Monday, November 19, 2012

Last Call

I don't always agree with Chris Hayes, but he's dead right about NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo and why he's the last Democrat I would vote for in 2016.  Politicker:

Mr. Hayes blasted Mr. Cuomo’s “putative reason” for endorsing two Republican senators–their support for same sex marriage legislation–by asking why he declined to support a Democratic challenger in a race where the pro-gay marriage Republican had already been defeated in a primary. He also criticized the governor for not working to stop Democratic Senator-elect Simcha Felder from caucusing with the GOP, as Mr. Felder’s move may end up being decisive in helping the Republicans hold onto their majority, depending on one race that’s still too-close-to-call and more possible Democratic defections.

“Despite the fact that he’s the leader of the Democratic Party in the state, and wishes someday to be the Democratic nominee for President, Cuomo has refused to intervene with Felder, saying he won’t insert himself into the controversy,” My. Hayes argued. “Watching all this unfold, one can’t help but suspect Andrew Cuomo actually does not want a Democratic majority in the State Senate because a Republican majority gives him more of an opportunity to burnish his bipartisan compromiser bona fides before launching his presidential campaign. And much, much, much more insidiously, we suspect he doesn’t want a Democratic majority because said majority stands ready to pass a whole raft of incredibly important, ground-breaking progressive legislation, including public financing for elections, marijuana decriminalization and a minimum wage hike, among others. The governor says he favors all those policies, but in this case, he sure is not acting like it. We’re almost entirely sure that very soon Andrew Cuomo will be coming before many of the people watching this show, asking for your support in a Democratic primary race to be the next president. You should remember this remarkably cynical display when he does.

Now that's pretty damn hardcore for Chris Hayes, practically displaying bloody brass knuckles and a promise to get them even messier.  But he's absolutely right.  If New York state got serious about progressive legislation, particularly monitoring Wall Street, it would be a massive victory for liberalism as a whole int he United States.  Let's not forget, Cuomo as the state's Attorney General ran on a platform of doing just that.  When he was easily elected two years ago, he promised to get tough on Wall Street.  What happened was Cuomo finding himself saying "Oh well, sorry guys, Republicans are stopping me from getting this legislation" and then helicoptering off to the Hamptons.

Cuomo basically didn't lift a finger to help NY Senate Dems regain control of the state's upper chamber, because then he'd have to be the bad guy.  Chris Hayes has him pegged 100%.

So no, Andrew Cuomo is by no means a good guy.  Should he take a crack at 2016, he needs to be sent home unless he comes around.

A Different Kind Of Cliff

Lost in the “fiscal cliff slope” negotiations are federal jobless benefits.

As Senate Democrats and House Republicans try to bang out some sort of compromise, it’s important to know that President Obama is fighting for more than just tax fairness, but for the millions of long-term unemployed out there still facing a rough winter ahead.  Yes, the economy is improving and the jobless rate is going down, but there’s still over two million Americans out there facing a real cliff if benefits are cut off on December 29.

Groups backing an extension of unemployment benefits have launched a new round of lobbying to convince Congress to extend federal benefits to the long-term jobless.
A coalition of advocates including the National Employment Law Project (NELP) held more than 40 meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill during the first week of the lame-duck session to make their pitch for a $30 billion extension of the program.
The assorted labor union, civil rights and anti-poverty groups face a tough path to winning the extension at a time when lawmakers are looking for ways to reduce the budget deficit. Lawmakers started talks at the White House on Friday to prevent the nation from going over a so-called “fiscal cliff.”
But the groups are hopeful they can win another extension, and received a shot of confidence this week when Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said stimulus measures should be included in any deficit-reduction package.
“People get it, understand why it’s important and why it could be so bad for their states,” Judy Conti, federal advocacy coordinator with NELP, told The Hill on Friday.
“We’re sensing a lot of support.”

So that’s a good thing.  At least the Democrats are reminded that it’s on the table, and that while going over the deadline may be a pretty hefty part of the President’s leverage in getting the wealthy to pay higher taxes, the payroll tax cut and the unemployment benefits are still up in the air.  If those are allowed to expire, a lot of working class and unemployed Americans are going to take an immediate hit come January.

We’ll see what comes of it all.  Republicans know they can do a lot of damage here by blocking these measures.  The President cut a deal when he needed to two years ago to preserve these.  Democrats will make sure these get spared again, from the President on down.

No Defense Of The Indefensible

There's a huge difference between Israel's right to defend itself (which Palestinians in Gaza never seem to be entitled to) and what the son of former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon wants to do.  Maj. Gilad Sharon took to the Jerusalem Post with this missive:

The desire to prevent harm to innocent civilians in Gaza will ultimately lead to harming the truly innocent: the residents of southern Israel. The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren’t hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences.
We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.
There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.
Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.
If the government isn’t prepared to go all the way on this, it will mean reoccupying the entire Gaza Strip. Not a few neighborhoods in the suburbs, as with Cast Lead, but the entire Strip, like in Defensive Shield, so that rockets can no longer be fired.
There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.

There's a term for what Gilad Sharon wants to do here.  It's called "genocide".  That it is coming from an Israeli Jew is no small amount of irony.  When I said in yesterday's podcast that I feared this time would be different, that this time Israel would "go all the way on this" as Sharon so ghoulishly remarks without pity or remorse, this is why I believe it is coming unless there's a surprising and breathtaking turn of events that leads to a cease fire.

I hope for the latter.  I fully expect the former, except this time it will be tens of thousands of Palestinians who will die, along with hundreds of Israelis, before the fighting dies down for a bit.

We'll see.  I am not very optimistic.


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