Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Board of Elections --- Abrupt Departure Edition

BOE Commissioner Simon Shamoun abruptly left a Commissioners' Hearing with a well known election lawyer seeking to give him something.   Could it be that Simon Shamoun, an attorney and a public official, was trying to avoid personal legal service of some sort ?  That would be unseemly to say the least.

One suspects that there are a few very specific subpoenas out there in connection with giving testimonial evidence in Brooklyn Supreme Court concerning the irregular handling of petitions at the Board of Elections leading to an alleged shredding of a volume of signatures and the substitution of a photocopied volume in its place.

Tomorrow's session before  the Hon. David Schmidt should be very interesting. A subpoena was later served on BOE counsel Steve Richman for (a) specific BOE witness(es).

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The fight for and against the “Free Radicals” in the Brooklyn GOP Primary of 2013 is a big part of the battle between the “Republicans for Change” and the Regular Kings County Republican Party Organization

The “Anti-oxident” wing of the Brooklyn GOP (a group that openly stated that they wanted no independent activity inside the Brooklyn GOP) split early in 2013 into the Golden-plated “Republicans for Change” and the Eatonians, long-time stalwarts of Craig Eaton's Brooklyn GOP County Organization. Both of these non-independent Republican groups have made their early moves on certain blocks of what best can be described as the “Free Radical” Republican independents, organizationally represented by the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, The Brooklyn Tea Party (Republicans) and the LaGuardia Republican Club.

Make no mistake the leadership of the Brooklyn GOP from now until after the 2014 New York State Republican Convention is at stake in the current BOE hearings and the NYS Supreme Court cases, which are now going on over which slates of State and County Committee candidates will or will not appear on the old election machines in the Brooklyn 2013 GOP Primary. However, even after all of that is decided, there probably will be a lot left for Brooklyn Republicans to haggle over until the primary allows rank and file Republicans to vote on all of it. And even after that look for more jostling in mid-September leading up to the  GOP County Convention. Oddly, it is very unlikely that anybody for those elected Republican Party posts will have very much to say about either the upcoming 2014 New York State Convention or any of the statewide issues, except as they might specifically be about State Senator Martin Golden and what he has been up to in Albany. Instead, the arguments will largely be ones for or against Craig Eaton’s leadership of the Brooklyn Republican Party, as against Marty Golden’s newest hand-picked candidate from Bay Ridge to be the Republican County Leader, Timothy J. Cochrane.

Naturally, one would expect that both major sides would reach out to the independent Republicans, or as I’m now calling them the “free radicals,” especially the ones with some group affiliation. And, there have been many such direct and indirect contacts, some have even occurred in ways that could be called "strange," even by Brooklyn standards (but those are stories only for telling over many beers).   For the most part, the independent or free radical Republicans have been bundled into three or four groups: the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, The Brooklyn Tea Party Republican Caucus and the LaGuardia Republican Club, being the most notable. at this time.  By some weird alchemy, natural affinities caused several of the independents to gravitate or move covalently at or very near the beginning of the process - these are the early precipitants (not participants) like Glenn Nocera, Moshe Muratov and the like who went toward the Golden-plating pole; and contrariwise, Joseph Hayon who moved toward where he thought he’d find some good Eaton.

As things move into the next phase of the petitioning-objections-hearing process –  court intervention  –  the game seems to have changed from an early phase that looked like a close contest favoring the Marty Golden-backed “Republicans for Change” to a fairly close split leaning in the direction of Chairman Craig Eaton and most of the leadership of the KCRP organization. A weak Golden-Storobin backed effort against State Committee Members Pincus and Braunstein has already collapsed in the 45th AD. Similarly, the 47th AD, which many had thought would be a major battleground, seems safely in the fold of the Republican County organization, only now with a more deeply ingrained and openly-expressed “anti-Golden Zeitgeist.”

The biggest battle remains to be the one playing-out inside the far-flung boundaries of the 46th AD. The principal formal antagonists there are Dominick Sarta and Clorinda Annarummo from the Seergy Republican Club, with strong backing from the Golden crowd, and Marcus Aurelius Nussbaum and Lucretia Regina-Potter, backed by the independent Fiorello LaGuardia Republicans in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge, and (either because of or in reaction to the David Storobin alignment with Marty Golden) with strong local support among Republicans in the Coney Island and Brighton Beach corridor. Making this contest even more interesting is the current posture of the Nussbaum-Potter-LaGuardia faction of independent Republicans to remain neutral  as between Eaton and Golden; instead they are formally maintaining their recent independent “free radical” holdout status, coming from the days when the LaGuardia Club was the Regular Republican Organization of the 49th AD; and both Eaton and Golden cast them adrift, attempting-and-failing to take down the La Guardia Club leaders in successive GOP leadership races. Since then, reapportionment completely changed the 49th, placing Lucretia Regina-Potter, Arnaldo Ferraro and other LaGuardia Club board members into the 46th AD.  Also taking part in the 46th jousting and jawboning will be a rump group of Eaton-leaning Republicans, who will be going mano a mano in some of Marty Golden’s strongest EDs against "Republicans for Change" candidate for City Council, John Quaglione.

A similar dynamic is at work in the remaining part of Bay Ridge, the lower Bay Ridge-Brooklyn section of the mostly-Staten Island 64th AD, represented by Republican Nicole Malliotakis. Here,  what remains of the Armand Starace Club will be an important factor in delivering the County Committee votes to either Craig Eaton or Golden’s man, Tim Cochrane.

Something completely different happened in the 44th AD, where a deal was struck by Glenn Nocera and a representative of Kathy Fox, whereby they would about evenly split the State and County Committee slots and avoid any primaries or challenges. Since both sides were backing Joe Lhota, the deal made even more sense for everybody with any other conflicting interests.

What’s going on with the 52nd AD Brownstone Republicans almost defies description. Even though there is only one slate that filed at the BOE for the 52nd AD, and they are completely outside the Marty Golden orbit, they are running as part of Golden’s so-called “Republicans for Change” slate, ostensibly because of that groups’ formal support for Joe Lhota, as opposed to the KCRP Organization that formally backs John Catsimatidis’ candidacy for mayor. Nonetheless, some experts in election proceedings believe that a good portion of the Republican County Committee from the 52nd AD, and possibly its State Committee Members can be removed from the ballot because of various substantive shortcomings to the petition.

AND the 48th AD –  I’m glad I’m writing this on the Sabbath. My four or five sources there have about ten opinions as to what is going on.  I’ll let them write their own comments as to who is with whom, and why Nachman Caller is behind all of it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013



It sure is beginning to look like it.

Here is a very interesting note from State Senator Ruben Diaz to his fellow State Senate Democrats in response to the recent Daily News Editorial (discussed in my July 21st post, mentioned in the title above). HOWEVER, if you are paying attention, you'll see that State Senator Diaz' note and his January 23rd speech are also an indictment of ALL OF THE CURRENT CROWD OF  REPUBLICAN  STATE SENATORS  >>>  ESPECIALLY,  STATE SENATOR MARTIN GOLDEN, THE SPONSOR OF S-2320.

The copy of State Senator Ruben Diaz speech from January 23, 2013 shows that everybody in the NYS Senate knew on that day -- the day that they voted for Bill S-2320 -- what that bill was all about and that it was a tax money giveaway to wealthy developers and prospective wealthy condo-owners. State Senator Diaz’ note and January 23rd speech is as follows:

“You  should  know that some of the same senators that are asking me to join
them in signing the letter, are the same ones who did not want to listen to
me,  and went ahead and voted in favor of the legislation that now, because
of the Daily News editorial, want to appear “Clean and Honest.”

