Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced the long-awaited big announcement on Monday night that he will be running for president in 2016 and he isn’t going to look back.
The first term Senator from Florida has now become the third Republican to officially enter the 2016 primary fray joining his two other Senate colleagues, Ted Cruz from Texas and Rand Paul from Kentucky. Rubio, 43, the youngest candidate in the field, chose the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami just weeks before his announcement. Located in his hometown, it’s historically known as an iconic Ellis Island landmark for Cuban immigrants in the 1960s that fled the Castro regime. The site holds personal importance for Rubio when it comes to his family and the Cuban-American community.
“In this very room five decades ago, tens of thousands of Cuban exiles began their new lives in America,” Rubio said. “Their story is part of the larger story of the American miracle. United by a common faith in their God-given right to go as far as their talent and work would take them, a collection of immigrants and exiles, former slaves and refugees, together built the freest and most prosperous nation ever.”
The timing of Mr. Rubio’s kickoff was seen as a risk of being overshadowed by Hillary Clinton, who formally announced her candidacy the day before in a video that was tweeted online. Rubio didn’t see this as a threat and took a direct swipe at the Clinton announcement emphasizing that he is a new crop of leader. “Yesterday, a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday,” Rubio said. “Yesterday is over and we’re never going back.”
Rubio also took an implied swipe at former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, his former political mentor. It was rumored that he would sit out of running for president if Bush joined the race. “I have heard some suggest that I should step aside and wait my turn, but I cannot, I believe our very identity as a nation is at stake and I can make a difference as president.”
Framing his speech of his message of the “New American Century”, Rubio said it has been left behind by the political establishment. ““The time has come for our generation to lead the way toward a new American Century,” Rubio said to an audience of over 1,000 supporters. Giving a narrative of his life by telling the story of his Cuban immigrant parents and being an example of what the American Dream looks like. Drawing the loudest cheers when Rubio mentioned the struggles his family endured when arriving in Miami from Cuba in the 1950s. “I live in an exceptional country where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege.” Rubio argued that now the dream is slipping away for many Americans who are now facing unequal opportunities to succeed.
Rubio’s impeccable announcement energized the crowd positioning himself as the young face and the ‘generational choice’. “After months of deliberation and prayer about the future of our country, I have come here tonight to make an announcement on how I believe I can best serve her.”
In regards to policy, Rubio touched on America returning to prosperity by “reforming the tax code, reducing regulations, controlling spending, modernizing immigration laws and repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
Rubio is a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s damaged foreign policy. Laying out the foreign policy errors of its “dangerous concessions to Iran and hostility toward Israel.” “The United States must abandon the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and renew its commitment to Israel,” Rubio said.
Rubio is currently trailing behind the increasingly crowded field of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul along with a host of other bigger-name candidates announcing in the upcoming weeks ahead. In order to stand out, Rubio must repair the name damage he created in 2013 for his efforts in sponsoring an immigration reform bill. The stakes remain high for Rubio to win the Republican nomination.
“Today I announce with God’s help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I’m putting myself forward as a candidate for president of the United States of America,” Paul said Tuesday at a rally in Louisville.
The first term Kentucky Senator who cast himself as a ‘different kind of Republican’ declared his presidential bid on Tuesday in Louisville. His 30-minute speech inside a crowded hotel ballroom outlined his libertarian-conservative vision of smaller government as Paul promised to shake up Washington.
“Big government and debt doubled under a Republican administration and is now tripling under Barack Obama’s watch,” Paul said. “We’ve come to take our country back from the special interests that use Washington as their personal piggy bank.”
Paul’s announcement was not left to any suspense as part of his announcement was put on social media adding “I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government.”
On foreign policy, Republicans paint Paul as weak against foreign defense, but Paul hit this issue by making it clear that he will not take a back seat on defending America. “The enemy is radical Islam…not only will I name the enemy, I will do whatever it takes to defend America from theses haters of mankind.”
Bringing up the Iran deal and the negotiation over its nuclear program, Paul who has been silent on this issue, stated any “deal must be approved by Congress and will oppose any deal that does not end Iran’s nuclear ambitions and will have strong verification measures.”
The Senator who is known for criticizing President Obama’s domestic surveillance program drew a loud crowd when mentioning the United States has been compromising liberty for a false sense of security. Talking about the dangers of the NSA spying, Paul states “As president, on Day 1, I will immediately end unconstitutional surveillance.”
On economic policy, Paul outlined that poor cities have failed from Liberal policies and can benefit from “economic freedom zones by creating manufacturing jobs that will return overseas profits back to the United States and cutting taxes for American companies.”
Paul portrays himself a different new kind of Republican by reaching out to young people and African Americans. These two voting blocs have overwhelmingly voted for Democrats in the past. His brand of politics with an aggressive social media presence can be seen as a challenge as his name ID and strong rally base can put Rand Paul as a top tier candidate.
Paul, the son of Texas Congressman, and former presidential candidate Ron Paul is seen to continue on his father’s legacy of building the libertarian movement. However, the Senator will focus on a strategic operation of combining liberty and conservatism in hopes to compete with others who establish themselves as conservatives for the White House seat. The elder Paul is not expected to join his son on the campaign trail as the younger Paul tries to build the momentum of his father’s already established support base.
Paul’s announcement makes him the second official candidate from both parties to announce. His fellow Republican colleague, Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced two weeks ago, released a press statement welcoming ‘my friend Rand Paul’ into the primary. “I am glad to welcome my friend Rand Paul into the 2016 GOP primary..his entry into the race will no doubt raise the bar of competition, help make us all stronger, and ultimately ensure that the GOP nominee is equipped to beat Hillary Clinton and to take back the White House for Republicans in 2016.”
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is expected to announce early next week as well. The Republican field for 2016 is expected to be crowded, as others such as Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) and Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) are expected to declare soon. Paul will start his campaign this week to four early voting states of New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa, and Nevada.
WASHINGTON — Senator Harry Reid announced today in a YouTube video that he would not be seeking re-election in 2016, ending a 30-year congressional career.
The majority leader from 2005 until 2014, the 75-year-old Nevada lawmaker limited his fellow Senate colleagues to vote on amendments. His announcement came hours after the senators finished vote-a-rama of many amendments in which Reid held back during his tenure as majority leader.
2016 was seen to be a big fight to remove Reid from the Senate, especially from an ever-growing tea party coalition looking to oust Reid. Barely surviving a tricky re-election five years ago, Reid stated it would be “inappropriate for him to soak up resources while Democrats have a real shot at taking back the Senate.” In an interview after the video, he noted the big expensive states such as Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland and Missouri as top targets for Democrats.
Reid denied any retirement rumors even after suffering a serious eye injury earlier this year as he struggles to regain sight of the eye. In the video, Reid said, “the decision I made has absolutely nothing to do with my injury and it has nothing to do with my ability to be reelected.” The decision to not seek re-election is said from Reid to focus on bringing back Democrats control of the Senate as he rather focuses on that than his own re-election.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), one of Reid’s political allies who helped him and Democrats take over the Senate in 2006 is considered a favorite to replace Reid in his leadership post. His video announcement after, led to Reid endorsing Schumer of New York over Dick Durbin from Illinois even though Durbin is second to Reid, to succeed him in 2017. The endorsement from Reid hours after announcing his retirement will bring the necessary support from other Democrats to support Schumer as well.
As a former trial lawyer and head of the Nevada gambling commission, Reid was elected to Congress in 1982 and in 1986 he won the Senate seat. Being the longest serving house member from Nevada, he joined the leadership ten years later and took over the majority leader post in 2005 after then leader Tom Daschle from South Dakota lost his re-election bid.
With President Barack Obama elected in 2008 and a Democratic control of the senate, Reid was able to push forward the new health care law, as well as the economic stimulus package with no Republicans voting yes on this measure. In 2013, Reid tried to push for comprehensive immigration legislation. It was passed in the senate but failed in the house. Reid who opposed any immigration policy in the 1990s, changed his views years later as illegals began to flood his state of Nevada.
National Republican Senatorial Committee released a statement after the announcement stating this race is a “top pick opportunity for the GOP…there is no hope for the Democrats to regain control of the Senate.” Now with the seat open, the struggle from both sides will become a race to watch during the road to 2016.
LYNCHBURG, Va. — Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced on Monday morning at Liberty University that he has thrown his hat into the ring for president in 2016. Cruz has become the first candidate of either party to officially declare his candidacy.
