Tim Wu Discovers the Faux Progressive Demagogues

One of the main lessons from the Sept. 9th Democratic Primary is that you have to be really careful before you trust someone who uses the word “progressive” on dozens of expensive, glossy mailings paid for by large donations from out of district. Because “progressive” has lost it’s meaning. Cuomo, WFP, and Bill de Blasio have corrupted the word locally, to the point where I just want to go back to the old fashioned word “liberal.” Of course they have different roots, and hence different meanings, but they have come to be considered synonyms where liberal is used by those with guts and a real dedication to liberal values, while “progressive” is used by people who are wimpy when it comes to actual, traditional American liberal values and/or who just talk the talk while walking with big money interests over the interests of the working and middle class.

People are starting to see through these faux progressives. A perfect example is this from a Capital News interview with Tim Wu:



CAPITAL: What about [Mayor] Bill de Blasio? Was his backing of Hochul just politics?

WU: I guess I’d have to draw a comparison between Eric Schneiderman and Bill de Blasio. I think Eric Schneiderman handled himself with dignity. He sort of voiced one of these lukewarm party endorsements. … De Blasio, there was a progressive candidate and a conservative candidate in the race, and de Blasio went to war against the progressive candidate and all but ensured the conservative victory. I find it challenging to respect that decision. Even if it wasn’t me. It was me, but I find that challenging. People had said that about de Blasio before, and I had refused to believe it. I had held out more faith in him. I no longer hold out that faith.

I could have told Tim Wu, once you know Bill de Blasio, you quickly lose faith in him. Those of us who dealt with Bill de Blasio back in his City Council days knew this a long time ago and haven’t trusted him for years. But slowly it is becoming clearer to more people.

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A Postmortem of New York’s Primary Election: The Good, the Bad, and the Indicted

Yesterday, and the lead up to it, was quite a whirlwind. I did some very hard and interesting poll work. Helping residents of a nursing home vote absentee was very rewarding and gave me a chance to observe voting patterns passively as a non-partisan part of our democracy. Working the polls on election day was one of the hardest days of work I have done, but also was rewarding. Not only helping people vote, but helping them with a smile so they felt good about being part of democracy. Being used to being in the thick of the fight, it was nice to be able to stand back and simply make sure the whole process went smoothly and fairly. Maybe I will have recovered enough by November to do it again in the general election.

But yesterday there were also lessons for many people who participated in the brawl of the fight and the outcomes thereof. Here is my summary of what I saw in the races I focused on the most.

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I am getting up 4 AM tomorrow to work 18 hours so people can vote

Tomorrow I will be a poll worker in NYC’s primary election. I spent a whole day getting trained. It was intense and tomorrow will be intense. I already have done one day as a poll worker helping residents in a nursing home vote absentee. I was very rewarding. But not too hard. It took patience and a good smile, but not too taxing. Tomorrow could be an 18 hour day…I will get up at 4 AM to be there at 5 AM ready to go. I won’t be done until probably after 10 PM. In some years when the same machines were first being used people worked much longer. I have to be prepared for that.

All so you all can vote.

I have been pushing hard for some candidates I consider excellent. Once I go to bed tonight (very soon!) I will give up my advocacy, because for all day tomorrow I will not be advocating for any candidate. I will simply serve every voter, facilitating the democratic process. I am looking forward to it.

All New Yorkers, PLEASE VOTE. Turnout will be low and will be dominated by the wealthy and powerful unless we all go out and vote. So get out and vote, folks. It is as simple as that. GET OUT AND VOTE TOMORROW. No excuses. Period.

As my parting shot (Parthian shot…) I leave you, below the fold, with a reminder of the key endorsements I have gathered in key races.

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NY State Democratic Primary Sept. 9th–Major Endorsement Rundown

Next Tuesday is an important primary day in NY State. I have been following several key races (Gov., Lt. Gov., State Senate, Assembly, and one Civil Court race). There are a couple of other key primaries I have not been following, so I can try adding if people want. But below are key endorsements for these key races. I pick a variety of organizations: LGBT, Choice, education, environment, Howard Dean inspired clubs, ethnic papers and organizations, reform clubs (fighting corruption within the Democratic Party), etc.

I hope this helps people make choices. Please spread the word.

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Bombshell: Special counsel to Moreland Commish endorses Zephyr Teachout

Via Daily Kos:

When I joined the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption (“the Moreland Commission”) as special counsel during the summer of 2013, I knew Albany’s history of corruption, and relished the opportunity to investigate it and offer ideas for reform.  Like many of those who participated in or followed our work, I found hotbeds of scandal, apathy and mediocrity beyond even my low expectations.  The person who disappointed me most during my time on the Commission was Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The opportunity that has been lost by the Commission’s neutering, then disbandment, is more significant than most people realize, and the level of the governor’s interference more pervasive than press accounts suggest.  And while ethics may seem like a single issue in a large and complicated state, what I observed showed me what little regard Governor Cuomo and his senior staff have for the press, the public, and people with integrity who work in government.   Their disdain for ethics colors the way they govern the entire state.[...]

When voting on September 9th, Democratic primary voters will have a choice between two competing visions of democracy, corruption and progressivism.   It would be great vindication to Commissioners and Commission staff denied the opportunity to finish their corruption investigations if voters could deliver the mandate for reform that the Commission’s work could not be.  That’s why this former special counsel to the Commission is voting Zephyr Teachout for Governor on September 9th.

