Friday, February 28, 2014

Justice Schmidt dismisses “Marty Golden’s” suit to remove Craig Eaton as Republican County Chairman

Suit by four nominal “Republicans for Change” petitioners fails to name several necessary parties, including the NYS Board of Elections and several Brooklyn GOP county officials elected at the 2013 Brooklyn GOP County Convention


Earlier today Justice David Schmidt published his decision in the 2013 case: In the Matter of the Application of Diane Haslett Rudiano, Glen Nocera, Maureen Daley and Marie E. Daley  -against-    Craig Eaton, et al. (Kings County Supreme Court, Special Election Part: Index No.: 17848/2013).   It was pretty much all bad news for the plaintiff-petitioners, who were the stalking horses for State Senator Martin Golden, Timothy Cochrane and the self-styled “Republicans for Change” slate (See “#EpicFail - Marty Golden's RFC Loses - Again - To Craig Eaton & Brooklyn GOP” by Gene Berardelli, 2/28/14, Brooklyn GOP Radio >Official< Show Blog [http://brooklyngopradio.blogspot.com/2014/02/epicfail-marty-goldens-rfc-loses-again.html] for a Scribd. copy of the complete decision by Justice Schmidt  —  and a very nifty cartoon of somebody’s VICTORY DANCE).

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lessons about "The Enemy Within"... Part 3 – The Enablers

The first lesson about “The Enemy Within*...” dealt with the fact that “We [Republicans in New York State and Brooklyn] have been betrayed” and that is because “Republican principals of whatever stripe or self-identification have consistently paid lip service to conservative Republican principles and for expediency have been accommodationists with liberal Democrats and other advocates of bigger and bigger government....” and that “... [h]ere in Brooklyn... State Senator Martin Golden... [f]or his whole time in government [ ] has largely served the interests of big government state-ists and authoritarians.”    The second lesson “belled the cat” of public employee unions on the federal, state and local level as a fundamental internal threat to our democratic-republic. Particular attention was paid to The New York State Public Employee Conference (NYSPEC), Peter D. Meringolo, that organization’s Chairman, and State Senator Martin Golden, the so-called Brooklyn Republican-Conservative, who was the keynote speaker at this year’s NYSPEC legislative event at the NYS Capitol.

This lesson will shine a light on the principal enablers of State Senator Martin Golden and other false conservative Republicans here in Brooklyn and across this state.


MIKE LONG  AND  JERRY KASSAR

It would be too pat to use this post as a point of departure for a rant against the Conservative Party and its leaders Mike Long and Jerry Kassar. However, Long and Kassar are the principal enablers of Senator Golden. Golden’s endorsement by the NYS Conservative Party and his regular and repeated appearance on the Conservative Party line provides a fig leaf to that state senator, who is –  at best a mediocre conservative and at worst –  a wholly owned operative of New York City and State public employee leaders and lobbyists. Even though this column could easily viciously attack both Long and Kassar for being the false conservatives and the venal betrayers of their followers that they clearly are, all of that will await other posts on other days.

By the way, we recently experienced an epiphenomenon of where this is all leading with our local GOP-Cons state senator. Last week, it was put on vivid display with Golden’s “secret” private one-on-one breakfast meeting with New York City’s Sandinista-Democrat Mayor, Bill deBlasio (a meeting about whose substance the two elected official participants agreed not to inform the public [Hmmm, could any part of  it involve Golden’s support in Albany for tax increases to pay for “universal Pre-K ?]). Don’t be surprised at what might happen next.

THE OTHER ENABLERS

Although Mike Long and Jerry Kassar are Golden’s principal enablers, there are many, many others. Those people are part and parcel of a cabal that has repeatedly betrayed the Republican Party and conservative minded voters for over twenty years in its most recent incarnation.

Earlier today, there was an opinion piece by Charles Gasparino in the New York Post ** (See “Republicans for Cuomo sell out cheap” by Charles Gasparino, 2/27/14 [http://nypost.com/2014/02/27/republicans-for-cuomo-sell-out-cheap/]). In the most pithy part of that article, Mr. Gasparino asks us to consider the following: “... Republicans for Cuomo was created four years ago by Mike McKeon, a former flack for the last Republican to run the state, George Pataki. ***  Pataki is a decent man, but after his initial flurry of Reaganesque fiscal conservatism (tax cuts and restraints on government spending in his first years in office), he began to do his best imitation of Govs. Nelson Rockefeller and Mario Cuomo (Andrew’s dad) by cutting deals with unions, spending like crazy and handing out contracts to well-heeled friends. I reported on some of Pataki’s follies at the time — and McKeon was there defending this profligacy every step of the way. ***  Fast forward to now, and McKeon is dishing out the same bromides: Yes, taxes are high under Cuomo, but they’d be higher without him at the helm. The state still spends a lot, but it would spend more without Andrew watching over things. People and businesses are fleeing the state (Florida will soon pass New York in population) but McKeon (like Langone) says it would be a hell of a lot worse if Andrew weren’t around. For all of this, McKeon says, Andrew has “earned” the support of people who believe in limited government and pro-growth economic policies — that is, Republicans. ***  Yeah, and he also has a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.”  Interestingly, Gasparino is quick to hammer GOP money men for their easy-going switch of support from the GOP to the so-called “Republicans for Cuomo”; but he dismisses that as the ages-old pay-to-play politics that is always in vogue.

