JULY 9, 2005
Jessica Bruder must have a puckish sense of humor, for she buried in the ninth paragraph of her hard-hitting analysis of the role of Lenora Fulani and the Independence Party in New York politics (The New York Observer, July 11), a fact that may prove to be the delayed-fuse fertilizer bomb of this year's mayoral race.
"Two week ago," Bruder casually noted, "the All Stars Project--a nonprofit youth organization run by Ms. Fulani that has ties to the Independence Party--was awarded a $215,000 grant from the city's Department of Youth and Community Development to start a new after-school program for high-school kids."
What? Does the mayor know how outrageous this decision is? The time-line suggests he does know, and that he's thumbing his nose at his critics, daring them to call him on this one.
Six weeks ago, the text of the Molly Hardy complaint regarding abuse of kids and all-round bizarro behavior at All Stars was already circulating on the Internet (although it took until last week for State Attorney General and Fulani ally Eliot Spitzer to concede, after being confronted with the timestamp on the electronic complaint form, that his office had indeed received the complaint but had somehow lost it). Also six weeks ago, detailed allegations became available on the Internet about the educational philosophy and practices of the cult (led by Fulani and her "social therapist" guru Fred Newman) which controls both All Stars and the Independence Party. These allegations ranged over the cult's 35-year history of mistreatment of kids in a succession of sleazy programs; its record of support over a 15-year period for a string of notorious child molesters (beginning with the North American Man-Boy Love Association defendants in 1983); and its attempts to recruit kids, parents, and youth-program volunteers into its "friendosexual" collective controlled by secretive Marxist cadre.
Four weeks ago, the Village Voice published a piece on how Fulani was seeking, with the help of lobbyist James Capalino, to obtain taxpayer funds to run programs in the New York public schools, and had met with a wide range of officials from Schools Chancellor Joel Klein on down the food chain.
Three weeks ago, it was widely known around City Hall that several reporters were looking into the Hardy complaint and other allegations about All Stars.
Over two weeks ago, the Hardy complaint was reported on, and Hardy was quoted at length, in the Village Voice, causing the AG's office to concede that she was a "credible" witness.
But there's nothing more arrogant than a billionaire mayor who buys his way into public office and then cruises towards a second term by outspending any possible opponents ten to one. So Michael Bloomberg-- who just can't let go of his alliance with Newman and Fulani even thought he doesn't really need their smoke-and-mirrors Independence Party to win reelection--defied the growing wave of scandal surrounding the All Stars Project and Fulani, and tossed them yet another $215,000 in taxpayer money on top of the $8.7 million bond he granted them in 2002 and the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars he has given them out of his own pocket.
Does this man know what harm he may be doing to the youth of New York City by turning them over to cult recruiters? Does he care? Is he so removed from the lives and values of ordinary New Yorkers that he cannot see that bringing together public-school kids with these NAMBLA-defending "friendosexuals" is really beyond the pale?
And what power does the cult have over our mayor that he has again and again tolerated from them disloyal behavior that would result in instant dismissal for any employee of Bloomberg LP or any member of the mayor's staff? He provides the cult with funding for a youth performance center near Times Square--and the first play they produce at the new facility blames the Crown Heights riots on his fellow Jews. He gives the Independence Party a quarter million dollars from his pocket for party building last year, then appears on the stage with Fulani at the annual All Stars fundraiser at Lincoln Center this April to help her cult squeeze the max from Wall Street donors. Two days later, Fulani repays him by going on NY1 News and reaffirming a statement she made in 1989 describing Jews as "mass murderers of people of color."
The moral weakness of this mayor--and his utter lack of self-respect in dealing with the anti-Semitism of the Newmanites, even though he himself has obviously become a target of Newman's apostatic compulsion to humiliate Jewish men--becomes an issue of urgency in light of the horror in London Thursday morning, when Al Qaeda struck in a coordinated series of bombings, killing at least 50 and wounding over 700.
New York City is still in the cross-hairs of Arab terrorism, just like London. It is therefore intolerable that our mayor should be giving taxpayer support and political legitimacy on the highest level--in the middle of the war on terror--to a cult with a history of indoctrinating kids with pro-terrorist as well as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel ideological principles. It is intolerable that taxpayer money or even the mayor's own money should be going to a woman who urged Libya's Gadhafi, in a Nov. 1987 speech, to continue to be "not nonviolent" towards America (this only one year before Gadhafi blew up Pan Am Flight 103, killing 270 people). It is intolerable that our city should now be paying this woman and her cult to run after-school programs in spite of the innumerable incidents in which they've crossed the line (as when they bused kids from their now blessedly defunct Barbara Taylor School--a private elementary school in Manhattan--to Washington DC in the late 1980s to demonstrate in support of Gadhafi).
What sort of message is Bloomberg sending to today's terrorists via his highly visible appeasement of Newman and Fulani, who humiliate him seemingly at will, over and over? One can easily imagine Al Qaeda leaders drawing the conclusion that the citizens of New York are also weak (otherwise why would they have elected such a mayor?) and thus are ripe for another round of intimidation. And even if Al Qaeda never makes this connection, the mayor's alliance with Newman and Fulani has nevertheless become morally indefensible in the light of the London attacks (as if it wasn't already indefensible as of 8:46 AM September 11, 2001).
It will be interesting to see if the political class in New York is capable of taking any meaningful action in response to the Observer's revelation regarding the All Stars grant for after-school programs and the mayor's continued obtuseness.
