Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Cuomo’

Andrew Cuomo as pandemic fighter-in-chief

April 24, 2020

Gov. Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York—not Joe Biden, not Bernie Sanders—has emerged as the Democrats’ alternative to President Trump in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

He is like Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks—a reassuring symbol of leadership.  Of course many of us think differently of Giuliani now than we did then.

He has said he isn’t interesting in running for President this year.  But he would be a more electable candidate than Biden, so who knows?  Whether he’d do anything to end the forever wars, rein in Wall Street, negotiate nuclear disarmament or deal with climate change is another question.

LINKS

The Foundations of American Society Are Failing Us by Bernie Sanders in the New York Times.

Trump’s poor poll numbers trigger GOP alarm over November by Alex Isenstadt for POLITICO.

News media stoke Gov. Cuomo narrative as counter to Trump by Jeffrey M. McCall for Microsoft News.  Cuomo, not Joe Biden.

Gov. Cuomo’s speech to the New York National Guard on March 27, 2020.  Actually, a stirring speech.

Andrew Cuomo: Emergency Responder by Michael Greenberg for New York Review of Books.

There Are Worse Governors Than Andrew Cuomo, But None Who Are Responsible For As Many Coronavirus Deaths on Down With Tyranny!  [Added 4/26/2020]

Even in a Pandemic, Andrew Cuomo Is Not Your Friend by Akash Mehta for Jacobin magazine.

Photo via Rand Blog.

A happy surprise: Gov. Cuomo bans fracking

December 18, 2014

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decsion to ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in New York state was made for the right reason – the Precautionary Principle.

fracking-diagramThat is, he banned fracking not because it was proven to be harmful, but that there were good reasons to think it might not be safe.

I misjudged Cuomo.  I thought he intended to approve fracking, but was postponing this unpopular decision until after the election.

With falling oil and gas prices, the economic benefits of fracking are even less than before.  The oil and gas locked underground in the Marcellus shale will not go away.  It will still be there if someday the USA is so desperate for energy that fracking is necessary.

∞∞∞

“This Will Have a Ripple Effect Across the Country”: State of New York Bans Fracking by Cole Stangler for In These Times.  (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)

The passing scene: Links & comments 10/13/14

October 13, 2014

White poverty exists, ignored by Leonard Pitts Jr. for the Miami Herald.

There are more poor, unemployed white people in the USA than there are poor, unemployed black people, and poor whites, too, are targets of prejudice.

I remember being told as a boy that “white trash” were a lower class than “Negroes”.

But the basic cause of poverty is the same in the slums of Detroit or small towns in Kentucky: Employers shutting down and moving out.

Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes by Michael Samish, Robert O’Harrow Jr. or Steve Rich for the Washington Post.

Since 9/11, police have seized more than $2.5 billion from 61,998 motorists without search warrants or indictments.  At what point to the police stop being protectors and start being predators?

Tom Cotton and the era of post-truth politics by Steve Benen for MSNBC.

The GOP candidate for Senate for Arkansas tells blatant lies and gets away with it.

The postmodernist philosophy is that there is no such thing as objective truth, only different ways of looking at things.  This philosophy seems to have taken hold in American politics.

Andrew Cuomo Is a Very Flawed Concept by Charles P. Pierce for Esquire.

Given a choice between a right-wing Democratic candidate and an extreme right-wing Republican candidate, This is why I plan to vote for the Green Party candidate for governor of New York.

 

The domestic scene: Links & comments 9/11/14

September 11, 2014

Five Reasons for the Zephyr Teachout Phenomenon and Five Reasons Andrew Cuomo Is Still Governor by Matt Stoller for Medium.  (Via Naked Capitalism)

Zephyr Teachout in defeat showed that an outsider can make headway against the Democratic establishment.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo in victory has probably lost any chance to be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

The End of Fracking Is Closer Than You Think by Robert Eshelman for Vice News.

David Hughes, a Canadian geologist, studied data from 65,000 U.S. oil and gas well based on hydraulic fracturing.  He concluded that production on average drops 50 percent after the first year, and 85 percent in three years.   Fracking is an exchange of short-term gains for long-term damage.

When unarmed men reach for their waistbands by Radley Balko for the Washington Post.

When police shoot unarmed black men, they almost always say that the black man was moving his hands as if reaching for a gun.  But if the man was unarmed, what would he be reaching for?

Zephyr Teachout gets 34% of the Democratic vote

September 10, 2014

ny_primary-300x241Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu received slightly over 34 percent of the Democratic vote for governor and lieutenant governor in yesterday’s New York primary election.  Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul got virtually all of the rest.

That was an excellent showing against an incumbent candidate, considering Cuomo had the power of incumbency and name recognition, and Teachout and Wu were virtual unknowns with next to no money.

The size of the Teachout-Wu vote will make it harder for Gov. Cuomo to retaliate politically against their supporters.

Click on Zephyr Teachout’s primary election loss has the air of a victory party for more from the New York Daily News.  [via Naked Capitalism]

Send them a message: Vote for Teachout in NY

September 9, 2014

I will vote for Zephyr Teachout in today’s Democratic primary for governor of New York, as a protest against the influence of Wall Street on incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Democratic Party in New York state.

Zephyr Teachout

Zephyr Teachout

While I think the odds are strongly against Teachout winning the Democratic nomination, I do admit that, if nominated, her victory would greatly improve the chances of the Republican candidate, Rob Astorino.

