Sunday, December 13, 2015

Shock As Bronx Assemblyman Joins Lobbyist Firm On the Day Skelos Convicted

 Assemblyman Blake Voted for 421-a Which A Developer Client of his New Lobbying Firm Needs to Build Luxury Towers Against the Community Wishes
Bronx Lawmaker Joining National PR Consulting Firm (bronxchronicle) South Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake Joins Hilltop Public Solutions The political establishment in the Bronx and Albany is agog at journalist Mike Allen’s POLITICO Playbook item reporting that South Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake is joining Hilltop Public Solutions. * Bronx pol announces side job on same day as Skelos conviction (NYP) Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake announced Friday that he’s taking a job as a political consultant — without leaving office. The first-term Democrat’s hiring at Hilltop Public Solutions comes amid calls for a ban on such outside income following the convictions of ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. The state Legislative Ethics Commission approved the job, concluding that it would not conflict with his legislative duties. Michael Benjamin, who preceded Blake in the same Assembly seat from 2003 to 2010, criticized the arrangement. “This isn’t appropriate given the climate we’re in,” he said. “Not everything that is legal is appropriate for a sitting lawmaker.”
@unitedNYblogs -Oh great, a lawmaker converting tax$ into Blake$$! Preet, Preet where art thou? Blake wants a SDNY's crooked moron award!

Lobbyist Assemblyman Blake Company Works For A 421-a Developer Who Used the Mayor's 1NY PAC to Fight the Community
.Fortis Hires Hyers Hilltop Firm With de Blasio Connections for LICHSite Proposal  Community Opposes Fortis Mega Development Which Hired Hyers   Struggle Over Controversial LICH Development Rocks CobbleHill Neighborhood Association  1.Hilltop's Hyers: de Blasio Campaign Manager Who Uses Candidate Fake Arrest to Protest A Closing Hospital As A Prop   2. Once the Hospital is Closed Hilltop's Hyers: Who Works for the Mayor Slush Fund PAC One NY Uses It to Tell the Community That the Band Aid ER the Developer Agreed to Build is As Good As the Closed Hospital  3. Hilltop's Hyers: Sell A Large Development to Replace te Closed to A Community Who Opposes It

Alarm raised about ‘dark money’ in de Blasio’s LICH -Fortis letter (Brooklyn Eagle)  The backlash continues against a letter sent out by a de Blasio lobbying group supporting the sale of Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital (LICH) to a developer.  The controversial June 26 letter touts the “stand-alone ER” that will be replacing the historic hospital. Although it was signed by Carroll Gardens’ resident Gary Reilly, the letter was mailed from the headquarters of de Blasio lobbyists operating under the name “The Campaign for One New York.” In the letter, Reilly says, “I was asked by Mayor de Blasio to share my views on what [the sale of LICH] means for families in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Downtown Brooklyn and Red Hook.” The outcome, Reilly writes, “. . . is a lot better than we had reason to think one year ago.”

 With SUNY selling the hospital complex to developer Fortis Property Group, “We will have a freestanding, high quality emergency room, with up to 20 observational beds.” The letter has evoked a storm of criticism from residents of these neighborhoods who fought for more than a year to save the hospital, and who supported de Blasio in his campaign for mayor largely based on his promise to save LICH. That promise was seemingly forgotten after the election, however. In its statement, the BHA disputes the letter’s claim that a “stand-alone ER” could replace the 156-year-old hospital. After consulting area doctors, BHA found that patients with serious conditions would have to be transported to other hospitals to be treated.  “When seconds count, we’ll be out of luck,” their statement reads. BHA lists some of the conditions that will not be able to be treated at the Fortis ER, including, “acute heart attack or cardiac arrest, acute stroke, most pediatric emergencies, massive gastrointestinal bleed, pulmonary embolism, appendicitis, overwhelming infection leading to acute shock, high-risk pregnancy with bleeding, or other major traumas, including car accidents.” (See full letter below this article.) 

