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Things To Do & News Updates NYC

Movie Theaters, Taxi Drivers, Gun Arrests, the NRA Russia & Trump, Central Park & Bronx Golf Course Concessions Bidding Deadline March 19, 2021, CoVid Testing, Vaccination Stats & Daylight Savings Time Two Weeks Away

nyc things to do nyc things to do this weekend nycFebruary 26, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / Things To Do NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Weather. Friday won't see any rain, but on Saturday there's nearly a 100% chance of a small amount [a quarter inch] of rain in the morning. Saturday afternoon should be clear. On Sunday there's also a high probabilty of a half inch of rain, most likely to fall around midday, with a lingering probability lasting the rest of the day [40% - 60%]. Temperature highs will be in the mid 40's to low 50's throughout the weekend and the temperature lows will be in the mid 30's on Friday and hovering around 40 the rest of the weekend. Humidity will rise from the 40% range to near the 70% range on Friday and then stay between the 70% - 80% range the rest of the weekend. Winds will be 50 - 10 mph all weekend.

 

Things To Do, News Briefs & Updates

- NYC Movie Theaters Can Reopen March 5, 2021

Governor Cuomo announced that movie theaters will be able to reopen at 25% capacity March 5th, 2021.

-Taxi Driver Blockade Brooklyn Bridge in Support of Medallion Debt Restructuring

One story that seemed to receive little attention was a taxi driver blockade of the Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday afternoon on February 10th. They were making a statement, following a City Council hearing on loan forgiveness / restructuring for taxi driver medallion debt, earlier in the day. The 25,000 member taxi driver union was supportive of the action. NYC government officials are trying to find a way to help taxi drivers, but are constrained by the current fiscal challenges arising from the CoVid crisis.

- January Gun Arrests Up 75% & Full Year 2020 were Up 29%

At the end of January, NYC Police Commissioner Demot Shea said that 417 gun arrests had been made that month, up 75% versus a year ago. He also noted that last year gun arrests were up 29% versus 2018. He rhetorically asked the question, "what's changed that there are so many guns making their way into NYC?"

- The NRA, Guns, Russian Cash & the Trump Money Laundromat

According to an April 2, 2018 report in Rolling Stone, the NRA President, David Keene, was an honored guest in Moscow at a 2013 event hosted by The Right to Bear Arms group. Prior to and during the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia courted the NRA, including hosting members at all expense paid events.

According to the report, the Russian group was deceitfully presented as 'grassroots' organization, led in part by Maria Butina, seeking comraderie with like minded gun enthusiasts. The reality appears to be that they were working under the influence of the Russian government, in an effort to infiltrate politically conservative groups in the U.S., to become what was alleged to be money laundering conduits for campaign cash to the Trump and other Republican political campaigns.

The NRA was founded in 1871 in New York and recently moved its headquarters to Texas. In February 2019 NYS Attorney General Tisch James filed a lawsuit against the NRA seeking to dissolve it because, the brief contended, it had become so corrupt and self serving and had failed to comply with numerous laws.

In August 2019 the two Republican members of the Federal Election Commission [Caroline Hunter & Matthew Petersen] blocked an investigation into whether Russia had used the NRA as a money laundering machine to funnel [$30 million] cash to Trump and Republicans in the 2016 election. In the 2016 election NRA donations spiked $35 million which was believed to have come from Russian government influenced agents, like the Russian oligarchs. According to an August 20, 2019 report,

" ... The [FEC] split 2-2 vote fell along partisan lines, with the FEC’s two Republicans voting against any further inquiry into whether Alexander Torshin, a sanctioned Russian official, and Maria Butina, a convicted Russian agent, grew close to the NRA in order to help direct the group’s 2016 political donations...."

See earlier reports we did on Mitch McConnell which identify Russian oligarch funding he, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and other top Republicans received from the Russian oligarchs in 2016 as reported by Open Secrets which is a non-profit group that 'follows the money' of election campaign contributions.

 


Things To Do & News Updates NYC

Movie Theaters, Taxi Drivers, Gun Arrests, the NRA Russia & Trump, Central Park & Bronx Golf Course Concessions Bidding Deadline March 19, 2021, CoVid Testing, Vaccination Stats & Daylight Savings Time Two Weeks Away

February 26, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / Things To Do NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC. Continued.

