Friday, June 23, 2017

Democrat corrupt cronyism here must be a milestone of sorts.

Dems give politically connected judge six-figure gig she’s too obese to do

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Elizabeth Shollenberger
Political deals don’t get any dirtier than this.
Members of the all-Democratic City Council in suburban White Plains rewarded their party’s well-connected chairwoman with a plum six-figure judicial seat — even though she was too sickly to work, critics charge.
City Judge Elizabeth Shollenberger — who suffers from a digestive disorder and morbid obesity, among other ailments — was unable to climb the three steps to her courtroom bench, even with the help of a specially installed railing, sources said.
City Judicial Review Committee member Mark Elliott has publicly accused Mayor Tom Roach of making sure “the fix was in” for the judge, who had been his campaign treasurer.
“She came to the interview with an oxygen tank. She’s very fragile,” Elliott told The Post.
“No reasonable person could have looked at her as I did and thought that she could finish her 10-year term.”
The committee rejected the Yale Law School grad, 61, for appointment to the post.
But she got the job anyway, and promptly went on the first of several medical leaves just a week after being sworn in to her $175,500-a-year job.

The job also provides $65,000 worth of annual health benefits, which the currently hospitalized Shollenberger has been putting to good use.
Aside from the alleged cronyism, court workers were also troubled by a more immediate concern — a severe gastric distress problem that made itself apparent on the few occasions the judge made it into court.
“She would come in and we would see the diarrhea running down her leg and to the floor,” one court worker said. “She would soil the chair and then ask for a new one.”
Another court worker said Shollenberger astounded staffers by acting with “complete arrogance” following the awful accidents.
“She would just say, ‘There is a mess over there. I think someone should clean it up,’ ” the source said.
Council member Milagros Lecuona, who’s challenging Roach for the mayoralty this year, said he engineered Shollenberger’s Dec. 20 appointment “to make sure he’d have the support of the chair of the Democratic Party” for his re-election bid.
Shollenberger was succeeded as the party’s head by her husband, Tim James.
“If I knew what I know now, I would not have voted to support her,” Lecuona said. “This is going to be a big problem for the taxpayers. It’s financially very irresponsible.”
Shollenberger told The Post from her bed in White Plains Hospital Thursday: “I have no intention of retiring. I want to work. I want to be a judge. Judges get sick all the time.”
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A specially designed handrail for Ms. Shollenberger, so she could get up the stairs to the judge’s chair.Richard Harbus
She declined to discuss her condition, but her husband said Shollenberger has pulmonary hypertension.
He also called the complaints from courthouse staffers a “grotesque distortion” and “hysterical overreaction to what was a minor health incident.”
Roach’s spokeswoman called the claims about Shollenberger’s appointment “quite a conspiracy theory,” adding: “I would dispute all of that.”
Following the courthouse staffer complaints about Shollenberger’s incontinence, the state Office of Court Administration determined she was “unable to perform her job,” a high-level court source said.
On May 2, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks signed an order transferring all of her cases to other jurists, and preventing her from being assigned any others without permission.
“The situation remains under review,” OCA spokesman Lucian Chalfen said.
Additional reporting by Bruce Golding

How radical egalitarianism has distorted reality. The Left has elevated failure to heroic status using myths and demonization. Conservatives donate much more to charity then does the left..

Trump won't hire poor people for a top post - many Americans agree

  • 23 June 2017
  • From the section Business
Media captionTrump : 'I just don't want a poor person' running the US economy
President Donald Trump has said he wouldn't want a "poor person" holding a top economic post in the White House.
Mr Trump said his wealthy appointees, such as Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (net worth: $2.5bn £2bn), had "brilliant business minds".
"That's what we need," he said at an Iowa rally. "And I love all people, rich or poor. 
"But in those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person. Does that make sense?" 
For many Americans, the answer is, basically, yes.
The president "should have worded that better", said Michael Washington 42, of Brooklyn, an assistant manager at a messenger service in New York.
Michael Washington of Brooklyn
Image captionMichael Washington of Brooklyn
Mr Washington said he disliked the implication that poor people are stupid.
But, he added, "it makes sense to hire someone rich because they're business-minded. I would agree with that".

