinn's loss in the Democratic mayoral primary.

The newspaper's reporters prefaced the mention of Ms. Quinn's campaign loss by framing her political career as showing "No major ethical lapses here."

The reporters seem to ignore Ms. Quinn's backroom machinations, her term limits betrayals, her enabling of 10 hospital closings in New York City during her speakership, and her slush fund scandal, amongst other ethical lapses, as documented in "Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn."

In its round-up of political lowlights, The New York Times seems to rationalize that the corruptive influence of money in politics that marred John Liu's Democratic mayoral campaign didn't also play out during Ms. Quinn's political career when, for example, by January 2013, executives from developers and landlords had donated over $800,000.00 to Ms. Quinn's political campaign for the 2013 election cycle, representing by one estimate to be 14% of the $6 million that Ms. Quinn had raised as of that point for her next political campaign. By this time, Ms. Quinn estimated that New York City had lost a total of 300,000 affordable housing units, and she blamed politicians up in Albany, even though as the City Council speaker, she was in a position to make a difference. But Ms. Quinn failed to deliver greater protections for Mitchell-Lama residents, and she herself accepted lower affordable housing requirements at the Hudson Yards project. Near the end of Mike Bloomberg’s mayoralty, it was reported that the billionaire mayor had managed to rezone 37% of the land in New York City. Under Ms. Quinn's leadership, the City Council failed to seize on this opportunity to make affordable housing a priority. As speaker of the City Council, Ms. Quinn had the most influence over land use issues, and the large role that real estate developers had in her campaign finance war chest suggests that Speaker Quinn wasn't about to stand up to developers when they were such a large source of campaign contributions.

So, when The New York Times talks about the corruptive influence of money in politics, it will condemn Mr. Liu for it, but it will stick its head in the sand when it comes to Ms. Quinn. Many believe that the editorial bias that favors Ms. Quinn stems from the former metropolitan editor, Carolyn Ryan, who has since been promoted to the politics editor and has been moved out of town to Washington. Activists have staged protests in the past to denounce Ms. Ryan's editorial bias that seemed to favor Ms. Quinn (VIDEO 1) (VIDEO 2) (VIDEO 3) (VIDEO 4).

Pay-To-Report News Brainwashing : The Effect Of Endless Political TV Ads

It is only through a full debate of ideas that all sides can come to an appreciation for one another, an informed participation by voters, and the hope of an agreement on issues.

Citizens-United-Campaign-Commerical-Media-Control-News-Ethics-Electioneering photo town-hall-media-spoonfeeding-cartoon-campaign-commercials-citizens-united_zpse02455f0.jpg

But that's not what's happening now.

From True News From Change NYC :

Pay to Report Local TV News Control. Spending on advertising has fueled the increase in TV lobbying costs. Well-funded special interests funnel millions to lobbyists for public campaigns to sway lawmakers on hot-button issues. (TU) Local News which is mainly weather, traffic, cooking and dog segments is making millions in lobbyists spending. Union and business interest like the pro fracking interest are also spending millions on ads to local stations. All this money is coming in as local news dumbs down.

Pols and Interests Groups Use Local News By Pushing Their Paid Ads To Win Support For Their Issues

News Brainwashing. The only real news on dumb down local TV are in the paid ads which are not news but bias views of the pol or interests group who paid for the ads to gain public support. Local TV stations stand to profit from boom in super-PAC spending (The Hill) * CSNY’s budget blitz: $3.9 million (updated) (TU) * Save NY airing tax cap ad (TU) * Budget opponents up their ads and mailers (TU) * Bloomberg Blames Negative Ads For Poor Showing In Education (Politico) * Save NY now airs ad on school money (TU) * NYC's Bloomberg Pays for TV Ads Backing Cuomo's Pension (Bloomberg News) * Bloomberg Defends His Administration With TV Ad (NY1) * Local TV News For $ale: How Special Interests Control News Content and Public Opinion (True News)

