Dec 30, 2014

NYPD: Well If We Don't Get Unchallenged Authority, We'll Just Take Our Ball And Go Home!

Image Credit: Flckr

"Sure, if police start refusing to arrest murderers and rapists, things will probably get really bad, especially since most of the residents in New York City have been disarmed. But this lawlessness would likely be a temporary reality. As we’ve seen with the economic collapse in Detroit and the subsequent lack of government policing, solutions like the Threat Management Center arise, which provide a more efficient and much more peaceful means of societal security.

As Reason Magazine’s Scott Shackford said, presumably, next year, after this all dies down, the NYPD may note a big drop of crime in December entirely because they stopped finding reasons to charge people with crimes.

Police unions could use the experience to decry all the petty, unnecessary reasons they’re ordered to cite and arrest people in the first place, but that’s not going to happen because they love the drug war and the money that comes into the departments from fighting it."
-Matt Agorist

The vast majority of murderers and rapists that get arrested tend to be known by the victim, for example murder is usually a crime between husband and wife, so the labor intensive (routinely harassing members of preordained identifiable "likely" misdemeanor criminals) part of the police's job might be proven to be thoroughly unnecessary in a work slow-down/stoppage of the NYPD. Pat Lynch and the PBA should be wary that if it lasts too long they will be seen as largely obsolete not in the NYPD's entirety but in it's current numbers of the tens of thousands, which is the worse thing for a labor leader (other than besides a mascot to the NY Post, which Pat Lynch is still a labor leader). If you can go by without doing your job, you are placing a huge bet that the job you were doing was so necessarily that removing yourself will grind some sort of core competency to a halt. This is the central concept to all labor strikes; GM can't roll out any Chevys if all the workers in their factory picket the factory (preventing scab workers from taking their place). If the NYPD attempts to do a work place action and no one in the city can tell, or worse acknowledge that the NYPD work stoppage is more desirable than actually working, the game is over for Pat Lynch and the NYPD's PBA. You can't threaten to withhold public services and then have your constituents prefer you withholding said services since that would have the constituents come to the self-evident truth: that we don't need a heavy handed police force.

The PBA, for their own benefit, should come to this conclusion before the largest American city comes to that conclusion because having a light touch constabulary is something like toothpaste for once it gets out no matter how hard you try you get it back in. If the work stoppage does last long enough for residents to take notice, the next step may be imbedded undercover police within street protests, agitating far outside the consensus of the committed non-violent activists. But I'm sure I am just spouting off things that makes deserving a tin foil hat:

Oh, right! There has already been police officers that escalated protests to violence.

Nov 21, 2014

Oops! NYPD Officer Liang Shoots and Kills Unarmed Akai Gurley; White Privilege Is Nothing Compared To Blue Privilege

Commissioner Bill Bratton claims that the tragic death of Akai Gurley was "accidental" and that the victim of the police accident was an innocent. Though all the details have yet to have been made available, some details have been such as the fact that only Officer Peter Liang had unholstered his weapon and his partner was also a rookie officer. Why Peter Liang felt that his life was endangered by merely being in public housing to point his weapon and fire it at the first sight of movement has yet to be explained. What we can surmise from this is that white privilege (of which I am benefactor of) is trumped by blue privilege that the benefit of the doubt will goes towards the police no matter how many times they committed acts that remove any doubt such as the 600,000 incidents of police harassment every year under the guise of "stop-and-frisk."

The deficit of trust that has been caused by the overzealous police force that routinely escalated situations rather than de-escalate; to demonstrate a show of force rather than deliberate enforcement of law; to have sought out an adversarial relationship with the community that the police are tasked to protect. The past actions of the NYPD has done such irreparable harm to the expectation of justice that it begs the question "If the police create more injustice than justice in the city, why keep the police around at all?" I'm not entirely comfortable with a AnarchCapitalism perspective, especially when dealing with crime prevention and civil protection is concerned, but with the barbarism that is provided by the NYPD and police forces nationwide that would rather be violent than just, I am becoming more and more open to the idea of competing police forces or even for-profit community police.

Being a white cisgender man, I am allegedly the benefactor of the white privilege that is buttressed by force of the actions of the NYPD, but it doesn't actual benefit me beyond not being victim to police harassment. I acknowledge that not being harassed by police is nothing to sneeze at, but if I live in a city where tax dollars are being spent to physically and psychologically harm large swaths of my fellow New Yorkers that actually harms me as well since these fellow New Yorkers being treated like criminals as part of some "collective punishment" for being people of color causes moral hazard for those begin to internalize the identity of a criminal. It is akin to the Stanford Prison experiment, where middle-class white kids randomly assigned roles as prisoners and guards within weeks to heart those roles and began to harm each other just as expected between adjudicated prisoners and supposed correctional professionals. Now if we were to carry out the Stanford Prison experiment further onto a larger population say the African-American community of New York, would those that are treated with brutality, disrespect, and as subhumans by public employees going to encourage courteous and civil behavior? If upper class and middle class Stanford students are susceptible to such transformation in a couple of weeks what of it when hundreds of thousands of people are exposed to maltreatment throughout their entire lives? And what of the officers, are they not irreparably harmed to carry out orders that intrinsically dispose of their own humanity and their own compassion that is necessary when dealing with erroneously presumed criminals?

Each police officer would be better off psychologically and spiritually speaking if they carried out their duties with respect towards all New York City residents, and in turn the residents (if the officers were in large part above reproach) would justifiably give every police office the benefit of the doubt as well as participating in a collaborative effort in keeping our city safe. That beneficial transformation has to start on the side of those cashing paychecks not the ones that are paying the salaries from sales taxes and property taxes (albeit indirectly if via rent). If the police are unwilling to restrain themselves from overt dehumanizing policing, then we should as a city seriously look into a alternative means of providing civil protection that does not include the NYPD.

Bratton Press Conference about NYPD killing an unarmed black person in Public Housing Projects of his girlfriend.

Nov 7, 2014

WEP: Newest Fusion Party In NYS

Women's Equality Party garnered 50,876 votes making the party New York State's newest political party. Can't wait to start seeing people enroll in the party. It may very will be a repeat of Connecticut for Lieberman, where liberals take over the party to annoy the governor or even any other corporatist politician.

I wholly reference people enrolling sarcastically and expect only activists seeking to take over

Nov 5, 2014

Klein To Keep "Options Open" When Dust Settles

Jeff Klein will very likely throw away any good will that he may have been entitled to by reneging on the WFP deal that withdrew the WFP ballot line to his primary challenger Oliver Koppel (thereby removing his only viable threat to re-election) when he and his fellow IDC senators rejoin the obstructionists Republicans in January.

But what does one expect when there is no enforceable repercussion to backtracking on a deal with a cockolded WFP.

Cuomo Wins, But Will Immediately Be Tested To Be Untrustworthy

Cuomo got a state senate that is on the cusp of going either direction just as he wanted. The IDC state senators can welch on their commitment that got them WFP to withdraw support for challengers in the general election, by rejoining the Republican conference. 

This is exactly what Andrew Cuomo wanted. He should be wary of getting what he wanted. The WFP, and the unions that pushed Cuomo into the WFP endorsement have painted themselves into a corner that they now have to lash out against corporatist Democrats or lose any credibility with the close to three hundred thousand voters that voted on either WFP or Green party lines which approaches the margin of victory in this election. Red meat will be demanded by the progressive voters that will not find it tolerable to support candidates just because he/she is the presumptive favorite though dismissive of the progressive agenda. Trustworthiness is a quality that in nearly any sector of society is desirable, but in politics it is manna from heaven and Cuomo will either follow through on his commitment that gave him the WFP ballot line or burn that bridge and the possibility of national ambitions in a presidential primary.

It is for certain that he can't have both, no matter how much Governor Cuomo wishes that he didn't have to be accountable to what he previously promised. Andrew Cuomo either will have to govern as a liberal or surrender the possibility of national ambitions and even re-election.