Will City Council Speaker and Democratic primary mayoral candidate Gifford Miller speak out and demand a halt to the All Stars after-school contract? Miller did make a low-key remark last week (as reported in The Jewish Week, July 8) that he would not favor city aid to the Fulani youth theater project that had received the 2002 bond (which is rather like a sleepy henhouse guard saying he would not favor any more free food for foxes after they've already gobbled up all the hens). But was Miller also asleep at the wheel regarding Fulani's three-year lobbying campaign to win city funding of her after-school programs? Is he willing to wake up, throw some cold water on his face, and really fight the mayor on behalf of the New York kids who otherwise will become victims of the Newman-Fulani cult?
Will Councilman Lew Fidler, head of the Youth Services committee, launch an investigation of the All Stars after-school contract and not just restrict himself to a resolution condemning Fulani's anti-Semitic remarks? (I sent Fidler a registered letter on May 25 asking for an investigation of city support for All Stars--he never bothered to reply.)
Will Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, head of the Education committee, investigate? I sent her a similar letter last month, and received a one sentence reply that she would read the material I enclosed. When I encountered her on the street petitioning, she said she was too busy with the "budget" to take up the issue of possible child abuse in a city funded program. When I pointed out that with every passing month, more kids might be drawn into the Newman cult's web of exploitation, she just snorted and walked away. (This is the same councilwoman who announced "with great sadness" last May that she couldn't accept the IP endorsement this year because of Fulani's remarks on NY1 News, but who couched her statement in buttery phrases that read like advertising copy for the Newmanites, even implying that Newman was the new Norman Thomas.)
Will Abe Foxman of the ADL, whose spokespersons have recently restricted themselves to condemning Fulani as an individual while giving the Independence Party a pass (thus echoing the mayor's aides and essentially running interference for the Bloomberg-IP alliance), finally show he's more than an opportunistic fundraiser by calling on the mayor to sever all ties with the Independence Party, which even the New York Times concedes is dominated by Newman and Fulani? Will Foxman personally speak out strongly and unequivocally against the city after-school program to be run by All Stars--an organization which has already proven over and over that its aim is to indoctrinate minority youth with the politics of hate (and Jewish youth with a philosophy of self-hate)? Will Foxman finally criticize the mayor directly by name (since City Hall will just ignore anything less)?
Will Freddy Ferrer (the heroic Freddy, who recently nixed a plan to support principled IP dissidents in a primary race against Bloomberg and Fulani) demand a halt to the latest city giveaway to All Stars?
Will C. Virginia Fields, the sole politician to speak out about the Hardy complaint, see this as something more than a sound-bite gimmick and reach out to her Baptist base to put a halt to Fulani and Newman's attempt to recruit the best and the brightest in the minority community into the exploitative, abusive, and downright weird cult of polymorphous friendosexualism?
Will Congressman Anthony Weiner, who according to the New York Times has cast himself as the "peerless champion of Israel" in the mayoral race, take on the difficult job of challenging bigots right here in the power structure of New York City--bigots who aim at indoctrinating and corrupting (with the help of taxpayer funds) the kids of Weiner's own constituents?
Will the New York Times do the right thing for our city's vulnerable kids by finally, finally publishing what it has known for months (but suppressed in its ever-so-respectful May 28 profile of "Dr." Newman and "Dr." Fulani) about the sinister nature of the All Stars program?
Will AG Eliot Spitzer atone for his office's failure to report Molly Hardy's abuse complaint to Child Protective Services last January? (His office was mandated to do so under state law, but they have apparently rendered themselves immune to any noncompliance sanctions by concocting a childish story that they "lost" the complaint.) Will Spitzer finally take the problem of All Stars in hand and conduct the thorough probe that his office promised but failed to deliver in 2002 when he was courting the Independence Party? Will his aides sit down and pool information with the federal and California state authorities investigating the St. John's Well Child and Family Center, an All Stars and social therapy linked charity in Los Angeles run by a member of the All Stars board of directors who allegedly transferred money illegally to Newmanite enterprises and therapists in New York? Will the AG's office examine the systematically misleading information provided by All Stars to wealthy donors in order to obtain money under false pretenses? Will it seek the help of the AG in New Jersey, where All Stars has also been bamboozling wealthy donors on a grand scale? Will Spitzer finally renounce the support of the New York State Independence Party in his upcoming gubernatorial race so he can devote himself without any conflict of interest to investigating the All Stars cult racket? Or failing that, will he call for the appointment of a special prosecutor?
Will State Senate Majority leader Joe Bruno stop throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Newmanites, as he did during the Olga Mendez campaign last year?
Will U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, whose own alliance of convenience with the Newmanites is one of the major reason that most Democrats tread cautiously on the issue of Mayor Bloomberg's strange affinity for the cult, finally recognize the consequences of becoming beholden to Newman and Fulani? Will he acknowledge that allowing a major role in the state and city power structure to people who have never apologized for their support of Gadhafi's attacks on Americans (support that continued even after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103), sends absolutely the wrong signal to terrorists overseas? Will Schumer sever his ties with Fulani and Newman's Independence Party lock, stock and barrel--and demand that other elected Democrats do likewise?
Will the City Hall press corp finally develop some backbone and ask Mayor Bloomberg the one question that will totally confound his spin doctors, i.e., why, after calling Fulani's remarks about Jews on NY1 News "phenomenally offensive" and then saying she was only one person with bad ideas in a party of good people, did he turn around and give $215,000 not to the supposed good people but to a charity controlled by the phenomenally offensive one?
This weblog will be watching closely all of the above folks in the weeks ahead, but it's only fair to point out that not everyone has been asleep at the wheel. I close with a quote from a press release issued by the American Jewish Committee on Feb. 25, 2004:
"Mayor Bloomberg should publicly address growing concerns that the All Stars Project is recruiting children from our public schools into the Newman-Fulani cult of anti-Semitism and exploitative 'therapy.'"
It's not too late to heed this advice, Mr. Mayor.