What Has Happen to the Watchdog Groups of Government or Politics ? An explosion of online news sources in recent years has not produced a corresponding increase in reporting, particularly quality local reporting, a federal study of the media has found.Coverage of state governments and municipalities has receded at such an alarming pace that it has left government with more power than ever to set the agenda and have assertions unchallenged, concluded the study. “In many communities, we now face a shortage of local, professional, accountability reporting,” said the study, which was ordered by the Federal Communications Commission and written by Steven Waldman, a former journalist for Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report. “The independent watchdog function that the Founding Fathers envisioned for journalism — going so far as to call it crucial to a healthy democracy — is in some cases at risk at the local level.

Because newspapers have always served as tip sheets for local television reporters and for reporters on the national level, newspapers cutbacks because of the loss of readership to the Internet have had “ripple effects throughout the whole media system." With fewer reporters available to tackle in-depth topics, news releases from politicians and policy makers end up having more influence in some cases, he said, contributing to a kind of power shift toward institutions and away from citizens. * Local News : The Dumbing Down of Journalism (True News)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lis Smith, Anthony Weiner, Chirlane McCray, Christine Quinn, and Chiara de Blasio : The media hypocrisy

Sex and drugs : Personal privacy should matter, but in politics, love affairs and rehab gets manipulated, depending on what there is to gain.

When news broke that mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's spokeswoman, Lis Smith, was having an affair with a married man, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Mr. de Blasio tried to downplay the story. "I respect Lis as a professional," Mr. de Blasio told The New York Daily New, adding, "But I also respect her right to privacy, so I’m not going to get any further into it."

His reaction to Ms. Smith's love affair with a married man contrasted with how the de Blasio campaign reacted to news of former Rep. Anthony Weiner's extramarital sexting.

Indeed, there was a lot of pressure on Mr. Weiner to resign from the mayoral campaign "for the good of the city," in particular from Mr. de Blasio's political operatives.

But Mr. de Blasio is not applying that same standard to Ms. Smith.

A year ago, the reporter Hunter Walker wrote an "exposé" of Mr. de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, who formerly identified as a lesbian in her youth, a time when she also experimented with marijuana.

Even though Mr. Walker was confronted by LGBT activists over his sensational story, he today alluded to possible political motivations would drive the media to attack the sexual proclivities of Ms. Smith, a motivation he never acknowledged about his own article on Ms. McCray. Essentially, all these stories that violate a person's privacy, whether the subject is a politician's wife, his daughter, his spokesperson, or his challengers, call for sensibilities that at the very minimum put into perspective the timing and relevancy of such stories, to at least minimize the sensationalism and to maximize the benefit to the public, if that is the "real motivation" behind these kinds of stories.

Mr. Walker may not have been entirely motivated by malice, perhaps it was only a lack of awareness of his heterosexism. Maybe after LGBT activists confronted him, he may have become aware of the heterosexism bias. There are ways to bring about cultural competency, but when politics is the backdrop, it's difficult to exactly gauge motivations.

Meanwhile, reaction to a controversial column by Andrea Peyser in The New York Post triggered a passionate defense of Ms. Smith that didn't seem to exist for Mr. Weiner.

When former Democratic mayoral primary candidate Christine Quinn confessed to her problems with bulimia and alcoholism, there was a reaction by some to what seemed like a blatant press manipulation play for sympathy by the Quinn campaign.

But when earlier today, the de Blasio campaign put out a video featuring Chiara de Blasio recounting the story of her recovery from depression, alcoholism, and drug abuse, the de Blasio campaign were fully dumping on the public's lap very private details about Miss de Blasio's life.

The contrast between Mr. de Blasio's treatment of his spokesperson and his daughter reveals that when the campaign can milk sympathy from the media, there is no such thing as a right to privacy.

The contrast between the Mr. de Blasio's treatment of his spokesperson and Mr. Weiner reveals that when you can score political points, there is no such thing as a right to privacy.

