New Jersey politicians charged in massive mail-in ballot voter fraud scheme, face years in prison

New Jersey politicians charged in massive mail-in ballot voter fraud scheme, face years in prison

Democrats have been pushing vote-by-mail

By Chris Enloe

June 27, 2020

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has filed voter fraud charges against four men, including two Paterson City officials, who allegedly engaged in a mail-in ballot scheme during a special election last month.

Grewal charged Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-elect Alex Mendez, and two other men after the U.S. Postal Inspection Service alerted the state attorney general’s office that it had found hundreds of ballots in a single Paterson City mailbox, InsiderNJ reported.

According to WNBC-TV, more than 3,000 ballots were set aside over voting fraud concerns in the Paterson City Council election — 16,747 were received, but only 13,557 were accepted — meaning a whopping 19%, or nearly 1-in-5, were rejected.

More than 800 of the rejected ballots were invalidated because they were found tethered together in mailboxes.

The alleged voter fraud is particularly significant in the election because one incumbent councilman kept his seat by just eight votes, while Mendez was elected by fewer than 250 votes, WNBC reported.

Jackson was charged with four crimes, including fraud in casting mail-in vote and falsifying records. From the attorney general’s office:

It is alleged that Jackson violated state election laws as a candidate by approaching one or more voters in Paterson in the district where he was running and collecting their official mail-in ballots for delivery to the Passaic County Board of Elections. It is further alleged that these mail-in ballots were delivered to the Board of Elections without information identifying the bearer, in violation of state election laws. In addition, Jackson allegedly procured and had in his possession more than three official mail-in ballots which were neither his own ballots, nor ballots for which he was identified as an authorized bearer. Lastly, Jackson allegedly received the official mail-in ballot of one voter without the ballot having been voted or sealed, and that ballot was subsequently delivered to the Board of Elections in a sealed envelope without information identifying the bearer.

Mendez was hit with six criminal charges, including election fraud and falsifying records. From the Attorney General’s Office:

It is alleged that Mendez violated state election laws as a candidate by approaching one or more voters in Paterson in the district where he was running and collecting their official mail-in ballots for delivery to the Passaic County Board of Elections. It is further alleged that these mail-in ballots were delivered to the Board of Elections without information identifying the bearer in violation of state election laws. In addition, Mendez allegedly procured or submitted one or more voter registration applications, which he knew to be false, fictitious, or fraudulent, in that he knew the person for whom the application was procured was not eligible to vote in the election district identified on the application.

“Today’s charges send a clear message: if you try to tamper with an election in New Jersey, we will find you and we will hold you accountable,” Grewal said. “We will not allow a small number of criminals to undermine the public’s confidence in our democratic process.”

According to the Paterson Times, Jackson faces more than 10 years in prison while Mendez faces more than 31 years in prison.

The charges were filed as Democrats nationwide push for mail-in voting as a method to reduce coronavirus spread. Republicans generally oppose mail-in voting, arguing it opens the door to voter fraud.

June 28, 2020. Tags: , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Everyone, please show people this video of Joe Biden!

Everyone, please show people this video of Joe Biden!

May 28, 2020. Tags: , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Clip surfaces of Biden accuser Tara Reade’s mother phoning into ‘Larry King Live’ in 1993 alluding to claim

Clip surfaces of Biden accuser Tara Reade’s mother phoning into ‘Larry King Live’ in 1993 alluding to claim

April 25, 2020

A resurfaced clip of “Larry King Live” from 1993 appears to include the mother of Tara Reade — who has accused Joe Biden of past sexual assault while in the Senate — alluding to “problems” her daughter faced while working as a staffer for the then-U.S. senator from Delaware.

In a telephone interview with Fox News on Friday night, Reade confirmed that her mother called in to the show. Biden’s presidential campaign has adamantly denied Reade’s allegations but the video could be cited as evidence supporting Reade’s allegation – even though her late mother, in the clip, does not specifically refer to a sexual assault claim.

The Intercept on Friday first reported the transcript of a broadcast from Aug. 11, 1993, of a woman from San Luis Obispo County, Calif., calling in to the show about her daughter’s experience on Capitol Hill.

“San Luis Obispo, California, hello,” King begins.

“Yes, hello. I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington? My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him,” the caller says.

“In other words, she had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it?” King inquires.

“That’s true,” the woman responds before King cuts away to a panel to discuss her claim.

That woman was Jeanette Altimus, Reade’s mother, Reade told news outlets, including Fox News.

Later Friday, the Media Research Center found the clip in its archives matching the information provided by The Intercept.

Reade took to Twitter to confirm that it was her mother who called in to “Larry King Live.”

“This is my mom. I miss her so much and her brave support of me,” Reade tweeted about her mother, who died in 2016.

Reade’s story first resurfaced in an article in The Intercept on March 24. Podcast host Katie Halper then interviewed Reade, who said that in 1993, a more senior member of Biden’s staff asked her to bring the then-senator his gym bag near the U.S. Capitol building, which led to the encounter in question.

“He greeted me, he remembered my name, and then we were alone. It was the strangest thing,” Reade told Halper. “There was no like, exchange really. He just had me up against the wall.”

Reade said that she was wearing “a business skirt,” but “wasn’t wearing stockings — it was a hot day.”

She continued: “His hands were on me and underneath my clothes, and he went down my skirt and then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers and he was kissing me at the same time and he was saying some things to me.”

Reade claimed Biden first asked if she wanted “to go somewhere else.”

“I pulled away, he got finished doing what he was doing,” Reade said. “He said: ‘Come on, man. I heard you liked me.’”

Reade said she tried to share her story last year, but nobody listened to her. Earlier this month, she filed a criminal complaint against Biden with police in Washington, D.C.

Fox News reached out to the Biden campaign on Friday for comment. The campaign referred Fox News to a statement earlier this month from Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield that said: “What is clear about this claim: it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”

“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” Bedingfield said. “He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard – and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press.

Speaking to Fox News on Friday, Reade recalled being “furious” at her mother for phoning in to CNN after having watched the clip on a recorded tape following the broadcast.

She told Fox News she “dreamt” about her mother on Thursday night. The following morning, The Intercept’s Ryan Grim told her that he found the transcript.

Reade said she “cried” when she watched the clip on Friday evening, telling Fox News it had been years since she had heard mother’s voice. She had urged Reade to file a police report at the time of the alleged assault, Reade said.

“Always listen to your mom, always listen to your mom,” an emotional Reade told Fox News.

Still, the mother’s interview doesn’t specifically corroborate Reade’s latest allegations of assault, and could be referring more to the bullying allegations she raised last year. In a 2020 interview, Reade laid more blame with Biden’s staffers for “bullying her” than with Biden himself, The Washington Post reported.

Reade has come forward before: Last year, when multiple women emerged claiming inappropriate touching by Biden.

Reade, at the time, claimed Biden put his hands on her shoulders and rubbed his fingers up and down her neck, but was unable to gain traction on her story aside from an article in a local newspaper.

But in recent weeks, Reade told a far more graphic account, with different and more serious details, raising the allegation to the level of sexual assault.

“Now we’ll see if a different set of rules still applies to Joe Biden,” Erin Perrine, the principal deputy communications for President Trump’s re-election campaign, said in a statement to Fox News. “Maybe now at least one reporter will ask him about it.”

Fox News has also requested comment from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who ran against Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary and recently endorsed Biden’s campaign after wthdrawing from the race.

April 30, 2020. Tags: , , , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

According to MSNBC’s Brian Williams and the New York Times’s Mara Gay, 500 million / 327 million = 1 million

March 6, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Math, Media bias, Politics. 3 comments.

I recently found these three hilarious images on the internet

I did not create these images.

I do not know who did create them, so I cannot give credit to their creators. I am including links to show where I got them from.

February 25, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Humor, Politics. 1 comment.

Palestinian workers prefer to work for Israeli employers

Report: Palestinian workers prefer to work for Israeli employers

Higher salaries, legal protections and lack of discrimination are among the reasons most Palestinians would prefer to work for Israeli firms.

February 16, 2020

The United Nations “blacklist” of businesses operating in Israeli settlements was lauded by the Palestinian leadership following its publication last week, but a recent report indicates that Palestinians actually prefer to work for Israelis rather than Palestinians.

Titled “Why Palestinians prefer to work for Israeli employers,” the report, by Israel-based media watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch, affirms that whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to leave their jobs with Palestinian employers. The report cites an article in the official Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that praises the Israeli-employment sector.

According to senior PMW analyst Nan Jacques Zilberdik, who co-authored the report with PMW director Itamar Marcus, there are a number of reasons Palestinians prefer Israeli employers.

“First, the salary from Israeli employers is more than double that of the Palestinian sector, but that is not all. Palestinians working for Israelis are protected by the same laws as Israeli workers, including health benefits, sick leave, vacation time and other workers’ rights, whereas these protections are not granted by Palestinian employers. Also there is no gender or religious discrimination in the Israeli sector.”

Speaking on the official P.A. TV show “Workers Affairs,” Israeli-Arab labor lawyer Khaled Dukhi of the Israeli NGO Workers’ Hotline said Israeli labor law is “very good” because it does not differentiate between men and women, Israelis and Palestinians, Muslims and Jews. However, he explained, “Palestinian workers who work for Israelis still suffer because Palestinian middlemen ‘steal’ 50 percent, 60 percent and even 70 percent of their salaries, especially those of women.”

The higher Israeli salaries have been consistent for years, according to surveys published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Labor Force Survey for the second quarter of 2018 showed that the average daily wage for wage employees in the West Bank was NIS 107.9 ($31.5) compared with NIS 62.6 (18.3) in Gaza Strip. The average daily wage for the wage employees in Israel and the Israeli settlements reached NIS 247.9 ($72.3) in the second quarter of 2018, compared with NIS 242.5 ($70.8) in the first quarter of 2018.