Opening his speech by stating, “I believe God is not done with America, yet”, he began with his family and his connection to his faith as he provided a detailed story about his parents. His mother, who grew up in Delaware and became a computer programmer, while his father was a Cuban teenage rebel fighter that fled the chaos at the age of 18 to America. Moving along, he mentioned his family problems from alcohol abuse to marital problems until his parents had a religious awakening that helped find their faith. “There are people who wonder if faith is real, I can tell you in my family there isn’t a second of doubt because if not the transformative love of Jesus Christ, I would have been raised by a single mother.”
Cruz, the first to officially declare his candidacy via Titter Monday at Midnight, his announcement included a 30-second video of “I’m ready to stand with you to lead the fight, will you join me.” A day before, it was reported by the Houston Chronicle of his official announcement for the presidency will occur on Monday.
Mentioning many conservative principles, Cruz told an energetic crowd of students using ‘Imagine’ at the beginning of each sentence laying out what America would be like if he takes office, as each sentence drew many loud applauses. “Imagine instead of economic stagnation, booming economic growth…Imagine abolishing the IRS…Instead of the lawlessness and the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, imagine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders…Instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum through Common Core, imagine repealing every word of Common Core…imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel…Imagine a president who says we will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism, and we will call it by its name. We will defend the United States of America.”
Cruz mentioned Obamacare, as Monday’s anniversary marks its fifth year into law. Gaining national media attention for his 21-hour filibuster on the Senate floor, Cruz and his vocal opposition of the law led to a tense standoff between Republicans and Democrats. Liberty University is also known for filing a lawsuit once President Obama signed Obamacare into law. Cruz mentioned the failures since it was signed into law of “joblessness, millions forced into part-time work, millions forced into part-time work and millions losing their health insurance and doctor.” Cruz ended by repealing “every word of the Obamacare” come 2017.
Ending his speech, Cruz stated his full announcement with “God’s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation and I believe God isn’t done with America yet. And that is why today, I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States…We will get back and restore that shining city on a hill that is the United States of America.”
A conservative shooting star and firebrand to the Tea Party coalitions, Cruz a first-term senator is seen as a figure who is outspoken, passionate and energetic of his conservative positions to fight against Washington’s status quo. Disliked by some of his colleagues due to his constant pushback against establishment republicans. In 2013, he is known for the 17-day government shutdown as many democrats and some republicans saw this approach of destroying the country due to his battle to defund Obamacare.
His early announcement now puts Cruz in the advantage as he can seize the attention of the tea-party coalition as well as the big donors. Debuting his campaign announcement at Liberty University, an evangelical university, Cruz is also looking to gain traction of evangelical voters with his Christian conservative message to cut through a crowded field. Evangelicals are looking into former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as their contender as well as former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Cruz, if he wins the nomination and the presidency in 2016 is set to become the nation’s first Hispanic president. Although Cruz was born in Canada, stated by the constitution, he is able to run for president since his mother is a natural born US citizen which meets the standards to run. If Cruz fails to win the nomination or drops out, Cruz will still retain his Senate seat through 2019.
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Hillary Clinton wasted no time starting her 20-minute press conference Tuesday at the United Nations Headquarters in New York by changing the topic of her email controversy by mentioning there are other issues she believed the media should be covering instead.
Clinton, a former first lady and secretary of state, addressed the United Nations on women’s issues prior to the press by talking about the challenges women are facing around the world. She then went on to blast the letter sent to Iran from 47 Republican Senators as “out of step with the best traditions of American leadership.”
Reports surfaced last week on her personal email that she used during her four years as Secretary of State. She opted out of using an official government account where the emails would be archived in the agency’s records. Clinton said, “I saw it as a matter of convenience and it was allowed. Others had done it.”
Later reports found that her emails were registered to a private server in her New York residence. Clinton stated, “There were no security breaches” and the private server set up the system for was for her husband former President Bill Clinton.
Following the brief speech, Clinton took questions from the press in regards to her emails. Admitting it was a mistake in using her personal email account to conduct state department business, and that she no longer has the 31,830 private emails since she deleted, adding, “They were personal and private, above matter, I didn’t see a reason to keep them.” Clinton went on the defense about not sharing her personal details of her life such as her daughter’s wedding planning, her mother’s funeral, and yoga lessons. “At the end, I decided not to keep my private emails.”
“It would have been better had I used a second email account,” Clinton said. Before she became Secretary of State, she only used one email account for her “convenience” instead of using the email account for federal employees ending in “.gov”. Regretting this decision, she states, “Looking back, it probably would have been smarter to use two devices.” Announcing that she wants transparency of her emails to make them available online as per State Department request, Clinton tweeted, “I want the public to see my email, I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.”
I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 5, 2015
Clinton dodged any questions at the press conference in regards to her email usage and her presidential bid. Clinton, who is expected to officially announce her bid for 2016 next month refused to answer the questions about the controversy and how it will affect her timing to announce.
President Obama on Saturday told CBS that he just learned about Clinton’s private email address from the news. On Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that the president did email Clinton on her private account, but had no knowledge that the account was not registered to comply with the Federal Records Act to be archived.
In December, Clinton turned over 55,000 pages of emails from her private account to the State Department with 900 of those pages relating to the Benghazi investigation in 2012. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), House Committee Chair said that there are gaps in missing email records in regards to her travels in Libya.
After the presser, two stories broke out in regards to Clinton that were inconsistent. Clinton claimed that she only used one device for “convenience” however, two weeks ago, she said she uses two different phones. On her personal destroyed emails, Clinton claimed some are with her husband, but she also claimed previously that, “he only sent two emails his entire life.”
The tension between the Tea Party and the established republicans couldn’t have been any clearer. Dozens of protesters staged a walkout during CPAC when Jeb Bush took the stage with Sean Hannity during his session Friday afternoon.
Bush, former governor of Florida and current 2016 GOP front runner is the only candidate with a nationwide fundraising effort. However, he lacks the support of most CPAC participants. Taking the stage, he looked to change some minds by reminding them that he was a conservative governor.
During CPAC on Thursday, rumors were flowing around the convention that Tea Party conservatives would lead a massive walkout during Bush’s appearance. Other rumors included Bush supporters being bussed in to pack the session and even ballot stuffing the straw poll. It seemed as though the walkout was going to happen as Hannity asked the audience how they felt about certain potential 2016 candidates. Bush’s name was greeted with a loud boo.
It was a twenty minute question and answer session, with Hannity serving as moderator. Bush used the interview to defend various controversial stances staining his name including Common Core and immigration reform. Bush, nonetheless, was energetic as the walkout and boos tried to overshadow his speech.
Calling himself a “practicing reform-minded conservative,” Bush started off by emphasizing the conservative legislation he pushed during his governorship. Known as “Veto Corleone,” Bush cited his rejection of many pieces of legislations to outline the way he governed Florida.
On the big issues such as illegal immigration, Bush stuck to his moderate position, stating the United States must show compassion and can’t self-deport. “The simple fact is there is no plan to deport 11 million people, we should give them a path to legal status where they work, where they don’t receive government benefits and where they make a contribution to our society,” Bush answered any lingering question on his stance, touting his government record that granted drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. As Congress was taking action on Department of Homeland Security funding just a few miles away from the conference, Bush commented that Congress should “take action to oppose President Obama’s executive actions to prevent some deportations” but opposed cutting off funds as a tactic for an opposition. “I’m not an expert on the ways of Washington, it makes no sense that we are not funding control of our border, which is the whole argument.”
Another issue plaguing Bush is his support for Common Core. Bush defended his position,“The federal government has no role in the creation of standards, the government should not dictate what is taught in schools, the role of the federal government if any is to create more school choice.”
The boos continued during the speech as Bush sought to make the best out the negativity. “To those who made a boo sound, I’m marking them down as neutral and I want to be your second choice.” However, the cheers tried to overshadow the boos as Bush supporters reminded the audience that his allies are around for support. Bush remarked on unity, calling for a broad republican tent stating, “If we share our enthusiasm and love for our country with our belief in our philosophy, we will be able to get Latinos and young people and others needed to win.”
After the session, one attendee said, “I think only the media was the only ones excited about Bush attending the conference than the general audience.”
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Day two at CPAC kicked off with an energetic speech delivered from Former Governor of Texas Rick Perry.
Enlightening the audience, Perry referenced a “three points” bulletin, an infamous debate that cemented during his 2012 presidential flame-out. His three points focused on the current administration’s lack of policies that makes “our allies doubt us and our enemies willing to test us.”
