Sunday, December 21, 2014

With NYPD seemingly out of control, de Blasio set to end first year presiding over an ungovernable New York City

Mayor de Blasio heads a bi-racial household, yet, in wake of NYPD double homicide, he cannot unify a multi-cultural city

Two NYPD officers killed in Brooklyn ; suspect reportedly commits suicide ; de Blasio in hot seat

Rather than inspire from a place of equality, justice, due process, and the rule of law, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton are resorting to invoking fear to frighten New Yorkers, moving them in a direction of hatred and suspicion.

At Saturday night's press conference at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, where the fallen officers were taken and later pronounced dead, in his brief remarks, Mayor de Blasio invoked a sense of fear to motivate New Yorkers into action, saying that, "every New Yorker should feel they, too, were attacked," that "our entire city was attacked," further requesting that New Yorkers should report any information about plans for attacks on police, a sense of fear that NYPD Commissioner William Bratton reaffirmed by saying that New Yorkers should consider this like the Homeland Security alert system, an alarum code that the Bush administration notoriously abused to keep Americans living in fear of terroristic attacks, so that the administration could keep pushing its political goals, as well as its agendas of war and surveillance.

The reply messages of violence were further fueled by Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, or PBA, who Saturday night laid blame for the officers' deaths before Mayor de Blasio and police reform activists.

The ratcheting up of inflammatory rhetoric and tensions comes at a time when the de Blasio administration had been trying to fluff its nominal accomplishments in its first year.

Activists, who are calling for an end to discrimination, violence, and state-sponsored forms of oppression, are reaching for understanding and unity. However, elected officials and police union leaders remain entrenched in language of fear and suspicion.

RELATED


de Blasio set to end first year presiding over an ungovernable New York City (Progress Queens)

Two NYPD officers killed in Brooklyn ; suspect reportedly commits suicide ; de Blasio in hot seat (Progress Queens)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

True News from Change NYC plagiarises from Progress Queens

How sad and pathetic, especially given how I helped Gary Tilzer to get his blog back, after Google censored and removed his blog. I remember that Suzannah B. Troy worked eight or ten hours straight one Sunday from about 6 or 7 a.m. until late in the afternoon.

2014-12-14 Complaint of Plagiarism to True News From Change NYC by Progress Queens

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Contacted Joe Hartunian at Sen. Schumer's Office regarding NYPD reform

Follow-up on request for assistance in creation of a new commission with powers to investigate and prosecute NYPD corruption and misconduct

2014-12-01 Senator Charles Schumer Office Fax (NYPD Commission Follow-Up Letter) (FILE COPY) by NYPDFivePoints

Activists ask for a new commission, modeled after Knapp and Mollen, to investigate NYPD and IAB, but this time with the power to prosecute cases of corruption, authority that both the Knapp and Mollen commissions lacked

Joe Hartunian, a legislative staff member to New York's senior U.S. Senator, was contacted to day as a follow-up to a letter sent on December 1.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was asked in the letter for his assistance and support for the creation of a new commission to investigate a pattern of corruption and misconduct and the lack of accountability at the New York Police Department, including at its troubled Internal Affairs Bureau.

As soon as there is new information, a new update will be provided.

RELATED


Written letter to Senator Charles Schumer asking for his assistance and support for the creation of a new commission to investigate and prosecute NYPD corruption, including at IAB (Scribd)

Exigen crear nueva comisión que investigue quejas contra NYPD (El Diario)

Written demand to Mayor de Blasio to appoint a new commission to investigate NYPD corruption, including at IAB (Scribd)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Bill Bratton Using Breathe Right To Get Through Protests, Until Demonstrations Peter Out

Arrogant remarks by NYPD Commissioner shocking the conscious of average New Yorkers

Bratton : I'm breathing easier, thank you very much, because I know that the protests ''will peter out.''

In an interview with The New York Observer, NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton was asked about the thousands of civil rights activists, who have been taking to the streets to demonstrate in disapproval of a Staten Island grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold homicide of an innocent, unarmed man.

“These things to tend to peter out on their own, people get tired of marching around aimlessly,” Commissioner Bratton said yesterday of the large demonstrations, adding “And we’re gonna have a lot of rain tomorrow, and the history of these things is that they don’t go on forever, they tend to peter out on their own.”

“These things to tend to peter out on their own, people get tired of marching around aimlessly,” Commissioner Bratton told The New York Observer.

Reaction on Twitter to Commissioner Bratton's insensitive remarks ranged from dismay to outrage.

Commissioner Bratton is facing calls for his resignation over escalating instances of police misconduct, corruption, brutality, and homicide.

RELATED


After Huge Demonstration, Bratton Expects Eric Garner Protests to ‘Peter Out’ (The New York Observer)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sen. Schumer asked for help to appoint a new commission to investigate and prosecute NYPD, IAB corruption

Letter to Sen. Charles Schumer - Help us appoint a new commission to investigate NYPD, IAB

Activists ask for a new commission, modeled after Knapp and Mollen, to investigate NYPD and IAB, but this time with the power to prosecute cases of corruption, authority that both the Knapp and Mollen commissions lacked

Sen. Charles Schumer, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was asked for his assistance and support for the creation of a new commission to investigate a pattern of corruption and the lack of accountability at the New York Police Department, including at its troubled Internal Affairs Bureau.

"The nation needs a substantive examination of the overreach, the corruption, the brutality and murder, the abuse of discretion, and the lack of accountability of police departments in the nation, beginning with the NYPD, the largest police force in the nation. As your office contemplates how best the U.S. Senate can take part in the national debate over the need for policing reforms, we hope that in the meantime you will call for either Manhattan District Attorney Vance, U.S. Attorney Bharara, or Assistant Director Venizelos to create a new, independent commission with subpoena power to investigate -- and prosecute -- corruption, brutality, and murder by the NYPD, including corruption at IAB, along with other violations of constitutional rights, civil liberties, and civil rights."

The letter to Sen. Schumer was sent after a prior e-mail to City Hall, dated 13 October 2014, went unanswered.

