Saturday, August 2, 2014

The neoconservative and neoliberal Democrats corrupting NY's political left

"Both parties are fueled by rich people’s money."

The big money machine backing the Democratic Party wants Hillary Clinton to become the party's nominee for president, so that Hillary's big money supporters can keep control over her politics, as has been the case for decades. But she's not alone amongst the Democratic Party's dynastic marionettes, whose strings roll up into the hands of some of the same big money and corporate puppet masters that guide Republican politics.

Parallels between Gov. Cuomo's cover-up of the Moreland Commission scandal and former President Nixon's cover-up of his Watergate scandal

Andrew Cuomo with Richard Nixon photo Andrew-Cuomo-Richard-Nixon_zpsb5ceff48.jpg

Government reform activists in post-Occupy New York City are energized at the prospect of a Wall Street puppet Democrat, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, joining former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn by being removed from office. Gov. Cuomo faces an escalating federal investigation into actions by the governor's office over the closure of a corruption-fighting investigation panel known as the Moreland Commission. Last year, former Speaker Quinn was voted out of office in the Democratic primary in the race for New York City mayor. Differentiating between the two, Gov. Cuomo faces a Watergate-like corruption investigation that could lead to the governor to negotiate a non-prosecution agreement, which will allow him to resign before the end of his term, some activists speculate, whereas the defeat of former Speaker Quinn's mayoral campaign was aided by a controversial Super PAC with reported close ties to Mayor de Blasio and his supporters, itself the target of a possible federal investigation.

As federal prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office from New York's southern district delve deeper into the Cuomo administration's political machinations that were responsible for political corruption across New York State government, advocates for overhauling the broken political system wonder why is it so hard to muster public outrage for the lack of corruption prosecution on the local and state levels when local and state prosecutors seem to be inundated with the enforcement of minor infractions, like selling loose, untaxed cigarettes or dancing in the New York City's subways. While very low-level infractions and misdemeanors are met with over-policing, the law enforcement in the city and state levels overlook each of the apparent pay-to-play machinations in the Gov. Cuomo's massive fundraising operations that accepts donations from real estate developers seeking the governor's approval on multi-million tax breaks and the conflicts of interests in Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising for his nonprofit political arm from sources seeking to do business with New York City.

The answer for the dichotomy comes from the fact that local and state prosecutors, Democrats in the cases of Attorney General Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, avoid prosecuting political corruption cases, many good government reform activists believe, because cases consisting of violations of local or state law that involve the prosecution of elected officials or their political operatives pose special problems for local and state prosecutors, a fact known to federal prosecutors, because this complication actually falls under the discretion of federal prosecutors considering racketeering charges against corrupt political organizations, according to the federal criminal RICO prosecutors' manual. The special problems facing local and state prosecutors stems from the political reality that prosecutors, who run for public office, must do so with the consent and support of county Democratic Party chairs. The required approval of the Democratic Party machine acts as a backdoor deterrent on the prosecution of government corruption cases, because local and state prosecutors have to be mindful not to investigate corrupt officials, political operatives, and lobbyists, who are loyal to the county chairs, whose support are needed by prosecutors. Besides DA Vance, the deterrent of investigating government and campaign corruption has also been documented in the office of Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita. Complicating matters is that prosecutors running for public office must fundraise from the same Wall Street and real estate donor base that wants to have a say in government policy, especially when it applies to the prosecution of business or government corruption. The state attorney general, for example, raises huge amounts of money from a real estate developer, who is represented in the leadership of the controversial real estate lobbying group, the Real Estate Board of New York, which became embroiled in the Moreland Commission scandal. In spite of federal prosecutorial discretion, local and state political corruption backed by big business donors has generally gone unchecked, whilst low-level misdemeanors and infractions by low-income people and people of color are over-policed and subject to police brutality.

The death of Eric Garner has brought to the fore a fundamental contradiction in Mayor de Blasio's progressive façade : the Broken Windows theory of policing has, at its roots, a neoconservative aim to oppress the poor and people of color.

The governor allows real estate developers to make large campaign contributions, which then therefore sets property tax rates for billion-dollar luxury condominium towers. This is no different than how the mayor allows real estate developers to insist on a "Broken Windows" approach to policing, which unfairly targets the poor and people of color. Lowering property taxes for the rich and over-policing low-income and minority communities to drive mass displacement and gentrification are the goals of wealthy real esate developers. These are Republican values. As the apparent big business corruption runs rampant across New York State, it's the little people, who pay with their lives. Former First Lady Mrs. Clinton, Gov. Cuomo, and Mayor de Blasio go on serving their big business donors, whilst police brutality, and even the imposition of a death sentence before apparently a suspect's Miranda rights can be read, are leading many government reform activists to question the priorities of New York's Democratic leaders. Are they just Republicans in Democrats' clothing ? Why are leaders of the Democratic Party silent about the miscarriage of justice that is readily apparent to voters ? And why do voters accept the failure of the Democratic Party to fully address the broken judicial system ?

From unfounded screeds written by Maggie Haberman, voters are left to read between the lines or to triangulate back to other journalism, to see for themselves how the ethic of public service has nothing to do with how the Democratic Party approaches government. Left unexamined is whether the political organizing now taking place in anticipation of Gov. Cuomo's resignation will yield to installation of another politician from the corporate-owned two-party system, or whether government reform activists are going to push back against the co-opting political machinations that led to backroom Super PAC's, corrupt lobbyists, and astroturf groups from driving this year's election outcome for governor, as was the case in last year's election of the mayor. Which begs the age-old question : why do activists from the political left still organize with the Democratic Party ?


Is Hillary Clinton the true heir of Ronald Reagan ? (Salon)

A lesson of Watergate, 40 years on, for Andrew Cuomo (The Times Union)

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

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