You  should know that on January 23rd, 2013, that piece of legislation came
to  the  floor  of the senate. The legislation, S.2320 sponsored by Senator
Martin  Golden,  was  debated  and  everyone got the opportunity to express
their opinions in favor or against the piece of legislation. I took my time
speaking  against  it  and asked my fellow senators to vote “NO”. Only 6 of
all  the  Democrats  heard  my call and voted no; they are: Senator Adriano
Espaillat,  Senator  Terry  Gibson,  Senator  Bill  Perkins, Senator Marcos
Serrano, Senator Gustavo Rivera and Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, the rest voted
in favor of Bill S.2320.

Today I am including a copy of my speech on the Senate floor on January 23,
2013  expressing  my  opposition  to  the legislation in which I criticized
Senator Liz  Krueger for her vote in favor of the legislation.

My complete speech during that day goes as follows:

“Senator Krueger, I just love you. I love you so much. You know, I love you
for  keeping  me  one hour listening to you talking bad about a bill and at
the end saying "I'm voting yes." I love you. I love you.

Mr.  President  and  ladies and gentlemen, once in a while I write a column
called  "What  You  Should Know," It’s my way to inform my constituents and
the voters of New York of what's going on.

Today,  I wrote one. And I call it, based on the Roman Empire old saying, I
entitled it "Caesar's wife should not only be pure but should also have the
appearance of purity." And by voting for this bill, we  might be sending an
appearance  of  impurity, because this bill only benefits the rich. It is a
multi-million  program  of  rent  exemption and abatement for landlords who
renovate their buildings.

This  piece  of  legislation, ladies and gentlemen, does nothing to protect
and  strengthen  tenant protection. So tenants in the City of New York will
not  be  protected  with  this  bill. On the contrary, they might be put in
danger. It is just a tax benefit to developers producing luxury buildings.

This  bill, ladies and gentlemen -- and I'm so sorry that Liz Krueger voted
for  it -- this bill does nothing to prevent landlords from double-dipping.
That's  a  word  that -- a nice word, double-dipping. Meaning that a lot of
them  are  receiving  a J-51 tax credit from the government and at the same
time  will  be  increasing  the  tenants'  rent  based  on  a major capital
improvement.  So  this  bill  will  allow  landlords  to get money from the
government for the renovation based on J-51 and at the same time will allow
landlords  to  increase  tenants'  rents  based  on  something called major
capital improvement for the same renovation.

And  this  bill will extend 421-a tax benefits to the owners of 15 specific
plots in 22 Midtown and downtown Manhattan which are now being developed as
luxury  condominiums  and office buildings. Fifteen of them.  And according
to  the  New York Tenants and Neighbors Coalition,  it seems that only five
specific developer companies will benefit from this piece of legislation.

They  are  number  one,  Extell  Development  Company,  Extell  Development
Company,  for  their  billionaire tower, One57, Silverstein Properties, the
owner  of  the  World  Trade  Center. Thor Equities, the company behind the
controversial  Coney Island  redevelopment for 516-520 Fifth Avenue. Number
four, Steinhardt Management, who wants to develop two former Stock Exchange
buildings  in  Lower  Manhattan.  Number  five,  Shoreham {ph} Association,
Incorporated,  who  plans  to build a 30-story glass tower over the site of
the original New York Times building.

Ladies and gentlemen, these developments do nothing to address the New York
City ongoing affordable housing crisis. Therefore, to vote for this bill we
might  be sending a message, an impure message, that we're only working for
the  landlords  and  against the tenants and the regular people in New York

Now, after some of them voted in favor of that legislation, and reading The
New  York  Daily News Editorial they want Governor Cuomo to repeal it.  And
that ladies and gentlemen is pure hypocrisy.

This is Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.”

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

BOE says that “...two Democrats...” sliced and diced Brooklyn GOP petition for 46th AD, because of a "misscommunication"

Any buzz you might hear about this shredded petition is most likely coming from the Craig Eaton faction  >>>   They couldn’t be any madder if they had been a swarm of hornets and somebody at the Brooklyn BOE had shredded their hornets’ nest

According to a report that appeared in Celeste Katz’ column last night,  “.... A single petition volume of 20 pages was inadvertently destroyed" last Friday, Board spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said in a statement responding to a Daily News inquiry about the destroyed docs. ***
’Fortunately, we have obtained copies of the petition volume in question from both the filer and a member of the public who had previously requested a copy of this volume,’ Vazquez continued. ‘Board staff compared the two copies and found them to be identical.’ ***  Vazquez chalked up the shredding to a simple "miscommunication" between employees at the oft-criticized agency....” (See “ ‘Miscommunication’ Led To NYC Board Of Elections Shredding 20 Pages Of GOP Petitions” by Celeste Katz, Daily News/Daily Politics []).

Several questions leap to mind as a result of the material quoted above, among them the following: 1) who tipped-off the Daily News to make a “Daily News inquiry about the destroyed docs” ?  2) Who was the “member of the public who had previously requested a copy of this volume” that was then returned to the BOE for comparison ?  and 3) Who, what, where and why was there a  simple "miscommunication" between employees at the oft-criticized [BOE]” that caused  “[a] petition volume of 20 pages to have been inadvertently destroyed” ?

Also quite interesting is the following item that appeared in Celeste Katz’ article, “Update: I'm also told two workers from the bipartisan Board were involved in the Friday shredding incident. Both are Democrats. That in itself is interesting because typically, petitions are watched over by a team -- one Democrat and one Republican.”

This all could be very embarrassing to the presently former Republican leadership team from the 46th AD Simon Shamoun and Clorinda Annarummo. Already mentioned in the Katz article, this could turn out to be a significant bit of intrigue occurring so early during BOE Commissioner Shamoun’s term at the Board. Furthermore, there is also a BOE employee, who is a very close relation to one of the Republican leaders formerly elected from the 46th AD, and who will almost certainly be called as a witness as things proceed on the strange goings on at the Board .

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mrs. Anthony Weiner’s largely unexamined close connections to radical Islamists such as The Muslim Brotherhood: Part I — The Opening Salvos

A retrospective look at the controversies that have swirled around Huma Abedin, wife of Anthony Weiner, and confidante and adviser to Hillary Clinton 

Interest in Huma Abedin began in earnest in July and August 2012. Michele Bachmann and four other Republican Members of Congress had sent letters to various officials at the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice  raising security concerns related to Huma Abedin, a high level assistant and advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. However, those letters didn’t become very  newsworthy until they were renounced on the Senate floor by maverick Republican Senator John McCain, which sentiments  were soon picked up and echoed by the Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner.

In early July 2012, five Republican Members of Congress led by Michele Bachmann, cosigned letters and delivered them to the Inspectors General of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the State Department. The Congressional letters  asked  that those inspectors general investigate Muslim Brotherhood influence on top government officials, most notably Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Copies of the letters were also sent to the appropriate members of the Congressional leadership, including the House Speaker. Contained in Bachmann’s seventeen page letter was general background and specific information concerning Huma Abedin, a longtime Hillary Clinton staffer, who at that time held the position of Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of State (also, she  was then and continues to be the wife of Anthony Weiner, now running for Mayor of New York City). The GOP lawmakers’ letters noted that Huma Abedin “has three family members [including, her late father, mother and her brother, who have been] connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. Her position [with Secretary of State Clinton] affords her routine access to the secretary and to policymaking.”

