Sunday, August 31, 2014

Teachout calls for investigation into LICH sale

‘‘Classic corruption’’

Statewide “whistleblower tour” brings Teachout to Long Island College Hospital

“The closing of LICH and the process through which the sale happened -- a sale where a health facility becomes a real estate development – is classic corruption,” said New York gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout.

Joining Ms. Teachout at the demonstration outside LICH was Doug Biviano, candidate for the Democratic Party primary in the 52nd State Assembly District race.

Mr. Biviano told The Brooklyn Daily Eagle that he looked forward to Ms. Teachout drawing attention to the “special interest relationships, the power grabs behind all this,” referring to the closure and the sale of LICH to a luxury housing developer. Mr. Biviano added that there was reason to worry about the close relationships between the “political machine,” Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Working Families Party, Brooklyn Democratic County boss Frank Seddio and his law partner and SUNY attorney Frank Carone, according to The Brooklyn Daily Eagle's report.


In Brooklyn, Teachout calls for investigation into LICH sale (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Joan Rivers - The Roast Of Joan Rivers UNCENSORED [HQ]

In tribute to Joan Rivers, here is a look-back at Ms. Rivers' trademark wit, humour, and potty mouth at : Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers (2009).

Joan Rivers Returns to The Tonight Show

Jimmy Fallon interviewed Joan Rivers on The Tonight Show.

Ms. Rivers' daughter Melissa is asking everybody to pray for her mother's recovery. But don't cry that Ms. Rivers is in intensive care ; rather, take a moment to smile that she shared her humour with us.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Is Comptroller Stringer stirring gay-baiting fears in the rush to roll-out prekinder expansion in New York City ?

Is Comptroller Scott Stringer trying to sabotage Mayor Bill de Blasio's prekinder expansion by fear mongering that children will be unsafe at the hands of "child pornographers" ?

As much as this blog has been critical of Mayor Bill de Blasio for having betrayed every constituency group that elected him, one can't help but be exasperated at the apparent homophobic fear-mongering by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer in his scheme to derail Mayor de Blasio's ambitious expansion of prekinder throughout New York City. Even as the de Blasio administration hastily tries to accommodate a record influx of prekinder students, there's no reason for Comptroller Stringer to stoop so low as to stir up fears of "bad actors" and "child pornographers," who have probably already been screened out by existing facilities that the mayor is reaching out to, to house the prekinder classrooms.

"We have to make sure the classrooms are safe. We have to make sure that there's integrity to this," Comptroller Stringer said, adding, "We have to make sure that the safety violations, the insurance information, and bad actors are all resolved before this gets ready," before he concluding by saying, "That's my job."

Comptroller Stringer is whipping up concerns in the media that background checks of teachers have not yet been conducted before school starts. Why is he stoking unfounded fears about bad teachers ?

Comptroller Stringer told WCBS 2 New York that his office wants to review all of the contracts that the de Blasio administration has signed with hosts of the city's prekinder classroom programs, describing the contracts as, "This is paperwork that identifies a child pornographer. This is paperwork that looks at open violations. This is paperwork that matters for parents with children."

"Because of inadequate public school capacity, the de Blasio administration has been urging religious schools and community organizations to consider hosting the added programs," an early August report in The New York Times indicated, raising the possibility that Comptroller Stringer is stirring hateful gay-baiting concerns over religious groups hosting prekinder classroom programs as a result of a lack of secular public school classroom space. Before he was elected to the Comptroller's position in New York City government, Mr. Stringer served as Manhattan Borough President, where he had close ties to the ultra-liberal West Side establishment of Manhattan, where residents are highly reactionary of any effort to blur the church-state divide.

Given the Catholic Church's child abuse history, could Comptroller Stringer be referring to religious teachers as "bad actors" and "child pornographers" as a way to protest the use of faith-based institutions as hosts of prekinder classroom programs ? If so, then Comptroller Stringer is trying to taint the mayor's use of religious schools as festering with child abusing teachers. However, nobody is exactly certain of Comptroller Stringer's mixed-motivations. As Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña seek to calm parents' nerves as the city rolls out its expanded prekinder program, they appear afraid to call out Comptroller Stringer's fear-mongering homophobia. Given their own history of sticking their heads in the sand, Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña are trying to minimize Comptroller Stringer's crazy talk by focusing on preparations for the first day of school, set for Sept. 4. However, civic leaders need to come forward and challenge Comptroller Stringer to account for his fear-mongering crusade.


Mayor Bill de Blasio Downplays Comptroller’s Prekindergarten Concerns, Says Sites Being Vetted (WCBS 2 New York)

de Blasio’s Prekindergarten Expansion Collides With Church-State Divide (The New York Times)

Activists fear Teachout will back Cuomo in General if she loses in Primary

PUBLISHED : FRI, 29 AUG 2014, 07:42 PM
UPDATED : SAT, 30 AUG 2014, 05:53 PM

Given Teachout's Soros-connection, if you are voting in the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary, then please consider voting for Randy Credico.

Randy Credico

While many in the mainstream media take up the cause of protest candidate Zephyr Teachout to oust the corrupt incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in this year's New York gubernatorial race, many overlook Ms. Teachout's connection to the scandal-plagued financier George Soros.

According to the Open Society Foundations Web site, "Zephyr Teachout is a member of the Information Program Advisory Board and a member of the Fellowship Selection Committee." Mr. Soros uses his Open Society Foundations to control the liberal agenda to suit his political needs.

"... control over the social sciences by monied interests has depoliticized this field and reinforced a capitalist view of modernization."