The Campaign for One New York is led by Bill Hyers, de Blasio’s campaign manager. Its treasurer, Ross Offinger, is the mayor’s former campaign finance director. De Blasio’s former campaign consultant Stephanie Yazgi serves as its secretary. This means that the same team that crafted de Blasio’s election campaign -- and his pre-election message that closing LICH would plunge Brooklyn into a health crisis – has created his post-election message that LICH’s sale and development is good news. Hyers, who joined the powerful public affairs and political consulting firm Hilltop Public Solutions in December, operates out of its New York City office at 32 Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn. The Campaign for One New York also operates out of 32 Court Street. Dr. Arnold Licht, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at LICH for 25 years, said in a letter addressed to Reilly, “I would hope that you are medically na├»ve and thus led astray by your ‘experts.’ The alternative is that you are simply a toady for the  de Blasio camp and the Mayor’s abandoning LICH to the big money real estate interests. Perhaps you know what the Mayor will get himself arrested for in his next campaign as LICH won’t be around for him to use next time.” Dr. Toomas Sorra, a member of Concerned Physicians for LICH, told the Brooklyn Eagle, “The Reilly letter seems to be a blatant attempt by Mayor de Blasio to justify his desertion of LICH. The Fortis ER will not provide the backup necessary for any acute emergency, whether that be cardiac, major trauma, surgical, obstetrical or otherwise. If you have suspected appendicitis, have vaginal bleeding and are 30 weeks pregnant, have major rectal bleeding or any other similar problem, the message is: Don't go to Fortis ER if you have anything serious!”

Media and Good Govt Groups Cover Up How Lobbyists Were at the Center Of Corruption In Both Silver and Skelos Convictions
Lobbyist Cites Unease Over Payments to Sheldon Silver (NYT) The meeting at the State Capitol in Albany took place nearly four years ago, but Richard Runes, a lobbyist who oversees government relations for Glenwood Management, a major real estate developer in New York, recalled his unease at what he had discussed with Sheldon Silver, then the speaker of the Assembly. The two men had spoken about an agreement between Mr. Silver and Glenwood, in which Mr. Silver received undisclosed payments from a law firm to which Mr. Silver had allegedly pushed Glenwood to refer some of its tax business. Mr. Runes, testifying on Monday in Mr. Silver’s federal corruption trial in Manhattan, said he felt “shock and surprise” at the news of the payments. Mr. Runes’s testimony, which began on Friday, is part of the second prong of the government’s case, in which prosecutors say Mr. Silver received about $700,000 in illegal payments from the law firm Goldberg & Iryami in return for having referred it certain tax business from Glenwood and a second developer, the Witkoff Group.

For Months True News Has Been Reporting the Interlocking-Directorates of the Corrupt Shadow Govt That Controls NY
On Friday, another Glenwood lobbyist, Brian Meara, testified that while vacationing in Florida in 2011, he received a call from Mr. Silver, who mentioned how he might need to file new forms disclosing certain fees he had received. Mr. Meara said he was “surprised and concerned” and called either Mr. Runes or Charles C. Dorego, a Glenwood executive. Mr. Runes testified that he spoke with Glenwood’s owner, Leonard Litwin, and Mr. Dorego. Yet Mr. Runes said he remained “uncomfortable with the arrangement,” and did not discuss it with anyone else. “It was too hot,” he said.  Ultimately, Mr. Silver’s fee-sharing arrangement was described in a side letter that the speaker signed, but it was omitted from the retainer agreement between Glenwood and the law firm. Mr. Runes, asked by the judge, Valerie E. Caproni, what he thought was being accomplished by putting the agreement in a separate letter, said he believed that retainer documents were filed publicly, “whereas the side letter would not be.” * Albany lobbyist Richard Rune said he felt uneasy over payments to then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for referring tax business to a firm and for outlining related terms outside of the main retainer, The New York Times reports: 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

U.S. Rethinking Terror Strategy; Obama Plans to Address Nation

Top News


Melissa Smith prayed Friday at a memorial to victims of the attack in San Bernardino, which is being investigated as terrorism. Credit Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Berkeley Biologist: “Puerto Rican Women Closest to Perfection”.