If all of that sounds familiar, it’s because the same bromides and faulty  reasoning are used to befuddle and in some cases compel Republican organizations around the state to fight to maintain the current ruling coalition in the NYS Senate under Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein.

Is it any wonder that somebody like State Senator Martin Golden is more beholden to the likes of men and women similar to Cuomo's Mike McKeon, and to the leaders and lobbyists of the public employee unions, than he is to his rank-and-file GOP and Conservative Party supporters and other constituents back in his Brooklyn district ?

With his free pass from Conservatives like Long and Kassar, and from his own toadies in the Brooklyn GOP like the so-called “Republicans for Change,” who could possibly stop Golden’s other enablers from causing him to binge on what Gasparino described as “...cutting deals with unions, spending like crazy and handing out contracts to well-heeled friends...” ?

________________________________________

*  Although there was a book with a similar sounding title about certain corrupt unions by Robert F. Kennedy, the series of articles/posts “Lessons about ‘The Enemy Within...’ ”  on this blog has no connection whatsoever to that work by Senator Kennedy. Even if there is a discussion in this series of the corrupting influence of certain classes of unions upon government, any possible overlap of material is merely coincidental.

** Interestingly this article by Charles Gasparino was linked on the New York State Conservative Party website, where it was both paraphrased and quoted (See “FEBRUARY 27, 2014 –  by Shaun Marie, on Feb 27, 2014” Conservative Party of New York State [http://cpnys.netboots.net/posts/february-27-2014]). I guess the leaders and spokespersons for NYS Conservative Party are either the world's biggest phonies and hypocrites; or they just didn't see that they have essentially been doing the same things as the self-styled "Republicans for Cuomo."   The Conservatives leaders that I know are quite crafty, so I have to conclude it's the phoniness and hypocrisy that is on display, rather than any lack of insight as to the real nature of the Conservative Party in today's politics.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Old Brooklyn Murder Case Looks Like More Trouble for GOP and Conservative Activists and Leaders who were around a few years ago

“If any one case captures the stinking, spreading mess six-term Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes left in the office of the man who defeated him, Ken Thompson , it’s the ‘grid kid’ slaying [of Mark Fisher].” —   Harry Siegel, Daily News

An attorney familiar with the case observes: “Gershman’s letter puts misconduct at Nicolazzi’s doorstep, and a DA spokesperson says ‘Nicolazzi is outstanding and respected prosecutor with exemplary record’.  That’s what Hynes used to say about Vecchione.” 


For those not familiar with this, the story goes like this. Nineteen-year-old  football star Mark Fisher was supposedly making his first foray into New York City. The Fairfield University student met three male classmates for drinks in Manhattan, where he met another female student and there was some “flirting.” One thing led to another; and, drunk, Fisher went with the girl to a late-night house party in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. Later in the AM,  Fisher’s body was found wrapped in a blanket on another property not far from the party; his face bruised from a beating presumably delivered before being shot five times (See “Cleaning up Joe Hynes’ mess
Forget about it, John. This is Brooklyn” by Harry Siegel, 2/25/14, NY Daily News
[http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/columnists?columnist=2.2577#commentpostform]).

The article in the News by Harry Siegel briefly mentions the case brought against Antonio Russo, which resulted in a guilty verdict against what Siegel described as that “known knucklehead”; however Siegel’s main focus was on the case brought against John Giuca.

The jury convicted both Russo and Guica of murder. John Giuca was sentanced to 25 to life, and will be first eligible for parole in 2029.


