Thursday, December 31, 2015

Times Square to Explode Tonight

In just less than a couple of hours, in fact:

"William J. Perry, the 88-year-old former defense secretary, is on a mission to warn of a ‘‘real and growing danger’’ of nuclear doom. Perry outlines a nuclear terror scenario, which he calls ‘‘my nuclear nightmare, born of long and deep experience.’’ In his scenario, a small group gets enough uranium for a crude nuclear bomb, flies it undetected to Washington’s Dulles International Airport and slips it into a warehouse in the District of Columbia. From there it is loaded onto a delivery truck and a suicide bomber drives it onto Pennsylvania Avenue midway between the Capitol and the White House. When detonated, it kills 80,000 people instantly, including the president. The news media report a message claiming that five more bombs are hidden in five different US cities, and one will be set off each week. The US plans to spend hundreds of billions to update its nuclear arsenal."

Such a thing occurring as the ball drops will certainly provide an opening for more agenda-pushing and mind-manipulation from a searing event seen live on television. At least the U.S. is ready to respond

It's been a long time since I raised the alarm regarding a nuclear explosion in an American city, and I have always thought it would be in Chicago (to send Obama a message and to tell the American people that the terrorists could hit Middle America). And yet I'm told security is tighter than ever:

Times Square end-of-year preparations in full swing

"N.Y. police gear up for New Year’s Eve in Times Square" Associated Press  December 30, 2015

NEW YORK — With the nation still jittery over shooting massacres in California and Paris, New York City officials sought to assure revelers Tuesday that the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will be the safest place in the world.

The square will be heavily secured by thousands of New York Police Department officers, including a new specialized counterterrorism unit.

‘‘Leave the worrying to the NYPD,’’ said James O'Neill, chief of the department. ‘‘People should feel safest this New Year’s Eve because we’re there.’’

Police Commissioner William Bratton said there were no credible threats to the city ahead of the holiday. Yet officials also acknowledged that there were limits to what they could do to ensure security, especially outside the tightly controlled blocks at the heart of the celebration.

They didn't see Paris or San Bernardino coming, either!

In much of the city, the focus will be on fast responses to any emergency rather than preventive measures like security checkpoints.


Revelers trying to get close enough to see and hear the musical acts that perform throughout the evening will be screened with hand-held metal detectors twice — once when they enter one of the 14 access points to the secure zone and once when they enter pens where they must stay lest they lose their spots. 

Sure smells like freedom to me!

Outside that zone, revelers and vehicles can come and go as they please.

‘‘On New Year’s Eve, the department will be out in force,’’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday in Times Square. ‘‘There will be a tremendous number of officers you will see and many you won’t see.’’

Let's pray they don't work for Craft International.


Oh, no smoking and watch where you step.

"N.Y. mayor’s supporters voice frustration over his failure to promote policies" New York Times  December 29, 2015

NEW YORK — In the last month, Bill de Blasio, Democrat mayor of New York, has blamed public relations for his problems with homelessness (“I have not communicated sufficiently”) and the backlash to his affordable housing plan (“We’re not explaining it well enough”).


NYC announces $2.6 billion investment to fight homelessness

Middle class wins in NYC housing deal

Coming to $ave BoSton, too.

Facing the lowest approval ratings of his tenure, de Blasio has said the problem is packaging, not substance. He has stood fast on his liberal policies, saying he is convinced that he is changing New Yorkers’ lives for the better.


But in interviews, numerous supporters of de Blasio say they remain concerned about the mayor’s messaging instincts, saying he has failed to capitalize on his accomplishments.

“It’s not enough to do the work,” said Sid Davidoff, a lobbyist and one of de Blasio’s close friends in government. “You also have to tell the story.”

Several supporters said they were dismayed on Tuesday when de Blasio, just a day after pledging to better explain himself, unveiled a major workers’ rights policy and did little to promote it personally.

In a week when politicians try to bury news amid the Christmas rush, de Blasio said that he would grant six weeks of paid parental leave to 20,000 city employees, one of the most generous policies of its kind.

But he held no rally or news conference for the occasion....

Yeah, he “needs to communicate better.” 



‘‘This is really a monumental day for the city,’’ Mayor Bill de Blasio told hundreds of guests at the inauguration for the gleaming No. 7 station that’s part of the transformation of a once-desolate industrial area. The mayor called the neighborhood ‘‘a whole new city being created within our city, connected with thousands of jobs.’’ The $2.4 billion extension was funded by the city under de Blasio’s predecessor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg."