Interestingly, it was only when certain members of the Washington GOP establishment spoke up on behalf of Secretary of State Clinton’s assistant that  the mainstream media swarmed to Huma Abedin’s defense, with editorials in both the New York Times and the Washington Post raising the specter of “McCarthyism” [ Oh no, anything but that ! ! ! ].  However, few of the so called “defenses” advanced on behalf of Huma Abedin denied or even directly addressed the initial charges that she had multiple familial and other personal connections to radical Islamic organizations (See e.g.: “John McCain Slams Michele Bachmann's 'Unfounded' Attacks On Huma Abedin, Muslim-Americans” by Amanda Terkel, 7/18/12, Huffington Post []; “EDITORIAL –  McCarthyism Redux” by NYT Editorial Dept, 7/18/13,  NY Times Blog/ Print Edition []; “Michele Bachmann’s baseless attack on Huma Abedin” by the Washington Post Editorial Board, 7/19/12, WP Opinions []; “Hillary Clinton: Huma Abedin Attacks Have 'No Place In Our Politics' ” by Jennifer Bendery, 7/30/12, Huffington Post []).

Michele Bachmann was quick to push back and explain the importance of the letters that she had sent out along with he fellow Republican Congressmen ( See “BACHMANN HITS BACK AT CRITICS REGARDING HER LETTER ABOUT MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AND ITS U.S. TENTACLES” by Jonathan M. Seidi, 7/19/12, The Blaze []). According to Congresswoman Bachmann, when interviewed by Glenn Beck,  “Never before in the history of the country have we seen this level of leaks coming out, but at the same time there’s also a parallel track of influence from the Muslim Brotherhood in the highest levels of the federal government, and we think that we need to get answers to these questions.... And that’s the purpose of our letters. We’re asking that the inspectors general answer these questions....”  Bachmann then complained that Abedin is a top aide to Hillary Clinton, but she has family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood; arguing as follows: “She is the chief aid for the -- to the Secretary of State, and we quoted from a document, and this has been well reported all across Arab media, that her father -- her late father who’s now deceased was a part of the Muslim Brotherhood.... Her brother was a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, and her mother was a part of what’s called the Muslim Sisterhood....  [W]e have requirements to get a high level security clearance.  One thing that the government looks at are your associations, and in particular your family associations.  And this applies to everyone.  It would be the same that is true with me.  If my family members were associated with Hamas, a terrorist organization, that alone could be sufficient to disqualify me from getting a security clearance.  So all we did is ask, did the federal government look into her family associations before she got a high level security clearance....”

Simultaneously, Bachmann and company quickly had their own chorus of defenders, as well as many more Huma Abedin accusers, across the whole Republican-right spectrum along with other investigators of radical Islamist influence. Several would add information to what GOP Congresswoman Bachmann and her colleagues had originally sent to the various Obama Administration IGs.  One such Bachmann supporter presented an argument with factual allegations that were especially succinct and informative (See “THREE REASONS WHY REP. BACHMANN MIGHT BE RIGHT ABOUT HUMA ABEDIN” by Awr Hawkins, 7/21/13, Breitbart/Big Peace []).  According to Awr Hawkins:
“In order to dismiss Bachmann's concerns, we have to ignore three huge problems [for Huma Abedin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration]:
1. Abedin's mother is not only a member of the Muslim Sisterhood, but also sits on the Guidance Board of the organization. This makes her not only a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's female auxiliary, but also a prestigious member.
2. Another member of the Muslim Sisterhood's Guidance Bureau is Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's wife, which means Abedin's mother and the wife of an renowned Muslim Brotherhood member are in regular and frequent contact.
3. Lastly, Abedin's brother, Hassan Abedin, has allegedly collaborated with Omar Naseef and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, two of the most influential terror supporters in the world....”

As the days passed in July 2012, information about Huma Abedin continued to gush out, only to be ignored by the MSM. By July 25th, it had been reported by Aaron Klien in the World Net Daily blog that Huma Abedin was part of a family and close personal network of many Arab and Islamic extremists (See “Hillary’s chief worked with al-Qaida front man – Huma Abedin at center of Capitol Hill storm over Muslim Brotherhood” by Aaron Klein, 7-25-12  []).  According to Klein, Huma Abedin personally worked on the editorial board of a Saudi-financed Islamic think tank alongside a Muslim extremist, Abdullah Omar Naseef, who has been accused of financing various al-Qaida fronts – this meant Huma Abedin’s relation to Naseef was one of personal contact, thus not just a mere association through her brother.

Klein’s report provided added details that Abdullah Omar Naseef had long and deep connections to the Abedin family. For example, Naseef had been Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, an Islamic charity known to have spawned terrorist groups, including one listed by the U.S. government to be an official al-Qaida front. Also Huma’s mother, Anthony Weiner’s mother-in-law, Saleha Abedin, had been the official representative of Naseef’s Muslim World League in the 1990s. The Muslim World League has been accused of terrorist ties, as have its various offshoots, including the International Islamic Relief Organization, or IIRO, and Al Haramain, which was declared by the U.S. and U.N. as a terror financing front. In addition, Huma’s mother Saleha Abedin is known to have been close to Najla Ali Mahmoud, the wife of Egypt’s recently deposed president, Mohammed Mursi. Again, all of this information and much more of similar import was contained in Aaron Klein’s detailed July 25th article.

The most authoritative bit of support for Bachmann’s and her congressional compatriots interrogatory missives was a piece that appeared in the National Review by Andrew C. McCarthy ( See “Huma Abedin’s Muslim Brotherhood Ties –  Michele Bachmann has every right to ask questions” by Andrew C. McCarthy, 7/25/13,  National Review On line []).

National Review’s Andrew McCarthy initially directed his fiery rhetoric at Michele Bachmann’s Republican critic’s, but quickly ranged in on his real target, as follows:  “Despite mounting evidence of close ties between the Muslim Brotherhood and Huma Abedin, Secretary of State Clinton’s close aide, Republican congressional leaders — particularly Senator John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner  —  continue to target their ire not at the State Department but at Representative Michele Bachmann. ***  Representative Bachmann is one of five House conservatives who have raised concerns about Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of our government. Glenn Beck reported Tuesday that GOP leadership is trying to extort an apology out of Bachmann by threatening to boot her from the House Intelligence Committee if she fails to submit. ***  That got me to wondering: Any chance Speaker Boehner might take just a couple of minutes out of his busy jihad against Bachmann to focus on how the State Department — during Ms. Abedin’s tenure — has cozied up to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief sharia jurist?”

Then Andrew C. McCarthy,  the successful Federal Anti-Terrorist prosecutor, hammered home his point, thus: “Sheikh Qaradawi is a promoter of jihadist terror. His fatwas endorse terrorist attacks against American personnel in Iraq as well as suicide bombing — by both men and women — against Israel. He is a leading supporter of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. He also runs an umbrella organization called the Union for Good (sometimes referred to as the ‘Union of Good’), which is formally designated a terrorist organization under American law. The Union for Good was behind the ‘Peace Flotilla’ that attempted to break our ally Israel’s blockade of the terrorist organization Hamas ... in 2010.”