The contrast between the political response to Ms. Quinn's recovery and Miss de Blasio's recovery reveals that not everybody recovering from addiction will get sympathy.

And the contrasts between Mr. Walker's aggressive treatment of Ms. McCray, the press's hands-off approach to Miss de Blasio's addictions, and an emerging narrative of manipulation in Miss de Blasio's revelations, reveal that the de Blasio family may now be pressuring the media in order to give its own spin to thorny issues.

One troubling aspect with all these stories is that leaders can truly have a positive impact on others, when they take to the news or talk shows to discuss social problems. Ms. Quinn had an undoubtedly positive impact in talking about bulimia and alcoholism that may have changed the course of some peoples lives -- for the better. As Miss de Blasio might have done, as well.

However, it's the situational ethics that lead politicians to scheme and manipulate either political attacks or pleas for sympathy -- each for their own benefit -- that discredit these kinds of stories.

Was the de Blasio camp trying to distract the media from another story by dropping Miss de Blasio's recovery story on Christmas Eve ? One may never know.

NYC Conflicts of Interest Board : Cover Your Ass End of The Year Review

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Conflicts of Interests Board CYA Time : The Big Losers on the COIB makes voters the Biggest Losers in 2013

From True News From Change NYC :

No Connecting the Dots or Follow Up By the Daily News of the Conflict of Interests Board Speakers' Race Duck and Cover

The Conflicts Board Ignores the Free Work Advance Group and Others Have Done for Mark-Viverito and Fines A Losing City Council Candidate and the Sister of UFT Union Boss

The New York Daily News : Terrible Ethics Seddio Deal to Make Mark-Viverito Speaker

Frank-Seddio-Scott-Levenson-Melissa-Mark-Viverito photo Frank-Seddio-Scott-Levenson-Melissa-Mark-Viverito_zpsa53fe53f.jpg

Many of the 30 who signed on share her progressive agenda. Joined in ideology, they overlook the conflict of interest that aided her candidacy. To rally support, she accepted free consulting from the Advance Group, a major lobbying firm that will press Mark-Viverito to support legislation and budgetary requests sought by its clients. After the Daily News disclosed the arrangement, Mark-Viverito denied impropriety even as she cut loose the Advance Group. She then hired consultants, paying them with money from donors whose identities she is not required to disclose until after the Council vote on her elevation.

Correction to DN Ed : Advance Group Operative Involved in the Seddio Deal : An operative with the controversial Advance Group, Jonathan Yedin, who has been working in Brooklyn Democratic Party politics for more than a decade and belongs to Mr. Seddio’s political club. Though Ms. Mark-Viverito eventually stopped taking free advice from the Advance Group, Mr. Yedin remained a crucial player in the brokering of the deal, sources said. Inside Melissa Mark-Viverito’s Road to Victory (NYO)

Mark-Viverito and her supporters are setting a terrible ethical standard. Further clouding the situation, she garnered support with the help of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who pressed Brooklyn Democratic boss Frank Seddio to put the Brooklyn delegation in Mark-Viverito’s corner. Seddio complied. His Council troops will get plum committee assignments. Sources told The News that Seddio is also angling to line up posts for his loyalists in the de Blasio administration. Let this not be the return to City Hall of Democratic patronage. That cancer was excised 20 years ago with the election of Rudy Giuliani.

Seddio is a ward heeler out of the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club in Canarsie. He climbed from aide to backbencher assemblyman and then was shoehorned into a Brooklyn judgeship. After this page revealed that Seddio had improperly given tens of thousands of dollars from his campaign to his Brooklyn buds, Seddio quit the judgeship 17 months into a 14-year term to avoid judicial ethics charges. Seddio’s record shows that he wants things. He will make requests of Mark-Viverito, who would be in a weak position to refuse him. And, having helped de Blasio avoid embarrassing defeat, he will no doubt make requests of the new mayor. Vito Lopez expects to anoint a successor as Brooklyn party boss who has his own questionable history (NYDN Ed) * Frank Seddio resigned a judgeship while under investigation by the state's judicial watchdog agency * B'klyn Judge Probed. Allegedly Gave Campaign Bucks To Pols (NYDN)

