Do New York Values Include Justice?

Cuomo’s “3 Amigos” Get Due Process,

But Deny it to Citizens via SAFE Act;

2 Amigos Convicted of Federal Corruption Felonies

1 Conviction Overturned after a Year; Former Federal Prosecutor Preet Baharara Tweets:  “The evidence was strong. The Supreme Court changed the law. I expect Sheldon Silver to be retried and re-convicted.

Governor Cuomo, in a state-of-the-state address, once referred to himself and the top two political leaders in New York State as the “three amigos.”

The other two amigos were Democrat Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver and Republican Leader of the State Senate Dean Skelos.  Two of the three amigos – Silver and Skelos – were subsequently tried and convicted of felony corruption under federal law and sentenced to prison in early 2016.  Skelos was sentenced to five years in prison; Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

More than a year after being convicted and sentenced to prison the two felons have yet to be measured for orange jumpsuits.  These convicted political felons enjoy their constitutional right of “due process,” pending their appeal, after they denied it to citizens.

Then, more than a year after being convicted and sentenced in July 2017, Sheldon Silver’s conviction was overturned by a federal appeals court, based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that “narrowed the legal definition of corruption.”¹

Preet Bharara, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and who prosecuted both Silver and Skelos, said it best on Twitter:  “The evidence was strong. The Supreme Court changed the law. I expect Sheldon Silver to be retried and re-convicted.¹

The current acting U.S. attorney, Joon H. Kim, reinforced this (emphasis added):  “We look forward to presenting to another jury the evidence of decades-long corruption by one of the most powerful politicians in New York State history,” Mr. Kim said. “Although it will be delayed, we do not expect justice to be denied.” ¹

These three amigos rammed through the SAFE Act (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013) overnight with no public participation — a law which denies due process to an entire class of citizens.

Prior to sentencing, Felon Skelos was so proud of his leadership in pushing Governor Cuomo’s SAFE Act, he used it as part of his plea to avoid prison. 

In Skelos’ Sentencing Memorandum submitted to the court, his attorneys listed the convicted felon’s support for the SAFE Act among his “most notable legislative achievements.”  In that document, attorney and friend Paul Weidenbaum writes that Skelos believed it “was the right thing to do for the people of New York State.” ²

From a constitutional rights standpoint, he should have written, “the right thing to do TO the people of New York State.”  Politicians have forgotten how to blush.

Here we have a convicted felon at the top of the political pyramid in Albany who enjoys the full benefit of due process; and who sought mercy on the basis of the SAFE Act – a law that violates the principles of good government (open, participatory) and denies due process to an entire group of citizens under its umbrella – firearms owners.

Why any fair minded person – liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican – would not want to correct this injustice explains why citizens are fed up with political bosses and dogmatic political theology that break the rules of constitutional balance and fairness.

This is why the 2nd Amendment is about more than firearms.  It is the canary in the coal mine — an early warning system that liberty is dying and it is not limited to 2nd Amendment freedom.  Our constitutional rights are an ecological system – a delicate balance – an infringement on one freedom inevitably invites transgressions on others.  We are seeing this with the SAFE Act.

We need leadership to restore due process — leadership that declares citizens are entitled to as much due process as political elites and convicted felons.  Now that would constitute a set of New York Values of which we can all be proud.

It is up to us.  Organize now for elections in 2018:

REFERENCE LINKS:

¹ Sheldon Silver’s 2015 Corruption Conviction Is Overturned
The New York Times, by Benjamin Weiser, July 13, 2017

² Skelos’ Sentencing Memorandum — submitted as a means to avoid prison, can be found here, as part of a Gannett article:  Skelos points to SAFE Act in bid to avoid prison, Press & Sun Bulletin, by Jon Campbell, March 24, 2016   http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/new-york/2016/03/24/skelos-points-safe-act-bid-avoid-prison/82209000/

 

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What you need to know about SAFE Act – Part 2

 Governor Cuomo’s “SAFE Act”Anything But!