February 22, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Politics, Racism, Religion. Leave a comment.

Student, 21, says she was insulted by Joe Biden when he called her a ‘lying dog-faced pony soldier’ after asking about his poor Iowa results and says it shows how badly his campaign is going

Student, 21, says she was insulted by Joe Biden when he called her a ‘lying dog-faced pony soldier’ after asking about his poor Iowa results and says it shows how badly his campaign is going

Joe Biden called Madison Moore a ‘lying, dog-faced pony soldier’ after she asked him a question at his campaign event in Hampton, New Hampshire on Sunday

Biden later said he was quoting John Wayne

The 21-year-old Mercer University student had nervously nodded her head yes when Biden asked her if she had ever been to a caucus before

Moore said she didn’t find his remark funny, saying: ‘It was kind of humiliating to be called a liar on national TV by the former vice president’

She added: ‘I am 21-year old college student, like what the hell do I know? Who cares who I am or my experience. Just answer the damn question’

Moore said she wasn’t expecting for her question to make headlines, saying: ‘If I had expected that I would’ve worn makeup. I would’ve looked a lot cuter’

February 10, 2020

A college student who Joe Biden called a ‘lying, dog-faced pony soldier’ after she asked about his poor performance in Iowa shamed him for ‘humiliating’ her and said his inability to answer her question shows how ‘extremely poorly he’s performing’.

Madison Moore, a 21-year-old economics student at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, said for people to wave off the former vice president’s remark as a ‘joke’ is ‘kind of insulting’. Biden later explained he was quoting John Wayne.

Biden asked Moore if she had ever voted in a caucus and she nodded her head yes while attending his campaign event in Hampton, New Hampshire on Sunday night, leading Biden to call her a ‘lying, dog-faced pony soldier’.

Moore said: ‘It was kind of humiliating to be called a liar on national TV by the former vice president. Instead of answering that question straightforward, his immediate response was to attempt to invalidate me by exposing my inexperience.

‘He has been performing extremely poorly in this race and the fact that he couldn’t just straight answer my question without bullying or intimidating just exacerbates that fact.

She added: ‘I am 21-year old college student, like what the hell do I know? Who cares who I am or my experience. Just answer the damn question.’

Moore, who is on Mercer University’s debate team, attended Biden’s campaign event as part of a trip for school, reported the Macon Telegraph.

She asked Biden why voters should believe he could win after his performance in Iowa – where he came in fourth place.

‘So you’re arguably the candidate with the greatest advantage in this race,’ Moore said, mentioning how Biden has name recognition as the former vice president and didn’t have to take time off from the campaign trail for impeachment hearings like the 2020 candidates who serve in the U.S. Senate.

‘How do you explain the performance in Iowa and why should the voters believe that you can win the national election?’ she asked.

‘It’s a good question. Number One – Iowa is a Democratic caucus. You ever been to a caucus?’ Biden asked the young voter.

She nodded in the affirmative.

‘No you haven’t. You’ve a lying dog-faced pony soldier,’ Biden said, getting laughs.

‘You said you were – but now you’ve got to be honest. Now, I’m gonna be honest with you. It was a little bit confusing in Iowa,’ he said.

Moore later explained she only nodded her head yes because she got nervous, but said she felt whether she had been to a caucus or not was irrelevant.

Biden’s spokespeople said the line was taken from a scene in a John Wayne movie, where a Native American chief refers to Wayne as a ‘lying, dog-faced pony soldier.’

Still, Moore said she didn’t find it funny, regardless if he tried to play it off as a joke.

She added she wasn’t expecting for her question to make national headlines, saying: ‘If I had expected that I would’ve worn makeup. I would’ve looked a lot cuter.’

Biden has previously used the same phrase and attributed it to a John Wayne movie.

At a 2018 campaign event for Heidi Heitkamp, Biden said of her opponent Kevin Cramer: ‘As my brother who loves to use lines from movies, from John Wayne movies, there’s a line in a movie, a John Wayne movie where an Indian chief turns to John Wayne and says, ”This is a lying, dog-faced pony soldier.”

It appears Biden may have misquoted John Wayne as it seems he may have been referring to the 1952 Tyrone Power film ‘Pony Soldier’, which uses the phrase throughout.

Addressing Moore, Biden said: ‘But let’s assume everything was exactly right in Iowa, the idea that you come in with half the delegates that the leaders come in with in Iowa, does not necessarily say how you’re going to win Pennsylvania, how you’re going to win Michigan,’ he argued, suggesting he’d outperform Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the general election swing states.

‘I congratulate Pete, I congratulate Bernie,’ Biden continued. ‘They were really well organized, better organized than we were in Iowa.’

Biden also argued that ‘you have to take the first four as one,’ Biden said of the first early voting and caucus states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

‘Not a single person has won without overwhelming support from the black community, overwhelming, overwhelming. OK?’ Biden said.

‘Right now I am far and ahead in the African-American community,’ he continued, adding that the final result ‘remains to be seen.’

Iowa has not yet officially declared the winner, but as the results stand Buttigieg came in No. 1 in the traditional metric – the percentage of delegates earned – while Sanders won the popular vote.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren fell in third place with 18 per cent and Biden in fourth with 15.8 per cent.

Other than Amy Klobuchar, who earned 12.3 per cent in the caucus, no other candidate emerged with more than 1 per cent.

New polling out over the weekend shows Biden in fourth place in New Hampshire, as well – with one particular poll showing him only one point ahead of Klobuchar.

He also downplayed expectations in New Hampshire, which holds the nation’s first primary on Tuesday. Biden said he can’t be expected to top Sanders, who represents Vermont, or Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, since they’re from neighboring states.

‘Look, who has won a New Hampshire primary … if you have somebody running in the two states next door to you?’ he asked the crowd.

While in the room, Biden’s odd comment was taken in stride.

Once it hit the internet, however, it was ripe for critics to rip.

Donald Trump Jr. saw the back-and-forth and suggested it showed that the 77-year-old Biden was deteriorating.

‘Are we stil pretending Joe Biden hasn’t lost his marbles?’ Trump Jr. tweeted Sunday afternoon. The first son then suggested people ‘Google a video of him from 30 years ago and compare it to him now and tell me it’s the same person!’

‘Long gone,’ Trump Jr. said.

February 10, 2020. Tags: , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Iowa Democrats can’t do simple arithmetic

NBC News review of Iowa caucus vote finds potential errors, inconsistencies

The results as reported by the Iowa Democratic Party raise questions about the accuracy of the outcome of the first-in-the-nation vote.

February 6, 2020

The Iowa Democratic caucus results are rife with potential errors and inconsistencies that could affect the outcome of the election, according to a review by the NBC News Decision Desk.

The apparent mistakes — spotted in at least dozens of the state’s 1,711 precincts — call into question the accuracy of the outcome of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus, which was held on Monday night.

In some individual precincts, it may be possible to fix the errors; in other precincts, it will probably be impossible to determine how voters truly made their choices.

The potential errors and inconsistencies take on importance because of the closeness of the contest between the two front-runners — former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

With all percent of precincts reported, Buttigieg had 26.2 percent support and Sanders had 26.1 percent.

The NBC News Decision Desk said it has reviewed the reporting data provided by the Iowa Democratic Party and identified several different types of potential problems with the count.

“There are definitely some inaccuracies in the data,” said John Lapinski, director of the Elections Unit at NBC News, who leads the Decision Desk.

“When you have a tied result, even the smallest sort of inaccuracy could be consequential,” he said. “If there was a lot of spread in this race, these errors would be insignificant. But when we are talking about a tied race, everyone wants to know that every number is correct.”

Lapinski added, “In close races, every number is consequential.”

Results from the contest held Monday were delayed by what organizers said was a problem with a smartphone app. The Iowa Democratic Party said problems with reporting the caucus results were due partly to “coding issues” with the app, which was being used by precincts for the first time.

NBC News has not called a winner in the first-in-the-nation contest.

Here are some examples of the potential errors and inconsistencies:

Numbers don’t add up
The Decision Desk said it identified at least 77 precincts, or 4.5 percent, where the total votes for what is known as “reallocated candidate preference” is greater than the total votes for “initial candidate preference” — a difference that makes no sense.

In the Iowa caucus system, the reallocated preference is based on the raw tally taken after the process of realignment. For instance, if a caucusgoer’s initial preferred candidate did not receive enough support to meet the precinct location’s viability threshold (15 percent in most cases), the caucusgoer is allowed to shift their support — or realign — to another candidate who did attain viability.

Therefore, it doesn’t make sense that the number of voters would increase during this process. If anything, it might decline since caucusgoers whose initial preference didn’t make viability might chose to simply leave, rather than sticking around to support another candidate.

And yet the number of voters appears to have increased in precinct Des Moines-62 in Polk County. The total of votes recorded for initial preference was 784 — but the total number of votes in the precinct on the reallocated preference vote increased to 841. It is unclear how to explain an increase between rounds because the initial preference is supposed to include the votes of everyone who is participating in the caucus. The initial preference should reflect the total turnout in the caucus.

Some of the discrepancies are a result of zero votes being reported for the initial preference. In the Des Moines-80 precinct, for example, there were zero total reported votes on the initial preference vote and 215 total votes on the reallocated preference vote.

Because the precinct has no votes recorded for candidates on the initial preference round it is impossible to know whether the reallocation was correctly done in the precinct. Moreover, because the precinct is not contributing any votes to the total candidate votes on the initial preference ballot the statewide percentages for candidates doing well in this precinct also will be understated.

