Inmates in charge of the asylum

We hear that New York City Mayor de Blasio is giving his daily briefing now. He’s sitting six feet away for his Health Commissioner, but neither are wearing face masks. I had thought he was doing a decent job but I’m beginning to have second thoughts.

As of 13 April 2020, the city has more confirmed coronavirus cases than China, where the epidemic began; the United Kingdom; and Iran.[8] The encompassing state of New York has more cases than any foreign country worldwide.[9] [from Wikipedia, April 15, 2020]

And on to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo: He, too, sounded good on TV. But, even in a pandemic, he always has time to shit on de Blasio. And the state’s coronavirus numbers are . . . impressive?

Still, either de Blasio or Cuomo would be better than President 45.

Are some of the presidential candidates smoking something or just trying to blow smoke?

This just in from Neil B. Goldstein, long-time New York politico:

At least a couple of the Democratic Presidential candidates have argued that it’s not enough to merely defeat Trump and elect a traditional Democrat. They passionately tell us that compromise solutions have failed our nation in the past, and led to the subsequent election of Republicans. What the country needs now, and is yearning for, they say, is fundamental change. And they tell us that, if they are elected, that is what they will deliver.

So, is there any realistic chance that can do what they say. Or is it all delusional “happy talk” aimed at voters so desperate for change that they are willing to suspend mature judgment and be conned one more time?

The problem with fulfilling these candidates’ vision and their promises is that enacting the ambitious, fundamental change they propose requires the votes of Congress. And that’s not going to happen as long as there continues to be a Republican Senate majority under Mitch McConnell. So, it turns out that the single most crucial question to ask in 2020 isn’t, which Presidential candidate is most electable? It’s, which Presidential candidate is going to make it possible to win the Senate?

Let me put that more precisely, because it’s so important: WHICH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WILL ENABLE US TO ELECT DEMOCRATS TO THE SENATE IN THOSE STATES WHERE REPUBLICAN SEATS ARE WINNABLE, AND WILL MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO RETAIN ANY DEMOCRATIC SENATORS WHO ARE VULNERABLE? The answer to that question — and the choice we make in response to that answer is crucial, because, unless we can capture the Senate, too, all those ideas about fundamental change go right out the window. In fact, even modest change (e.g. restoring a liberal Supreme Court majority) will remain impossible under a Democratic President without a Democratic Senate.

According to my reading, those states that are in play are Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Colorado and Maine. Take a good look at that list when you choose who you want to head our Party’s ticket. The special election taking place this month in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional district tells us quite a bit about what the Republican strategy will be to hold those seats. What is going on there, shows that the Republican strategy to paint the Democrats as a party of radicals continues to work to defeat us in North Carolina. And it could work in the other key Senate states as well. In that contest, the Republicans are trying to paint the Democrat, Allen Thomas, as a socialist radical — tying him to Ilhan Omar, Rashid Tlaib, AOC, Bernie Sanders and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

And their strategy is working . . . the Republican is ahead by 9 points! Sure, a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could stop building Trump’s border wall or put an end to Trump’s family separation policy through executive action alone . . . ANY Democrat could and would. But their plans to outlaw private health insurance or to address the climate change crisis will require Senate acquiescence, and that will require a Democratic majority in the Senate. The irony is that, if they top the ticket, that’s not going to happen.

Danny O’Donnell wimps out . . . and loses big time

Back in September of 2018, one of our American correspondents alerted us to this mailing from Danny O’Donnell, the Assembly Member from New York State’s 69th Assembly District:

Danny O'Donnell for Public Advocate - logo

Announcing an Exploratory Committee for the Office of New York City Public Advocate

Dear Neighbor,

As you may know, our current New York City Public Advocate, Letitia James, has won the Democratic nomination for New York State Attorney General. I will be supporting her against her Republican opponent in the General Election in November, ensuring that this important office stays blue in New York State. I’m confident Tish will secure a victory, and will be starting her new role on January 1st, thereby vacating the office of Public Advocate.

I have been incredibly lucky to serve you in the New York State Assembly for nearly sixteen years. However, I have grown concerned by the increased use of unchecked executive power – from the White House, to Albany, to right here at home in New York City.

Each time I observe an over-reach by an executive, I’m struck by the need for someone who provides checks and balances, and the importance of a truly independent person filling that role. Such a position requires a leader who can do the job boldly and demand accountability. Furthermore, because of the importance of the Public Advocate as a check to the Mayor, I firmly believe that the office should not be viewed as a springboard to the Mayor’s mansion. Just as important, we must demand a Public Advocate who pledges to refuse money from corporations and real estate interests.