There is a hypocrisy in the political left that the extremist, right-wing billionaires from the Republican Party are destroying democracy in America ; meanwhile, there are billionaires doing the same thing amongst the political left. The role of big money in elections destroys any voice of the people marginalized in the money-driven society that billionaires seeks to maintain. For Ms. Teachout's participation in Mr. Soros' billionaire politics, Democratic voters going to polls in the gubernatorial primary on Sept. 9 should consider casting their anti-Cuomo votes for Randy Credico, a long-time activist. And if rejecting the role of billionaires in politics isn't enough for Democratic primary voters, then consider that many political bloggers fear that Ms. Teachout will bend to conventional Democratic Party pressure if she loses the primary, leading to her eventual endorsement of Gov. Cuomo for the general election. Visit Mr. Credico's Web site and educate yourself on your options. Voters have more choices than the false binary choice between Ms. Teachout and Gov. Cuomo in the Sept. 9 Democratic Party primary.


Comedian/activist Credico seeks Dem nod for governor (Press Connects)

Zephyr Teachout (Open Society Foundations)

Reforming the World : George Soros, Global Capitalism and the Philanthropic Management of the Social Sciences (Centre de Sociologie Européenne)

Soros charitable foundation sometimes leans right : Groups touting conservative ideals among recent beneficiaries (The Tucson Sentinel)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pledge 2 Protect latest advocacy organization to hire The Advance Group, masking donors behind a law firm

Elected officials no longer listen to voters, unless a community forms a nonprofit organization and hires corrupt lobbyists in a scheme that cloaks the identity of donors

Exploiting a loophole in campaign finance laws, the small Manhattan law firm Marquart & Small is hiding the identity of donors funding the Pledge 2 Protect advocacy group

The community advocacy group, Pledge 2 Protect, which is nobly fighting the opening of a huge marine waste transfer station in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is flouting campaign finance laws to do it, Crain's New York Business reported today.

Pledge 2 Protect is using a law firm, Marquart & Small, to hide the identity of its big money donors. In two months of this year, those monies have been used to pay a small army of lobbyists and consultants :

  • $78,000 to The Advance Group, a lobbying firm that doubles as a campaign consulting firm headed by Scott Levenson, was involved in the astroturf group, NYC Is Not For Sale ;
  • $20,000 to The Black Institute, a nonprofit organization founded by former ACORN head Bertha Lewis ; The Black Institute shares office space with The Advance Group ;
  • $20,000 to Gladstein Neandross and Associates, an environmental consulting firm based in California ; and
  • $7,000 to Rubenstein Public Relations, which is also the official rep for New York Yankees baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez.

The fact that Pledge 2 Protect is skirting campaign finance laws calls to mind the controversies engulfing another noble-purposed group, NY-CLASS. NY-CLASS is a group seeking a ban of horse-drawn carriages in New York City. Last year, NY-CLASS was the primary force behind a Super PAC named NYC Is Not For Sale ; both NY-CLASS and NYC Is Not For Sale received campaign consulting and lobbying assistance from The Advance Group. The city's campaign finance regulatory authority, the Campaign Finance Board, has ruled that a forbidden pattern of coordination took place between the Super PAC and official campaigns also managed by The Advance Group, and The Advance Group is the subject of a complaint filed with federal prosecutors on the fourth anniversary of the corrupt Supreme Court decision in Citizens United over its electioneering work. Now that Pledge 2 Protect seems to be trying to skirt disclosure laws through gimmicks and tricks, how long before regulators or prosecutors crack down on the shady structure set up to pass-through campaign donations to benefit Pledge 2 Protect ?

Upon hearing news of Pledge 2 Protect's shadowy campaign finance structure, some of New York City's political bloggers lamented that elected officials refuse to listen to grassroots community demands. The only way elected officials seem to offer their ear is when dollar bills start exchanging hands with lobbyists with insider access to City Hall. Both The Advance Group and The Black Institute are headed by individuals with close ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio. What does it mean when the only way to impact City Hall is to pay-off individuals with close ties to the mayor ? Community groups wouldn't need to hire lobbyists if the character of officials elected to public office embodied a true ethic of public service. Perhaps before hiring lobbyists and setting up structures to cloak the identity of big money donors, the many nonprofit groups in New York City should first band together to vote out of office any politician, who makes hiring lobbyists as a condition precedent before listening to community demands, followed by a strengthening of campaign finance laws to close all loopholes ?


East Side garbage foes hide behind loophole (Crain's New York Business)

Ongoing Levenson-Lewis-de Blasio political activities that may rise to be prohibited ? (YouTube)

Using political entities, operatives close to mayor exploit campaign finance regulations through ''pattern'' of activities (NYC : News & Analysis)

de Blasio continues support of Cuomo reelection, in spite of NYTimes non-endorsement

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio today reiterated his continued support for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's reelection campaign, even though the governor was denied the endorsement of the powerful Editorial Board of The New York Times in the upcoming Democratic Party gubernatorial primary.

For months, Gov. Cuomo has appeared to be a person of interest to federal prosecutors, as the U.S. Attorney's Office for New York's southern district investigate the unfinished files of the now-defunct Moreland Commission and the role of Cuomo administration officials in thwarting the panel's investigations. In July, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a warning letter to Moreland Commission members, asking that his office be kept informed if Gov. Cuomo or other administration officials try to influence the public statements by former commissioners in respect of the panel's record of performance.

In the time since Gov. Cuomo took action regarding the Moreland Commission to "shut the whole thing down," political bloggers and government reform activists have been expecting that possible federal criminal charges could be brought against senior Cuomo administration officials, if not against Gov. Cuomo himself. It remains to be known how could Mayor de Blasio continue to support Gov. Cuomo's campaign if Gov. Cuomo is potentially exposed to impending federal criminal charges, some political bloggers wonder.

