Bharara celebrates anniversary of Malcolm Smith arrest | NY Post

"Putting dirty politicians in prison may be necessary but it is not sufficient. Still true." –Preet Bharara, US Attorney Southern District of New York. [April 2, 2016]

Michael Benjamin
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Malcolm Smith still doesn’t think he deserves jail time | NY Post

Malcolm Smith still doesn’t think he deserves jail time
By Lia Eustachewich
October 6, 2016

Ex-state Sen. Malcolm Smith is the latest crooked politician to appeal his conviction in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling tied to public-corruption cases.

Smith’s lawyer, Marc Fernich, argued in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday that Smith shouldn’t have been convicted because he only set up meetings in exchange for kickbacks, which doesn’t constitute bribery under the Supreme Court’s ruling in ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s case.

“This was a key defense theme throughout the case, that all he did was set up meetings,” Fernich told the three-judge panel.

The country’s highest court recently overturned McDonnell’s conviction, ruling that what he was accused of did not constitute bribery.

The Second Circuit court did not rule in Smith’s case, nor in that of convicted ex-Queens Republican Vice-Chair Vincent Tabone, who also argued an appeal before the panel Thursday.

Tabone — who was tried with Smith for plotting to rig the 2013 mayoral election by getting Smith on the ticket — claims he didn’t have a “fiduciary duty” to his party that would’ve barred him from accepting bribes from Smith.

Smith is currently serving a seven-year sentence, while Tabone got 3 ¹/₂ years.

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The left’s latest censorship trick targets YouTube | NY Post

New York Post


The left’s latest censorship trick targets YouTube

It looks like the lefty speech fascists have a new trick: Flag right-of-center YouTube videos as “potentially objectionable” to keep eyes off them.

The latest victim is Christina Hoff Sommers, an author and scholar known for her books and speeches critical of “establishment” feminism. Trolls are marking her “factual feminist” videos — debunking myths like the “wage gap” and challenging the notion that video games are sexist — as “objectionable.”

Also labeled “potentially objectionable” are videos from Prager University, a project of right-of-center writer Dennis Prager — including a five-minute lecture on the history of Israel by Harvard prof Alan Dershowitz.

Once a video is flagged, its owner can no longer receive ad revenue — and an on-screen disclaimer misrepresents the educational video as possibly nasty stuff. YouTube actually has a reward system for anyone who reports “inappropriate content” — an extra incentive for the trolls.

Sommers is all too familiar with lefty bullying: Like all too many unorthodox thinkers, she’s faced numerous campus protests and even speech cancellations because the left would rather censor than argue.

If YouTube doesn’t want to keep enabling these petty fascists, it better rethink its “potentially objectionable” system.

Michael Benjamin
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De Blasio demands resignation of elections official who blasted ID program | NY Post

De Blasio demands resignation of elections official who blasted ID program |

Mayor de Blasio on Friday demanded the resignation of a Board of Elections commissioner who said in an undercover video that the city’s municipal ID program is contributing to voter fraud at the polls.

“That’s crazy and what he said was entirely inappropriate and unfair and absolutely the reverse of what someone should be saying on the Board of Elections. He should really step down,” de Blasio said Friday on WNYC, referring to Manhattan Democratic Commissioner Alan Schulkin.

“He obviously does not have the world view and ethics to do that . . . if he is going to talk about, first of all, falsehoods, and second of all, ways that would ultimately exclude people.”

The mayor noted that the ID program was developed with the NYPD to protect against identify fraud.

“It is being used it in other cities and countries. There has been no concerns to speak of about fraud. Again, this is just urban legend that there is a [voter] fraud problem. There isn’t. There’s no proof of it whatsoever.”

Schulkin, captured in a secretly-recorded interview by a muckraker for the conservative group Project Veritas, claimed the municipal ID program was contributing to “all kinds of fraud” — including at the polls.

“He gave out ID cards, de Blasio. That’s in lieu of a driver’s license, but you can use it for anything,” Schulkin said on the recording.

“But they didn’t vet people to see who they really are. Anybody can go in there and say, ‘I am Joe Smith, I want an ID card,’ ” he said on the video.

“It’s absurd. There is a lot of fraud. Not just voter fraud, all kinds of fraud . . . This is why I get more conservative as I get older.”

Schulkin also told the undercover that voters in minority were bused from “poll site to poll site.”