RELATED


Written letter to Senator Charles Schumer asking for his assistance and support for the creation of a new commission to investigate and prosecute NYPD corruption, including at IAB (Scribd)

Exigen crear nueva comisión que investigue quejas contra NYPD (El Diario)

Written demand to Mayor de Blasio to appoint a new commission to investigate NYPD corruption, including at IAB (Scribd)

2014-12-01 Senator Charles Schumer Office Fax (NYPD Commission Follow-Up Letter) (FILE COPY) by NYPDFivePoints

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jo Hamilton, ex-official involved in St. Vincent's Hospital condo conversion, fined for ethics violations

Jo Hamilton was on the take

Jo Hamilton, former member of Manhattan Community Board 2, which rubber-stamped and fast-tracked the demolition and luxury condo conversion of St. Vincent's Hospital, was on the take.

From the Demand a Hospital listserv :

---------- Forwarded Message ----------
From: Demand A Hospital
To: Demand A Hospital
Subject: Jo Hamilton was on the take
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 04:41:25 -0500

Dear All :

For a decade, Jo Hamilton was receiving free gifts from an entity that had business before Community Board 2. Please read the following reports :

    (i)    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/community-board-member-fined-free-soho-house-membership-blog-entry-1.2022053

    (ii)    http://nypost.com/2014/11/25/board-member-fined-10k-over-free-soho-house-membership/

    (iii)    http://gothamist.com/2014/11/24/soho_house_2.php

    (iv)    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20141124/meatpacking-district/community-board-2-member-fined-for-accepting-free-soho-house-membership

    (v)    http://www.scribd.com/doc/248068157/COIB-Disposition-CB

How many other members of Community Board 2 were on the take ?

What did the former chairs of CB2 and the former subcommittee chairs know about Jo Hamilton being on the take -- and when did they know it ?

How many lobbyists paid for entertainment, meals, and other gifts for members of CB2 that were never reported or may have crossed the line to be inappropriate or illegal ?

Never give up.

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

Tell Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stop closing our hospitals. Call 311 for the mayor and 1 (518) 474-8390 for the governor.

You can also tweet your concerns to : @BilldeBlasio -and- @NYGovCuomo

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo" Flyer resurfaces

This mailer is reportedly from the 1982 gubernatorial campaign, but the discriminatory slogan actually dates back to the 1977 Democratic Party primary race for New York City mayor

For all of former Mayor Koch's internalised self-loathing as a closeted gay man, how much of former Mayor Koch's slow HIV/AIDS response should be attributable to the Cuomo campaign's fear-baiting tactics against former Mayor Koch ?

From Progress Queens :

A photograph was posted to Twitter of a flyer from the 1982 New York gubernatorial race bearing the slogan, "Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo," triggering remembrances and questions about the controversial campaign efforts by Andrew Cuomo to smear Ed Koch.

The offensive slogan originally dates back to the Democratic Party primary in the 1977 New York City mayoral race when the two were political rivals running for the same office, but the Cuomo camp used the slogan again during the lingering whisper campaign five years later, in the 1982 New York gubernatorial race, as evidenced by the photo of the handbill.

RELATED


Three decades later, "Vote For Cuomo, Not The Homo" mailer resurfaces (Progress Queens)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Communities United for Police Reform replaces BerlinRosen as public relations firm as CPR ramps up NYPD criticism of de Blasio

BerlinRosen is closely linked to the de Blasio administration. It's lobbyists regularly counsel Mayor de Blasio. BerlinRosen even represents Mayor de Blasio's own lobbying outfit, the Campaign for One New York.

BerlinRosen's close ties to de Blasio meant that CPR couldn't make aggressive demands for NYPD reform, because BerlinRosen wouldn't allow Mayor de Blasio to be outflanked or embarrassed by police reform activists.

In a move that may spell political trouble for Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City), the police reform group, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), has hired a new public relations firm, Progressive Cities, to replace BerlinRosen. Dan Morris at Progressive Cities will replace Daniel Levitan at BerlinRosen as CPR's spokesperson.

When BerlinRosen was supervising CPR's external communications, City Hall was in a better position to keep CPR in check. For example, CPR effectively sided with Mayor de Blasio's regressive appointment of William Bratton as commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD). Mr. Bratton is known for his support of policing tactics that unfairly target Blacks and Latinos ; nevertheless, many Latino elected officials issued statements of support to the press in a campaign some government reform activists said echoed the hallmarks of lobbyist-generated synchronicity for the convenient packaging of Latino elected officials' approvals. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Harlem) and Senator José Peralta (D-Queens) were joined by U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-Brooklyn), Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. (D-The Bronx), Assemblymember Luis Sepulveda (D-The Bronx), and Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) in supporting the Bratton appointment, even though grassroots police reform activists were protesting the appointment out of concern for Commissioner Bratton's reliance on a racial policing theory known as "Broken Windows."

Yesterday, the online news publication Progress Queens sent an e-mail request to Mr. Levitan, asking if BerlinRosen worked on pre-swearing in public relations work for Mayor de Blasio, and, if so, asking how BerlinRosen was being paid. However, Mr. Levitan did not answer the request. A few hours later, news broke that BerlinRosen was being replaced by Progressive Cities as CPR's public relations firm.

In the time since Mayor de Blasio was sworn into office, BerlinRosen has regularly courted controversy.

BerlinRosen has advised City Hall's non-profit, lobbying arm, the Campaign for One New York, which relies on funding from the mayor's political supporters. Through the Campaign for One New York, Mayor de Blasio is actively engaged in a non-stop campaign of lobbying other government officials using private monies, subverting government work into the hands of public relations officials, lobbyists, and private donors. BerlinRosen was also the mastermind behind a controversial "dark money" mailer that sought to quell voter anger in the time leading up to the closure of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Brooklyn. (The thin-skinned mayor and his political operatives were trying to deflect voter anger at Mayor de Blasio's betrayal on the LICH closure.) In an exposé published by The New York Post, it was revealed that Mayor de Blasio seeks counsel from lobbyists, including those at BerlinRosen, comprising the integrity of government work at City Hall. BerlinRosen also positioned itself itself in the middle of a $1.5 billion, zone-busting real estate development deal for the old Domino Sugar refinery in Brooklyn, that may have duplicitous implications for impropriety, since BerlinRosen led discussions between the real estate developer and the same de Blasio administration its firm regularly counsels. Eventually, City Hall approved the waterfront development deal.

