Nixon Unites Albany

One of the craziest political stories in the country over the last few years was the story of how Republicans effectively controlled the State Senate in deep blue New York State because of some crazy animal called the Independent Democratic Conference.  The IDC was a group of Democratic State Senators, elected by Democrats in their districts, who caucused with the Republicans in the Senate rather than their own party.

You may ask how such a thing could happen in a bluey, blue state with a Democratic governor allowing that to happen and continue.

There is no good answer. But it seems to been ended, over a steak dinner.

Two warring factions of Democratic lawmakers have agreed to reunite and end seven years of infighting, a significant political realignment that ends an arrangement that had helped give Republicans a foothold of power in Albany.

Those rogue Democrats thought they were strengthening their individual power with their game playing.  What did the Governor get out of elevating the power of Republicans and allowing the fracture of Democrats?  Nothing good for the people of New York, I can tell you that.

Last week when the state budget was being negotiated, the Senate Democratic leader (State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins) was not allowed in the room.

Ms. Nixon noted the accord came less than a week after lawmakers struck a deal on a $168 billion budget, when the state’s priorities were set. Ms. Stewart-Cousins had been excluded from those discussions.

“I would have the leader of the Senate Democrats in the room negotiating,” she said.

This went on for years, until this week.  Credit the campaign of Cynthia Nixon and the pressure it is putting on Cuomo to finally put an end to it.

In a brief phone interview, Ms. Nixon said “Andrew Cuomo can’t have it both ways” — claiming he was powerless to corral the I.D.C. for years and then taking credit for it disbanding on Wednesday. She accused Mr. Cuomo of working from the “old playbook” of centrist politics.

“He is trying hard to evolve,” she said, “but I think it’s a little too late.”

You know how big a factor the Nixon challenge was in all this?

Asked about Ms. Nixon’s role in the unity deal, Mr. Cuomo said, “It had nothing to do with it.”

Yeah, spoken like a governor afraid he might not be able to keep his phony-baloney job.  Cuomo probably still thinks he could be president – just shit on Democrats relentlessly while claiming liberal bona fides and play footsie with Republicans.  He’s a New York governor that’s been playing a national strategy for so long he needed Nixon to remind him what state he’s in.  It’s that big blue one in the northeast that wants gun control, legal cannabis, universal health care, etc.

Later on Tuesday evening, at a fund-raiser for a Democratic Senate candidate in an upcoming special election, Mr. Cuomo said that “we have achieved political clarity” in watching Republican rule from Washington, D.C., for the last year.

“The clarity is this: Everything we are for, they are against. It’s that simple,” he said. “The Democratic Party and the Republican Party are an antithesis, one of the other.”

Hallelujah for Cuomo reaching clarity, conveniently in an election year.  He just better hope Democratic voters of New York haven’t likewise achieved “clarity” or we’ll be inaugurating Governor Nixon next January.

Simple Answers to Simple Problems – Pelosi Edition

As Peter Beinart writes in the Atlantic, Nancy Pelosi has been a tremendously effective legislative leader. When she was speaker, groundbreaking legislation got passed against heavy opposition. But the GOP has effectively turned her into a scarecrow, a villainous characature and an albatross around the neck of Democrats in redder districts with higher concentrations of Fox News victims.

These victories led Thomas Mann, who studies Congress at the Brookings Institution, to call Pelosi the “strongest and most effective speaker of modern times.” And even after being relegated to minority leader when Republicans took the House in 2010, she kept winning legislative fights.

Respect to Nancy Pelosi.  Nevermind her gender, her age, her San Francisco district, her liberal beliefs, all of the virtues the right wing propagandists turn into vices.

However, politically you can’t just “nevermind” it.  Pelosi’s demonization is real and poisonous.  On the one hand, they’d do that to any Democratic leader, and will.  On the other hand, it’s smart to neutralize it.  We do have a recent example of how a political party neutralized the effect of a polarizingly partisan figure who really was a political pariah (alliteration intended).

In November 1998, when (1) Newt Gingrich had to resign because he was caught in an ethical trap (he took money and didn’t report it) and led the GOP to defeat in the ’98 midterms, and then (2) they handed the speakership to Bob Livingston, who had to resign a month later due to illicit affairs that came out (while they were trying to impeach Clinton for a blow job), the GOP was typically behind an eight ball of their own making.  The next in line and the actual power in their caucus at that point, was “The Hammer” Texas Congressman and former pest control expert Tom DeLay, a truly vile human who even Republicans had to agree could not be speaker.