Joan Rivers in critical condition after she stopped breathing during throat procedure in clinic : reports

The comedian and TV shopping channel personality Joan Rivers was reportedly rushed to Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, after she stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest during a procedure on her vocal cords at a clinic. Ms. Rivers' daughter, Melissa, is en route to New York, the gossip Web site TMZ reported.

Ms. Rivers' out-patient procedure at a clinic shows the risks involved in the anti-hospital movement by health insurance companies. The "reforms" to healthcare really amount to healthcare cuts, where money is saved by blocking patients from receiving complicated procedures in out-patient settings. Once Ms. Rivers, 81, went into cardiac arrest, she had to be rushed to a full-service hospital, where trained medical experts in complicated medical practices could attend to her emergency healthcare needs. Some healthcare activists said today that Ms. Rivers was fortunate that the out-patient clinic, where she stopped breathing, was near the many hospitals of New York's Upper East Side, where there is a concentration of full-service hospitals. If Ms. Rivers had been having her out-patient procedure in lower Manhattan, for example, then the ambulance ride to a full-service hospital would have taken longer. It remains to be seen whether the mainstream media or Hollywood gossip Web sites will take notice of the healthcare implications for other senior patients using out-patient clinics for surgeries.

Meanwhile, news watchers expect President Barack Obama to issue a statement, calling for prayers for Ms. Rivers' full recovery. Ms. Rivers' health emergency follows the tragic suicide of comedian Robin Williams, who passed away on Aug. 11. The White House issued a statement in Mr. Williams' memory on the same day as his passing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mark-Viverito convenes secret meeting to fix pick of Board of Elections chair

PUBLISHED : TUES, 26 AUG 2014, 06:57 PM
UPDATED : WED, 27 AUG 2014, 08:20 AM

The New York Daily News to City Council Speaker : Vote of No Confidence

Threatening retaliation, the City Council's Manhattan delegation, overseen by Speaker Mark-Viverito, are on quest to stop leaks to the media about shady closed-door meetings to select the city's next chair of the Board of Elections

The Editorial Board of The New York Daily News again admonished Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her lack of ethics and violations of transparency, this time over the decision by the Manhattan delegation of the City Council to meet in secret to select a new commissioner representing the Democratic Party on the city's Board of Elections.

As if that weren't enough, the Editorial Board found it appalling that City Councilmembers, who are overseen by Speaker Mark-Viverito, further decided to retaliate against a fellow member for blowing the whistle about the shady closed-door meeting. Apparently, one of the Councilmembers has been leaking information to The New York Daily News political reporters, and City Council officials have set out to identify and punish the whistleblower. In an act of retribution, the Manhattan Councilmembers circulated a memo of unspecified origin "stating that the leaker would be expelled from the delegation if identified," according to The New York Daily News editorial.

That Councilmembers are having to conduct the public's business in an environment of secrecy, political hostility, and likely retribution means that the City Council hasn't change much since it was governed by former Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who famously strong-armed the City Council to do her political bidding.

This isn't the first time when self-appointed progressive members of the City Council have tried to use secrecy to subvert the public's business of running city government. Late last year, during the race to select the next City Council speaker, members of the Council's Progressive Caucus briefly considered voting by secret ballot to select their choice for City Council speaker. The Progressive Caucus, then co-chaired by Councilmember Mark-Viverito, was trying to finagle ways to rally support for her speakership campaign without agitating big money campaign contributors, who were then coalescing around her opponent in the speakership race, Councilmember Daniel Garodnick. The brief flirtation with the idea of a secret ballot was abandoned after government reform activists pointed out the hypocrisy of self-styled progressives flagrantly violating government transparency. Councilmember Mark-Viverito eventually won the speakership race, after she reportedly violated city ethics rules and possibly campaign finance laws, triggering previous condemnations by the Editorial Board of The New York Daily News.


For Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, a Vote of No Confidence (The New York Daily News)

Manhattan Council members make Board of Elections pick in closed-door, split vote (The New York Daily News)

Manhattan Dems, City Council on Board of Elections power-struggle/collision course ? (The New York Daily News)

Married to a sleazy political consultant, Errol Louis uses NY1 to protect all political consultants

Errol Louis had a titty attack last night after Brooklyn 52nd Assembly District candidate Doug Biviano exposed BerlinRosen as corrupt

Luckily, there is no rotunda in the NY1 studio, so Errol Louis stopped short of threatening to throw Doug Biviano over the railing

NEW YORK CITY VOTERS were treated to a rare display last night on NY1's Inside City Hall.

Reminiscent of a scene from The Wizard of Oz, Brooklyn 52nd Assembly District candidate Doug Biviano pulled back the curtain on the corrupting roles of lobbyists and big money in our broken election system. The counterfeit wizard, who was pushing the buttons and flipping the switches, turned out to be none other than Inside City Hall host, Errol Louis !

First of all, Mr. Biviano had to overcome a biased objection from Mr. Louis to earn a spot on the Brooklyn 52nd Assembly District debate. Having done that, it was plainly apparent to anyone viewing last night's Inside City Hall that Mr. Louis was out to put Mr. Biviano's head on a stick. Mr. Louis opened the debate by grilling Mr. Biviano about no activity filings with the state campaign finance regulatory authority, the Board of Elections. Mr. Biviano explained that he had about $1,000 in expenses in his outsider campaign, and that he began his campaign during the petitioning process, which had to be obvious to Mr. Louis. Mr. Biviano then began to explain why it was important to him to be on Inside City Hall : to expose the corruption that is at the root cause of voters' loss of power in their own government.