 

- Unexplained Wealth / Trump Taxes Released to Manhattan DA

Donald Trump's taxes were just released to the Manhattan District Attorney's office, after years of Trump obstruction. You see, Donald Trump's Taj Mahal Casino was alleged to have committed 106 violations of money laundering in its first year and a half in the early 1990's. It was reportedly a favorite hangout of Russian mobsters who were alleged to cash out $10,000 or more in a single day. Trump's Taj Mahal paid nearly a half billion [$477 million] to settle the Treasury Department fines, but without admitting guilt.

In the 2000's, in spite of what seemed Trump's lackluster businesses performance, he was flush with cash. Spending profligately on the Turnberry resort in Scotland, which reportedly cost $79 million and into which he spent another $200 million, as an example. There was an effort to apply a UK law called the Unexplained Wealth Order to Trump's finances in Scotland, but Slippery Donald Trump somehow appears to have escaped this sort of public scrutiny likely in a manner not unlike how he kept authorities at bay for so long regarding a look at his American tax returns.

It's worth mentioning that Rupert Murdoch has considerable influence in Britain, as he easily owns an oligopolistic share and nearly a monopolistic share of its newspaper and broadcast media. Perhaps Murdoch kept the Scots at bay, in order to get Trump elected, after which Murdoch's inverted acquisition of Disney / ABC occurred with the DOJ approval, received a Trump sized big billionaire and corporate reduction in taxes, and for dessert Trump switched out all of the U.S. Attorneys including Preet Bahara who was investigating Murdoch's alleged corporate racism and possibly phone hacking scandal in the U.S. vis a vis competitive journalists. Too many Americans don't even know who Murdoch is, let alone what he seems to do behind the scenes because the corporate media in America doesn't call him out as the owner of the Wall Street Journal, NY Post and Fox News ... and he is now the largest shareholder in Disney / ABC and appears to be making numerous behind the scenes personnel decsions at ABC News.

 

Dealmaker Donald Loses More Business

- Bidding Begins for Concessions at Central Park Rinks & City Owned Bronx Golf Course Bearing his Name

I didn't realize that the Trump Golf Course in the Bronx was a city owned golf course.

I thought it was private. I have never golfed there, in part because of that. Anyhow, Mayor de Blasio found Trump in violation of one or more of the terms of his agreement with NYC regarding operating the golf course and the concessions at Wollman and Lasker rinks in Central Park. I believe the violations are in relation to Trump's role in fomenting the insurrection, or possibly his fraudulent stop the steal campaign. Nonetheless, the licenses to operate the concessions are up for bidding and the deadline is March 19, 2021 for those interested in operating them. Contact the Mayor's office or the Parks Department for details.

 

Putin's Goal: Undermining American Democracy?

- Long Live the New Russian Czar & New Chinese Emperor?

According to various reports the Russian 2016 election interference effort was designed to undermine Americans' faith in their democratic processes, and to exploit American social and cultural divisions. From mid 2016 to early 2017, the Russians made at least 4.4 million interactions, and millions more in the years between the 2012 and 2016 elections.

I'm not sure what the Russian end game is. But so far I'd say the Russians were pretty successful in achieving the goals outlined above. What I think Putin fails to appreciate, is that in spite of our divisions, we remain a government by, for and of the People - while Putin's Russia is just that - a Russia where Putin thrives, while Russians strive to obtain some measure of voice, freedom and power within their own nation. Putin has everything and most Russians have nothing. What incentive is there for Putin to change that?

What's the difference between 'President' Vladimir Putin and the Czar? What's the difference between 'President' Xi Jinping and the Chinese Emperor? The 'Presidents' both live surrounded by extreme wealth and luxury like the Czar and Emperor, while the people must grind it out each day just to get by. The peoples of these nations have no voice in their own country, even as they do all the crap work to make their nations function.

Putin doesn't like that the American people have some power, some voice in their national dialogue, because eventually the Russian people may want a voice and some power in their own nation too. And Putin and Xi Jinping don't like to share their power and their wealth with anyone - let alone the people / peasants of their own nations.

 

- CoVid Testing & Vaccinations

The city, state and nation appear to be accelerating the CoVid vaccination rates. According to the Governor's website, the city has administered about 1.7 million vaccination doses, and is well over the 1.0 million mark for people vaccinated in NYC. The state has administered nearly 4 million vaccination doses, and more than 2.5 million people [includes NYC] which is 12.5% of the population. According to the Washington Post, some 46 million Americans have received at least one vaccination shot. That's about 13.9% of the population of 330 million Americans. So at all levels of the nation, people are taking the precautionary measure of getting vaccinated. That's the good news.

