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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 me.

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September 30, 2014

Andrew Cuomo Can Kiss My Butt

The Blogger rants: the hardline corporatist governor of New York State is not getting my vote this year and it’s time for us to fight and defeat ersatz Democrats like him along with their corporate sponsors

The children repeat the crimes of their fathers precisely because they feel morally superior to them. -Rene Girard

Yes, I’m going to join with all the other commenters and pile myself on top of New York State governor Andrew Cuomo, now that everybody understands the nature of his biggest weakness. His strong win in the September 9 Democratic Primary was a resounding defeat. The thing is, this race was closely watched across the country because it convincingly demonstrated that a new something that is actually very old and powerful is rising among the electorate. Meanwhile, the corporate establishment, represented by Andrew Cuomo, is terrified.

Cuomo racked up a 59.92 percent vote total against an unknown challenger named Zephyr Teachout, who had no political experience and no money and who only managed 33.08 percent. But suddenly even the corporate media is writing Cuomo’s political obituary, stunned by the emerging political reality that they don’t like one bit. It appears that a significant number of voters are beginning to realize that we are being systematically looted to death by corporate traitors, and the voters are starting to identify the politicians responsible.

And it has become blaringly obvious that Andrew Cuomo has been making a serious political error by pandering to the radical right fringe when he should have been accommodating the majority center. Instead he chose to smirkingly dismiss the Liberal mainstream majority voters as irrelevant. Thus ends the carefully crafted illusion that Andrew is a master of politics who learned from the errors of his father, former New York governor Mario Cuomo.

Ungracious Andrew Cuomo (With Sash) Pointedly Ignores His Primary Opponent Zephyr Teachout (Left) At A Parade In NYCUngracious Andrew Cuomo (With Sash) Pointedly Ignores His Primary Opponent Zephyr Teachout (Left) At A Parade In NYC
Ungracious Andrew Cuomo (With Sash) Pointedly Ignores His Primary Opponent Zephyr Teachout (Left) At A Parade In NYC

The first interesting thing is that this last Democratic gubernatorial Primary was purely an issue driven election. Most elections are about competency, that is, the ability of the candidates to handle the office and represent the interests of society as a whole. For the majority of voters in most elections, issues take a back seat to competency, how candidates handle the issues during the campaign is usually seen as an indication of their overall abilities.

Voters did not have to consider competency (not anyone I talked to around here) because no one believed that Zephyr Teachout had any chance of winning and becoming governor. Thus voters could compare Ms. Teachout’s middle-of-the-road common sense American positions with Cuomo’s extreme radical corporatism without worrying about her political experience as compared to his. I swear I detected a sense of uncommon freedom among voters in this election, a sense that they could express their true thoughts at the voting station for once instead of biting their lips and choosing the lesser of two evils.

Zephyr Teachout Logo Made By An Enthusiastic Admirer
Zephyr Teachout Logo Made By An Enthusiastic Admirer

It would be easy to dismiss Ms. Teachout’s stunning results as purely a referendum against Cuomo himself, and that’s sorta kinda how the corporate media is spinning it, an electoral reaction to Andrew’s abrasive personality. Well, you know there was some of that, although that wasn’t a major reason that anyone I talked to filled in the box on the ballot for her and not him. But for most Democratic voters who voted for her, personality was at most secondary to Ms. Teachout’s firm opposition to the creeping scourge of corporatism embodied by Andrew Cuomo.

At this moment there is no mistaking the rising tide of anti-corporatism unless you close your eyes, put your hands over your ears and chant La La La. For instance, you might recall from last June how House Majority Leader and rising media star Eric Cantor went down in spectacular flames in a Republican Primary in Virginia to an unknown college professor named David Brat. Incumbent Cantor spent 24 times as much money as Brat, $5.7 million to $238,000. Apparently money wasn’t the deciding factor in this election... or was it?

The corporate media, always quick to coverup uncomfortable truths, attributed the Virginia upset to the issue of immigration reform, specifically, Cantor wasn’t radical enough, but that explanation didn’t quite make sense. Their other big line was that Cantor didn’t campaign hard enough, which is ridiculous. So that leaves the question, how did Brat win with no money?