At this point, Mr. Biviano appeared to be reading from prepared remarks, and Mr. Louis threw a hissy fit right out in the news studio. It was only about 90 seconds into the debate segment when Mr. Louis screeched to Mr. Biviano : "I'll turn off the mic, and I'll send you home." Mr. Louis, who reads from a teleprompter on his news program, objected to Mr. Biviano reading from prepared remarks. How ridiculous is that ?! As the host of the most-watched local politics roundtable program, Mr. Louis is supposed to be an impartial host. It is unknown why Mr. Louis was set out to intimidate Mr. Biviano. Some political bloggers speculated last night that the climate of hostility created by Mr. Louis was intended to silence Mr. Biviano's criticisms of the duplicitous role of campaign consultants, who double as lobbyists.

Mr. Louis' wife, Juanita Scarlett, is a political consultant for Park Strategies, LLC, the lobbying and consulting firm of former Republican Senator Alfonse D'Amato. Prior to that, Ms. Scarlett was a pro-gentrification hack for the Empire State Development Corporation, who pushed the community-crushing Atlantic Yards project like a drug dealer pushes crack. Shamelessly, Mr. Louis regularly books Mr. D'Amato as a political commentator in a reoccurring segment on Inside City Hall called, "The Consultants' Corner," where corrupt political consultants get to spiel talking points for their paid political clients disguised as news.

Mr. Biviano is a political outsider, running for office, some say, to expose the corrupt network of lobbyists who double as campaign consultants. This double-dipping wrecks havoc on communities, and Mr. Biviano points to what happened at Long Island College Hospital as a prime example.

LICH, as the hospital is known, was the centerpiece of a public relations stunt by one of Mr. Biviano's opponents in the primary race for the 52nd Assembly District seat, Peter Sikora. Mr. Sikora masterminded the public arrest of then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio last year in the lead up to the mayoral election. Mr. Sikora was also reportedly arrested in another demonstration to save LICH. Those publicity stunts, which Mr. Biviano claims were staged with the help of the lobbying firm BerlinRosen, were intended to fabricate an illusion that Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Sikora were fighting for the community, when, in reality, the arrests were just election-year machinations to score points with important voting blocks. Less than a year after the spate of civil disobedience arrests, all of these politicians did nothing as LICH closed under Mayor de Blasio's watch, triggering a wave of anger in Brooklyn.

On Inside City Hall last night, after Mr. Louis prevented Mr. Biviano from reading his remarks about the corrupt role of BerlinRosen to exploit LICH as vehicle to win votes from communities across New York City impacted by a wave of hospital closings, the issue could not be ignored. The other candidate in the race, Jo Anne Simon, raised the issue of undeclared expenditures by outside groups that are being made in support of Mr. Sikora's campaign. Mr. Biviano later was able to raise the issue of a controversial mailer orchestrated by each of BerlinRosen, who are doubling as Mr. Sikora's campaign consultants, and Mayor de Blasio's nonprofit astroturf political arm, the duplicitous Campaign for One New York, to soften the blow of the LICH closing. These stealth activities, plus the controversial role of the scandal-plagued Working Families Party, are deceiving voters into wrongly supporting Mr. Sikora.

Near the end of the debate on Inside City Hall, Mr. Biviano again raised the issue of the corrupt role of BerlinRosen in the campaign and in Brooklyn politics, but by that time, Mr. Louis had had enough, and he began speaking over Mr. Biviano. Mr. Louis then cued a commercial break, announcing the end of the debate. Ironically, the debate was followed by Mr. Louis' usual gathering of corrupt political lobbyists in the segment known as, "The Consultants' Corner."

Advocates for government reform commented on Twitter last night that unless voters see the true double-dealing connection between each of unethical lobbyists and exploitable campaign finance loopholes as the root cause of government dysfunction, elected officials and their political operatives, Mr. Louis and his wife included, will always keep defending the corrupt status quo.

A partisan, pro-Simon post on last night's debate was published on the McBrooklyn blog. With the Democratic primary election set to take place on Tuesday, September 9, the next debate in the Brooklyn 52nd Assembly District race will take place Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Duryea Presbyterian Church.


NY1 Online : Democratic Candidates in Brooklyn Assembly District Debate on NY1 (Inside City Hall)

Working Families Party has yet to disclose spending on campaign for Brooklyn state Assembly seat (The New York Daily News)

Peter Sikora credited with coming up with election year stunt to get arrested to save LICH (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Alarm raised about ‘dark money’ in de Blasio’s LICH - Fortis letter (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Bill de Blasio Used LICH as a Political Prop, Angry Ex-Supporters Say (DNAinfo)

de Blasio-allied group defends LICH luxury condo conversion deal to brownstone Brooklyn (Capital New York)

Using political entities, operatives close to mayor exploit campaign finance regulations through ''pattern'' of activities (NYC : News & Analysis)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Brattons continue to make controversial, out-of-town trips

PUBLISHED : SUN, 24 AUG 2014, 02:10 PM
UPDATED : SUN, 24 AUG 2014, 08:04 PM

The first time Commissioner Bratton resigned from NYPD, it was to stem an investigation into over 20 out-of-town trips during his first tenure

Bill Bratton - Week-end Out-Of-Town Trips - Party Animal photo Bill-Bratton-with-Martini-Glass-Drink_zpsd295c399.jpg

The Brattons were recently at the swanky Willowbend Country Club on the Cape. Who's paying this time ?

In a gossip item published on The Boston Herald's Web site, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton was placed in the posh setting of the Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee, in Massachusetts' Cape Cod. Commissioner Bratton was said to have gathered with other law enforcement officials, including a local Cape district attorney, Michael O’Keefe.

It's unknown if this was the same event that The New York Post reported that Commissioner Bratton reportedly skipped or if this was a separate event from that one.