Wasting no time hitting the issue of immigration hard, Perry touted his experience as governorship of 14 years to stop undocumented immigrants from crossing the U.S.- Mexico border last year. Recalling last year’s conversation with the president during his visit to Dallas, he told the president “if you don’t secure this border, Texas will and that is exactly what we did.” During the Q&A session, Perry was asked about his plans for immigration reforms. The governor didn’t offer specifics of his plan but called for an “aviation assets” to monitor the border.
Perry also focused on unemployment as he warned the crowd not to trust the figures Washington is feeding us in regards to low unemployment numbers. “The unemployment rate is a sham, it leaves millions of American workers uncounted.” Adding that it’s up to the Republican party to “take a stand for all the people that aren’t being counted in the unemployment.” Offering a tint of solution, he added that the “answer is not to expand the welfare state, it’s to build the freedom state.”
Similar to other 2016 Republican presidential contenders speaking, Perry criticized Obama on the issue of foreign threats like ISIS. Stating the new threat of the “Islamic State growing in the Middle East represents the worst threat to freedom since communism.” Comparing Obama’s leadership to former President Jimmy Carter, Perry added, “We survived the Carter years so we will be saved by the Obama years too.”
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wasted no time taking jabs at President Obama’s leadership Thursday evening at CPAC. Wearing no suit jacket and tie with his sleeves rolled up, Walker paced the stage building momentum and wilding up the crowd of all ages.
“We have a president who measures success in government by how many people are dependent on the government, we should measure success by just the opposite,” Walker told the crowd as he gained strides, hinting he is ready to take over the White House in 2016.
Some of the audience erupted “Run, Scott, Run” as he answered questions at the end of his speaking session. He also encountered a protester who shouted when he mentioned unions. “Apparently the protestors from Wisconsin followed me here, but you know what, those voices can’t drown out the voices of the millions of Americans who want us to step up for the hard-working taxpayers.”
Noting his accomplishment of education reforms and the fights with labor unions in 2011, Walker stated this has prepped him to be a commander-in-chief. “If I can take on 100,000 protestors, I can do the same across the world,” Walker answered in regards to a question about ISIS.”
Democrats have now misconstrued Walker’s words and was quick to bash the statement. This can be problematic and controversial going forward. Continuing on touting his record in sync with loud cheers from the audience, Walker mentioned his regulatory reform, enacting concealed carry as well as passing a law for voter ID. “We were a state that had been taxed and taxed and today I am proud to say after four years as governor, we have reduced the burden on hardworking taxpayers by nearly $2 Billion. How many other governors can say that? “
On foreign policy, Walker gave small details as his credentials of foreign policy experience is lacking in a time where it has been the main focus during heightened problems that are occurring. “We need a leader who will stand with Israel and one who understands that when the Prime Minister a longtime ally asks to come to Congress, we should show him and his country respect.”
Walker has become the top Republican must watch rising star in recent months. Preliminary polls have Walker either first place or second to Jeb Bush in 2016 GOP presidential candidate choice.
Governor Chris Christie joined the crowded field of potential Republican presidential candidates in the first day at CPAC 2015 at National Harbor, Maryland. Joining the stage this afternoon with Governor Christie, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham moderated the 20-minute question and answer session, the first at this year’s CPAC. Jeb Bush will be doing the same thing tomorrow afternoon, with Sean Hannity acting as moderator.
Beginning the session, Ingraham mentioned the bad press Governor Christie has gotten in the media the past few months. He brushed off the media critics, proclaiming, “I have The New York Times in my media gaggle every day and when you do things like I have done in New Jersey, they just want to kill ya, and that is what they are trying to do to me every day.”
Touting his record as governor throughout the session, Christie cited his efforts to get the state pension system back on track. He stressed that he takes a stand for conservative principles even as he “wakes up every morning with a Democratic legislature.” The governor, who is a social Conservative, mentioned his anti-abortion record. Christie was the first governor to speak at a pro-life rally on the steps of the capitol. He also vetoed Planned Parenthood funding from the budget over five times.
On Common Core, an issue Governor Christie once supported, he spoke of his “implementation regrets.” He now prefers a system designed by teachers and parents.
Ingraham again mentioned the media’s seeming dislike of the governor, citing several unfavorable descriptors including, “supermodel, explosive, short-tempered, hot-headed, and impatient.” Christie added the word “passion” to describe himself as he fights for the people of New Jersey. “If you really care about something, then you have to go all in. I care about fighting the fights worth fighting.”
The packed ballroom erupted with applause when Metallica’s Enter Sandman played. It was then Governor Christie recalled an incident where he told a reporter to ‘sit down and shut up’, “Yeah well, sometimes people need to be told to sit down and shut up.”
With 2016 looming, the governor dismissed the low polls in his home state as well as lagging presidential poll numbers. “Is the election next week?”, the governor responded as Ingraham questioned his place in the polls. Last year he was seen as a front runner, but this year he is near the bottom with even Dr. Ben Carson ahead. Governor Christie stated if he runs for president, he will “run a hard fighting campaign where I will fight for the taxpayers…In 2007, it was going to be Rudy Giuliani versus Hillary Clinton, so I feel good about 2016.”
NOTE: Story has been edited for content after publication.
Early Monday morning Egypt carried out its first air strikes against ISIS camps in retaliation of a gruesome video released earlier on Sunday of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS jihadists in Libya.
NEW YORK (ANM) — The NYPD who serve and protect New Yorkers on a daily basis will now do it with new protection- Rolls Royce vests.
NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his plan on affordable housing in his second State of the City speech on Tuesday. Stating high cost living in New York City along with the high prices as his profound challenge, de Blasio is pushing his ambiguous plan to organize the construction of hundreds of thousands of new apartments over the next decade.
The mayor outlined his plan to tackle along with his top priority of affordable housing during his speech at Baruch College in Manhattan late Tuesday morning. Highlighting his first year achievements of 2014, de Blasio touted making Pre-K available for 50,000 children, Vision Zero plan of making the streets safer for crossing, paid sick leave for tens of thousands of workers, as well as improving conditions of city’s jails by pouring millions to more surveillance cameras and expanding mental illness programs.
De Blasio’s address focused the majority of the speech on affordable housing, citing “if we don’t act and act boldly, New York risks taking on the qualities of a gated community.” Going on about the New York diversity gap, de Blasio expresses the reason is due to the “soaring cost of housing.” His central focus was on the housing plan opposed to outlining policy proposals for 2015 set a different tone from previous mayors as de Blasio plans to invest $200 million in affordable housing infrastructure job initiatives.
Focusing on the city’s zoning laws to help achieve his housing plan, it will include 160,000 new apartments at market-rate over the next eight years.
“For the first time in New York City history, we are creating a mandatory inclusionary zoning requirement that will apply to all major residential rezoning and in every major rezoning, development will require developers to include affordable housing as a precondition.” De Blasio eyes to target six neighborhoods for rezoning to include East New York in Brooklyn, Long Island City and Flushing in Queens, Jerome Corridor in the Bronx, Bay Street Corridor in Staten Island and East Harlem in Manhattan.
De Blasio’s affordable housing plan will face challenges from Albany and Governor Andrew Cuomo as most components of his plan won’t be undertaken anytime soon as promised. Sunnyside Yards is a huge controversial plan that the mayor’s vision for new development of 11,250 affordable units is controlled by the Amtrak and the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The governor’s office commented after the address on this issue, stating “it’s an important facility for our transportation system and it’s not available for any other use in the near term.” A study from city officials will examine this new vision beginning this month to determine the cost and infrastructure needed to redevelop the rail yard.
Along with his housing plan, de Blasio wants to extend ferry public transportation throughout New York City stating it will ease options for isolated neighborhood development. The launch of citywide ferry service will add new services to already existing services and linking them together. The cost to use this ferry system from the mayor is “pegged to the cost of a MetroCard ($2.50). The plan for the riverine is set to begin by 2017.
De Blasio’s speech repeated his core central campaign theme – “Tale of Two Cities” as a step in fulfilling his campaign promise to narrow the divide between New York City rich and poor. He emphasizes the need of raising minimum wages and benefits. Noting Henry Ford- de Blasio added his left wing “socialist” idea of increasing living wages for his workers to afford the cars they worked to build. Stating it was good for business, it can work here in New York as well.
However, this will be a problem that will be halted by Albany. De Blasio’s goal of working to raise the city’s minimum wage to $13 an hour this year and $15 an hour by 2019 is a non-starter as a means to indexing the rate of inflation. Cuomo’s proposal outlined two weeks ago would increase New York City wages to $11.50 an hour. The office commented on the proposed increase of wages stating, “They wouldn’t gain the approval of lawmakers in Albany.” The mayor’s focus on changing policy goals without Albany will be difficult to achieve due to the mayor’s closest ally Sheldon Silver not being speaker as of Monday night. Without Silver, it will be difficult for de Blasio to get his plan inside the capital floor for a vote. Another obstacle de Blasio will face is the Senate Republicans who now control the chambers and will not forget the mayor aiding to oust the Republicans in last year election, but failed.