Lastly, McCarthy didn’t flinch when he took on Huma Abedin’s mother head-on with this  — “That’s rather interesting — at least to me, though apparently not to Speaker Boehner — because Huma Abedin’s mother, Saleha, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s female division (the “Muslim Sisterhood”), is a major figure in not one but two Union for Good components. The first is the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief (IICDR). It is banned in Israel for supporting Hamas under the auspices of the Union for Good. Then there’s the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child (IICWC) — an organization that Dr. Saleha Abedin has long headed. Dr. Abedin’s IICWC describes itself as part of the IICDR. And wouldn’t you know it, the IICWC charter was written by none other than . . . Sheikh Qaradawi, in conjunction with several self-proclaimed members of the Muslim Brotherhood.”  Mr. McCarthy summed up by tying-up the Huma Abdedin influence very tightly to the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama foreign policy initiatives that were decidedly pro-Muslim Brotherhood, and which have since blown up completely in Egypt, North Africa and across the Middle East.

All of that is why about a month after the McCain, Boehner and MSM defenses of Huma Abedin, a reporter for Breitbart News opened his report with this:  “Rep. Michele Bachmann's concerns about Sec.of State Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin have been openly criticized by many, yet disproved by none. Far from it in fact, as the alleged ties between Huma's family and the Muslim Brotherhood have been broadly substantiated....” (See “HUMA ABEDIN'S TIES TO MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD DEEPER THAN REP. BACHMANN SUSPECTED” by Awr Hawkins, 8/13/12, Breitbart/Big Peace []). In that article, Hawkins went on to report that Walid Shoebat, a key investigator into Huma Abedin, was about to release additional damning news about Huma Abedin and her relations with radical Islamists, including more information about Huma's own direct ties to Abdullah Omar Nasseef, a "financier" of terrorism with whom Huma was associated when she was part of his organization, the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA), prior to taking her position with Hillary Clinton; and also more details about the Abedin family and Yusuf Qaradawi, describing him as “the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Yesterday the Daily News mentioned State Senator Golden only once in its editorial “Probe These Giveaways”  —  That mention and the rest of the News editorial was the biggest hit that Golden has taken since being in elected office

According to the News Editorial Board: “The closer you look at the huge tax breaks that the state Legislature secretly bestowed on the city’s priciest condo building, the more outrageous they get — and the more they demand investigation by Gov. Cuomo’s new anti-corruption commission.... Also known is that the initial sponsor was Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who was driven from office .... And that the final sponsor was Brooklyn Sen. Marty Golden, who defends the breaks without saying how they got in his bill....”  (See “Probe these giveaways –  A luxury tower's tax breaks look more outrageous and suspicious by the day” by Editorial Board, 7/20/13, NY Daily News

At the end of the piece, the Daily News editorial writer(s) point(s) out, “....  Luckiest will be the owners of the $115 million two-story, six-bedroom, six-bath penthouse with 360-degree views offering ‘the opportunity to experience the magnitude of New York from a truly breathtaking vantage point.’ ***   Instead of paying the $28,174 a month in property taxes that they rightfully owe, they will pay $1,694. Breathtaking, indeed.”

What more needs to be said ?

It looks like only a little More[land] needs to be added to this whole thing to cook the Golden goose big time.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mayoral Candidate Anthony Weiner Showing More and More Islamist Connections — Now it’s their money

It’s risen to a chorus of questions and criticisms about Weiner’s acceptance of funding that looks like it’s coming from Al Jazeera  —  Not very long ago, it was Weiner’s going after Congressional Homeland Security hearings about the radicalization of Muslims, as well as being critical of the NYPD anti-terrorist surveillance  programs if they offend Muslim sensibilities  —  for much longer than that has been a growing and openly-expressed distrust of Weiners’ biggest supporter, Huma Abedin, his wife who has strong familial connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.  

A few days ago the New York Post reported that Anthony Weiner had received took donations from a paid advocate for the Al Jazeera TV network.  According to that report in the Post, records show, “John Merrigan, a lobbyist for Al Jazeera America Holdings, donated the maximum, $4,950, to Weiner’s mayoral campaign this month....” ( See “Jazeera bets on Weiner” by Sally Goldenberg and Aaron Feis, 7/16/13, NY Post []).
In that same article, was a brief report about Weiner’s attempt  to clarify comments that he had made impliedly comparing certain NYPD policies and practices to 1938 Nazi Germany.

Now it looks like the story about the donation from the Al Jazeera lobbyist has some legs. Although Anthony Weiner is running as the only Jewish candidate in the crowded Democratic field for mayor in 2013, and he has often touted his support of Israel; he is being beat like drum by two well known Brooklyn Democrats, Councilman Lew Fidler and Assemblyman Alan Maisel.  Both represent districts that are predominantly Jewish, and they are now chastising Weiner for his taking contributions from lobbyist John Merrigan, who has done extensive work with the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network, which has long been accused of being anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-United States (See “More heat on Weiner over ‘Jazeera’ cash”
by Sally Goldenberg, 7/20/13, NY Post []).  According to the Post report, Fidler said, “Al Jazeera and its lobbyists are no friends to New York City or our Jewish community, and Anthony shouldn’t accept their support.... They have spread hate and lies against Jews, not only here in New York but across the world. The right thing to do is to give this money back. Anthony should do exactly that.”

In addition to the two Brooklyn Democrats mentioned above, the internet has lit up over Weiner’s acceptance of the cash from the Al Jazeera representative, John Merrigan.

A while back, at a mayoral forum in Brooklyn sponsored by the Jewish Press near the end of May, Democratic Mayoral Candidate Anthony Weiner had described Nassau Republican Congressman Peter King’s hearings about the radicalization of  Muslims in America as “shameful.” At that forum, Weiner went on to say that the Long Island Republican has no legitimate standing to talk about anti-terrorism efforts, even though Congressman King is Chairman of The House  Subcommittee on Homeland Security. In response to a question from the Jewish Press, Candidate Weiner said, “I have to say Peter King for one has precious little to say on the subject given the shameful way he’s targeted people in one particular religion at his hearings.” (See “NYC2013 – Weiner Calls Peter King’s Hearings On Islam ‘Shameful’” by Azi Paybarah, 5/31/13, JP Updates]; see also “NYC Mayor Candidate Weiner Calls Hearings About Radicalization of Muslims 'Shameful' ” submitted by Emily, 6/13/13, The Clarion Project Blog [], which links to the same article).  At that same forum, when he turned his attention to the NYC Police surveillance program, Weiner said that although he had “absolutely no problem” with the program itself, if Muslim communities feel unfairly targeted, those programs can end up doing “more harm than good.”

Huma Abedin’s family connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Sisterhood have been fully reported upon in the past, at this and other political blogs and elsewhere on religious-based sites.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Interesting bits of “Common Sense” from Jerry Kassar this week

“.... One last note on voting: If you wish to vote in one of this year’s Democratic or Republican primaries [What !!!  No Conservative Party Primaries ??? ], you only have a short time left to register. This only applies to non-registered voters. If you are presently enrolled in a political party and hope to vote in the primary of another party, a change in enrollment takes a year to go into effect. ***  Nevertheless, it is well known that a full third of all eligible voters in Southern Brooklyn are not registered.  So here is your chance to register and vote in some very important primaries. ***  Oh, and if you simply want to register in a party that gets it right the first time, join with me and register in the Conservative Party.”  

                     — Jerry Kassar, “Common Sense: The Democratic Dilemma”

Assuming that Brooklyn Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar actually wrote the “Common Sense” column quoted above ( See “ Common Sense: The Democratic Dilemma” by Jerry Kassar, 7/15/13, Home Reporter/ News/ Opinion []) and that a proper legal foundation could be established for the introduction of those written words, they could be used as evidence in  various actions and proceedings as admissions of some of the factual predicates on the issue of unlawful inter-party raiding under the NYS Election Law.