Mr. Morris, the Progressive Cities chief, formerly worked at the campaign consulting firm Red Horse, before founding Progressive Cities, according to a report in The New York Observer. Red Horse is closely associated with Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito. Police reform activists were hoping that the change in the public relations firm advising CPR would lead to aggressive demands for police reforms. However, the close political ties to City Hall and City Council may make Mr. Morris another administration flack, perhaps less than Mr. Levitan. Whilst it is known that CPR plans to publicly challenge Commissioner Bratton's "Broken Windows" theory of policing, which the mayor and the First Lady have supported, it is not known if CPR will call for Commissioner Bratton's resignation, as have grassroots police reform activists.

RELATED


Liberals growing frustrated with Bill de Blasio (The New York Times)

Leading police reform group pushing NYPD for major changes (The New York Daily News)

Mayor de Blasio has failed to end racial policing in New York City (Progress Queens)

Mayor Criticized for Not Moving Faster on Marijuana Policy (The Wall Street Journal)

Amid reports of friction, de Blasio and Bratton assail the media (Capital New York)

Friday, November 7, 2014

El Diario : Activists call for a commission to investigate NYPD corruption, including at Internal Affairs

Five governmental offices with jurisdiction over NYPD are asked to create a new commission, modeled after Knapp and Mollen

"Activists say the CCRB is negligent and that the City needs another panel to address complaints made against police"

On Columbus Day, a small group of protesters walked to five government offices, demanding that as a result of "negligence" by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the government should appoint a commission to be responsible for investigating corruption at the New York Police Department. The five stops on the walking protest tours were : the Mayor's Office, the main headquarters of the NYPD, the District Attorney of Manhattan, the U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, and the FBI headquarters in New York.

RELATED


Exigen crear nueva comisión que investigue quejas contra NYPD (El Diario)

Written demand to Mayor de Blasio to appoint a new commission to investigate NYPD corruption, including at IAB (Scribd)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Progress Queens issues endorsements in New York governor race, ballot proposals

Hawkins is endorsed over Cuomo

On ballot proposals, voting no on fake redistricting reform

Progress Queens has endorsed Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate, for governor of New York. The endorsement praises Hawkins's plans "to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, to roll out a single-payer health care program for all New Yorkers, and to support a clean energy plan that would create new jobs in a clean energy system, amongst other proposals." Progress Queens also applauds Hawkins' unconditional opposition to hydrofracking.

On Proposal One, regarding redistricting, Progress Queens recommends a vote of NO. On Proposal Two, regarding electronic distribution of legislative bills, Progress Queens recommends a vote of YES. On Progress Three, the debt financing of computer equipment for schools, Progress Queens recommends a vote of NO.

RELATED


For Governor of New York, Progress Queens endorses Howie Hawkins (Progress Queens)

On New York Ballot Proposals One, Two, and Three, the Progress Queens endorsements (Progress Queens)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

In spite of legal troubles, Lawrence Schwartz still at Governor Cuomo's side

Lawrence Schwartz remains at governor’s side, in spite, or perhaps because, of legal problems with AEG and Moreland

Lawrence Schwartz and Gov. Andrew Cuomo photo lawrence-schwartz-andrew-cuomo_zps99d34174.jpg

Lawrence Schwartz survived Paterson's AEG scandal ; will he survive Cuomo's Moreland scandal ?

Years before Cuomo aide Lawrence Schwartz became implicated in the waves of controversies that have engulfed the Moreland Commission, Mr. Schwartz was at the center of yet another Albany political controversy : the Aqueduct Entertainment Group bid to operate a racino at a Queens racetrack.

“Schwartz further incredulously claimed to not recall myriad meetings he organized and attended, various e-mail correspondence between himself and other individuals, and numerous conversations in which he engaged, and claimed unawareness of the Governor’s selection of AEG despite personally engaging the Governor’s press office in a colloquy about the very subject.”
-- Inspector General's report

RELATED


Lawrence Schwartz remains at governor’s side, in spite, or perhaps because, of legal problems with AEG and Moreland (Progress Queens)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Seeking to recruit disenchanted Democratic Party voters, Green Party candidates Jones and Jimenez visit to Queens

Overflow crowd greet Greens at Flynn's Garden Inn in Woodside

Green Party candidates Brian Jones and Ramon Jimenez photo 2014-10-12BrianJones-RamonJimenez-GreenPartyQueensFunction600LouisFlores_zpsed175022.jpg

Greens reach out to reform-minded voters turned off by Gov. Cuomo's neoliberal priorities

“A few months ago, there was a lot of attention around the Democratic primary,” said Brian Jones, the Green Party candidate for Lieut. Governor. “A lot of progressives were thwarted [when] top party leadership rallied around Andrew Cuomo.” Mr. Jones said that progressive voters, who want other options in the Democratic Party, have no candidate to support. “A lot of that energy is coming our way.”

Ramon Jimenez, the Green Party’s candidate for the state Attorney General, was asked about one of the leading issues in this year’s election season : government corruption. During Mr. Jimenez’s campaign, he has made prior remarks about the Cuomo administration’s mistake in bringing to a premature end the corruption-fighting work of the Moreland Commission. At the meet and greet function in Queens today, Mr. Jimenez said that he found fault with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s handling of the Moreland Commission’s demise. Mr. Jimenez noted that the commissioners serving on the corruption-fighting panel had been deputized by Attorney General Schneiderman, giving his office a special responsibility in seeing to it that the commission’s work was handled appropriately. “It was wrong for him to remain silent as the commission was disbanded,” Mr. Jimenez said, adding, “The attorney general has to be more aggressive in prosecuting government corruption.”

RELATED


In Queens, Green Party candidates Jones and Jimenez talk about issues, momentum (Progress Queens)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Did de Blasio set back police reform by stalling meeting with city's District Attorneys ?

de Blasio finally agrees to meet with District Attorneys after seven months of stalling

The Brooklyn District Attorney won't prosecute low-level marijuana possession charges, but the other District Attorneys will, creating a conflict in the application of the law across the five boroughs

For seven months, City Hall refused to meet with New York City's five district attorneys, leaving the city's top municipal prosecutors to deal with arbitrary applications of the law. Police reform activists blame the mayor for on-going arrests for low-level marijuana possession that target Blacks 4.5 more times than Whites. Wasn't the mayor supposed to reform law enforcement by ending unfair policing tactics that specifically target minority communities ?