Either way, Commissioner Bratton's wife, Rikki Klieman, attended a function at the swanky country club for a July 18 cocktail party held in honor of the married couple. It's unknown how Mr. Bratton and Ms. Kleiman's arrangements were paid for that week-end jaunt.

The Brattons are known for being intensely social. During his first term heading NYPD, Commissioner Bratton was often seen ending many late nights at Elaine's, the famous restaurant and bar in the Upper East Side, where Commissioner Bratton could rub elbows with the likes of Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, and other bold face names.

In 1996, Bratton chose to resign the NYPD's commissionership to forego a formal investigation for having accepted multiple unauthorized trips paid for by corporations and individuals. While there were no allegations that Commissioner Bratton broke the law for having taken those trips during his first tenure, his resignation was the only way to do damage control by preventing the negative impression of accepting paid trips from getting worse.

If Commissioner Bratton made a trip to the Willowbend Country Club subsequent to the July 18 honorary cocktail party, that would make at least two trips that the Brattons had arranged to make to the Cape.

Last May, Commissioner Bratton made a trip to Israel, which he was careful to point out was "largely not personal." Before he was reappointed as NYPD commissioner by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Bratton served as a policing and security consultant.

In 2008, The Los Angeles Daily News published a report that as of November of that year, Commissioner Bratton had travelled for 71 days for that year during his term of his commissionership of the LAPD. According to the report, it was rumoured that Commissioner Bratton was networking amongst policing and security insiders in a lobbying campaign to head Scotland Yard in the U.K. or Homeland Security in America. Critics complained that Commissioner Bratton's travels made him absent during major crises in Los Angeles, and that he was more focused on politicking for his next gig.

Building up new contacts with government officials in the security industry will prove valuable to Commissioner Bratton once he resigns from the NYPD and returns to consulting, as some New York police reform advocates now predict. How are the Brattons financing all of their trips during Commissioner Bratton's second term ? Have the Brattons returned to their habit of accepting trips paid for by corporations and wealthy individuals ?

Conflict of interest rules prevent public servants from receiving valuable gifts when public servants are basically exploiting their office for private gain.


Commissioner Bratton parties at swanky Willowbend Country Club on the Cape (The Boston Herald)

Bratton skips party to deal with chokehold death tragedy (The New York Post)

L.A. Police Chief William Bratton's travels irk home crowd (The Los Angeles Daily News)

Commissioner Bratton is out amid probe ; feared inquiry would taint him (The New York Daily News)

NYPD Commissioner Bratton is bitten by travel bug (The New York Daily News)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tone deaf to calls for NYPD reform, de Blasio stands by Bratton and Broken Windows policing

PUBLISHED : SAT, 23 AUG 2014, 04:53 PM
UPDATED : SAT, 23 AUG 2014, 08:35 PM

Politicians down-play calls for NYPD reform

NYPD Commish Bratton is responsible for the heavy-handed Broken Windows policing that harasses low-income and minority communities, claiming the life of Eric Garner

As thousands of New Yorkers were collecting in Staten Island for a massive civil rights march seeking justice for Eric Garner, the Staten Island man choked to death by NYPD, Mayor Bill de Blasio was in a Brooklyn church, desperately spinning support for his controversial NYPD Commissioner William Bratton and the police department's Broken Windows approach to policing.

"We have to make a lasting bond between our communities and our police," Mayor de Blasio said at the Kingsboro Temple of Seventh-day Adventist in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

As the city and the nation reflect on police brutality, Mayor de Blasio reaffirmed his support for NYPD Commissioner William Bratton and the administration's contentious Broken Windows approach to policing, which many police reform advocates blame as the cause of Mr. Garner's murder while in police custody. Mayor de Blasio and other elected officials are deliberately down-playing the harsh police tactics that target people of color and low income communities. In New York, this state-sponsored race- and class-based approach to policing is known as Broken Windows.

At the Eric Garner march in Staten Island, two elected officials, who some said attended in Mayor de Blasio's stead, former Gov. David Paterson and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, both lowered the benchmarks for justice to the same political operative talking point : a successful prosecution of officers responsible for Mr. Garner's murder. To his credit, Rep. Jeffries did mention the role of Broken Windows policing, but there was no political pressure overtly exerted on Mayor de Blasio to end the policing approach, nor was there a call for the mayor to fire Commissioner Bratton in favor of a culturally competent replacement.


Protesters call for Bratton’s resignation in wake of Eric Garner death (PIX 11)

Thousands turn out for Eric Garner march against the NYPD (The New York Post)

The Neoconservative Roots of the Broken Windows Theory (The Gotham Gazette)

The mayor asks the city to place faith in due process, but the NYPD has routinely violated due process, and prosecutors do their own part to keep watering down due process

Mayor de Blasio did his own part to downsize community expectations, telling congregants at the Brooklyn Adventist church, "We all believe in due process, fairness, a full investigation, a full legal process. We believe everyone should be treated equally in that process."

Mr. Garner was choked to death by police on July 17. Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan has promised to schedule a grand jury to investigate possible charges against NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who had placed Mr. Garner in an illegal chokehold that killed Mr. Garner. However, the date of the grand jury's empaneling has yet to be announced.

Mr. Garner's death has escalated public scrutiny on race- and class-based police brutality after Michael Brown was shot to death by Ferguson P.D. officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. In contrast to the prosecutorial investigation of Mr. Garner's death, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch initiated on August 29 a grand jury investigation of Mr. Brown death, but that was due to immense public pressure and a violent police crackdown on civil unrest following Mr. Brown's murder.