Nov 4, 2014

Prop 3: Tax Payers Subsidy Towards Religious Institutions? Say It Ain't So.

"As the public policy arm of the nation's largest representative Orthodox Jewish organization‚ representing nearly 1,000 congregations nationwide‚ the OU's Institute for Public Affairs works to promote Jewish values and protect Jewish interests in the public square."  -Orthodox Union (Proponent of tax dollars being spent on Yeshivas)

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 1st Amendment of the Constitution

Apparently tax dollars going towards religious institutions, thereby establishing government preferences among religions, should be set to Taylor Swift and not more somber music befitting the crumbling of the wall between church and state. If universally believed that the public schools are lacking in financial support why redirect any portion of the $2 Billion towards tuition supported religious schools? I'm glad I voted No on Prop 3.

Though I expressed my concerns that long term debt shouldn't be used for short term expenditures such as consumer electronics, I now also have concerns that this de facto establishment of religion if not an outright subsidy of religion makes the intended funds raised by the bond issuance to be unconstitutional.

Glad to see the video shot entirely in portrait rather than landscape, and with a recorded response like "what am I suppose do with this" when given a piece of lit. It warms the cockles of my heart to believe that even the proponents of Prop 3 constitutionally questionable financing of explicitly religious institutions may have harmed themselves more than they did good.

Nov 3, 2014

Vote No NYS Prop 3: $2 Billion bond measure for education, so tax cuts can remain and cost for schools are the next guy's problem

This proposal would allow the State to borrow up to two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000). This money would be expended on capital projects related to the design, planning, site acquisition, demolition, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or acquisition or installation of equipment for the following types of projects:

  1. To acquire learning technology equipment or facilities including, but not limited to,
    1. Interactive whiteboards,
    2. Computer servers, and
    3. Desktop, laptop, and tablet computers;
  2. To install high-speed broadband or wireless internet connectivity for schools and communities;
  3. To construct, enhance, and modernize educational facilities to accommodate pre-kindergarten programs and provide instructional space to replace transportable classroom units; and
  4. To install high-tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses.

The biggest bone of contention I have with this is that if these expenditures were so necessary why don't we raise taxes to pay for them rather than using the state's credit card. I would be more inclined for using borrowed money was the purpose to build new schools, but it is instead supposed to be used to buy consumer/enterprise electronics that have a depreciation life of 5 years. It would be far wiser to spend 2 billion dollars on new schools, and make permanent, some form of revenue to pay the teachers to fill those schools. A good first step would be to make all revenue from lottery and gambling earmarked for the school district that the retail location resides, essentially no longer allowing the NY State Lottery Commission's budget to be fungible with the general budget. 

Vote Yes on NYS Prop 2

Prop 2 is quite straight forward, letting the state legislature go paperless. Unless you're the Dunder-Mifflin that has the paper contract, you should be for this prop.

The purpose of this proposal is to allow electronic distribution of a state legislative bill to satisfy the constitutional requirement that a bill be printed and on the desks of state legislators at least three days before the Legislature votes on it. Under the current provisions of the Constitution, this requirement can only be satisfied by distribution of a physical printed copy.

Vote No on NYS Prop 1: Revising State's Redistricting Procedure

I would describe myself as reform minded, and am aware of the need to drastically change how redistricting occurs in New York every 10 years in response to the Constitutionally required census. The ballot prop 1 is an attempt to reform redistricting that is akin to moving around the chairs of the Titanic, though worse since if it passes it will for the foreseeable future be considered already dealt with. Currently redistricting is approved directly by the state legislature, after the passage of Prop 1 their will be commission that will have vague directives who will propose a redistricting plan that will be required approval of the state legislature's leaders.

Inserting a middleman and unenforceable directives do not make actual reform. The directives are listed below:
  • No district lines may result in the prohibited denial or abridgement of racial or language minority voting rights. Districts cannot be drawn to have the purpose of or result in the denial or abridgement of such rights.
  • To the extent practicable, districts must contain as nearly as may be an equal number of inhabitants. The commission must provide a specific public explanation for any deviation that exists.
  • Each district must consist of contiguous territory and be as compact in form as practicable.
  • Districts cannot be drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other particular candidates or political parties.
  • Maintenance of cores of existing districts, of pre-existing political subdivisions, and of communities of interest must be considered.

Caveats of "as practicable", "discourage competition" or "favoring or disfavoring" are so subjective to make them entirely unenforceable, even if the legislative leaders wanted them to be enforced. The legislative leaders remaining as the final arbitrators is the core rationale that good government reformers have lambasted Prop 1. The New York Times succinctly described the prop as "This is a phony reform that purports to establish a new system of drawing legislative districts. Legislative leaders would appoint a committee charged with drawing new districts. If the legislators don’t like the first two tries, they can draw the districts themselves. The net result would be to reinforce, not reform, a system that virtually guarantees job security for incumbents and discourages competition."

Oct 31, 2014

The Mayor Supports The WFP, Just Not Enough To Vote The WFP Line

Bill deBlasio has declared that he is planning to vote for Andrew Cuomo on the Democratic ballot line rather than the Working Families Party line which he was instrumental delivering to the governor despite his first term being an obstructionist opposed to the WFP agenda. The mayor, having the veneer of being the progressive darling, has been the face of WFP for their 2 mailings (that I have received so far) to encourage voters to cast their vote for Andrew Cuomo but on the WFP's line. If the mayor refuses to vote on the WFP, then why should anyone else? Why should the deal that Cuomo agreed to to get the WFP ballot sway any left-of-Cuomo voter if everyone involved in the deal has abandoned the WFP?

Campaign finance, the only systemic reform that was a tenet of the agreement, will certainly be the thoroughly tossed onto the trash with or without a massive electoral turnout for the WFP. The NY DREAM Act, minimum wage increase (though probably not pinned to inflation), and declarative right to an abortion will be pointed to as the WFP deal being consummated to the satisfaction of Cuomo, deBlasio, and the coalition partners that make up the WFP. What Bill Lipton and Dan Cantor (state and national directors of the WFP respectively) can claim as a victory, but no one who has put a significant amount of thought into it, that anything else other than whacking at the leaves and surrendering to plutocracy rather than earnestly challenging the status quo; to accept that 'it's just the way things are' that one individual with a million dollars is of greater value than the lives of a million sorry souls.

Imagine if the WFP deal was just campaign finance, and without the far more achievable but laudable goals that I expressed would be passed in Cuomo's next term. That as a condition of the WFP deal an explicit amount of money was declared to induce voters to vote the WFP, and that campaign finance reform be the central issue to his campaign. Cuomo would have likely balked at such a deal, since there was no viable escape clause but that it being so ironclad should have been the purpose. The two possible outcomes would been that the WFP would have been left with Zephyr Teachout as the nominee though the unions that pay the bills would have bolted from the party but the Democratic Primary would have still occurred only with Teachout continuing on in the general election challenging the incumbent governor to answer criticisms from the left; alternatively had the WFP been able to narrow the deal to just campaign finance reform then Cuomo could have only one metric to be judged on whether he kept his side of the bargain passage and funding Fair Elections, no half measures or partial victories to be claimed as face saving feats. Democratic takeover of the State Senate in either scenario would have been inevitable, either by the influx of voters in the general election given a real choice between status quo candidates and a truly viable insurgent in Teachout or Cuomo deliver on this new hypothetical deal and transfer of the set amount of campaign cash to WFP to target not only the open seats in the state senate but towards the challengers of incumbent Senators who voted for Majority Leader Skelos (including the IDC senators). Even if the senate isn't taken over by the Democrats (who already hold a majority of seats, and only due to the IDC are in minority) in 2014 the Democrats would win the senate and eventually make the IDC irrelevant in 2016 or 2020 presidential election. 