Other precincts, however, have discrepancies that are more irregular than simply failing to report any data for the initial preference vote.

In precinct WDM-312 in Polk County, there were only 61 total votes reported in the initial preference round, but there were 339 total votes reported in the reallocated preference round.

Looking at the pattern of recorded votes suggests that no initial preference votes were recorded for any of the viable candidates, but only for candidates who had not attained viability — which is not how the process is supposed to work. Because the data was not reported, it is therefore impossible to know what the initial preference votes were for viable candidates in this precinct, nor how voters changed between initial preference and reallocated preference.

Issues with state delegate equivalents
The Decision Desk also said it found allocations of “state delegate equivalents” — the caucuses’ most important prize for candidates — that are hard to reconcile with the other data being reported out of the precinct.

Iowa Democratic caucus results are not actual votes cast. The percentages received by candidates, based on returns of the estimated number of state convention delegates won by each candidate through the caucus process, are known as state delegate equivalents, or SDEs.

Because the 41 elected delegates that Iowa is sending to the Democratic National Convention are elected by the state delegates selected by the Iowa caucus results, issues with the SDEs are potentially more consequential in terms of the overall Democratic nomination for president.

Under the rules, candidates should not receive SDEs if they have less than 15 percent of support in the reallocated preference vote.

Despite that, the Decision Desk said it found at least 15 precincts where a candidate received SDEs, despite being below the 15 percent threshold.

In all but the smallest precincts, the rules state that the viability threshold is determined by multiplying the number of voters by 0.15 and rounding up to the nearest whole number. However, it appears that the viability threshold was calculated by rounding down in several precincts Monday night.

No single candidate seems to have benefited disproportionately from this misapplication of the rules. There were at least six instances where Sanders benefited, four favoring Buttigieg, two for former Vice President Joe Biden, one for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and one for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

An example of this is in the City of New Hampton Ward Three precinct in Chickasaw County. Forty-two voters participated, meaning that a candidate would need seven votes or more to be above the 15 percent threshold. In the reallocated preference, however, Sanders received only six votes, or 14.29 percent. Despite receiving below 15 percent in the reallocated vote in the precinct, Sanders received 0.1 SDEs from the precinct — when he should have received none.

NBC News has reached out to the Iowa Democratic Party about these potential errors and inconsistencies and has not received a response.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price said that, “Throughout the collection of records of results, the IDP identified inconsistencies in the data and used our redundant paper records to promptly correct those errors.”

February 7, 2020. Tags: , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Fatal DWI suspect bragged about bail reform: ‘I’ll be out tomorrow’

Fatal DWI suspect bragged about bail reform: ‘I’ll be out tomorrow’

January 30, 2020

A Long Island man arrested after a fatal drunken wreck Jan. 12 bragged to cops, “The laws changed, I’ll be out tomorrow,” thanks to new bail reform measures, prosecutors said Thursday.

Jordan Randolph, 40, who did walk free the next day, also told cops the deadly crash was “just a DWI.”

Details of the boozy bust were revealed Thursday as Randolph was hit with a 24-count indictment for vehicular manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide and a slew of other charges in the crash that killed 27-year-old Jonathan Flores-Maldonado.

“As Jonathan Flores was left taking his last breaths and dying, this defendant was hurling expletives at both officers and EMTs who were trying to render him aid,” Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Jacob DeLauter said during Randolph’s arraignment.

“At one point, the defendant completely trivialized this deadly collision by stating to police, ‘F–k you, January 1st the laws changed. I’ll be out tomorrow and I will come find you,’” DeLauter said. “He also stated to an EMT that when he gets out, he’ll come find her.”

DeLauter said Randolph, who has three prior DWI convictions, was driving at “more than 135 miles per hour” prior to the deadly crash, and that it took several officers to subdue the hulking suspect.

Randolph had been free without bail for weeks before the Jan. 12 crash — despite an earlier arrest in Suffolk on Jan. 1 and a parole violation in Nassau County on which he was supposed to plead guilty months earlier.

And yet he walked free again after the fatal wreck.

That’s because the new law prohibits judges from setting bail on most misdemeanors and many nonviolent felonies — including drunken driving.

“My son became a body count,” Flores-Maldonado’s mother, Lillian Flores, railed outside the Suffolk courtroom Thursday after Randolph pleaded not guilty to the indictment.

“I’m here to advocate for my son and for any other victims that are subject to the injustices of these new laws,” she said. “My name is Lillian Flores. My son is Jonathan Flores-Maldonado, and he was the one that was mowed down on the damned highway.”

Under the new bail laws, Randolph could not be held after the crash because Suffolk prosecutors only charged him with drunken driving and not with Flores-Maldonado’s death.

Extensive media coverage of the case prompted Nassau County Judge William O’Brien, who was presiding over the parole violation in that county, to order Randolph arrested and jailed.

On Thursday, Suffolk County Judge Fernando Camacho ordered him held without bail on the indictment.

February 6, 2020. Tags: , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Iowa Caucus Results Riddled With Errors and Inconsistencies

Iowa Caucus Results Riddled With Errors and Inconsistencies

The mistakes do not appear intentional, but they raise questions about whether there will ever be a completely precise accounting.

February 6, 2020

Results from the Iowa Democratic caucuses were delayed by “quality control checks” on Monday night. Days later, quality control issues have not been resolved.

The results released by the Iowa Democratic Party on Wednesday were riddled with inconsistencies and other flaws. According to a New York Times analysis, more than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of the Iowa caucuses.

In some cases, vote tallies do not add up. In others, precincts are shown allotting the wrong number of delegates to certain candidates. And in at least a few cases, the Iowa Democratic Party’s reported results do not match those reported by the precincts.

Some of these inconsistencies may prove to be innocuous, and they do not indicate an intentional effort to compromise or rig the result. There is no apparent bias in favor of the leaders Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders, meaning the overall effect on the winner’s margin may be small.

But not all of the errors are minor, and they raise questions about whether the public will ever get a completely precise account of the Iowa results. With Mr. Sanders closing to within 0.1 percentage points with 97 percent of 1,765 precincts reporting, the race could easily grow close enough for even the most minor errors to delay a final projection or raise doubts about a declared winner.

The errors suggest that many Iowa caucus leaders struggled to follow the rules of their party’s caucuses, or to adopt the additional reporting requirements introduced since 2016. They show that the Iowa Democratic Party, despite the long delays, failed to validate all of the results fully before releasing them to the public.

Mandy McClure, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party (I.D.P.), said the party reported the data as provided to it by the precinct caucuses.

“The caucus math work sheet is the official report on caucus night to the I.D.P., and the I.D.P. reports the results as delivered by the precinct chair,” she said. “This form must be signed by the caucus chair, the caucus secretary and representatives from each campaign in the room who attest to its accuracy. Under the rules of the delegate selection process, delegates are awarded based off the record of results as provided by each precinct caucus chair.”

Just about every election night includes reporting errors. They can be difficult to identify, but can often be corrected during a recount or a postelection canvass. This year’s Iowa caucuses are the reverse: Errors are now easy to identify, and hard to correct.

The errors are detectable because of changes to the way the Iowa Democratic Party reports its results, put in place after the Sanders campaign criticized the caucus results in 2016. This cycle, and for the first time, the party released three sets of results corresponding to different steps in the caucus process. The rules are complex and thorough, and they create conditions in which the results can be obviously inaccurate or inconsistent within a precinct.

First, caucusgoers express their preference for a candidate upon arrival, and these votes are recorded in a “first alignment.” Then, candidates with limited support at a precinct, usually less than 15 percent, are deemed not viable; their supporters get a chance to realign to support a viable candidate. The preference at this point is recorded as well, and it’s called the final alignment.

Viable candidates can’t lose support on realignment, but there were more than 10 cases where a viable candidate lost vote share in the final alignment, even though that is precluded by the caucus rules.

No new voters are permitted to join the caucus after the first alignment. But in at least 70 precincts, more than 4 percent of the total, there are more tabulated total votes on final alignment than on first alignment.

Many of these cases could be simple tabulation mistakes in a precinct caucus that otherwise went smoothly, like a West Des Moines precinct that reported the first alignment results only for the “nonviable” candidates (those who didn’t meet the 15 percent threshold) but still reported final alignment results for the viable ones. Others appear to be more serious.

At the next step in the process, each precinct allots county delegates based on final preference, and these county delegates are reported to the news media as “state delegate equivalents,” which approximate the number of delegates won at the state convention. Each precinct caucus gets a set number, but a handful of precincts allotted more state delegate equivalents than they had available.

Notably, there are dozens of precincts where there is a discrepancy between the final preference vote and the number of state delegate equivalents allotted. This includes more than 15 cases in which a candidate received fewer state delegate equivalents than another despite receiving more votes in the final alignment.

In these cases, it is not obvious whether the state delegates or the final alignment results were reported inaccurately.

The Iowa Democratic Party has corrected some errors, but the errors became far more frequent on Wednesday as the count dragged on.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Iowa Democratic Party released a wave of results showing Deval Patrick sweeping central Des Moines. That was incorrect. Mr. Sanders’s votes had been reported as being for Mr. Patrick, while Elizabeth Warren’s tallies went to Tom Steyer.

A plausible explanation is that an Iowa Democratic Party staff member accidentally copied the results of one column too far to the left in a spreadsheet for some precincts. Such errors inevitably occur in manual data entry, but the Iowa Democratic Party does not appear to have enough quality checks to assure that it reports accurate results.

The Iowa Democratic Party quickly corrected these errors, and they are not included in our overall count of discrepancies in more than 100 precincts. The party has not yet addressed other irregularities reported to it or circulating on social media. In another case, The Times alerted the party to an error at 6 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday that remained in the data released several hours later.