In a subsequent interview, Schulkin defended his support for a voter ID law to deter fraud, but backed off his criticism of the municipal ID program.

At a Board of Elections meeting on Tuesday, Schulkin claimed his remarks were taken out of context and denied that he’s a racist.

Michael Benjamin
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11 October, 2016 09:36

Isn’t it wonderful? Just the thing you need!

Michael Benjamin

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Feds Unseal Charges Against Cuomo Cronies in Bribery Scandal | NY Post

he feds’ Albany corruption probe inched closer to Gov. Cuomo Thursday with the unsealing of charges against two of his most trusted former aides — who imitated “Sopranos” mobsters by using “ziti” as a code word for alleged cash payoffs tied to the governor’s pet upstate projects.

Longtime Cuomo family loyalist Joseph Percoco — whom the governor once called a “third son” to his late father, Mario — was accused of pocketing more than $315,000 in bribes by shaking down a Maryland-based energy company and a Syracuse development firm in pay-to-play schemes.

Disgraced lobbyist Todd Howe, who hired Percoco as an intern for then-Gov. Mario Cuomo, was also revealed to have secretly pleaded guilty Tuesday to a slew of graft and tax charges in a deal to cooperate with authorities.


Howe’s admitted crimes involve pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from developers to rig bids on multimillion-dollar state contracts linked to the upstate Buffalo Billion economic-revitalization plan — at the same time he was working as a consultant to the taxpayer-funded program.

The feds’ investigation of Cuomo’s prized project was first revealed by The Post in September.

Evidence in the case includes multiple e-mails in which Percoco and Howe referred to bribe money as “ziti,” according to a sprawling, 79-page criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.

“OK. will deal with it after I get my ziti!” Percoco allegedly wrote to Howe on July 23, 2014.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said the “colorful, coded term” was “apparently lifted from an episode of ‘The Sopranos’ ” in which a character lost 45 “boxes of ziti” — or $45,000 — during an all-night poker game with players including the real-life Frank Sinatra Jr.

But Percoco and Howe were allegedly much smaller-time crooks, with an e-mail mentioning “7500 boxes of zitti [sic],” referring to just $7,500, court papers say.

In addition to cash payoffs, Percoco is accused of accepting “personal benefits” that included fishing trips in August 2010 and February 2011 and lunch at a Manhattan steakhouse on Dec. 23, 2010, just days before Andrew Cuomo took office as governor.

Percoco also got the energy company — Competitive Power Ventures — “to donate a private jet to transport the governor and his staff to campaign events” during the week leading up to his 2010 election, court papers say.

When asked if he was willing to give Cuomo, who was not charged, a “clean bill of health,” Bharara did no such thing.

Press Bharara announces that nine defendants including Joseph Percoco, former executive deputy secretary to the governor and Alain Kaloyeros, President of SUNY Polytechnic Institute charged with Federal Corruption and Fraud Offenses.Photo: Steven Hirsch
“There is no allegation of wrongdoing or misconduct by the governor anywhere in this complaint. That’s all I’m going to say,” Bharara said.

Bharara — who already has won corruption convictions against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos since Cuomo disbanded the Moreland Commission on corruption at the state Capitol — also declined to say if investigators had interviewed the governor as part of the continuing probe.

“I will tell you, I really do hope there’s a trial in this case so all New Yorkers can see in gory detail what their state government has been up to,” Bharara said.

Cuomo’s name does crop up repeatedly in the complaint.

It notes that campaign contributions to the governor poured in from executives, relatives and entities connected to the allegedly bribe-paying companies as soon as those businesses began pursuing state projects.

Cuomo got $375,000 in campaign cash from COR Development of Syracuse and $100,000 from LPCiminelli of Buffalo, the complaint notes.

And CEO Louis Ciminelli hosted a $250,000 fund-raising dinner for Cuomo in 2013.

Also charged was Alain Kaloyeros, a Ferrari-driving scientist who was paid nearly $900,000 this past fiscal year to run the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, which is administering the Buffalo Billion project.

Kaloyeros is accused of scheming with Howe to steer lucrative contracts to LPCiminelli and COR, which Howe allegedly squeezed for $35,000 in payoffs.

Ciminelli executives Louis Ciminelli, Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler, and COR execs Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi were also charged by the feds, as was Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr. of Competitive Power Ventures.