On the issue about the NYPD, the speech included only a brief mention. With a police officer beginning the speech by singing the national anthem, the minor reference to policing issues were de Blasio touting the ending of overuse of Stop and Frisk, another campaign cornerstone promise and 2014 overall crime stats. “We ended the overuse of stop-and-frisk, reducing stops by over 75 percent. And since we instituted our new marijuana policy, arrests are down almost 65 percent.”
As the mayor was inside touting the accomplishments of the NYPD, outside a small group of protesters “New Yorkers against Bratton” gathered, holding signs and chanting “Mayor de Blasio stop hiding behind your son’s Afro, Broken Windows has got to go.”
Since the assassination of two NYPD officers before Christmas along with the ongoing feud with the police unions, the mayor became more explicitly pro-NYPD in his public speeches. “Keeping New York City safe, Our NYPD officers helped bring the city’s crime rate to an all-time low – with the smallest number of murders, robberies, and burglaries on record.” However, the last stats released as of this week shows that murdering and shooting are up compared to last year.
WASHINGTON — The Senate voted on Thursday to approve the authorization of the construction of Keystone XL pipeline on a 62-36 vote.
The approval of the Senate will now set up a clash of many battles with President Obama as this will be the third time the president has vetoed this bill in the past six years.
After the GOP took over the Senate in November, it became a top priority as it became the first time the Senate was able to pass the three-week work of authorizing the pipeline. The construction of the 1,179-mile pipeline would carry oil from Canada through Nebraska and from there would connect with existing pipelines to the refineries of the Texas Gulf Coast.
Nine Democrats joined with the 53 Republicans to back this measure, but it is still several votes shy of the 67 votes needed to override a presidential veto. No Republicans on the Senate floor voted against this measure, while Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) missed the vote due to traveling. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also missed the vote due to recovering from an eye surgery from a gym accident earlier this month.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell before the vote boosted the need to pass this bill by stating, “It would support thousands of good American jobs and as the president’s own State Department has indicated, it would do this with minimal environmental impact.”
Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, who defeated longtime Democrat Mary Landrieu in a December runoff election due to her failures to pass this bill on the Senate floor in November touted the bill approval by saying, “We’re doing what’s right by the American people. This is so right in so many ways.” Cassidy also added a jab to the president on the halt of the project, stating, “He doesn’t tell why he doesn’t oppose it, he always gives a glib answer and skips on.”
First proposed in 2008, the $8 billion project was put on hold by the president even though Congress forced him to make a decision on this matter. It was returned in 2012 and rejected by Obama due to Congress adding a measure of a payroll tax cut extension.
Obama stated he would not be forced to make a decision like previous times on the pipeline. The approval of the president is needed since the creation will cross international border. The bill will be on Obama’s desk as early as next week as the State Department’s final comments on whether the project is in the national interest are due on Monday.
Here is the list of Senators of how they voted for the Keystone XL:
Alphabetical by Senator Name
|Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Ayotte (R-NH), Yea
Baldwin (D-WI), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Blumenthal (D-CT), Nay
Blunt (R-MO), Yea
Booker (D-NJ), Nay
Boozman (R-AR), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay
Capito (R-WV), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Nay
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Cassidy (R-LA), Yea
Coats (R-IN), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Coons (D-DE), Nay
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Cotton (R-AR), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
Cruz (R-TX), Yea
Daines (R-MT), Yea
Donnelly (D-IN), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Ernst (R-IA), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Nay
Fischer (R-NE), Yea
|Flake (R-AZ), Yea
Franken (D-MN), Nay
Gardner (R-CO), Yea
Gillibrand (D-NY), Nay
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Heinrich (D-NM), Nay
Heitkamp (D-ND), Yea
Heller (R-NV), Yea
Hirono (D-HI), Nay
Hoeven (R-ND), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johnson (R-WI), Yea
Kaine (D-VA), Nay
King (I-ME), Nay
Kirk (R-IL), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Lankford (R-OK), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Lee (R-UT), Yea
Manchin (D-WV), Yea
Markey (D-MA), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Merkley (D-OR), Nay
Mikulski (D-MD), Nay
Moran (R-KS), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murphy (D-CT), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Nay
|Nelson (D-FL), Nay
Paul (R-KY), Yea
Perdue (R-GA), Yea
Peters (D-MI), Nay
Portman (R-OH), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Not Voting
Risch (R-ID), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rounds (R-SD), Yea
Rubio (R-FL), Not Voting
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Sasse (R-NE), Yea
Schatz (D-HI), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Nay
Scott (R-SC), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shaheen (D-NH), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Sullivan (R-AK), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Tillis (R-NC), Yea
Toomey (R-PA), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Warren (D-MA), Nay
Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay
Wicker (R-MS), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Nay
ALBANY, N. Y. — Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address on Wednesday combined with his budget proposal focusing heavily on tougher education improvement reforms as well as criminal justice that is seen as easy to address but harder to solve as a whole. Much of the reforms proposed by the governor will be encountered by a divided legislature of Republican control of the Senate while an assembly is dominated by Democrats.
The governor’s 90 minute rushed speech with the reliance of PowerPoint slides to emphasize his policy priorities, was delivered in the Capitol of New York that had no surprises, as much of the addressed proposal was leaked during many news conferences prior to the address this month. Combination of the budget proposal and reforms overall calls for the spending plan totaling $150 billion, an increase of 5 percent from previous years with mixed reviews on both sides of education reform and criminal justice reform.
On education, Cuomo wants to overhaul teacher evaluation formula by increasing tenure to five years straight of high marks instead of three years as well as making it easier to fire ineffective teachers. Reforming the 3020-A of teacher’s removal, something Cuomo has been trying to push will face push backs from many democrats in the assembly as well as the teachers union.
The current formula found that only 1 percent of teachers are to be ineffective as only 38 percent of high school students are ready for college. Calling the evaluation “baloney”, Cuomo wants 50 percent of teacher evaluations to be based on standardized tests. He’s also calling for a 50 percent measure of an independent evaluator to observe the performance of teacher’s performance in a classroom.
On charter schools, Cuomo touted a proposal of increase funding of the number of cap allowed to 560 from 460, an increase of 100 as well as remove restrictions to charter sites where New York City is reaching its limit of reservation sites. The governor has also proposed $25 million funding into universal Pre-K programs to continue on in order to prevent increasing taxes. Last year, a feud over funding this program began with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio initiated increasing taxes as Governor Cuomo promised not to increase any, especially during his re-election bid.
The DREAM Act, a legislation that failed to pass last year was brought into the proposal. Cuomo’s budget includes providing tuition assistance to illegal immigrants as well as education tax credits for individuals and corporations. The proposed measures will be linked together forcing state lawmakers to take on both measures or none as democrats are opposed to the education tax credit for corporations, while Republicans are opposed to the Dream Act.
Expectations to bring reforms to criminal justice in the wake of the controversy over the Eric Garner case in Staten Island, Cuomo’s laid out a seven point agenda on reforming the criminal justice system. With only a small mention of this reform lacking specific details in his speech, both sides of the ongoing tension believe the agenda proposed isn’t enough. A proposal such as giving district attorney the power to release information of grand jury decision despite an indictment or not can give “people to know what actually happened” Cuomo stated. Instituting an independent monitor in cases of fatal episodes between police and civilians as well as recommended a special prosecutor to oversee such cases is told by the governor to help improve the system and confidence to “restore trust and respect between police and community.”
Police reform activists believes this isn’t enough and accountability is still lacking as they want the governor to do more to hold police accountable. Police unions on the other hand, believe that adding new equipment such as new bulletproof vests as well as bulletproof patrol car windows to help protect officers will not ease the tensions concerning police officers. “The tools to be horse-traded for criminal justice reforms designed to disrupt law enforcement due process rights.” said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association.
Cuomo’s closing remarks were a national tone that ended with an emotional tone from his passing father, Governor Mario Cuomo’s famous 1984 Democratic National Convention speech as well as the late governor’s 1983 first inaugural address: Don’t let me forget what makes New York, New York.”
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. — Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a powerful Democrat in Albany, was arrested after surrendering himself to the F.B.I on federal corruption charges early Thursday morning. The lawmaker was being under investigation after the controversial Moreland Commission, created by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013 unexpectedly shut down last March.