THE CASE AGAINST GIUCA COMING APART AT THE SEAMS

The close of the Guica trial left more loose ends than clear answers. One juror was reported  afterward to have admitted that he knew Giuca, lied about that fact in jury selection and pressed others on the jury to find Giuca guilty. A trial witness repeatedly described as uncooperative with the initial investigation; was later more cooperative; and low and behold that witness was later hired straight out of law school as a Brooklyn ADA. Three witnesses against Giuca  have since  recanted their trial testimony, risking perjury charges to do so (the other two now swear they were pressed into delivering false accounts by the DA); on top of that, the lead ADA on the case Michael Vecchione’s reputation has been shredded by recent disclosures about his handling of other cases. All of that material is detailed by Harry Siegel as being contained in a letter  from Giuca’s current lawyer, Mark Bederow, to the new Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson asking Thompson to revisit entire the case.


WRONGDOING  BY PROSECUTOR HANDLING GIUCA CASE DETAILED IN LETTER TO THOMPSON BY FORMER ADA AND LAW PROFESSOR BENNETT GERSHMAN


In a second letter from Giuca’s attorney to  DA Thompson, ex-ADA and law professor Bennett Gershman, who wrote the book “Prosecutorial Misconduct,” took specific aim at ADA Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi, the trial prosecutor on the Giuca case.  Gershman claims that “in order to win a murder conviction in a high-profile case [she] recklessly disregarded a prosecutor’s overriding responsibility . . . that only reliable and trustworthy evidence be presented,” and instead used “misleading, deceptive and inflammatory tactics.”  Turning to one witness, who has since recanted his testimony, John Avitto, Gershman makes his strongest direct attack on  Nicolazzi’s conduct during this trial.  Avitto was Nicolaazzi’s “surprise final witness,” (for whom the defense was given no opportunity to prepare); not only was his testimony “almost certainly false,” Gershman writes, but “from the record it appears that ADA Nicolazzi knew it was false.” This is the witness whom she personally vouched for with the jury at least three times: “you know you could trust him.”

The News’ Harry Siegel sums it up this way: “It is complicated, and guilt and innocence may be lost behind the haze of the trial. But even giving Nicolazzi — who has had a sterling reputation in a sometimes troubled office, and is now leading the probe of 50 convictions tied to former Detective Louis Scarcella, like Vecchione a provider of suspiciously miraculous witnesses that led to bad convictions — every benefit of the doubt, [Professor] Gershman’s claims warrant a substantial response. ***  Thompson has his work cut out cleaning up after Hynes. He could start with Giuca.”

PROBLEMS FOR SOME OLD BROOKLYN GOP AND CONSERVATIVE PARTY HANDS

The connection of the Brooklyn DA’s overzealous prosecution in the John Giuca case and the then-goings-on in the Brooklyn GOP was related in a prior recent post on this blog (See “Brooklyn GOP Wilson-Pakula to Hynes in 2005 at Center of Appeal of MURDER CONVICTION in 2003 killing” by Galewyn Massey, 1/31/14, The Brooklyn GOP Independent Fountainhead [http://galewynmassey.blogspot.com/2014/01/brooklyn-gop-wilson-pakula-to-hynes-in.html]).
There is an additional connection that had not previously been mentioned, this one with those at or near the top of the Brooklyn Conservative Party, which also negotiated its Wilson-Pakula to Hynes in 2005.  

The News article by Harry Siegel discussed above contains this  rather innocuous line: “The partying teens quickly lawyered up, leaving investigators frustrated and unable to press charges ....”  There is a lot more behind that than meets the eye — and it directly tied-in to then-active Brooklyn GOP and Conservative Party operators.

Shortly after the killing of Mark Fisher, the Fairfield University football player, whose body was found on the property of Susan Cleary, a Brooklyn GOP Executive Member; both Cleary’s son, Al Cleary, AND John Giuca met with Philip J. Smallman, an attorney well-known to Susan Cleary. Smallman conducted at least one interview with Guica during which he discussed many details of the Fisher murder case. Soon afterward, Smallman told Giuca that he couldn’t be his attorney; instead Smallman picked Cleary as his client and made a deal with the DA for Al Cleary, which required Cleary to testify against Giuca.

In addition to his relationship with Brooklyn GOP Executive Member Cleary, Phil Smallman had a very close working relationship with leaders of the Brooklyn Conservative Party, most notably Gerry Kassar. Kassar and other Conservatives had worked very hard over the years to obtain a judgeship for Mr. Smallman, at least sometime in consultation with the DA’s office of Charles Hynes. Several times over the years Smallman ran as a judicial candidate on the GOP and Conservative lines. Whether Smallman was in any way involved in the deal for the Wilson-Pakulas to Hynes in 2005 is yet to be shown.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coming soon to a computer screen near you --- Lessons about "The Enemy Within"... Part 3 - The Enablers

GM returning from secret mission  ---  investigating the Christie-GW Bridge scandal from near and far... Later coverage here at the "Brooklyn ... Fountainhead" will focus on former blogger that Christie thought he could just throw under the bus


 
GM had time to contemplate these conundrums:

---  "Is it possible to beat somebody with nobody?"