Eric Cantor And David Brat
Eric Cantor And David Brat

It appears that the grassroots Re-pub electorate was galvanized by anger at Wall Street and corporate looting. Our crusty old friend Ralph Nader explained that Brat ran as an “anti-corporate conservative:”

Repeatedly, Brat said he was for "free enterprise" but against "crony capitalist programs that benefit the rich and powerful." David Brat pointed out that Cantor and the Republican establishment have "been paying way too much attention to Wall Street and not enough to Main Street." Brat supported "the end of bulk phone and email data collection by the NSA" and other government agencies on constitutional grounds. Professor Brat attacked the Wall Street investment bankers who nearly "broke the financial system," adding the applause line: "these guys should have gone to jail. Instead of going to jail, where did they go? They went to Eric Cantor's Rolodex." An advocate of ethical capitalism, with religious-Christian overtones, Mr. Brat went after the deal-making in Washington, such as Cantor's close relationships with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

However, almost immediately after his win, David Brat went into seclusion and gave almost no interviews, which looked to me like a big red flag. What electoral winner doesn’t like to talk about his win? Unsurprisingly, in the few quick interviews he did give he backpedaled on the anti-corporatism.

As several commenters pointed out, it appears that Brat is a servant of the America-hating billionaire Koch Boys, that his candidacy was not so much a grassroots uprising as a focal point of another money fueled conspiracy by the evil Koch Boys. It turns out that Brat is a Teabagger and a hardline devotee of the amphetamine-fueled political fantasist Ayn Rand, who preached childish selfishness as a virtue, a “philosophy” that appeals to the childish psychotics who promote the corporatist political agenda. As Thom Hartmann pointed out:

[Brat is] strapped to the hilt with billionaire support and billionaire money. In fact, you could argue that he pretty much owes his job to people like the Koch brothers and their cronies. John Allison, the former CEO of BB&T bank and the current head of the Koch-founded Cato Institute, gave Brat's college a $500,000 fellowship back in 2010 so he could teach Ayn Rand and libertarianism at Randolph Macon University. Like hundreds of other college professors across the country these days, David Brat is really just a bought-and-paid-for shill of Charles and David Koch and their buddies.

But that’s not all. Also according to Mr. Hartmann, “The connections between Brat and the dark money machine don't stop there. He was also the hand-picked candidate of the Koch-backed world of right-wing media. Over the past few months, right-wing talkers like Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin have been pushing Brat and attacking Cantor non-stop on their radio shows.”

David And Charles Koch When They Were Snotty Young Inheritors Of Wealth
David And Charles Koch
When They Were Snotty Young Inheritors Of Wealth

Isn’t it interesting that the Koch Boys engineered this win for their servant by appealing to the rising anti-corporatism of the regular “Tea Party” adherents! If that’s what it takes to manipulate people into voting against their own interests and submitting to corporate power, well, I’m sure Ayn Rand herself would be delighted with the Koch Boy’s techniques.

These hidden manipulations by billionaires who inherited a lot more money than brains was the big difference between the candidacies of Zephyr Teachout and David Brat, and would explain why one college professor won against the incumbent and the other professor didn’t. Unlike Brat, Ms. Teachout had to rely on her own sincerely held positions and her own meager resources. And yet, without any scheming billionaire sponsors, she managed to take a big bite out of Andrew Cuomo’s butt and rearrange the political landscape.

History Book Written By Zephyr Teachout: Might Be A Good Read
History Book Written By Zephyr Teachout: Might Be A Good Read

But the fact remains, both Zephyr Teachout and David Brat won their respective Primaries in different states with much different sets of voters by appealing to the same anti-corporatism. Beyond that, Ms. Teachout declared for basic American values enshrined in the Bill of Rights, while Brat offered up the usual grab bag of current Teabag nonsense, hating Obama and Obamacare, hating immigrants, hating people who can’t find work, that kind of stuff. But both constituencies agreed, the destructive unregulated greed of corporations and their owners is the cause of most of our nation’s worst ongoing problems and something needs to be done by somebody.

One more difference between the two Primaries. Zephyr Teachout spent about the same amount of money as David Brat reported spending, about $283,000 according to the Washington Post. Her opponent Andrew Cuomo reportedly spent about $14 million in the past twelve months, over 38 times as his challenger spent. Of course there is no way to tally what the Koch Boys spent on Brat behind the scenes, but as far as anyone knows Ms. Teachout did not have any equivalent america-hating billionaires spending behind her.