Oct 22, 2014

DeBlasio: Kathy Hochul Is Progressive, Just Ignore Her Donations To Pro-Life Preacher And Her Bragging About How Conservative She Is

Kathy Hochul, former Congresswoman from the Buffalo area and first time candidate for public office without the endorsement of the New York State Conservative Party, is running for Lieutenant Governor with incumbent governor Andrew Cuomo. In the Democratic primary liberal lions (Rep. Jerry Nadler, Mayor DeBlasio, etc) circled the wagons around Hochul to protect her from the accurate claim that she is a conservative Democrat. The New York Observer yesterday reported that from her release of tax information she has made donations to a Texas evangelical preacher whom has had a long career of unambiguous hatred of abortions and has never been welcoming to birth control of any sort. As the highest female running on the Women's Equality Party ticket (the party name which is misnomer since 7 men are running on the ticket and only 3 women) this is embarrassing to say the least since raison d'etre of the party is to pass the tenth point of the 10 point Women Equality Agenda of unrestricted access to abortion as a legal right in New York State. Andrew Cuomo has been airing ads to encourage people to vote for him and Hochul on the WEP ballot line assuming that vast majority of the electorate will vote for him on the Democratic party line without prompting. Which begs the question, if Andrew Cuomo doesn't intend to vote for himself on the Working Families Party, nor respect the Deblasio negotiated deal that landed him the endorsement of the WFP why should anyone else? Why should a deal that was dismissed by the governor even before newspapers had a chance to put the story to print be honored by the activists and high info voters that typically vote WFP? Should the 142,000 voters that voted for Cuomo on the WFP line in 2010 return the favor in 2014 when there was not even lip service paid to keeping the commitments of the deal that delivered WFP line, and a clear path to an unobstructed general election, just to say "at least progressives have a seat at the table"?

To think that WFP has any influence, when the governor whose social policy has been adequately to the left but whose economic policy has been pure voodoo supply side and tax cuts for the wealthy and public service cuts for the rest, currently is being snookered by the top of the ticket actively working against the WFP with his own alternative faux reform third party is delusional. Though it is unlikely to be anything but a coronation of King Cuomo to another term in office, thoughtful progressives or anyone that is concerned with integrity of our elected officials should withhold their vote from either of the major candidates and vote for a 3rd party this November. For those New York State voters that are left of the aisle Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins; for those on the right Libertarian Party candidate Michael McDermott.

Oct 15, 2014

Broken Window Theory, How About Implementing Broken Mirror Theory?

Imagine if for every infraction of the law police committed they were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law

The "Broken Window Theory" is that small crimes being let to continue in a community without a response from law enforcement will eventual create moral hazard and an escalation to more significant crimes. So hundreds of thousands of law abiding citizens are routinely harassed (overwhelmingly represented by young men and boys of color) for the sake that they don't progress into a life of crime or their criminal activity ends with marijuana possession; it is counterproductive to destroy the potential future of huge swaths of the young men and boys of color for the sake of those that may only have the the only victim-less crime of smoking pot. If it was the best strategy for the community to cracked down hard on the slightest little crime, then wouldn't it beneficial to so for every police department? Shouldn't we expect that police never speed without getting a speeding ticket (their squad cars could equipped with GPS devices)? Every incident of improper arrest, search, or other on the job action could be a strike on their record, three strikes and they off the force without their pension. If we can only assume that citizens should always be within the law, shouldn't those that are entrusted to enforce the law also follow the law and the committed to remain within stated department policy? Shouldn't even the smallest infractions of policy be rooted out from every police department, shouldn't there zero tolerance for every police officer to remain true to purpose of the Broken Window Theory be held to the same standard?

It is expected throughout American society, that cops because their jobs are given a certain amount of leeway (more likely that they simply take it and rationalize it afterwards), but if the police are free to cut corners of the law for the sake of pragmatism or laziness then they abdicate any benefit of the doubt when their integrity is called into question. Police brutality as an issue has always been with us, but only has been brought to the light in recent years due plethora of cameras both surveillance and individuals' mobile devices has captured a larger portion of everyday life. For people of color police brutality and the assumption of guilt has been part of daily life. To have police operate under the presumption that the communities of color if they were leading lives wholly within the law, should have nothing to hide when they interact with law enforcement is logical farce and couched in systemic bigotry. No American citizen has any obligation to persuade the government, its agent, or any law enforcement officer that they are innocent of committing a crime, the onus is entirely on the government every step of the way to enter the lives or even cause the smallest disruption of life.

If police officers and police departments want to intrude on anyone's person or personal possessions, without the presumption of innocence either work to repeal the Fourth amendment or seek out a new live of work. Even if the fourth amendment was repealed (as unlikely as that is) the benefit of the doubt for the public employees doing the right thing on a day-to-day basis would need to be won back. Law enforcement officers who would want to maintain getting paid would have to above reproach, and be held to the highest possible standard; absolutely zero tolerance for breaking even most minor infraction and traffic violation on or off duty. If the hegemony would become transformed from the assumption that cops the country over are lax when they fudge the law to the belief out of consistent observed reality that they pay parking tickets, speeding tickets, and are assumed that if there is an accusation against them that there fellow officers will ferret out the truth and never reflexively defended regardless of the situation of their "boy in blue."

Some will read this as being far too critical of the local policeman, but that innate sympathy is misplaced, because currently in most American police forces there is no threshold where 'bad apples' are undeserving of rounding up the wagons to protect one of their own. Independent of the facts of individual situations, the 'bad apples' of law enforcement agencies are very rarely called to be held responsible for their questionable actions therefore either every cop has nothing but good intentions in their day-to-day policing or those that do have good intentions (and I'm referring to the vast majority of police) are throwing away their integrity for the sake of the bullies with badges. If even the supposed good cops can't proceed with their job while remaining well within the rules, then there is no hope for the citizens they attempting to police.

One police officer is one too many that needs to be educated about the law they are supposed to be enforcing. This cop is schooled about his legal obligation to have a marked car unless operating undercover, which he admitted he was not.

Oct 2, 2014

"All in for Alleyn" I Fully Endorse My Friend Alleyn Harned For Harrisonburg, VA City Coucil

I have known Alleyn Harned for 10 years and have counted him as friend for all those years. I have zero reservations in endorsing him in his run for City Council of Harrisonburg, VA.

Alleyn is a smart, hardworking, committed, individual who bring integrity and fresh new ideas to local government. He is a great champion of renewable energy and would strive to make sustainability a top priority in his tenure as City Councilman.

If you live in Harrisonburg, VA, or know of friends and family that do, please go out to vote November 4th, or encourage your friends and family to vote for Alleyn Harned for city councilman.

Alleyn Harned with Barack Obama
I am the schnook that took this picture in 2004.
I'm a schnook because I didn't think of getting my picture taken with the future president as well.

Aug 31, 2014

Cuomo using faux union bug on mail pieces

GCIU list of union shops in New York State with "32" highlighted
Every union print shop has a small logo of their International Union and their label license right next it to identify exactly which union shop produced the printed material. Above is the list of all GCIU shops with their label licenses. Below is the latest Andrew Cuomo mailer from NYS Democratic Committee with a GCIU union bug and label license of 32-M which doesn't appear as a label license on GCIU's website of label licenses.

Union bug with license label 32-M

Aug 20, 2014

Cuomo Unavailable, Bring On the Astorino vs Teachout Debate!!

If Governor Cuomo Is Unable or Unwilling, I Will Debate Zephyr Teachout from Rob Astorino on Vimeo.

There are plenty of New Yorkers that would like to see Cuomo be challenged within a gubernatorial debate, but he seems afraid to let any challenge or public criticism even be in the same room as him (see the Moreland Commission). GOP gubernatorial presumptive nominee, Rob Astorino has offered to debate viable Democratic challenger to incumbent Governor Cuomo, Zephyr Teachout since Cuomo rejects the possibility of being on the same stage as Ms, Teachout.