But there's more good news. Those testing positive continues to decline both in the city and in the state. At present the positive testing rates for NYC are around 4% and for NYS is about 3%, so we're pulling well away from the near capacity overload status we saw a month ago.

But that said there's also some bad news. About 5.7 thousand people were in the hospitals with CoVid yesterday, about 1.1 thousand of them are on respirators, and 89 people died from it. But that's not the worst of it. New CoVid variants are springing up everywhere that are more contagious and more deadly. At first it was in Britain, then South Africa and Brazil. More recently it's been in California and most recently here in New York.

The good news is that the vaccines do help protect those vaccinated from the new variants - BUT may not be as effective in protecting against them. So caution is the operative word, and maintaining the big three plus one should remain in effect. The big three are: 1) Masks, 2) Social Distance and 3) wash your hands. The plus one is stay home if you're not feeling well.

 

- Third Vaccine to Hit the Market & Eligibility Expanded

The J&J vaccine will likely receive FDA Emergency approval on Saturday, February 27th, so there will soon be three suppliers of vaccines. The J&J vaccine is not quite as effective against the original CoVid strain [85% vs 95%], but you need only take one dose for that level of protection, and its manufacturing and storage requirements are significantly less challenging. It's also said to be 100% effective in preventing CoVid deaths and hospitalizations. It's worth mentioning that the J&J vaccine was tested more recently than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, when some of the stronger CoVid mutations were circulating so, to be fair, comparison of the J&J vaccine to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines isn't entirely apples to apples. I've gone from wanting to avoid the J&J vaccine, to thinking that any of the vaccines will do the required job which is to stay out of the hospital and not die : ).

I'm still researching how the vaccines stand up to the new variants, but because it's all so new, this may take a while. The bottom line is that you're far more protected from the virus if you're vaccinated, than if not, and your likelihood of severe CoVid is greatly reduced if you're vaccinated, than if you're not. And the CoVid vaccinations are free, so do yourself and your friends and family a favor and get vaccinated. Children are not included in this program, thus far, as testing hasn't been done on them.

Also this week it was announced that the eligibility to get the vaccine will continue to expand in tandem with the growing production of vaccines. The vaccine distribution and administration capabilities at the local level are already largely in place. Effective next Monday, March 1, 2021 those ages 55 - 64 can schedule an appointment for a shot. On March 16, 2021 those ages 45 - 54 can schedule an appointment to get a shot. To see the eligibility chart, including those eligible now based on comorbidities, go to the following website [copy and paste].

https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov

 

Daylight Savings Time Only Two Weeks Away

The temperatures are in the 40's and the sun is out. Sunrise is about 6.30 am and sun doesn't set until almost 6 pm these days [5.45pm] and Daylight Savings Time is only a couple of weeks away. Indoor dining is now available, and seeing a movie in a theater is only a week away. CoVid infections and hospitalizations are down. CoVid vaccinations are up. So things are getting better ... much better.

President Biden has purchased enough vaccination doses to enable all Americans to get vaccinated by mid summer. Of course there's the cautionary reminder that the new variants are in full motion, and viruses work 24/7 with no days off and no vacation. So we must remain diligent, disciplined and manage our expectations in accordance with reality. But there are plenty of good reasons for some cautious optimism.

Australian born billionaire and propagandist mogul, Rupert Murdoch's Wall St Journal recently irresponsibly predicted or announced that CoVid is over come April 2021. Of course Murdoch's Fox News was telling Americans to ignore CoVid, and go on their cruise vacations about this same time last year. So follow the 'news' provided by Murdoch's seemingly mendacious media, at your own peril. Global propagandist Rupert Murdoch controls Fox News, the NY Post, the Wall St. Journal, MarketWatch, Barrons and Harper Collins the book publisher in this country. He is also the largest shareholder in Disney / ABC as of 2019. Murdoch also controls a couple of the largest newspapers in Britain including the Sun and the London Times, as well as the lion's share of their traditional broadcast media including Channel Four. And Murdoch has a monopoly share of newspapers and traditional television in Australia, including Sky News Australia, the national newspaper entitled The Australian, as well as daily newspapers in most or all of Australia's leading cities.

And have a nice weekend.








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