Thursday, February 26, 2009

Organized Crime Politics Part 1

Organized Crime Politics

Episode One: NYC

Everyone recognizes that bid rigging on cement and traffic light contracts are the work of organized crime. Until ex-city labor leader and Queens assemblyman Brian McLaughlin pleaded guilty to fixing traffic light bidding contracts, that is. Why is it then, that when elected officials rig our state and city elections to ensure that every incumbent gets reelected, no one calls their deliberate strategy criminal and organized? Party leaders unchallenged for generations in competitive elections, use their control over ballot access to enrich themselves and their friends. Has extortion become normal in politics? The shake down goes way beyond control of the ballot lines. Member items and other government funding has been used not only to assure reelection but to break the bones of those that oppose the elected officials on any subject.

Newspaper editorials and good government groups push for individual fixes to our crisis in local government – public financing of state campaigns is one example. But, no one says outright that our right to representative democracy has been hijacked in an organized crime sort of way. Just like the mob rigged drugs, gambling and prostitution, our elected officials have rigged the election laws to protect incumbents from challengers. A good example of an election law hit can be found in the case of the candidate who was knocked off the ballot in a special election this week because a judge said the name of his party broke the election law (in a special election you cannot use established parties). Glenn DiResto was removed from the ballot because the name he chose: Families First, according to the judge, sounded too much like the established Working Families Party. Because of thuggish tactics like the manipulation of election laws, our local elections have become so noncompetitive that beyond public view, most incumbents regardless of party or reform beliefs, work together like the organized crime commission (organized in 1957 in Appalachian, New York), to keep the outs “out.” Sometimes elections are so fixed that opposing parties do not put up candidates to oppose elected officials who work with them . In Brooklyn last year Democrats Kurger and Cymbrowitz were both unopposed by Republicans. Republican Golden was unopposed by Democrats. There are dozens of other examples throughout the city.

It is not only the election laws at play here. A lot of muscle has been used by incumbents to cause the collapse of local competitive elections: The barriers erected to block ballot access to non-incumbent candidates; redistricting to protect incumbents and divide organized communities; the political use of the government budget by incumbents - member items; the low voter turnout caused by the lack of a real choice, the replacement of the clubhouse system which with all its probems provided services in exchange for votes, with public relations consultant's flacks who spin to a willing press that all too often accepts press releases and spin as news.

Democracy is strongest and the public is best represented when one candidate gets 49% and the other gets 51%. In a close election incumbents are forced to pay attention to their voter’s needs and their legislative leaders funnel programs and services to their districts to help them get reelected. Click here to read more about Political Organized Crime *** Showdown for the BusFellas' Union: A mobster's old cronies vie to keep control.

The City 'CRAWLS'-BRONX EXPWY. IS SLOWEST ROUTE IN US *** BROADWAY CARS CAN TAKE A WALK *** Mayor Plans to Close Parts of Broadway to Traffic *** No cars go: Mayor to close 7 blocks of Broadway *** Sidewalk fixes tripping up DOT ***Confirmed by Study: NYC Roads Are Really Congested *** Union Crane-Safety Teacher Admitted to Oversight Lapses *** And Do I Hear $2 Million? No? $1 Million? Sold! - Awash in unsold inventory, developers in New York are looking to condo auctions to jump-start the market *** A Stir Over Plan to Grade New York City’s Restaurants *** Say no to federal stimulus money for Atlantic Yards : To: New York State Governor David Paterson *** Cash-strapped NYers see spike in utility service shutoffs *** Now Harlem parents can get an education - Lewis, DN *** PM Predictable? The Red Hook Ikea is the chain’s best-selling store in North America. [The Brooklyn Paper] *** Starting on the L train today, robots begin their quest for global domination. [New York Press via Huffington Post] *** Envisioning a kinder, gentler Herald Square. [Streetsblog] *** Brooklyn Community Calls For End To Gun Violence.