Cuomo avoiding being seen anywhere near the Fordham Law Professor is a consistent activity of the governor, as he also refused to attend the Working Family Party's (WFP) State Convention while also assuming that the anti-establishment party would inevitably kiss his ring. Ms. Teachout also challenged him for the nomination of the WFP, while she actually attended the convention, speaking to the state delegates after being introduced by one of the party's co-founders Bertha Lewis, Governor Cuomo had to strong arm delegates to support his re-nomination by former WFP political director and Deblasio Campaign Manager Emma Wolfe. While the 1st term of Cuomo has shown him to be duplicitous and disingenuous proponent of the Democratic agenda, his promises to be committed to the Democratic Party and to assist Democratic conference wrest control of the State Senate from the Republicans (which is currently reliant on 5 senators that were all elected as Democrats but currently caucus with the Republicans as "Independent Democratic Conference") which would be the easiest litmus to anyone who self-identifies as a Democrat-- but Cuomo needs to be brow beaten to agree to support Democrats. Zephyr Teachout as the alternative in the gubernatorial primary will be heads and shoulders for average New Yorkers, as she is bent carrying out populist agenda if elected governor, a public debate with the GOP nominee, if Cuomo is too afraid to put forward his case to his fellow Democrats, benefits everyone but the scaredy-cat Governor: both Astorino and Teachout would receive greater name recognition and the voters would be able to see differentiation between moderate Republican and a truly progressive Democrat. If the conventional wisdom is right and Teachout is defeated in the primary then the New York electorate will be able to see 2 moderates debate both of whom are right of center, Astorino a bit more right than that of Cuomo.

Aug 4, 2014

Where is the NRA for Ramsay Orta? Or is the term "Good guy with guns" not intended to be for those of dark complexion.

Ramsey Orta, the man who video recorded Eric Garner's death by choke-hold from NYPD officer Daniel Pantale. 2nd amendment rights activists should be clamoring to defend the private sale of fire arms (a .25-caliber Norton semiautomatic handgun), if there was colorblind opposition to the gun control laws like SAFE New York then this would be the best real world situation where the police target individuals based upon Mr. Orta's inconveniently videoing NYPD's malpractice. This arrest occurred last night and Mr. Orta was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon less than two weeks after he videoed the homicide of Eric Garner. The often repeated claim that there is constitutional right to privately transfer firearms is at question in this situation as well as NYPD's (thereby government) overreach that not only ended the life of Mr. Garner and infringe on Mr. Orta's 2nd amendment rights.

Will anybody take me up on a $2 bet that the NRA will not be coming to the aid of Mr. Otra's defense? Will gun-rights advocates be too busy dancing on the grave of recently deceased James Brady (Former Reagan press secretary turned gun control spokesman) to start taking this rare instance of a shared fight with liberals from the big-bad-godless city in the form of Rev. Al Sharpton. It would prove NRA-ILA's integrity and mettle were they to lend defense to Mr. Orta. Are the gun-rights advocates agnostic to whom has access to fire arms, since they are opposed to implementing any sort of national background checks that might bar individuals to access handguns for self-defense? Only time will tell if we see the same sort of banding together of fellow gun owners akin to what we saw in Clark County Nevada with stealing of services of grazing access which was the crime the Bundy Ranch committed (not a crime that has some constitutional question). There is a distinctly constitutional question to whether or not states have a right to intervene or make illegal private transfers of firearms; this past Supreme Court session did set precedence that states could not bar convicted felons of domestic violence from possessing a firearm and a couple years ago overturned D.C.'s universal ban of hand guns.


Aug 3, 2014

Zephyr Teachout, the better corruption-free candidate for New York governor

NYTimes: A Cuomo Opponent Tilting at Corruption

Also please consider to vote for Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu, Ms. Zephyr Teachout's prefered running mate for Lt. Govenor in the September's Democratic Primary.

Jul 31, 2014

Fed Reserve Replacement, BitCoin Will Have Investment Bankers Intentionally Causing the 51% problem. Old Boss Just the Same as the New Boss.

The Federal Reserve being manipulable by big banks and far more fear inducing (at least to the Libertarian/Gold-standard crowd) the government, has as an alternative available in  cryptocurrency to turn to; BitCoin has the supposed benefits of distributed control, counter inflationary monetary tendencies, and due to inability of government intervention the most true form of a free market. Through distributed computing (multiple computer systems working in conjunction with each other) mathematical cryptography is worked out and for each hash or math solution a BitCoin is released to the first computer system or network of computer systems that reaches the solution, while then maintaining that awarded BitCoin's transactions and current anonymous account that posses that particular BitCoin. Currently there are many different mining pools (distributed computers solving the cryptography) and just as many systems maintaining BitCoin transactions. The issue is that if one computer system dominated, by contributing the majority of computing cycles and computing resources to the BitCoin peer-to-peer network, that one system or network of systems would cause the '51% problem' wherein having the transactions of BitCoins maintained by one computer system no longer necessitate accountability to counterparties and other systems that currently shares the task of the cryptocurrency markets regulation.

A couple of weeks ago, a pool of BitCoin miners (ie network of computers trying to solve math equations to attain BitCoins) promised that they would never let their pool rise above 40% of computing cycles. This is a voluntary pledge to restrain the collection of users that contribute computational resources in exchange of a portion of the BitCoins, and had become an issue when flirted with high 40s% and low 50s% several months ago. The dream of self regulatory currency markets have shown themselves to be extremely fragile as even unintentionally has threatened the BitCoin reliability as a currency, if their were an intentional effort by say a investment bank that directed even a sliver of their massive computational resources towards attaining the 51 percent they could easily be manipulate and corner the BitCoin market allowed to double-trade as much as they wanted to, to their heart's delight. For those fear the Federal Reserve being intrinsically manipulable and susceptible to fraud on a grand scale, looks like their currency darling is even more fragile than the inflationary monetary policy through the Fed and American government.

BitCoin being unmoored from any real world resource has the vulnerabilities that fiat currency has but without the stability and dependency of the full faith and credit of the United States government. To all those that pine for a day that will cut out the "intrusiveness" government for all their financial transactions that day may still be coming but I wouldn't bet life savings on it.

Jul 29, 2014

What Israel should learn from Stephen A Smith's mistake. Stop being violent!

Israel Prime Minister's spokesman on CNN confirmed that the lone power plant in Gaza was destroyed, but not by Israel because IDF would never target it.  IDF had been capable of turning off all electricity and did so upon the initial ground invasion. So temporarily turning off the lights is something that the IDF will do, but not permanently? Hamas doesn't have the ordinance to cause the destruction that the IDF is obfuscating responsibility for, or Hamas does have that capability but have only shot those ordinances towards their own side?!?

According to Israel killing Palestinian civilians (as 80% of the death toll have been) has never been intended... IDF is so incompetent that they only kill 20% of their intended targets! Either IDF should stop shooting missiles randomly into densely populated areas or stop lying that they aren't intending to kill as many Palestinians as they believe they can get away with.

Stephen A Smith, ESPN commentor, recently apologized (for the 3rd time) for placing blame on the victims of domestic violence for possibly "provoking" the violence. This is akin to Israel's eternal defenders that justify indiscriminate violence towards Palestinians because Hamas provoked Israel into barbaric mass violence. Both Stephen A Smith and Israel are trying to defend violence that is abominable and indefensible. And yet there will be those that read this analogy as being antisemitic but understand that the the twisted justification of domestic violence is horrible.

Don't want IDF to be in the same category as wife-beaters? Stop defending their hyperviolent actions. 3 Israeli civilians dead, 1,100 Palestinians killed (880 being non-combatants); but math has a known bias against Israel, right?