Denies Due Process to Citizens

New York State is often described as the most corrupt state in the nation.  “In the past 13 years, at least 29 New York State legislators, or former legislators, and other elected state officials have been convicted of felonies, misdemeanors or violations,” according to a news report.1

That corruption led to the passage of the so-called SAFE Act (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013). Touted as a “gun control” law it goes far beyond the 2nd Amendment; it denies due process to any citizen targeted under the law.  They did this by rewriting the state mental health law — can’t have crazies owning guns, right?

Note that public discussion of the SAFE Act is centered around “gun control.”  The denial of due process is never mentioned — purposeful ignorance.  Better for anti-rights government officials of both parties to appear to focus on the 2nd Amendment rather than let people know they’re also going after the 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments.    

What else do we know about the SAFE Act:

  • It was passed overnight with no hearings, and no public participation permitted; no input from law enforcement or medical experts.
  • The New York Civil Liberties Union said: “[Governor Cuomo’s closed door] legislative process makes a mockery of the core democratic principles of transparency, accountability, and public participation in government.”
  • It does not comply with federal HIPAA law (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), according to the New York State Psychiatric Association.

Hard to believe?

Constitutional law professor James Jacobs of New York University writes: “The individual who is reported [under the SAFE Act] is not entitled to any due process, or even notice, before being stripped of his rights.” 2

As one woman told us, “I feel this law is just the beginning of taking many more of our constitutional rights away. It makes me nervous!!”  

We should all feel nervous, even those of us who live in other states.  States like New York, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland are “beta” sites, incubators for more laws that restrict more rights.

The anti-rights forces aren’t stopping at the Second Amendment or New York, or California.  In many states, they are attacking free speech, due process, and other civil liberties.  Gangs – many with masks – break windows, burn cars, shut down free speech on college campuses.  Their violence ranges from personal threats – to attempted murder.3

How could New York State, or any government, deny due process to an entire group of citizens?

Rewrite the state Mental Health Law … to use a new definition of “mental health” that permits the state to easily allege a citizen is “mentally defective,” even based on false reports of INvoluntary commitment from hospitals.  Provision 9.46 of the SAFE Act is now part of New York State’s amended Mental Health Law.

Under the revised law, medical providers are still required to consider the “likelihood” that a patient is a danger to self or others . . .

BUT the revised law eliminates one previously critical standard:

The “new” 9.46 Section deliberately omits “imminence.”  In other words, medical providers are no longer required to consider whether the person is an “imminent danger” to self or others.

We’re now seeing more examples of hospital staff deliberately or inadvertently falsely identifying a patient’s hospital admission as “INvoluntary.”  This immediately triggers a report to ISARS – the Integrated SAFE Act Reporting System – followed by confiscation of a pistol permit and firearms.

Constitutional law professor Jacobs says the SAFE Act provides “no opportunity for the person labelled mentally ill and dangerous … to dispute the diagnosis and prediction.”  It does not even require the subject of a Section 9.46 report be notified.2

Citizens are entitled to the same due process enjoyed by political elites and convicted felons.  No one is above the law, supposedly.  But we see more examples of one law for government elites and a different law for We the People.

If we want to keep our rights, stand up.  Contact your state legislators and tell them:

  • To publicly state their support of due process for all
  • To restore due process in New York State – repeal the SAFE Act.
  • Send them the link to this video and ask them to post and share it with their constituents:  https://youtu.be/B9CgatO6ML8

Spread the word:  Please post and share the 4-minute video with as many friends, groups and websites as possible.

Defend Freedom.  Find this and other videos here:  https://newyorkfreedomwatch.com/watch-our-video/

REFERENCE SOURCES:

1 29 NYS official convicted, 0 ethics reform laws passed in 2016, syracuse.com, The Post-Standard, May 13, 2016  http://www.syracuse.com/state/index.ssf/2016/05/ethics_reform_in_albany.html

2 Preventing Dangerous Mentally Ill Individuals from Obtaining and Retaining Guns: New York’s SAFE Act, New York University School of Law, Working Paper No. 15-42, by James B. Jacobs, Warren E. Burger Professor of Law at NYU, and Zoe Fuhr, research fellow at NYU’s Center for Research in Crime and Justice. © 2016, James B. Jacobs and Zoe Fuhr.  [See ‘Conclusion,’ p. 98.]  http://its.law.nyu.edu/faculty/profiles/representiveFiles/SSRN-id2671410_4F250263-D7FA-DD1D-36DB8B609A210676.pdf