In both cases, civil rights activists have criticised the role of local prosecutors to investigate brutality and murder by police officers. Police departments are notoriously politicised by mayors, and local prosecutors are publicly-elected officials, meaning that local prosecutors are encumbered by political consultants and local lobbyist insiders, who are often shared by other local officials, especially mayors, other prosecutors, and even some locally-elected judges. What is more, local prosecutors' rates of conviction depend on nonaggression relationships with police officers in order to successfully prosecute cases at trial. If local prosecutors go up against police departments, that conflict may potentially upset local prosecutors' other criminal cases. Consequently, critics of the local prosecutors have, in turn, requested that federal prosecutors lead the charge to investigate the murders of Mr. Garner and Mr. Brown. The political conflicts facing local prosecutors are known to federal prosecutors, who are regularly forced to intervene in controversial prosecution cases when cases consist of violations that involve significant political or government individuals, which pose problems for the local prosecutor, as high-profile prosecutions of police officers can be deemed.

Under "Broken Windows" policing, plainclothes police officers are ordered to treat very low-level crimes as major concerns.

Since policing tactics have focused on minor infractions and low-level crimes, like selling loose, untaxed cigarettes for 50 cents, like has been charged that Mr. Garner engaged in on the day he was murdered, and for walking on the street, as was the reason Mr. Brown was stopped by police on the day he was murdered, the judicial system has become over-run by complex cases that may have escalated from what are generally regarded as underlying nuisance charges. Public defenders, local prosecutors, and the court system rush through these cases, giving people of color and low-income defendants short shrift in the justice system, resulting in an inherent state-sponsored structure that criminalizes people based on race and income. It is this broken system in which Mayor de Blasio wants the community to place their faith.

de Blasio gives lip service to NYPD's role of 'protect and respect,' but the mayor keeps expressing support for his culturally incompetent police commissioner and race- and class-based policing

Critics of Mayor de Blasio have been asking for the resignation of NYPD Commissioner Bratton, an end to the Broken Windows approach to policing, and for a federal investigation into corruption at the NYPD and its Internal Affairs Bureau. However, the mayor and his teams of political operatives have thus far succeeded in limiting the community's conversation of Mr. Garner's murder in terms of improving police-community relations, a tactic that eventually failed former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani after Abner Louima was brutalized by police officers in a bathroom at a Brooklyn police station. Advocates for campaign finance reform believe that Mayor de Blasio is continuing the Giuliani-Bloomberg crackdown on the poor and people of color as political payback to real estate developers, which are amongst the mayor's biggest campaign contributors and which desire the mass displacement caused by Broken Windows to support further, uncontrolled upward spiraling of real estate prices. Indeed, during the mayor's successful campaign, he very publicly aligned himself with corrupt real estate lobbyists. One real estate lobbyist, James Capalino, served as an organizer last year for a problematic $1 million fundraiser at the Waldorf-Astoria for Mayor de Blasio's campaign committee. Once elected, Mayor de Blasio has established a close working relationship with William Rudin, the corrupt boss of Rudin Management Company, the developer of the $1 billion luxury condo conversion of St. Vincent's Hospital. More and more, the minority community and activists are coming to terms with how Mayor de Blasio exploited race implications of policing controversies just to get elected, leading one political blogger, Suzannah B. Troy, to predict that Mayor de Blasio may only be a one-term mayor. Adding to the urgency for NYPD reform is the work of the activist group, New Yorkers Against Bratton and other activists, who will not give up until there is an overhaul of the NYPD and many of the root and systemic causes of discrimination and brutality are fully addressed.

As a result of delays and other problems with the broken judicial system, police become jaded and corrupt after serving in the force for a year or two, some political bloggers assert. Pressures to achieve justice outside of the dysfunctional court system and political manipulation of crime statistics converge to act to influence police officers to self-appoint themselves as judge and executioner each time police confront citizens, some critics of police claim. The militarization of police departments adds to the perverse concentration of resources to make arrests of minor infractions and very low-level crimes, but these resources do nothing to improve the socio-economic conditions of the communities being targeted for these "broken windows" crimes. As all of this injustice plays out for minority and low-income communities, large-scale political and corporate corruption go unprosecuted, and federal agencies, such as the National Security Agency and the Department of Justice, continue to erode civil liberties and other Constitutional protections, further reaffirming the impression that each of the justice system is stacked against both people of color and the poor and due process no longer means anything. The politicisation of the Department of Justice by President Barack Obama further erodes some activists' faith in federal prosecutors' ability to investigate police departments that have been weaponized by the Department of Defense and the N.S.A.

Against these stark realities, the only failed solution Mayor de Blasio is offering is to cosmetically improve "police-community relations."


Mayor Bill de Blasio visits Brooklyn church during Garner march (Capital New York)

Fatal Confrontation Heightens Tensions in Staten Island Police Precinct (The New York Times)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cuomo "Too Damn High" to debate other 2014 gubernatorial candidates

Unsure about how democracy works, Cuomo says that he will let "campaigns" decide if there will be debates

Besieged by a federal investigation into the Cuomo administration's obstruction of the Moreland Commission, Gov. Cuomo is trying to avoid debate scrutiny of his ethical and legal lapses

With less than three weeks to go before the Democratic Party's primary election to decide the gubernatorial candidate for the November general election, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is refusing to commit to a debate with his Democratic Party challengers. Moreover, he has refused to commit to any debates with the Republican Party and Green Party candidates, as well.

Earlier today, Gov. Cuomo was pressed to agree to a debate with his political rivals, but he refused, saying, "I’d leave that to the campaigns to work out, whatever they decide," suggesting that he doesn't believe that debates are an important platform to educate voters about candidates and their policy platforms.

For weeks, Gov. Cuomo has been avoiding calls by his opponents, the Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout, activist Randy Credico, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino for debates.