Jul 21, 2014

"Operation Protective Edge": Protect Israeli Military Advantage Over The Ill-Equipped Jihadi Palestinians

In the latest flare up in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) chose that the weeks of air bombardment had softened up the Gaza defenses enough to begin a ground incursion for the sake of "defending Israel." Israeli civilians protected by the fruits of Reagan's dream of Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI though also referred to as Star Wars) in the contemporary incarnation of Iron Dome, were free to go about life with little changes other than occasional and overly cautious alert of incoming rockets and to remain in shelter or go to a bomb shelter. I categorize this as overly cautious for two reasons, first that there has not been any civilian deaths on the Israeli side this year (with the exception a civilian working within an IDF base); secondly the rockets that currently justify this incursion has been claimed by Israel as the central cause and that it has been non-stop for years therefore the Iron Dome has been a smashing success in defending the civilian Israeli population. If the Hamas rockets have been non-stop for the years, and only increased in number in the recent weeks in response to Palestinian boy being immolated by Israelis and then followed by the immolution victim's American cousin beaten to a pulp by Israelis (caught on tape) because he attended a peaceful rally opposed to his cousin being burnt to death.

It can not be denied that the Jihadi Militants of Hamas are violent thugs, but that Israel currently has appropriate countermeasures for Hamas' rockets and has been implementing those countermeasures for years can also not be denied. The rationale for the current incursion and spate of Palestinian non-combatant deaths is that the Israeli civilian population is in danger, though not yet victim to actual violence, the hypothetical scenario where the Iron Dome fails to protect the Israeli civilian population seems to be falsely equalized to the actual death toll in Gaza. Rather than Israel being satisfied with tenuous stalemate (where Hamas flings hundreds of rockets at Iron Dome to no avail), Israel has elected to escalate the conflict and and to kill non-combatants who have no where to go within the densely populated Gaza Strip. While Israel justifies the 450+ deaths to Hamas' use of "human shields" would be akin to Eco terrorists intending to bomb David Koch's Park Avenue apartment but demolitioning Spanish Harlem instead only to justify the fact that David Koch engineered his proximity to those in Spanish Harlem as a defense. Other than those who blindly defend Israel, the rest of the world can see through the twisted argument and the culpability of the civilian deaths are exactly upon those that commit the action of bombing and shooting missiles and not the Hamas flailing against Israel's Iron Dome.

Every action has repercussions, and yes Hamas' rocket attacks make them one of the bad guys in the conflict, but it doesn't relinquish Israel of accountability of its actions and the deaths it wrought on a population that despite most warmongers' assumptions aren't in fact all Hamas militants.

Jul 8, 2014

If you get caught with small amounts of marijuana better be in Brooklyn

Newly elected Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has stated going forward prosecutions of low-level marijuana possession will cease due to giving more resources and higher priority of prosecuting other crimes. NYPD police commissioner Bill Bradley has stated that would not affect NYPD policy of arresting individuals with less than an ounce of marijuana in Brooklyn; basically the NYPD is fully aware that they will be wasting beat cops time and therefore tax-payer money to harass Brooklynites all for the cause of keeping up the appearances in the futile "War on Drugs."

For those that think this policy change is going to turn Brooklyn into The Wire's Hampsterdam, fret not, since leniency will only be granted to those without a criminal record and no violent charges that coincided with the arrest. What was the impetus for this policy change? Last year over two thirds of the marijuana possession arrests were dismissed by the judge (at least those that met the criteria DA Thompson has set as policy going forward). If a vast majority of those arrests weren't ever going to get convictions, why put forward the limited resources of the DA office to prosecute victim-less crimes? I believe we are going to be on the verge for some prosecutor seeking out jury nullification for low level marijuana possession charges akin to what actually occurred during the Prohibition Era. What will the ever increasing militarized police do when fewer and fewer of their arrests get prosecuted or when the prosecutor seeks out jury nullifications?

The question you may have is that if carrying 1-2 ounces of marijuana is the law, then why does the local prosecutor get the ability to not enforce the law? It is because since the late 1970's it is legal in New York State to carry up to 2 ounces of marijuana as long as it not openly carried. So the police seeking to meet their quotas or arrest goals (stop & frisk is intrinsically tied to these bunk arrests) beat cops routinely demand their suspicionless stop & frisk victims to turn out their pockets which if they are in possession of a joint to comply with the cop's demand they have to break the law, which is the reason that it is NYPD policy not to reach into the pockets since that would not incriminate the targeted individuals.

Jul 3, 2014

US Postal Service: Not Just Constitutionally Required But Also Capable Of Enabling Radical Social Changes

Since the implementation of the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act (which was a direct response to a labor strike of the previous year) the United States Post Office has been essentially spun-off as independent quasi-public corporation having zero operational funds coming from the federal taxpayer (at least after the transitional period ending with the 1984 fiscal year) and entirely dependent on the fees from services provided. Despite being cleaved from any additional revenues from the government while obligated to continue providing service to rural parts of the country that are not self sufficient, the postal rate for 1st class mail has remained so remarkably low that it has been a deterrent to for-profit enterprises to enter the market to compete; UPS and FedEx do offer letter delivery starting at $8.61 and $7.32 respectively compared to USPS' 49 cent stamp and an additional 2 days for the USPS to deliver. Currently the USPS's operational losses can be exclusively attributed to Postal Accountability & Enhancement Act of 2006 passed by the the lame duck Republican Congress that imposed a 75 year pension liability; meaning that before future USPS employees are even born, their first decade of pension has already been paid for, a financial herculean task that no enterprise (governmental or for-profit) should ever be expected to accomplish. And yet the USPS with shrinking their own headcount through attrition and possibly stopping personal mail service on Saturdays (while initiating Sunday package delivery for Amazon in a few metropolitan areas) has been successful to be on a trajectory to fully fund the 75 year pension liability in the coming decade. Imagine if the USPS was allowed to return to a normal 30-40 year pension liability they would be left with billions of dollars in excess and no longer have impending budgetary sword of damocles hanging over their head.

Let me bring your attention to following verbiage from the Postal Reorganization Act:
Sec 101
(a) The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by Act of Congress and supported by the People. The Postal Service shall have its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people.
(d) Postal rates shall be established to apportion the costs of all postal operations to all users of the mail on a fair and equitable basis

The combination of both of these parts to the Section 101 of the explanatory intentions of the Act, that the USPS operational budget shall come from postage fees alone and that it is obligated to "provide personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people", we could solve the issue of Net Neutrality and spark a new economic revolution akin to the Industrial Revolution. I would propose to take the billions of that which has been sequestered to fund the ridiculous 75 year pension to be freed up and allowed to build the infrastructure needed for the USPS to begin offering internet service wirelessly as a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP). Having the USPS operating as a WISP would be aligned with the intentions of the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act, as the correspondence is the intended purpose of the USPS and though contemporaneously was exclusive to the physical paper-centric correspondence, the USPS is not shackled to that limited definition of communication which is the bedrock of an informed electorate within a democracy. What I am envisioning is a municipal wifi except on a national level, that unlike the municipal wifi projects would be paid for by the end users instead of through ad revenue and local government taxes.

While providing competition to traditional internet service providers (ISP) that are currently biting at the bit to impose slow lanes to their customers, having the USPS entering the market would create a floor as far as maintaining net neutrality and allowing their users to freely browse the web without being slowed down when interacting with private ISPs non-preferential content (think of Comcast slowing their customers' traffic whenever they browsed other than subsidiary NBC/Universal content on the web). With the pseudo government agency, the USPS, operating the WISP the private providers would still retain the market differentiator of having their users' privacy as a priority possibly baking into their service end-to-end encryption and faster speeds of hard lines and fiber to the curb than the USPS' WISP. The freeform nature of the Internet would be retained with a critical mass of consumers guaranteed access to all of the internet, and have the positive effect of either forcing the hand of the for-profit ISPS to continue net-neutrality policy or possibly that the slow-lanes be so cheap that people would possibly patronize both services.