Go read the whole thing.

What are you doing to win right now? We need all hands on deck!

A lot of people talk about what gets attention on a blog. But the truth is BLOGS don’t win elections. Money and footwork does. This blog is NOTHING if it doesn’t get people actually HELPING OUT with money or time. We may influence a few votes by blogging, but fundamentally, it takes cash and feet to win an election, not space on a blog. Blogs can help do that, but if they ignore the down-to-earth efforts, that blog will not be significant.

What are you doing to help reform candidates win next week? What are you doing to win nationally in November? If your only answer ignores spending some dollars or hours of your time, then your impact is minimal. Now is the time to get busy. If you can do cash then donate cash. If you can do a c0uple hours of time then do so. If you THINK you can’t do either, you are probably wrong and should find the dollars and couple of hours you can put in. Or at least try to recruit others who will.

I am “lucky.” I am currently unemployed, so I have some time on my hands. But I also feel like everyone who spends any time posting on blogs probably could be doing more towards winning for reform, progressive, liberal, democratic/Democratic victories in primaries and in the general election. What are you doing? Can you do more?

I am job hunting and being stay-at-home father for my son (age almost 10 and a handful with ASD but also wonderful). My main source of income is unemployment with occasional supplements from folk like you who buy from my Amazon Store (yes, it does help a little), or from folk who hire me freelance for tutoring/resume writing/etc. ( really helpful) or for science editing  (D. Michaelson). I am loving spending so much time with my son, but I also am dedicating time towards advancing reform and liberal politics both locally and nationally.

Below is what I am doing. What are you doing and how can people help? Can anyone help the efforts I am pushing? It is easy to post online and denigrate the efforts of local organizations. But the truth is, feet on the ground and dollars are what win elections. What are you doing to provide these critical resources to the candidates you support? We have one week to reform Albany and about 2 months to win nationally…and I am sure you have some stuff to add. So add it here. We can all help each other. See below for what I am doing and my challenge for you to beat me.

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Right WIng Religious Fanatics Can Kiss My Patriotic Ass

In response to the news (posted by Dan Jacoby on Facebook) that some anti-American mayor in Florida threw out an atheist for refusing to stand for religious statements in a public meeting, I decided to compile a list (incomplete, mind you) of quotes from Presidents of the United States expressing the fundamental importance of the separation of church and state for America. The right wing Republicans and Tabaggers are fundamentally anti-American in their efforts to cram their particularly intolerant religious beliefs down our throats.

Quotes selected from this site:

One of the FIRST founding fathers and our second President:

“The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion.” ~John Adams, as stated in the signed Treaty of Tripoli in 1797

How about the dude who, more than anyone, shaped our system of government…oh, and our third President:

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, 1814

More below…

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Reform and the NY Times Endorsements–For once I largely agree with the Gray Lady

The NY Times has a tendency to follow fairly predictable, very mainstream, and not always progressive paths. I won’t say I always DISagree with them, but we aren’t always on the same page. Even though I once strongly influenced one of their endorsements with my blogging on the dearly departed Daily Gotham (if email exchanges I was shown are accurate)…or, more to the point, strongly influenced their decision NOT to endorse in one election. And I have to say they talked to me about another election, almost directly quoted me, and never gave me credit, but that is another story…and the reason I seldom actually LINK to the NY Times.

However, in the endorsements the NY Times have made for the Sept. 9th primary in NYC, we are strongly in agreement for once. I was one of the first people to post that the NY Times endorsed Tim Wu for Lt. Governor. Now I can report (in not so timely a fashion) their endorsements for some other races. Since they dove tail well with an Act Blue Page of mine, I will give my comments on these races as well.

For my Reform Albany 2014 Act Blue Page, please click here if you just want to cut to the chase and donate to good candidates. For more info on the candidates the NY Times and I agree on, please see below.

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NY Times Endorses Tim Wu for Lt. Gov.

Although endorsements are not encouraged by the site’s Power that Be, this seems worth reporting.

Following on the heels of the NY Times refusal to endorse Andrew Cuomo for Gov, it announces its endorsement of Tim Wu for Lt. Gov. Two blows to Cuomo.

It was also pointed out to me by a fellow blogger that a win by Tim Wu on Sept. 9 will largely kill the reactionary Independence Party because they will not be able to get their fusion votes and so lose automatic ballot access.

Support Wu. Teachout, and other reformers through my Reform Albany Act Blue Site.

Happy Birthday, New York.

Well, kinda: it’s actually tomorrow. On August 26th, 1664, a detachment of the Royal Navy hove to off Brooklyn and the Battery, in an unsubtle message to the Dutch colonists of New Amsterdam: The British Empire is here, and congratulations, you’re a part of it now. It took some back and forth, including a guarantee that the city’s bars – public houses as they were then called – would remain unmolested and open for business, continuing our town’s long love affair with intoxication and making for an easy transition. Cocktails of course came later, just in time for F. Scott Fitzgerald.

After the bloodless handover, New Amsterdam became New York, not named after old York in the mother country, but for the King’s brother, the Duke of York. No wonder we’re still infatuated with royalty.

And here we are now, no longer English, or British, just Americans of old stock (1612, bitches) or fresh off the boat, it matters not, a glorious mix of mutts all living in (relative) peace in the greatest City in the world.

Happy Birthday, New York. I love you.