RELATED


By ignoring requests for meetings with District Attorneys, Mayor de Blasio has hampered law enforcement reform (Progress Queens)

NYC District Attorneys Finally Get Meeting With Mayor: Sources (WNBC Channel 4 News)

Mayor de Blasio defends 'broken windows' policing strategy after Eric Garner death (The New York Daily News)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Financial irregularities at the Corona-Elmhurst Center for Economic Development remain enshrouded in a mystery

With seemingly endless public corruption scandals in Queens, one goes overlooked

The Queens District Attorney, the State Attorney General, and the U.S. Attorney for New York's eastern district all look away as half a million dollars go unaccounted for

A shuttered Queens-based non-profit, the Corona-Elmhurst Center for Economic Development, has never publicly accounted for its use of $500,000 in funding. The news Web site Progress Queens contacted various prosecutors, finding a wall of silence from local, state, and federal investigators. Are the political ties to high-ranking elected officials the reason no prosecutor wants to investigate the missing money ?

RELATED


The collapse of the Corona-Elmhurst Center for Economic Development, a nonprofit partly organized by State Senator Jose Peralta, remains a mystery (Progress Queens)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blogger Louis Flores debuts Progress Queens, a new Web site about news and politics

Progress Queens : News and Politics

The evolution of online news

The Internet has allowed for many Web sites to publish news online, but the avalanche of information fails to connect with people. One of the biggest reasons that people are disconnecting from the news is that the mainstream media never gives people the whole truth about how our government is run. Progress Queens was created to address this problem.

Progress Queens upends mainstream media

Whereas the mainstream media fails to make the connections to lobbyists, consultants, and outside contractors in the many corruption scandals that impact government and big business, you can count on Progress Queens to always make that connection for you.

Progress Queens is fighting for a truly progressive reform agenda based on the values that we should each of use economic gains to help those with the least and keep our elected officials accountable to voters at all times. Follow us on Twitter : @progressqueens.

RELATED


Progress Queens : News and Politics (ProgressQueens.com)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teachout Wu Cuomo Mark-Viverito Bratton Whistleblower Fired NYPD Eric Garner - Twawking Tweets Episode 2

Twawking Tweets - Episode 2 - Top NY political tweets on Twitter

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito fires an NYPD whistleblower.

In this episode, the following issues were discussed :

  • Zephyr Teachout's possible endorsement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's reelection campaign ;
  • Tim Wu criticizing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for having supported Leut. Gov. candidate, Kathy Hochul ;
  • Mr. Wu's announcement of his support of the Cuomo-Hochul ticket ;
  • Rob Astorino asks Preet Bharara to release information about the federal investigation into the Moreland Commission scandal before Election Day ;
  • New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito fires a whistleblower ; and
  • A reminder that Speaker Mark-Viverito denied that race was a factor in the homicide of Eric Garner.

Twawking Tweets is sponsored by the Twitter account, @InformedVoting.

RELATED


Twawking Tweets - Episode 2 - Top NY political tweets on Twitter (Progress Queens)

Monday, September 15, 2014

In Jackson Heights, NYPD arrest and handcuff man, aggravating his injuries

Commissioner Bratton and Mayor de Blasio say we have community policing, but the police can't even speak Spanish to communicate with the community. And when I translated that the man's arm is broken, the cops put him in a impossible situation, and they painted the man as uncooperative. The man has an injured or broken arm ; he's handcuffed, but the cops complained that the man would not stand up. Before I started filming with my iPhone, I witness one police officer putting his foot on the small of the man's back to hold him down.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mark-Viverito fires Council whistleblower for disputing Commissioner Bratton's stats on NYPD use of force

City Council aide ­Artyom Matusov was fired for exposing a misrepresentation by Commish Bratton that "implied the percentage of arrests in which force was used had dropped in recent years"

Speaker Mark-Viverito's War on Whistleblowers

A Harvard University Kennedy School of Government-educated City Council staffer was fired on Friday after he blew the whistle on inaccuracies in the official testimony provided by NYPD Commissioner William Bratton last Monday.

In the City Council hearing, on the subject of police use of deadly chokeholds, Commissioner Bratton testified that police use of force was declining, stating that police officers used force in about 3 per cent. of the time out of an annual arrest rate of about 400,000. After City Council staffer Artyom Matusov heard the testimony, he did some number crunching, and Mr. Matusov discovered that Commissioner Bratton's calculations couldn't hold water. According to statistics analyzed by Mr. Matusov, Commissioner Bratton's testimony was incorrect, because police officers self-reported arrests in which force was used at a rate more than double than the rate to which Commissioner Bratton testified. That doubled rate covered approximately only 10 per cent. of annual arrests, meaning the actual use of NYPD force during arrests could be extrapolated to be at a much higher rate.

Mr. Matusov claims that he was fired, "because Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wanted to punish him for blowing the whistle on Mayor de Blasio’s police chief," The New York Daily News reported.

In an interview with The New York Daily News, Mr. Matusov claimed that speaking out about Commissioner Bratton's faulty testimony cost him his job, because Speaker Mark-Viverito retaliated against him to protect Mayor de Blasio from any political fallout from Commissioner Bratton's perjury.

Mr. Matusov noted how Speaker Mark-Viverito owes her political career to Mayor de Blasio, telling The New York Daily News that, “Remember, he appointed the speaker.”

RELATED


Council aide claims he was fired for disputing Bratton (Capital New York)

City Council analyst : I got fired by Speaker Mark-Viverito for saying Bill Bratton lied about NYPD's use of force (The New York Daily News)

City Council aide says he was fired for exposing Bratton’s bogus data (The New York Post)

Melissa Mark-Viverito Won’t Say Race Was a Factor in Eric Garner’s Death (The New York Observer)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rousing 2011 #OWS speech reminds us of role of St. Vincent's Hospital on 9/11

Crucita Alvarado - Missing Person - Coney Island

Call 911 or (800) 577-8477

Tomorrow will mark one month since Crucita Alvarado was last seen. She has been missing since Tuesday, Aug. 12, and her family is searching for her. Ms. Alvarado is also known by her nickname, ''Lucy'' or ''Miss Lucy.''

RELATED : Grandmother, 73, Missing For More Than A Week From Coney Island (WCBS2 New York)

Ms. Alvarado, who is 73 years old, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and she is believed to have wandered off and gotten lost. If anybody recognises her, please call 911 or the NYPD tips line at : (800) 577-8477.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Did de Blasio's endorsement, and lingering anger over LICH closure, cost Peter Sikora the election ?

