From the Coffee Party, the progressive answer to the Teabaggers:
“Don’t Do Koch” Campaign Goes National with April Fool the
Koch Brothers: “Don’t Do Koch” on April 1
March 29, 2013—New York City. Big Apple Coffee Party, a local affiliate of Coffee Party USA, has announced the expansion of its “Don’t Do Koch” Campaign, nationally on April 1, 2013.
Beginning in July, 201l, Big Apple Coffee Party has been distributing “Don’t Do Koch” flyers in front of local supermarkets detailing the exploits of the notorious billionaire Koch brothers while suggesting alternatives to Koch brothers’ products.
April Fool the Koch Brothers: “Don’t Do Koch” on April 1 flyering will take place at 10 locations in New York City; plus Laguna Woods, CA; Silver Spring, MD; New Berlin, WI; Pensacola, FL; Pittsburg, KS; Maryville, MO; and Champaign, IL; with new locations being added daily.
The Koch brothers, who were recently rated as being tied as the 6th and 7th richest people in the world, use their wealth to finance climate denial legislation while their company, Koch Industries, is one of the top 10 polluters in this country. The Kochs fund the recently discredited American Legislative Council (ALEC) and Americans for Prosperity, the force behind the Tea Party and efforts to privatize Social Security. The Koch brothers underwrite anti-union politicians who oppose and deny collective bargaining rights for workers.
Coffee Party USA has joined the effort and is making materials available online for people all across the nation who want to volunteer. Participants will be handing out flyers for one hour at either 12 noon or 6 PM on April 1 (and beyond).
April Fool the Koch Brothers: “Don’t Do Koch” on April 1 is a genuine grass roots effort by local activists who want to let the Koch brothers know that undermining democracy will not be supported with the hard-earned money of aware consumers.
For further information call 212-252-2619 or email email@example.com
Last night was the first endorsement meeting of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID). Endorsements in three races were made: Brooklyn District Attorney and two City Council districts, the 33rd and the 39th.
In the 39th City Council race Brad Lander is running unopposed so it was between Lander and "no endorsement." Since CBID recently honored Brad Lander at their annual dinner, it is not surprising that CBID endorsed Lander for his re-election. This was a formality with Lander not making the meeting and no discussion on the endorsement.
In the 33rd City Council race Steve Levin is running unopposed. I was surprised how easily CBID endorsed Levin.
In the case of Lander, the previous differences between the club and the candidate had more to do with a previous CBID president running against Lander when he first ran. One of my main concerns about Lander was his involvement in the large-scale Working Families Party campaign finance fiasco where wrongdoing was clearly found but never prosecuted because the money was returned. This was a scandal that was largely swept under the carpet and WFP has aggressively attacked anyone who mentions it. However, CBID feels that Lander is showing considerable leadership on policy and he has basically won them over and the one scandal, which involved mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio as well, seems to have been successfully forgotten. I just hope Lander will be more careful with WFP and the campaign finance board keeps a better watch on WFP in the future. But as Lander shows himself to be a solid progressive and seems to have hit his stride on the council, CBID seems won over.
By contrast, Steve Levin was chief of staff for that by-word of corruption and sexual harassment, former Party Boss Vito Lopez, during the very time the corruption and sexual harassment were occurring. Levin was not a lowly flunky on Vito Lopez's staff...he was chief of staff. That is a position of some authority and responsibility. Steve Levin was at the heart of a very nasty, corrupt organization under Vito Lopez...yet he has in no way repudiated or sought to correct what happened under his watch. Steve Levin, like Brad Lander, is proving to be excellent on policy. Also like Lander, Levin has hit his stride on the City Council. For this reason CBID seems won over by Steve Levin as well. And yet while Vito Lopez's sexual harassment scandal and his various corruption scandals are still actively matters of discussion, CBID, the most reform-minded club in Brooklyn, didn't even raise the matter. Oddly, Vito Lopez was brought up when discussing the Brooklyn DA's race, but not when discussing the candidacy of Vito Lopez's actual chief of staff while sexual harassment was apparently rampant.
Steve Levin has discussed this issue in private and I am aware of where he stands. But a chief of staff HAS to bear some responsibility for what goes on under his watch and Steve Levin should not, in my mind, be allowed to pretend his connection with Vito Lopez never happened. The opportunity to discuss a "no endorsement" vote was offered at the meeting but no one (to be fair, including myself) took that opportunity. By the time I realized no one was going to speak up the discussion had moved on to the DA's race.
Steve Levin may well be a good guy...and he may well have been insulated from the corruption and thuggishness of the Vito Lopez staff he was chief of. But it is hard to reconcile an effective chief of staff with the level of blindness it would have taken for Steve Levin to be completely ignorant of what was occurring right under his nose. What disturbs me is the fact that Levin has in no way spoken publicly about Vito Lopez or repudiated what went on on his own watch. He wants us all to forget about it and that alone makes me unwilling to let it be swept under the carpet.
Severe wrongdoing was carried out under Steve Levin's watch and he should be willing and prepared to publicly address that and openly repudiate what Vito Lopez did. And CBID should hold his feet to the fire. But last night the name Vito Lopez was not mentioned in connection with former Lopez chief of staff Levin, but was mentioned several times when Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes was discussed.
In the Brooklyn DA's race three candidates spoke. Abe George, current DA Charles Hynes, and Ken Thompson.
