Former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm Sentenced to 8 Months in Prison

Michael-Grimm

Former Staten Island rep pleaded guilty to tax fraud last year

Rebecca Davis O’Brien reports: Former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who pleaded guilty last year to tax fraud, was sentenced Friday to eight months in prison and one year of supervised release.

U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen issued the sentence in federal court in Brooklyn Friday morning. Mr. Grimm, a Staten Island Republican, is scheduled to surrender Sept. 10.

Mr. Grimm was charged in April 2014 in a 20-count indictment that alleged he schemed to hide more than $1 million in earnings and employees’ wages at a Manhattan restaurant he ran before becoming a congressman in 2011. The charges stemmed from a probe into Mr. Grimm’s campaign financing.

In December, Mr. Grimm admitted that he had underreported to federal and state tax authorities what the restaurant, Healthalicious, earned between 2007 and 2010, court records show. He also admitted using a portion of the underreported receipts to pay employees off the books. Read the rest of this entry »


Cultivating Violence, Division, and Racial Hatred: George Soros Spent $33 MILLION Bankrolling Ferguson Protesters

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For Dailymail.comKieran Corcoran reports: Liberal billionaire George Soros donated $33million to social justice organizations which helped turn events in Ferguson from a local protest into a national flashpoint.

“Organizers from professional groups in Washington, D.C., and New York were bussed into the Missouri town to co-ordinate messaging and lobby to news media to cover events using the billionaire’s funding.”

The handouts, revealed in tax filings from Soros’s private foundation, were given to dozens of different groups which weighed in on the crisis.

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Organizers from professional groups in Washington, D.C., and New York were bussed into the Missouri town to co-ordinate messaging and lobby to news media to cover events using the billionaire’s funding.

“The slew of organizations reportedly created their own online ‘echo chamber’, by using their extensive social media presences to ‘like’, repost and comment on articles putting across their point of view.”

The flood of donations were uncovered in an analysis of the latest tax return by Soros’s Open Society Foundations by the Washington Times.

Unrest: Some of the groups Soros funded came up with slogans and social media campaigns to keep the event in the national consciousness

Unrest: Some of the groups Soros funded came up with slogans and social media campaigns to keep the event in the national consciousness

The cash was reportedly funneled into keeping up numbers of protesters in the community over a period of months by bringing in outside activists.

“Soros also gave money to the Drug Policy Alliance, which worked on the perpetuation of the ‘black lives matter’ buzz phrase, which has been incorporated into speeches by political figures including Hillary Clinton.”

Meanwhile papers from think tanks were disseminated to bring in extra coverage of the civil unrest, also linked to the police killings of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Tamir Rice, 12, in Cleveland, Ohio.

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“One recipient of his funding is the Organization for Black Struggle, which in turned established a group called the Hands Up Coalition, that has helped make ubiquitous the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ slogan.”

Outlets which covered the research, and the movements themselves, included one, Colorlines, which Soros himself has funded.

Bankrolled: Tax filings revealed that Soros pumped millions into groups that bussed protesters to Ferguson, Missouri, from around the country and co-ordinated campaigns to keep it in the media

Bankrolled: Tax filings revealed that Soros pumped millions into groups that bussed protesters to Ferguson, Missouri, from around the country and co-ordinated campaigns to keep it in the media

The slew of organizations reportedly created their own online ‘echo chamber’, by using their extensive social media presences to ‘like’, repost and comment on articles putting across their point of view.

The director of Soros’s fund said that they have no direct control over the groups they give to, and said they are all trying to improve accountability.  Read the rest of this entry »


Yes, Stupid Laws Can Kill People

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David Harsanyi writes: After news of the baffling decision by the New York grand jury not to indict a police officer in the killing of Eric Garner, I sent out a (slightly) hyperbolic tweet that wondered why Americans would want to entrust their free speech and health care to an institution that will kill you over failure to pay a cigarette tax.

Since then, I’ve seen numerous tweets discounting this argument as preposterous. It’s something akin to blaming jaywalking for the death of Michael Brown, we’re told. Rand Paul touched on the issue in an interview on msnbc yesterday and was, predictably, ridiculed for it by smokes-1024x717-385x270liberals – because mentioning the circumstances of a violent act is preposterous, apparently.

Though it certainly isn’t close to being the most important lesson of this inexplicable case, it’s not something that should be dismissed so flippantly.

