Resistance Blog

The NRA’s Favorite Congresspeople

The New York Times 2017 list of Senators and Representatives who receive the most funding from the NRA:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) $7,740,521
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) $6,986,620
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) $4,551,146
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) $4,418,012
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) $3,879,064
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FLA) $3,303,355
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) $3,124,273
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) $3,061,941
Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) $2,896,732
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) $2,861,047

FLIP THE HOUSE: Get rid of these people this year:

Rep. French Hill (R-AR) $1,089,477 – up for re-election May 22
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) $800,544 – up for re-election June 26
Rep. David Young (R-IA) $707,662 – up for re-election June 5
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) $385,731 – up for re-election May 15
Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) $344,630 – up for re-election June 5
[Rep. Don Young (R-AK) $245,720 – term ends 2019]
Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) $221,736 – up for re-election May 15
Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) $201,398 – up for re-election June 12
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) $158,111 – up for re-election March 6
Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) $137,232 – up for re-election June 12

 

Trump’s budget request

From Stella Maris:

This is Rep. Nita Lowey’s February 12, 2018 press release, slightly rearranged, detailing the effects of Trump’s budget request on New York families:

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, today detailed the devastating consequences President Trump’s 2019 budget request would have on the economic growth, wellbeing, and safety of hardworking families in the Lower Hudson Valley.

“The president has the power to propose a budget, but Congress has the power to dispose of that request—and this request, just like his last one, is dead on arrival,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “Nonetheless, this proposal is a troubling statement of the president’s disdain for the physical and financial security of middle-class New York families. From cuts to health and education to infrastructure and homeland security, the president’s request guts programs and support services on which hardworking families rely. As Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, I am committed to negotiating a responsible, bipartisan spending package that invests in American families and communities.”

Here’s a snapshot of the detrimental proposals in President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal:

EDUCATION:

Makes it harder for students to afford and complete a higher education.

  • Eliminates GEAR UP investments that help 6,000 low-income and at-risk New Yorkers have the support services to reach a higher education.
  • Makes college more expensive by eliminating in-school interest subsidies, eliminating Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and eliminating the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants program, which helped 844 students at Rockland and Westchester Community Colleges obtain $398,391 in the 2015-2016 school year.
  • Does not provide an annual increase for Pell Grants, diminishing the value of a Pell Grant and increasing the burden on student debt.
  • Undermines our commitment to public education.
  • Puts an additional burden on local taxpayers by not increasing federal funding for K-12 education or for IDEA special education.
  • Eliminates afterschool activities for 89,354 New York students.

HEALTH & WELFARE:

Turns America’s back on vulnerable New Yorkers, including seniors and low-income families.

  • Eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provided $366.7 million to help more than 1 million vulnerable New York households—including seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families—afford heating and cooling.
  • Cuts Medicare by $554 billion, and increases out-of-pocket costs of prescription drugs for some seniors.
  • Cuts $214 billion in food and nutrition assistance for low-income families and seniors.
  • Eliminates the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which funds a wide range of unique community development needs such as affordable housing, infrastructure investments, and economic development. In 2016, New York State received nearly $300 million in CDBG grants, of which $824,518 went to White Plains and $2,197,424 went to Rockland County.
  • Cuts the Legal Services Corporation, which was created to ensure that all Americans have access to a lawyer for civil legal issues regardless of their ability to pay. New York has seven LSCs including Legal Services of the Hudson Valley in White Plains, which received $1,752,426 in FY16 and served 15,910 people in 2015, including more than 6,000 children.

HEALTHCARE:

Pursues destructive health care policies.

  • Cuts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by approximately 10%, including a cut to Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, at a time when 4,000 Americans are dying from the flu every week.
  • Eliminates $451 million in health professional training programs while the nation faces a nursing shortage and an opioid epidemic.
  • Cuts $2 billion from EPA budget, threatening programs that keep our air and water clean.

SECURITY:

  • Jeopardizes homeland security by gutting programs that protect against terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
  • Cuts $118 million from the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP), including roughly $19 million from New York State, endangering state and local planning, organizing, equipment, and training to prevent and protect our communities against acts of terrorism.
  • Cuts the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) by $156 million, with more than $44 million in cuts for the New York metro area, which could jeopardize critical homeland security and counter terrorism funding and put a greater burden on New York taxpayers.
  • Includes $18 billion over 18 months for the president’s boondoggle border wall that will not adequately protect our nation’s borders. [Note from Stella Maris: I don’t understand this one. Protect us from what?? Neither Mexico nor Canada is about to attack us. Maybe we should contact Nita and ask her why she said this.]
  • Cuts the Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program (RiskMAP) by $78 million, undermining an essential program used to identify flood hazards, assess flood risk, and partner with states and communities to provide accurate flood hazard and risk data.

INFRASTRUCTURE:

Undermines economic growth and job creation.

  • Cuts $251 million from the Economic Development Administration, which provides federal grants to communities to support locally-developed economic plans.
  • Eliminates TIGER grants, making it more difficult to fund major local infrastructure programs. TIGER has helped fund critical infrastructure projects in the Lower Hudson Valley region.

