A report released by state ethics regulators provides insight into the actions that led to Democrat Assemblyman Vito Lopez’ censure. The report indicates that Lopez told female staffers to wear suggestive clothing, stay with him in hotel rooms, forcibly groped one woman until his hands wandered up her legs, and even infected one woman with pink eye when he made her give him eye drops.
As always however, the cover-up becomes a major aspect of the crime, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is being accused of “encouraging” Lopez to continue his harassing actions by paying the victims to go away with over $100,000 in taxpayer funds.
Via the Times Union:
Reports unveiled on Wednesday by Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan and the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics also highlighted unusual steps taken by aides to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to keep under wraps a set of complaints from two Lopez victims that were settled just before another pair of women from Lopez’s staff began facing the same sort of mistreatment.
Donovan said the “secretive manner” used by Silver’s staff “encouraged” Lopez to keep up his harassing behavior. Silver’s press officer responded by noting that the reports found no criminal acts by the speaker’s staff.
Silver’s staff apparently takes pride in that they committed no tangible crimes, but were unable to spot and discipline morally reprehensible actions being committed by a colleague in the Assembly.
Lopez also, according to multiple sources, was even witnessed leering at a 14-year-old female intern, commenting on her “sexy attire”, and saying she should be emulated by the other ladies in his office. The incident led to one woman’s mother calling 911, after which police filed a child abuse report.
But hey, at least a crime wasn’t committed, eh Sheldon?
Fred Dicker at the New York Post writes:
The scathing reports that found Assemblyman Vito Lopez harassed and abused several female staffers, coming on top of the latest indictments of several allegedly corrupt lawmakers, show why, at long last, it’s time for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to resign.
Despite Silver’s repeated claims to be shocked, shocked, to learn of repeated cases of sexual harassment and abuse of women at the Capitol — even after those cases reached criminal levels in his own counsel’s office a decade ago — the reports confirm what has long been suspected: Silver is trying to hide from the public what may be the most sexually abusive workplace in the nation.
Is the New York State Assembly the most sexually abusive workplace in the nation? It may very well be.
Should Sheldon Silver resign? No doubt.
Readers of the Mental Recession will note, that we have called for Silver’s resignation from the moment reports of a payoff to cover up Lopez’ actions first surfaced. And for the very same reasons just now revealed in these reports – Silver’s actions in previous harassment complaints allowed Lopez to do these things to other women. He allowed Lopez to victimize at least two others by pandering to his harassing ways.
Last summer we wrote:
Silver has consistently swept sexual harassment complaints under the rug, has continually used taxpayer funds to placate victims, and by extension has allowed these unprofessional and abhorrent behaviors to be perpetrated upon other victims. He has proven willing to sacrifice ethics for his allies in government.
He is a panderer to predators, and must resign.
A ‘Second Amendment Rally’ is being held in Albany this Thursday the 28th, and will feature National Rifle Association President David Keene, and various other speakers opposed to new gun legislation passed last month in New York state.
The Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013 currently hails as the single most restrictive assault on Second Amendment rights in the country, and was forced through the legislative process without public review – a tactic that even Governor Cuomo admits was the only way to enact the law.
As a counter to the massive Second Amendment support being demonstrated by New Yorkers, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) started to organize their own counter protest. The SEIU has strong ties to Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and the state Democratic Party.
But they weren’t alone. That effort garnered support from the Obama campaign arm, Organizing For America (OFA), which also made announcements regarding the counter protest. Together, the SEIU and OFA, an organization who recently changed its mission statement to specifically say they will not “be involved in any way in … partisan political activity“, announced they would pay protesters to take a trip to Albany to battle the evil NRA. Payment would involve the cost of the bus trip, as well as free meals for breakfast and lunch.
Here is the SEIU announcement on their site:
Complete with a request for the last four digits of one’s Social Security number:
And here is a screen capture of the OFA announcement:
You’ll notice the use of the word ‘free’ twice during the announcement. Bus fare and two free meals is nothing to sneeze at.
Roughly estimating, most reports of bus fares for those attending the original pro-gun rally (you know, those not being paid by the Democrats) have the rate at $25. New York state per diem rates for breakfast and dinner with Albany as a destination amounts to $61. Since lunches aren’t typically covered, we can only use that as an estimate – which gives us about $86 per individual attending this clearly partisan event.
While it is unclear who would be paying those expenses (my best guess would be that money would come out of union dues), both organizations appear to have decided that paying protesters, is in reality a pretty bad idea … for now anyway.
The SEIU on Sunday deactivated the sign up link, and OFA has also pulled their link. Clicking on it now brings you to a page that reads, “The URL you clicked references an event that does not exist.”
Additionally, the 1199 SEIU of Central NY Facebook page has announced the counter rally will be “postponed”.
Feb 28th Rally in Support of Gov. Cuomo’s NY SAFE Act has been postponed… please stay tuned for details regarding the statewide action coming soon!
Fred Dicker at the New York Post considers this having averted a “potentially explosive confrontation”.
And Assemblyman Bill Nojay (R-Rochester) added, “Rent-a-mobs to provoke a confrontation cannot have a good ending.’’
For now, the rent-a-mobs and union thugs have backed down. For now, the voices opposing New York’s Constitution-trampling new gun legislation will not be drowned out by paid union protesters on the 28th. And that is a rare victory for both the Second and First Amendment here in New York.
The NY SAFE Act has passed the Senate, will likely pass in the Assembly despite ongoing discussions, and is poised to be signed into law by Governor Cuomo some time this evening. This packet of gun control legislation is considered by the Democrat governor to be the most comprehensive package in the nation.