Press won't even mention voter anger over closure of Long Island College Hospital as factor in rejection of de Blasio endorsement, Sikora loss

Overlooked in the aftermath of yesterday’s Democratic Party primary elections across New York state is the loss of candidate Peter Sikora in the 52nd Assembly District in Brooklyn. Mr. Sikora, who benefitted from the endorsements of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Working Families Party, and the New York State Nurses Association, lost the election to Jo Anne Simon.

In trying to justify Mr. Sikora’s loss, the media has proposed all number of excuses, ranging from the fact that Mayor de Blasio’s endorsement didn’t amount to much, because he made so many, diluting any impact that they might have ordinarily had, to the fact that the machine candidate, Ms. Simon, had more institutional support.

Unacknowledged is the lingering and growing voter anger over the closure of Long Island College Hospital. In the 52nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, which encompasses the catchment area formerly served by LICH, the voter anger against Mayor de Blasio’s betrayal of his central campaign promise to stop anymore hospital closings rubbed off on Mr. Sikora, even though he had the NYSNA endorsement, meaning that Brooklyn voters were able to see through the mayor’s politically-expedient machinations, as well as Mr. Sikora’s.

RELATED


In Hotly Contested Races, the de Blasio Endorsement Only Goes So Far (The New York Observer)

Peter Sikora running away from failed LICH promises, de Blasio exploitation cover-up (NYC : News & Analysis)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Twawking Tweets - Pilot Video - NY Democratic Primary for Governor

"Twawking Tweets" - Pilot Video

"Twawking Tweets" is a pilot video for a TV show that gives voice to voters' concerns as expressed entirely over Twitter. In this format, tweeted messages from average voters are highlighted and discussed within the context of larger political, social, and economic issues. Entirely Twitter-driven, this show will amplify the voices of regular people, giving power to their views and opinions.

For more information, contact Louis Flores at : louisflores (at) louisflores (dot) com.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Teachout and Wu sue State Democratic Party, Cuomo, and Hochul

The New York State Democratic Party is violating campaign finance laws by funneling money to prop up the Cuomo-Hochul ticket in next week's gubernatorial Democratic Party primary election, alleges a legal petition filed by the Teachout-Wu campaigns. The petition seeks a temporary restraining order against the State Democratic Party from coordinating the spending of party money on behalf of the Cuomo-Hochul campaigns, amongst other legal reliefs.

Teachout v NYSDC Et Al

While the judge refused to grant the temporary restraining order, a hearing was scheduled for Monday to hear arguments in furtherance and in response to the filing of the legal petition.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Past NYPD experience with video cameras shows pattern of editing to thwart accountability for misconduct

The NYPD have a history of manipulating their own videos, as a 2004 City Council report found

Excerpt from Chapter 7 of "Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn"

A special report from the City Council Committee on Governmental Operations showed that, “In the aftermath of the numerous confrontations between demonstrators and police at the February 15th rally the Civilian Complaint Review Board (“CCRB”) investigated 54 complaints containing 114 allegations of misconduct by police officers.” Among the NYPD violations the report found was that the police department’s Technical Assistance Response Unit provided to CCRB heavily edited videos in a deliberate effort to disguise the police officers who committed violations. “Thus, many complaints were dropped where the officers went unidentified.” This is how the NYPD operated when it knew its actions were not going to be supervised or subjected to any accountability.

From Chapter 7 of ''Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn'' by Louis Flores (Scribd)

How can CCRB, much less the public, have faith and trust in NYPD officers maintaining control over their own body cameras ?

According to news reports, the New York Police Department are considering a pilot program to video record police officers on duty. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told reporters that the pilot program under consideration would allow police officers to control the activation of their own body cameras, raising concerns amongst police reform activists and civil libertarians.

How can the press honestly report that this is a "pilot program," and that a police department program aiming to film their own operations is about to be created ? The NYPD have been filming their own operations for years. What is more, many charge that the NYPD make video recordings of activists' peaceful and lawful political activities, which constitutes violations of activists Constitutional, civil rights, civil liberties, and other rights. Some of these records also violate a court order known as the Handschu Agreement. The proposal to use body cameras has been criticised by civil libertarian advocates, who question the police motivations to record innocent citizens. With the NYPD's experience and technology, they have already demonstrated a track record of how they mishandle their own video records and of the recordings of innocent New Yorkers. Based on a report about police misconduct published over a decade ago by the New York City Council, it has been shown that the NYPD cannot be trusted to record themselves, because, in the past, the NYPD have deliberately edited videos of their own performance with the blatant intention to circumvent accountability and oversight for their own misconduct, brutality, and other violations of police procedures.

Some police reform activists believe that recording police while they are on duty is a good reform, but not all police reform activists agree. Others take share the same concerns of civil libertarians. However, if there is a way to fully address the concerns of civil libertarians, for the use of body cameras to work, police officers should not be able to control, limit, turn on, or turn off their body cameras in any way. For body cameras to work, both the audio and video should be recorded during the entire duration of police officers' shifts. This information should be stored for as many years as it would be needed to facilitate the frequent federal, state, and municipal investigations into police misconduct. However, it remains to be seen whether the concerns of civil libertarians can truly be addressed. Over the decades, the NYPD have created so much distrust in New York City. The proposal to use body cameras is already polarising some in the police reform activist community. Based on the lack of trust and faith between the NYPD and citizens, it's difficult to tell whether everybody's concerns can be fully addressed.

RELATED


50 NYPD cops set to begin wearing body cameras in pilot program (The New York Daily News)

''Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn'' by Louis Flores (Scribd)

Report and Briefing Paper, The New York City Council, Committee on Government Operations, 16 June 2004 (Scribd)

Like a young Richard Nixon, Christine Quinn trying to make a political comeback

PUBLISHED : THURS, 04 SEPT 2014, 05:05 PM
UPDATED : THURS, 04 SEPT 2014, 09:10 PM

Political bloggers fear that Christine Quinn is organizing a come-back into politics after the electoral thrashing she received last year. After Richard Nixon lost embarrassing campaigns in 1960 and 1962, he finally won in 1968 and again in 1972.