Road to City Hall Mike Rips Paterson, Hails Rudy Bloomberg was "very critical" of Gov. Paterson during a private powwow with Republican leaders yesterday and said former Mayor Giuliani would make a "great governor *** No ‘Warm and Fuzzy’ Feeling as Mayor Seeks the Support of G.O.P. Leaders *** Mayor Lobbies City GOP Over Ballot Nod *** Bloomy woos GOPers, but no line on nod *** Mayor's Road Back to City Hall Not as Smooth as Planned? *** Special Election: Queens Results Clear, Island Winner Still Unknown - recount and absentee ballot count could talk 2 weeks *** Queens tweeders not doing so well in the polls Results of the latest Marist poll regarding the Public Advocate race *** PM Bloomberg Name Drops Giuliani in GOP Meeting

Paterson FLAILING PATERSON'S POLITICAL PURGE CONTINUES *** Bill Cunningham Is Out *** Gov's top man, Bill Cunningham, resigns *** Paterson does material at Lippman swearing-in *** Paterson's problems: Now a daily drumbeat *** Paterson Shakes Up Staff, From Top Down *** The governor reportedly dumped his old political strategy firm partially because of conflicts of interest, but his new firm may face the same problem *** Embattled Gov hires new aide, mouthpiece *** The Daily Freeman thinks the governor "may well be out of his ever-loving mind" to have proposed a $10 tax on filing paper tax returns *** PM Paterson makeover: Clinton people, a sense of do-or-die

Will the Gang of 3 or 4 Make A Deal With the Mayor to Kill the Term Limits Bill?
Albany May Undo City's Term-Limit Extension

Albany SILVER PLAN: $2 BRIDGE TOLL *** Silver Proposes Tolls on East and Harlem River Bridges *** Harlem and East River bridge tolls hold up MTA's crisis plan in Albany *** 'Fair Share' Tax Reform Gaining Steam *** NY leaders detail stimulus spending The State Comptroller will scrutinize the Albany’s practice of issuing “no-fine” parking tickets to a select cadre of vehicles *** Nickels to Clean New York - to keep environmental programs going *** There’s serious competition for stimulus funds *** The legislature considers the Ravitch proposal for the MTA. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver proposes tolls on bridges into the city to help bail out the MTA *** Silver proposes $2 toll plan for East River bridges

Blog Comment of the Day Weekend subway service still on chopping block
Taxpayer said... Typical bureaucratic thug talk. Why is it that when merchants (food, service, clothing ...) want to increase sales and profits, the best way is to have a sale?But, when any government agency wants more money, it raises prices and cuts service.Now, when bureaucrats like Commissar Death and Taxes claim that there is a financial crisis, and people are losing jobs, and small business is closing, we should all "sacrifice" to restore prosperity.But, the MTA wants to worsen the crisis by limiting travel to only folks who pay more for less. MTA management, in its limited capacity to think imaginatively, simply cannot (WILL NOT) lower prices to increase ridership. Let Burger King take this agency over. On its break times alone, they would make Mass Transit fantastic.With lowered ridership, fewer people will use mass transit to move around to shop, see movies, visit, in short, to spend.Also never forget that the "Titan of Commerce" wants to enact his travel ban via the "Congestion Tax", and in-city bridge tolls, claiming that drivers must switch to MTA's Mass Transit system.Never forget this. Dump these morons. - Wednesday, February 25, 2009, Queens Crap

The Obama initiatives add up to one of the most far-reaching domestic agendas in years.- Jackie Calmes, Robert Pearin the New York Times

President Obama O Has Locke On Commerce *** Harlem and East River bridge tolls hold up MTA's crisis plan in Albany *** OBAMA WANTS TOUGH REGS ON WALL STREET *** Obama Takes Ownership of the Crisis *** Obama to Seek Higher Tax on Affluent to Pay for Health Care *** Mr. Obama’s Energy Future -NYT Ed *** KRISTOF
Africa’s ‘Obama’ School - NYT *** Obama Will Seek $75.5B More for Iraq, Afghanistan Combat Operations... *** Obama Budget Would Create $634B Health-Care Fund... *** 52M WATCH OBAMA ADDRESS... *** PANETTA: 'THERE'S NO QUESTION' THERE'S STILL WAR ON TERROR... *** Obama Casts Crisis as Opportunity to Overhaul Banks, Health Care, Energy... *** Obama to Seek New Assault Weapons Ban... *** Obama Expected To Kill Hedge Fund Tax Break ***Lobbying Cost Civil Rights Champion Important DOJ Role *** Rove: Obama's Straw Men *** Obama Budget Taxes Wealthy to Expand Health Care *** Obama gives us large dose of hope *** First Lady Michelle Obama discussed life at the White House.