In 2010, when Mr. Cuomo was running for the governorship, he participated in a debate with his Republican opponent Carl Paladino and with the major third-party candidates, including Mr. Hawkins and the "Rent is Too Damn High" party candidate, Jimmy McMillan, amongst others. This year, however, it remains unknown why Gov. Cuomo is so afraid of debating the other candidates, except that Gov. Cuomo is presently under federal investigation for possibly obstructing the administration of the corruption-fighting Moreland Commission.


Gov. Cuomo won't commit to debating Zephyr Teachout, saying it's up to the campaigns (The New York Daily News)

Hawkins to Astorino : How about our debate ? (The Times Union)

Cuomo won't say if he'll participate in debates (LoHud)

Peter Sikora running away from failed LICH promises, de Blasio exploitation cover-up

Peter Sikora, Bill de Blasio, and lobbying firm BerlinRosen each using LICH for political expediency

BerlinRosen is the corrupt lobbying firm working behind the scenes for each of Sikora, de Blasio, and the Campaign for One New York astroturf group

Candidate Peter Sikora, who is running for the New York State Assembly seat of retiring Assemblywoman Joan Millman, is hiding from voters angry over the controversial closure of Long Island College Hospital -- contrary to a lot of lip service by politicians, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mr. Sikora himself.

One of Mr. Sikora's opponents in the Democratic Party's primary for the Assembly seat, Doug Biviano, posted a press release on his campaign Web site, drawing attention to the candidates "not holding debates." Mr. Biviano charges that Mr. Sikora's campaign consultants, BerlinRosen, have been acting behind-the-scenes to do damage control for Mayor de Blasio and Mr. Sikora over the luxury condo conversion plan for LICH. The firm BerlinRosen works as Mayor de Blasio's media spokesmen, and BerlinRosen also manages the mayor's nonprofit political arm, the Campaign for One New York, which mailed a deceptive flyer meant to invoke the stature of the Carroll Garden Association with misleading information, trying to sell Brooklyn residents on the benefits of the luxury condo conversion of LICH.

"Those institutions who claim to serve and protect our community are allowing the lobbyist and consultant spin doctors working on my opponents' campaigns to keep the community uninformed enough to believe the lies in their special interests funded campaign flyers. Shame on them," Mr. Biviano said in the press release.

Earlier this year, Councilman Stephen Levin credited Mr. Sikora with coming up with the publicity stunt to get arrested in front of cameras to try to keep LICH open.

“At the time, the candidate who was third in the polls, candidate Bill de Blasio, said, ‘That’s a really good idea,’ ” Councilmember Stephen Levin told The Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Contrary to the lip service by Mayor de Blasio and Mr. Sikora, LICH closed without either Mayor de Blasio or Mr. Sikora being held publicly accountable for having exploited LICH for their own selfish interests. As the date of the Democratic Party primary nears, the voters in the state's 52nd Assembly District, which includes some of the Brooklyn neighborhoods formerly served by LICH, will have to confront the harsh truth : why is Mr. Sikora running away from campaign debates with his opponents ? What is it about each of Mr. Sikora's record on LICH and the controversial role of BerlinRosen that he is trying to hide ?


Peter Sikora credited with coming up with election year stunt to get arrested to save LICH (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Alarm raised about ‘dark money’ in de Blasio’s LICH - Fortis letter (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

de Blasio-allied group defends LICH luxury condo conversion deal to brownstone Brooklyn (Capital New York)

Using political entities, operatives close to mayor exploit campaign finance regulations through ''pattern'' of activities (NYC : News & Analysis)

Activist Daniel McGowan suing prison system for having been jailed for blogging

Daniel McGowan was jailed for having published a blog post in April 2013

Daniel-McGowan-by-Brandon-Jourdan photo Daniel-McGowan-by-Brandon-Jourdan_zpsa9db28ed.jpg

"Daniel McGowan may have been the first person thrown in solitary confinement for writing a HuffPost blog. Now he'll be the first person to sue the Bureau of Prisons over it." (The Huffington Post)

The government retaliated against McGowan "because he continued writing about politics and environmental activism after he was imprisoned."

After an environmental activist, Daniel McGowan, served a term in prison for charges related to a radical environmental protests that resulted in arson, he was released to a Brooklyn halfway house last year. While at the halfway house, Mr. McGowan published a post about his time in federal prison. That blog post triggered a retaliatory response from the prison system, which transferred Mr. McGowan from his halfway house to the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center.

The revocation of Mr. McGowan's freedom while he was living in the halfway house is the basis of a lawsuit filed yesterday in Brooklyn federal court.


Environmental Activist Daniel McGowan, Jailed for Blogging, Is Suing the Bureau of Prisons (The Village Voice)

Photos : Several Arrested During March Against Police Brutality (The Village Voice)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Activists calling for complete overhaul of NYPD face dreadful reality : Is de Blasio blocking reforms ?

PUBLISHED : SUN, 17 AUG 2014, 04:30 PM
UPDATED : MON, 18 AUG 2014, 11:57 AM

In an Orwellian twist of tongue, de Blasio said last week that New York City has a long history of "peaceful protests."

Although Mayor de Blasio has promised to confront the NYPD's illegal use of chokeholds, he's remained quiet about his OEM head, the former NYPD Chief Joseph Esposito, who has been documented to have used chockeholds against Occupy activists

In 2012, former New York Police Department Chief of Department Joseph Esposito placed a petite blonde Occupy activist in an illegal chokehold. Chief Esposito approached the young lady from behind, squeezing the backside of her body up against his front side. Despite this obviously illegal use of brute force against an otherwise innocent citizen activist, Chief Esposito was appointed to be the head of the Office of Emergency Management by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Not even the political, social, and legal fallout from the NYPD's use of a chokehold, which caused the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner, has caused the mayor to comment on Chief Esposito's violent use of chokeholds.