The Conflicts Of Interest Board Covers Up Corruption, Rather Than Investigate It

The mayor-elect violated checks and balances by championing Ms. Mark-Viverito's speakership. The mayor should not be meddling in the affairs of the municipal legislature to the extent that he can determine its leadership. What is more, his support for her flies in the face of a possible ethics violations during her speakership race and a campaign finance investigation into the shady dealings of one of her lobbyists. If Ms. Mark-Viverito does become speaker, she and the mayor-elect will have authority over the Campaign Finance Board and the Conflicts of Interest Board to make these investigations go away. How convenient.

Board Members of the Conflicts Of Interest Board Enable Corruption and Conflicts of Interests

Mark Davies (Executive Director) : Mark Davies has served as Executive Director and Counsel of the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board since January 1994. He previously served as Executive Director of the New York State Temporary State Commission on Local Government Ethics, where he drafted the Commission's bill to completely revamp New York State's ethics law for local government officials, and as a Deputy Counsel to the New York State Commission on Government Integrity. During 15 years in private practice (first with a major New York City law firm and then with a small suburban firm), he specialized in litigation and municipal law. He has also served in local political party positions and was a major party candidate in 1993 for the New York State Supreme Court, 9th Judicial District. A graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School, he has been an Associate Professor at St. John’s University School of Law, a Visiting Associate Professor at Fordham University School of Law, and an Adjunct Professor at New York Law School and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham Law School, where he teaches New York Practice. He is a member of the executive committee of the New York State Bar Association's Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, whose newsletter he edits, and the chair of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee of the State Bar’s Municipal Law Section and a member of that Section's Executive Committee. He serves on the board of directors of Global Integrity and is a former member of the editorial board of PUBLIC INTEGRITY and a former member of the Steering Committee of the international Council on Governmental Ethics Laws. He has lectured extensively on civil practice and on government ethics throughout the United States and abroad, most recently at the IV Global Forum on Fighting Corruption in Brasilia at the request of the Brazilian Government and to officials in Jamaica at the request of The Carter Center, and has authored some two dozen publications, including several articles on governmental ethics laws, the municipal ethics chapter for ETHICAL STANDARDS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR (ABA 1999), the governmental ethics chapter for a new international work on ETHICS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT: TOWARD GLOBAL GUIDELINES (Praeger 2000), and a chapter on adopting local government ethics laws for a recent New York State Bar Association publication. From 1990-2006, he was the directing editor and revision author of WEST'S MCKINNEY'S FORMS FOR THE CPLR and is the directing editor and lead author of NEW YORK CIVIL APPELLATE PRACTICE (West 1996). In 2000 he received the New York County Lawyers' Association Award for Outstanding Public Service, and in 2007 he received the New York State Bar Association Excellence in Public Service Award.


Nicholas Scoppetta (Chair) : Nicholas Scoppetta was appointed to the Board and as Board Chair on December 28, 2012. Mr. Scoppetta serves as counsel to Scoppetta Seiff Kretz & Abercrombie, the law firm that he co-founded in 1980. Mr. Scoppetta has served in numerous City positions since 1972, when Mayor Lindsay appointed him as Commissioner of Investigation, including Deputy Mayor for Criminal Justice, Chair of the Mayor’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Chair of the Commission to Combat Police Corruption, Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services, and Commissioner of the Fire Department of the City of New York. Mr. Scoppetta has also served as a Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University Law School and as a Lecturer in Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Program, as a Commissioner for the New York State Waterfront Commission, as an Assistant District Attorney under Frank Hogan, as Associate Counsel of the Knapp Commission, as a Deputy Independent Counsel under the federal Ethics in Government Act, and as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. Among his many civic activities, Mr. Scoppetta has served as President and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Children’s Aid Society, as President of New Yorkers for Children, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.