Several potential witnesses have said or described many activities by Mr. Kassar that demonstrate his active participation with a group that rightly or wrongly calls itself  “Republicans for Change.” The material from Kassar’s column quoted above shows that he has at least some current knowledge and awareness as to the requirements of Section 5-302 et.seq. of the NYS Election Law [prior to 1977 Sections 186 & 187 of the NYS Election Law]. Taken together, Kassar’s actions and acknowledgment of need for timely re-registration prior to participating in a party’s primaries shows that any such participation without a proper and timely re-registration would be both an intentional act and an act done in knowing violation of the Election Law. That would be a bad enough thing for anybody to do; but as a party official of the New York State Conservative Party, that might be an especially problematic thing for Jerry Kassar to be doing and/or to have done.

In this 2013 election cycle, Kassar is not the only Conservative Party official or member to actively take a hand on behalf of certain Republican candidates who are running for REPUBLICAN  PARTY  POSITIONS IN A REPUBLICAN  PARTY  PRIMARY.  For certain Republican candidates participation by (a) Conservative Party member(s) permeates the entire petition. For the record, many of those candidates are running for Republican Party positions on the slate supported by the possibly falsely-named  “Republicans for Change”  —   I’m told that the appropriate use of that name alone might be a very important question of fact to be determined in several possible court proceedings.

Of course, Mr. Kassar and some of the others might say that their activities on behalf of “Republicans for Change” are part of the jobs that they might be doing for their employer, State Senator Martin Golden. Golden is clearly behind the whole “Republicans for Change” thing, as part of his dump-Eaton strategy, and the buzz is that Golden has leaned hard on anybody that he could to push this “Republicans for Change” ticket in 2013.

Now, if Kassar wants to admit to doing all of this as part of his job as Golden’s Chief of Staff in next week’s “Common Sense” column, I’m sure I’ll have a little more to say about that based on my own common sense.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

GOP organizational fight [partially] moved into the Board of Elections — “Republicans for Change” claim and appear to have a larger slate of County Committee candidates — Expected that several State Committee (District Leader) candidates will fall easily — So far “Republicans for Change” show $1000 in donations (from Marty Golden), but they have spent well over $15,000

County GOP insider concedes that it might  “... look like Golden’s people have a few more candidates depending on how you account for some of the AD slates...” BUT he adds  “...this is far from over...”

“Republicans for Change” being looked at for dodgy filings and unlawful inter-party activities

I’ve had several conversations with a couple of Kings County Chairman Craig Eaton’s most trusted advisors. They have confirmed, one directly and the other indirectly, that there have been overtures from agents of the so-called “Republicans for Change” to make a  “DEAL” to put this fight for control of the Brooklyn GOP to bed, without any more blood of State Senator Martin Golden on the floor. Those overtures were immediately rejected by Eaton and the GOP County team. In addition, there are some indicators that those overtures and other “evidence,” in the petitions and elsewhere, may spell longer term problems for some key agents and supporters of the “Republicans for Change” faction.

Several Republican State Committee candidates submitted very weak petitions and had General Objections filed against them at the Board of Elections. They are listed here with their assembly district and probable intra-party affiliation, as follows : 41st AD- Gladys Pemberton (County GOP); 45th AD- Mikhail Yusupov (Reps for Change); 47th AD- Peter Cipriano (Reps for Change); 48th AD- Michael Fettman (County GOP); 49th AD- Stephen Maresca (LaGuardia Club); 50th AD- Victor Best (Reps for Change); 52nd AD- Joseph Messineo & Sylvia Chase (Reps for Change); 60th AD- Belinda Lindros & Leroy Bates (nominally with County GOP). It is very likely that they will have their names stricken from the GOP primary ballot or roster of State Committee members at some stage of the BOE certification-objection process, or if followed-up by legal proceedings, by the court.

In addition, the following candidates for Republican State Committee submitted facially sufficient petitions, but have been objected to and will require a BOE analysis and determination of specifications, if any are filed at the BOE, to determine whether they will remain on the ballot or roster of State Committee members: 45th AD- Boris Pincus (County GOP); 46th AD - Dominick Sarta & Clorinda Annarummo ( Reps for Change); 59th AD - Edward Martano ( County GOP).


On another front, recent financial disclosures filed at the NYS Board of Elections [ “2013 July Periodic”] show that the oddly-named “Republicans for Change” [listed on NYS BOE files as C00791 – REPUBLICANS FOR CHANGE – 173 Gelston Ave. #3c –  Brooklyn NY 11209 Status = ACTIVE] have pushed their accounting pencil in rather strange and problematic ways.  The “2013 July Periodic Report Summary Page” lists “...Contributions  $1,000.00...” and oddly “... Total Expenses  $.00 [—]  Closing Balance    $1,000.00...” The “SCHEDULE: C  OTHER MONETARY” shows a “06/07/13...[donation from] “FRIENDS OF MARTY GOLDEN... 125 LABAU AV STATEN ISLAND NY 10301 [for] $1,000.00...” and the “2013 SCHEDULE: N OUTSTANDING LIABILITIES/LOANS” shows “[expenditures of  $15,165.22  all to]  “BRANFORD COMMUNICATIONS” for “CLUB MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT[S]” and “COUNTY COMMITTEE RECRUIITMENT” (sic)  “with “$15,167.22... [remaining] OUTSTANDING”

In other words “Republicans for Change” only showed a $1000 donation from “Friends of Marty Golden” and spending of over $15,000 for mailings (all still unpaid). However, the “Republicans for Change” filings  don’t mention any costs or donations in kind of the two major events that were the object of those mailings, one was held at Golden’s Bay Ridge Manor and the other at Garguilo’s.

On still another front, legal research is being conducted and evidence gathered concerning “inter-party raiding” based on a pattern of activities by non-Republicans by and on behalf of the so-called rump caucus “Republicans for Change”.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

WHAT THE HE...CK ! I was looking at the Politicker Blog and guess whose good old Brooklyn GOP name popped up — “GEORGE SMITH”

According to this morning’s Politicker blog, “...When Mr. Spitzer arrived at the Board of Elections headquarters in Lower Manhattan Thursday night to drop off his boxes of signed petitions, he was joined by a gaggle of supporters, including a gentleman named George Smith. Numerous photographs taken that night show Mr. Smith, standing next to Mr. Spitzer, with a Board of Elections name tag affixed to his blue shirt identifying him as ‘George’....”


If there is any doubt in your mind, just read this excerpt from the Politicker post, as follows: “... Mr. Smith, who ran unsuccessfully in 2009 for now-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s City Council seat as a Republican, also has some skeletons in his own closet. According to articles published at the time of his run, he spent time in jail on robbery charges and for allegedly impersonating a cop. He also reportedly faced a slew of misdemeanor charges, including forcible touching, sexual misconduct, harassment and sexual abuse. At the time, his attorney had blamed the charges on his estranged wife....  Mr. Smith, a former Board of Elections employee, told Politicker that he was indeed at the headquarters with Mr. Spitzer Thursday night, but denied he had any formal role on the campaign.... ‘None, none. I just knew him when he was governor,’ Mr. Smith said when reached by Politicker Monday. ‘I like him. He’s a nice guy’....   He claimed he neither helped collect petition signatures nor had any current plans to join the campaign. ‘Not that I know of right now,’ he said.” ( See “EARLY SUPPORT —  Eliot Spitzer Attracting Some Controversial Supporters” by Jill Colvin, 7/16/13, politickerny []).