Last September, almost 85% of Democratic Party primary voters cast their ballots against Christine Quinn

After former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn suffered a humiliating defeat in last year's mayoral race, she has been in relative hiding, licking her wounds, plotting her political comeback.

During that time, she's limited her public appearances. She reportedly turned down a job offer to lead the troubled AIDS services organization GMHC, and she has tested the waters by joining the boards of a couple of nonprofit organizations, an area she exploited over two decades ago to launch her political career. Although to some degree Ms. Quinn has become politically radioactive, due to a long record of community betrayals and allegations of corruption, she has managed to latch onto another failed politician, who has similarly become the target of voter anger : Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In exchange for fluffing his sagging reelection campaign, Gov. Cuomo has apparently promised to Ms. Quinn a way around the wrath of angry voters by offering her a rumored appointed commissionership after Ms. Quinn made statements to the press, offering superficial validity to the governor's astroturf political party, the Women's Equality Party. Ms. Quinn's propaganda confers to the governor some hope of tricking some voters to cast their ballots for him on the politically-expedient Women's Equality Party line. Gov. Cuomo has faced a tough reelection battle ever since his administration began a downward political following the launch of an investigation by federal prosecutors into alleged obstructive acts by the governor's office to thwart the corruption-fighting work of the now-defunct Moreland Commission after the panel began looking into some of the governor's political allies.

To further Ms. Quinn's political reset, she deleted her old Twitter account and began anew, erasing the Twitter history of her failed political past.

For her part, Ms. Quinn is no stranger to controversies about her political ethics. Activists and the media have drawn attention to the corruptive role of big money campaign donations in government, but no meaningful legal reforms ever came about during Ms. Quinn's 15 years in public office. In a 2008 report published by The New York Times, the two largest real estate contributors to the candidates expected to run for mayor in 2009, of which Ms. Quinn was one, were the owners of Rudin Management Company, who would become entangled in a protracted real estate battle over the fate of St. Vincent’s Hospital, and people tied to the Related Companies, one of the final two developers selected to work on the Hudson Yards project. When activists demanded that the local district attorney investigate the shady closing of St. Vincent’s, talk of an investigation went nowhere. Former Council Speaker Quinn approved the Rudin luxury condo conversion of St. Vincent’s, she approved decreased affordable housing requirements at the Hudson Yards project, and she exempted the living wage bill from applying to parts of the Hudson Yards project. Credible information exists about how a former campaign donor of former Council Speaker Quinn got access to a meeting involving the creation of legislative proposals and about how discretionary City Council funds from a secret reserve fund were steered to groups in former Council Speaker Quinn’s district. But when established patterns of political activities spanning for years potentially rise to the level of violations of law involve the potential for prosecution of significant political or government individuals, who may pose special problems for the local prosecutor, no federal prosecutor sees a special need or purpose to bring an federal indictment necessary for a successful prosecution of the government’s case against these individuals. An overhaul of this broken system is impossible when there is no fear of prosecution to create the political will to end the exploitation of this broken system. It’s a catch-22.

RELATED


Back in Politics, Quinn Will Be Adviser on Abortion-Rights Strategy (The New York Times)

''Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn'' by Louis Flores (Scribd)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

After early ridicule, Tim Wu calls out de Blasio as "accomplice" in Hochul's voter deception

Gov. Cuomo's running mate, Kathy Hochul, supports the Keystone XL energy pipeline, which the fracking industry needs to keep expanding their water-poisoning extraction across North America

The Cuomo administration is under federal investigation for reportedly obstructing the anti-corruption work of the now-defunct Moreland Commission, and Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito don't care. They're endorsing the Cuomo-Hochul ticket.

Once it became clear that the self-anointed progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio was going to endorse former Rep. Kathy Hochul for lieutenant governor in this year's Democratic Party primary, the first reaction from the Teachout/Wu campaign was to give Mayor de Blasio and his enablers the room to double-cross progressive voters.

Many government reform activists see Mayor de Blasio's endorsement of Ms. Hochul's campaign as a betrayal of voters' progressive sensibilities. Not only is Ms. Hochul a supporter of the fracking industry, but she has also voted to limit or roll back regulations under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. She once earned the endorsement of the N.R.A., and she also voted to repeal Obamacare while she was in Congress. Even the specter of a federal investigation into the Cuomo administration's role in reportedly obstruction the corruption-fighting work of the now-shuttered Moreland Commission hasn't stopped Mayor de Blasio and his cronies from propping up the Cuomo/Hochul ticket. Nevertheless, the Teachout/Wu campaign initially didn't want to publicly question Mayor de Blasio's motivations for planning to endorse such an abysmal and conservative record as Ms. Hochul's. However, once government reform activists began to question the Teachout/Wu's silence, the Teachout/Wu campaign took a different approach.

Pressure on the Teachout/Wu campaign kept building this morning, especially after some wise political reporters began to notice the blatant contradictions in Mayor de Blasio's spin, leading Ms. Hochul's opponent, Tim Wu, to call out Mayor de Blasio for his duplicity.

In a press conference this morning, Mr. Wu reacted to news of Mayor de Blasio's impending endorsement of Ms. Hochul with some of the harshest words yet expressed of Mayor de Blasio's dishonest portrayal of Ms. Hochul as a "progressive."

"When it comes down to it, Kathy Hochul's record is out there. No one can look honestly and deeply at that record and say she's a progressive Democrat," Mr. Wu said at his press conference, adding that Mayor de Blasio was "serving as an accomplice" in "misrepresenting her record."

For her part, Zephyr Teachout, Mr. Cuomo's opponent in the gubernatorial race, said, "I'm thrilled that Bill de Blasio's my mayor, I supported him, but he's wrong on this. Kathy Hochul's a conservative."

RELATED


Tim Wu: Mayor de Blasio serving as ‘accomplice’ to Hochul (Capital New York)

Cuomo, de Blasio Panic As Progressive Candidate Tim Wu Gains Traction (The Gothamist)

Activists fear Teachout will back Cuomo in General if she loses in Primary (NYC : News & Analysis)

Monday, September 1, 2014

1199's Kevin Finnegan to NYC community hospital patients : Kiss Off !

La rentrée 2014 : Election and Omnibus Update

Reforms come about by taking action

Remember the hospital closing crisis was manufactured by the Gov. Pataki's Berger Commission and by Gov. Cuomo's Medicaid Redesign Team

AS NEW YORKERS PREPARE FOR THE ANNUAL REENTRY, it's that time of the year when everything happens all at once : the summer ends, a new school year begins, the high season of the arts is upon us, and the primary elections are only one week away.