Jul 2, 2014

IDC's State Senators Switching Sides, So It Must Be Election Time Again

The following is an excerpt from an email WFP sent June 26th (a week after NYS legislative session ended) claiming victory due to the IDC joining with the Democrats in the State Senate:

BIG NEWS: the Independent Democratic Conference in the New York state Senate is breaking with the Republicans to form a new progressive majority coalition with the Senate Democrats!This is huge. Republican control in the state Senate has been the biggest roadblock to every progressive goal, from public financing of elections to raising the minimum wage to the Women's Equality Act. With this new coalition, the Republicans should be headed back to the minority.

But even with the IDC on our side, we still need to win in November. At this point, we'd be holding on to the majority by a thread -- a projected one-seat margin. We can't afford to lose a single seat.
There are three progressive Democrats in swing districts elected with the help of Obama's 2012 wave. Holding those seats will take real work. There are also three formerly Republican held open-seats that could be ripe pick-up opportunities to expand the majority.

So what does victory look like according to WFP? State Senators that caucused with obstructing Republicans while in session switch sides yet again to feign loyalty to avoid primaries and the only repercussion for being fairweather friends, why having their primary opponents lose financial support and be left free to switch back to the Republicans after the election.

In a state that often is pejoratively referred to a being liberal, the so-called liberal elected officials bear a striking resemblance to the Washington Generals with Republicans standing in for the Harlem Globetrotters. Liberal alternative candidates being outmaneuvered to ensure the intentionally-losing-on-policy Democrats remain to pantomime putting up fight for progressive values that they so reflexively betray. Majority of the voters of New York State voted against Republicans in the general election of 2012, and the Republican majority only existed by a handful of State Senators who ran as Democrats but then crossed the aisle as naked-opportunists.  

Leader of the IDC, State Senator Klein apparently is not very good at math as the NY Daily News reported him saying "Klein said it's not enough just having a Democratic majority. It's key to elect Democrats who support a more progressive agenda. A push to strengthen the state's abortion laws wouldn't pass currently because the Dems don't have the sufficient 32 votes." There are currently 5 IDC State Senators, 29 Republican State Senators, and 29 Democratic State Senators, so to state their wasn't enough Senators precludes the 5 IDC Senators is farcical at best. Were the IDC to remain with the GOP majority, while intending to wait  for the Democrats to take 4 or more seats from the GOP, why would the Democratic conference welcome back the IDC backstabbers? Why would the Democratic Party ever trust the IDC State Senators and withdrawal support of their primary opponents? Doing either would invite ever quicker dismissal of values the rank-and-file Democrats hold and the average voter is promised as the central motivation for voting Democratic in November.  

Jun 30, 2014

SCOTUS Decides Hobby Lobby Has Right To Determine Employees' Religious Beliefs

The defenders of Hobby Lobby's decision to withhold contraception coverage to their employees claim that the government can not force Hobby Lobby's owners to pay for contraception which is against their religious beliefs and that Hobby Lobby isn't forbidding employees from purchasing contraception with their cash compensation (just barring it from the compensation in the form of health insurance). Today's decision ignores the fungibility of compensation and the right of the employee to utilize their compensation within their own religious or philosophical beliefs, and that the employers' religious beliefs supersedes that of their employees and extends the employers' beliefs to wherever their employees compensation is spent. Best not to work for or be customer to any business that holds the belief of medical science is the devils work, since they can continue to get tax rebate for providing health care while refusing to pay for insurance premiums. Hobby Lobby's central motivation had nothing to do with contraception as Mother Jones pointed out earlier this year, that their retirement funds included pharmaceutical companies that produce the same contraceptive products that claiming are against their absolute religious beliefs. As if their religious beliefs were optional when dividends were involved but immutable when their employees chose to utilize that aspect of health services. The employer is given the right in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision to make the most personal intimate decisions on behalf of their employees as if their personal decisions not to use Viagra or some convoluted religious rationale to be opposed to Lenscrafters could then be extended to their employees, because otherwise they would be harmed. The employer or the spouse of the employer still is not being forced to take contraception themselves, but the choice and liberty of individuals use contraception as part of their health care services are having their freedom infringed upon since they can no longer make the health care decisions with advice from their doctor.

The argument that the employer should not be compensate employees with health care services they have an issue with could be easily resolved by the employer not supplying health insurance at all (while forgoing the tax benefits) and letting the employees enter the health care exchange markets for their insurance.But then Hobby Lobby owners won't be able to impose their decisions on their employees, and their religious convictions are opposed to letting individuals chose for themselves how to lead their lives outside of work?

To claim that Hobby Lobby has right to impose their beliefs on their employees is contrafactual just it is farcical to claim that the employees have a religious "freedom" to impose on the owners to use specific health care services with the profits obtained from the labor from the employees. The employer isn't harmed from the employee spending their earned compensation (either cash, healthcare, paid time off, etc) as they see fit, even if it is for contraception or paid-time off used to be drunk and hungover it has no effect on the payer of that compensation. SCOTUS in the 5-4 decision and siding with a business that was seeking premium subsidies but on their own terms were to be extended universally the employees of Hobby Lobby would be entitled to impose their religious beliefs that the owner would have to give away his possessions as Jesus Christ commanded, and just as Hobby Lobby continues to collect dividends contraception producing companies, the employees would be allowed to keep their own possessions.

The Faith-Based Economists Are Hoping For Dire Results And Collapse of Full Faith And Credit Of America!

Chicken Littles of the financial markets claim that they have secret knowledge that tomorrow is going to be the beginning of an economic collapse of the American economy and the U.S. dollar. This is the financial equivalent to the religious fundamentalists that were equally assure of the rapture back on May 21st 2011 and will be shown to be equally disassociated from reality.  At the heart of the concern is that Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), that seeks out to tax the foreign investments of American citizens greater than $50,000 that are currently in foreign tax havens. The fear is that the IRS attempting to extract taxes from tax havens with American clients will cause capital flight from the investments priced in American dollars and cause international financial firms and governments to no longer hold the American dollar as a reserve currency, though that outcome may become a reality in the future it won't be due to the implementation of FATCA. There is data set of Chinese government attempting to corner the market on gold, silver and other rare metals to back their yuan, while the same individuals will decry any attempt by the U.S. government to take any intervention into the American economy, as if we should take our lead from an authoritarian socialist government but do so without any government action. Or what these Chicken Littles would likely prefer, let the tax avoiders that are affected by FATCA continue to welch on the obligations of paying what Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said were the dues of civilization.

The ill-conceived solution to the non-existent calamity? Buy gold bullion, buy gold coins, buy gold futures. Yes we should return the American economy to the gold standard where those that have already accumulated vast fortunes are protected from inflationary effect of fiat monetary policy and those that had the misfortune to depend solely on their own labor as a means of economic enrichment will be in a race to the bottom to attain the crumbs of those that have the gold. To clamour for the bad old days of a gold standard or even bi-metalism is an exercise in historically ignorance. To voluntarily place ourselves back onto a cross of gold will not be to the benefit of the masses, but only expedite the concentration of wealth that is considered a positive outcome in the minds of the predeterministic economic outlook of the libertarians and Anarcho-Capitalists, for they operate under the rubric that if you don't already have money then you certainly don't deserve even subsistence standard of living. 

Pointing towards contradictory data points such as for-profit companies are far better stock purchases than that of state owned operations like Petrobras (Brazil), Gazprom (Russia),  or China National Gold Group Corporation while professing that BRICS countries will abandon the American dollar as a reserve currency; it is mutually exclusive that the American economy bolstered by the largest and least restrained corporations somehow is being abandoned by developing countries because of lack of value and inflationary monetary policy that the dollar is to be deemed worthless, while state controlled enterprises are at the same time too valuable and valueless making those countries delink from the 800 pound economic gorrilla which the U.S. is. American economy having the least regulations. The American government retracting it's obligations to continue market sustainability as well as consumer protections has the response from the 'free marketeers' it not enough. The catch-22 from the 'free marketeers' is that when the economy fails, it will be rationalized as the economy still has too much regulation no matter how little regulation is enumerated or enforced (laws on the books not being enforced by SEC is a assumed result by market makers on Wall Street).