---  "Are Moron #1 and Moron #2 really only one person in two bodies?"

---  "Why hasn't the Red Cross opened a for-profit coffee shop operation; and put all that hot coffee to good use between disasters?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lessons about “The Enemy Within*...” – Part 2

The second  in a series about government and the GOP in New York   —   And in Brooklyn in particular

Public Employee Unions, and how they pose a threat to our democracy itself 

Whenever anybody tells you “We are not the Enemy....”  —  They are probably lying


What if somebody came up to you and said this: “How many times must we say ‘WE ARE NOT THE ENEMY?’  The media has criticized labor and all those, including elected officials, who stand up for the rights of public employees. One of our elected officials recently was asked through the media by the Governor: ‘Who do you represent, the public or the unions?’  It is an amazing question.  Public employees are the public. In the words of our elected officials, ‘Public employees are taxpayers too.’  The only way that we are different from the rest of the residents of the state is that we have dedicated our careers and our lives to serving the state. ***  Unfortunately, in New York State we face a continued effort to cast blame for shortfalls on public employees and to balance budgets by undermining the protections for which public employees have sacrificed.”

How do you feel about those remarks ?  —   More important, what do you think about those remarks’ being part of a legitimate plea or presentation ?  —   And still more important than that, what do you really know about any of the pitch that is being made with those remarks ?

First, those remarks are contained as part of the “Chairman’s Message” [http://www.nyspec.com/chairman]  on the “official website” of The New York State Public Employee Conference (NYSPEC), a labor organization that acts as a unified voice for 70  public employee unions in New York City and New York State; and those remarks are subscribed by Peter D. Meringolo, Chairman.

Second, The New York State Public Employee Conference (NYSPEC) nakedly presents itself to the world as “a powerful organization of labor leaders” that “is a highly effective organization with the power and flexibility to focus exclusively on doing business for the good of its members.”

Needless to say,  The New York State Public Employee Conference (NYSPEC) is not the only public employees’ labor organization that represents its public employee unions and members to the New York State Legislature, the New York City Council, or any of the other local governing bodies throughout New York. However, I have chosen them as an example, because they chose the only Brooklyn elected Republican office-holder, State Senator Martin Golden, to be this year’s keynote speaker at their annual “Legislative Event” at the New York State Capitol.


So when any public employee or any organization representing public employees tells you that “[t]he only way that [public employees] are different from the rest of the residents of the state is that [public employees]  have dedicated [their] careers and [their] lives to serving the state....”; remind whoever tells you that or something like it  —   “That’s not really true.”  Point out that, unlike public employees, you don’t have any highly effective organization with the power and flexibility to focus exclusively on doing the business of bringing your message to the New York State Legislature, the New York City Council, or any of the other local governing bodies throughout New York.  Also if they ever tell you that “...[p]ublic employees are the public...”, simply answer that unless they seriously want you to think that public employees pay the public to be the public in the same way that the public pays public employees to be public employees, that notion is not only false, it is impossible. Lastly, let any public employee or his union or other labor organization know that it is your taxes and/or mandated government fees and assessments that pay towards their salaries and benefits, and it’s definitely not the other way around.


‘THE ENEMY WITHIN – PART 2   — HOW PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS POSE A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY


America’s system of republican-democracy is under threat. It's under threat from an Obama Administration that seeks to polarize Americans along race and class lines. It's under threat from a Democratic Party that seeks to transfer wealth and pit those who pay high taxes against those who pay little or no taxes, but who also receive significant government payments. However, most of all, the American system of self-governing individualism is now under direct attack from America's public sector unions, associations and other labor organizations (See “The Greatest Threat to our Democracy” by Ben Shapiro, 2012,  Creators.com [http://www.creators.com/opinion/ben-shapiro/the-greatest-threat-to-our-democracy.html]).

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who strongly supported the organizational rights of private sector employees, strenuously opposed the notion that government workers be allowed to organize and form unions. FDR recognized that the ultimate power of unions resides in their ability to strike, and that if government workers were allowed to exercise the power to strike, government employees would be allowed to act against the interests of the dispersed citizens and other taxpayers. To President Roosevelt, that would have been patently unacceptable.  Over time, Roosevelt passed away and his clear vision soon passed away along with him. In the 1960s, JFK, recognized the power of private sector unions and realized that government employees who unionized could build a path to a permanent Democratic Party hegemony.

