Monthly Archives: September 2018

Andrew Cuomo, the IDC, and Democratic Traitors Everywhere

Andrew CuomoYou probably know of my great hatred of Andrew Cuomo. A big part of this is simply that he has coasted on his father’s reputation — but in the name of policy that his father would have hated. He’s even claimed that his unpopular support of Wall Street is equivalent to his father’s principled stand against the death penalty. Really, the man deserves to fall through a manhole.

Independent Democratic Conference

One of Cuomo’s worst aspects is his support for the traitor Democrats in the New York Senate. These are the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). They caucused with the Republicans, depriving the Democratic Party control of the Senate from 2013 through 2014, even though the Democrats had more representatives.

The IDC has been a free-floating group. It seems there are always New York Democrats willing to betray their voters in the name of corporation-friendly policy. That’s especially true when they are wedded to big campaign contributions and later industry jobs.

Andrew Cuomo’s Gang

But even though Andrew Cuomo has claimed to have nothing to do with the IDC, it is clear that the group has everything to do with him. By giving power to Republicans, Cuomo avoided having to take a stand on actual liberal policy. Cuomo was thus positioning himself to run for president. Given that Democratic Party voters have decided that they would like it very much if the party offered them, you know, liberal candidates, it seems Cuomo’s quest for the presidency is done.

Most damning is that Cuomo met with the IDC in April. One meeting and the IDC disbanded — what a surprise! The meeting was part of Cuomo’s rush leftward. It’s important to remember that in addition to all his horrible qualities, Cuomo is also craven and lacking in principles.

Defeat of the IDC

There seems little doubt that the IDC would get back together as soon as they (and Cuomo who, like other New York cockroaches, is hard to kill) got re-elected. Luckily, that didn’t happen.

Of the eight current IDC members, six lost their primaries. Since the IDC was disbanded, and it wouldn’t work with only two members anyway, I assume these traitors will caucus with the Democrats.

It seems odd though. I would think there would need to be some punishment. Public whipping, perhaps. But New York is an odd place. You only have to look at Chuck Schumer who doesn’t seem much interested in fighting the Republican take-over of the federal judiciary so long as his corporate bosses keep sending him those sweet, sweet campaign contributions.

Less Bad Than Fascists

This is why we in the democratic wing of the Democratic Party are so upset with the Republican wing. These people have convinced themselves that they are the reasonable ones. But the fact is that there is almost no constituency for them. Democratic Party voters want liberal representation. Republican Party voters want fascist representation. The only people who want these “moderates” (read: corporate sell-outs) are pundits who will always see the right policy as that which is hated by the greatest number of people.

It’s great that the IDC went down in flames yesterday. Just the same, two of them won. And Andrew Cuomo won decisively. As long as people like Cuomo can coast to victory despite working against the interests of their constituencies, we are lost.

It isn’t enough for a Democrat to simply be less crazy than the fascist opposition party.

Why Didn’t Trump Nominate Merrick Garland?

Brett KavanaughToday, I listened to a fair amount of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. I found it offensive.

There was a time when I thought that Supreme Court justices could be reasonably objective. But I was young and foolish. Also, neuroscience was not as advanced then. Now we know that people aren’t “objective.” Instead, like the Stephen Colbert character, we decide with our gut and then use our reasoning ability to justify it.

This is one of the reasons I find libertarians so annoying. They are, with almost no exceptions, privileged people who are either rich or assume they are going to be. And then, they cling on to libertarianism and come up with a lot of pseudo-intellectual nonsense to justify it. I’m thinking of you, Penn & Teller!

Brett Kavanaugh Is Above Ideology?!

But this morning was particularly hard to take. Democrats questioned Kavanaugh’s ideology. But one Republican after another claimed that Kavanaugh was not guided by ideology. Indeed, I even heard that he would just call balls and strikes — a reference to John Roberts who has been incredibly ideological. His “balls and strikes” claim is certainly an outright lie (or he is self-deluded).

If we are to believe Ted Cruz and Benjamin Sasse, Kavanaugh isn’t guided by ideology. No! He’s just following the law.

Why Didn’t Republicans Support Merrick Garland?

But if this is the case, why didn’t the Republicans allow Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland?

Certainly, to listen to Republicans now, there was nothing wrong with him. So what was the problem?

Obviously, the issue is that Republicans are completely ideological. They only approve of people for the courts who will reliably act as extreme right-wing ideologues.

Republicans Always Push the Limits of Hypocrisy

That’s their right. But I don’t think the rest of us have to pretend that they are honest when they claim that Brett Kavanaugh is not ideological.