So tomorrow there will be an absence of calamity (except for the millionaires that owe millions in taxes, with their nest egg hidden off-shore), and continue calls for elimination government defense against the concentration of wealth. I didn't even need to look into my crystal ball for that prediction.

Jun 19, 2014

I Endorse Zephyr Teachout For Governor, Tim Wu for Lt Gov In The Democratic Primary

“I believe in democracy,” Ms. Teachout said, “not donors.”

People aren't happy with "concentration in the media industries and tech industry into political strength," Wu says.

These are the sentiments that will never come out the mouth of Governor Cuomo and the reason why Cuomo should not have received the WFP endorsement and should not receive Democrats vote in the upcoming September primary. Concentration of wealth, influence and political power is an anathema to our constitutional republic and our democratic institutions. On the right side of the aisle, there is feigning of outrage that the government is overreaching with regards to economic intervention but calls for unilateral restraint in the side of the least powerful. On the left side of the aisle, there is a predetermination of who gets the benefits of the government action but since it is not equally implemented it is intrinsically unjust metered out. Zephyr Teachout, admittedly by herself, is an underdog in the campaign to be governor it should not disqualify whether or not one is too vote for her. The prognosticators that assumed Eric Cantor's primary was a foregone conclusion were proven wrong, and I hope that Ms. Teachout and Mr. Wu will overcome poor odds and claims that it is quixotic to even attempt but our democracy is all that more stronger the more opinions that are expressed and the more ideologically diverse our candidates for public office are.

Even she does win the primary, she would then need to run a three way race against Rob Astorino and Andrew Cuomo yet again but the Governor would be depending on the Independent and WFP line.    

Jun 18, 2014

Washington DC's NFL Team Loses Trademark Of Offensive Racial Epitaph

United States Patent and Trademark Office today cancelled NFL Washington, D.C. franchise's trademark for its offensive team name. The term originates from referring to Native Americans being scalped, and Europeans colonists and Western settlers being paid for the "redskin" to ensure  that the Native Americans really were killed, yet Dan Snyder still has his supporters  as seen with this screen shot of my Facebook feed:

So it apparently is beyond the pale  for the Federal government to stop maintaining trademarks that are thoroughly offensive to the people that are supposedly honored by the name (at least to team owner Snyder); while satirizing Dan Snyder's agouche attempt to squelch the offensive name controversy by Stephen Colbert by starting the Ching-Chong-Ding-Dong Foundation to Help Asian Americans got the far right hashtag activists to #CancelColbert, because it was offensive but the reference to Native American scalps as your football team is somehow perfectly honorably which is perplexing to say the least. In the case of those that believe any government is too much government then they should be arguing for the disbandment of the Patent and Trademark Office altogether, but instead this real instance of obtuse willful ignorance simply calls for Dan Snyder to stick to his racist team name. If the NFL broadcasters chose to only refer to the team as Washington Football team and used TV magic to cover the logo on the field similar to how they cover part of the field with yellow line for the 1st down, then isn't that within their rights as business owners or does Dan Snyder's racism somehow trump ESPN's desire to retain respectability?

The original post gives a list of other team names that may be offensive to segments of society-- the problem being that names are not offending Vikings, nor non-Vikings, Cowboys nor non-Cowboys, gold diggers nor non-gold diggers, Sauk tribal members nor non-Sauk tribal members, Canadians actual take pride as Canucks the same way Americans take pride as Yankees. Native Americans after being victim of genocide and largest land theft in history get the benefit of the doubt if they say they take offense to the term 'redskins' then it is offensive, because it would fair for them to seek out damages that the American government dealt to their ancestors or even themselves since until the 1970s they were adopting away Native American children to be placed with white families.

I like watching football, I played football in highschool, I was present for the incident that caused the removal of highschool mascot to be removed. At the time I thought it was innocuous that the name of the team was plainsmen with a logo from stock clipart showing Native American warrior in profile with a tomahawk (I only know that is was stock clipart because Jamestown, NY's high school mascot was the Red Raiders used the exact same logo) and that Native-American Mr. Stone-Romero took offense to something that had nothing to do with his race. The logo as offensive as I can now see it being, did not hold any special place to the school's teams as it had gradually been phased out in favor of simply being called Shen, and having 'Shen' replace the logo on every uniform. Black face is offensive to African-Americans, they are the ones that determine whether or not they are offended. Jews get to determine whether epitaphs of hooked noses and pais are offensive. Assemblyman Dov Hikind gets to call out being offended that  John Galliano wore hasidic costume, but Mr. Hikind doesn't get to determine whether or not wearing blackface was offensive to African-Americans. Dan Snyder doesn't get to chose whether or not the term 'redskin' is beyond the pale, the people that are Native Americans get to be the final arbiter of offense.

The central problem is that historical tolerance of racist iconography and memes, are being willful ignored as anything that needs to be corrected. Like telling an 80 year old racist that the n-word is not used in polite conversation, the old racist may react but when I was a kid I said it all the time; offenses that was tolerated in the past are no longer being tolerated.  I could be wrong about a lot of things that I currently believe, but that I'm open and if shown reason to change I hope that I would. It is scary that no matter the facts that are presented that there will still be people that will hold on to this antiquated way of thinking.

Just to restate the obvious, Native Americans own the term 'redskin' since they earned it with the blood of their ancestors, they are the final arbiters of whether or not it is used by a petty-uber-wealthy-team owner who wants to splash the term around while grown men play a game. 

Jun 13, 2014

Should liberals vote for Rob Astorino?

There's been a lot of buzz recently about New York's next race for governor, and speculation about whether a progressive challenger will run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Here's how The New York Times described what's going on:1
    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has won significant support from traditionally Republican constituencies, including business executives who like his tax cuts and Wall Street financiers delighted with his support of charter schools. But this courtship has come at a price: As he begins his bid for a second term, he is struggling to hold on to support from the left wing of his own party.

We want to know where New York MoveOn members stand. This isn't a formal endorsement vote—just a statewide membership survey to get a sense of what New York MoveOn members are thinking as a potential race shapes up.
Do you think a progressive candidate should run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo this year?
    Yes, I want to see a progressive challenger to Andrew Cuomo.
    No, I support Andrew Cuomo.
After we tally the responses, we'll report back to MoveOn members across the state and share them with the media—so they know what progressives are thinking as the gubernatorial election gets under way. Email Subject: New York Member Survey: Progressive challenger for Gov. Cuomo? (May 27th, 2014)

Gov. Cuomo pushed through tax cuts for the super rich, repealed taxes on banks, and slashed funding for local schools -- all ideas Republicans really like.
It's no wonder there's been speculation about whether a true progressive will challenge him in the race for governor.
The New York Times: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has won significant support from traditionally Republican constituencies, including business executives who like his tax cuts and Wall Street financiers delighted with his support of charter schools. But this courtship has come at a price: As he begins his bid for a second term, he is struggling to hold on to support from the left wing of his own party.
We want to know where our New York members stand.
Do you think a progressive candidate should run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo this year?
We'll report back to you and share the results with the media -- so they know what progressives are thinking as New York's gubernatorial election gets under way.
Thanks for being a bold progressive.
-Bold Progressive's Email Subject: New York survey re: Cuomo (May 28th, 2014)

This Saturday night, Working Families Party State Committee members from across New York will gather in Albany to make one of the most important decisions we have ever faced.
Should we support Governor Andrew Cuomo's re-election or endorse a progressive challenger?
I’ve been with the Working Families Party for 15 years and know firsthand that the power of our organization comes directly from empowering supporters like you to make important decisions and take meaningful action.
That’s why it’s so important our State Committee Members hear from you before they make this important decision.
Let us know if you believe the Working Families Party should endorse Governor Cuomo’s re-election or endorse a progressive challenger to run against him.
While Gov. Cuomo deserves credit for winning marriage equality and passing gun reform, many New Yorkers are frustrated with his tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations and dramatic cuts to education.1
Since we last wrote about this race, another poll came out showing over 22% of New Yorkers would support a Working Families Party alternative this November — within the margin of error of Republican Rob Astorino’s 24%.
But before this decision is made, we wanted to reach out again to see what you thought our next step should be. Share your thoughts here:
We’ll be in touch over the next few days to keep you up-to-date on the latest news and information about this decision.
Thank you for making your voice heard,
-Working Families Party's Email Subject: Endorse or challenge Andrew Cuomo? (May 29th, 2014)

The proceeding three emails, were a selection of progressive organizations seeking feedback on whether or not Cuomo should receive each organization's support and especially whether or not a WFP should back Cuomo for re-election. They each allude to significant opposition within the self-identified liberal/progressive movement that Cuomo innately faces. WFP state convention occurred, and with lots of arm twisting by Mayor DeBlasio and his aides, the nomination was delivered to Corporatist-Centrist Democrat Cuomo.