Attitudes towards the poor

American attitudes toward the poor have shown signs of improving.
About two-thirds of Americans think the poor are hard-working, up from half in 1985, according to a 2016 survey conducted for the Los Angeles Times. 
And about 55% of Americans believe the poor and non-poor have job skills that are "pretty much the same", up from 44% in 1985.
Caitlin Quigley, 27, who works at a charity in New York, said Mr Trump's conflation of wealth with talent rankled.
"Just because a person's rich doesn't say anything about their capabilities or qualifications or how they'd help us and represent us," she said.
Caitlin Quigley
Image captionCaitlin Quigley of New York
But Mr Trump's belief that success and talent can be measured in dollars has a long tradition in American life, particularly among conservatives, said historian Nancy Isenberg, a professor at Louisiana State University and the author of White Trash: The 400-year Untold History of Class in America.
"The truth is that this is something that Americans are quite comfortable with," she said. "We talk about equality but we're quite comfortable with class hierarchy."

Up by your bootstraps

Even with evidence that social mobility is falling, the up-from-your-bootstraps belief that wealth is a sign of merit holds strong in the US.
In a 2014 survey by Pew Research Center, about 57% of Americans disagreed with the idea that success is determined by outside forces.
Media captionFact-checking Trump's US economy boasts
That was a higher percentage than in almost any other country of 44 included (in the UK that percentage was 55%).
In the same survey, nearly three-quarters of Americans said it is important to work hard to get ahead in life (that percentage was 60% in the UK).
Mr Trump has "an obscure way of saying things", but he also has a point, said George Paragon, 46, of Yonkers, who works in human services. 
George Paragon of Yonkers
Image captionGeorge Paragon of Yonkers
"We wouldn't want a shoemaker to fly a plane," he said.

Empathy gap?

Susana Navas, 64, of the Bronx, a financial supervisor, said she sees risks in plucking policymakers from the ranks of the mega-rich.
"They don't know much about the people's economy," she said. "They know about being rich." 
Studies suggest that the rich pay less attention to others and have less empathy. 
They've also been found to be more likely to ascribe identity and status to inherent traits.
Susana Navas of the Bronx
Image captionSusana Navas of the Bronx
Indeed, Professor Isenberg said the president's proposals - which include tax cuts for the rich and a reduction of health assistance for the poor - are more telling about his attitudes to poverty than Wednesday's remarks.
"The healthcare bill has a lot more to say about his disregard for the poor and indifference than this comment," she said.

Bernie Sanders' wife is an example of a corrupt incompetent left-winger heading for a federal probe. Living large on other people's money!