The Times is continuing to report the Iowa Democratic caucus results as released by the party and has alerted the party to an extensive list of precinct errors.

There is no reason to believe that Mr. Sanders or Mr. Buttigieg did materially better in the contaminated precincts than they did elsewhere, either over all or controlling for their demographic characteristics. But the tabulated result could be close enough for the remaining ambiguity to preclude a projection of a winner.

Even if the appropriate candidate is deemed the winner, the irregularities in the results are likely to do little to restore public confidence in the Iowa caucuses.

The Times is continuing to report the Iowa Democratic caucus results as released by the party and has alerted the party to an extensive list of precinct errors.

There is no reason to believe that Mr. Sanders or Mr. Buttigieg did materially better in the contaminated precincts than they did elsewhere, either over all or controlling for their demographic characteristics. But the tabulated result could be close enough for the remaining ambiguity to preclude a projection of a winner.

Even if the appropriate candidate is deemed the winner, the irregularities in the results are likely to do little to restore public confidence in the Iowa caucuses.

February 6, 2020. Tags: , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Perfect Club Engineering – Iowa Democrats Release Partial Results – Buttigieg Lead, Bernie Screwed, Biden Covered…

Perfect Club Engineering – Iowa Democrats Release Partial Results – Buttigieg Lead, Bernie Screwed, Biden Covered…

February 4, 2020

A key point of reference is ABC reporter Kendall Karson revealing the DNC came in and took over the tabulations of the Iowa Caucus result prior to this release. “One Democratic official I spoke to is being told that the DNC is “taking over” the accounting of results. The official said this that to their knowledge, this has never happened before.”

This is important because it highlights that The Club decided what partial results, from what locations, showing what outcomes, the Club wants to put forth.  Put another way, the DNC is releasing a specific 62% of the result to generate a specific Iowa narrative.

So what did they release:

Again, notice how all Club needs are met with this release.

Pete Buttigieg is proclaimed the winner (so far). This is narrative engineering that allows the promotion of Buttigieg and the diminishment of Bernie.  Undermining Bernie is the paramount Club goal here.  Buttigieg did not win the popular vote, and he will not likely be the final winner, but selecting this specific sub-set of votes allows a narrative to cement.

Next, notice how Joe Biden is propped up above the 15 percent threshold.  This makes it appear that Biden will receive delegates.  He may or may not; but for the narrative, propping up Biden is again a necessary club objective.

The dynamic to watch how Biden -vs- Sanders is played out and controlled.  The Club needs to diminish Bernie and hide the collapse of Biden.   The framework is to create a viable “Never Sanders” alternative?

Stunningly MSNBC’s John Heilemann outlines the media awareness of the dynamic.


February 4, 2020. Tags: , . Politics. Leave a comment.

The DNC’s Move to Accommodate Bloomberg Stirs Outrage in Iowa

The DNC’s Move to Accommodate Bloomberg Stirs Outrage in Iowa

Candidates, members of Congress, and activists are outraged over debate rule changes that bow to a billionaire.

February 2, 2020

Grinnell, Iowa—Michael Moore could barely contain his fury.

After the Democratic National Committee signaled Friday that it would abandon a grassroots-funding requirement that ensured candidates had to prove their appeal by attracting tens of thousands of small donations, Moore told a crowd of 2,500 that had packed into a cavernous concert hall near Des Moines, “You had to show you had a certain number of Americans that would give you a buck, that’s all the rule said, to show you have support. And that’s how they determine who would be on the debate stage. Today they removed that rule because [of] Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire, the Republican Mayor of New York City.”

As Moore described the rule change, his rage was echoed by the crowd, which booed the DNC and cheered the filmmaker’s stark assessment of the party’s motivation.

He doesn’t have to show he has any support among the American people, he can just buy his way onto the debate stage, and I’m going to tell you what’s so disgusting about this.

I watched the debate in Iowa here two weeks ago—the all-white debate—and the fact [is] that the Democratic, the DNC will not allow Cory Booker on that stage, will not allow Julian Castro on that stage, but they are going to allow Mike Bloomberg on the stage? Because he has a billion fucking dollars!

A roar of progressive populist outrage shook the venue.

Moore’s been an enthusiastic surrogate for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in Iowa, where Monday’s caucuses officially launch the race for delegates to nominate the party’s 2020 candidate. Since the news broke Friday, there has been widespread objection to the rule changes, which will allow candidates to gain a place on the stage of the February 19 debate in Nevada by registering at least 10 percent support in four qualifying national, Nevada, or South Carolina polls—or 12 percent in a pair of qualifying polls from the two states. They can also qualify if they win convention delegates with a good finish in Monday’s Iowa caucuses or the February 11 New Hampshire primary.

But the requirement that candidates show an ability to raise significant amounts of money from small donors—which DNC chair Tom Perez once defended by saying, “You can’t win the presidency in the modern era if you can’t build relationships with the grassroots”—are being scrapped.

The DNC now says it has better measures, in the form of polls and caucus and primary results. But Bloomberg has declined to campaign in Iowa and other states where the process begins. Instead, he is spending heavily—almost $200 million by the end of 2019 and much more since then—on a national advertising campaign (including a $10 million Super Bowl ad) that aims at upping his poll numbers in time for later contests in delegate-rich states. Bloomberg’s numbers are rising, and there is mounting speculation that with the rule change he will make it into the Nevada debate.

No one wants to exclude Bloomberg from the debates. In fact, there has been real concern about the lack of scrutiny faced by the wealthiest candidate. While other contenders have been required to prove themselves as policy-makers, fundraisers, and grassroots campaigners, Bloomberg has been able to surf a free-spending broadcast, cable, and digital media campaign into contention.

There are plenty of Democrats who want to see whether Bloomberg can manage on a debate stage—and plenty who suggest he would have a hard time holding his own in fall debates with Republican Donald Trump, who has already begun to refer to Bloomberg as “Mini Mike.” But there is anger at the prospect that Bloomberg could get on the debate stage without playing by the rules that others—including another wealthy self-funding candidate, Tom Steyer—struggled to follow.

“The DNC didn’t change the rules to ensure good, diverse candidates could remain on the debate stage,” declared Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who like Sanders has been a stark critic of the influence of big money on politics. “They shouldn’t change the rules to let a billionaire on. Billionaires shouldn’t be allowed to play by different rules—on the debate stage, in our democracy, or in our government.”

Former housing secretary Julián Castro, a candidate who dropped out and is now backing Warren, noted, “When [New Jersey Senator] Cory Booker led an effort to change the debate thresholds, the DNC refused—saying they couldn’t benefit any candidate. It seems the only candidate they’re willing to benefit is a billionaire who’s buying his way into the race. Total mess.”

In a race that began with the most diverse field in American history, candidates who embodied that diversity, including Castro and Booker, have now left the competition—leading to complaints that debate rules were creating an “all-white” competition. But the DNC has refused to bend in the face of demands for a loosening of the rules—or to calls by grassroots groups for issue-focused debates on the climate crisis and poverty.

On Friday, the Sunrise Movement mocked the DNC in a tweet that read:

DNC Chair @TomPerez: we will never change the rules of the debates, not for a #ClimateDebate, not for a #PovertyDebate, not for anything.@MikeBloomberg: I’m a billionaire

Tom Perez:

—Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) January 31, 2020

Frustration with the DNC’s move has been a feature of discussions on the campaign trail in Iowa. At a stop in Ankeny, where she spoke for Sanders, Congressional Progressive Caucus cochair Pramila Jayapal answered questions about the rule change in blunt terms. “There were ways to adjust the debate rules when you realized black and Latino candidates were being excluded, but they refused to do that,” she said. “They didn’t adjust the rules until Bloomberg.”

Iowans have had a front-row seat for a long campaign, and there is heightened sensitivity to moves that change the rules after the contest has begun.

Jade McMahon, a 19-year-old political science student at Grinnell College, was sitting at Grinnell’s Saints Rest coffeehouse, which has been packed for appearances by the candidates—including Sanders on Saturday and Booker when he was still running. “They made a rule change for the rich white guy but not the black guy,” she said. “It’s against what should be Democratic Party values to prioritize the sheer amount of money that a person has over the amount of people they have following them—especially when a candidate has attracted a lot of working-class support.”

Another Grinnell student, Eli Calalang-LaCroix, said, “This is what they have done again and again and again for years and years.”

“It exposes the DNC for how they operate,” said the 20-year-old, who will caucus for Sanders. “I think it’s reprehensible. But I think it can only help Bernie.” Why? Calalang-LaCroix is betting that the candidate who has challenged the power of the billionaire class will do well in a debate with a billionaire who bought his way into the competition.

February 4, 2020. Tags: , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

DNC Debate Rules Forced Diversity Out of the Democratic Presidential Race – and Then They Changed the Rules for a Really Rich White Man

DNC Debate Rules Forced Diversity Out of the Democratic Presidential Race – and Then They Changed the Rules for a Really Rich White Man

February 3, 2020

When the race for president began with Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, it was hailed as the most diverse Democratic presidential field in history. By the end of January, damn near every candidate of color had withdrawn from the race. And all of them could cite one culprit as the reason for their withdrawal: the stringent and unwavering debate rules of the Democratic National Committee.

“In the seven months since they were first announced, the standards—a combination of increasingly higher polling and fundraising thresholds—have upended various campaigns’ tactics and become the proximate cause of multiple withdrawals from the race,” is how Politico described it.

And then former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg entered the race.

Bloomberg is an American businessman who has more money than God and, as such, he’s been able to fund his entire campaign himself. And because Bloomberg is rich and was blessed with the complexion of lightly cooked but still raw chicken, “The Democratic National Committee announced Friday that there will be no donor threshold for its upcoming Nevada debate (Feb. 22),” opening an avenue for Bloomberg to participate.