From that time, the agencies and departments of national  government and various state and local governments and/or their subdivisions would insist on bargaining agreements with growing classes of their employees; those various governmental employees would have to join unions in order to work and to receive the necessary representation to enter into collective bargaining agreements. As a result, government employee unions were able to exact dues from their members, and they used those dues to elect certain favored politicians. In turn, those favored politicians would then push for cushy deals for the unions’ members and also “negotiate” an unending string of bargaining agreements.

The ultimate winners in that system were those politicians who favored the government employee unions, union leaders representing government employees and the government employee union members. The losers were and continue to be  the taxpayers, who have to underwrite the salaries and benefits “negotiated” by the government employee union reps and many of those politicians who favored, and were in turn favored by, the government employee unions. Democrats across the country, often with GOP cooperation, adopted the same strategy on a state and local level. Part and parcel of the negotiated contracts were mandatory union dues collected by a check-off directly from the government employees’ paychecks. The system of forced union representation and automatic union dues collection now covers large groups of public employees across the country, destroying for huge classes of public employees the fundamental rights of freedom of association and free employment that should be part of any American’s birthright.

Although once enshrined in our statutes and jurisprudence, the idea that collective bargaining by government workers should be forbidden on the legal grounds of sovereign immunity and unconstitutional delegation of government powers (See “The Trouble with Public Sector Unions” by Daniel DiSalvo, Issue #5, Fall 2010
[http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-trouble-with-public-sector-unions]) has passed into almost complete disfavor and is little more than a legal relic. Nonetheless, it is still true that the very nature of many public services gives government a monopoly or near monopoly on functions such as such as policing the streets and putting out fires; and  to allow employees of those public monopolies to act collectively could therefore risk holding the public hostage. Long-time New York Times labor reporter A. H. Raskin wrote in 1968 that, “The community cannot tolerate the notion that it is defenseless at the hands of organized workers to whom it has entrusted responsibility for essential services.”


THE NEED TO RETURN TO LOGIC AND BALANCE

We must return to long-held verities. To tolerate or recognize employees of the government entering a union or other labor organization should be incompatible with the spirit of democracy, and also inconsistent with every principle upon which our government is founded. It would be difficult to contemplate a situation more dangerous to public welfare than to allow employees of the state to dictate to the their employer the hours, the wages and conditions under which they will carry on essential public services vital to the welfare, safety, and security of the citizenry. To further allow government employees to have the right and power to halt or diminish the functions of government in any way unless the employees’ demands are satisfied, is to transfer to those employees or their representatives an unchecked combination of legislative, executive and judicial power.

At this stage of political evolution in America, it is almost impossible for anybody in the Democratic Party to genuinely attempt to rein in public service unions ( See ““Why the Democratic Party Cannot Embrace Public Sector Union Reform” by Ed Ring, 10/15/13, Union Watch [http://unionwatch.org/why-the-democratic-party-cannot-embrace-public-sector-union-reform/]); even though some experts associated with the Democratic Party have counseled that they should do so (See “The Union Threat to the Democrats' Future” by Douglas E. Schoen, 1/20/11, Wall Street Journal [http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704405704576064282100893372]). For that reason it falls to the GOP to stand against predatory and rapacious representatives of public service unions exemplified by, but not limited to, The New York State Public Employee Conference (NYSPEC), which had been mentioned above. Several states like Wisconsin and Ohio have already engaged in limited versions of  this sort of roll-back of public sector union rights, and states like New York need to follow suit.

That is what makes the intense pro-public sector union activities of somebody like State Senator Martin Golden all the more distressing. His keynote address at the union function in the State Capitol is only a very recent example. He is an individualized personification of a public-private partnership that is to its core and sinew an avatar of “The Enemy Within*...” our body politic here in these United States. That Golden pretends to be a conservative Republican rubs salt in the wound. That he gets away with such a guise is not merely perfidious, it is ridiculous.

As long as those like State Senator Golden remain in power, “The Enemy Within*...” in the form of the public service unions in New York will continue to flourish and prosper, and our republican-democracy will continue to suffer its death of a thousand cuts.

_______________________________

* Although there was a book with a similar sounding title about certain corrupt unions by Robert F. Kennedy, the series of articles/posts “Lessons about ‘The Enemy Within...’ ”  on this blog has no connection whatsoever to that work by Senator Kennedy. Even if there is a discussion in this series of the corrupting influence of certain classes of unions upon government, any possible overlap of material is merely coincidental.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Wait One Minute, Mister Kassar ! Is Your Common Sense Column This Week Missing Something Big About Your Guy Marty Golden

Aptly titled  “Common Sense: We got your number”  —   Boy, do we ever !