What DeLay did was work to have friendly, white haired, avuncular Denny Hastert, a benign Santa Claus of man, named speaker.  Since then we’ve found out that Santa was an abuser of young men when he was a popular wrestling coach back home in illinois, but at the time he seemed like a perfect Norman Rockwell version of a midwestern grandfather.  DeLay would run the Republican caucus and the House, but Hastert was the face of the party, DeLay’s beard.

Pelosi could take herself out of the running for being speaker if the Democrats get the House back.  That would take her off the playing field as an effective boogie woman for the GOP.  Find her a friendly beard to be speaker.  Preferably one that wasn’t a wrestling coach.

 

An Uncontested Divorce Could Have Been Granted Right After This Picture Was Taken

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Does it even have to be said that nobody with a vagina would have procreated with those two lumpy gravy loads on the right if mounds of money were not involved.

Not in photo – Ivanka has a pistol in her left hand with nozzle buried in Vanessa’s left hip.

Coincidence that on the day Mueller subpoenas Trump organization business records one of the junior wives asks for an uncontested divorce with all the attendant money transfers?

Your Investment Adviser Does Not Have to Work in Your Fiduciary Interest, Says the Ediths of the Fifth Circuit

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals says so.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said the fiduciary rule bears the hallmarks of “unreasonableness” and constitutes an arbitrary and capricious exercise of administrative power.

Of course it’s unreasonable to make your financial advisers act in your best interests rather than their own, in a country where money is speech and corporations are people, it makes perfect sense.

In a scathing majority opinion, Judge Edith Jones, a Ronald Reagan appointee, agreed.

“Only in DOL’s semantically created world do salespeople and insurance brokers have ‘authority’ or ‘responsibility’ to ‘render investment advice,’” Jones wrote in the court’s opinion.

“The DOL interpretation, in sum, attempts to rewrite the law that is the sole source of its authority. This it cannot do.”

Judge Edith Clement, who sided with Jones, was nominated to the court by President George H. W. Bush.  (emphasis added)

This will certainly be challenged as two Ediths can never be allowed to make such an important decision.

Also, in a related decision 2+2 now equals 5. So says the Ediths!  Obey the Ediths!

Now if it was 30 Helens it would probably make more sense.

Carry on.

Steve Bannon Says He’s “Fascinated by Mussolini”

Well, of course he is.  Mussolini certainly wore his racism and xenophobia as a badge of honor as Bannon instructed the French National Front to do.

I hope he’s as “fascinated” with how Mussolini ended up.

When Farrell asked Bannon whether his ideology is similar to fascism, Bannon replied, “This is all theoretical bullshit. I don’t know. Populism, fascism — who cares?”

“Just as long as somebody will pay me to come out and give incoherent speeches and buy collared shirts to layer, I’m good.”

INFRASTRUCTURE

It’s bad enough that we haven’t allocated nearly enough money as a country to maintain our commonwealth at the federal state or local levels.  Even the most essential projects (like the Hudson River tunnels or the Portal Bridge) are turned into political hackysacks to kick around while all the great stuff built in the late 19th, early 20th centuries by smarter, wiser public servants degrade.

When new stuff is built so poorly that people die it’s a sign of the governmental apocalypse. Brand new, still working on it and boom!

We just have to be really, really grateful that our predecessors in infrastructure generally knew what they were doing, (so good we took their works for granted and kept putting off maintenance and replacement).  It’s one thing when we lament that the refrigerator we grew up with was the refrigerator we grew up with, lasting as much as 15-20 years! never needing replacement, and today even large consumer durable buys like a refrigerator or washing machine feel like they have about 5 good years and kablooey, need another trip to Best Buy.  Don’t even get me started about cars.

Infrastructure projects should give you 50 years without thinking about it except for a coat of paint every few years (and they put that off too).

Maybe it’s me but I can’t remember the last report of a new piece of hardware failing so catastrophically so quickly.  People will likely go to jail and hopefully the entire industry will sit up and take notice.