You know who could’ve used this kind of rule-bending? Kamala Harris. Cory Booker. Julián Castro. All of these viable candidates of color running for president could have benefited from a rule change, but the DNC wasn’t playing rule-breaker for them.

February 4, 2020. Tags: , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Amy Klobuchar put a teen behind bars for life – but was he innocent?

Amy Klobuchar put a teen behind bars for life – but was he innocent?

January 28, 2020

A high-profile case prosecuted by Amy Klobuchar when she was a top Minnesota county attorney has come under fire — with questions arising over whether the teen her office put behind bars for life is actually guilty.

Findings from an investigation conducted by the Associated Press challenge the 17-year-old case that the presidential hopeful has promoted to show her commitment to racial justice.

Myon Burrell, who is black and was 16-years-old in 2002, was convicted for firing a stray shot that killed 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards, who is also black, as she was doing homework at her dining room table in Minneapolis.

During their investigation, the AP looked at over a thousand pages of police records, court transcripts and interrogation tapes, and interviewed dozens of inmates, witnesses, family members, former gang leaders, lawyers and criminal justice experts.

The outlet found that the police and prosecution leaned heavily on a teen rival of Burrell’s who gave conflicting accounts when identifying the shooter.

There was also no murder weapon, fingerprints or DNA evidence and police did not check alibis, the report says.

One of Burrell’s co-defendants, Ike Tyson, who was 21 at the time, admitted in an interview with AP to being the triggerman in the fatal shooting. He also recounted the crime, saying Burrell was never even there.

“I’m the one that did this. I did this,” said Tyson, who is serving a 45-year sentence.

“Now an innocent guy — at the time he was a kid — is locked up for something he didn’t do. So, it’s like I’m carrying two burdens.”

Tyson said he and another co-defendant, Hans Williams, 23, were driving around South Minneapolis when they spotted 17-year-old Timmy Oliver, a member of a rival gang.

The two drove by, picked up another unidentified man, and headed back towards Oliver with the intent scare, not kill him, Tyson said.

Once they spotted Oliver in a nearby yard, Tyson said he fired eight rounds from behind a wall and ran back to the car. Unbeknownst to them at the time, one of the bullets struck and killed Edwards, who was in the house next door.

Later that night, a prison inmate and frequent police informant who knew Oliver learned of the shooting from the news and called him up.

Soon after, the informant called cops and gave them Burrell’s name.

Oliver was picked up by cops a few days later and fingered Burrell as the shooter, though his story was shaky. At first, he said Burrell was firing from in between two buildings.

He later changed his story, saying his rival was shooting from behind a wall.

Four days later, Burrell was arrested.

Burnell insisted to cops he wasn’t even at the crime scene, but instead at a nearby store, Cup Foods, to pick up snacks with two friends. Police never followed up, but the friends, Latosha Evans and Donnell Jones, confirmed Burnell’s alibi to AP.

Surveillance tape from Cup Foods, which could have cleared Burnell, was never obtained by cops, the report said.

A public defender in Minnesota’s Hennepin County, where Klobuchar was a prosecutor, questioned whether there was a rush to convict.

“In the case of Myon Burrell — where you had a really high-profile shooting of an innocent girl and you put a lot of pressure on the system to get someone to be responsible for that — I think a lot of corners were probably cut,” said Mary Moriarty.

A Klobuchar campaign spokesperson told AP that Burrell was tried and convicted Tyesha’s murder twice. If there was new evidence, the spokesperson said, it should be immediately reviewed by the court.

Assistant County Attorney Jean Burdorf, the only prosecutor left who was directly involved in the case, remains confident with the outcome of the case.

“I’ll tell you what I’ve told a lot of people over the years. I have a lot of confidence in Minnesota’s justice system,” Burdorf told AP.

“Certainly, he’s been through the court process, and his conviction has remained intact,” she added.

February 2, 2020. Tags: , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Elizabeth Warren in hypocrisy row after it’s revealed she held $2,700 per head fundraiser at Boston winery – but berated fellow 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg for his ‘wine cave’ fundraiser

Elizabeth Warren in hypocrisy row after it’s revealed she held $2,700 per head fundraiser at Boston winery – but berated fellow 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg for his ‘wine cave’ fundraiser

* Elizabeth Warren held a fundraiser at a winery in Boston in June 2018 – a few months before she announced her candidacy for president

* During the sixth primary debate Thursday night she berated her fellow Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg for his ‘wine cave’ fundraiser

* ‘Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States,’ Warren shot at Buttigieg. ‘I do not sell access to my time’

* Buttigieg held a fundraiser where tickets went for $2,800 per head at a ‘wine cave’ in Napa Valley, California last weekend

* Warren also held a winery fundraiser in Boston last year where VIP tickets went to donors who gave at least $2,700

* Buttigieg also pointed out during the debate that he is the only candidate of the seven on stage who is not a millionaire or billionaire

December 22, 2019

Elizabeth Warren held a swanky fundraiser at a winery in Boston in June 2018, new reports revealed over the weekend, raising questions over her criticism of her fellow Democratic presidential candidate’s fundraiser at a wine cave.

Just a few months before announcing her candidacy for president – and about two years before she called out South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg for his fundraiser – Warren held an event at City Winery Boston that gave the VIP experience to donors who gave $2,700.

‘Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States,’ Warren shot at Buttigieg during the sixth Democratic primary debate on Thursday in a reference to his fundraiser last weekend in Napa Valley, California.

‘Think about who comes to that,’ Warren continued of the ‘wine cave’ fundraiser. ‘We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States.’

‘I do not sell access to my time,’ she asserted.

The new revelations, however, show that Warren charged just $1,000 less for tickets to her winery fundraiser in 2018 than Buttigieg’s $2,800 tickets a year-and-a-half later.

Warren’s fundraiser featured a performance from singer Melissa Etheridge and offered souvenir wine bottles for $1,000 donors, Fox News reported, while bottles of wine at Buttigieg’s campaign ran as high as $900.

Buttigieg called out Warren during the debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, claiming – correctly, it now appears – that she wouldn’t be able to pass her own purity test.

‘Your presidential campaign right now as we speak is funded in part by money you transferred having raised it at those exact same big-ticket fundraisers you now denounce,’ Buttigieg shot back. ‘Did it corrupt you, Senator? Of course not,.’

‘According to Forbes magazine, I am … the only person on this stage who’s not a millionaire or a billionaire,’ Buttigieg said of the six other candidates who qualified for the December debate. ‘This is the problem issuing purity tests you yourself cannot pass.’

Before announcing her candidacy in February this year, Warren also held several private meetings with wealthy donors to gauge their level of interest in supporting her run.

Buttigieg noted during their on-stage clash that the progressive Massachusetts senator also solicited funds from wealthy donors during her campaign for her Senate seat.

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, the only minority candidate on stage Thursday, also took a hit at Buttigieg’s Napa Valley fundraiser claiming presidential hopefuls shouldn’t have to ‘shake the money tree in the wine cave.’

If Buttigieg were to win the Democratic nomination he would become the first openly gay man to run on a major party ticket, and if he won the presidency he would be the first president to take office with student loans – which he and his husband have more than $100,000 in outstanding loans.

February 2, 2020. Tags: , , , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Controversial bail reform springs serial robbery suspect – who then pulls off fifth heist

Controversial bail reform springs serial robbery suspect – who then pulls off fifth heist

January 11, 2020

He’s laughing all the way to the next bank.

A John Dillinger wannabe is on the loose thanks to lax bail laws that set him free despite his arrest in connection to four Manhattan bank robberies.

Sprung on Thursday, he promptly robbed a fifth bank, in Brooklyn, on Friday, law enforcement sources told The Post.

So cops spent Saturday hunting once again for fugitive Gerod Woodberry, who allegedly pulled four heists at Chase banks in Chelsea, the Upper West Side and the West Village between Dec. 30 and Jan. 8.

Because Woodberry allegedly robbed using a note, rather than a gun, no New York jail can currently hold him, no matter how many times he strikes.

His alleged grand larcenies are classified as non-violent felonies. And under the bail reform law that took effect Jan. 1, most non-violent felonies — including bank robberies carried out without a weapon — are no longer bail eligible, meaning no judge can order him held pending trial.

Should cops pinch Woodberry on the fifth alleged heist, he’ll only be sprung again.

The insanity of the new law clearly wasn’t lost on the prime suspect.

“I can’t believe they let me out,” Woodberry marveled as he retrieved his vouchered property at One Police Plaza in lower Manhattan, sources told The Post. “What were they thinking?”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea voiced his frustration after The Post broke Woodberry’s story online Saturday.

“What motivation does this suspect have to return to court? None,” Shea tweeted.

“This makes NYPD cops’ jobs harder, and makes New Yorkers less safe.”

Woodberry’s alleged spree began Dec. 30, when he slipped a note demanding money to a teller at a Chase bank at Ninth Avenue and West 16th Street, taking off with more than $1,000, police sources said.

He struck next at a Chase bank at Broadway and West 90th on Jan. 3 at about 3:30 p.m., again handing a teller a note, but leaving empty-handed, police said.

Three days later, he struck in the West Village, making off with more than $1,000, sources said.

On Jan. 8, he passed a note to an Upper West Side bank teller and left empty-handed, police said.

Patrol cops caught up with him in Manhattan on Thursday after the NYPD sent a photo of him to “1,000s of NYPD smartphones,” Shea wrote on Twitter.

“A dedicated @NYPD25Pct cop saw it while on his way to work, spotted the man, [and] safely made the arrest.”