That better? (Explains the low poll numbers)

Also see3 brothers to become N.Y. police officers, following dad

Real-life Blue Bloods?

Time to start the festivities:

"Ex-tennis star hurt in false N.Y. arrest" New York Times  September 11, 2015

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department commissioner apologized Thursday for the mistaken arrest of James Blake, a retired top-10 professional tennis player, who said he was slammed to the ground outside his hotel in Midtown Manhattan after being confused for a suspect in a credit card fraud investigation.

The commissioner, William J. Bratton, said he had been trying to contact Blake, “to extend my apologies for the incident which he found himself involved in yesterday.”

The undercover detective who detained Blake has been stripped of his gun and badge and placed on desk duty, a tacit acknowledgment that video of the arrest raised serious questions about his actions.

Bratton, speaking at a news conference Thursday, said he had concerns about “the inappropriateness of the amount of force that was used during the arrest.” An initial review of video evidence of the arrest, he said, led him to believe that it may have been excessive.

Blake must be white.

Bratton said the team of six undercover detectives involved in detaining Blake failed to report the incident, a breach of department practices.

The detectives who approached Blake were relying in part on an Instagram photo of someone believed to be involved in a credit card fraud ring that Bratton said looked like “the twin brother” of the former tennis star. That person turned out to have nothing to do with the scheme, police officials said, and they refused to make the photo public.

Blake, who was in New York to make appearances for corporate sponsors at the US Open, was leaving the Grand Hyatt New York around noon Wednesday when an undercover detective ran toward him. He said the detective never identified himself and did not answer his questions. He was detained for 15 minutes, Blake said, and the encounter left him with cuts and bruises.

Robert K. Boyce, the chief of detectives, told reporters that the operation was part of an investigation into credit card fraud. Detectives set up a controlled delivery of designer shoes Wednesday to the concierge desk of the Grand Hyatt.

See: White Collar Gangs

A British man, James Short, 27, staying in New York on a student visa, met the courier to get the delivery of shoes and was arrested, police said. Then the courier pointed to Blake from 8 feet away, Boyce said, identifying the former tennis star as someone who had previously bought items from him.

The detective was not wearing a visible badge because he was undercover.


At least the rape kits came in.

N.Y. governor’s aide ruled brain dead

Labor Day shooting.

"Police are investigating a series of shootings across the city that left six people dead Saturday evening and Sunday morning."

Prison worker who helped inmates escape gets up to 7 years

He made us Sweat out Jade Helm, remember?!

Another gay group to march in N.Y. St. Patrick’s parade

"A woman believed to have given birth in the bathroom of her boyfriend’s apartment before tossing her newborn daughter to her death from a seventh-story window was being held without bail Wednesday on a murder charge, police and prosecutors said."

Baby girl dies after being tossed from sixth-floor window in New York City

That was the third child killed that way in the city in three months.

"NYC police expanding program to document use of force by officers" by Tom Hays Associated Press  October 02, 2015

NEW YORK — Amid concerns about excessive force, the New York Police Department unveiled a program on Thursday to document physical encounters officers have with the public and to discourage using force in the first place.

Tell it to Blake.

The 35,000-officer department, the nation’s largest, touted the initiative as a way to track and analyze all instances when force is used and said it will use the data to adjust training and identify problem officers. Police officials conceded that under current procedures, instances of force sometimes go unreported.

Under the new policy, the department will not wait for a death or serious injury or an allegation of abuse to initiate an inquiry, Assistant Chief Kevin Ward said at a news conference.

‘‘If we use force, we will document it,’’ said Ward, who is spearheading the effort. ‘‘We will investigate it.’’

Police officials likened the approach to one they credit with dramatically reducing instances of when officers fire their guns. Those shootings totaled 79 in 2014, a record low.

According to a summary, the new guidelines will emphasize ‘‘the duty of all members to protect human life, including people in their custody’’ and promote the use of verbal techniques to head off a physical encounter.

The overhaul ‘‘sends a message to all New Yorkers that we’re going to enforce the law, but we’re going to do it in a way that only uses that force which is necessary,’’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which represents officers, criticized the guidelines, saying that adding paperwork and second-guessing to an overworked, understaffed police force was a ‘‘formula for disaster.’’