Furthermore, when the mayor said last week that, "For decades and decades we have had the tradition in this city of respecting and properly managing peaceful protests, and the right of people to express themselves," he was blatantly lying, because the NYPD have a notorious history of engaging in violent attacks against peaceful protesters. Has the mayor aged so much in office that his brain has deteriorated to the point that he cannot recall how NYPD responded to each of the 1988 Tompkins Square Park riot, the 1998 Matthew Shepard memorial march down Fifth Avenue, the 2002 World Economic Forum protests at the Waldorf-Astoria, the 2003 antiwar protests against the invasion of Iraq, the 2004 Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden, and the recent Occupy Wall Street movement ?


Former NYPD Chief of Department Joseph Esposito locks Occupy activist in chokehold (The New York Daily News)

Why Broken Windows Policing Is So Broken (Gawker)

NYPD Chief Anthony Bologna - OWS Chokehold photo anthony-bologna-nypd-chokehold_zps71d3d05e.jpg

Not only did NYPD Deputy Inspector Bologna lock a young Occupy activist into an illegal chokehold, but he also pepper sprayed a group of innocent young ladies, who were participating at an Occupy demonstration, as well.

Is this what Mayor de Blasio meant when he said that the NYPD has a history of "properly managing peaceful protests" ?

After Dep. Insp. Anthony Bologna was publicly excoriated for having pepper sprayed the young ladies on video, the corrupt Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, decided not to prosecute Dep. Insp. Bologna. What kind of miscarriage of justice does this foreshadow for other New Yorkers, who have been assaulted and battered at the hands of officers, who have used brute force against civilians in police custody ?


OWS Pepper-Spray Cop Anthony Bologna Will Not Be Prosecuted (DNAinfo)

NYPD Eric Garner Chokehold photo eric-garner-chokehold-ground_zps8a6b99e0.jpg

Mayor de Blasio defends his administration's approach to policing, even as its discriminatory impact on minority communities is being blamed for police harassment that led to Eric Garner's death.

In a report report last week, The New York Daily News reported the NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and the mayor's "approach to policing have been under scrutiny since the death of Staten Island man Eric Garner."

The de Blasio's approach to fighting crime, known as the Broken Windows theory of policing, targets very minor infractions and low-level crimes on the premise that more severe crimes can be prevented if people get locked up early. This approach has resulted in the "mass criminalization of the poor," wrote Alex Vitale in The Gotham Gazette, noting that, "Hundreds of thousands of mostly young black and Latino men are put into the criminal justice system for mouthing off in class, taking up two seats on the subway, and possessing marijuana."

In communities of color and in low-income sections of the city, residents have come to view the de Blasio administration's treatment of minorities in a discriminatory manner, a violation of the mayor's central campaign promise to end police discrimination and police brutality.


Mayor de Blasio: 'Idiotic' and 'ludicrous' to think I'd dump Bill Bratton (The New York Daily News)

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio walks thin blue line in Eric Garner's chokehold aftermath (The Christian Science Monitor)

The Neoconservative Roots of the Broken Windows Theory (The Gotham Gazette)

NYPD Rosan Miller Chokehold photo rosan-miller-in-chokehold-pregnant-woman_zps153f8e29.png

Even a woman, in her seventh month of pregnancy, has been placed in an illegal chokehold by NYPD. And the mayor still does nothing about the illegal and brute use of force by police.

NYPD officers are apparently free to assault and batter innocent New Yorkers while they are being placed in police custody.

Last month, Rosan Miller, 27, drew the brutal ire of police for grilling food on a sidewalk. The de Blasio administration's Broken Windows approach to policing is out of control if Ms. Miller can be arrested for preparing her meal outdoors during the summer.

What made Ms. Miller's arrest all the more shocking was that she was in the late term of pregnancy. In spite of being seven months pregnant, that didn't stop police from placing her in an illegal chokehold, a move that could have denied the precious flow of oxygen not only to Ms. Miller, but to her unborn fetus.


Pregnant woman apparently put in chokehold by NYPD cop during dispute over illegal grilling (The New York Daily News)

How Dare Mayor de Blasio Tell New Yorkers To Submit to the NYPD (Vice)

Video of NYPD cops arresting man in Bronx goes viral photo VideoofNYPDcopsarrestingmaninBronxgoesviral_zpsb22a5cc2.png

Mayor demands that New Yorkers submit to arrests, even though police knowingly use brute force and make false arrests all the time, even when people are only seeking public accommodations on mass transit, a blatant violation of the Civil Rights Act.

In February, a man was violently arrested after he deboarded a Bronx bus, after police accused the young man of failing to have paid his fare. Police made the arrest in compliance with Commissioner Bratton's Broken Windows policy of aggressive policing.

To add insult to injury, Mayor de Blasio scolded New Yorkers last week, saying, "When a police officer comes to the decision that it’s time to arrest someone, that individual is obligated to submit to arrest,” adding, “They will then have every opportunity for due process in our court system.”

As Mayor de Blasio becomes more and more tone deaf to the cries for a complete overhaul of the corrupt NYPD, he is going to keep sticking his foot in his mouth, proving the predictions of some political bloggers, who have said that the mayor risks losing support amongst minority voters, and eventually ending up, due to mounting discontent over other issues, as a one-term mayor.

How soon will it be, before voters realise that the mayor's support of Broken Windows policing can be traced back to a backdoor non-agreession pact he made with large real estate donors, as evidenced by the mayor's obsession with checking in with lobbyists and political insiders -- as opposed to the voters, themselves ?


Disturbing Facebook video raises question: Police brutality or resisting arrest? (PIX 11)

The NYPD Keeps Coming Up With Ways to Arrest Poor People (Gawker)