Garner wasn’t targeted for death because he was avoiding taxes, but nonetheless, prohibitive cigarette taxes unnecessarily create situations that make events like this possible.

We frame violent acts and unintended consequences in this way all the time. When we discuss how illegal immigrant women can be the helpless victims of domestic violence, we also blame unreasonable laws for creating the situation. Read the rest of this entry »


Andrew C. McCarthy: The Staten Island Decision

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Andrew C. McCarthy writes: Several news organizations have reported that a New York grand jury in Staten Island has voted against indicting Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City police officer, in the choking death of Eric Garner. The decision is to be announced officially on Thursday. Clearly, this No True Bill is more difficult to justify than the St. Louis grand jury’s vote against filing homicide charges against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Officer Pantaleo, who is white, is being investigated for killing Mr. Garner, a 43-year-old black man who was physically imposing but unarmed, and who was resisting arrest (for a nonviolent crime, the illegal sale of untaxed cigarettes) but not overtly threatening FaithlessExecutionthe safety of the police. As National Review Online reported on Wednesday, the confrontation between Garner and the police was captured on videotape.

[Order Andrew C. McCarthy’s book “Faithless Execution from Amazon.com]

NYPD guidelines ban a form of chokehold. Contrary to some reporting, however, even that technique is not illegal per se. In fact, it used to be part of police training before concerns about accidental death convinced the NYPD to prohibit its use. Much of the coverage I have heard assumes that the chokehold Pantaleo applied is one that the guidelines ban (and, so the narrative goes, is illegal). This is hotly disputed by some police advocates, who claim that what Pantaleo did was more in the nature of a headlock or a wrestler’s swift takedown. Obviously, we do not yet know what, if any, testimony the grand jury heard on this point.

In any event, others counter that Garner could be heard repeatedly telling the police he could not breathe. While this actually undercuts the claim that a banned chokehold was used (since, if it had been, Garner would have had great difficulty speaking so audibly), Garner’s pleas suggest that the police used excessive force — a problem that makes the chokehold debate nearly irrelevant. In the absence of any apparent threat to the police, critics forcefully ask, shouldn’t Pantaleo have stopped whatever hold was being applied?

There is no doubt that Pantaleo aggressively handled Garner around the neck and then pressed his head to the ground. Soon after, Garner died. On top of that, the state medical examiner (ME) concluded that a homicide occurred. Sounds cut and dried, especially given that grand juries need merely find probable cause in order to return an indictment. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: 1 WTC Window Washers Rescued


Inside the Plot Against the Middle Class

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For the  New York PostKyle Smith writes: Ever get the sense that the middle class is downwardly mobile, being pressed to the floor and squeezed to the limit? It’s not happening by accident. Someone is doing the squeezing: a new class of entertainment and tech plutocrats, cheered on and abetted by a priesthood of media, government and academic elites.

“Almost every institution of power, from government and large corporations to banks and Wall Street, suffers the lowest public esteem ever recorded.”

Joel Kotkin’s The New Class Conflict (Telos Press Publishing) paints a dire picture of the undeclared war on the middle book7class. What he calls the Oligarchy (Silicon Valley and Hollywood) and the Clerisy (the media, bureaucrats, universities and nonprofits) enrich themselves and gratify their own strange obsessions at the expense of the middle class.

[Order Joel Kotkin’s “The New Class Conflict from Amazon.com]

This New Class, for instance, venerates the city and despises suburbia. They think you should feel the same way — and in innumerable magazine and newspaper pieces, they twist facts to make it sound as if America loves living in apartments and taking trains to work.

Though New York and a few other cities have seen population growth over the last 20 years, the real surges are out there, where the space is.

In 2012, nine of the 10 fastest growing metropolitan regions were in the Sun Belt, mainly in the Southwest. In 2013, lightly regulated Houston saw more housing starts than the entire state of California, writes Kotkin.

“With 12 percent of the nation’s population, California is home to about a third of its welfare recipients, while its 111 billionaires hold a collective $485 billion in wealth. The middle class is now an actual minority in the state.”