‘‘No amount of new training or additional paperwork will make necessary force that is lawful and properly used by police officers acceptable to those who want to return to the hands-off, reactive policing strategies that sent crime soaring in the past,’’ association president Patrick Lynch said in a statement.

The measures were announced the same day the city’s inspector general, Philip Eure, released a report faulting the NYPD for not doing more to combat excessive force. At a separate press briefing, Eure told reporters that compared to some other big-city police departments, the NYPD ‘‘was living a little bit in the Dark Ages with respect to its use-of-force policies.’’

Asked about Eure’s comment, Police Commissioner William Bratton insisted the department has been aggressively revamping its policies for well over a year.


I just hope you can make bail:

"New York judge takes action to revamp bail rules" by James C. McKinley Jr. New York Times  October 02, 2015

NEW YORK — The New York state chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, who retires at the end of the year, said the human cost of the bail system was brought into focus by the suicide in June of Kalief Browder, a teen who could not pay his $3,000 bail and spent three years at Rikers Island, much of it in solitary confinement, awaiting trial on a stolen a backpack.

Bronx prosecutors dismissed the case because the victim had left the country. But in the meantime Browder’s schooling and social life were derailed; he slipped into a deep depression and killed himself.


Related: "New York agrees to overhaul solitary confinement in prisons, but ‘‘massive culture change is a challenge.’’

It starts in the schools.

Also seeNew York City to pay $3.8 million settlement in death of inmate

Got treated better than the elderly:

"N.Y. bills for costs of care after alleged cases of abuse" Associated Press  November 24, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. — At least three times in recent years, New York has pursued Medicaid reimbursement of $1 million or more from those who allegedly suffered devastating, even deadly, mistreatment while in state care. In two of those cases, the state eventually dropped its claims after the families contested them.

National experts say New York’s pursuit of such claims appears to be highly unusual and is a misapplication of the 1993 federal law that requires states to recover, or “claw back,” certain Medicaid costs from people’s estates after their death.

“It’s serious overreaching to attempt to recoup funding from people who have been abused in the system,” said Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, a nonprofit group in New York. “It’s very cynical, to say the least.”


Time to make a frisk stop.

"Judge dismisses conviction in 1990 NYC tourist killing" Associated Press  October 06, 2015

NEW YORK — A man imprisoned for a quarter-century in a notorious tourist killing was granted a new trial Tuesday when a judge overturned his conviction in a case that helped crystallize an era of crime and fear in the nation’s biggest city.

State Supreme Court Justice Eduardo Padro cited new evidence, including testimony from two witnesses and a codefendant saying Johnny Hincapie wasn’t involved in the crime. Padro stopped short of declaring Hincapie innocent, as he and his lawyers had hoped the judge might but agreed to release him on $1 bail while awaiting a retrial.

‘‘After 25 years of suffering, after 25 years of injustice, after 25 years of sleepless nights, God just revealed his justice,’’ said Hincapie’s father, Carlos. His son couldn’t immediately be freed because of an immigration complication, which his lawyers are working to resolve.

Prosecutors said they were committed to retrying the case, if necessary.

Hincapie said he was a bystander who was wrongfully swept up in the case and then was coerced into a false confession. Prosecutors said his claims aren’t credible.

The killing became a symbol of random violence in a city that was reeling from it, after the 1989 rape and beating of a woman known as the Central Park jogger and a spate of bloodshed in the summer of 1990.

Utah tourist Brian Watkins’s death — one of a record-setting 2,245 in 1990, compared to 333 last year — brought a public plea from his family for better subway safety and helped prompt former Mayor David Dinkins to propose a program designed to increase police presence.

Print ended there.

Watkins, 22, and his parents were in town from Provo, Utah, for the US Open tennis tournament.

Someone tell Blake.

They were heading to dinner when they were jumped by a group of youths looking to rob people to get money to go to a dance hall, police said. After his father was slashed and robbed of $200 and his mother was punched and kicked, Watkins was stabbed in the chest yet chased the attackers up two stairways before collapsing under a turnstile.

“Why did they do this to me?’’ he said, according to his father’s testimony at the trial of Hincapie and several co-defendants. ‘‘We’re just here to have a good time.’’

Hincapie, a Colombian immigrant, was one of seven young men convicted in the case. Another defendant was accused of actually stabbing Watkins, but authorities said the whole group bore responsibility for his death.

Hincapie, now 43, has long maintained he was in a different part of the subway station when the stabbing happened.

