Monday, March 2, 2009

Organized Crime Politics,

Organized Crime Politics
Episode Two: The Rigged Election System

Money, influence and the fate of democracy in New York."The scandal unfolding at the city Board of Elections over the long-overdue modernization of New York's ancient, breakdown-prone mechanical voting machines. . . It appears that critical decisions about how we tabulate votes - the very core of our democracy - are being influenced, and perhaps controlled, by lobbyists and political fixers more concerned about their power, perks and paychecks than the public good." - Lewis, Daily News

It's not only the voting machines that are undemocratic, it is the rigging of the entire voting system that this blog has been investigating and reporting on:

1. 100 Years Without Change: How Tammany Hall Still Controls the NYC Board of Elections "MESS" The BOE is closely guarded by the incumbent protection society, because it serves as a gatekeeper to deliberately make it very hard and costly for anyone independent of the insiders from winning party positions or elected office. Since Robert Wagner in the 1960s, New York City mayors have tried to reform the BOE, but they have been mostly rebuffed by its arrogant leadership. . . Mayor Bloomberg once said the structure of the BOE is a remnant of the days when Tammany Hall ruled New York. . . Mayor Giuliani, who took down the five organized crime families, was limited to bargaining before the 1998 presidential election that he would give the BOE $18 million in funding if they agreed to accelerate its schedule for counting paper ballots. . . Koch vowed to fight for a nonpartisan BOE with civil service employees after the machine-controlled BOE tried to steal away his 41-vote victory over the leader of Tammany’s machine Carmine De Sapio in 1963. He failed. - From True News *** A History of Corrupt at the NYC Board of Election

The Board is controlled by the City's Democrat and Republican county leaders, who pick the board's commissioners.

2. Tammany’s Ballot Control Again and Again GOP Leaders Use Ballot Access to Fight for Patronage and PowerIt is not only challengers to local offices who are held hostage, even billionaire mayors must contend with Tammany Hall’s control of New York's Ballot Box. . . What the GOP has over the mayor is ballot access in the name of a Wilson-Pakula law that requires Bloomberg who registered as an independent (not independent party) when he was running for president, to obtain the written permission of three of the City’s five Republican county leaders to run for re-election on the Republican ballot line. . . There are no elected Republican officials in Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens and only one in Brooklyn. This year the Republicans lost their only congressmember in the city when it was discovered he had two families. There is no GOP vote to deliver in the city. It is all about controlling the ballot line. - From True News

3. The Real Campaign is to Suppress Challengers Using the Courts and the CFB Rules to Win Elections. Every year in an annual ritual, scores of candidates, many running for the first time are denied a chance to compete in the electoral process or have their campaign efforts severely harmed by the obstacles of ballot access. New York’s election law is among the most stringent in the nation. It poisons the democratic process and is kept in place by incumbents and a political machine which gain advantage by those that it harms. - from True News

4. Appointments Strengthen Special Interests, Corrupt Politicians.

5. NY's Falling Voter Participation - The City's election results from a half-century ago look like misprints. 3.46 million out of the City's 3.53 million registered voters, a staggering 98%, cast ballots in the 1952 Presidential election. One year later, 93% of registered New Yorkers voted in the Mayoral election. Today, the bottom has fallen out for the City's electorate. Only 27% of the City's registered voters cast their ballots in the last mayoral election in 2005. 39% of registered voters took part in the Mayoral election of 1997.

6. Member Item Slush Fund Cover Up When a candidate for council was asked recently at a community meeting if she had been questioned about the investigation of the City Council member items slush fund scandal, she truthfully said no. Inspector Clouseau Investigates - From True News

7. Venezuela Dictator Allowed A Vote on Term Limits .. Not NYC.
Organized Crime Politics Part 1

The Mob is Everywhere CITY COPS' BADDY BUDDIES: 100+ OFFICERS INVESTIGATED FOR TIES TO MOBSTERS, ROBBERS & DRUG PUSHERS *** COPS LINKED TO MOB HIT *** Mob rat ties Long Island cop and NYPD detective to slay.