Kings County Conservative Party Chairman and State Senator Martin Golden’s Chief of Staff overlooks his boss’s apparent support of the Universal Pre-K initiative after Kassar says the Governors’s numbers for that program really don’t add up...


Jerry Kassar was right on the money when he made these observations in his most recent weekly column: “Your government has numbers. All sorts of numbers. Unfortunately, the numbers often do not add up. And when they do not add up, we the taxpayers are usually the ones footing a new tax, fee or toll increase. ***  Let’s take two recent sets of numbers. Universal pre-K and the MTA’s vaunted East Side Access proposal. The governor says universal pre-K will cost around $350 million over the next five years to implement. The commissioner of educations says it is more like $1.6 billion. A noticeable difference I think would be the only point we could all agree upon....” (See “Common Sense: We got your number” by Jerry Kassar, 4/4/14, Home Reporter/ Spectator [http://www.homereporternews.com/opinion/common-sense-we-got-your-number/article_f2e7598c-8def-11e3-8d6c-001a4bcf887a.html). Kassar then goes on to look closely into the thing called the “MTA East Side Access” proposal/project as an even greater case of the numbers not adding up.  He tells us that the cost of this project, whose purpose is to help make the commuters’ movements from Long Island to the East Side of Manhattan more direct, was originally estimated to come in at $6.3 billion dollars with a 2013 completion date; and now, is estimated to cost $9.3 billion with a completion sometime in 2020. So far, so good, right ?

Okay, stay with this. Kassar then writes that, “Obviously, these enormous differences raise questions about the methods used to create the estimates which played a major role in green lighting these proposals in the first place. The governor’s entire state budget will be thrown out of whack if the five-year estimate for universal pre-K actually is closer to the $1.6 billion vs. the $350 billion he is using. ***  That has across-the-board implications on all aspects of the budget. And the MTA is talking about a possible 12 percent fare increase as it deals with various labor-related contract issues. A $3 billion capital budget miscalculation can go a long way in raising your debt service costs.”  Fine, that lays out the problem pretty well, doesn’t it

Well, it seems all of this was just a lead-in for Kassar to hype his boss, State Senator Golden, and a Kassar-endorsed office holder, as follows: “State Senator Marty Golden -- who I serve as chief of staff -- and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis have been asking a lot of questions, particularly on the East Side Access over-run. ***  Essentially, the project is the establishment of a new station deep underneath Grand Central Station. A $9.3 billion price tag for a single new transportation center which is larger than the entire transportation capital budgets for many states simply seems incredible.”

So where is the problem ?  What’s missing from Kassar’s column ?  —   It’s the Marty Golden money shot about “Universal Pre-K”....

You see State Senator Golden is apparently locked in as a supporter of universal pre-K.  We’ve mentioned that a few times here on this blog since a post on November 10, 2013, along with an UPDATE comment made later that day. Many other media outlets also have talked about Golden’s support for universal pre-K as well. In my main post of 11/10/13, I specifically asked this “What do you think Marty Golden has to say about all this ?   Just as interesting, what do you think his Chief of Staff Jerry Kassar, a so-called "conservative" with "common sense," has to say about it ?”

After this week’s Common Sense column by Jerry Kassar, I think I know some of what Kassar has to say about universal Pre-K; but, Jerry, what does your boss, State Senator Golden have to say about it; and what does he think of how your numbers on that program add up ?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Can you believe this ? In line with the GOP leadership “Grimm Votes Against Taking up His Own Flood Bill”

This is the same bill that Congressman Michael Grimm repeatedly mentioned during the flap after his threats and then his apology to NY 1 reporter Michael Scotto

Democrat “stunt” on House votes sure to embarrass Grimm back at home 


According to Daily News reporter Dan Friedman, “In the last two days, ... Grimm voted twice against bringing to the House floor his own bill to delay flood insurance premium hikes -- the one he was referencing last week ***  Grimm voted with almost all other Republicans in party line votes against procedural motions by Democrats to force House floor votes on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act,  a bill Grimm sponsors and calls a top priority....” (See “Grimm Votes Against Taking up His Own Flood Bill” by Dan Friedman, 4/6/14, NY Daily News/ Mouth of the Potomac [http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dc/2014/02/grimm-opposes-his-own-flood-bill-in-procedural-votes-0]).