The 35 pages of the five-count criminal complaint includes conspiracy to commit, wire fraud, mail fraud, extortion of using his official position to commit and kickbacks of influence. Silver used his official position to extort and bribe millions of dollars as personal outside income. The lucrative outside income was claimed to be earned as an injury lawyer, but the legal work practice was a fabrication created to hide payoffs of at least $6 million dollars. If convicted, Silver will face a maximum 20-years in prison for each count.
In a press conference after Silver turned himself in without the traditional “perp walk”, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara slammed his five-count complaint case depicting the powerful democrat as a greedy lawmaker exploiting his power for secret monetary gain. Mr. Bharara said the arrest of Mr. Silver goes to the “core of the problem in state government corruption of lack of transparency, accountability and principle, joined with an overabundance of greed, cronyism and self-dealing.”
The press conference detailed the extortion scheme Mr. Silver undertook in obtaining legal fees for “doing nothing”, while hiding the illegal activities from the public. Mr. Silver is being accused of bribes and kickbacks, and acquiring millions from two private law firms.
“For many years, New Yorkers have asked the question: How could Speaker Silver, one of the most powerful men in all of New York, earn millions of dollars in outside income without deeply compromising his ability to honestly serve his constituents? Today, we provide the answer: He didn’t,” Bharara said. Bharara laid out the investigation to Mr. Silver’s outside work and how he urged the anti-corruption commission shut down.
The charges stem from the aborted Moreland Commission created by Gov. Cuomo to investigate corruption going on in Albany. Prior to the shutdown, Mr. Silver and lawmakers sued to prevent investigation from the anti-corruption panel of their outside income. Mr. Bharara took over the commission work and unfinished work after the rapid shut down in March 2014 from Cuomo and began to focus on lawmakers’ outside earnings from their state salaries. Questions of Mr. Silver’s outside income was subject to controversy in June 2013 when he reported earnings of $750,000 from legal work with Weitz & Luxenberg in 2013.
Mr. Bharara accused Mr. Silver in engaging in two separate schemes. Obtaining real estate clients to one of the law firms, accepting $700,000 in bribes and kickbacks for the referrals and state funds to a doctor handling asbestos patients to be represented by famous law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, and obtaining fees of $3.9 million from the law firm in a corrupt scheme of referrals related to asbestos.
Since 2002, Silver accepted $5.3 million in payoffs related to his “work” from both law firms. Bharara seized $3.8 million of Mr. Silver’s “ill-gotten gains” that were dispersed among eight different bank accounts within six different banks.
On Thursday afternoon, Mr. Silver was released on $200,000 bond and spoke briefly to reporters outside the federal courthouse in New York City. “I am confident that when all the issues are aired, I will be vindicated,” Silver said shortly after the remarks from Mr. Bharara’s press conference. Along with the release, Mr. Silver surrendered his passport and his next court appearance was set for February 23.
Silver, 70, represents the Lower East Side and a prominent speaker of the Assembly for the past two decades and the most powerful democrat leader in New York. Being a part of the “Three Amigos”, Cuomo referred to himself, Silver and Senate majority leader, all three heavy hitters play a major role in New York politics from crucial policy agendas, creating the state budgets, and passing laws.
The arrest of this powerful lawmaker will shake Albany as the capital legislative session begins. A day before Gov. Cuomo laid out the state’s agenda in the State of the State speech, the attention is now being focused on this newly found corruption scandal. The shock waves of a once untouchable powerful elected official shows that the plague of Albany with “show me the money culture” can come crashing down if Silver decides to divulge his colleagues misdeeds as an exchange for leniency. With the speech now being covered up by the arrest, Cuomo will now have to regroup quickly to implement his reforms as the division of support and resignation of Mr. Silver echoes the chambers from both party aisles.
Republicans, both in the Assembly and Senate are calling for a resignation while most assembly democrats support and stand behind their embattled Speaker. Other Democrats such as Charles Barron voiced their dissent against Silver calling for him to step down from his leadership post. Governor Cuomo didn’t call for a resignation stating it’s up to the Assembly Democrats to decide whether Silver steps down or not. The governor commented on the arrest stating it’s “a bad reflection on government and it adds to the negativity.” Mayor Bill de Blasio however, defended Mr. Silver, calling him “a man of integrity and he certainly has due process rights.”
NEW YORK CITY, N. Y. — A poll released on Thursday by Quinnipiac University showed that New Yorkers overwhelmingly disapprove of the protests where thousands of police officers turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s eulogies during the two slain officers’ funerals. The survey found that 69 percent disapprove while 27 percent approve of the silent protest from the officers.
STATEN ISLAND, N. Y. — After winning re-election by 13 points against his Democratic opponent Domenic Recchia with a 20 count indictment shadowing his congressional campaign, Congressman Michael Grimm officially stepped down from congress on January 5, a day before Congress convened.
Grimm had vowed to stay in Congress after winning his third term for as long as he could, even after pleading guilty to one count of tax evasion before the new years but later changed his mind.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has yet to call a special election to fill the seat and has so far not indicated when he will do so. The set date of the special election must be given 70 to 80 days notice once the state is notified of the vacancy by the U.S House of Representative. There will be no primary or petition collection to determine candidacy, only party leaders from both sides will choose the candidate representing their political party.
Staten Island GOP party delegates met with Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis. The interview meeting will officially decide which of the two Republican candidates will be the pick for this once again hot congressional seat that covers all of Staten Island and part of Brooklyn.
After Grimm’s resignation, Donovan announced in a statement that he would be seeking the “endorsements of the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Parties in the upcoming special election for the NY-11 Congressional District of New York.”
Donovan, who won 65% of the vote for Staten Island D.A race in 2011 and ran for Attorney General for New York State in 2010, but lost, was a little known politician locally. He gained the national spotlight due to the controversial Eric Garner case that Donovan oversaw and believed to persuade a grand jury to indict the NYPD officer involved in this case, which occupied the media’s attention for most of 2014.
The district is considered to be a law and order district and can garnish much support needed to win this seat. Donovan is the strong favorite to win this special election to replace Grimm and a favorite also to Republicans in the district and Washington.
However, the Garner affairs lingering over the candidate with many upsets with the verdict can pose many threats and a national spectacle for the upcoming months during the elections. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a statement after Donovan showed interest, taking a jab at Republicans in congress as Donovan is one to fit in “to protect the ultra wealthy and corporate special interest at the expense of the middle class.”
Malliotakis expressed interest in this race by making a trip to Washington, DC as an effort to lobby national republicans to support her candidacy to local Republican leaders. Her pitch of being a superior candidate based on her experience in Albany along with her heritage being of Cuban-Greek descent was not enough as the Staten Island executive decided to pick Donovan based on his deeper experience.
The Democrats have yet to find a candidate to support, though it’s speculated that Assemblyman Michael Cusick might get the nod from the S.I Democrat party. Former Congressman Michael McMahon, who Michael Grimm defeated in 2010, has also expressed interest in returning to his old seat.
No word yet on who the Democrats will pick to support over the next few days.
BRONX, N. Y. — Two career criminals were arrested in connections with the shooting that took place late Monday evening in the Fordham section of the Bronx of two NYPD officers.
The two anti-crime officers 30-year-old Andrew Dossi and 38-year-old Aliro Pellerano were wounded while responding to a robbery call at a Bronx deli around the hours of 10:30 p.m. Monday night.
Commissioner Bill Bratton held a news brief late Tuesday afternoon after the suspect, Jason Polanco was arrested earlier in the day for opening fire on two officers. Multiple tipsters, 10 according to Bratton, provided Crime Stoppers information leading to his arrest.
Five officers who were in plain clothes ending their shifts responded to a call of a robbery. The suspects were in masks and distinctive clothing and fled after the robbery with unknown sums of money. The officers then began to canvass the confinement when two suspects, Polanco and the second accomplice, Joshua Kemp noticed the officers and began shooting.
Polanco fled to a nearby Chinese restaurant and began to shoot through the glass that hit his accomplices’ biceps and also hit one of the officers. He then went to fire two more shots before fleeing again. Bratton said the suspect Polanco then carjacked a white Chevrolet Camaro and crashed the vehicle. A .44 revolver was found at the scene, tracing back with a record of being last purchased in 1983 in Colorado but no evidence it was stolen.
Officer Pellarano was shot in the chest and arm while Officer Dossi was struck in the arm and lower back. Both officers were rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital listed in stable conditions. Commissioner Bratton stated Officer Pellarano will be released from the hospital on Wednesday. Officer Dossi underwent surgery late Monday night for his injuries that can derail his reservist tour to Africa. Officer Dossi is an Iraq Veteran and an army airborne reservist.