Less than a day later, Woodberry took advantage of his unexpected freedom to rob a fifth bank in Downtown Brooklyn, ­police said.

In that heist, he allegedly passed a note to the teller at a Chase bank on Flatbush Avenue and made off with more than $1,000, police said.

In surveillance footage released by cops Saturday, the suspect is seen walking into the bank wearing jeans, a black puffy coat, and a baseball cap.

Woodberry, a South Carolina native, has at least one previous arrest for possession of marijuana from August 2007 in Brooklyn, police said.

A Facebook page that appears to belong to Woodberry shows him playing an online TexasHoldem Poker game multiple times.

Woodberry’s lawyer did not return a request for comment.

“Another unfortunate example of what we are facing under the new bail reform law. Certain individuals need to remain in jail for the safety of our city,” Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said. “Judges must have the discretion to make that happen.”

Tweeted Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon, “Nobody in NYS is arguing cash bail is the ideal system. However, this case makes crystal clear why forbidding judicial discretion is a recipe for disaster. Let’s join EVERY OTHER STATE in the nation and give Judges discretion to consider public safety!”

The hope, one law enforcement source said, is that victimized banks complain — loudly — about the misguided reform.

“Once the banks start complaining, hopefully the politicians will listen and change the law,” the source said.

The Manhattan DA’s office did not respond Saturday to requests for information on the cases.

January 13, 2020. Tags: , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Vox Media is run by hypocrites. They praised California Assembly Bill 5 for allegedly making workers better off, but later laid off hundreds of their own writers in response to the very same law.

How a law aimed at Uber and Lyft is hurting freelance writers

December 19, 2019

In September, the left-leaning media website ran a triumphant headline about a bill that had just passed the California legislature: “Gig workers’ win in California is a victory for workers everywhere.” Assembly Bill 5, or AB5, would go into effect on Jan. 1, essentially making the gig economy illegal in the state.

AB5 forbids businesses to use contractors unless the companies can pass a stringent requirement known as the “ABC test.” It’s designed to ensure that all workers are classified as employees unless they perform their work independent of supervision, have an established business doing the same sort of work for multiple customers and are doing work that isn’t part of the company’s core business. Meeting one or two of these requirements isn’t enough; you must meet all three.

At the time of AB5’s passage, I noted that its aim was a mite quixotic, given that its primary targets, such as Uber and Lyft, were still unprofitable. If they couldn’t make a profit using drivers as contractors, it was hard to see how they could afford to turn the drivers into staffers with regular schedules, hourly pay and benefits. AB5 seemed more likely to drive these firms out of the state, taking their part-time jobs and their useful services with them. And not just gig-economy companies; in passing, I also noted that AB5 seemed to ban most freelance journalism.

It turned out to be a bit more complicated than that; the legislature had actually created a special exception for journalists, allowing them to write 35 articles annually before they’d be considered employees. That still seemed unworkable to this journalist, and should have to anyone who’s ever been near a newsroom — the law would, for example, make it illegal to use a UCLA professor as a weekly columnist without taking on the prof as an employee.

You can guess what’s coming next, can’t you? With Jan. 1 approaching, Vox Media, parent company of, just announced that it will be laying off hundreds of freelancers in California. I mentioned my September remarks above not as a tiresome “I told you so” but to note that the effect on freelance writers isn’t some unanticipated side effect of the law. It was the predictable result of trying to force companies into a 9-to-5 employment model. That model just doesn’t fit a lot of businesses, including the business of those journalists who were inexplicably cheering AB5 — or worse, explaining to freelancers, from the safety of a staff job, that actually the law was good for them.

December 21, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

California is trying to put freelance journalists out of business

California freelance journalists sue over new state law

December 17, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Freelance writers and photographers on Tuesday filed the second legal challenge to a broad new California labor law that they say could put some independent journalists out of business.

The law taking effect Jan. 1 aims to give wage and benefit protections to people who work as independent contractors. While the public focus has been largely on ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft, the lawsuit brought by the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Press Photographers Association says the law would unconstitutionally affect free speech and the media.

The lawsuit filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation challenged what it calls an “irrational and arbitrary” limit of 35 submissions each year to each media outlet.

That has “thrown our community into a panic, given that in the year 2020 digital media is a whole different beast than newspapers and journalism of the past,” said Los Angeles-based writer Maressa Brown, who founded California Freelance Writers United in September.

“You could hit 35 (submissions) in a matter of a few weeks, and we don’t feel that should require us submitting a W2, sitting in an office and tethered to a computer and under the oversight of one client,” said Brown, who likes having up to 15 clients at one time. “People are losing clients, income. Their livelihoods are under threat.”

The law establishes the nation’s strictest test for which workers must be considered employees and could set a precedent for other states.

The lawsuit says the freelance restriction draws “unconstitutional content-based distinctions about who can freelance,” noting that “the government faces a heavy burden of justification when its regulations single out the press.”

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit libertarian group, filed it in federal court in Los Angeles.

“First, it was the Endangered Species Act, then women on corporate boards, and now the Pacific Legal Foundation is attacking California’s landmark workplace rights law. That should come as no surprise to anyone,” the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, said in a statement.

The two associations together have more than 650 members in California. Their lawsuit asks a judge to invalidate the portion of the law that would affect them.

The lawsuit was filed the day after the digital sports media company SB Nation, owned by Vox Media, announced that it would end its use of more than 200 California freelancers, switching instead to using a much smaller number of new employees.

The California law “makes it impossible for us to continue with our current California team site structure,” the company said on its website.

The new law implements a legal ruling last year by the California Supreme Court regarding workers at the delivery company Dynamex. But the Pacific Legal Foundation lawsuit says that ruling would have had little direct effect on professionals engaged in “original and creative” work, like its clients.

The law gives newspaper companies a one-year delay to figure out how to apply to the law to newspaper carriers, who work as independent contractors.

“The bill represents an existential threat to our industry,” said Jim Ewert, general counsel for the California News Publishers Association. “Content doesn’t matter if you can’t put it on peoples’ doorsteps.”

His organization is not involved in the lawsuit, but he said the government “has to be mindful of the impact it is going to have on the freedom of expression.”

The law may be suspect on free speech grounds for singling out a particular classification of worker engaged in expressive activities, Ewert said. And he said this particular facet has the potential to harm what he called “underrepresented voices” that may be more limited in speaking out for minority, low income, LGBT or other communities.

The California Trucking Association last month filed the first challenge to the law on behalf of independent truckers. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have said they will spend $90 million on a 2020 ballot measure opposing the law if they can’t negotiate other rules for their drivers.

December 18, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Warren’s ‘Billionaire Tears’ Mug Is Sold Through A Billionaire-Run Company

Warren’s ‘Billionaire Tears’ Mug Is Sold Through A Billionaire-Run Company

November 14, 2019

A billionaire stands to benefit financially from the sales of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s new “Billionaire Tears” mug.

The $25 mug, which Warren’s presidential campaign introduced Wednesday, is sold through Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce company whose founder and CEO, Tobias Lütke, is worth an estimated $2.8 billion.

“Savor a warm, slightly salty beverage of your choice in this union-made mug as you contemplate all the good a wealth tax could do: universal healthcare, student debt cancellation, universal free college, and more,” the mug’s product page states.

Warren’s presidential campaign began utilizing Shopify’s services shortly after the Massachusetts senator declared her candidacy in February. Her campaign has disbursed nearly $105,000 to Shopify for credit card processing fees so far in 2019, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records.

The Warren campaign did not return a request for comment.

Warren’s senatorial campaign also utilized Shopify’s services, disbursing $16,500 to the company between 2017 and 2019, FEC records show.

Warren’s proposed annual 2% wealth tax on net worth over $50 million and an annual 6% wealth tax on net worth over $1 billion has become a focal point of her campaign. She says the increased tax revenues from the proposal can fund her “Medicare for all” plan without raising taxes on the middle class.

But opponents of Warren’s proposed wealth tax say it’s fundamentally flawed. Of the 12 European countries that had a wealth tax in place in 1990, nine had rescinded the measure by 2019.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development found that the wealth tax was too expensive to administer, drastically altered investment decisions and drove wealthy citizens out of their homelands, NPR reported.

France’s wealth tax, initiated in 2000, led to an exodus of some 42,000 millionaires from the country in 12 years, according to NPR. French President Emmanuel Macron rescinded the measure in 2018.

November 16, 2019. Tags: , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Candace Owens criticizes Democrats for the high rates of violent crime and poverty in the inner cities that they control, as well as their policies that encourage women to have babies out of wedlock

September 16, 2019. Tags: , , , , , . Politics. 1 comment.

When Bill Maher dies, I hope that he is very old, free from pain, happy, sexually satisfied, and high on all of his favorite drugs

Bill Maher just said the following about David Koch:

“I’m glad he’s dead and I hope the end was painful.”

You can see Maher saying those words, and other things about Koch, in this video: (skip to 3:06)

I have always enjoyed listening to Maher’s political commentary (and that includes the many times that I have disagreed with him), and I will continue to do so. I don’t have cable TV, but I do watch him on his YouTube channel at this link.

When Bill Maher dies, I hope that he is very old, free from pain, happy, sexually satisfied, and high on all of his favorite drugs.

I also hope that everyone else who dies, regardless of their political views or affiliation, will do so in whatever condition it is that causes them to feel peace, joy, happiness, and comfort.

August 24, 2019. Tags: , , , . Politics. 1 comment.

Baltimore black kids escape to Trump country

Baltimore black kids escape to Trump country

By Lloyd Marcus

August 3, 2019

A year and a half ago, my wife Mary and I moved closer to our parents.  We relocated from Florida to what I nicknamed “Trump Country USA,” a tiny town in West Virginia.  I’ve seen MAGA cap–wearers and a few lawns with old Trump signs.