This epiphenomenon might or might not be a big deal for somebody like Elliot Spitzer, who is proud of the fact that he has rather blunted sensibilities when it comes to embarrassment over any questionable history with respect to sexual impropriety. However, the full story and full glory of the “George Smith Candidacy for City Council” might well get played out yet again as  part of the Brooklyn GOP leadership wars.

Let’s see what happens next.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Marty Golden admits to the NY TIMES that he gave real estate tax breaks to certain rich developers, condo-owners and tenants in Manhattan

NY Times finally catches up to Marty Golden’s tax give-away to rich Manhattanites almost a month after it was reported in the Daily News  

—  AND  —  

Dare I say it ?   —   Yes, I do.

HERE !!!

According to the New York Times, “The rarefied few who can afford to shell out tens of millions of dollars for an apartment in one of the gleaming new condominiums being built across New York City may be searching for luxury, but in some cases they will find an unexpected perk: a break on real estate taxes that can mean tax bills as low as $96 a month....” (See “BIG DEAL – How the Rich Get a Big Real Estate Tax Break” by Julie Satow, 7/12/13, NY Times []).

The typically tone deaf Republican-Conservative State Senator from Bay Ridge, readily admitted to authoring the special bill that authorized the giveaway of NYC revenue to a small class of rich people  —  “Yes, we allowed an exemption,” said Senator Martin J. Golden, who sponsored the bill with Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright, “but I am a proponent of the 421A program, and I believe it was the right thing to do.” (Interestingly, Assemblyman Wright said that the version of the bill that he had introduced in the NYS Assembly did not contain this special tax exemption, and that it was added later without any explanation or discussion in the NYS Senate version of the bill.)

The Times only gave a little space to critics of Golden’s tax giveaway, but it was there. “While some may question whether buyers of multimillion-dollar homes deserve breaks on city taxes, there is no doubt that the benefits are lucrative....”  And, one property was singled out as particularly undeserving of any tax break whatsoever —   “The exemptions have given some market observers pause, particularly in the case of One57, which was already under way when the legislation was passed and presumably would have been built even without the tax break. ‘The idea of the program was that tax subsidies can be an important tool to create residential housing and affordable housing that otherwise wouldn’t be built,’ said Vicki Been, the faculty director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. ‘I don’t see how giving a tax break to a building like One57 helps either of those goals’.”

(For complete coverage of the two Daily News reports and a fuller discussion of the issues related to State Senator Martin Golden’s tax giveaway to Manhattan Real Estate developers, and to prospective super-wealthy condo-owners and tenants, see my Tuesday, June 18th post, “Daily News Twice Spotlights Brooklyn's Marty Golden for sponsoring State Senate bill for tax breaks on certain Manhattan billionaire and multi-millionaire condos and rental units” below or at [].)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

President Barack Obama’s blunder in his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Services might ultimately lead to dismissals of all pending sex offense cases in the military

When President Obama announced that anybody in the military who had committed sexual assault should be “prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged,” he muddied the waters in military legal prosecutions for sexual assault across the legal world of the U.S. military

In more than a dozen sexual assault cases since the president’s remarks at the White House in May, judges and defense lawyers have said that the President’s words as commander in chief amounted to “unlawful command influence,” tainting the military trials as a result (See “Remark by Obama Complicates Military Sexual Assault Trials” by Jennifer Steinhauer, 7/13/13, NY Times [] similar to article appearing in the NY Times on 7/14/13).  According to the Times report, military law experts have said that those cases were only the beginning of the problem and that the president’s remarks were certain to complicate almost all military prosecutions for sexual assault.

The president’s remarks might have seem innocuous to most civilians, but many military law experts are saying that defense lawyers will seize on the president’s call for an automatic dishonorable discharge, the most severe discharge available in a court-martial, and argue that Obama’s words will affect their cases as unlawful command influence. “Unlawful command influence” refers to actions of commanders that could be interpreted as an attempt to influence a court-martial; in effect, it could be viewed as ordering the military jurors to reach a specific outcome. Even though a civilian, as the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, President Obama is at the top of the military chain of command and is considered the highest ranking person capable of wielding “unlawful command influence.”

“Because the president is the commander in chief, it’s going to come up in basically every imaginable context in sexual assault cases,” said Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School. According to Jennifer Steinhauer’s report in the NY Times, there already have been dismissals of various sexual-based assault charges because of the President’s remarks.

In a belated effort at backfill since the flap has blown up over the President’s remarks, White House officials have said the President Obama’s remarks were made only in the context of a news reporter’s question, and were only intended to demonstrate the President’s concern about the issue of sexual assaults in the military.  More important, that they were never intended a  recommendation for penalties for convicted offenders. “The president was absolutely not trying to be prescriptive.... He was listing a range of examples of how offenders could be held accountable. The president expects all military personnel who are involved in any way in the military justice process to exercise their independent professional judgment.” said White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler.

However at the time he made his remarks, President Obama also said this,  “I expect consequences.... So I don’t just want more speeches or awareness programs or training, but ultimately, folks look the other way. If we find out that somebody’s engaging in this, they’ve got to be held accountable.” It sounds like he knew what he was saying and really meant what he had said.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Another data-mining program comes under scrutiny, but the CFPB won’t tell Congress very much about its program to collect data on credit card holders in the U.S.A. — Federal Agency’s stonewall of both House and Senate inquiries suggests another possible scandal is brewing

On Tuesday, a top official at the rather benign sounding Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could not tell the House Committee on Financial Services how many Americans are being monitored through that agency’s secretive data collection program   —   THEN THE CFPB OFFICIAL >> REFUSED << TO NAME THE BANKS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE DATA COLLECTION PROGRAM ON THEIR CREDIT CARD HOLDERS 

When Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy asked Acting Deputy Director of the CFPB Steven Antonakes how many Americans were included in the new database, Antonakes had no ready answer, saying, “I couldn’t give you an accurate range.”( See “CFPB official has no idea how many Americans his agency is monitoring” by Brendan Bordelon, 7/9/13, Daily Caller []). Previous reports had put the number of individual consumers monitored by the CFPB around at least 10 million ( See “U.S. Amasses Data on 10 Million Consumers as Banks Object” by Carter Dougherty, 4/17/13, Bloomberg News []).

Antonakes assured the committee that the approximately 900 million credit card accounts the CFPB wanted to monitor, which represents nearly 80 percent of the credit card market, would not include any personal information. “The vast majority of the data we collect is anonymized.... We’re looking at individual low-level account info, but we’re not seeking to determine who that consumer is.” He then indicated that only an individual’s month-to-month credit card balance and interest rate are usually retained.  However, Cogressman Duffy questioned that part of Mr. Antonakes’ testimony, pointing to a contract with a data analysis firm that showed how an individual’s age, postal code and Census block identifier are all included in the CFPB database.

Another bone of contention involved which banks and credit unions had contributed data into the CFBC data bank. Antonakes refused to provide the committee with the names of the banks and credit unions giving consumer data to the bureau. “It’s problematic,” Antonakes said in response to Congressman Duffy’s request for a list of financial institutions that provided data. “It would impact our supervisory process and it would have unintended consequences for the financial institutions as well.” Of course it would, Duffy responded, because consumers would be less likely to bank at institutions where they know the CFPB is collecting data. “You take the data, they don’t want you to have it and you don’t care,” the congressman charged.