Chief of Detective Robert Boyce said “six shots were fired in total- 3 from Polanco and 3 from one of the 5 officers responding to the call but was not the one of the two officers wounded”
The suspect, Polanco was a career criminal having three prior convictions on weapons charges and is now facing five counts of attempted murder of an NYPD officer, carjacking and commercial robbery. The second suspect Kemp, who is out on parole has 10 prior convictions and will be facing charges of commercial robbery.
The two officers were shot just hours after Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton held the first joint conference of the new year touting crime reductions for 2014. It also came after a day the NYPD buried Detective Liu, who was assassinated while in his patrol car along with partner Detective Ramos two weeks ago.
Mayor de Blasio late Monday night, accompanied Commissioner Bratton to visit both officers and held a presser where the two officers were being treated. The mayor commended them by saying, “The two NYPD officers who were shot last night while going above and beyond the call of duty to protect their fellow New Yorkers.”
Tension between police and the mayor have been extremely high since last month’s assassination of two NYPD officers Rafeal Ramos and Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn. Police union blamed de Blasio for fostering an anti-NYPD atmosphere with his rhetoric, which they believed contributed to the killings of the two officers as well as the slowdown the past two weeks of summons and arrests from the police department.
BRONX, N.Y. — Two NYPD Officers were shot and wounded Monday night at approximately 10:30 p.m. in the Fordham section of the Bronx.
The shooting comes just one day after Detective Wenjian Liu’s funeral.
The officers were responding to a robbery call.
The officers attempted to pull over the suspects but they refused to stop until it crashed. That’s when the suspects opened fire on the officers, then fled on foot. A revolver was recovered at the scene.
The injured officers, one shot in the arm and the other shot in the back, were rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital. Both officers are listed in stable condition, and their injuries are not life threatening.
Police are still looking for the suspects and the NYPD is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.
Stay with ANM News for updates on this developing story.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Under a cloudy gray sky and drizzling rain, thousands of New York’s finest and supporters gave their final salute to the second officer assassinated late December in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn at Aievoli Funeral Home.
A sea of blue was seen down 65th street from 12th Avenue all the way to 18th Avenue. Officers came to pay respect for one of their fallen in a traditional police ceremony featuring a cultural attribution of Buddhism as a Buddhist monk began the ceremony.
Wenjian Liu, 32, a seven-year veteran, was in a patrol car with his partner, Detective Rafeal Ramos, in Bedford-Stuyvesant when they were shot just days before Christmas. The gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, an emotionally disturbed man, vowed to kill police as revenge of the Grand Jury decision of Ferguson and New York City. Liu was an immigrant, who came to this country 20 years ago from China. His short life was dedicated to becoming a NYPD officer. He was recently married, having been wed for two months before his tragic death.
The President wasn’t in attendance again, sending the director of the FBI, James Comey, to deliver a eulogy during the funeral ceremony that began shortly after 11 a.m. Comey noted that 115 police officers were killed last year in the US, citing this as a “shocking increase”, while also saying “I don’t know why there is so much evil and heartache in the world.”
Liu’s newly wed wife, Pei Xia Chen, spoke about her husband through tears as she referred to Liu as her “soulmate and best friend”. She also said,
“Although he worked often, he would always make sure to take time for me — his number one fan — his family and his friends. He was always there when someone needed something. His spirit will continue to look after us.”
Liu wife ended her eulogy by giving thanks to the officers attending Wenjian’s service and for honoring his memory and respecting her husband.
Liu’s father, Wei Tang Liu, broke down also during the emotional eulogy. Speaking in Chinese, he described this day as the “saddest day of his life.” Praising his only son, “Wenjian, you are the best son, you are the best husband,” Wei Tang Liu said. “Also, you are also our police officer and our best friend.”
As Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his eulogy, outside the funeral home hundreds of NYPD officers and other officers from around the country began to turn their backs on the mayor. The silent move left many questioning if some officers would show anger toward the mayor, despite orders from Police Commissioner, William Bratton. Bratton wrote a memo Friday urging respect while saying, “a hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance and it stole the valor, honor and attention that rightfully belonged to the memory of Detective Rafael Ramos’s life and sacrifice.”
“The mayor’s eulogy focused solely on praising Liu, talking about the many stories he had heard about Liu. However, he ended by commenting on the ongoing controversy regarding over-policing. Detective Liu was a good man, an example of a brave and kind New Yorker who came to the city from China and followed his dream to join the Police Department.”
“We had lost a man who had embodied our city’s most cherished values,” the mayor said. “Detective Liu’s dream was clear and it was a noble one: to don the blue uniform, to pin on the badge, to dedicate himself to protecting and serving the city he loved.” De Blasio concluded his remarks by asking all “to work together to attain peace”.
After the remarks, the officers who had turned their backs to de Blasio, turned around while getting into formation as Commissioner Bratton gave his remarks about Liu’s decision to become a police officer following the September 11th attacks and his undivided devotion to his family. Bratton said,
“At the end of every tour, he would call his father to let him know he was safe. At the end of every tour, except one.”
The funeral drew many supporters from the Asian community who came to show support for Liu and the police department by holding signs honoring Liu “Officer Liu will live in our hearts forever.” many Chinese-Americans attended the funeral traveling by buses to show support to an officer they never knew.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President, Patrick Lynch, defended the officers disdain for the mayor saying officers “have a right to have our opinion heard, like everyone else that protests out in the city”.
Congressman Pete King (R-NY) was in attendance for the funeral. His district is home to many of the NYPD officers. He said in regard to the officers repeating their show of disdain toward de Blaiso, “I would hope they won’t, but I can’t be critical of them if they do.”
The funeral for Liu is the city’s first for a Chinese-American officer killed in the line of duty.
RIP, brave one. Gone but never forgotten.
QUEENS, N.Y. – As people lined up outside Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, N.Y. on Saturday, the hard and angry expressions on the faces of the NYPD officers began to soften as they looked at the crowd that gathered outside the church. Tens of thousands of police officers from all over the country turned out on a sunny but solemn day to bury their own from an assassination of one of two officers murdered last Saturday.
The shooting deaths of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Bedford-Stuyvesant occurred a week ago in an ambushed style by a gunman avenging the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Both deaths became a high-profile confrontation with police this year that has led to many tensions wracking the city and other parts of the country as well.
The tension that gripped the city in the aftermath of the tragedy hung over the crowd as each leader of the city, the state and the nation gave eulogies trying to make sense of the division that is causing more harm than good.
Vice President Joe Biden attended the funeral unlike the President of the United States denouncing the killings of the officers as an assault on the entire city. “When an assassin’s bullet targets two officers’, it targets the entire city and it touched the souls of the entire nation.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in attendance as he praised police for their restraints of the protests aimed solely on officers for weeks before the two officers’ deaths. “The NYPD protects the right of freedom of speech, even though they were the targets of false and abusive chants by some.” Continuing on the governor spoke about unity in New York, “At the end of the day, we are one, we are one people, one city, one state, one family, the family of New York. “
The calls for unity from each leader is silent as the signs of the division still remains. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attended the funeral as per Ramos family request. He is still struggling to appease the anger of the police officer led by his rhetoric jabbing at cops from the grand jury decision earlier this month to not indict an NYPD officer when he stated at a press conference that “He talked to his son about the danger that he may face in any encounters from the police.”
No one spoke of the current anti-police climate in the city that caused uniformed policemen to turn their backs on Mayor de Blasio. And during the funeral, we see yet again, police officers not only NYPD, but every officer who attended the funeral from around the country turning their backs to the mayor in a sign of their disapproval as he gave his eulogy. The first time it occurred was when the mayor passed in a hallway at Woodhull Hospital hours after both officers’ death to speak at the police press conference.
De Blasio’s eulogy didn’t mention the tension that is causing the rift in the city. Instead, he spoke solely about Ramos and the jobs of police officers. Ramos “was a peacemaker in church, a peacemaker in his family, and a peacemaker on the streets of the City.” He continued on praising police officers stating “police officers are called ‘peace officers’ because that’s what they do- they keep the peace.” His speech at the funeral was said to be an opportunity to set the tone right and fix what he has started to push for unity between both sides, but with his tired self, he failed.