Puerto Rican? You’re Close to Perfect!

No wonder Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin look so good. A Berkeley biologist just released a study that says Puerto Rican’s are closest to the perfect genetic specimen. Puerto Rican WOMEN to be exact.
Lior Pachter is a computational biologist in genomics at Berkeley. He recently published an article researching which genes would represent the “perfect physical specimen”. Here’s what he had to say:
The nearest neighbor to the “perfect human” is HG00737, a female who is Puerto Rican. One might imagine that such a person already existed, maybe Yuiza, the only female Taino Cacique (chief) in Puerto Rico’s history.
The fact that the “perfect human” is Puerto Rican makes a lot of sense. The best genes are spread throughout the world, and Puerto Ricans have a diverse background. In a study, Puerto Rican women born on the island but living in the United States were shown to be 53.3% European, 29.1% West African, and 17.6% Native American. That diversity means Puerto Ricans have inherited all the best genes from those races, and more.
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5 Signs You Were Raised By a Puerto Rican.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Donald Trump Is a Bigot and a Racist

Donald Trump. (photo: AP)
Donald Trump. (photo: AP)

By Dana Milbank, The Washington Post
02 December 15
et’s not mince words: Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist.
Some will think this an outrageous label to apply to the frontrunner for a major party’s presidential nomination. Ordinarily, I would agree that name-calling is part of what’s wrong with our politics.
But there is a greater imperative not to be silent in the face of demagoguery. Trump in this campaign has gone after African Americans, immigrants, Latinos, Asians, women, Muslims and now the disabled. His pattern brings to mind the famous words of Martin Neimoller, the pastor and concentration camp survivor (“First they came for the socialists…”) that Ohio Gov. John Kasich adroitly used in a video last week attacking Trump’s hateful broadsides.
It might be possible to explain away any one of Trump’s outrages as a mistake or a misunderstanding. But at some point you’re not merely saying things that could be construed as bigoted: You are a bigot.
It has been more than a quarter century since Trump took out ads in New York newspapers calling for the death penalty for “criminals of every age” after five black and Latino teens were implicated in the Central Park jogger case. The young men, convicted and imprisoned, were later cleared by DNA evidence and the confession of a serial rapist – and Trump called their wrongful-conviction settlement a “disgrace.”
Since then, Trump led the “birther” movement challenging President Obama’s standing as a natural-born American; used various vulgar expressions to refer to women; spoke of Mexico sending rapists and other criminals across the border; called for rounding up and deporting 11 million illegal immigrants; had high-profile spats with prominent Latino journalists and news outlets; mocked Asian accents; let stand a charge made in his presence that Obama is a Muslim and that Muslims are a “problem” in America; embraced the notion of forcing Muslims to register in a database; falsely claimed thousands of Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey; tweeted bogus statistics asserting that most killings of whites are done by blacks; approved of the roughing up of a black demonstrator at one of his events; and publicly mocked the movements of New York Times (and former Washington Post) journalist Serge Kovaleski, who has a chronic condition limiting mobility.
He hasn’t gone after Jews recently, but his backers have, and Trump was uncharacteristically silent when prominent booster Ann Coulter, responding to Republican candidates’ support for Israel in a debate, tweeted: “How many f---ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?”
Though all Trump supporters surely aren’t racists or bigots, even a cursory examination of social media reveals that many are.  Those supporting Trump tend to be white, less-educated and middle-aged and older – those who are anxious and angry because they are losing ground as the American economy changes. An analysis of the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll by my colleague Scott Clement found that Trump, who has the support of 14 percent of registered voters overall, does particularly well among white men who aren’t college-educated (24 percent) and white, non-evangelical Protestants (27 percent), but gets only 3 percent of non-whites and 5 percent of those under 30 years old.
This doesn’t mean Republicans or conservatives generally are bigoted. I wouldn’t label any other candidate in the GOP field that way (though Carson’s remarks disqualifying Muslims from the presidency crossed the line) and Trump, though leading in the polls, lacks the support of most. Thirty-two percent of Republicans supported Trump in the latest Post poll, which means 86 percent of the overall American electorate hasn’t embraced him.
Trump’s rivals for the nomination are slowly and haltingly finding the courage to call the man what he is. Chris Christie on Monday criticized Trump’s treatment of Kovaleski. John Kasich, after last week’s Neimoller video, issued an ad Monday showing Trump’s mockery of Kovaleski’s disability and saying Trump isn’t “worthy” of the presidency.
Some Trump defenders claim the candidate isn’t racist but simply “careless and undisciplined,” as John Hinderaker of the conservative website PowerLine put it. When I called in last week to a radio show Hinderaker hosted, he defended the treatment of the black man at Trump’s rally (“he was obviously being disruptive and he was a big burly guy”), Trump’s tweet falsely blaming African Americans for most killings of white people (“he just fell for some bad data”) and Trump’s embrace of a Muslim database (“that was brought up by a reporter”).
I argued that the large number of instances over an extended period add up to a pattern of bigotry.
“We’d be at it a long time if we go back through history,” the host said.
Exactly. Shouldn’t Republicans take that time before they nominate a racist?