Erika Thomas-Yuille (Board Member) : Ms. Thomas-Yuille was appointed to the Board in February 2012. She is currently Associate General Counsel for The McGraw-Hill Companies, where her litigation practice primarily consists of employment matters, internal investigations, and providing legal advice in connection with the company's worldwide anti-corruption, compliance, and ethics initiatives. Prior to joining McGraw-Hill, Ms. Thomas-Yuille served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. Before her tenure as a federal prosecutor, Erika worked as an associate at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Ms. Thomas-Yuille graduated from Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She is a past member of the Judiciary Committee of the New York City Bar Association and the Board of Managers of the Harlem YMCA and currently volunteers as a Girl Scout troop leader.


Andrew Irving (Board Member) : Andrew Irving was appointed to the Board in March 2005. Mr. Irving serves as Senior Vice President and Area Counsel of Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC, a registered investment adviser that provides consulting and decision-making services to public and private sector benefit plans and other institutional investors. He leads GFA’s fiduciary decision-making practice, which focuses on providing independent, conflict-free, discretionary decisions regarding particular transactions or plan assets. Prior to joining GFA’s predecessor firm, Independent Fiduciary Services, Mr. Irving was a partner at Robinson Silverman Pearce Aronsohn & Berman and Bryan Cave LLP, where his practice focused on employee benefits, labor relations, and collective bargaining matters, and also included representation of regulated companies in the telecommunications and energy industries. While at the firm he supervised its New York office's pro bono activities, and mentored the Moot Court team from Brooklyn's Thomas Jefferson High School. After graduating from Yale College and Columbia Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review, Mr. Irving clerked for the Honorable Eugene H. Nickerson, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York.


Burton Lehman (Board Member) : Burton Lehman was appointed to the Board in July 2009. He is Of Counsel to Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, a law firm which he helped to found in 1969. Mr. Lehman is an alumnus of Columbia College (A.B. 1962) and Columbia Law School (J.D. 1965, magna cum laude), where he was the Writing and Research Editor of the Columbia Law Review. Mr. Lehman has been a lawyer, advisor and counselor throughout his career. His practice has been very broad-based, with an emphasis on financial and real estate transactions and partnership matters. Mr. Lehman was Chairman of the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion from 1997 through 2006. He continues to serve on that Board and is also a trustee of The HealthCare Chaplaincy. Mr. Lehman is a member of the Board of Visitors of Columbia Law School and was a trustee of The Town School from 1980-1989. Mr. Lehman served as a law clerk to the Honorable Harold R. Medina, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Judicial Circuit, in 1965-66, and also was Associate Counsel to the Temporary New York State Commission for the 1967 Constitutional Convention.


Anthony Crowell (Board Member) : Anthony W. Crowell is Dean and President, and Professor of Law, at New York Law School. Prior to his appointment, he served as Counselor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg from 2006 to 2012. His responsibilities included managing a broad portfolio of legal, regulatory, legislative, governance, administrative, and operational matters focused on enhancing New York City’s performance, competitiveness, accountability, and public integrity. He provided coordination and oversight of City agencies, boards, and commissions and spearheaded government reform efforts and business process re-engineering initiatives. He negotiated and helped implement landmark reforms to the City’s lobbying and campaign finance laws. He also has served either as a commissioner or an executive staff member of six charter revision commissions. Before becoming Counselor to the Mayor, Dean Crowell served as Special Counsel to the Mayor from 2002 to 2006. From 1997 to 2002, he served as Assistant Corporation Counsel in the New York City Law Department’s Tax & Condemnation and Legal Counsel Divisions. Dean Crowell is a recipient of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Outstanding Municipal Attorney Award. Dean Crowell received a B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied urban policy, and a J.D., cum laude, from American University. He is a member of the bars of New York and New Jersey. While in City service, he taught State and Local Government Law courses at Brooklyn Law School for 12 years and New York Law School for 9 years. He serves as Board Chair of the Brooklyn Public Library.