3 30 GOP Congressmen Have Been Attacked or Threatened Since Mayhttp://freebeacon.com/issues/30-gop-congressmen-attacked-threatened-since-may/

See also:  Another Nebraska Democrat celebrates Congressional assassination attempt:  http://leavenworthst.com

For historical perspective:   A Brief History of Radical Left-Wing Violence in Americahttp://www.lifezette.com/polizette/a-brief-history-of-radical-left-wing-violence-in-america/

 

What You Need to Know about SAFE Act – Part 1

Citizen On SAFE Act:  “…this law is just the beginning

of taking many more of our constitutional rights away.

It makes me nervous!!”

Are all citizens entitled to due process?

How would Governor Cuomo answer that question?  How would your state senators and assembly representatives answer that question?  Ask them.

The badly named SAFE Act is unSAFE when it comes to civil liberties.  It denies due process.  This is never mentioned by the governor or elected state officials — purposeful ignorance.  Better to appear to just focus on the 2nd Amendment rather than let people know you’re also going after the 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments.

The SAFE Act (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013) was passed overnight with the leadership of Governor Cuomo and most Republicans and Democrats.

Touted as a “gun control” law, it denies due process to any citizen targeted under the SAFE Act.  They did this by rewriting the state mental health law — can’t have crazies owning guns, right?

Constitutional law professor James Jacobs of New York University confirms: “The individual who is reported [under the SAFE Act] is not entitled to any due process, or even notice, before being stripped of his rights.” 1

It does this by rewriting the state Mental Health Law (section 9.46) in a way that permits the state to easily allege a citizen is “mentally defective,” even based on false reports from hospitals.  To compound the elected leadership’s unethical behavior, the law gives hospitals legal immunity from civil and criminal liability for ‘malpractice’ in terms of false reports.  See the Mental Hygiene Law, Section 94.6 (d) ”The decision of a mental health professional to disclose or not to disclose in accordance with this section, when made reasonably and in good faith, shall not be the basis for any civil or criminal liability of such mental health professional.”

The right to own any firearm can then be denied and all firearms confiscated, with no notice, no hearing, no trial, and no evidence of mental disability.  It is happening now even when a hospital sends a false report to the State Police that someone has been INvoluntarily committed.

For more information, including comments from a citizen whose rights were violated by the SAFE Act, check out our videos:

REFERENCE SOURCES

1 Preventing Dangerous Mentally Ill Individuals from Obtaining and Retaining Guns: New York’s SAFE Act, New York University School of Law, Working Paper No. 15-42, by James B. Jacobs, Warren E. Burger Professor of Law at NYU, and Zoe Fuhr, research fellow at NYU’s Center for Research in Crime and Justice. © 2016, James B. Jacobs and Zoe Fuhr. [See ‘Conclusion,’ p. 98.]  http://its.law.nyu.edu/faculty/profiles/representiveFiles/SSRN-id2671410_4F250263-D7FA-DD1D-36DB8B609A210676.pdf

Letter To Status Quo Politicians: It Is Just Beginning

NY GOP Did Not Support Rob Astorino & Chris Moss;                  Did GOP Collude with Cuomo to Defeat its Own Candidates?

NY GOP Now Appeals for Grassroots Support;                            Another Reason for Change in Albany Status Quo

The New York State Republican Party virtually ignored Rob Astorino and Chris Moss, its very own candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

Despite reportedly having a $13 million campaign “war chest,” little or none of it went to support its own candidates for the state’s highest office.