SAFETY:

Puts the health, safety, and well-being of New Yorkers at risk.

Cuts $65 million for safety and operations at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), despite a number of recent fatal train accidents.

Slashes $621 million in National Network grants from the FRA, jeopardizing safety improvements of passenger and freight rail infrastructure.

ENERGY:

Eliminates investments in energy research.

Eliminates funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which supports cutting-edge energy research that stands to benefit the U.S. economy.

CONTACT INFO:

Washington, DC Office

2365 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC 20515

Phone: (202) 225-6506

Fax: (202) 225-0546

White Plains District Office

222 Mamaroneck Ave., #312

White Plains, NY 10605

Phone: (914) 428-1707

Fax: (914) 328-1505

New City District Office

67 North Main Street, #101

New City, NY 10956

Phone: (845) 639-3485

Fax: (845) 634-4079

NO- you’re not crazy…this is NOT normal!

Submitted by NYCD16-INDIVISIBLE member “Julia”
The past few weeks have brought us a bit of a “world turned upside down” phenomenon; the Republican chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Devin Nunes, seeks to make public a memo attacking the FBI and the Justice Department for bias against the president, as a way to discredit Special Council Robert Mueller’s investigation in Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion on the part of the current administration. The contents of the memo are spurious; a thinly viewed excuse to point fingers and distract. But they are treated as legitimate by a cynical Republican majority, desperate to cement their power. As Jon Favreau of “Crooked Media” tweeted,  ‘Whoa, things went banana republic real fast….’
The creeping and sinister feeling that we are more than half way down the slippery slope towards autocracy, accompanied by the many insults on legal and civic norms that this administration has succeeded in visiting upon the American public, can overwhelm.
Take a deep breathe. Never doubt your agency as a citizen-activist. Make a promise to yourself: Act every day, in some way, to push back, and reclaim our democracy. By now, the numbers of your MoCs should be on auto dial. Be sure to always let them know what is on your mind. Go to actions and protests when you can. The more people who can lend their voices to a cause, the louder our collective voice. Never underestimate the value of showing up!
However, the most important work we can do, by far, is election work. Democrats, as the minority party in all branches of the federal government, don’t have enough leverage to do much more than kick and scream. The best help we can give our MoC’s, ourselves, and our country, is a Democratic majority. So that means ELECTIONS!!!
We’re asking all our members and readers to commit to Election work.
That can mean:
registering people to vote.
Working on a specific campaign, whether local, state or federal. (NYCD16 has prioritized a few campaigns.)
Fundraising for candidates.
Donating to candidates.
Working help get candidates on the ballot.
Election Day poll watching
Working with politicians we have helped to elect.
At our next general meeting on February 11, we will go into detail about campaigns and ways to get involved in all these activities, as well as training for them.

Why is the Census Bureau still without Senate-Confirmed leadership?

Submitted by NYCD16-INDIVISIBLE member Bob Volin.

Since former Director John Thompson resigned from the Census Bureau at the end of June 2017, the Trump administration has made no move to nominate a new permanent Director for Senate confirmation, even though the Bureau should be actively gearing up for the 2020 census. The administration is recently reported to be leaning toward naming a Deputy Director: Thomas Brunell, a political science professor from Texas. Brunell has zero government or administrative experience; his attractiveness to the administration is purely partisan. He has testified on behalf of Republicans in a half-dozen gerrymandering court cases and wrote a book titled Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America. His research on redistricting and voting-rights cases has been used by the G.O.P. to defend gerrymandering.

Why Brunell’s appointment remains in limbo is an interesting mystery. When his name was floated late in the summer, he got a lot of pushback in the senate and so the administration chose not to put his name forward for nomination as Director. Now it’s reported that they are thinking of appointing him as Deputy Director which would not entail senate confirmation. But what’s holding them up? Perhaps it’s a risk/benefit analysis.

Brunell’s background would certainly suggest that as Deputy Director he would be in a position to skew the census to support Republican incumbency, but the administration may be wondering about his potential effectiveness. The administration could expect considerable opposition to his appointment, and the way a court (in NC) accepted a challenge to his expert testimony as “unsubstantiated” brings me to wonder about his competency in the world of Washington hardball. Perhaps the administration is concerned that he’s not competent to f**k things up enough!

On the other hand, they already have a relatively noncontroversial avenue for subverting the census. In June, Wilbur Ross named two competent people to be interim Director and Deputy Director, so there will be no flak coming from the Dems on current leadership. However, the Bureau is being starved of the funds they need to be effective in the runup to the 2020 census. While people have been complaining loudly about this underfunding, it doesn’t get the kind of outrage that a Brunell appointment would bring.

Considering all the above, if I were the administration’s devil in charge of spoiling the census, I would let it die of a thousand paper cuts rather than attack it overtly. That would be my guess as to what’s happening. Next question: is there anything anyone can do!

Related reading:
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/21/trump-census-pick-causes-alarm-252571
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/01/trumps-pick-to-run-2020-census-has-defended-racial-gerrymandering-and-voter-suppression-laws/

A Republican Remembers the First Amendment

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., delivered a speech from the Senate floor on Jan. 17. Normally a Republican speech would not appear on this blog. However– Flake isn’t a total Yes Man, and he had already decided not to run again. He made his speech on the day Trump said he’d give out his “Fake News Awards” to the “most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to backtrack on Trump’s declaration, saying it was a “potential event.” Talk about cleaning up elephant poop in the circus!