Additional Reporting by Louis Flores

Monday, December 23, 2013

This Week In Bill de Blasio Conflicts of Interest : Rafael Cestero

Bill de Blasio transition advisor may be creating conflict of interest : The New York Daily News

Dick Dadey, a Christine Quinn loyalist who never confronted Quinn's administration of the City Council over corruption, is now coming forward to charge that the incoming de Blasio administration is guilty of more conflicts of interest.

The affordable housing developer Rafael Cestero is vetting possible agency heads for the New York City Housing Authority and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, The New York Daily News is reporting, adding that, "Cestero's role creates the possibility that one day he might be lobbying or doing business with the appointees he's helped to select, creating a conflict of interest, experts said."

However, Cestero's role has been being hidden from voters and the media, and in the opaque shadows of developers and lobbyists controlling government leadership positions, the only thing that can result is corruption.

If the de Blasio administration doesn't do something to stop all these conflicts of interest, maybe we just have to wait for Cestero to rig development deals with NYCHA and NYCHPD, resulting in the kind of embarrassing scandals that will perhaps lead to reforms in how the mayor-elect will choose his deputies ?

Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You (Chatroulette Version)

The Spitzer sex revelations : Will the media give Lis Smith the Weiner treatment ?

Bill de Blasio's campaign once asked Anthony Weiner to drop out of the mayoral race because of his sex-capades.

Political insiders were all atwitter today, commenting on a shocking The New York Post story reporting that mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's spokesperson, Lis Smith, was having an adulterous love affair with the still married, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Given revelations of her adulterous love affair with a married politician, to what standard will de Blasio's spokesperson, Lis Smith, be held ? Will she be given the Weiner treatment ?

When former Rep. Anthony Weiner was campaigning for the Democratic mayoral primary, he was berated for his sexcapades. Even the de Blasio campaign issued public denunciations of the Weiner campaign. In strong contrast, some insiders took to Twitter today to try to insulate Ms. Smith from criticism.

Whilst others were comparing Ms. Smith with a prostitute.

News only broke about their adulterous relationship last night. It is too soon to know whether the de Blasio administration will condemn Ms. Smith's controversial relationship with Mr. Spitzer, which some are describing on Facebook as between "consenting adults." This is in stark contrast with how the de Blasio Democratic mayoral primary campaign treated Mr. Weiner.

See also : "Bill de Blasio Calls on Anthony Weiner to Exit Mayoral Race" (Politicker)

Are married men having adulterous affairs treated according to one standard, but women, who are the "other woman," treated according to another ?

If the media is forgiving and accepting of Ms. Smith playing the role of the "other woman," does that mean that they were wrong for the tabloid trash talk against Mr. Weiner ?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Netflix TV commercial uses "Hey Now" by Martin Solveig

One of Netflix's TV commercials uses a song, "Hey Now," from one of French pop music's most successful disk jockeys, Martin Solveig. Solveig's hit, recorded in English, shows the broadening appeal of French culture in English-speaking cultures.

Here is the original song used in the Netflix commercial : "Hey Now" by the famous French DJ and his band : Martin Solveig & The Cataracs, featuring Kyle.

This year has seen a spree of American commercials featuring the music of successful French pop music artists.

Chromecast commercial featured "La Danse de Zorba" by Dalida for one commercial, and Verizon Android Island commercial used "Comment te dire adieu" for its soundtrack.

Chromecast commercial features "La Danse de Zorba" by Dalida

This year's TV commercial campaign by Google for its Chromecast Web video and music interface for HDTV units uses one of French pop singer Dalida's most successful songs, "La Danse de Zorba."

Here is the French song by Dalida used in the Chromecast commercial : "La Danse de Zorba," is a cover of Mikis Theodorakis's "Zorbas."

