Giving thanks: presidents from Washington to Obama | NY Post

By Post Editorial Board November 23, 2016 | 7:18pm

The first Thanksgiving in the New World was celebrated in 1621, nearly a year after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

In 1789, George Washington became the first of many US presidents to formally proclaim a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer”:

I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln likewise called for a day of Thanksgiving in November:

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

President Obama on Wednesday issued his own Thanksgiving proclamation:

Nearly 400 years ago, a small band of Pilgrims fled persecution and violence and came to this land as refugees in search of opportunity and the freedom to practice their faith. Though the journey was rough and their first winter harsh, the friendly embrace of an indigenous people, the Wampanoag — who offered gracious lessons in agriculture and crop production — led to their successful first harvest.

The Pilgrims were grateful they could rely on the generosity of the Wampanoag people, without whom they would not have survived their first year in the new land, and together they celebrated this bounty with a festival that lasted for days and prompted the tradition of an annual day of giving thanks.

This history teaches us that the American instinct has never been to seek isolation in opposite corners; it is to find strength in our common creed and forge unity from our great diversity. . . .

On this holiday, we count our blessings and renew our commitment to giving back. We give thanks for our troops and our veterans — and their families — who give of themselves to protect the values we cherish; for the first responders, teachers and engaged Americans who serve their communities; and for the chance to live in a country founded on the belief that all of us are created equal. . . .

For generations, our Nation’s progress has been carried forward by those who act on the obligations we have to one another. Each year on Thanksgiving, the selflessness and decency of the American people surface in food banks and shelters across our country, in time spent caring for the sick and the stranger, and in efforts to empathize with those with whom we disagree and to recognize that every individual is worthy of compassion and care. As we gather in the company of our friends, families, and communities — just as the Pilgrims and the Wam­panoag did centuries ago — let us strive to lift up others, promote tolerance and inclusiveness, and give thanks for the joy and love that surround all of us.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 24, 2016, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to join together . . . and give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

Michael Benjamin
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Bill de Blasio’s Budget Blues | NY Post

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The Poughkeepsie Journal: Cahill, Hayes cite ethics reform as key concern

From The Poughkeepsie Journal:

"The most important thing is getting back to Albany to restore the public’s faith and trust in operation of government," [10-term incumbent Kevin] Cahill said. "Expanding ethics law, expanding campaign finance laws, and insisting on stricter compliance on the part of the my colleagues."

Cahill, 60, has represented the 103rd Assembly district, which includes much of Ulster County and the towns of Rhinebeck and Red Hook in Dutchess County, since 1999 after serving a single term in 1993 and 1994.

Hayes, formerly town supervisor of Gardiner and an Ulster County legislator, said ‘whether the county and the towns can set a temporary sales’ is a key issue, and he would fight togive Ulster County the authority to set titssales tax rate, rather

Michael Benjamin
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Kingston Assemblyman Cahill Acknowledges Double Billing | TIMES HERALD-RECORD

Assemblyman Cahill acknowledges double payments

Posted Oct 27, 2016 at 7:56 PM
Updated Oct 27, 2016 at 8:09 PM

By Paul Brooks
Times Herald-Record

KINGSTON — Assemblyman Kevin Cahill collected personal reimbursements from the state for travel expenses he had paid with money from his campaign account, a possible violation of the law, according to a Times Herald-Record review of state and campaign records.

In an Oct. 25 emailed response to questions from the Times Herald-Record, Cahill acknowledged the double payments. He said his staff was supposed to track expenses, reimbursements and travel, but had not. "They were, of course, supposed to notify me when a state reimbursement check was to cover expenses for something previously paid by the campaign," he said, "but that didn’t happen either."

The 10-term legislator from Kingston, who chairs the Assembly’s powerful Insurance Committee, said the responsibility for the mistakes is, in the end, his. He said he is revising and buttressing his campaign-finance operations.

"I owe it to the public to avoid anything that can even just raise such concerns," he said. "They’ve had enough of that already."

The Record discovered the double payments while reviewing five years worth of campaign expenditure records, as well as state Legislature travel and expenditure records, for several state legislators from the mid-Hudson. The research took place over the past two months.

Cahill said he was not aware of the bookkeeping problems until the inquiry from the Record.

In a telephone conversation Thursday, he said he had worked very hard to protect his reputation. The revelations, he said, "are nothing short of devastating."


Gerald Benjamin, a former dean at SUNY New Paltz and respected political scientist, said Cahill had worked with his foundation in the past. "He has been very careful" to act ethically, Benjamin said. "I know he cares about it."

Michael Benjamin
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Elections official subpoenaed after his claims of voter fraud | NY Post

Elections official subpoenaed after his claims of voter fraud
By Yoav Gonen and Carl Campanile October 25, 2016 | 4:39pm

State investigators have questioned the Manhattan Democratic representative on the city’s Board of Elections, who was caught on a secret video claiming Mayor de Blasio’s municipal ID program was contributing to “all kinds of fraud.”
The state Board of Elections investigative unit subpoenaed Manhattan Commissioner Al Schulkin to explain his bombshell comments, recorded by an undercover muckraker for the conservative Project Veritas.

In the video, Schulkin also talks about people in minority neighborhoods being bused to different polling sites, while questioning where “thousands of absentee ballots” originated.

“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 said on the videotape.

Shulkin was interviewed Tuesday by state investigators, sources said.

He could not be reached for comment.

But sources familiar with the subpoena said the commissioner was not happy about being summoned and grilled.

Mayor de Blasio has called for Schulkin’s resignation, saying he was spreading falsehoods about the city’s ID program.

Michael Benjamin
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Cuomo crony negotiating possible plea deal in bribery case | NY Post

Cuomo crony negotiating possible plea deal in bribery case

By Bruce Golding and Priscilla DeGregory October 25, 2016 | 3:07pm | Updated

A former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo is negotiating a possible plea deal in his bribery and extortion case, according to court papers made public Tuesday.

Joseph Percoco — whom Cuomo once likened to the “third son” of his late dad, ex-Gov. Mario Cuomo — was supposed to appear in court Monday with five of seven co-defendants.

But the hearing was postponed so lawyers for Percoco, now an exec with Madison Square Garden, and the others can pursue talks with the feds, court papers say.

“Counsel for the defendants and counsel for the Government have had discussions regarding possible dispositions in this case, continuing as recently as on or about [Friday],” Assistant US Attorney Janis Echenberg wrote.

“The negotiations have not been completed and we plan to continue our discussions, but do not anticipate a resolution before the deadline under the Speedy Trial Act expires.”

Manhattan federal Magistrate Judge Kevin Fox gave both sides until Nov. 23 to hammer out a deal.

The order specifically granted the delay so the feds could “engage in further discussions with counsel about the disposition of this case.”

Fox also noted that “each of the defendants, through counsel, has consented that such a continuance may be granted for that purpose.”

Percoco’s lawyer, Barry Bohrer, said: “Any suggestion that Mr. Percoco is negotiating a possible plea deal is unfounded. … There have been no such discussions.”

MSG declined to comment.

Michael Benjamin
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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
Twitter: @SquarePegDem

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