Former NY State Governor Mario Cuomo With Son Andrew, 1982
Former NY State Governor Mario Cuomo With Son Andrew, 1982

I think that one cannot understand the significance of Zephyr Teachout’s accomplishment unless one asks the central question, why did Andrew Cuomo win? Again, the corporate media only gave a piece of the story and carefully held back the most important part. You won’t figure it out by watching TV or reading the dying newspapers, that’s for sure.

Immediately after the polls closed for the Primary a Daily Kos diarist who goes by the handle brooklynbadboy did a plain and straightforward analysis of voting patterns by election district in New York City. Upstate New York went for Ms. Teachout, which shocked everybody, but Cuomo managed to capture New York City and the downstate suburbs for the win. It is well understood that winning The City in a Statewide election is almost guaranteed to carry the State, no surprise with that.

What brooklynbadboy discovered is that Ms. Teachout won the wealthy, upscale and gentrified neighborhoods in NYC, and Cuomo, the friend of the corporate rich, overwhelmingly won the poor, the working class, and the ethnic neighborhoods! For example, Ms. Teachout won with 68 percent in the upscale 52nd district in Brooklyn. Brooklynbadboy points out:

This district includes Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, parts of Park Slope, DUMBO, and other very high income areas. In fact, a very healthy portion of your Wall Street professional class workforce lives in this district. There are broad sections of this district that are almost exclusively white.

But when you look at Brooklyn’s 45th district, Cuomo won by not merely a landslide, it was a blowout. Again, from brooklynbadboy:

It is a community I know very well as I have many relatives and friends here. It is heavily Black, the majority of whom have their roots in the islands of the Caribbean and South America. Teachout got clobbered here, losing 88 to 10. It is a very working class neighborhood with a great deal of poor mixed in. A populist candidate running against Governor 1% shouldn't get beat here unless there is something wrong.

And the same pattern held all throughout New York City. Brooklynbadboy avoids a conclusion, but points out that something important was lacking from Ms. Teachout’s campaign to get results like that. But he came close to the real reason when he wrote, “Zephyr Teachout did not have the kind of money it would take to make a credible challenge, but she did manage to win some districts. So she did get known, she just didn't get known where it mattered most.”

Zephyr Teachout Campaigning In NY City Early September, Assisted By Albany County Legislator Doug Bullock
Zephyr Teachout Campaigning In NY City Early September, Assisted By Albany County Legislator Doug Bullock

The explanation is plain and obvious. Ms. Teachout, with almost no money and with no self-hating billionaires secretly advancing her candidacy, ran most of her campaign on social media. I know that to be true. For example, she won Albany County, but did anyone see any lawn signs for her in the County (other than the homemade signs I posted on my property?) Like everyone else I know I learned about her online, or by talking to people who had found out about her on things like Facebook.

Surprisingly she or her supporters did send out exactly one postal mailing, which I suspect was limited and very selective (I’m known as a “frequent Primary voter.”) In contrast, every single day for over two weeks and for two days after Primary day I received one or more dead tree mailings from either Cuomo or his detestable rad righty running mate for Lieutenant Governor, Cathy Hochul. Plus it seemed that everytime I was near a radio or TV I heard an ad for Cuomo.

So who watches politics on social media? Why, the rich and the middle class white people. Who doesn’t do online politics or anywhere near as much social media as rich white people? The poor, the working class, and the ethnic groups, who basically voted for the name they were most familiar with, Cuomo. The lesson here is that if one wants to reach the most dis or un-enfranchised constituencies with media, then one must have access to TV and radio.

Andrew Cuomo And Former Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings At The Despicable Fort Orange Club, 2005
Andrew Cuomo And Former Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings At The Despicable Fort Orange Club, 2005

The other lesson, perhaps the one most upsetting to the corporatists, is that anyone can run an effective, low cost campaign by running almost exclusively on the internet. An obscenely big campaign chest full of corporate donated dollars is no longer a requirement of electoral success. If you have an appealing, viable candidacy to offer, and there is widespread dissatisfaction with your incumbent opponent, then all you have to do is get the word out online and it is quite possible that you can win, or at least build a solid base of support for your next election.