The general consensus was Abe George lacked any real experience to run the Brooklyn DA's office. He seems mostly to be an extension of John Kennedy O'Hara's strange vendetta against just about everyone in Brooklyn politics. O"Hara's main target tends to be the very reform Assemblyman Jim Brennan and O'Hara and his backers have spent a great deal of time trying to portray an openly gay member of Brennan's staff as guilty of sexual assault on a woman, something that is so absurd it makes O'Hara and his supporters look ridiculous. Since Jim Brennan, despite some differences when it comes to endorsements over the years, is an ally of CBID's, it is not likely that CBID would endorse O'Hara's ally for DA.
By contrast Ken Thompson was viewed as well experienced and capable. He has worked on several important cases including investigating the David Koresch cult raid for the Clinton Administration and locally prosecuted the case against the police officers who tortured Abner Louima.
However, no matter how CBID's members looked at it, it was hard not to endorse Charles Hynes, the man who has repeatedly been considered the most progressive DA in the country and whose alternatives to prison programs are models for the whole country. Charles Hynes is not the most endearing of people. And he has been justly criticized for turning too much of a blind eye to sexual abuse among the Hasidic communities in Brooklyn. But his overall record on reducing recidivism, taking a liberal approach to drug offenses, prosecuting corruption in Brooklyn politics (even if he has perhaps been too gentile on Vito Lopez!), and in addressing domestic violence in Brooklyn. Both Abe George and Ken Thompson portrayed Charles Hynes as being a poor leader and the Brooklyn DA's office as being rudderless. There were some of us in the audience who could attest to the fact that this is not true. I for one served two weeks on Grand Jury service in the Brooklyn DA's office and saw a very impressive organization clearly led effectively from the top by Charles Hynes. Ken Thompson's platform often focused on issues that had nothing to do with the DA's office: expanding after school programs and ending stop and frisk. Ken Thompson's platform sounded more like John Liu's very progressive platform for mayor rather than a platform appropriate to the DA's office. Both Abe George and Ken Thompson came off as unrealistic and often inaccurate in their criticisms of Hynes.
In the end CBID endorsed Charles Hynes for re-election because whatever his flaws, he runs THE most progressive and one of the most effective DA office in America. In contrast to Steve Levin, who was endorsed with hardly any discussion, the good and bad aspects of Charles Hynes were discussed in detail and overall, contrary to the portrayal made by Abe George and Ken Thompson, the good was seen to far outweigh the bad. I should note that I was not a fan of Charles Hynes back in 2005 when he last had a serious primary challenge, though in that case his main challenger was a lackey of the Clarence Norman machine, John Sampson whose one main plank in his platform seemed to be to get Clarence Norman off the hook for his corruption. Since then I have to admit that the more I learn of Charles Hynes the more I have to admit he seems the man for the job and CBID overwhelmingly agreed despite liking Ken Thompson.
Upcoming Mayoral Candidate Forum in Brooklyn: Supposedly Reform Democratic clubs Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats, Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform, Independent Neighborhood Democrats, Southern Brooklyn Democrats, and New Kings Democrats team up to host a mayoral forum in Brooklyn April 3rd, 6pm, at St. Francis College, 180 Remson Street in Brooklyn Heights:
Walmart Tanking...Costco Kicking Ass: seems Walmart's plan to screw customers and employees for executive profits is finally failing...Costco and Target are reaping the benefits of Walmart's fall. Looks like NYC was right to fight Bloomberg and Quinn and keep Walmart out.
Message to Cuomo: Fracking causes earthquakes! Oklahoma's biggest recorded earthquake EVER was caused by fracking. Do we really want this in our state?????
North Dakota to women: All your bodies are ours! Once again prune-faced Republicans want to own women's bodies.
John Liu's bid for mayor: draws the biggest crowds, like everyone else maxing out donations, most liberal candidate, only candidate for mayor to oppose stop and frisk. Bill Thompson gets grumpy over Liu's stop and frisk comments.
And more on Bloomberg's lapdog Quinn: The Wrath of Quinn: council members threatened with loss of slush funds if they don't endorse her.
Not a new meme but one worth repeating: Marriage equality, good for the bottom line
Self-defense for women in Brooklyn: Karate and Self-defense classes for women and transgendered in Brooklyn...some classes taught by my wife (who can probably kick your ass!!
Most years at Passover I write a diary focused on the origins of Jews based on my expertise both in genetics and history. Passover celebrates, supposedly, the escape of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. It is an origin myth and like most origin myths (Thanksgiving included) it has some clear BS and some threads that probably connect to real history. The escape from Egypt is considered one of the defining moments in Judaism, perhaps THE defining moment. Into this event is in some ways placed the entirety of the ancient Jewish identity, supposedly divided into "12 tribes," as well as the defining of Jewish religious law. That is a lot to put into one holiday! But there is a more general theme, that of the struggle for freedom that many cultures can relate to. read more »
These videos are from the March 5th Mayoral Forum hosted by Democracy for NYC (seems Christine Quinn and Bill Thompson didn't show)
Former City Council member Sal Albanese:
Community leader and radio broadcaster Erick Salgado:
Former City Council member and current NYC Comptroller John Liu:
Former City Council member and current public advocate Bill de Blasio:
Trying to give as much exposure to the candidates as possible since this is a pretty important election and voter turnout may be low.