During the time he was allegedly on the take, Percoco wore two hats for Cuomo — working on the state payroll as his executive deputy secretary and also taking leave between April and December 2014 to manage Cuomo’s re-election campaign.

But while he was supposed to be working outside the government, Percoco “continued to function in a senior advisory and supervisory role with regard to the governor’s office . . . and continued to be involved in the hiring of staff and the coordination of the governor’s official events and priorities” — including “travel with the governor on official business,” the feds say.

Court papers allege that Percoco’s motive for corruption was a cash crunch created when he and his wife, Lisa Toscano-Percoco, bought a house in Westchester for $800,000 in July 2012, after which she left her job as a New York City schoolteacher.

As a result, the couple’s monthly income dropped from around $12,700 to less than $8,600 — while their expenses were at least $20,000 “and their savings were] close to being depleted,” the feds say.

Percoco allegedly leaned on Competitive Power Ventures to create a $90,000-a-year job for his wife that required as little as two hours of work a month in exchange for his pulling strings for the company in connection with its plans for electrical plants upstate and in New Jersey.

He is also accused of getting COR Development to funnel $35,000 in payoffs to him through a shell company set up by Howe, then performing official favors that included securing the release of $14 million in previously awarded state funds and scoring a “substantial raise” for Aiello’s son, who worked in the Executive Chamber.

In December, Percoco was hired by Madison Square Garden for a newly created position of senior vice president.

Cuomo publicly lamented Percoco’s arrest, saying, “If the allegations are true, I am saddened and profoundly disappointed . . . “Like my father before me, I believe public integrity is paramount.”

Percoco, Kaloyeros and Kelly appeared in Manhattan federal court, and were released on bonds ranging from $50,000 to $300,000. Ciminelli appeared in federal court in Buffalo with four co-defendants. He was released on $300,000 bond.

Daniel C. Oliverio, Ciminelli’s lawyer, denied the charges and said, “I wish everyone would withhold their judgment until we’re done in this case.”

Michael Benjamin
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Clarence Thomas Is Conspicuously Absent in New Black History Smithsonian | The Daily Signal

Justice Clarence Thomas, the second black man to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, is practically absent from the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Anita Hill, the woman who accused Thomas of sexual harassment, however, is given prominent billing in the museum.

The new Smithsonian, which opened in September, gives Hill pride of place in an exhibit on blacks in the 1990s. The exhibit features testimonies trumpeting her courage and the surge of women’s activism that ensued, while making only peripheral reference to the nation’s second black Supreme Court justice.

There is no showcase of Thomas’ own life and career, which ran its own harsh gauntlet of racial discrimination.

Read more below:

Michael Benjamin
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Poll: Clinton slightly widens lead in Virginia as millennials drift from third parties

Michael Benjamin
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Bharara complaint details activities of unregistered influence peddler

By BILL MAHONEY 09/23/16

ALBANY — While announcing sweeping criminal charges against individuals close to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday morning, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara referred to one of them, Todd Howe, as a “powerful and connected lobbyist with close ties to the governor’s office.”

Based on the details provided in Bharara’s complaints, to which Howe has pled guilty, it’s clear that Howe was connected and had close ties to the governor’s office. But while Howe meets the dictionary definition of a lobbyist — for the entirety of Cuomo’s tenure, he’s partially made his living off influencing New York’s government — he hasn’t been registered for most of this time.

Click on the link below to read the rest of Bill Mahoney’s story:

Michael Benjamin

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5 Hollywood Movies Infiltrated By China | China Uncensored/ VIDEO

I’m a fan of the Epoch Times newspaper (a media group that includes NDTV) for their support of religious freedom in China and opposition to the Communist party dictatorship that runs that nation.

It’s very obvious that Hollywood is putting making money in the (soon-to-be the world’s largest movie market) ahead of human rights concerns and democracy. The CCP only permits 34 "foreign" movies to be shown in China annually. The Chinese Communist Party keeps 75 cents of each dollar earned at the box office.

The Epoch Times/NDTV China Uncensored explains that Hollywood tailors many of its films to be among the 34 movies shown in China. They hedge their bets by hiring Chinese stars or film sequences with Chinese actors that are only in the version released in China. Watch the video and learn.

5 Hollywood Movies Infiltrated By China | China Uncensored /

"There’s a pretty good chance that the next hit blockbuster you watch will have been changed to appease the Chinese Communist Party."

Twitter: @SquarePegDem

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