We deserve a Public Advocate who will keep our city on track and hold a magnifying glass to promises made by our Mayor. The city has set many fast-approaching goals that the Public Advocate will need to make sure we meet, and some that we have a moral imperative to meet early:

2020 Ending the AIDS epidemic
2027 Closing Rikers Island
2030 Eliminating all trash to landfills
2050 Eliminating 80% of NYC’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

We also deserve a Public Advocate who will bring a bullhorn to the corruption and disorganization of NYCHA, who will call for increased police transparency, and who will demand fairer and more inclusive city contracts.

I’ve never been afraid to call out those in power for acting out of self-interest instead of for the public good, even when it meant that I was the lone voice in the room. I’ve been proud to advocate in Albany for all New Yorkers over the last 16 years, where with your support we passed Marriage Equality and the Dignity for All Students Act; we lowered the speed limit to 25 MPH; and took away all guns from those convicted of domestic violence.

I’m ready to continue fighting for you as NYC Public Advocate. However, I believe all votes must be earned, and I keep my constituents in mind with each decision I make. That’s why as I continue to discuss this possible next step with my husband, family, and friends, I’d love to hear from you as well. Click here to share your thoughts on what the office of Public Advocate means to you and what you hope this next iteration of the role includes, or if you’d like to get involved!

I look forward to earning your vote.

Very truly yours,

Danny O'Donnell - signature

Our correspondent replied as follows:

Dear Mr. O’Donnell,

  1. In your announcement, you refer to “unchecked executive power . . . right here at home in New York City.” Could you name a couple examples?
  2. You say “ . . . even when it meant that I was the lone voice in the room.” Can you provide some examples?
  3. You say “We also deserve a Public Advocate who will bring a bullhorn to the corruption and disorganization of NYCHA . . .” Can you list the times you spoke on the record about the problems at NYCHA?
  4. Controller Scott Stringer has issued several blistering reports about NYCHA.
    1. As Public Advocate, what could you do that Scott has not already done?
    2. What did you do in Albany to prevent Governor Cuomo’s systematic starvation of NYCHA funding?
    3. If you think that the problems at NYCHA are not state problems, shouldn’t you be running for City Council or Congress?

I look forward to your reply.

Having received no reply, our correspondent again sent the questions to Mr. O’Donnell in January. Nary a peep was heard from O’Donnell.

The Public Advocate election was finally held yesterday. Preliminary returns show that Jumaane Williams won the 17-way race with about 33% of the vote and that O’Donnell came in a distant 6th with about 2.9%.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney — Loon?

New Yorkers will be pleased to learn that Rep. Carolyn Maloney has earned a listing in the Encyclopedia of American Loons for her repeated sponsorship of legislation to “investigate” the connection between autism and vaccination.

Maloney is not actually a loon — she’s done a lot of good in Congress — but her sponsorship of H.R.2832 and H.R.1757 was a huge embarrassment. At least she’s scrubbed all mention of them from her website.

Obama — Eight years in office and he didn’t learn shit

Former President Barack Obama attends Baker Institute gala at Rice University

The 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, took part in a moderated conversation at the 25th anniversary gala of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

HOUSTON – Rice University’s Baker Institute celebrates 25 years with the help of special guest of honor, former President Barack Obama.

“Reaching across the aisle” was the driving theme for the discussion between Obama and former Secretary of State, James Baker III. The discussion worked to also address the need for more civility in our political and public discourse.

Republicans are busy drilling holes in the bottom of the ship of state and Obama wants bipartisanship? First, throw overboard all those who are trying to kill the passengers. Then talk bipartisanship.


Cuomo? Oy!

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Democratic Party both acknowledge the existence of a false piece of campaign material that wrongly implied that his primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, was anti-Semitic.

The execrable mailer, which Cuomo denied any knowledge of, apparently came from the New York State Democratic Committee. Not only is Cuomo the de facto head of that committee, but as far as I can tell, every single Cuomo mailing in the recent primary came out of that committee.

Sources: New York Times, New York Daily News.

Whither goest the Mueller probe?

MrMild has cautioned me against making predictions: “What’s the point?” he says. “They’ll either come true or they won’t.”

Nevertheless, here I go . . .

Mueller has already crossed Donald Trump’s “red line” by delving into the family finances, but has yet to target Trump himself or members of Trump’s family. What I see happening is that Mueller is drawing the noose tighter around Trump. Mueller has already seen Manafort convicted, Cohen pleading guilty, Pecker and Weisselberg getting immunity deals.

What’s next? Well, here comes the prediction: Mueller will further tighten the noose by flipping the rest of Trump’s executives. Mueller knows who they are, but for those keeping score at home, here’s a handy list. And another. Then there are the campaign staffers, and the inaugural committee.

Two final predictions (because I cannot help myself): Trump gets impeached, and ends up in Moscow where Putin gives him asylum.