The truth is that the situation could not be more unsymmetric. Look at the three people Obama nominated: Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Merrick Garland. All of them moderates — typical of Obama’s “if I’m a centrist, the Republicans will join me” failed logic.

But Republicans nominate extreme ideologues and then claim that they are above ideology.

If these judges were above ideology — or just not extremely conservative — they would never be nominated.

Will Democrats Wimp Out?

The only question now is whether the Democrats will fight fire with fire. When Washington is back in Democratic hands, it will be time to increase the size of the Supreme Court to 12. The Court needs to be larger anyway. And this is the only way that we will ever get a Supreme Court that isn’t bought and sold to the power elite.

Of course, Democrats will almost certainly not have the guts to do this. And if they did, the Republicans would just increase the seats on the Court to 500 as soon as they got in power.

This is why I think this nation is doomed. But what’s bad for us is doubtless good for the world.

Sexual Assault and the Abandonment of Norms

Sexual Assault and the Abandonment of NormsAlleen Brown and John Knefel at The Intercept wrote an amazingly interesting article, The FBI Used the #MeToo Moment to Pressure an Environmental Activist into Becoming an Informant. The main point of the article is interesting enough: that the FBI is using the #MeToo movement for its traditional purpose of destroying all leftist political movements. But I want to discuss the other story: the sexual abuse allegations.

The Assault of Julie Henry

In 2014, environmental activist Julie Henry seems to have been sexually assaulted by environmental folk-hero Rod Coronado. My personal opinion is that this absolutely happened. But I don’t think that either of them is lying, but it certainly seems as though Coronado at least realizes to some extent that his behavior was wrong — even if it was only after he started to be attacked.

I don’t want to go into detail about all of this. You really should read The Intercept article. But the main thing is that Coronado forced himself on Henry in a motel room. But she didn’t really fight back in a physical way. And she could have.

But here’s the thing: I completely understand.

I’ve been in similar situations several times — although never to the point that Henry suffered. It’s hard not to blame yourself. Because in these situations, it seems very much like two people are playing the same game with totally different rules.

Norms and Sexual Assault

For me, it is all about social norms. I had one experience on a bus going to Los Angeles about ten years ago. This drunk guy (Coronado was, not surprisingly, also drunk) was coming on to me. I didn’t want to make a scene — I very rarely do. So I used all of my social skills — and everything I’d learned from decades of being the placator in a dysfunctional family — to tell this guy I was not interested.

It got to the point where he grabbed my penis and I moved. That was the end of that.

But the whole experience was so surreal. It’s easy to say that he was willfully avoiding all my clear signals. But I don’t really think that is the case.

I think this is how most men are socialized. And I’m hardly unsympathetic. The truth is that no does not always mean no. And men are not generally very socially sophisticated. So a polite but firm no is often taken as nothing but a negotiating tactic.

On the other hand, when women have said “no” to me in a playful way, stopping always allows them to clarify. So while I am sympathetic to how confusing sex can be for men, I am most definitely not defending it. Quite the opposite.

Socializing Men

I think as a society, we need to do a much better job of socializing men. And given all the problems men have anyway, they should completely eschew sexual encounters when drunk.

Sadly, I believe the only way that this will ever happen is if women like Julie Henry keep coming forward. That’s not to say I believe we should all pile on Rod Coronado. When reading what he had to say, I got the impression that he really doesn’t understand.

What we really need — what would be most effective — is for men to see what they’ve done. And I mean see. I don’t mean generic apologies that really come down to, “I’m sorry I was caught.”

I’m not just talking about other men. Decades ago, I was on a date with a woman whose hand I held about two seconds too long. I know it doesn’t sound like much. But it was a physical battle of wills — and something I’ve been greatly embarrassed about ever since. (Not that the woman made me feel bad about it. She absolutely did not. She was actually very sweet.)

Obviously, for a lot of men, sexual assault is something else — something uncontrollable. But I firmly believe that the vast majority of men can be socialized. Sadly, regardless of #MeToo and other similar movements over the decades, men are generally not. And it hurts us all.

Broader Social Problem

The fact that Henry’s account of what happened would likely find little sympathy in the nation as a whole is telling. Too many people think that if a woman could scream or gouge out some eyes or otherwise avoid the attacker, she couldn’t have been assaulted. But that shows a fundamental disconnect about the way people exist in a broader social context.

And I don’t want to live in a world where people have to destroy their good social behaviors for the sake of being physically safe.