In Grimm’s defense, an congressional aide said that Congressman Grimm still supported his own bill, which mirrored a measure that the Senate passed last week. However, the aide claimed that Grimm voted with GOP party leaders to squash the Democrats’ motions to advance the bill because those motions were “a political stunt,” to force votes on the flood insurance bill while the House was considering another bill.  Almost all the roughly 50 Republican cosponsors of measure, like Grimm, voted against considering it, but faced with that choice, two other Republicans from flood-impacted districts, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) joined with Democrats in voting to take up the flood bill.

According to Dan Friedman, “Votes like Grimm's are why political stunts happen. ***  Especially in contrast with Jones and Cassidy, Grimm's vote gives Democrats a chance to attack his case for reelection: He says he is an independent, if sometimes angry, voice for his constituents. ***  Democrats can point out he just voted twice with leadership against voting on a bill his constituents strongly back.”

In case you missed it last week or might have forgotten, Congressman Michael Grimm had explained that his threat to throw a NY1 reporter off a “f…..g balcony”, was partly a result of a long day “fighting for flood insurance.” After he apologized to the reporter Grimm said he was going to go back to fight for his district especially on the flood insurance issue. However, in the last two days, Grimm voted twice against bringing his own bill to delay flood insurance premium hikes to the  floor.  That was exactly the one that  he was referring to last week.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lessons about “The Enemy Within*...”

The first in a series about government and the GOP in New York   —   And in Brooklyn in particular

It is long past the time for conservative minded Republicans in New York to look at themselves and ask: 

HOW AND WHY DID IT ALL GO SO WRONG?   


A) If you are a state-ist, in particular an Empire State-ist, and believe that New York is a big, powerful and wealthy state that requires a government that is big, powerful, growing and fully funded by the people to provide everything that its residents, commuter business people, and various categories of visitors and interlopers  might need for longer, more productive and happier lives, STOP READING  –  you are part of  “The Enemy Within...” and I am writing this and future posts in this series ABOUT YOU AND NOT TO YOU.

B)  If you believe that New York is well governed and represents the interests of a large majority of its citizens, STOP READING  –  you are person who is so twisted and corrupted in your mind and soul, and/or benighted by some strange enchantment that your chances of recovery and rehabilitation   asymptotically approaches nil.

C)  If you believe that the Republican Party in New York City and/or State, as it is now constituted, is an effective force in moving national, New York State and local  government in a positive, productive, responsive and responsible direction, STOP READING  –  you are a mindless partisan that will not be able to understand very much of what I will be saying in this and future posts in this series.

D) If you believe that the effective practice of politics by the Republicans in Brooklyn and the Republican Party in New York City and/or State requires alliances with any other parties, partisans, ideologues or political special interest groups that advocate any form of state-ism, and Empire State-ism in particular, you are a fellow traveler and agent of “The Enemy Within...”; thus, you are for all practical purposes indistinguishable from them, so STOP READING, for the same reasons as stated in "A" above.

LESSON 1    —    We have been betrayed....

As Walt Kelly's character Pogo, often comically and/or satirically observed  –  “We have met the enemy and they are us...”

Since the 1970s, the Republican Party in New York State has gone from almost complete control of the state government to where we find ourselves today without control or even meaningful influence in the most populated parts of the State of New York. In the 1970's the Republican Party was a mix of liberal big government state-ists, moderates and newly self-identified  conservatives. By the 1990's, the Republican Party in New York State had slipped badly, but still rallied to place a few self-identified conservative Republicans in key positions atop the state government. In the 1990's the GOP was a hodge-podge largely manned by crypto- big government state-ists with a handful of closet “moderates,” both of whom mouthed conservative platitudes, and an even smaller number of orthodox conservatives.

From the 1970s, through the 1990s revival, Republican principals of whatever stripe or self-identification have consistently helped to advance a state-ist agenda.  Republican principals of whatever stripe or self-identification have consistently paid lip service to conservative Republican principles and for expediency have been accommodationists with liberal Democrats and other advocates of bigger and bigger government.

Look where this has gotten us. We have massive and massively expensive dysfunctional governments in New York  —  State, City and other localities and subdivisions. Republicans have seen their control, influence and significance diminish with each and every act of cooperation and compromise with Democrats and others that has increased the mass and scope of government. Each and every one of those Republicans’ acts of cooperation and compromise with Democrats and others seeking to advance and increase government has been a betrayal of the citizenry in general and their loyal voters in particular.

So where are we now, as Republicans in New York State ?   The Governor, a Democrat, has openly said that only cooperative Republicans are welcome to stay.  Most Republicans in state government generally and  particularly in the New York State Senate, have largely heeded his admonition and are seeking to curry the governor’s favor. They are a bunch of betrayers.