Former Burlington College President Jane O’Meara Sanders. Photo courtesy of Burlington College
BURLINGTON — Jane Sanders has hired attorneys to represent her in a Justice Department probe of a land deal she orchestrated while president of the now-defunct Burlington College.
A former college employee who coordinated the school’s response to an FBI subpoena in February 2016 said she was contacted by two attorneys representing Jane Sanders shortly after VTDigger broke the news confirming the federal probe in late April.
Coralee Holm, the former dean of operations and advancement for Burlington College, said the attorneys wanted information about “what I had been asked by the FBI.”
“They were trying to get clarification on what the accusations are because they had not been contacted by anybody as to an investigation,” Holm said.
Two former Burlington College trustees said they were also contacted by attorneys representing Sanders, wife of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Holm said she got a call from the office of prominent Burlington attorney Rich Cassidy in late April or early May.
Jane Sanders did not immediately return a call requesting comment for this report and has refused VTDigger’s repeated requests for an interview about Burlington College since late 2015.
Cassidy also did not return a call Thursday requesting comment.
Holm said she was contacted in late May by Jennifer Windom, a partner in the Washington, D.C., firm Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber. Windom’s questions were similar to those from Cassidy’s office, asking Holm to outline her understanding of the allegations against Sanders.
One of the principals of the firm, Larry Robbins, represented Scooter Libby, a former aide to vice president Dick Cheney, who was convicted of lying and obstructing a leak investigation.
Holm said that after asking for more information, she declined to answer questions from either attorney.
Windom could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. The bio on her firm’s website says she’s a trial attorney who specializes in “complex civil litigation and government investigations and enforcement actions.”
As president of Burlington College in 2010, Sanders secured a $6.7 million loan from People’s United Bank, which the college used to purchase a 33-acre lakefront campus for the school.
Federal investigators are probing aspects of that land deal, according to Holm and another former employee who said they had been contacted by the FBI. Federal officials have declined to comment on the investigation.
The loan agreement required the college to provide evidence of more than $2 million in pledged donations as collateral. However, three donors — including the largest, listed at $1 million — have told VTDigger their pledges were misrepresented in the loan documents.
Between 2010 and 2014 the college collected only $676,000 in donations, according to former college officials. The school was also never able to increase enrollment as Sanders had projected. It closed in May 2016, with officials citing debt from the land purchase as the primary reason.
Coralee Holm, dean of operations and advancement at Burlington College, emerges from the locked school to speak with alumni and reporters at the time it closed in 2016. File photo by Morgan True/VTDigger
Holm has said that when the FBI subpoenaed the school last year, an agent asked her for records relating to a list of donors in a spreadsheet the agent provided her, as well as communications from when Sanders was president. Holm said she gave the agent paper and digital records.
Emails obtained by VTDigger through a public records request show an FBI agent and the assistant U.S. attorney for Vermont who leads the criminal division were reviewing Burlington College records in the state’s possession as recently as February.
A woman listed as a $1 million pledged donor in the loan document that Sanders signed said she was interviewed by an investigator with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in April.
Yves Bradley, chair of the recently dissolved Burlington College board of trustees, said Thursday that he was contacted a month ago by Cassidy’s assistant, who made it clear Cassidy was representing Sanders.
Bradley said he didn’t find out specifically what Cassidy hoped to discuss, because he declined the meeting on the advice of an attorney representing the board.
Jonathan Leopold, who chaired the Burlington College board of trustees finance committee when the land deal was inked — and when Sanders was forced out 10 months later — said he too was contacted by a lawyer representing her.
“We talked about my recollection of Burlington College finances. That’s really all I want to comment about,” Leopold said. He refused to provide further detail about the discussion.
Leopold said the conversation took place about a month and a half ago, and he did not recall the attorney’s name. Leopold said he was not familiar with the attorney who called on Sanders’ behalf, but he said it was not Cassidy.
Leopold served in Bernie Sanders’ mayoral administration in Burlington in the 1980s and later the administration of former Mayor Bob Kiss.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

US man 'gave top-secret information' to Chinese agent

US man 'gave top-secret information' to Chinese agent

Chinese and US flag - file photoImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
A former US diplomatic officer has been arrested and charged with giving top-secret documents to a Chinese agent.
According to an affidavit, Kevin Mallory, a 60-year-old from Virginia, is said to have travelled to Shanghai in March and April 2017. 
He also failed to declare $16,500 (£13,000) in cash found in two carry-on bags when travelling through Chicago airport, said the Associated Press. 
Under the federal Espionage Act, he could face life in prison.
The FBI has confirmed he was entrusted with high-level clearance when working for the government.
His access was rescinded when he ceased to be a state employee in 2012, after which he became a self-employed consultant. 
The Washington Post said that, according to two government officials, Mr Mallory was employed by the CIA, but this information was not given in court. 
During a voluntary interview with FBI agents in May, Mr Mallory said the person he met in Shanghai told him he was working for a Chinese think-tank, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS). 
The FBI has, since at least 2014, believed that Chinese spies use SASS affiliations to cover-up their identities, according to the US Department of Justice.
The affidavit also detailed a note Mr Mallory allegedly wrote to the individual, saying "your object is to gain information, and my object is to be paid". 
Mr Mallory, who speaks Chinese Mandarin, made an initial appearance in court on Thursday, and will return for a preliminary hearing on Friday. 
"These charges should send a message to anyone who would consider violating the public's trust and compromising our national security by disclosing classified information," said Dana J Boente, acting assistant attorney general for national security.