The Times Union reports:
The NY SAFE Act would adjust the definition of a banned assault rifle so that any single characteristic — such as a telescoping stock, flash suppressor, bayonet attachment or pistol grip — on a semiautomatic rifle would render it illegal. Existing weapons would be grandfathered in, but their ownership could not be transferred.
A statewide registry of these guns would be created, and the county-by-county process for issuing handgun permits would also be standardized and centralized. In a change to the state’s Freedom of Information Law, permit applicants would be able to request their name and address not be released — a point that arose after the Journal News in Westchester County last month published a list of the names and addresses of pistol permit holders.
The maximum capacity of an ammunition magazine would be reduced from 10 rounds to seven, and a current exemption for clips manufactured before 1994 will end.
Private sales of firearms, which now proceed unfettered, would require a background check through a licensed dealer, putting those transactions in line with current purchasing requirements for rifles and shotguns.
At the urging of Republicans in the Senate, the bill also stiffens penalties for people who use guns criminally. It would also include an expansion of mental health providers’ ability to commit those found to be a danger to the public — another GOP priority — under what’s known as Kendra’s Law.
But the content of the legislation is taking a back seat to the imaginary need to get it passed as quickly as possible. The state Senate passed the measure without any debate on the bill, and Governor Cuomo has dispensed with the three-day public review law in an attempt to avoid public debate on the topic.
Warner Todd Huston writes:
… weekend dealmaking behind closed doors resulted in a bill that has bipartisan support, but the full legislature has not yet had a chance to see the back room-written legislation.
New York State has a constitutional amendment that requires a three-day public review of all laws before they are allowed to take effect. However, this bill’s backroom deal makers are urging anti-gun Governor Cuomo to issue a “message of necessity” that would cancel the three-day review period.
Further discussion will continue behind closed doors and away from the light of public view.
Sadly Huston is correct, not only has the bill been forced upon New Yorkers with not so much as a discussion, but a dozen Republicans in the Senate went along with it.
Despite Republicans willingness to bow to the governor on this legislation, and emotionally respond to a topic that requires level-headed thinking, criticism of these tactics has been strong. New York Post editor Fred Dicker, a normally reliable ally and current biographer for the governor, ripped these latest measures.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new gun-control package is drawing sharp criticism from one of his most reliable allies: The New York Post editor and Albany radio host Fred Dicker, who calls it “a Trojan Horse” effort to “regulating every single gun” in New York.As Capital New York’s Azi Paybarah reports, Dicker is usually Cuomo’s “closest and most influential ally in the media… a consistent booster of Cuomo and… a useful clearing house for Cuomo’s proposals, personnel decisions and political threats, which often appear first in Dicker’s column as lightly attributed offerings of sources close to the governor. (He’s also writing a book about Cuomo, with the full cooperation of the governor’s staff.)But on today’s radio show, Dicker described the package as being “all in secret, typical Albany, behind closed doors,” and accused Cuomo of using the tragedy to push his gun agenda, perhaps in order to win national attention.“This is a Trojan Horse. This is not about semi-automatic rifles. This is a sweeping set of gun laws the governor is using,” he said. “The governor is using the tragedy… as a justification for sweeping changes in gun laws including regulating every single gun millions of New Yorkers now own… It’s another reason people are going to be leaving New York.”
New Yorkers thus far, have only had a minor defense of their Constitutional freedoms on display during the process. Only two Republicans took to the floor of the Senate to speak on the bill. Greg Ball said the measure should have contained a greater overhaul of the state’s mental health systems, and indicated the final product would be nothing more than a burden on law-abiding gun owners.
Ball added, “We haven’t saved any lives tonight, except for one: the political life of a governor who wants to be president. I voted no, and I only wish I could have done it twice.”
Ball is right – the perceived urgency of the legislation is completely non-existent. In reality, the Governor was simply hoping to beat vice-President Joe Biden to the punch when it comes to meaningful action on gun control, second amendment freedoms be damned. And Cuomo is about to score a significant political victory. President Obama is expected to announce the recommendations of Biden’s gun commission later this week.
Meanwhile, the other Republican to speak on the bill was Kathy Marchione, who is now hosting a petition on her web site in an attempt to show “strong public support for preserving our Constitutional freedoms”.
Sadly, there are few politicians left who have taken an interest in defending our Constitutional freedoms.
U.S. Senate Candidate Wendy Long ripped the President for using the occasion of the Hurricane Sandy devastation to act like a President for perhaps the only time in his administration. Long stated, “We don’t need a President who shows up once in four years … we need one who shows up every day.”
On Fred Dicker’s “Live from the State Capitol” Albany radio show, Long contrasted President Barack Obama’s visit to New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy from his “aloof, detached, and partisan” performance as President for the last 3.8 years.
She then compared his efforts to that of a Little League player awarded a trophy for participation.
“The current cultural trend to award trophies for ‘just showing up’ is one thing in Little League, but quite another in the big league, when it applies to the President of the United States. So many Americans who were already struggling to find work and pay their bills now have to add recovering from a hurricane to their difficulties. Where is the disaster relief for the middle class and the working class of this country?” concluded Long.
It would seem that long forget that the President had already received a trophy early on in his term – just for showing up.
Long also took a little swipe at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who for some reason was so surprised by the President’s actions in doing his job, that he suddenly started singing his praises in an over-the-top manner the past few days.
“It is remarkable to me that it took a disaster of this magnitude, and the loss of life, for the President to act constructively with the Governor of one of the most densely populated states in the nation. President Obama has been absent in the state of New Jersey, unless it was for a fundraiser or campaign rally. The rarity of this gesture from President Obama caused Governor Christie to be overly effusive to the President in front of the news media,” continued Long.