This is the second major TV commercial for an American product this year that uses a hit French song for its soundtrack. Verizon Android Island commercial used "Comment te dire adieu" for its soundtrack.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bill de Blasio and Melissa Mark-Viverito : Checks and balances are for stooges

Bill de Blasio Prods City Council to Elect Puppet as Speaker

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito said on Wednesday that she had lined up enough support to win the speaker's post, thanks to the intervention of mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. By Saturday, the editorial board of The New York Daily News has now published another denunciation of the conflicts of interest that are giving rise to Ms. Mark-Viverito's speakership : "Keep the bums out." This follows a prior editorial published last month in which the same editorial board expressed their opposition to Ms. Mark-Viverito's speakership campaign : "No to Mark-Viverito."

RRELATED : Melissa Mark-Viverito Lobbyist Firm Never Quit, Continued Lobbying Despite Investigations

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bill de Blasio Prods City Council to Elect Puppet as Speaker

Checks and balances are for stooges.

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito said on Wednesday that she had lined up enough support to win the speaker's post, thanks to the intervention of mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.

How soon before somebody makes a "puppet show" video about Ms. Mark-Viverito ?

Melissa Mark-Viverito Lobbyist Firm Never Quit, Continued Lobbying Despite Investigations

Mission Accomplished : Mark-Viverito Defeats Garodnick ; Checks And Balances Are For Stooges

New York City Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito self-delcared herself the winner in the race to be the next City Council Speaker, saying she had defeated Daniel Garodnick and replacing Christine Quinn, who leaves office on Dec. 31, 2013 ; although, the vote to actually select the next Council speaker won't actually take place until Jan. 8, 2014, leading Jim Dwyer of The New York Times to write, "And you do wonder if former President George W. Bush has phoned City Hall to offer the loan of his Mission Accomplished banner."

Mission Accomplished Melissa Mark-Viverito MMV

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio violated separation of powers by championing Mark-Viverito's speakership. His support for her flies in the face of a possible ethics violations during her speakership race and a campaign finance investigation into the shady dealings of one of her lobbyists. If Mark-Viverito does become speaker, she and the mayor-elect will have authority over the Campaign Finance Board and the Conflicts of Interest Board to make these investigations go away. How convenient.

The County Boss system has been surpassed by the corruptive influence of money and lobbyists in politics. While neither system is free from corruption, it is incumbent upon good government groups to address the fact that if Mark-Viverito does cinch the speakership, then it will be because of the role of lobbyists and the pay-to-play promises of Council chair appointments, payments of lulus, and distribution of Council slush funds.

These progressives-in-name-only are seizing power through machinations that violate the very anti-corruption principles of progressivism.

What is more, violating separation of powers, campaign finance laws, ethics, and flouting anti-corruption ideals are coming from the "Left." These kinds of actions are typically ascribed to the sleazy, corporate-controlled "Right" in American politics. What a disgrace that all this is playing out in the progressive capital city of New York -- and it's coming from the "Left !"

The Advance Group Flouts Campaign Finance, Ethics Regulations

The Advance Group Never Quit Mark-Viverito Speakership Campaigning, Other Lies Told To The Media

"As controversy simmers around the Advance Group, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito revealed tonight she is no longer taking free advice from the leading consulting firm in her bid for City Council speaker," Ross Barkan reported on Dec. 2, adding that Ms. Mark-Viverito said that, "we will not be receiving any additional advice from The Advance Group."

After Ms. Mark-Viverito's association with Mr. Levenson and The Advance Group was at risk of derailing her speakership campaign, she misrepresented the role of The Advance Group just long enough to take the heat off her campaign, and let one of the lobbying group's consultants continue to provide "crucial" support.

Seventeen days later, it was confirmed that Ms. Mark-Viverito never completely stopped receiving advice from The Advance Group. The very same reporter, Mr. Barkan, to whom she had said, "we will not be receiving any additional advice from The Advance Group," now reported that Mr. Levenson's chief deputy, Jonathan Yedin, kept lobbying on behalf of Ms. Mark-Viverito.

