Monday, March 18, 2019

Last Call For Stock Home Syndrome

A new Siena College poll finds New Yorkers really, really wanted Amazon's garbage deal for taxpayers, even if it meant the ludicrous promise of 25,000 jobs (the reality would have been a small fraction of that number at best) that would have cost the state billions in lost tax revenue.

By a 67-21 percent margin, New Yorkers say that Amazon cancelling its planned second headquarters in Queens was bad for New York. By as nearly as large a margin, 61-30 percent, they support the deal in which Amazon would receive up to $3 billion in state and city incentives and create up to 25,000 jobs if Amazon reconsiders, according to a new Siena College poll of New York State registered voters released today.

An overwhelming 79 percent of voters say parents should be required to have their children vaccinated before attending school, regardless of the parents’ religious beliefs. Voters continue to support making the two-percent property tax cap permanent, legalizing recreational use of marijuana, and eliminating monetary bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. They are split on congestion pricing, and by a nearly two-to-one margin, they oppose allowing undocumented immigrants to get a New York driver’s license.

“At least 63 percent of Democrats, Republicans and independents, upstaters and downstaters, men and women, young and old, black and white New Yorkers agree: Amazon pulling out of Queens was bad for New York. Even 56 percent of self-described liberals think it was bad for New York,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “While some may have celebrated Amazon’s announcement to pull the plug, the vast majority of New Yorkers of every stripe thought it was bad for the Empire State.

“Who do New Yorkers blame? Well, there’s certainly blame enough to go around. More people think that Amazon, Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, the State Senate, and local Queens activists were villains in this saga than they were heroes. However, voters say the biggest villain was Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Only 12 percent call her hero, while 38 percent label her a villain,” Greenberg said. “Amazon itself was seen as the biggest villain among Democrats, but Republicans and independents had Ocasio-Cortez as far and away the largest villain, followed by the local Queens activists.”

“By a wide margin, New Yorkers would support the deal coming back together if Cuomo and others can convince Amazon to reconsider,” Greenberg said. “The Amazon deal was seen as very contentious, however, there was strong support for it last month, before it got cancelled. There is an overwhelming feeling that its cancellation was bad for the state. And there is strong support – among all demographic groups – for Amazon to reconsider and move forward. Clearly, jobs outweigh the cost of government incentives in the minds of most voters.”

Blaming Ocasio-Cortez over Cuomo is ridiculous as well, but Cuomo will gladly push her under the bus like he does with most Democrats in the state, and if he doesn't, Bill de Blasio certainly will.

You can do better, New York.  Amazon was never going to deliver on its promises and everyone knows it.  Ocasio-Cortez just had the courage to say it out loud and because she's a woman of color, she gets destroyed for it.

It's exactly what Republicans want, and NY Dems are more than happy to play along.

Meat The Press, Con't

So turns out Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan isn't a very nice person, especially when it comes to dangerously fascist theocratic obliteration of dissent.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia authorized a secret campaign to silence dissenters — which included the surveillance, kidnapping, detention and torture of Saudi citizens — over a year before the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, according to American officials who have read classified intelligence reports about the campaign.

At least some of the clandestine missions were carried out by members of the same team that killed and dismembered Mr. Khashoggi in Istanbul in October, suggesting that his killing was a particularly egregious part of a wider campaign to silence Saudi dissidents, according to the officials and associates of some of the Saudi victims.

Members of the team that killed Mr. Khashoggi, which American officials called the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group, were involved in at least a dozen operations starting in 2017, the officials said.

Some of the operations involved forcibly repatriating Saudis from other Arab countries and detaining and abusing prisoners in palaces belonging to the crown prince and his father, King Salman, the officials and associates said.

One of the Saudis detained by the group, a university lecturer in linguistics who wrote a blog about women in Saudi Arabia, tried to kill herself last year after being subjected to psychological torture, according to American intelligence reports and others briefed on her situation.

The rapid intervention team had been so busy that last June its leader asked a top adviser to Prince Mohammed whether the crown prince would give the team bonuses for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, according to American officials familiar with the intelligence reports.

Details about the operations come from American officials who have read classified intelligence assessments about the Saudi campaign, as well as from Saudis with direct knowledge of some of the operations. They spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions from disclosing classified information or, in the case of the Saudis, from angering the Saudi government.

A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington said the kingdom “takes any allegations of ill treatment of defendants awaiting trial or prisoners serving their sentences very seriously.”

Two observations:

One, I cannot understate how close the Trump regime is to the Crown Prince.  Jared Kushner's vulnerability to blackmail and other leverage to a man like MBS is such a screamingly awful threat to US national security that at this point we have to assume the Saudis have so much compromising info on him that they can do whatever they want and America will be complicit.  Kushner owes the Saudis billions, guys.  This is terrible news.  We know what MBS is willing to do to his own people, imagine what he's got on Trump's family.

Two, somebody should remind the NY Times that its coverage of the Saudi regime and especially MBS hasn't exactly been objective at times, and he's far from the only one.  The Saudi efforts to cover up their operations wouldn't have been as successful as it was without a compliant American press and mindless "pundits" like Tom Friedman at the Times and David Ignatius at the Washington Post, just to name two.

The Trump regime will never actually censure MBS, of course.  We're absolutely complicit in his fascism, hell our White House is taking notes on what they did and salivating at the chance to use those tactics here.

We're probably not far off from that point, either.

Another Day In Gunmerica, Con't

One Missouri lawmaker wants to build an army of AR-15 wielding citizens at government expense because, well, you tell me why a politician would want to arm citizens throughout history?

Two bills introduced by state Rep. Andrew McDaniel would require residents to purchase firearms while providing $1 million in tax credits on a first-come, first-served basis to residents who fall under the law.

The first bill, the McDaniel Second Amendment Act, would require Missouri residents aged 21 or older to purchase a handgun. It also would allot up to $1 million per year in tax credits for residents who purchased weapons to comply with the law. The bill was filed in late February.

The second bill, the McDaniel Militia Act, was filed days after the handgun bill and would require Missouri residents aged 18 to 35 to purchase an AR-15. It also would provide a tax credit of up to $1 million per year to incentivize the purchase of weapons.

While the bills do not specify any penalties for adults who refuse to comply with the provisions, both stipulate that the Missouri Department of Revenue can "promulgate rules to implement the provisions of this section." The bills would sunset in six years if not extended by the state legislature.

They would not apply to felons or residents otherwise prohibited from owning firearms.

Oh I understand the excuse, the "well-maintained militia" part of a document written almost 250 years ago that also thought it was a great idea that black folk counted as 60% of a human being.  Close as I can tell though, Missouri isn't a border state, so unless some really good magic act has a portal in Branson that needs to be protected from the Chitauri, this is just an effort to be an asshole with guns in a country with a lot of assholes and a lot of guns.

That's the best case scenario, of course.  The worst one is raising an army just in time for Donald Trump to call upon it.

Up to you, dear reader, to consider what compelling Missouri's non-felon residents to all have AR-15s would lead to.


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