Our tiny town emits Christian traditional American values.  We enjoy the annual Christmas and July 4th parades.  Only a handful of blacks, which includes me, live here.

A few days after we moved into our home, our neighbor Meg welcomed us with a homemade apple pie.  Meg recently called and asked us to help with the “Friends of the Library” picnic for the kids.  The last thing I wanted to do was to spend a day with screaming kids.  Yet Mary and I knew God was setting us up to be a blessing.

The picnic was a blast.  Mary and I helped serve food, play games, and clean up afterward.  Our town’s volunteer fire department truck sprayed the kids with water.  They loved it.

I learned that the Friends of the Library summer reading program is solely funded by community fundraising events.  Two days a week, kids of all ages are read books and read books at the town library.  The theme this year was “Space” in honor of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. landing on the moon.  The kids were even treated to a road trip to a space museum.  I thought, “Wow, this town is a living breathing Norman Rockwell painting.”

At the picnic, I met an extremely bright, articulate 15-year-old black kid and his three younger siblings.  Mary read in the local newspaper that he is the best runner in the county, receiving offers and scholarships.

His grandmother is white.  She moved him and his three siblings from the Baltimore projects to live with her because their parents are drug addicts.  She laid down the law to her grandson that his Baltimore thug attitude would not be tolerated in her home.  Grandma’s tough love parenting worked.

If you watched the Democratic presidential debates, you could conclude that everyone and everything in America is racist.  In my tiny town of Trump voters, everyone appears to embrace and support the four black kids who escaped the hood of Baltimore.

Folks, I have high hopes for this kid, the runner.  I see greatness in him.  He has a calm spirit.  He is academically solid and trains hard, running several miles every day.  I gave him fatherly advice to stay focused on his dreams.  He replied, “Yes sir.”

It is amazing what a child can achieve once he is distanced from the destructive atmosphere of a Democrat-controlled city.  Despicably, Democrats and fake news media relentlessly seek to fill black youths with victim mindsets — hate for their country and hate for Trump voters.

I trust that God will give me more opportunities to mentor my young runner.  Prayerfully, I will open his eyes to the truth that he is blessed to be an American and that America is the greatest land of opportunity on the planet for all who choose to go for their dreams.  I look forward to seeing my runner on team USA in the Olympics.  That will be awesome!

August 3, 2019. Tags: , . Politics. 1 comment.

New documents revisit questions about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s marriage history

New documents revisit questions about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s marriage history

Although she has legally corrected the discrepancy, she has declined to say anything about how or why it happened.

June 22, 2019

New investigative documents released by a state agency have given fresh life to lingering questions about the marital history of Rep. Ilhan Omar and whether she once married a man — possibly her own brother — to skirt immigration laws.

Omar has denied the allegations in the past, dismissing them as “baseless rumors” first raised in an online Somali politics forum and championed by conservative bloggers during her 2016 campaign for the Minnesota House. But she said little then or since about Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, the former husband who swept into her life in 2009 before a 2011 separation.

The questions surfaced again this month in a state probe of campaign finance violations showing that Omar filed federal taxes in 2014 and 2015 with her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi, while she was still legally married to but separated from Elmi.

Although she has legally corrected the discrepancy, she has declined to say anything about how or why it happened.

The new documents also detail the Omar campaign’s efforts to keep the story of her marriage to Elmi out of the press, arguing that detailed coverage would legitimize the accusations and invade her privacy.

Since the recent findings of the campaign finance board that discovered Omar had improperly used campaign money to pay a lawyer to fix her tax filings, the Star Tribune searched public records — including available databases, the marriage and divorce filing, business licenses, university records and other documents — and could find little publicly available information about Elmi. The search of records could neither conclusively confirm nor rebut the allegation that he is Omar’s sibling.

Sent a list of questions and a request to talk to her siblings and father, Omar declined to do so. Hirsi did not reply to multiple calls, texts and e-mails. Social media posts indicate Elmi is in Africa. He did not respond to multiple e-mails.

Omar’s reticence is consistent with near total silence she has maintained for three years amid questions raised through public records picked over by conservative opinion journalists intent on proving that she committed immigration fraud. Those attacks, she once tweeted, are the provenance of “fake journalists on bigoted blogs.”

Omar spokesman Jeremy Slevin issued a statement Friday asserting that the questions about her personal life are illegitimate:

“Since before she was elected to office, Ilhan has been the subject of conspiracy theories and false accusations about her personal life. Emboldened by a president who openly treats immigrants, refugees and Muslims as invaders, these attacks often stem from the presumption that Ilhan — like others who share those identities — is somehow illegitimate or not fully American.

“Ilhan has shared more than most public officials ever do about the details of her personal life — even when it is personally painful,” he continued. “Whether by colluding with right-wing outlets to go after Muslim elected officials or hounding family members, legitimate media outlets have a responsibility not to fan the flames of hate. Continuing to do so is not only demeaning to Ilhan, but to her entire family.”

The questions have nevertheless persisted as a political threat over the years while the former war refugee from Somalia made history being elected to the Minnesota House and then winning a seat in Congress.

Her ascent as the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker has won her global praise and given her an international platform to champion human rights, criticize Israel, and challenge the Trump administration’s immigration policies — positions that have drawn further ire and scrutiny from conservative critics.

Omar’s widely condemned statements about the influence of Israel and Jewish money in American politics have only upped the stakes for her critics, who are also often passionate defenders of the Israeli government.

Throughout it all, Omar’s public persona has been informed by her biography as a refugee overcoming racial and cultural barriers. Yet she has insisted on silence on some key details.

“It’s really strange, right, to prove a negative,” she told the Star Tribune in an interview in October, before she was elected to Congress. As for Elmi, she said, “If someone was asking me, do I have a brother by that name, I don’t. If someone was asking … are there court documents that are false … there is no truth to that.”

Beyond denying the provocative allegation that Elmi is her brother, Omar has shed little light on her married life, which began in 2002, when she wed Hirsi in their Muslim faith tradition.

The Star Tribune has sought to authenticate some of the most egregious allegations, using public records and available social media posts, which make up the bulk of the case against her.

Some of the original social media accounts linking Elmi to Omar after their split in 2011 appear to have been removed, and documents verifying the family relationships of refugees from war-torn countries with limited government record-keeping are notoriously hard to obtain, even by U.S. immigration authorities.

Omar declined to make her tax and immigration records available for this report.

What is known is that Omar, at the age of 19, sought a legal marriage license with Hirsi in Minnesota. Though they had three children together, they would not legally marry until January, 2018, after she had been in the Minnesota Legislature for a year and had dissolved the marriage in 2017 with Elmi.

After reaching what Omar called “an impasse in our life together,” she and Hirsi split for a period in 2008. They had two children at the time.

In February 2009, public records show that Omar legally married Elmi, who she has identified as a “British citizen.”

The relationship was brief. Omar said it ended in 2011, when she reconciled with Hirsi.

She gave birth to their third child the following June. She identified Hirsi as the father.

While Omar said she and Elmi had divorced in 2011 “in our faith tradition,” they would not legally divorce until December, 2017 — a month before she got legally married to Hirsi.

Imam Makram El-Amin of Masjid An-Nur in Minneapolis said an Islamic marriage must include the officiant and at least two witnesses, preferably one from each side of the family, to be a valid union. El-Amin, who did not perform Omar’s marriages, said he has credentials to sign a marriage certificate. But just like any wedding at a church or synagogue, it’s not legal in the state of Minnesota until processed by the county.

Similarly, an Islamic divorce requires two witnesses, ideally the same two who witnessed the marriage, plus a three-month waiting period, El-Amin said. The marriage can be then dissolved in the faith, although the divorce would require a Minnesota court to earn civil legal standing.

In her 2017 divorce, Omar attested that she had no contact with Elmi after their 2011 separation. Conservative activists say photos and other social media posted by Omar and Elmi on Instagram and Facebook suggest Omar may not be telling the truth. The Star Tribune has been unable to independently obtain the original posts, although images purporting to be screen grabs continue to populate right-leaning media sites such as Power Line Blog, PJ Media and Alpha News. They remain in public view.

One image featured on AlphaNewsMN depicts an Instagram photo purportedly posted by Elmi on June 12, 2012, the day after Omar gave birth to her third child. It shows a close-up picture of Elmi holding a newborn child the website says is Omar’s, based on accompanying text that ostensibly refers to the baby girl as “nieces.”

That and other Instagram photos have since been removed.

In her divorce, Omar said she had tried unsuccessfully to reach Elmi to respond to her court filings, including through social media. She also said that she did not know any other friends of family members who could contact him.

Omar and Elmi used a Columbia Heights address on the marriage application. Three months later, Hirsi used the same address to obtain a business license for his One-on-One Cafe Lounge, public records show.

Omar declined to offer an account of their living arrangement at that time.

Siblings who petition for a U.S. visa for a noncitizen sibling have typically had to wait more than a dozen years to obtain the document, according to the U.S. State Department. Applications for a spouse carry a minimal waiting period, but Minnetonka-based immigration lawyer Steven Thal said examples of siblings fraudulently marrying to gain immigration benefits are nearly unheard of compared to cases of strangers marrying to get green cards.

“It is so rare that you would think that it would be more easily uncovered,” Thal said.

Omar’s relatives could also clear the air, but they have remained silent about her marriage to Elmi. She declined to make her family available for this story.

In 2016, her campaign provided the names of six siblings, but only their first names, citing their need for privacy. Elmi was not among them.

In October 2018, Omar showed a Star Tribune reporter cellphone photos of family immigration papers but would not share the actual documents.