‘‘I had nothing to do with this,’’ he wrote in a 1990 letter to his lawyer at the time. ‘‘I am innocent.’’

After unsuccessfully appealing his conviction, Hincapie brought another challenge in 2013. It relied partly on a sworn statement from an exonerated co-defendant saying Hincapie played no part in the attack. A man who was convicted, and a witness who came forward only in the last two years, also said during the hearing that Hincapie wasn’t involved.

Meanwhile, Hincapie testified that a detective beat him to get him to sign a confession.

Prosecutors said there was ‘‘no credible newly discovered evidence’’ in the case.

But Padro wrote that the new evidence would ‘‘create a probability that had such evidence been received at trial the verdict would have been more favorable to the defendant’’ — a legal standard for tossing out a conviction.

Hincapie has finished high school and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees while serving 25 years to life in prison. He has never despaired of being cleared, said his lawyer, Ron Kuby.

‘‘He always maintained an optimism and a certain hope that this day was going to come for him.’’

Like a New Year beginning.


Time to get back to the security:

"Federal appeals court says lawsuit over NYPD surveillance of Muslims can proceed; Muslims were allegedly targeted" by Mark Berman Washington Post   October 14, 2015

A US court said Tuesday that a civil rights lawsuit accusing New York City police of improperly singling out Muslims for surveillance could proceed, reversing a lower court’s decision last year to dismiss the case.

In its opinion, a three-judge US Court of Appeals panel rejected the city’s call to have the case dismissed and brushed aside any suggestion that media reports about the surveillance, rather than the surveillance itself, caused any harm.

Judge Thomas Ambro, who wrote the 59-page opinion for the panel, also cited dark chapters in American history — such as the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, for which the United States later apologized — as times when national security issues, civil liberties, and wartime fears inexorably collided.

Or torture?

‘‘We have learned from experience that it is often where the asserted interest appears most compelling that we must be most vigilant in protecting constitutional rights,’’ Ambro wrote.

The lawsuit contends that surveillance of Muslim people in New Jersey discriminated against them due to their religion. It was filed by Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy group, and later joined by the Center for Constitutional Rights, another legal organization, on behalf of several Muslims who say they were unconstitutionally monitored by the New York Police Department.

‘‘I am so pleased the court recognized our claim that the NYPD is violating our basic rights as Americans and were wrong to do so,’’ Farhaj Hassan, lead plaintiff of the lawsuit, said in a statement released by the Center for Constitutional Rights. ‘‘No one should ever be spied on and treated like a suspect simply because of his or her faith, and today’s ruling paves the path to holding the NYPD accountable for ripping up the Constitution.’’

The New York City Law Department said it was reviewing the circuit court’s decision.

Last year, the NYPD disbanded the unit involved in the surveillance activities, a move that Mayor Bill de Blasio praised at the time as ‘‘a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve.’’

So we are told. What did they do, change the name?


Did you know the NYPD was now a national force? 

They create then capture the terrorists.

"Republican campaign rhetoric angers Muslims in US; GOP talk leaves a scar, they say" by Josh Cornfield Associated Press  November 25, 2015 

Why worry? 

Obama Has Destroyed the Democratic Party

A Globe Thanksgiving 

It's a 1% voting block.

TRENTON, N.J. — Muslim-Americans who sued the New York Police Department over a surveillance program launched after 9/11 say calls from the Republican presidential campaign to put them under more scrutiny are recklessly seizing on public fears and distressing Muslims in the United States as national security has become a focus in the 2016 race after the Paris attacks.

The Associated Press revealed in 2011 how New York police, in a since-disbanded demographics unit, infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, and otherwise spied on Muslims as part of a broad effort to prevent terrorist attacks. A federal appeals court last month reinstated the lawsuit challenging the surveillance, comparing the spying to other instances of heightened scrutiny of religious and ethnic groups, including Japanese-Americans during World War II.

A lower court last year had concluded the police could not keep watch ‘‘on Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself.’’ That came after New York City argued that any harm suffered by Muslims was ‘‘self-imposed, based on subjective fears’’ that may have dissuaded them from gathering with other Muslims after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The city called the intelligence-gathering an appropriate and legal antiterrorism tactic and said it never spied on people or businesses solely because they were Muslim.

Imagine if they said that about Jews. What an uproar there would be.