The following emails I received in response to the Cuomo nomination by the WFP:


Last night, we secured a major win. Not for the Working Families Party, not for Governor Andrew Cuomo, but for the working families of the state of New York.
Faced with a challenge from Zephyr Teachout -– a Working Families Democrat if there ever was one -- for the Working Families Party endorsement, Gov. Cuomo declared for the first time that he will join the effort to secure a Democratic-Working Families majority.
We have disagreed a lot with the Governor's economic and education policies over the last four years. On many issues, he has not governed as a progressive. But we do agree with the platform he committed to fighting for last night, which will help transform the lives of millions of people, and even set the stage for still further gains:
    *passing comprehensive public financing of elections to fight the influence of big-money in our democracy
   * passing the Dream Act, so all New Yorkers can access higher education
    *decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, so we can stop jailing our youth, especially young people of color
    *passing the full 10-point Women's Equality Agenda, to protect and ensure women's equality
    *raising New York's minimum wage to $10.10/hour, indexed to inflation, and allowing cities and counties to raise wages 30% higher than the state level
    *increasing the state's investment in community schools to improve educational opportunities in high-need districts. But the Governor still fell far short of what's needed -- we need to comply with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court order and fully fund our schools.
The Governor's pledge to fight for this vision of New York is why the WFP State Committee voted last night to endorse Andrew Cuomo for Governor of New York. 

Now, the hard work begins. We will hold the Governor accountable to his commitment, but we'll need your help. Can we count on you?

Yes, count me in. I will work to hold Governor Cuomo to the promise he made for a more progressive New York. 
-Working Families Party Email Subject: Our commitment to New York (June 1st, 2014)

Progressives won a big victory in New York last weekend. The Working Families Party forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to drop his support for Republican control of the State Senate and made him commit to a populist agenda to fight income inequality. In return they agreed to back him for a second term.
Gov. Cuomo didn't want to do it. We forced his hand. Our survey of New York DFA members last week found 82% of those who responded said they would back a progressive challenger to Gov. Cuomo.
We shared those numbers with the Working Families Party, helping give them confidence to support a challenger if Gov. Cuomo didn't meet their terms. It also showed Gov. Cuomo that we were serious about a challenge, forcing him to commit to a progressive agenda.
DFA was willing to back a progressive challenger in order to hold Gov. Cuomo accountable and to push him to the left. His agreement to support the Working Families Party agenda validates that strategy. But it's not the end of the story. DFA members are going to hold Gov. Cuomo to his promises. We will not let him backslide. We will not let him side with Wall Street and the rich. 
Democracy for America Email Subject: How Andrew Cuomo caved to progressives (June 6th, 2014)

Dear New York MoveOn member, 
Recently, we shared survey results with the media showing that 73% of responding MoveOn members in New York State want to see a progressive challenger to Gov. Cuomo.
Here are some highlights of Gov. Cuomo's commitment to progressives:1
  • Support for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 and letting localities across New York—including New York City—set their own higher wages up to more than $13/hour
  • Support for the Dream Act 
  • Support for passing the full 10-point Women's Equality Agenda
  • Support for decriminalization of marijuana
  • Support for public financing of elections
  • Commitment to working to elect a Democratic State Senate to turn these proposals into law, and a demand for the so-called Independent Democratic Caucus lawmakers to return to the Democratic Party
As with all political agreements, we can't take anything for granted, and follow-through will depend on two things: 1) Democrats must win the State Senate in November, and 2) there needs to be meaningful accountability to make sure Gov. Cuomo delivers on the agreement.
That's where all of us come in: Together with allies, we're helping form a Cuomo Accountability Team to make sure Gov. Cuomo knows progressives are watching closely and demanding follow-through on the commitments he has made.
Will you sign up for the Cuomo Accountability Team to make sure promises turn into action? Click here to join:

Here's an update: In order to win the endorsement of the Working Families Party—and faced with pressure from MoveOn members, law professor Zephyr Teachout, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, DFA, and other allies across New York—Governor Cuomo agreed to support a set of demands that progressives been making for years. Email Subject: Update re Gov. Cuomo (June 13th, 2014)

Each of the emails after the WFP convention claimed victory and asked for donations (links to donation pages removed), but they also acknowledged that exact goal before the WFP convention (having an alternative progressive challenger to Gov. Cuomo) was wildly popular. There is such a thing as 'moving the goal posts' but this not 'moving the goal posts' but instead deciding there was never goal posts but if there were goal posts they were really popular goal posts if they ever existed. I know I stretched the analogy a bit far, but metaphysical twisting of logic to pull out a win from Cuomo eliminating any viable progressive challenger is equally a stretch.

Which brings me to the point that my title alludes to, if the progressive activists that were excited about a possible challenge to Cuomo (since he was characterized in May as a Republican Lite, but in June a strong fighter for the Liberal cause), couldn't they ensure that 4 years down the road that unseating a Astorino Governorship with a real progressive be better than handing over all progressive credibility to a Republican Lite Cuomo who have the WFP nomination as trophy of the Big Liberal Game Hunter when he runs for president in 2016? Should the 73%-82% of participants in the poll that wants a real progressive to challenge to Cuomo be better served by holding their nose and voting for Astorino rather than holding their nose and voting for Cuomo? Astorino, even if 200,000 people agreed with me and voted against Cuomo for the betterment of the Progressive movement, wouldn't win the governorship; but it would send a loud message to all those Democratic elected officials that presume they have to kowtow to the opposition's base because the Tea Party won't go along with compromise, that the Progressives are tired of being the only side that gives anything in political negotiations. That 200,000 vote number I'm using is a significant number only in that is the number of votes, if withheld from the WFP, would cause the WFP to lose their ballot access and have to wait 4 years to get it back. The requirement of 50,000 votes for governor on a party's line, and in 2010 WFP recieved less than 250,000. Even if somehow Astorino did win and Cuomo kept to his promise to beat both Independent Democratic Conference State Senators and poachable GOP state senators' seats, it would be assuredly better to have both houses safely held by real Democrats than the Potemkin village setup where the Republicans hold the majority and play bad cop to Cuomo's good cop.

Progressives lost when Cuomo received the WFP nomination, and the Progressive panhandling organizations (DFA,, Bold Progressives, WFP, etc) irrespective of whatever the outcome turned out to be was going to ask for money to get "real progressive change." We've got big mountain to climb if we are going to get challenger Bob to defeat Cuomo! But there was no challenger so we get instead: Cuomo has really let us down, but if you give money now that will show him to change his ways and keep the promises that he begrudgingly made under duress. What is the difference, I don't think even the Progressive panhandlers know or care. 

The likeliest of the good scenarios is that the WFP losses it's ballot access it is narrow race (I'm indifferent to whether or not Cuomo wins re-election), with the narrative that would get widely reported is that the left were too unhappy with it's lone choice voted for protest write-in candidate or Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins getting a surprising segment of the vote.