The most captivating eulogies of the service came from Commissioner Bill Bratton, the only man who spoke to actually walk in the shoes of police officers as he commands the 35,000 NYPD officers. He spoke passionately about the needs to heal in the upcoming days. The grief of this murder has become public as Bratton spoke directly to Officer Ramos’s sons as their “father represented the blue thread that holds our city together when disorder might pull it apart.” He continues his eulogy of unity from a divided city. “Rafael Ramos was ‘assassinated’ because he represented the entire police department and all of us, even though beneath the uniform, he was just a good man and maybe that’s our challenge, because we’ve all come to see only what we represent, instead of who we are, we don’t see each other. If we can learn to see each other, to see that our cops are people like Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, to see that our communities are filled with people like them, then when we see each other, we’ll heal as a department, as a city and as a country.”
The Commissioner posthumously upgraded both officer to the ranks of detective first grade and designated Officer Ramos as honorary department chaplain of the 84th precinct as a tribute to Ramos who was studying to become an NYPD chaplain.
After the service, the street filled with a sea of blue saluting the flag-draped casket as a folded flag into a triangle shape was given to the wife of Ramos as 12 police helicopters flew overhead in a missing man formation. On the ground, over 400 police motorcycles from around the country drove in tribute displaying grace and dignity down the Myrtle Avenue in Queens.
It’s has been a terrible sad week in New York, but the finest are standing stronger than ever and now the people must stand along with them.
As officers began to leave the service, an officer from another state grabbed an NYPD officer in a group to salute and say, “Keep it together brothers – we’ll get through all this together – we will get through these dark times because we have no choice. We are the police. It’s our duty to serve and protect, even if some people like your mayor don’t appreciate it.”
Officer Ramos now stands with St. Michael the Archangel and is guarding the gates of Heaven. Rest in peace brave soul. Rest in peace.
Saturday was one of the worse and excruciating days of 2014.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Two NYPD officers in Brooklyn, N.Y. were gunned down inside their marked patrol vehicles on Saturday afternoon while on meal break in an ‘execution style’ murder. The gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a Black Guerilla gang member from Baltimore, Md. bragged on Instagram hours before the gruesome attack of committing to kill two cops in revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
The two fallen officers have been identified as Wenjian Liu, an NYPD officer for seven years and Rafael Ramos, who has been on the job for about two years. Both heroes were working overtime as part of a crime reduction program in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. Both officers were rushed to Woodhull Hospital nearby and were pronounced dead on arrival.
A high-ranking police official explained how the officers were shot. “The perp came out of the houses, walked up behind the car and lit them up.” The officers were shot at point-blank range by the suspect. After the execution, Brinsley took off running as other officers began to chase to a nearby subway station. From there, the perp shot himself in the head. A silver handgun was recovered at the scene, the same one pictured in the Instagram post from Brinsley, where he stated in the caption- “I’m Putting Wings on Pigs Today” with the hashtag #ShootThePolice.
This shooting comes at a tense time where the city is divided. NYPD are being criticized for doing their jobs following the Eric Garner incident in the summer. Earlier this month, the Grand Jury decided not to indict the officer in Garner’s death, sparking mass protests and demonstrations all across New York City and elsewhere. Several NYPD officers were assaulted during the month long demonstrations, with the recent attacks of two NYPD lieutenants last Saturday at the Brooklyn Bridge.
Around 7 p.m., the NYPD held a press conference at Woodhull Hospital. As Mayor Bill de Blasio enters Woodhull Hospital for the presser, fellow officers began to turn their backs on him. The fractious relationship between police and the mayor began with the mayor’s comments after the Eric Garner’s Grand Jury decision, “I have had to talk to Dante for years about the danger that he may face in any encounters he has with the police officers.”
Police union leaders have condemned the mayor and his actions for what they see as insufficient support for the police department. Questions to the mayor about how he will spend the upcoming days weren’t answered. As tradition for the mayor to attend a fallen police officer’s funeral, it can be a complicated situation as earlier this month, the PBA union posted online a form for fellow officers to sign to refrain both Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito from attending their funeral in the event one is killed in the line of duty. The “Don’t Insult My Sacrifice” drew outrage from the mayor as many officers signed the form without hesitation.
“There’s blood on many hands tonight — those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day, that blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor,” said PBA president Patrick Lynch after the mayor presser in Woodhull Hospital. The SBA also blamed the mayor for the shooting issuing a statement on twitter. “The blood of 2 executed police officers is on the hands of Mayor de Blasio. May God bless their families and may their rest in peace.”
At the news conference, Mayor de Blasio changed this rhetoric and was quick to praise the NYPD. The mayor confirmed to the press that the two officers were gunned down in ambush in Brooklyn stating, “It is an attack on all of us. It is an attack on everything we hold dear. We depend on our police to protect us against forces of criminality and evil. They are a foundation of our society, and when they are attacked it is an attack on the very concept of decency, therefore, every New Yorker should feel they too were attacked. Our entire city was attacked by this heinous individual.”
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who identified the shooter said, “They were, quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform and for the responsibility they embraced to keep the people of this city safe. The Commissioner stated a warning from the Baltimore Police arrived as the tragic was occurring the same time the officers “were being ambushed and murdered.”
Around 9:40 p.m., hundreds of officers lined up in the driveway at Woodhull Hospital in silence as two NYPD ambulances drove away with the bodies of the slain officers inside to be taken to the medical examiner’s office.
The mayor’s divisive and racially incendiary rhetoric created an atmosphere hostile to our police officers as psychopathic behavior became obvious in the wake of reports of attacks on cops. As minor attacks occurred on police officers during the protesting, neither one of the political leaders condemned the violence that occurred to prevent this tragic from occurring.
Rest in peace to the brave souls taken away in such a horrendous attack.
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – Around a hundred supporters came out to a pro-police officer rally being held at City Hall on Friday evening, however, nearly twice as many protesters came out to counter the rally. Police barricaded the two opposing groups prior to the rally to prevent both sides from any violence, fortunately, there was just an exchange of chants and arguments between both sides.
The “Thank You NYPD” Facebook page was created in support of police officers after a series of protests in the city in the wake of the Eric Garner grand jury’s decision not to prosecute the NYPD officer. The grassroots page planned a pro-police rally outside City Hall to schedule to take place on Friday around 5 p.m. The Facebook page had approximately 23,000 likes prior to the rally. More than a thousand Facebook users said they would attend the rally. The police unions stated they wouldn’t be lending support, suggesting to not continue with the rally due to the growing online threats from anti-police protesters.
Many on the pro-police side were retired members of the police force and citizens expressing their appreciation for officers’ work and sacrifice. They had a few chants going on, such as ”God Bless America”, “N-Y-P-D thank you for protecting me” and “All Lives Matter”, but most of their time was spent arguing with the other side defending the police. Some wore blue shirts while some sported shirts stating, “I Can Breathe.”
When the pro-police rally was planned out, anti-police protesters began to stage a counterattack demonstration during the supporter’s rally. The counter rally called “Shut the NYPD down” was created to kick off the same time as the pro-police rally with having approximately 500 Facebook users attending this rally. The anti-police demonstrators began to retaliate the pro-police chants by shouting “How do you spell racist? N-Y-P-D!” and “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!“, and “Whose streets? Our streets!”
Although police kept the two demonstrations separated by metal barriers, it was reported that some anti-police protesters actually snuck into the pro-police side and began confronting the peaceful pro-police demonstrators by verbally assaulting them.
After an hour, the large anti-police group of demonstrators left City Hall to march onto the Brooklyn Bridge. It was reported that the pro-police crowd began to dissipate around 9 or 10 p.m., which was long before their supposed planned end time of midnight.
The agitator, Eric Linsker, a CUNY adjunct professor at Baruch College fled the scene, but left behind a bag containing his work ID, three hammers and a black ski mask. He was caught Sunday afternoon and will be facing 13 charges of assaulting police officers, robbery, reckless endangerment, rioting and possession of marijuana.
This isn’t the first time Linsker has started a brawl with NYPD officers during a protest. The 29-year-old cop-hating poet and occupy leader in 2011 was arrested for punching a cop in the eye during the Occupy Wall Street protest. This isn’t the first attack on NYPD cops as some protesters don’t want to see justice and just revenge on the lives of who serve and protect. As Mainstream media have turned a blind eye of showing the chanting malicious anti-cop phase, social media has surfaced instead, showing video of chants such as this disgusting phrase , “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!” during Saturday’s protest.
On December 11, an officer took a punch in the face on West 125th Street in Harlem by a man who later was caught. A sergeant attempting to hold back a crowd during a December 4 protest at the Staten Island Ferry terminal in lower Manhattan was struck by a 22-year-old man. Police later found out the same attacker punched another officer that night in Chelsea. However, there has been no reports or coverage of this incident from either the liberal media nor the liberal elected officials in New York City.