Insiders say the multi-million dollar war chest and lack of GOP support for Astorino/Moss is not widely known.  Even back in July, however, the New York Post editorialized with this headline:

The New York Senate GOP stiffs Rob Astorino (July 21, 2014)       http://nypost.com/2014/07/21/the-new-york-senate-gop-stiffs-rob-astorino/

In September, The Journal News published this:

[Senator Dean] Skelos says he supports Astorino; doesn’t say how
The Journal News, Sept. 30, 2014
http://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/politics-on-the-hudson/2014/09/30/skelos-says-he-supports-astorino-doesnt-say-how/16480279/

After the election, the cat came all of the way out of the bag:

Cuomo had a secret re-election ‘pact’ with Republicans                                                                  New York Post, November 10, 2014                                                 http://nypost.com/2014/11/10/cuomo-had-a-secret-re-election-pact-with-republicans/

All of this raises questions of how much the GOP contributed to its own defeat in the governor’s race; and did Republican Senator Dean Skelos collude with Governor Cuomo to defeat GOP candidates?  Skelos is “the highest-ranking Republican official in state government,” according to his bio, and represents Senate District 9. 

Read this November letter from Don Smith of Ontario, New York, to Ed Cox, Chairman of the New York State GOP.

It is a “shaming” letter to status quo politicians who think they are entitled to get support even when they don’t give it.  And it is very direct.

Don Smith, who wrote the letter is a grassroots leader, who crisscrossed more counties than I can count to energize and mobilize the vote.  Thoughtful and always helpful to others, Don was recognized with a Distinguished Service Award from the Shooters Committee On Political Education (SCOPE).    As Susan Maressa of SCOPE said of Don:  “He’s a little power house.”

 Don Smith’s letter to the New York GOP

Dear Mr. Cox:

You must be kidding! The GOP deserted Rob Astorino and Chris Moss and you expect we Republicans to support you?  What have you been smoking?

I voted for no (as in zero) Republicans.  I voted for Astorino and Moss on the Common Core line and my other choices were all on the Conservative line except for my own so-called representatives Senator Nozzolio and Assemblyman Oaks.  I voted for neither of them.

I am fed up with the GOP.  Your friend [NYS Senator Dean] Skelos (sometimes spelled C-u-o-m-o) was responsible for the unSAFE act. You couldn’t bother to fund the Astorino campaign but you and your GOP friends had the audacity to spend $75,000 in Erie County to run a smear campaign against the Democratic candidate.

Why?  So you could support another RINO, Mark Grisanti, who also voted for the unSAFE act. He got what he deserved in the primary election but you went to bat for him anyway and abandoned the real Republican candidate in that race.  [Kevin Stocker “trounced” Grisanti in the Republican Primary on Sept. 9.]  How many more monies did you literally burn that could have provided us with a real governor?

While we are on the topic of money, what do you and your Republican friends plan to do with the $13 million you stashed away here in NY?  (Excuse me, it’s a bit less. I almost forgot the $75,000 you spent on behalf of Grisanti.)  Nozzolio and Oaks and others didn’t need the money. They had no opponents again, and again, and again.

BTW, the only reason I am remaining a registered Republican (God, I can hardly type the word) is to be able to run some likewise derelict Republicans out of Town office next Fall in the primaries.

Many dedicated New York citizens spent a good deal of time and their own funds to support Rob Astorino.  He was a truly viable candidate who might well have replaced a man who has absolutely no respect for those of us in Upstate NY.  

The Republicans clearly abandoned any pretense of support for Mr. Astorino and Mr. Moss. You and the rest of your ‘allies’ are a disgrace to the Republican party and consequently you, sir, should resign your post. 

Donald H. Smith

Energize & Mobilize for Nov. 4

It would be supremely ironic if liberal Democrats suppressed their own vote with their “Can’t Beat Cuomo” mantra.  One indicator is the 10% voter participation rate in the Dem’s hotly contested primary on September 9 between Governor Andrew Cuomo and his challenger Fordham University Law Professor Zephyr Teachout.

This was a contest where the Democrats’ War On Women was on full display.  Mr. Cuomo reportedly spent millions from his war chest to shut down Teachout’s candidacy — including two legal challenges and his refusal to debate (fear?).  Voter participation rates in primary elections are said to be traditionally low — but 10% in a race that had so much energy around it?