Congress They Feel Our Pain (yeah, Right!): Congress Forgoes Pay Hike *** CONGRESS' PORKY POLS PIG OUT ON FINE $WINE: BIG BUCKS TO CANOES & TATTOOS *** Mortgage relief bill set for House vote *** Black caucus to press Obama on priorities *** House OKs $410B spending, reverses Bush policies *** Kentucky senator battles his own party *** Longest serving Dem senator slams Obama... *** Reid And Top Democrats Brush Off Obama On Earmarks *** K Street Gets Busy: Industries Targeted In Speech Start To Lobby Quickly *** Obama's Speech Leaves Hill Dems Very Happy -- But Demanding Details *** WATCH: Pelosi Pushes Back On 50,000 Troops In Iraq *** While Nation Sees Record Layoffs, GOP Refuses To Cut Congressional Staff, Says Reid *** Family feud! Lautenberg kin sue Madoff kin ***Engel calls Anderson Cooper's attack on him 'pathetic'

The uncertain economic environment has eroded confidence in the amount and quality of capital held by some (banks). - Treasury Dept. statement

Wall Street Mess BERNIE & THE DOMINOS: 3 MORE 'SCAMS' EXPOSED *** Bernie Madoff’s Secret Office Was Known As ‘the Cage’ *** Greenwich Fund Managers Stole Money for Horses *** 2 Money Managers Held in New Wall St. Fraud Case *** Latest bust stirs wakeup calls for the SEC *** Two major fraud cases land in NY federal court *** Big U.S. Role in Lending to Students *** Official: Budget projects $1.75 trillion deficit *** Another day, another huge swindle *** They ran team right into deep freeze *** Official: Budget projects $1.75 trillion deficit *** Source: Budget anticipates new $250B bank bailout *** THE DETROIT MONEY PIT -NYP Ed *** AIR DELAYS COST FLIERS BILLIONS *** TARGETING DEBT CHEATS *** GOLF'S TARP TRAP: BANKS SHOOT BOGIES OVER SPONSORING PGA EVENTS *** Citigroup, Government Have Rocky Relationship *** UBS Names a New Chief Executive *** Government Offers Details of Bank Stress Test *** Tax Suspicions Grow on Swiss Accounts *** HOME SALES SINK ALONG WITH PRICES ***Condo co-developer files for bankruptcy *** SAKS' STOCK SPIKES DESPITE $98.8M LOSS *** MARTHA'S RESULTS TURN SOUR *** G.M. Loses $9.6 Billion as Its Struggles Continue *** As Saks Reports a Loss, Its Chief Offers a Plan *** Home Sales and Prices Continue to Plummet *** Outlook grim for budget's costly initiatives... *** FIDELITY exec slams 'New Deal II'; Blames feds for crisis... *** CITI customers angry about gov't plans... *** Nobel economist's financial firm files for Ch.... *** Fortunoff set to begin liquidation Thursday *** Federal Budget Deficit To Hit $1.75 Trillion *** Industries Step Up Lobbying *** Commission Urges Taxing Drivers More *** Curse of the Zombie Banks Haunts Fed *** Bank Capital Gets Stress Test *** Money Managers Lived Large on Fraud, U.S. Says *** Family feud! Lautenberg kin sue Madoff kin *** 25 Most Valuable Blogs *** Daly: While AIG whines, kin of firefighters wait ***Good Fortunoff on gift cards *** Woman wins house in raffle after husband laid off

National Drug cartel's tentacles stretch across the US *** Report: Bush's drug office lacked broader focus *** Recession, bailout, stimulus: US security threats? *** Calls to Florida Help Line Grow *** Gov. Bobby Jindal's rising star is now falling.

International Hill Hammers Israel Over Gaza Aid Crisis *** Falling Revenues Threaten Rebuilding and Stability in Iraq *** RBS Posts Biggest Loss in U.K. History *** A Promise of Reform in Saudi Arabia - NYT Ed *** Netanyahu Set to Fight Israel's Recession With Repeat Dose of Tax-Cutting... *** Pakistan's Leader Stirs Fresh Turmoil *** Gulf Slowdown Hits India's Shores *** Pakistani Colonel Linked to Mumbai Attacks *** Pressure up on Al Qaeda, says CIA head

Health Care Medicare Spending Still Varies Widely by Region *** The Health Care Fight Begins: Obama Budget Creates $634B Health Fund

Media Mess T FOR TIMES FOR LESS: FASHION MAGAZINE HAS FREQUENCY CUT *** The New York Times Is Falling Down, Falling Down... - Wolff, newser *** Sharp Decline in Profit at Washington Post Co. *** VANITY SPARE: CONDE NAST HAVING 'WORST YEAR OF ANY PUBLISHER'... *** MediaWashington Post Profit Plunges 77 Percent *** ChicagoTribune Tower Taken Off The Market *** NAACP plans protests over NY Post cartoon *** Sharpton turns up heat on News Corp. *** PM Wilbert A. Tatum, 76, Ex-Amsterdam News Publisher, Is Dead