In the corporate media Cuomo had carefully crafted an image as the leader who is finally tackling the economic problems of upstate. But most of us who live upstate would beg to differ. Across the State these past four years I’ve heard mostly disgust and anger with Cuomo for a variety of reasons.

Anti-Fracking Sign In Otego, Delaware County
Anti-Fracking Sign In Otego, Delaware County

For example, Delaware County, which The Wife walked across over a year ago on her way to Binghamton, went for Teachout over Cuomo 62.5 to 33, a landslide. Why such a “conservative” part of the State would go for Ms. Teachout is all about the issue of fracking, which is going on almost unchecked across the border of Delaware County in Pennsylvania. Folks down there see what gas extraction is doing to the Pennsylvania landscape and drinking water, they are enraged at Cuomo’s high-handed refusal to prevent the frackers from slithering into their County and destroying their communities.

The only section of upstate that went heavily for Cuomo was the far western Counties past Rochester, including Buffalo. I’m not sure why that is, but in the general election in November 2009 this was the only part of the State that went heavily against Cuomo. I wonder if a breakdown of the City of Buffalo’s election districts would reveal a similar pattern as New York City, with the lower income and ethnic communities going for the familiar incumbent.

Zephyr Teachout Campaigning In Front Of The NY State Education Building, Albany
Zephyr Teachout Campaigning In Front Of The NY State Education Building, Albany

Meanwhile the entire Capital District went for Ms. Teachout. I’m not exactly sure why Saratoga County or Schoharie County went for her (bigger vote totals for her than Albany County) but I know why people voted against Cuomo in downtown Albany. Here’s a few reasons:

Cuomo’s Casinos We want and need economic development, but instead Andrew saddles us with these money extracting gambling operations. Some people were seduced by the false promise of casino jobs and revenue, thinking that this is the best that we can expect from the State. But as time goes on, more and more people around here have become ready to come after the governor with pitchforks and tar barrels over this harmful nonsense.

The fear is that Cuomo will feel stung by the voters and retaliate by denying funds for Albany, and by not cooperating with Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan. The mayor has done her best to make nice with Andrew, introducing him at the Democratic nominating convention last summer and pushing his stupid casinos. But will he now refuse to pay PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) for tax exempt State land in Albany?

Unequal Taxation Cuomo threw some tax cut breadcrumbs at small property owners at the beginning of the year. But that, of course, was a cover for the enormous tax cuts that he is handing corporations, for example his drive to cut the corporate tax rate, and to eliminate some corporate income taxes. And he wants to gut estate taxes, but only for persons who inherit more than a million dollars per year.

Already The Poor Pay The Most Taxes, The Rich Pay The Least (From Shanker Blog)
Already The Poor Pay The Most Taxes, The Rich Pay The Least (From Shanker Blog)

Then there’s the matter of property tax caps, an unfunded mandate for local communities that Cuomo inherited from former governor Eliot Spitzer. As a property owner I’m all in favor of lower property taxes, but I also realize that as corporate and One Percenter taxes go down, guys like me who own property have to make up the difference. In any case, the tax cap is full of holes, if communities could not work around the tax cap then most of upstate New York would go bankrupt in a few years.

And Cuomo has implemented a nasty plan that hits the City of Albany hard. He calls it START-UP NY, zones of no taxation around colleges for “businesses” that want to locate in these zones. But if you read the list of what’s not allowed in the zones, you begin to realize that local small businesses are prohibited and only large corporations qualify. In other words, it’s another gift to the corporations at our expense.

And “no taxes” means that neither the City or County of Albany can tax the corporations that set up shop in the zones around the colleges. Now, how many colleges are located in our community? Suddenly, when our new mayor is desperately searching for revenue to close the budget gap left by her financially incompetent predecessor, entire new swaths of the City are off limits to taxation. Speaking of taxes...

Bogus Refunds Cuomo is sending out $350 checks right now to families who claimed children under 18 on their tax forms. I find this sleazy act insulting, Cuomo gives massive tax reductions to his wealthy masters and tosses coins at some of us beggars on the street. But wait, there’s a serious problem with this scheme.