For their part, Democrats on the committee stressed that the bureau should have as much information as possible to prevent another financial crisis. Nonetheless, Florida Republican Representaive Bill Posey told the CFPB witness, that, “It’s inconceivable to me, unless you’re the most dysfunctional agency in the entire world, that you’d come before the committee today unable to answer the very simple questions you’ve been asked.”

The House Committee on Financial Services  hearing was held just days after Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crapo had sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office requesting an investigation into the CFPB’s data monitoring program. Crapo had previously asked CFPB Director Richard Cordray to provide information on how consumer financial information was collected and safeguarded, but says he was forced to turn to the GAO after his requests were ignored.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The latest buzz is that “Republicans for Change” are turning their petitions over to the Lhota Mayoral Campaign for filing — And, that Tim Cochrane will probably be their candidate for Kings County Republican Chairman

The final details of the Golden-backed petitioning effort apparently are being bumped-upstairs to the City-wide Lhota legal team; and Golden’s front group looks like it’s going for an apparent Eaton-clone to beat Brooklyn’s current GOP Chairman, Craig Eaton

While many Brooklyn Republicans are busy – cleaning, binding and filing their petitions, some of my Baker Street Irregulars report that the “Republicans for Change” faction is depending on the Lhota folks to file their petitions at the Board of Elections. If this is true, it shows a weakness in a key part of the organizing effort behind Golden’s frontal assault on the current Brooklyn GOP leadership team headed by County Leader Craig Eaton, who are binding and filing their own petitions.

Meanwhile, on another front in the war inside the GOP, it’s beginning to look like Timothy J. Cochrane is Golden’s choice to succeed Craig Eaton as Republican County Leader. I’ve been told that Tim Cochrane has made introductory calls to certain key Republicans active in the 2013 organizational races, and he told them that he might be seeking their support for the position of GOP County Chairman, if as expected, they are elected to the Republican County Committee.

Cochrane describes himself as a life-long member of the Republican Party, and that he has been chairman of the Kings County Republican Party Finance Committee and Vice Chairman of the Kings County Republican Party. In addition, in  2011, Tim Cochrane briefly put himself forward and  actively pursued the Republican nomination for the 9th district of New York. in a special-election run for congress for the seat vacated by Anthony Weiner, which was ultimately won by Republican Bob Turner; and in 2007 he actually ran for the congressional seat vacated by Vito Fossella.

What makes all of that a little odd is the fact that in 2011 Bay Ridgeite Cochrane didn’t live in the Weiner district, and that the Republicans and Conservatives in Queens were lining up behind Bob Turner, who had already run a strong race against Weiner, actually winning in Brooklyn, in the immediately prior election. More problematic than what Tim Cochrance did in 2011 was what Cochrane did in 2007; at that time Cochrane actually ran on the Conservative Party line AGAINST the Republican nominee in the special election to fill Vito Fossella’s seat. Because of that and other problems between the Republican and Conservative Parties in Brooklyn and Staten Island, the Democrats won the seat, making Michael McMahon the congressman.

Tim Cochrane is married and has four children. In addition, he has been active in a variety of civic activities, among them: as Development Chairman for Xaverian High School; as Trustee and Chairman of the Development Committee for Daytop Village; as Trustee of the YMCA Expansion Board; as a founding member of the Sisters of Life Advisors; as an officer in the Cathedral Club of Brooklyn; and as member on Community Board 10.

In business, Timothy J. Cochrane listed himself in 2011 as the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Empire Managed Properties, which he described as one of the New York area’s most innovative building management companies. Prior to that Cochrane had  a 23 year career on Wall Street, culminating in membership on the New York Stock Exchange and  a Partnership at Prime Executions Inc. Before Timothy J. Cochrane began his Wall Street career, he had completed a four year tour of duty in the United States Marine Corps, from which he received an honorable discharge in 1985.

In many ways it looks like Marty Golden is doing exactly what he did in 2007, when he pushed the current Republican Chairman Craig Eaton forward as his hand-picked candidate for Brooklyn GOP County leader. In many ways, Tim Cochrane is a virtual clone of Craig Eaton  —  a middle-aged Bay Ridge Catholic man, who is deeply involved in his personal business activities and a variety of community involvements that demand his time and attention.

This raises important questions about Golden’s efforts with “Republicans for Change”  —  what reason or justification has been put forward  by "Republicans for Change" for the removal of Craig Eaton as GOP County Leader ?  How does somebody like Tim Cochrane show any promise for improvement, or for that matter for change of any kind  whatsoever ?   How those questions are answered will go a long way toward determining whether Eaton stands or falls  —  at least among the undecideds..

Monday, July 8, 2013

Huma Abedin back in the “...News” — How come the GOP can’t turn her in to an “Achilles' Heel” for Hillary C and another “Achilles' Heel” for her weiner of a husband ?

Daily News reports that Huma Abedin, the wife of Anthony Weiner and a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton failed to respond to a Republican senator’s inquiry about her work as a contractor while she was still working for Secretary of State Clinton

According to a recent Daily News report, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley sent  Abedin and the State Department a letter last month demanding details on a part-time contracting job that Abedin held while serving as a top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (See “Huma Abedin fails to respond to Senator's inquiry into her work for private contractor while she was still working for Hillary at the State Department” by Dan Friedman, 7/5/13, NY Daily News []).

The wife of Democratic mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner, apparently has blown-off a top senator seeking details about  her unusual employment deal last year. The senator, Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, had written a letter to Huma Abedin and the State Department last month. In it he demanded that they provide details by June 27 concerning a part-time job that Abedin performed, while Huma also served as a top aide to Hillary Clinton, while she was Secretary of State. Huma’s  part-time work was as a contractor/consultant to the Teneo company from June 2012 to Februray 2013. Senator Grassley’s letter specifically  asked if  Teneo, a “global strategic consulting firm,” paid Abedbin to glean “political intelligence” from the federal government for clients of Teneo.

According to the News last Friday, Ms. Abedin had neither responded to nor acknowledged Senator Grassley’s letter.

Although the News reported that Ms Abedin had no legal obligation to respond to the Senator’s letter, Phillipe Reines, a senior Clinton adviser, said Ms. Abedin planned to provide information on her personal finances for inclusion in a combined response the that the State Department will provide to the Iowa senator. According to the report by Dan Friedman of the News, Reines said,
“As someone who worked in the Senate for eight years, she appreciates better than most the important role Congress plays.”

Given the esteem that the GOP has for both Ms. Clinton and Mr. Weiner, and also given that Huma Abedin’s personal history is almost to the level of broken glass, one wonders why this hasn’t become a bigger song and dance tune on the GOP jukebox already.

Back when Senator Grassley’s letter to Huma Abedin first made news, in early- to mid-June, Anthony Weiner seemed more than conversant about all the issues involved; and he seemed more than willing to put himself into the middle of things (See “Back in Park Slope, Weiner Defends Huma from Grassley, and Takes a Shot at Lord Governor Lhota” by Reid Pillifant, 6/16/13, Capital New York []).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


"Snowden case: Bolivia condemns jet 'aggression' "  --  BBC 



Bolivia has accused European countries of an "act of aggression" for refusing to allow its presidential jet into their airspace, amid suggestions US fugitive Edward Snowden was on board.  Bolivia said France, Italy, Spain and Portugal had blocked the plane.  President Evo Morales was flying back to Bolivia from Moscow when the plane was forced to stop in Vienna (See "Snowden case: Bolivia condemns jet 'aggression' " by  BBC Staff with additional analysis by  Matthew Price, 7/3/13,  BBC []).