The last year has been remarkable for civic engagement and activism. We made many gains, like voting Christine Quinn out of office. We still face many challenges, like holding the de Blasio administration accountable to fully overhauling the New York Police Department and implementing other reforms. Voters are building upon this by vowing to hold Gov. Andrew Cuomo accountable in the Democratic Party primary election on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Ever since news broke of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's admitted interference with the Moreland Commission's anti-corruption investigations, the Cuomo administration has been in a downward spiral. Voters are angry that each year, politicians promise us a "change election," but no change ever comes. Gov. Cuomo campaigned for office in 2010, promising to end corruption up in Albany. By many press accounts, it took less than four years for Gov. Cuomo to embody the culture of corruption up in Albany.

Back in 2010, the Cuomo campaign told St. Vincent's activists, "We'll see you after the election." What happened ? Not only did the governor fail to take action to save community hospitals in New York City, but he appointed mean old man Stephen Berger of the 1990's Berger Commission to keep closing full-service hospitals across New York City. Gov. Cuomo turned out to be another weasel of a politician, who had no intention of serving the common good. Instead, he was intent on an austerity agenda that would dismantle hospital infrastructure and enact Medicaid cuts that would negatively impact entire communities across New York City.

This reoccurring pattern of political and community betrayal was what finally led voters to vote former Speaker Quinn out of office after 15 years of failure. That long period of time exasperated voters. It finally woke voters up to the opportunity cost of reelecting unprincipled incumbents, who gamed the system for their own benefit, not the communities'. Voters no longer have patience for wasting time on failed leadership. This impatience explains why activists began to protest mayor-elect Bill de Blasio last December, after he announced his regressive appointment of William Bratton as NYPD commissioner. In the time since, all New Yorkers have come to see how Mayor de Blasio was never fully committed about ending police brutality or overhauling other controversial police policies, like the Broken Windows approach to policing that essentially criminalises the poor and minorities. Minorities in New York get arrested trying to use public transportation. That stark example of discrimination that once ran rampant in the racist South now takes place right here in New York City. If the mayor was committed to a complete overhaul of the NYPD, then he would have each of appointed a culturally competent police commissioner, ended Broken Windows policing, and updated and strengthened civilian police oversight, disciplinary proceedings, and other forms of police accountability. The true test of reforms is very simple : Does the status quo come to a complete end once reforms are implemented ?

Other issues awaiting the mayor that will determine if he is going to truly roll-out an aggressively progressive reform agenda, or if he is just going to keep recommending neoliberal policies that are approved by big business lobbyists. Only a civically-engaged electorate can hold elected officials' feet to the fire.

As promised in a previous newsletter, here is an omnibus update :

  • Governor's Race. Please remember that Gov. Cuomo exacerbated the hospital closing crisis in New York City by appointing Stephen Berger to close more hospitals on top of the large number of hospitals that closed following Mr. Berger's first commission report on hospital closures. Last Sept. 9, Mr. Berger was still advocating for more hospital closures. How fitting that exactly one year after that article was published, voters get to cast votes to reject these healthcare cuts that The New York Times reported went too far. Equally important, activists continue to call for reforms to end campaign and political corruption, but the media that made the Moreland Commission scandal an issue has since retired the issue, proving once again that, like with former Speaker Quinn, it is up to citizens journalists and activists to keep pressing for an end to corruption. Many bloggers are writing about the Moreland Commission (like the Perdido Street School blog and the Atlantic Yards Report blog), and it is up to voters to stay the course on an issue like this, especially when the media gets distracted or is subverted. Indeed, the bombshell report published by The New York Times about the Cuomo administration's reported obstruction of the Moreland Commission failed to mention the corrupt role of the Partnership for New York City in Albany politics. Likewise, The New York Times never reported Brad Hoylman's employment at the Partnership for New York City when he was overseeing Rudin's luxury condo conversion application at the same time when Bill Rudin was a director at the Partnership for New York City. When the media won't tell the whole story, it is up to us to keep each other informed. Keep seeking out new bloggers and alternative news Web sites. Take an average of multiple sources of information as a way to read between the lines. The Cuomo campaign is under so much stress from angry voters that Gov. Cuomo is reportedly considering dumping his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, in favor of embracing the reform candidate, Tim Wu. This is kind of what is looks like when the system turns on itself under the scaled-up participation of reform-minded voters. Whatever you do, I hope that on Tuesday, Sept. 9, you will please call your friends and families and make sure that everybody goes to the polls and votes Gov. Cuomo out of office.
  • Christine Quinn. After almost 85% of Democratic Party primary voters voted former Speaker Quinn out of office last September, Ms. Quinn has been desperate to worm her way back into the business of politics. Baring an indictment by federal prosecutors or a negotiated plea deal calling for Gov. Cuomo to resign, Ms. Quinn's latest scheme is to shill for Gov. Cuomo in apparent exchange for a commissionership appointment in his next administration. As you may recall, last year Ms. Quinn exploited identity politics as an election year gimmick. Now, Ms. Quinn is using women's issues against another female candidate, Zephyr Teachout, to benefit a man, Gov. Cuomo, who sided with Republicans to jam the state legislature, one consequence of which was the stalled Women's Equality Act. This is a classic example of Ms. Quinn's corrupt approach to government : putting the most politically-expedient, self-serving politics ahead of long-over due reforms. It's no wonder that Ms. Teachout called out Ms. Quinn. "Christine Quinn is the one who stood in the way of paid sick days for New York City women," Ms. Teachout said, adding, "There are several ways Christine Quinn has stood in the way of core Democratic values. She was Mayor Bloomberg’s staunchest ally. She represents the corporate wing of the Democratic Party." Some political bloggers are privately worried that if the electorate is not careful, Ms. Quinn will attempt a political comeback similar to that of Richard Nixon after he lost the presidency in 1960 and the California governorship in 1962.
  • GMHC. Many LGBTQ and AIDS activists have scored a major victory by pressuring Gay Men's Health Crisis to get rid of an entire slate of bad management. After an activist-driven campaign to force GMHC to reform itself, CEO Marjorie Hill, Chairman of the Board Mickey Rolfe, Director Manny Rivera, and former communications director Dirk McCall have separated from GMHC. Some activists have reservations about a new director, Roberta Kaplan, and the agency's new CEO, Kelsey Louie. However, if GMHC is to ever renew itself, then it certainly has a better chance now, under new leadership, than before. Time, and your continued oversight, will tell.
  • LGBT Sell-Outs. Keep checking the LGBT Sell-Outs blog, as an updated poster will be revealed soon.