Only If You Are The Right Kind Of New Yorker
Only If You Are The Right Kind Of New Yorker

It turns out that to to be eligible to get the checks you have to have a reported income of between $40,000 a year and $300,000! That’s right, if you made almost three hundred grand you get a refund check, but if you made less than $40,000 then you get dogbutt. There’s a lot of struggling families in my neighborhood who could sure use that check.

This is one more example of how Cuomo is grossly out of touch with the political landscape. He won the Primary election mainly because of votes from the low income people that he carefully denied a refund check, while the people who are getting that $350 check voted against him. Maybe bribery is not an effective way to snag votes.

The Anti-Environmentalist Like any modern corporatist Andrew Cuomo understands the importance of appearing to be green, this appearance of caring about the environment is a necessary cover for environmentally degrading business as usual. Andrew has gutted the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) of personnel. This has made effective environmental review, which is required by State law for most major projects, occasional at best.

Despite carefully crafted appearances, Andrew doesn’t give a rat’s rear end about our environment. This was revealed when he tried to take $511 million dollars out of the Clean Water Revolving Fund to help pay for the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Fortunately the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told him no, but isn’t it interesting that they waited until after the Primary to hand down that decision.

Beaverkill Flooding Behind Elberon Street, August 5, 2014: It Will Happen Again
Beaverkill Flooding Behind Elberon Street, August 5, 2014:
It Will Happen Again

That Clean Water money should be used right here in the City of Albany to build a new Beaverkill drain line and build at least one new sewer line to carry waste from Park South, that way downtown Albany won’t have to worry anymore about the ever increasing devastating floods when the Beaverkill backs up. But now that the voters of Albany have rejected him, I suspect that Andrew will be less than generous toward our problems.

Privatizing Schools Cuomo demonizes public teachers and wants to privatize all education in New York State. He is a servant of “charter” school corporations. Now, I have no objection to private schools. What I and any sensible taxpayer opposes is being forced to pay for these private money-making operations out of our own pockets while watching our public schools and public teachers get hammered by corporatist politicians and their owners.

Oh No They Don’t
Oh No They Don’t

Ethics BS The corporate media settled on Cuomo’s failed promise to effectively enforce ethics in State government as the reason for his unpopularity. Strong evidence eventually surfaced that Cuomo personally stopped his own much touted ethics commission from investigating his own political cronies. I don’t think his lack of action on ethics reform bothered voters much, but added on top of everything else it just makes Andrew look like what he is, a Republican.

So let’s talk about Cuomo’s close affiliation with the extreme right wing radical Republican Party. Remember, this was a Democratic Primary, the vast majority of the voters in this election detest the Re-pubs. While none of these voters want to see another moonbat Gop like George Pataki take over the job of governor, take note that one third of those frequent Democratic voters, the ones who voted for Ms. Teachout, don’t recognize Cuomo as a Democrat.

Rad Righty Opportunist Kathy Hochul, Our Next Lt. Governor
Rad Righty Opportunist Kathy Hochul, Our Next Lt. Governor

First off, there’s the matter of his Lt. Governor running mate Kathy Hochul, a rad righty former Congressional representative. She brags about voting “many times” to repeal Obamacare... as a Democrat. She voted to support the House Re-pubs over the Benghazi bullcrap. She happily states that her main supporters are “conservatives and Republicans.”

In short, she is the kind of ersatz Democrat that needs to be booted from office. But Cuomo, following his gross misreading of the electorate, figured that he could use her to maintain his credentials as a Re-pub. I’m sure Cuomo looked at Hochul and said, “She’s a hardline corporatist like me.” Andrew has worked to not be identified as a majority Liberal, he is most comfortable with the radical right fringe.

During Cuomo’s first gubernatorial election four years ago, evil billionaire David Koch gave Andrew $87,000, and the other Koch brothers gave him another $5000 for a total of $92,000. If you know anything about the Koch Boys and their drive to overthrow the United States government then these contributions tell you everything you need to know about Andrew’s true motives and agenda. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who accepts money from these traitors is irreparably tainted, a bought servant of America’s enemies.