"Some of these banks were run by people you keep trying to imagine in orange jumpsuits, people whose irresponsibility and recklessness helped loot this country in broad daylight. Once, you would have seen a stretch like this as another example of New York being the capital of money, the dollars flowing out to the rest of the country. Now these banks are symbols of something else, as if somehow New York is as much the capital of what has gone wrong as anywhere else in this world. " - Lupica, Daily News

The City SHARE THE PAIN - New York's public pensions are a time bomb *** CITY'S HEALTH CRI$IS: MUNICIPAL RETIREES' COSTS TO SOAR 128% *** TOLL PLAN RIPPED *** N.Y. pols can't bridge planned tolls *** CITY GETTING FEDERAL GREEN FOR MORE NYPD BLUES *** Stimulus green set to end NYPD blues *** Brooklyn Bridge To Undergo Repairs Through 2013 *** City To Open 42 New Schools This Year *** Fighting On to Preserve Morningside Heights *** Schumer Seeks Federal Stimulus Funds to Jump-Start Moynihan Transit Project *** Schumer skewers hefty hunk of pork: $750M for 230 projects *** New York Vulnerable to Poaching in Recession *** Broadway Traffic Cure Elusive Since the 1800s *** Plug pulled on two Queens hospitals *** PM MTA Bailout Battlelines Drawn.

Road to City Hall Back-to-back mayors have chafed *** From Bronx to Washington, After Mixed Results -Adolfo Carrión Jr. *** Bronx BP Special Election April 21st *** VITAL REFORMS: CITY MUST TRIM WORKER BENEFITS - By Bloomberg *** Rev. Billy (also known as the Reverend for the Church of Stop Shopping) is running for mayor as a Green *** The race to succeed Morgenthau as Manhattan D.A.-- It is going to be brutal!

Pay to Play Rep. Anthony Weiner gave $238,000 in earmarks to a non-profit backed by big donors to his campaign ***Senate Republicans received a quarter million in donations from a company that then received a $7.9 million lease from them for a “quasi-political” operation *** White House mum as foes rip Urban czar Carrión *** Bloomberg Defends Carrion *** Lupica: From the capital of money to the capital of what went wrong.

Judging the Judges POL'S PICK FOR BENCH UNDER FIRE -Assemblyman Vito Lopez is ramping up pressure on Gov. Paterson to appoint a judge with little experience to a coveted appellate position - his girlfriend's brother.

Albany GOP LEASE FUROR: $8M DEAL AMID CONTRIBUTIONS: DEMS *** GOV DRAGGING DEMS DOWN WITH HIM: DIAZ *** Legislation That Would Reform Rockefeller Drug Laws Nearing Passage *** Happy Spitzer Anniversary - When Governor Spitzer resigned a year ago, he left a bloated budget—and, worse, a successor who hasn’t proved he’s up to the job *** Paterson officials are gearing up for a hiring binge using funds from the stimulus *** Gov. David Paterson will reimburse the state for $23,000 in travel expenses for the Obama inauguration *** Twenty legislators are against bridge tolls to pay for an ailing MTA. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says the plan is the best of bad options *** A gaming firm hoping to win the NY state lottery contract lost big money on a similar contract in Australia *** In Albany, Silver's good as gold - Speaker rises above weaker leaders, sets legislative agenda *** Benjamin: Gov. Paterson strikes out on three pitches *** Paterson, who is approaching his one-year anniversary as governor, quipped: "If it wasn’t for A-Rod and Bernie Madoff they’d just about run me out of this state right now.” *** The Gotham Gazette investigates how the upstate-downstate divide affects the state Legislature *** While in Dubai, Rudy Giuliani discussed a possible run for governor in 2010 *** PM Pushing for Permanent Film Incentives *** Comptroller warns school boards of pension pressure *** Maybe It's Not Too Late for David Paterson

President Obama OBAMA CHIEF: RUSH NO PAL *** Obama will sign spending bill despite earmarks *** EX-CRITIC BACKS TROOP WITHDRAWAL *** GOP: BUDGET IS O-VERLY OPTIMISTIC *** White House, GOP avoid direct confrontation *** Obama to tap Kan. Gov. Sebelius as health chief *** Obama itching to scratch earmarks *** Sebelius' Medical History *** Obama chief of staff criticizes ailing automakers *** WATCH Joint Chiefs Chairman: I Don't Know Where Obama Got War Cost Numbers *** Has Obamanomics Vanquished Reaganomics? *** In Obama, Labor Finds the Support It Expected *** Obama's Crappy Website *** Web-Savvy Obama Team Hits Unexpected Bumps: Issues of Technology, Security and Privacy Slow the New Administration's Effort to Foster Instant Communication *** We Finally Have a Plan, and a President - Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker *** What's Holding Tim Geithner Back? - Noam Scheiber, The New Republic *** Interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates - Meet the Press