Once grounded in Vienna, the Bolivian President's jet was reportedly searched for the "missing" NSA leaker Edward Snowden.  He was found not to be on board the Bolivian airlainer; and so, he is still believed to be in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.   Snowden is reportedly seeking asylum in Bolivia and several other countries.  The incident mid-air came hours after the Bolivian President had indicated that his country would consider a request for political asylum from Mr Snowden.  Meanwhile, Bolivia's UN envoy has told reporters in Geneva that he would complain to the UN about the European countries' actions. "The decisions of these countries violated international law. We are already making procedures to denounce this to the UN secretary general,"  said Bolivian UN envoy,  Sacha Llorenti.

Forcing the plane of a national president to land is a highly unusual move. Bolivia has complained that France, Spain, Portugal and Italy  denied the Bolivian President's plane overflight rights. It is widely assumed that the United States asked some European countries to intervene, since the U.S. wouldn't want Edward Snowden slipping from its grasp if he was on the plane and headed to Bolivia. An Austrian government source told the BBC that having requested and got the agreement of the Bolivians (because state immunity was involved), Vienna airport police checked the identity of the five crew members and six people accompanying President Morales. They then searched the plane and found nothing unusual.

LATE BREAKING REPORT  ---  U.S. issued warnings about  Bolivian plane  ---  NOW,  MAYBE, OBAMA >>> IS <<< READY TO SCRAMBLE THE JETS FOR SNOWDEN !

According to the Guardian, its Washington bureau chief, Dan Roberts, had been at a State Department briefing, where  Dept. of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki has confirmed that the US had been in contact with countries that had a "chance" of Snowden flying through their air space, saying, "We have been in contact with a range of countries that had a chance of having Snowden land or travel through their country but I am not going to outline what those countries were or when this happened."  Ms. Psaki then  refused to confirm or deny any specific involvement with the Bolivian Preisdent's flight or address questions as to whether it all might have been a breach of diplomatic protocol, saying these were matters for Europeans to address ( See "US admits contact with other countries over potential Snowden flights – as it happened" by Oliver Laughland, Helen Davidson, Haroon Siddique and Paul Owen, 7/3/13 , The Guardian []).

According to Guardian Washington Bureau Chief Dan Roberts , "Though the White House declined to confirm whether it ordered Western European allies to block the diplomatic flight containing Bolivia's president, the affair casts further doubt on promises made by Barack Obama that the US would "not scramble jets" to retrieve the whistleblower who has brought so much embarrassment upon his administration. ***  When the issue first threatened to overshadow delicate relations with major powers such as China and Russia, the US president went out of his way to stress that he would not expend political capital on "wheeling and dealing" just to bring a 29-year-old hacker to justice. Whether he was setting expectations low for the likelihood of Snowden's capture, or genuinely trying to put the issue in proportion remains unclear, but events since have shown the White House is willing to act far tougher with smaller nations who might contemplate rebellion....  ***  Of course, all the drama also has the added benefit of distracting attention from the impact of Snowden's revelations. Obama's top intelligence official, James Clapper, has just admitted lying to Congress over whether the US spies on its own people, but you wouldn't know it from watching US TV right now."

Is a grand old name re-emerging in Brooklyn's Grand Old Party ?

There are many birds in the trees near my early summer hideaway and one of them told me that the better part of a thousand signatures will be filed on behalf of the D'Angelo-Carbo leadership team in the 47th AD ---  I said, "Birdie, that's not very recent news...."


Since, my little bird is a Baker Street Irregular, who keeps his ear to the ground like Tonto, and backs that up with a lot of shoe leather where he keeps his ear [yes, he is a professional contortionist that occasionally appears on stage], I am willing to go out on a limb with this birdie.

It looks like Ron D'Angelo is making a comeback in Brooklyn GOP politics.  If even a small part of his old networks are intact, that would be a significant addition to the team supporting the "County Organization" of Craig Eaton, whose team is backing D'Angelo and Phyllis Carbo. In addition, it will also restore some additional institutional memory to the GOP in Brooklyn about the wheelings and dealings of the Seergy Club, late of the 49th AD, and more recently active in the 46th and 47th .

Monday, July 1, 2013

Susan Rice back in the news speaking on behalf of the Obama Administration's Foreign Policy --- Secretary of State Kerry chimes in --- Nothing Unusual going on

The relatively new US national security adviser Susan Rice says the Edward Snowden scandal  has not weakened President Obama  ---  and that  the diplomatic consequences of the NSA leaks are not that significant  ---  SecState Kerry then tries to say that "spying on allies" is something that everybody does, so it's no biggie that we got caught

The newly-minted U.S. National Security Adviser  dismissed claims that the surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden has weakened the president, Barack Obama, and damaged American foreign policy (See "Edward Snowden has not weakened president, says Susan Rice" by Conal Urquhart  6/29/13, The Guardian []). But, later events clearly might have overtaken the president's right hand security advisor.

The outgoing US ambassador to the United Nations said on Friday that it was too soon to judge whether there would be any long-term repercussions from the intelligence leaks by  former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.  Ricent on to e reject any suggestion that Snowden's disclosures had made Barck Obama a lame duck, damaged his political base or  hurt US foreign policy.  The incoming presidential National Security Advisor was blunt,  saying: "I think that's bunk....  I don't think the diplomatic consequences, at least as they are foreseeable now, are that significant....  I think the United States of America is and will remain the most influential, powerful and important country in the world, the largest economy, and the largest military, [with] a network of alliances, values that are universally respected."

However, since Ms. Rice made her remarks there have been further developments. Recent disclosures, based upon some of the newly released Snowden documents, indicated significant NSA surveillance on the offices of the EU and other U.S. allies.  The recent revelations about the U.S. surveillance program, which were made public by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, have stoked the furor in the United States and abroad --  and now it's about U.S. spying on its allies.

Responding for the first time to allegations that Washington spied on the European Union and other allies, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that nearly all national governments, not just the United States, use "lots of activities" to safeguard their interests and security( See "Kerry Plays Down Spying Storm as New Details Emerge" posted from Reuters, 7/1/13, Newsmax [ ]).

What is brewing appears to be more than a minor diplomatic flap. In a strongly worded communique, the EU has  demanded that the United States explain a report in a German magazine that Washington is spying on the group, saying that, if true, the such surveillance would be "shocking".  Some EU policymakers said talks for a free trade agreement between Washington and the EU should be put on ice until further clarification from the United States.

Martin Schulz, president of the EU Parliament, told French radio the United States had crossed a line. "I was always sure that dictatorships, some authoritarian systems, tried to listen ... but that measures like that are now practiced by an ally, by a friend, that is shocking, in the case that it is true," Schulz said in an interview with France 2.

Meanwhile, officials in Japan and South Korea said they were aware of the newspaper reports and had asked Washington to clarify them.

It's clear that the remarks of  Secreatry of State Kerry and Nation Security Advisor Rice are a sign that the White House has decided on another  tough-it-out defense,  and try to convince everybody that the Snowden disclosures are not that big a deal  ---  or as Michael Goodwin in the New York Post observed,  "What, me worry!"   "What, Obama worry ?"

By comparison, it is probably safe to say that Ms. Rice,  Secretary Kerry and President  Obama would have no more credibility trying to peddle that the Snowden NSA revelations are not devastating to U.S. security interests and foreign policy, than Ambassador Rice, Secretary Hillary Clinton and Obama did with the line that an anti-Mohammad video caused  the Benghazi  blowup last year.