So, suburbanites are punished. In California, where the New Class reigns supreme, the middle class is being garroted by environmental and anti-sprawl strictures. Those who wish to live in houses are pushed farther and farther from their jobs, spending more and more on commuting and energy costs. Proposals being debated now would, for instance, allow only 3 percent more housing by 2035 in the exurban part of the Bay Area. Read the rest of this entry »


Experts Fear Health Care Insurance Rate ‘Death Spiral’

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New Yorkers will pay less than they used to for individual health insurance under ObamaCare — but they better not get used to it, because steep increases are on the way and the choice of doctors will be limited, critics warn.

While health-insurance costs will balloon around the country under the Affordable Care Act, an unusual legal situation in the Empire State will lower prices when the markets for President Obama’s signature legislative achievement open on Tuesday.

Everyone who doesn’t already have a medical policy — through work, Medicare or otherwise — will have to buy a policy or face fines once ObamaCare begins.

In New York, the new presidential plans can be had for an average of 29 percent less than old individual policies — $356 a month, compared with $500 — experts at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research predict. Read the rest of this entry »


Katrina on the Hudson

Katrina or Sandy? Late warnings, confused and inadequate responses, FEMA foul-ups and suffering refugees

Glenn Reynolds

Is the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy turning into Katrina-on-the-Hudson? Pretty much, and that tells us some things about Sandy, and Katrina, and the press.

One parallel: A late evacuation order. Even before the storm struck, weatherblogger Brendan Loy — famous for calling for early evacuation of New Orleans before Katrina struck — criticizing Mayor Bloomberg for not ordering early or extensive enough evacuations in New York, and for making the “ignorant” statement that Sandy wouldn’t be as bad as a hurricane.

What Bloomberg said was, “Although we’re expecting a large surge of water, it is not expected to be a tropical storm or hurricane-type surge. With this storm, we’ll likely see a slow pileup of water rather than a sudden surge…So it will be less dangerous.” Ignorant at the time, this turned out to be dangerously wrong when Sandy struck and the sea surged.

After Sandy struck, some areas did worse than others, and FEMA — as with Katrina — got bad press. Manhattan was hit hard, but the outer boroughssuffered more. Staten Island residents say they wereforgotten by relief efforts and one press report called the island “a giant mud puddle of dead dreams.” Adding insult to injury, when another nor’easter approached the area FEMA closed its Staten Island office “due to weather.” Time called it “the island that New York City forgot.” Rudy Giuliani called FEMA’s performance “as bad as Katrina.”

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, refugees suffer in bitterly cold tent cities, while officials try to keep criticism quiet: “As Brian Sotelo tells it, when it became clear that the residents were less than enamored with their new accommodations last Wednesday night and were letting the outside world know about it, officials tried to stop them from taking pictures, turned off the WiFi and said they couldn’t charge their smart phones because there wasn’t enough power,” Bill Boman writes in the Asbury Park Press.

Then there are the gas shortages. These are primarily the result of storm damage. But they’ve been made worse by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s effort — joined by New York Attorney General Eric Scheiderman — to crack down on “price gouging.” This politics hurts victims. It’s elementary economics that holding prices down depresses supply. If you could sell gasoline for $15 a gallon, lots of people would load pickup trucks with gas cans and drive to the storm area, alleviating shortages. (And at that price, people wouldn’t buy more than they needed.) If doing that risks arrest, they won’t. Political posturing over “gouging” leads to gas lines, further economic disruption and possibly lost lives.

So: late warnings, confused and inadequate responses, FEMA foul-ups and suffering refugees. In this regard, Sandy is looking a lot like Katrina on the Hudson. Well, things go wrong in disasters. That’s why they’re called disasters. But there is one difference.

Under Katrina, the national press credulously reported all sorts of horror stories: rapes, children with slit throats, even cannibalism. These stories were pretty much all false. Worse, as Lou Dolinar cataloged later, the press also ignored many very real stories of heroism and competence. We haven’t seen such one-sided coverage of Sandy, where the press coverage of problems, though somewhat muted before the election, hasn’t been marked by absurd rumors or ham-handed efforts to push a particular narrative.

That, I suspect, is because Sandy happened in an area that reporters know. Media folks found it easy to believe stories about New Orleans that they wouldn’t believe about their own area. New Orleans is full of black people and southerners, two groups underrepresented in the national media. Manhattan, on the other hand, is familiar turf. Count on the press to give its own milieu a fairer shake.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is professor of law at the University of Tennessee. He blogs at InstaPundit.com.

via Column: Katrina on the Hudson