Wahy-ud Deen Shareef, president of the Council of Imams in New Jersey, said news of the demographics unit made some reluctant to gather at places that had been under surveillance, including mosques and businesses. He said it also hurt the trust that Muslims had developed with law enforcement after 9/11, something they’re still working to rebuild.

Now, he said, comments in the 2016 campaign are playing on people’s ignorance both of Islam and of what Muslim communities have done to cooperate with law enforcement.

‘‘When you trample upon the rights that are entitled to all just because you have suspicions of a group, then you are trampling on the rights of all of the citizens,’’ Shareef said.

In addition to pushing for monitoring and a registry, Trump has alleged that ‘‘thousands and thousands’’ of Muslims in Jersey City across the river from Manhattan celebrated from rooftops in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, a scene at odds with the recollections of local officials and for which he has offered no proof. Carson made a similar allegation, then retracted it.

Didn't happen at all, but Jewish war press leaves impression that it did. 

Someone was doing some dancing, though.


"N.Y. emergency responders go through active shooter drill" Associated Press  November 23, 2015

NEW YORK — Hundreds of New York emergency responders simulated a coordinated terror attack Sunday, days before one of the city’s biggest public events: the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The long-planned drill at a Manhattan subway station got a last-minute update in the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris. Officials added an ‘‘attacker’’ wearing a suicide vest.

‘‘In New York City, we are, at this time, very well-prepared and continually improving that preparedness,’’ Commissioner William Bratton said outside the abandoned Bowery station in Lower Manhattan.

The three-hour active-shooter exercise took place in the pricey Soho neighborhood populated by art galleries and boutiques. Members of the police, fire, and federal Homeland Security departments went into action after a mock call reporting a gunman on the station platform. 

Yes, if there were drills going on the propaganda pre$$ would surely tell us.

Of about 30 simulated straphangers in the station, a dozen suffered ‘‘critical wounds’’ from weapons firing blanks. Firefighters removed them on thick yellow plastic sheets and law enforcement personnel took on the threat.

First responders from various emergency departments worked as a team, with communication and coordination between agencies an important goal.

‘‘There have been very significant improvements in that capacity since 9/11, also the coordination with the fire department,’’ Bratton said.


The Department of Homeland Security used the exercise to test technologies including GoPro-like cameras worn by first responders and acoustic gunshot detection systems designed to give police and firefighters information to coordinate their responses. Such systems are being developed for surveillance of the subway system, the commissioner said.

Sunday’s drill was funded by Homeland Security.

Bratton said New York law enforcement authorities, together with Homeland Security, are working closely with Paris investigators studying details of the Nov. 13 attacks there, aiming to prepare for similar suicide-bomber terrorism that New York has never experienced.

Is that what we are going to get tonight?


Also see:

Suspect in officer’s killing should have been in prison, NYC chief says
Police divers find gun in Harlem River, connect it to slaying of officer

"Court says officer committed no crime" Associated Press  December 04, 2015

NEW YORK — A former New York City police officer committed no crime when he fantasized online about committing horrific acts of sexual violence against his wife and others, including bizarre exchanges about kidnapping and eating women, a divided federal appeals court said Thursday. 

See: Sick Cops and Their Sex Games

The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said in its 2-to-1 ruling that a lower-court Manhattan judge correctly reversed a 2013 jury’s guilty verdict on a kidnapping conspiracy charge against Gilberto Valle, 31, that could have sent him to prison for life.

‘‘We are loath to give the government the power to punish us for our thoughts and not our actions,’’ wrote Circuit Judge Barrington D. Parker for the majority.

‘‘That includes the power to criminalize an individual’s expression of sexual fantasies, no matter how perverse or disturbing. Fantasizing about committing a crime, even a crime of violence against a real person whom you know, is not a crime.’’

The decision acknowledged that fantasies of violence against women ‘‘contribute to a culture of exploitation, a massive social harm that demeans women,’’ but the court added that ‘‘not every harm is meant to be addressed with the federal criminal law.’’

The ruling upheld US District Judge Paul Gardephe’s decision to reverse the jury verdict after finding no genuine agreement to kidnap.


So what would you like to eat tonight?

Time to stop toying around:

"Explosion in Brooklyn home kills.... Councilman Brad Lander said the woman who died was in her 60s and was from the Dominican Republic. He said she lived in a third-floor apartment with her daughter, who was away at the time."

At least Bo$ton is safe.

So have you found a place to flop for the night?