A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old
and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and
disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel
Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add
or would like to make an empty threat, please contact
Michael McNulty And Dick Cheney
Our congressional representative from the
21st District has been reinventing himself, but still hasn’t
This past May The Wife and I caught Ralph Nader at the Spectrum
Theater on Delaware Avenue, in town to flog the new biographical
movie about his life, An
Unreasonable Man. Whatever you think about
him, Nader’s an amazing guy.
Among other things, in both the movie and during his more than
hour long talk, he argued quite convincingly that his presidential
candidacy in 2000 is not the reason why Al Gore lost the election.
After all, Gore did win. Our political system failed, and we all
allowed it to happen.
Nader’s big point was that the we, the standing room only
crowd present that night at the Spectrum, were the ones who could
prevent such nonsense from happening again. “How many of
you here tonight,” he asked us, “spend one hundred
hours a year trying to get your congress person to do the right
Ralph Nader, From "Who Killed The Electric Car?" 2006
I did some quick calculations in my head. How much time do I devote
to irritating Michael McNulty each year?
Let’s see, there’s the letters, emails, and such.
I sure have been known to spend a bit of time having emphatic discussions
with other people about the guy. Let’s not forget my duties
as a Democratic Committee Man, attending events where Michael McNulty
is present and making sure that he notices me. And then there’s
the decision every two years whether or not I should carry his
And there’s my blog. Does that count? Well, my
very second post on this site was all about McNulty’s extremely reluctant
vote against the bogus impeachment of then president Bill Clinton
back in 1998. The post included this passage:
...McNulty was stringing together catch phrases and talking points
that he had lifted directly from the corporate media, the same
verbiage that we had all been subjected to for months. If you closed
your eyes, McNulty almost sounded like a certain cowardly, lying
AM radio talk show host who has an addiction to oxycontin.
Over the next month I heard several reports about how McNulty
would be giving a speech. Then, at some point in the middle, apropos
of nothing, he would start talking about how much he hated Rush
How about that, huh? I’ll bet somebody in his office reads
my blog. So yeah, I spent damn near a hundred hours last year annoying
my congressional representative.
I shot up my hand and received a surprised look from Ralph
Nader. I think that maybe three people total in the movie theater
raised their hands. “See” Mr. Nader said, “presumably the people who
came here tonight are the ones who are aware of current events. But
look how few hands went up! Imagine how things would be if everyone
of you spent a hundred hours a year influencing your congress person.”
Well, it has occurred to me that this year is more than half over
and I have racked up no where near one hundred hours making Michael
McNulty grind his teeth.
Part of the reason I’ve left him alone is that last year
the man was frantically shedding his rad righty virtual Republican
image and voting record. But that was before his reelection.
Way back in the pre-internet days of the 1990s, it made perfect
sense for him to take precise orders from the corporate media.
After all, his constituents had no other sources of information.
The corporate media had the power to make or break him.
I will repeat a story I’ve told at least twice before. It
needs to be repeated. Especially now that State Senator Joe Bruno
is repeating a version of it.
I believe that it is extremely likely that for many years the
Hearst owned Times Union exercised powerful control over Michael
McNulty, directly giving him instructions.
Specifically, in all probability a character named Timothy O.
White threatened to destroy McNulty in print if he did not behave
and vote on the floor of Congress like a politically correct Republican
clone. Which McNulty did, for many years.
It’s called “horse trading.” Timothy O. White
eventually admitted on a witness stand that he made a career out
of threatening politicians. And it was also established in court
that his employers at Hearst condoned the practice.
Joe Bruno On The Rails
Does the “Albany” Times Union still threaten
politicians? Consider this passage from a
recent article from the Troy Record that a reader of this blog pointed out (thanks, Corey.)
It seems that no less a personage than Senator Joe Bruno, the most
powerful Gop in the State, accused them of horse trading:
Bruno said a Times Union ad representative called
the press office Tuesday, said he was sympathetic to the senator's
bad coverage and told Spokesman Mark Hansen that buying an ad
would be an "effective
way to let the public know about the good things the senator
is doing and to get across his side of the story."
Ha ha ha I love it when they whine. The current version of Timothy
O. White of course denied everything:
Times Union Publisher Mark Aldam, in a statement,
acknowledged an ad representative did call Bruno's office but
an opportunity to respond to the recent online advertising campaign
by the New York State Democratic Committee." He denied there
was an offer to trade good coverage for advertising revenue and
maintains the news department is a distinctly separate entity
from the advertising department.