Omar’s sister Sahra Noor was a high-profile executive of the Twin Cities health care nonprofit People’s Center Clinics & Services until 2018. She declined interview requests in 2016. She currently runs her own health care consultancy in Kenya. An e-mail to her was not returned and efforts to call her there were unsuccessful.

Over the years Elmi, who attended high school in St. Paul, has had occasional contact over the internet with other friends and acquaintances, including retired DFL activist and Minneapolis city worker Barb Lickness, who lived in the same downtown Minneapolis apartment building with Elmi around 2012, before he moved to London.

She described him as “friendly in a soft way,” and a neighbor who participated enthusiastically in the building’s social scene. She recalls that he was tall, dapper, and spoke with a pronounced British accent, indicative of a foreign upbringing. He never mentioned being married, Lickness said.

Lickness confirmed Elmi’s identity in an Instagram photo purportedly posted by Omar showing the two of them and three others posing in London in 2015. The photo is featured on several conservative media websites, but could not be verified by the Star Tribune.

What’s clear from the recently released documents of the campaign finance board is that the young upstart’s campaign was unprepared for any potential blowback from the questions surrounding Omar’s marriage to Elmi, first reported in 2016 on, an online public affairs forum.

Omar created a “crisis committee” comprising a few DFL veteran operatives to try to respond. Their priority was preparing a dossier on their own candidate — a fairly typical task usually completed before a campaign, not after a primary victory.

“There was a lot of frustration that any of these things were not disclosed to any of the campaign staff when I decided to run for office. And so I think everybody who was doing this wanted to put a research file together that had the benefit of making sure that there weren’t any other dark things in my closet that I might not have told them about,” Omar said during a December deposition before the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

The board would eventually fine her $500 and require her to use her own money to pay lawyers who did personal tax work.

During the deposition, Omar suggested she is disconnected from details — unaware, for instance, that she violated tax law by filing a married-jointly return with the wrong husband.

Asked if she amended her tax filings, she replied, “I don’t think so.”

The board’s staff asked again. Omar replied, “I don’t recall doing any.”

Asked about using campaign money to take political trips, Omar said they were always approved by the Minnesota House, but then placed responsibility on her staff: “They always gave me an opinion that said, sure, this looks fine. Or at least that was my understanding that that’s what my staff was doing before they would commit me to doing anything.”

Carla Kjellberg, an attorney and political adviser during the crisis period, paints a different picture of Omar’s engagement level with details: “I did nothing, I want to make that clear, without Representative Omar’s authority. And she was in these meetings where those things were decided upon and I was directed to do that,” Kjellberg said during her own deposition.

Kjellberg declined to comment.

Campaign e-mails disclosed by the campaign finance board also show a concerted effort to quash the Elmi story. An August 2016 internal e-mail written by campaign spokesman Ben Goldfarb, a veteran DFL operative, suggested reaching out to political newsletter writer Blois Olson “and shut it down with him as we do with the Strib.”

The Star Tribune wrote about the controversy the next day under the headline, “Marriage discrepancy clouds Ilhan Omar’s historic primary victory.”

Omar expressed frustration over the controversy again last October, telling the Star Tribune in an interview that like many refugees without birth certificates, “anybody can accuse me of whatever they want and I don’t have a way to defend myself.”

Rep. Mohamud Noor, DFL-Minneapolis, lost to Omar in the primary before replacing her at the Legislature when she went to Congress. He compared the attacks on Omar to claims that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

Because he took over Omar’s state legislative office phone number, Noor’s voice mail was getting filled with hateful, racist messages until Google removed the number when people conducted Google searches for Omar.

In the end, Noor said, Omar will be judged by what she does for her district.

“Initially there were missteps, and so much focus on her rather than on what she was doing,” Noor said. “She’s made some tremendous efforts to reconnect and re-engage and focus on the district.”

June 23, 2019. Tags: , . Ilhan Omar, Politics. 1 comment.

Rep. Omar Filed Joint Tax Returns Before She Married Husband

Rep. Omar Filed Joint Tax Returns Before She Married Husband

June 11, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota campaign finance officials said last week that U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar misused campaign funds in violation of state rules. They also revealed that she had filed joint tax returns with her husband years before they were legally married and at a time when she was married to another man.

The revelation put the freshman representative under more scrutiny from critics who have taken issue with her marital past. One tax expert says if the issue has been corrected she’s unlikely to face any criminal consequences.

Some questions and answers about the tax issue:

Q: What did Omar do wrong?

A: The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board said Thursday that Omar and her husband, Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi, filed joint tax returns for 2014 and 2015 — before they were actually married and while Omar was legally wed to another man. While some states allow for joint filing for “common law” marriages, Minnesota does not, and filing joint tax returns with someone who is not your legal spouse is against both federal and state law.

Q: How did this become public?

A: Last year, a Republican state representative accused Omar of misusing campaign funds, alleging among other things that she used $2,250 in campaign money to pay a lawyer for her divorce proceedings. The campaign finance board investigated and found she didn’t use the funds to pay for a divorce lawyer as alleged, but other irregularities were found. The board’s final report said “there was an issue with her tax returns that needed to be corrected” and that some campaign funds went to an accounting firm.

State officials ruled last week that Omar must repay her campaign committee nearly $3,500, including $1,500 for payments made to the accounting firm for services related to joint tax returns for 2014 and 2015. Omar must also pay a $500 penalty to the state.

Q: What has Omar said about this?

A: Very little. In response to questions from The Associated Press, her campaign sent an emailed statement saying, “All of Rep. Omar’s tax filings are fully compliant with all applicable tax law.” The campaign did not make Omar available for an interview or answer specific questions from the AP. In response to the overall campaign finance investigation, she said in a statement last week that she will comply with the state board findings calling for her to repay money and pay a penalty.

Q: Hasn’t Omar faced criticism on other issues?

A: During her brief time in Congress, Omar has been outspoken on issues such as U.S. policy toward Israel and the Middle East. As one of the first two Muslim women in Congress she has faced heightened scrutiny and has been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks. In response to some of her comments, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning hate speech against all groups. She has denied her comments were anti-Semitic and says she has come under political attack because she is a Muslim and woman of color.

She has also been dogged by conservatives who have raised questions about her past. She came to the United States as a refugee from war-torn Somalia. In 2016, as Omar was running for a seat in the Minnesota House, conservative bloggers alleged she was married to two men at the same time. Marriage records show that’s not the case. Conservatives also alleged that one of those men, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, was her brother — allegations that Omar called “disgusting lies.”

According to marriage records, Omar applied for a license in 2002 to marry her current husband, Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi, who Omar says went by Ahmed Abdisalan Aden at the time. A marriage certificate wasn’t issued and Omar has said they didn’t pursue a civil marriage but instead married in their Muslim faith tradition. Omar and Hirsi had two children, but ended their relationship in 2008.

Omar then married Elmi, whom she said is a British citizen, in 2009, according to a marriage certificate. Omar said that relationship ended in 2011 and the two divorced in their faith tradition, but Omar didn’t take legal action to divorce him until 2017. Divorce records say Omar and Hirsi reunited and had a third child together in June 2012. Omar legally married Hirsi in early 2018, a month after her divorce from Elmi was finalized.

Q: Did Omar gain something by filing jointly?

A: It’s hard to say. In most situations, filing jointly may reduce taxes for married couples. But Eric Johnson, an attorney who practices tax law in St. Paul, Minnesota, said that’s not always the case and filing jointly might actually increase a tax bill for some.

Omar has so far kept her tax returns private. While she has called for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, her campaign did not acknowledge the AP’s request to release hers. Her campaign also did not answer a question about whether there might be issues with other tax returns prior to Omar’s marriage to Hirsi in 2018.

Q: Is Omar now in trouble with the IRS?

A: That’s not clear. The IRS says federal privacy law prohibits it from commenting.

Jeff Sigurdson, executive director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, said that while the board has authority to refer matters to a county attorney if it discovers an issue, there were no referrals made in this case. Sigurdson said the board did not look into the legality of the joint tax returns, but only “whether it was appropriate to use committee funds to get a copy of them.” Sigurdson said the board never saw the returns in question.

Johnson, the tax attorney, said if taxpayers incorrectly file tax returns as “married filing jointly” where there is no legal marriage, it is typically not a criminal matter unless taxpayers have a strong intent to cheat on their taxes, or unless they directly provide false factual information.

“If the IRS discovers the error, they send the resulting tax bill to the taxpayers,” Johnson said. “If the taxpayers discover the error … amend their returns and pay the tax, there is typically no further consequence.”

Q: Will the public ever know what happened?

A: Probably not, unless Omar decides to talk about it. Taxpayer information is protected under federal law. Johnson said the IRS can’t disclose the status of anyone’s tax issues or directly release information about Omar’s tax situation.

June 11, 2019. Tags: , . Ilhan Omar, Politics. Leave a comment.

AOC and Bernie Sanders Don’t Understand Math

Senator Bernie Sanders’ and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Plan to Stop Big Banks and Payday Lenders from Ripping Off Americans

By Bernie Sanders

May 9, 2019

If you get a credit card from a store like Macy’s, Kohl’s, or Lowe’s, interest rates are even higher. Stores like these are charging customers an average interest rate of more than 27 percent. And many of the stores rely on these high-interest-rate cards for more than a third of their revenue. Incredibly, Macy’s earned almost 40 percent of its revenue from these cards and Kohl’s recently made 35 percent of its total profit from high-interest-rate cards.

What this means is that if you buy a $500 refrigerator from Lowe’s or Home Depot on one of their credit cards, you will likely owe an additional $136 in interest.

June 9, 2019. Tags: , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Economics, Politics. Leave a comment.

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