"Ms. Mark-Viverito’s team was Brooklyn-infused for this purpose and included a paid operative, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s chief of staff John Paul Lupo, and an operative with the controversial Advance Group, Jonathan Yedin, who has been working in Brooklyn Democratic Party politics for more than a decade and belongs to Mr. Seddio’s political club."

It's unclear how Ms. Mark-Viverito can fire The Advance Group but keep receiving advice from one of their chief consultants ? Was Mr. Yedin's involvement just a backdoor way for Scott Levenson to each of keep tabs on the negotiations and feed instructions to Mr. Yedin in a smoke and mirrors attempt to confuse the editorial board of The New York Daily News ?

These are not the only misrepresentations that have been told to the media by those connected with The Advance Group. Representatives from The Advance Group were caught telling two different stories about the firm's work to defeat LGBT candidates for the City Council.

In a Nov. 21 report in The New York Daily News, a spokesperson for the lobbying firm said that the anti-LGBT work that the firm did was as a result of a "favor for a political operative." Four days later, Mr. Levenson told Michael Powell of The New York Times that, "I didn’t do my due diligence."

But Mr. Levenson has a calculating reputation and "tends to hedge his bets" on clients. At the time he was advancing Ms. Mark-Viverito's speakership campaign, it was reported that he had previously attended a function promoting another Council speaker candidate, Inez Dickens. Mr. Levenson also worked for opposing candidates in the same political race.

It may be too soon to find out if all these misrepresentations will have any impact on the investigations, before Ms. Mark-Viverito has them dismissed against her and her lobbyist firm, or if prosecutors will look into this mess.

Conflict between the old County Boss system of Big Business and the Super PAC's and Lobbyists of Special Interests

The aggressive and deliberate flouting of campaign finance laws and ethics regulations pushed the Editorial Board of The New York Daily News to denounce Ms. Mark-Viverito's Council speakership candidacy last month. Relatively speaking, all the backroom machinations of the mayor-elect and the Council speaker-select are making the old County Boss system, never transparent and always shady, look like reformers. As Sal Albanese wrote, "You can't make this up."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

India Section 377 Protest NYC #NoGoingBack #377DayOfRage

Protest in Union Square NYC Against Section 377 Indian Supreme Court Ruling

On December 11, 2013, the Supreme Court of India reinstated the British Raj era law known as Section 377, which criminalises homosexuality. This Judgment has inspired anger across different sections of society around the world. While the legal battle continues, it is important that we make our voices heard.

Activists organized protests in approximately 40 cities around the world on Sunday, December 15, 2013. This video depicts some of the activists, who gathered in Union Square in New York City, to denounce the Indian Supreme Court ruling as unfair, unjust, and discriminatory.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Racism And Police Brutality Concerns Can Go On, Depending On Schools' Chancellor Pick : Sam Roberts

Sam Roberts Alluded To Believing That Bratton's Racial Profiling Concerns Would Be Placated By An Agreeable Schools' Chancellor

Last week, Michael Grynbaum said on The New York Times Close-Up program on NY1 that he noticed that there had been some "hand-wringing in the progressive blogosphere" about the appointment of William Bratton as the next New York Police Department commissioner, adding that there were concerns about how would the Bratton appointment affect stop-and-frisk.

Stop-and-frisk is a controversial program of the NYPD, which has been found to be a state-sponsored program that discriminates based on race, violating the civil liberties and civil rights of millions of innocent New Yorkers caught in its indiscriminate dragnet use.

Mr. Grynbaum concluded his remarks on this subject by saying that some of the mayor-elect's leftist base were troubled by the appointment

To these concerns, Sam Roberts flippantly said, "And maybe that will be alleviated in the coming week, when he is likely to name a schools' chancellor," as if the racism and police brutality of the NYPD "will be alleviated" by what ? The naming of a minority schools' chancellor ?

Is Mr. Roberts out of touch ? Does he need cultural competency training ?