RELATED


Married to a sleazy political consultant, Errol Louis uses NY1 to protect all political consultants (NYC : News & Analysis)

Pledge 2 Protect latest advocacy organization to hire The Advance Group, masking donors behind a law firm (NYC : News & Analysis)

Tone deaf to calls for NYPD reform, de Blasio stands by Bratton and Broken Windows policing (NYC : News & Analysis)

USAO mum on new revelation about Cuomo's e-mail deleting policy (NYC : News & Analysis)

  • NYPD. Following the homicide of Eric Garner in Staten Island from an illegal choke hold by police, activists organised a rally outside City Hall calling for Commissioner Bratton's resignation, an end to the discriminatory Broken Windows approach to policing, and for a federal investigation into corruption at NYPD. Partly as a result of political cover provided by "veal pen" groups like VOCAL-New York and the Communities United for Police Reform umbrella group, the mayor has turned a deaf ear to grassroots activists calling for a complete overhaul of the NYPD. As with many political, social, and legal issues facing society, all one has to do is follow the money to identify what is blocking reforms. When one pulls back the curtain on the flow of money to some of the "veal pen" groups, one will see how in this year's city budget, over $7 million was allocated to some police reform groups, money which the de Blasio administration essentially used to strong-arm community groups to down-play police reform. This, and George Soros' financial connections to each of Communities United for Police Reform and to Mayor de Blasio, help to explain why a 1% policing policy, like Broken Windows, could be so vehemently defended by Mayor de Blasio, a blatant contradiction to the lip service he likes to give to his self-anointed progressive sensibilities. Again, reforms will only come about when the citizenry stays engaged, regardless of the empty rhetoric from politicians. Talk is not reform ; rather, reform can only take the shape of tangible changes that put an end to the status quo, in this case, of relentless incidence of police killings, police brutality, police discrimination against citizens -- all with no police accountability.
  • Follow the money. The corrupt roles of big money donations and lobbyists continue to undermine elections in New York. In the 2009 municipal election cycle, the Working Families Party used an affiliate, Data and Field Services, Inc., to allegedly game the city's campaign finance laws. Those activities are now the subject of an investigation by an independent prosecutor. In the 2013 municipal election cycle, we saw how Working Families supporter The Advance Group and possibly other lobbyists coordinated their management of official campaigns with the activities of Super PAC's, a violation of the city's campaign finance regulations. And in this year's state election cycle, the Working Families Party is at it again : political operatives with connections to the Working Families Party were behind the use of Mayor de Blasio's 501(c)(4) nonprofit political arm, the Campaign for One New York, to send campaign-like literature spinning positives about the closure of Long Island College Hospital in the 52nd Assembly District in Brooklyn. That dark-money LICH mailer has propped up WFP-endorsed candidate Peter Sikora, because it takes some of the heat off the hospital closing. The value of that mailer, if indeed partly coordinated to benefit Mr. Sikora, may violate campaign finance regulations if not properly declared. Given the subversive activities of the Working Families Party during each of these election cycles, it is clear that their intention is to win political elections, not to save hospitals from closing. As if we all need to remember, 13 full-service New York City hospitals have closed or downsized since 2006. The true test of reform would have been the saving of LICH under Mayor de Blasio's watch. He failed ; LICH is closed. Now, voters in Brooklyn must decide for whom to vote in the Sept. 9 Democratic Primary in the 52nd Assembly District : Jo Anne Simon, who endorsed the disgraced Charles Hynes for Brooklyn District Attorney in last year's election, or Doug Biviano, who is the anti-lobbyist candidate calling for reforms to government. Whilst the de Blasio administration relies more and more on the same lobbyists behind the dark-money LICH mailer, such as BerlinRosen, government reform activists wonder if the media's initial reporting about the mayor's nonprofit political arm will go the same way of reporting about the Moreland Commission : by becoming history. Under conditions where those in elected office lack media scrutiny, it becomes essential that voters turn to bloggers and alternative news Web sites for information in order to cast informed ballots.
  • Department of Justice. Besides voting, how else can average citizens participate in efforts to bring about unfinished reforms ? The first step is to test the system to determine how broken it is. This is what I have done with the U.S. Department of Justice. Under President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, the Department of Justice has been politicised to enable and extend the Bush era's use of warrentless wiretapping, to crackdown on whistleblowers and activists, and to harass enterprising reporters in an effort to abridge freedoms of speech and of the press. Against this backdrop, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain records from the Department of Justice pertaining to the government's vindictive prosecution of Lt. Daniel Choi, who led the heroic effort to end the military's discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The Department of Justice has promised to answer an appeal of its initial constructive denial of the FOIA request. The second step to reform is to see what happens when the system realises that it being tested. Juxtaposed with how the DOJ answers the FOIA request, I await how the U.S. Attorney's Office will act upon an updated statement I filed to support the complaint against the corrupt lobbying firm, The Advance Group. Either the DOJ makes good on each of the FOIA request and on investigating how politicians and lobbyists have made swiss cheese of campaign finance laws, the DOJ makes good on one but not on the other, or the DOJ makes good on neither. Either way, we will soon find out how much integrity the DOJ has when it comes to upholding the government's own principles of justice. Also outstanding are the U.S. Attorney's Office's own investigation into the unfinished work and the possible obstruction of the now-defunct Moreland Commission. Political bloggers speculate whether federal prosecutor Preet Bharara will hand down indictments in his Moreland investigation before this year's general election. On a larger scale, some activists believe that Attorney General Holder is expected to step down from his post. We will find out shortly in what shape he leaves the DOJ.
  • NYC IBS Support. A new support and advocacy group for people living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome is forming in New York City. The group is searching for a doctor to be a medical information sponsor for the group. If you are a gastroenterologist and are interested in being the group's information sponsor, or if you live with IBS and would like to join, please send an e-mail to : newyorkcityibs (at) gmail (dot) com.