I don’t think the differences between Cuomo and Astorino are so great that this would matter to me. They both represent the same interests.

Cuomo is a liberal only on issues that don’t threaten the interests of his wealthy backers. His economic strategy for New York states consists of tax breaks for Wall Street, casino gambling and fracking for natural gas (although strong public opposition has forced him to hold back on the latter).

Simply not doing any of these things would represent an improvement.

Teachout, if elected governor, would not be able to change New York’s political power structure all by herself. Change could not take place unless people like her were elected on all levels of government, and even then they would have a hard struggle against the monied interests.

A vote for Teachout and for Tim Wu for lieutenant governor are small first steps toward bringing this about.

LINKS

Take a Stand Against Cronyism and Corruption: Vote for Teachout and Wu by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism.

An interview with Zephyr Teachout, candidate for governor of New York by Yves Smith.

An interview with Tim Wu, candidate for lieutenant governor of New York by Lambert Strether.

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Funding government by court settlements

August 28, 2014

State governments in the USA get increasing amounts of revenue from court settlements from corporations accused of wrongdoing.  As The Economist reported, these settlements amount to big money.

So far this year, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and other banks have coughed up close to $50 billion for supposedly misleading investors in mortgage-backed bonds.  BNP Paribas is paying $9 billion over breaches of American sanctions against Sudan and Iran.  Credit Suisse, UBS, Barclays and others have settled for billions more, over various accusations.

Structured-SettlementsAnd that is just the financial institutions.  Add BP’s $13 billion settlement over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Toyota’s $1.2 billion settlement over alleged faults in some cars, and many more.  [snip]

Rhode Island’s bureaucrats have been on a spending spree courtesy of a $500 million payout by Google, while New York’s governor and attorney-general have squabbled over a $613 million settlement from JPMorgan.  [snip]

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, who is up for re-election, reportedly intervened to increase the state coffers’ share of BNP’s settlement by $1 billion, threatening to wield his powers to withdraw the French bank’s license to operate on Wall Street.  Why a state government should get any share at all of a French firm’s fine for defying the federal government’s foreign policy is not clear.

There are two ways of looking at this.  One is that federal prosecutors and state governments are shaking down corporations for minor offenses, much as local police and courts in communities such as Ferguson, Missouri, shake down residents for minor traffic offenses.  The other is that corporate officers are buying their way out of individual criminal liability at stockholders’ expense.

I think the second alternative is the more common, while The Economist writer apparently disagrees.  Whichever is the case, as state government becomes more dependent on corporate settlements for revenue, the more demand there will be for windfalls from future settlements.   If shakedowns aren’t common now, they will become so.  There is no good alternative to paying normal expenses of government through taxes.

The Economist’s writer is right to say that the big problem with these settlements is that they are made in secret.  Nobody knows the evidence against the corporations, and nobody knows what, if anything, they admitted to doing.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Tom Coburn have proposed a bill that would require the terms of the settlement to be made public, and for the prosecutors and regulators to write explanations of why the cases did not go to trial.   That would be a good start.

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Does the Constitution protect corruption?

August 27, 2014

The Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that campaign contributions are a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.   On April 2, the Supreme Court ruled, in McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission, that Congress does have the right to legislate against corruption in campaign financing, but, as Jill Lepore pointed out in an article in The New Yorker, only against certain forms of corruption.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the five-to-four majority. “The right to participate in democracy through political contributions is protected by the First Amendment, but that right is not absolute,” he began. 

040614newcoletoonCongress may not “regulate contributions simply to reduce the amount of money in politics, or to restrict the political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others.”  But there is “one legitimate governmental interest for restricting campaign finances,” he explained: “preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

That said, the Court’s understanding of corruption is very narrow, Roberts explained, echoing a view expressed by Justice Anthony Kennedy in McConnell v. F.E.C., in 2003: “Congress may target only a specific type of corruption—‘quid pro quo’ corruption.”

Quid pro quo is when an elected official does something like accepting fifteen thousand dollars in cash in exchange for supporting another politician’s bid to run for mayor of New York.  The only kind of corruption that federal law is allowed to prohibit is out-and-out bribery.  The kind of political prostitution that the Moreland Commission was in the middle of attempting to document—elected officials representing the interests not of their constituents but of their largest contributors—does not constitute, in the view of the Supreme Court, either corruption or the appearance of corruption.

via Zephyr Teachout’s Anti-Corruption Campaign.

The Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April, 2013, to investigate corruption in New York state.

The commission was given 18 months to do its work, but in March of this year, Gov. Cuomo shut it down.  He said it was supposed to investigate the legislative branch, not the executive branch.

In the meantime, the commission made a series of preliminary recommendations, including closing loopholes regarding limited liability laws, mandating disclosure of outside spending, instituting public finance and creating an independent election-law enforcement agency.

As Lepore noted, these recommendations, except maybe for public campaign financing, would have had little effect in the light of Citizens United and McCutcheon.

 Zephyr Teachout, who opposes Gov. Cuomo in the coming Democratic primary, is a law professor who says the Supreme Court’s decision is contrary to the intention of the authors of the Constitution.  Even if she’s right, this doesn’t change anything.

Maybe it is necessary to amend the Constitution, as was done after the Supreme Court ruled that slavery was protected by the Constitution and later when the Supreme Court ruled that a federal income tax was unconstitutional.