David Flaum Pushing His Casino Project At Giffen Public School Last Summer
David Flaum Pushing His Casino Project At Giffen Public School Last Summer

This past year we all got to know David Flaum from Rochester, the developer who wanted to build a casino in the South End and will probably be chosen by Cuomo to build one across the river in Rensselaer. Flaum is well known as a Re-pub fundraiser, for example he raised substantial amounts to support the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney, John McCain, and for both Daddy Bush and his boy Dubya. Flaum raised money for the legal defense of Dubya Administration advisor Scooter Libby, you will recall that Libby went to prison for exposing the terror-detecting network headed by CIA agent Valerie Plame, basically an act of treason.

And so David Flaum, like the Koch Boys, recognized Andrew Cuomo as one of his kind and raised money for his campaigns. In return for Flaum’s services Andrew is saddling upstate New York with casinos. Flaum is behind the proposed casino in Rensselaer, I’ll be very surprised if that one isn’t chosen by Andrew’s gaming panel to be built in this region.

Andrew Cuomo endorses Republican candidates for State Senator, such as Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie and Mark Grisanti of Binghamton. While the State Re-pub chair has asked his fellow Gops to not endorse Cuomo, no less than the uber-lobbyist and ethical leader of the Re-pubs, Alphonse D’Amato, has enthusiastically endorsed Cuomo. Indeed, it is an open secret that Cuomo is trying to maintain the slim Re-pub majority in the Senate, the last thing he wants is a Democratic Senate that is ready to act on vital issues.

WFP Caucus Last May: Some Party Delegates Turned Their Backs On Cuomo’s Video Address
WFP Caucus Last May: Some Party Delegates Turned Their Backs On Cuomo’s Video Address

One sideshow leading up to the Primary is how Cuomo ruined the reputation of the Working Families Party (WFP.) The WFP has worked hard for years to build an effective vote pulling organization that represents the interests of the centrist liberal majority, issues like jobs, financial security, natural rights, etc. Over the years the party has fended off numerous local hijacking attempts by the major parties, most notably locally in Rensselaer County.

But that all went down the drain last spring when the WFP rejected Zephyr Teachout’s candidacy and instead endorsed Cuomo in exchange for some vague promises that Cuomo had no intention of fulfilling. This choice was made not by an election but at a party caucus, which shows the dangers of restricting democracy inside an organization. Now the WFP is perceived by the public as having sold out their principles for a handful of moldy peanuts.

I am not going to vote for Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul in the November general election because I never vote for Republicans, even if they call themselves Democrats. No way in hell am I going to vote for the official Gop candidate, this time another spineless tool named Astorino. And as far as I know Ms. Teachout is not running on another party line, so I won’t get to vote for her again.

Sign On South Pearl Street Last Summer
Sign On South Pearl Street Last Summer

What are the other choices on the ballot? There’s the so-called Libertarians, the party that rejects monarchism but lovingly embraces corporatism. What’s the only difference? In one system a royal family chooses the executive, in the other a royal board of directors chooses the executive. I believe in the primacy of the Bill of Rights and I do not want to live under a corporate dictatorship any more than I want to live under a monarchy, so I will not vote for them. Ever.

There’s the Conservative Party which is endorsing the Gop candidate this time, although they often will endorse fake Democrats like Cuomo. There’s the ridiculous Independence Party which owes it’s existence to people checking them off on voter registration sheets because they think they are choosing no party, this scam party is endorsing Cuomo. Then there’s Cuomo’s obscene Women’s Equality Party, the Gop line Stop Common Core, and a Teabagger clone party called Sapient. All are on the ballot.

So that leaves Howie Hawkins of the Green Party. Mr. Hawkins is a committed centrist who (gasp!) leans left, he’s a perennial candidate for the Greens and appears capable of running the State. That alone makes him preferable to most Re-pub politicians, who look good posing with serious expressions for the cameras but need some corporation or billionaire to tell them how to conduct the people’s business.

Howie Hawkins

The Greens are on the ballot because with Mr. Hawkins as their candidate the party managed to get more than 50,000 votes in the 2010 gubernatorial election. But really, the Green Party is astonishingly poor in organization, lacking the discipline and vote pulling abilities of the two major parties and of the WFP. Unless they get outside help, it’s unlikely that any Green candidate, including Mr. Hawkins, can pull a significant percentage of the vote. (However, Mr. Hawkins is currently polling at 9 percent.)