Chief of Department James P. O’Neill at a news conference late Saturday night after the attacks stated, “Our officers have shown extraordinary restraint and patience in the face of verbal abuse and much more, after tonight’s event, after the cops being assaulted, this is where we have to draw the line.”
MIT economist and consultant to the Obamacare law, Jonathan Gruber was hammered on Tuesday by the House Oversight committee for his remarks of “Stupidity of American Voters”.
The remarks made over a few years span were released just days after Election Day, which sparked a firestorm that gave the Republicans the advantage to beat up not only on Gruber, but to examine the failures and lack of transparency of Obamacare.
Also appearing on Capitol Hill was Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who Rep. Darrell Issa, the Chair of House Oversight accused of inflating enrollment numbers. Issa tied both Gruber and Tavenner together calling them “a perfect pairing, a pairing of individuals who are responsible for what we know and don’t know, before during and after the passage of the Affordable Care Act.” However most of the hearing saw only members scolding Gruber with just a few questions being asked to Tavenner, mainly from Rep. Issa.
Gruber who helped develop the economic model for the Massachusetts health care plan under Governor Mitt Romney was sought to architect Obamacare at a national level. In the video, Gruber stated the bill was written to “make sure the CBO didn’t score mandate as taxes” and “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.” He also said “Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.” These statements led to the House Oversight to investigation of the truth and impact of Obamacare
Tuesday’s hearing led by Rep. Issa featured a bipartisan beating to Gruber as he tried to minimize his role and continued to apologize for his remarks that he described as “glib, thoughtless and sometimes downright insulting comments.”
Gruber repeatedly tried to explain his past comments, as “The comments I made were really inexcusable.” Continuing on, Gruber said “I behaved badly, and I will have to live with that, but my own inexcusable arrogance is not a flaw in the Affordable Care Act. The A.C.A. is a milestone accomplishment for our nation that already has provided millions of Americans with health insurance.”
Republicans sought to confront Gruber to disclose the total amount of works related to grants and contracts from the federal government. Refusing to disclose the other amount, Gruber confirmed he received $400,000 under contract with HHS. As numerous Republican members try to inquire the exact amount, Gruber declined and avoided the question by stating “You can take it up with my counsel.” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wasn’t accepting this answer, scolding Gruber, “So you’re not going to answer the question? You come to the committee, we ask a question, and you’re supposed to answer the question,” We wanna know how much you got from the taxpayers. Then you made fun of them after you got it from them.”
As Republican Representatives tore into Gruber on his remarks, Senior Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) tried to savage Gruber as best as he could, but joined in on the scolding for his comments that gave the Republicans the ammunition to belittle the administration as “absolutely stupid” and “incredibly disrespectful.” Worse, he continues, the statements gave Republicans “a political gift in their relentless campaign to tear down the ACA and eliminate health care for millions of Americans…great job, you wrapped it up with a bow.”
Gruber tried to accredit his comments and role in creating the ACA. “I’m a professor of economics at MIT. I’m not a politician nor a political advisor,” Gruber said, stressing that his role with the administration was purely technical. I was not the ‘architect’ of President Obama’s health care plan.” This led to Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) having enough of Gruber speaking about politics and became Gruber’s worst nightmare. “So you’re a professor at MIT and you’re worried about not looking smart enough?” Gowdy asked. Gruber replied, “yes” to which Gowdy fired back “Well, you succeeded if that was your goal,” Gowdy said.
The most moving moment of the hearing came from Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo). Her personal story about her late husband was a statement rather than of questioning neither Gruber nor Tavenner. “My husband had a massive heart attack in his sleep at age 65. A perfectly, by all accounts, healthy man. Come to find out, in a conversation with his physician after he died, he chose not to have one of the tests, the last tests, his doctor told him to have. This happened to coincide with the time that we were told that we were not covered by Obamacare. I’m not telling you that my husband died because of Obamacare. He died because he had a massive heart attack in his sleep.” She ended her statement “I want to suggest that regardless of what happened to me personally, that there have been so many glitches in the passage and implementation of Obamacare that have real-life consequences on peoples’ lives, ” she said, almost choking up. “The so-called glibness that has been referenced today has direct consequences for real American people. So get over your damn glibness.”
After the ruling last Wednesday to not indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo on the incident that led to the death of Eric Garner, prominent race-baiters jumped to gain media attention and began bashing the police force national. Here are the back-to-back press statements from the political leaders and activists.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio responded quickly to the development with anger as he cancelled events such as the Rockefeller Tree Lighting ceremony. The mayor went to Staten Island to meet with elected officials and clergy members where he issued a statement about the grand jury results.
He gave a personal speech by promising to heal the strained relations between police and minority communities as majority of New Yorkers sees this case as racial injustice. Stating this was personal for him by using his bi-racial family for his public image. Using his son Dante, he describes how he and his wife “had talks with Dante about the dangers that he might face” from the police.
Continuing on he cites, “Black Lives Matter” as a phrase that should never have to be said, but its self-evident and history requires us to say it.” The mayor acknowledges the protest and urged New Yorkers to avoid violence and riots such as the ones he seen in 1991 as a staffer to former Mayor David Dinkins, the riots in Crown Heights.
President Obama addressed the decision while not mentioning too many details of the case. At the White House Tribal Nation, Obama said, “It’s an American problem and it speaks to the larger issues.” Adding on he stated the decision is a “concern on the part that many minority communities that law enforcement is not working with them…We are not going to let up until there is trust and accountability that exists between law enforcement and our communities.”
Attorney General Eric Holder announced that an investigation of Garner’s death has been going on for a while quietly to determine if civil rights were violated. Holder said, “This is one of several recent incidents that have tested the sense of trust that must exist between law enforcement and the communities they are charged to serve and protect. Both cases have put law-enforcement officers under a microscope on how they use excessive force to arrests minorities.”
Adding fuel to the fire was the leader of all leaders, Rev. Al Sharpton, an opportunist who only hurts a cause rather than to help. Declaring that this country is in a “national crisis” by comparing the New York events to Ferguson, Mo., the Veteran race-baiter announced an organized national march in Washington, DC for December 13. I don’t think if Dr. Martin Luther King was still alive that he would join this march, but career rioters will.
With all these players speaking about improving police-community relations, keep in mind that they seek to gain attention from this tragedy that wouldn’t have happened if Eric Garner didn’t resist arrest. Both Eric Garner and Michael Brown’s case shouldn’t be about race or discrimination or lumped together as a trend to protest and cause chaos. Race here is both irrelevant. The facts are that both broke and fought the law. Neither officers broke the law, they performed their duties as they swore they would when they become police officers. Both officers didn’t just wake up, head to work and intend to kill a black man that day. It’s tragic that two men died, but instead of bashing cops and protesting, why don’t the wasted energy go to chastising ones who actually break the law and commit the crimes, then maybe some real progress can be made.
Examine the facts first before acting on feeling then maybe the fog in your emotional mind will clear and the facts will show you exactly what NBA Hall of Fame Charles Barkley said is correct and that, “Cops are awesome, they’re the only thing in the ghetto separating this place from this place from being the wild, wild west“.
On Wednesday, a Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict an NYPD officer for using a chokehold move that killed Eric Garner, adding more fuel to the race-baiting fires lit across the nation.
Garner died on July 17 after he resisted arrest while officers attempted to handcuff him for selling loose untaxed cigarettes, commonly referred to on the New York City streets as “Loosies”. This fatal encounter was caught on video by numerous witnesses, showing the NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo putting Garner in a “chokehold”, a move that is prohibited by the NYPD’s policies and procedures but not banned nationally. Garner’s last words were “I can’t breathe” as it was heard numerous times on the video, words which can be seen as a ploy to get the officers to free him from restraint and try to attack.
Police are not barred by the law from using a “chokehold” during an arrest, but it’s a violation of the NYPD’s regulation policy. Medical examiners ruled the cause of death to be a “homicide” – a word used in clinical, not legal terms – based on the compression of the neck and chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police. However, the autopsy also attributed Garner’s death to his heart disease and asthma caused by his obesity.
The 23-member Grand Jury viewed the video and the medical examiner’s report that was used as evidence to determine not to indict the officer. They decided to not indict with the video evidence and medical examiner’s report that ruled the death a homicide. They voted that the officer didn’t break the law. They concluded the officer’s action showed no intent to harm and it was an unnecessary death due to Garner resisting arrest. They felt that Garner resisted arrest and the officer was doing his job with no intention to kill. Had Garner just followed the officers command, it would have been a different story.
Enough with the cop bashing.