Yes, certainly, you bet. Mark Aldam, like Timothy O. White did,
sports the improbable job title of “publisher.” A more
accurate title for both of them would be Commissar for the Corporation,
the manager in charge of making sure that the corporate political
agenda is kept ideologically pure in all printed and spoken content
at all times. Not to mention shaking down politicians:
Hansen countered by saying, "I found the publisher's account of my conversation as inaccurate as the paper's reporting." He said the advertising representative, Gary Labelle, never told him anything about the online ads by the state Democrats and "made his pitch to sell ads in the context of his paper's negative coverage of the senator...
"The response of Publisher Mark Aldam is another example
of twisted facts and distortions so common to the Times Union," Hansen
said in a statement...
Meanwhile, Bruno Communication Director John McArdle, in a letter
to [Albany County District Attorney David] Soares, requested the
DA investigate Labelle for attempting to extort money from Bruno
and the Senate.
These days, thanks to the internet, there are diverse ways not
only for the content consumer to receive information, but now anybody
can fact check in a matter of minutes. Corporate media outlets
like the Hearst Times Union still twist the news and lie like pee-stained
rugs, but these days they have to concoct their falsehoods with
more circumspection. Competition often has that healthy effect
on the marketplace.
And in the last year and a half we have a new and different Michael
McNulty, one who somewhat more closely represents the convictions
of his constituents instead of fearfully pandering to the corporate
agenda. One can only conclude that he accurately believes that
the Hearst boys and girls no longer have the power to break his
As a sign of his independence from fear of the corporate media,
about a year and a half ago McNulty did a complete about face on
his original enthusiastic support for The White House’s War
Against Iraq. He
joined the then fledgling Out Of Iraq Caucus.
He was also up for reelection. As a result, he won handily over
At the time his reversal on The War was thought to be something
big, but with the power of hindsight we know that he made a smart
political move. He knew damn well that if he continued to support
the Halliburton War of Profit he would have to fight desperately
to keep his job. It’s got to be hard to campaign for office
if you are afraid of angry people getting in your face every time
you step outside your office.
Well, now that the election is over and tucked away, McNulty no
longer has any incentive to fight to end the War. He refuses to
join the growing movement to remove from position of authority
the vile and demented Emperor of the United States, Sneering Dick
Cheney. When asked why not, all he does is equivocate and obfuscate,
as we can see in this
recent letter to The Wife.
Dennis Kucinich, 2006
Last March 25, on a cold snowy day, presidential
candidate and fellow congress person Dennis
Kucinich came to Albany and delivered a long, rip-roaring speech
at First Church in Albany on North Pearl Street. Despite a near blackout by the
local corporate media, the big hall in the church was packed to
overflowing, with audience standing in the hallway straining to
hear the man.
I’m happy to say that The Wife recorded his
speech. The sound in this mp3 link is a bit low at the beginning,
but becomes clearer as Mr. Kucinich tears into his subject matter,
and then boldly takes hard questions from the audience. I couldn’t
help but be impressed. if you have an hour, take a listen:
Dennis Kucinich at First Church, N. Pearl St, Albany, March 25, 2007
Michael McNulty did not attend, not even offering a token appearance
or statement of regret at missing the event. How odd that he would
not show even minimal courtesy for a colleague and presidential
contender. Clearly his absence was meant to be a calculated insult
directed at Mr. Kucinich.
McNulty’s insult was also apparently done in deference to
leading presidential contender, Hillary Clinton. No one was surprised
when McNulty loudly endorsed Clinton on the Capitol steps about
a month back, along with almost every Democratic office holder
within a hundred miles of Albany. (I turned down two sets of tickets
to attend this event. I hate crowds.)
So it should come as no surprise that McNulty does not support
Resolution 333, “Impeaching Richard B. Cheney, Vice
President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.” So
far, the bill has ten sponsors, most recently Hank
Johnson of Georgia,
on June 30. Michael
McNulty has not joined them.
Hillary In Pink
You see, House Resolution 333 was introduced
by none other than Dennis Kucinich. If McNulty were to support
this bill by being a cosponser, he would deliver a grave and dangerous
insult to the presidential candidate of his choice, Hillary Clinton.
And Hillary, as most of us are aware, has been rather reluctant
to rock the boat with things like troop withdrawel and impeachment.
Clearly, she would be very unhappy with McNulty.
To sum up. McNulty will not do the right thing and
call for the impeachment of the most outrageously corrupt and downright
evil ruler this nation has ever experienced. He does not refuse
to do this because of fear of the corporate media, he is no longer
terrorized by the Hearst corporation.
He is not particularly afraid of Cheney or the international corporations
that supply the War. McNulty broke with them when he joined the
Out Of Iraq Caucus.
The Face Of Evil
From all evidence, McNulty will not endorse impeachment
of Cheney partly because he personally does not like Dennis Kucinich,
and partly because he is in absolute awe and terror of Hillary
Meanwhile, the bodies pile up in Iraq. America crawls closer to
corporate dictatorship. Cheney sneers with delight.
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