Mr. Hawkins, who is in his early sixties, has one big credential that the two major party candidates lack, he has worked for a living with his hands, mostly as a carpenter but at one time as a logger. Eventually he became an activist and union organizer, which led to co-founding the Green party and running for office. His positions are anathema to the dominant corporatists, but are common sense centrist all the way. From Wikipedia:

Hawkins supports single-payer, community-based health care and would work to end the "drug war". He also supports marriage equality and reproductive freedom, including abortion. Renewable energy and public power were central to his campaign platform, which described a Statewide Sustainability Plan for renewable energy for New York. Hawkins has also stated that he would shut down New York’s aging nuclear power plants as soon as replacement power in renewable energy comes on line.

...Hawkins sought to restore progressive income tax rates, such as those that New York had in the 1970s, and to increase the sharing of state revenues with local governments ...Hawkin's platform calls for the creation of a state bank to target public investments for a sustainable green economic recovery.

And Wikipedia quotes Mr. Hawkins talking about his incumbent opponent, from a newspaper interview:

[Cuomo] wants to solve the state budget crisis by cutting spending such as for state workers and schools. He ignores that the root cause of the problem is not spending but the huge tax cuts for the wealthy that began when he was helping his father as Governor. Instead of spending caps, we need the wealthy and Wall Street to pay their fair share."

Howie Hawkins Does The Baby Thing While Campaigning Last July
Howie Hawkins Does The Baby Thing While Campaigning Last July

Yeah, I can live with this guy. He’s not perfect and his party is disorganized, but these positions show that he is no political dilettante, he has positive ideas and plans that point very much in the right direction. Clearly what makes Mr. Hawkins left leaning is his aggressive plans for solving our State’s problems. There are plenty of big money vested interests in this State that do not want to see their little playpen overturned like that, they do not want New York to have a thriving economy.

If Andrew Cuomo were capable he could learn a lot from Mr. Hawkins. Maybe he could learn that politics is more than mere self aggrandizement. The current saying is that a Democrat is a Republican who supports gay marriage, with corporatists like Cuomo this is true. But if we get a few more Democratic candidates like Zephyr Teachout, then that saying could become old fashioned.

We Know The Answer To That
We Know The Answer To That

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If you are having difficulties posting a comment, please email Daniel Van Riper. We are experimenting with our spam filters, and we do not want to exclude any legitimate commenters, just spammers!

Posted by:Roger Green
Posted on:10/01/2014
pick the topic - fracking, corruption, charter schools - why I voted for Teachout, and will vote for Hawkins

Posted by:GetMeOutofNY
Posted on:10/11/2014
I follow your blog and find your assessment of NY politics spot on! Keep up the great posts! Count me in for voting Cuomo out of office!

Posted by:Patrick
Posted on:10/13/2014
I'm unfamiliar with the blog and came here from reddit, but the bias is so strong in this article that I have to take any of it with a grain of salt (or fine grain of sand).

This article yammers back and forth between being a character assassination of Cuomo and "corporations" and a vote for me piece for the green party.

There are no boogie men. If the national rail system is carrying unsafe cargo lodge complaints through the proper channels. This isn't so much a political issue as it is a public inaction one. Whining on the steps of city hall really doesn't accomplish anything if anyone hasn't noticed.

Posted by:Dan Van Riper
Posted on:10/15/2014
The Albany page of Reddit is a hangout for trolls, such as "Patrick" above. Like Patrick they criticize but offer no substance, the point is to get reactions. It's a shame that Aaron Swartz' legacy has been reduced to providing a home base for snotty little boys.

Posted by:Terry O'Neill, Esq.
Posted on:11/10/2014


Election Day has come and gone. Andrew's still in place.
The man did never break a sweat throughout the whole darn race.
On the morning after, when light succeeded dark
Andrew found himself positioned like Noah on his ark.
Perched upon a mountain, high and dry and stuck.
Accomplishments behind him. Ahead no hope or luck.
All that money in the bank is nothing but an anchor
That holds him fast to whom it's owed -- the realtor and the banker.
Andrew, take a moment now to heed us and to hear us
Remind you of that Roman dude to history known as Pyrrhus.

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