Congress One month since rising to the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand is still unknown to many *** Some Democratic Congressional members are bringing up legislation to repeal parts of the Defense of Marriage Act *** Republicans Say Budget Is Hard to Block *** Suspicion in the Capitol *** Filibusters: The Senate's Self-Inflicted Wound *** Race to Replace Emanuel Will Be Close - Chicago Tribune *** Senate Holding Up Obama Economic Advisers' Confirmation - Bloomberg *** PM Schumer, Wall Street's Go-To Senator, is Now Pro-Regulation

International HILLARY IN EGYPT FOR GAZA SUMMIT *** Clinton calls for action to forge Mideast peace *** Clinton Is at Helm of Mideast 'Dream Team' *** Recession, War Top Brown's DC To-Do List *** Europe Goes to War - Economic Crisis *** JOINT CHIEFS CHAIR: IRAN IS THE BOMB *** Mullen: Iran has fissile materials for bomb *** Morgan Stanley Bribery Scandal Threatens Deals In China *** U.S. Gun Trial Echoes in Drug-Torn Mexico *** U.S. Upbeat on Talks With Beijing *** Growing Economic Crisis Threatens the Idea of One Europe *** Report: Many EU Nations Do Not Track anti-Semitism *** World Stocks Fall on US Economic Slump, Bank Woes *** World Stocks Fall on US Economic Slump, Bank Woes *** Reporter is missing in Iran *** India Won't Stop Growing *** Hillary is on the road, again *** Pakistan's Peril - Washington Post *** PM Ukraine risks unrest as ills worsen; Cash withdraw not available at banks...

National Proposition 8 Battle Goes Back To Court This Week *** Jonathan Krohn Addresses CPAC, Blows Our Minds *** Do We Want a More Equal Society? - E.J. Dionne, Washington Post *** We're Not Heading to Socialism - Robert Toplin, Chicago Sun-Times

Wall Street Mess Round Four: AIG To Get $30 Billion More In Bailout Funds *** U.S. Extends AIG Bailout *** Hard Times Hit The Ivies: Yale Will Fire Up To 300 *** A.I.G. Reports $61.7 Billion Loss as U.S. Gives More Aid *** Citi Goes on Liquid Diet *** HSBC Trims U.S. Lending Unit *** HSBC Seeks $18 Billion in Capital and Cuts 6,100 Jobs *** ECONOMY IN A FIX: $QUEEZE MEANS BIZ BOOST FOR REPAIRMEN *** Charities Say Tax Changes Add to Pain *** Economists Debate Pro-Labor Measure *** Global Markets Decline Sharply *** Public Colleges Get a Surge of Bargain-Hunters *** Wall Street Woes From the Barber's Chair *** Stress-Testing the Banks NYT Ed *** Morgan Stanley’s Chinese Land Scandal *** HSBC Seeks $18 Billion in Capital and Cuts 6,100 Jobs *** Growing Economic Crisis Threatens the Idea of One Europe *** UBS Is Said to Raise Pay After Cuts in Bonuses *** Maker of Chips Files for Bankruptcy *** Not-for-profits throw hats in ring for stim funds *** Meet NY's wobbliest banks *** Feds giving AIG billions more after it lost $60B in 3 months *** A.I.G. Will Break Itself Up *** Encouraging Productivity is Key to Recovery - Caroline Baum, Bloomberg *** Wrong Turn on Housing - Robert Samuelson, Newsweek *** PM Dow Below 6,800; Lowest Close Since ’97 *** Greatest Depression Takes Toll on Hamptons

There is hope that the promise of regenerative medicine could soon be met. - Ian Wilmut, the scientist who cloned the first sheep.

Health Care Uncertainty over new health safety net for jobless *** Health-Care Effort Ascends Agenda *** Good or Useless, Medical Scans Cost the Same *** Safer Way Found to Make Stem Cells From Skin *** Embryo-Free Stem Cells *** Timing the Health Care Fight - San Francisco Chronicle *** Obama May Use 50-Vote Tactic on Energy, Health Care - The Hill

Media Mess Media: Washington Post Reverses Decision To 'Censor' Doonesbury *** WaPo: Under Weight Of Its Mistakes, Newspaper Industry Staggers *** Liz Smith Knocks Gossip Blogs *** Is Rick Santelli Part of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy? CNBC Responds ***
Hachette Restructures Magazines *** In Denver, Residents Lament the Closing of a Newspaper *** PM Philadelphia Daily News to Become Part of Inquirer?