City Worker Allegedly Used Fraudulent SNAP Benefits To Buy Red Bull In Bulk & Resell For Profit

A Human Resources Administration supervisor working out of Jamaica, Queens was arrested yesterday on charges that she facilitated a bulk purchase of Red Bull at BJ's Wholesale Club using $120,000 in fraudulent SNAP benefits, only to resell the energy drinks at local grocery stores for a profit.
Eleven co-conspirators were arrested along with Cherrise Watson-Jackson, 44, who allegedly received kickbacks for various other schemes, totaling about $1.5 million in stolen government funds between 2012 and 2013. According to the Department of Investigation, Watson-Jackson enlisted recruiters to convince Brooklyn and Queens residents on public assistance to trade in their EBT cards for cash. The EBT cards were then used to issue fraudulent Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Thirty-five-year-old Corey Brock was charged with receiving about $8,560 on his EBT card between October 2012 and November 2013, thanks to Watson-Jackson. Isaac Allen, 39, of Brooklyn has been accused of receiving about $9,444 between June 2012 and October 2013.
"During a season when we are reminded about hunger's prevalence, these defendants are charged with shamelessly stealing the funds that assist in feeding that basic need," said DOI Commissioner Mark Peters.
In a separate scheme, Watson-Jackson allegedly corralled a small group of New Yorkers to pose as landlords.
Watson-Jackson has been accused of registering each of them, and proceeded to issue them rental subsidy payments. Her "associates" then accompanied the fake landlords to cash-checking business like Pay-O-Matic, where they redeemed cash. Prosecutors say one Maurice Cromwell of Staten Island cashed 83 rental checks under other peoples' names, worth about $72,560. Vernecka Petersen-Fowler of Brooklyn cashed or deposited 43 rent checks totaling more than $31,000, a portion of which was transferred to her personal bank account, and subsequently over to Watson-Jackson.
Yesterday's arrests were the culmination of a joint investigation [PDF] by the DOI, the US Attorney's Office, the FBI, and the New York State Office of the Inspector General. Authorities also arrested 51-year-old Petrolina Peralta, a former HRA employee, for allegedly processing $600,000 in cash assistance benefits between 2008 and 2011 for about 140 ineligible recipients.
"Unfortunately, a very small number of our 14,000 employees used their positions at our agency to steal the benefits of others," said HRA Chairman Steven Banks in a statement. "HRA found and referred all of these cases to the DOI after discovering them through internal anti-fraud measures."
Watson-Jackson, who had been working for the city since 1993, was making $63,241 annually at the time of her arrest. She has been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and could face up to 20 years in prison.
In June, another HRA employee was arrested for allegedly doling out $250,000 worth of food stamps, for kickbacks between $100 and $200 per transfer.