Here in Brooklyn, we have only one elected Republican who is actually from Brooklyn  —  State Senator Martin Golden. He was first elected as a City Councilman in the 1990s.  For his whole time in government he has largely served the interests of big government state-ists and authoritarians. Early on, he was careful to pay lip service to some conservative principles, values and notions  —  those bits and pieces are getting fewer and farther between.  In terms of anything really worth calling conservative Republicanism, since becoming a state senator, Marty Golden has engaged in betrayal after betrayal after betrayal.

Next in the series "Lessons on 'The Enemy Within...' ”   —   Public Employee Unions, and how they are a threat to our democratic-republic and even to democracy itself.
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* Although there was a book with a similar sounding title about certain corrupt unions by Robert F. Kennedy, the series of articles/posts “Lessons about ‘The Enemy Within...’ ”  on this blog has no connection whatsoever to that work by Senator Kennedy. Even if there is a discussion in this series of the corrupting influence of certain classes of unions upon government, any possible overlap of material is merely coincidental.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Westchester’s Rob Astorino to Open Exploratory Committee for Possible Run for Governor

Top NYS GOP operative set to head-up Astorino’s Exploratory Committee staff 

Counsel to Donald Trump poo-poos the news 


According to a post by Liz Benjamin, “Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is taking yet another step closer to a full blown challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo by opening an exploratory committee and poaching a staffer from the state GOP to run it....” (See “Astorino Opening Exploratory Committee, Staffing Up for Possible Gov Run (Updated x2)”
by Liz Benjamin, 2/3/14, State of Politics [http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2014/02/astorino-opening-exploratory-committee-staffing-up-for-possible-gov-run/]).

Giving Benjamin’s story even more heft is the confirmation by Astorino’s spokeswoman Jessica Proud that an exploratory committee was indeed well into the process of formation, and that the make up of that committee is expected to be completed by the end of the week. “He is taking the appropriate steps to prepare for a statewide campaign,” Proud said of Astorino's move to formalize his emerging campaign.  Ms. Proud further indicated that NYS GOP Executive Director Michael Lawler will be departing his party post to take over running the exploratory committee on Astorino’s behalf. About Mr Lawler’s selection, Proud added, “We need someone right now to be responsible for day-to-day organization, and Mike is someone that would be great at that.”.

Liz Benjamin specifically noted that “Astorino’s selection of Lawler will no doubt raise a few eyebrows inside the state GOP, since it further solidifies the belief that the county executive is state Party Chairman Ed Cox’s favored candidate.”

The announcement was quickly minimized by a spokesman of one of Mr. Astorino’s possible rivals for the nomination to be the GOP candidate for Governor.  Donald Trump’s  counsel Michael Cohen expressed his opinion that "The setting up of an exploratory committee changes nothing for Mr. Trump..." in a telephone interview reported on by Ken Lovett for the Daily News ( See ““Donald Trump Aide: Rob Astorino's Exploratory Committee 'Means Nothing' ”
by Ken Lovett, 2/3/14, Daily News/ Daily Politics [http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2014/02/donald-trump-aide-rob-astorinos-exploratory-committee-means-nothing]).

Lovett’s article highlighted the view of Trump’s counsel that Astorino's move to form an exploratory committee and hire as a top staffer somebody who had been close to state GOP Chairman Ed Cox to oversee it does not mean Astorino is  running.  “He's going to waste a handful of dollars in order to learn what he already knows--and that is he does not have the backing of the majority of Republican leaders and he cannot defeat Cuomo. The only one who can defeat Cuomo, and easily, is Donald Trump,” said Trump’s man Cohen.

Ken Lovett finished his post/article with this important back ground about any possible Trump candidacy:  “Trump has said he will not run if the Republican party does not clear a path for the nomination. The Donald has threatened in the past to run for governor and president without every following through. Many Republicans believe he will again eschew a run even as Trump says he is seriously considering getting into the race.”

Saturday, February 1, 2014

First the real Grimm-Scotto post-SOTU Rotunda Threat — Then Melissa McCarthy as an Unhinged Congresswoman caught making threats and doing mayhem on camera after camera after camera — A new Saturday Night Live classic

How far will SNL go to do a sendup of Congressman Grimm ?  See for yourself  (“Melissa McCarthy’s Unhinged SNL Congresswoman Is Way Worse Than Michael Grimm” by Tommy Christopher, 2/1/14, Mediaite [http://www.mediaite.com/tv/melissa-mccarthys-unhinged-delaware-congresswoman-is-way-worse-than-michael-grimm-on-snl/]; with link to SNL skit)