This “very low-turnout primary win” was noted elsewhere.  For example, Capital New York, a political news and commentary website, said (emphasis added):

“While voter turnout is often low in a primary race in New York State, especially when the contest isn’t expected to be close, as was the case with Cuomo’s race against Zephyr Teachout, political scientists said the numbers from Tuesday night were particularly abysmal.                          Link:  http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2014/09/8552295/cuomos-very-low-turnout-primary-win

Meanwhile, on the grassroots trail, I and colleague Don Smith have been working to energize and mobilize voters from several counties including Chautauqua, Cattauragus, Wayne, Seneca and Ontario.

 

Face-to-face with grassroots.

Face-to-face with grassroots.

As we give these presentations across counties, anecdotes are encouraging.  In Wayne County, for example,  two persons approached me after the presentation.  One told of a friend, described as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) with unpredictable voting patterns, who had attended our presentation in Ontario County.

The RINO told this gentleman that not only will he and his wife vote for Astorino/Moss, but they each will get four others persons to the polls on Nov. 4.

Another gentleman told me he helped five individuals fill out their voter registration forms and he will take them to the polls to vote on Nov. 4.

At yet another gathering in Chautauqua County, a member of the audience told with good humor of how he discovered to his astonishment that his 80-year-old mom revealed she was not registered to vote.  Being a good son, he helped her register and promised to take her to the polls on Nov. 4.

Last month I helped two friends fill out their voter registration forms — a married couple.  He said he had never voted and she hadn’t voted for more than 20 years.  I called him this week to see if they received their post cards from the county elections bureau.  He was in a tree stand — oops! I said, I’ll hang up now; but he said, “No, the traffic is low!”  He confirmed that he received his card and it was in his wallet as we spoke.  They, like so many we’ve talked with, are energized and mobilized to get out the vote.

Perhaps these are small anecdotes but they speak to a level of energy out there, including among folks who have not voted or are not regular voters.

The message is clear: we cannot afford to be among the 2/3rds who don’t vote if we want to take back our political freedom and put an end to the corruption, name calling and flight of citizens and businesses from New York State.  Issues range from the unSAFE Act (and more to come), Common Core, Taxes, pay-to-play politics and more.

If you want your vote to make a difference — this is the year!

 

Governor Cuomo is in Deep Tapioca

Governor Cuomo is Vulnerable
A lot of liberals simply don’t like Cuomo. Some have described him as a person who has burned a lot of bridges over the years. For ‘historical’ perspective, refer to Jake Tapper’s 2002 article in Salon, “Andrew Cuomo’s Attitude Problem.”  http://www.salon.com/2002/09/03/cuomo/

A liberal watchdog group – Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington (CREW) cited Cuomo as among the “Worst Governors” in the US:  http://www.citizensforethics.org/worst-governors-in-america/entry/andrew-cuomo-new-york

The New York Times editorial on Cuomo’s Ethics Commission (Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption) said: “Gov. Andrew Cuomo ran for office four years ago promising first and foremost to clean up Albany. Not only has he not done that, but now he is looking as bad as the forces he likes to attack.”  July 23, 2014 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/opinion/gov-cuomos-broken-promises.html?smid=tw-share&_r=2

Challenge to Cuomo in the Democrat Primary by Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout, who is quoted in the New York Post saying this about Cuomo: “We can do so much better.” (June 2, 2014) Lots of news coverage on this split among Democrats.

Do The Arithmetic – We Can Win On Nov. 4

If We Get Off Our Seats & Vote

Vote for Rob Astorino & Chris Moss

Do the arithmetic — the numbers are on our side:

  • There are 15 million eligible voters in NYS — but less than 1/3rd vote
  • Gunowners cannot afford to be among the 2/3rds who don’t vote!
  • 6 million gunowners in NYS means there are more gunowners than total NYS citizens who vote (4.6 million in the last 2010 gubernatorial election).
  • Want your vote to make a difference?  This is the year!
  • No excuses — everyone must vote.

US News & World Report said:

“Astorino has the issues on his side … and Andrew Cuomo is even more out of touch than Mario Cuomo ….”  (July 14, 2014)  Link:  http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2014/07/14/republican-rob-astorino-can-win-in-new-york-against-govandrew-cuomo