A sweetheart deal for a multiple sex offender and Bill Clinton buddy

BREAKING: Feds explain sweet deal for billionaire sex offender Epstein

Did A Billionaire Sex Offender Get A 'Sweetheart Deal'?
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Federal prosecutors went on the offensive this month, denying allegations that they bowed to pressure from billionaire Palm Beach resident Jeffrey Epstein and his high-priced lawyers at the expense of dozens of teenage girls he sexually abused.
In their first public comment since 2007 — when they negotiated a deal that allowed Epstein to escape federal charges — prosecutors filed hundreds of pages of documents in U.S. District Court, explaining what led to the now infamous non-prosecution agreement that has been decried as “a sweetheart deal.”
Contrary to claims by attorneys representing two of Epstein’s victims in a lawsuit against the federal government, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana said she and her superiors were trying to help the traumatized young women when they agreed to let Epstein plead guilty to state prostitution charges.
The now-64-year-old money manager, who spends most of his time on his estate in the Virgin Islands, served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in the Palm Beach County Stockade. He was allowed to leave each day to go to work.
Hoping to persuade U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra to throw out the lawsuit that accuses the government of violating the federal Crime Victims Rights Act, Villafana said she tried to keep Epstein’s victims informed about the investigation and the eventual plea deal. But, she said, negotiations were sensitive and neither Epstein, his victims nor their attorneys made it easy.
For instance, she said, most of the young women were extremely reluctant — or simply refused — to testify against Epstein, who had paid them to give him sexually-charged massages at his mansion.
One of the women who is now suing the government insisted Epstein never abused her, Villafana wrote in a sworn affidavit.
“I hope Jeffrey, nothing happens to Jeffrey because he’s an awesome man and it would really be a shame,” the woman, identified only as Jane Doe 2, told FBI agents in 2007.
Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy Palm Beach resident charged with having teenage girls give him sexual massages, was in court Monday morning to enter a plea after nearly two years. (Palm Beach Post / 2008 staff photo)
While Villafana said she didn’t believe her, she also understood the young woman’s suffering. Further, she knew she couldn’t force her or Epstein’s more than two dozen other victims to testify against him.
Jane Doe 1, who is also suing the government, agreed to testify. But Villafana said one victim wouldn’t have been enough to convict Epstein.
Rather than let Epstein use his considerable influence to evade prosecution, she and top officials at the U.S. Justice Department crafted the plea deal.
In exchange for pleading guilty to charges of solicitation of prostitution and soliciting minors to engage in prostitution in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Epstein was not charged with any federal counts. As part of the agreement, Epstein had to register as a sex offender and agree to settle civil lawsuits that his roughly 30 victims filed against him.
Getting Epstein to agree to pay restitution to his victims and register as a sex offender were key, Villafana wrote. Prosecutors wanted to assure his victims that they would be compensated and that “other minors throughout the country” would be protected, she wrote.
But shortly after Epstein signed the agreement on Sept. 24, 2007, he began fighting it, she said. He and his legal team, including former U.S. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr, whose investigation led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, contacted high-level justice department officials. They challenged the terms of the non-prosecution agreement.
Fearing it was falling apart, Villafana said her office and the FBI resumed the investigation and informed the victims of that by letter in January 2008.
In their lawsuit, the victims’ attorneys, Bradley Edwards and Paul Cassell, say the letter is evidence of their claim that prosecutors lied to the victims. They also claim that prosecutors never told Epstein’s victims about the plea deal.
Villafana said she didn’t tell the young women about the terms of the agreement, fearing Epstein’s attorneys would use it to crush them if federal charges were filed and the case went to trial. Savvy attorneys would argue that the women were testifying against Epstein because federal prosecutors told them they would get paid restitution if they did, she said.
When she learned Epstein planned to plead guilty to the two charges in circuit court on June 30, 2008, Villafana said she immediately notified Edwards. She said she told him to alert his clients so they could attend the hearing. None did.
Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah, shrugged off the government’s new claims, calling them “meritless.” A written response will be filed at the end of July, he said.