Flake’s full speech:

Mr. President, near the beginning of the document that made us free, our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” So, from our very beginnings, our freedom has been predicated on truth. The founders were visionary in this regard, understanding well that good faith and shared facts between the governed and the government would be the very basis of this ongoing idea of America.

As the distinguished former member of this body, Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, famously said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” During the past year, I am alarmed to say that Senator Moynihan’s proposition has likely been tested more severely than at any time in our history.

It is for that reason that I rise today, to talk about the truth, and its relationship to democracy. For without truth, and a principled fidelity to truth and to shared facts, Mr. President, our democracy will not last.

2017 was a year which saw the truth — objective, empirical, evidence-based truth — more battered and abused than any other in the history of our country, at the hands of the most powerful figure in our government. It was a year which saw the White House enshrine “alternative facts” into the American lexicon, as justification for what used to be known simply as good old-fashioned falsehoods. It was the year in which an unrelenting daily assault on the constitutionally-protected free press was launched by that same White House, an assault that is as unprecedented as it is unwarranted. “The enemy of the people,” was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017.

Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase “enemy of the people,” that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of “annihilating such individuals” who disagreed with the supreme leader.

This alone should be a source of great shame for us in this body, especially for those of us in the president’s party. For they are shameful, repulsive statements. And, of course, the president has it precisely backward — despotism is the enemy of the people. The free press is the despot’s enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy. When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn’t suit him “fake news,” it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press.

I dare say that anyone who has the privilege and awesome responsibility to serve in this chamber knows that these reflexive slurs of “fake news” are dubious, at best. Those of us who travel overseas, especially to war zones and other troubled areas around the globe, encounter members of U.S. based media who risk their lives, and sometimes lose their lives, reporting on the truth. To dismiss their work as fake news is an affront to their commitment and their sacrifice.

According to the International Federation of Journalists, 80 journalists were killed in 2017, and a new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists documents that the number of journalists imprisoned around the world has reached 262, which is a new record. This total includes 21 reporters who are being held on “false news” charges.

Mr. President, so powerful is the presidency that the damage done by the sustained attack on the truth will not be confined to the president’s time in office. Here in America, we do not pay obeisance to the powerful — in fact, we question the powerful most ardently — to do so is our birthright and a requirement of our citizenship — and so, we know well that no matter how powerful, no president will ever have dominion over objective reality.

No politician will ever get to tell us what the truth is and is not. And anyone who presumes to try to attack or manipulate the truth to his own purposes should be made to realize the mistake and be held to account. That is our job here. And that is just as Madison, Hamilton, and Jay would have it.

Of course, a major difference between politicians and the free press is that the press usually corrects itself when it gets something wrong. Politicians don’t.

No longer can we compound attacks on truth with our silent acquiescence. No longer can we turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to these assaults on our institutions. And Mr. President, an American president who cannot take criticism — who must constantly deflect and distort and distract, who must find someone else to blame — is charting a very dangerous path. And a Congress that fails to act as a check on the president adds to the danger.

Now, we are told via Twitter that today the president intends to announce his choice for the “most corrupt and dishonest” media awards. It beggars belief that an American president would engage in such a spectacle. But here we are.

And so, 2018 must be the year in which the truth takes a stand against power that would weaken it. In this effort, the choice is quite simple. And in this effort, the truth needs as many allies as possible. Together, my colleagues, we are powerful. Together, we have it within us to turn back these attacks, right these wrongs, repair this damage, restore reverence for our institutions, and prevent further moral vandalism.

Together, united in the purpose to do our jobs under the Constitution, without regard to party or party loyalty, let us resolve to be allies of the truth — and not partners in its destruction.

It is not my purpose here to inventory all of the official untruths of the past year. But a brief survey is in order. Some untruths are trivial — such as the bizarre contention regarding the crowd size at last year’s inaugural.

But many untruths are not at all trivial — such as the seminal untruth of the president’s political career — the oft-repeated conspiracy about the birthplace of President Obama. Also not trivial are the equally pernicious fantasies about rigged elections and massive voter fraud, which are as destructive as they are inaccurate — to the effort to undermine confidence in the federal courts, federal law enforcement, the intelligence community and the free press, to perhaps the most vexing untruth of all — the supposed “hoax” at the heart of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

To be very clear, to call the Russia matter a “hoax” — as the president has many times — is a falsehood. We know that the attacks orchestrated by the Russian government during the election were real and constitute a grave threat to both American sovereignty and to our national security. It is in the interest of every American to get to the bottom of this matter, wherever the investigation leads.

Ignoring or denying the truth about hostile Russian intentions toward the United States leaves us vulnerable to further attacks. We are told by our intelligence agencies that those attacks are ongoing, yet it has recently been reported that there has not been a single cabinet-level meeting regarding Russian interference and how to defend America against these attacks. Not one. What might seem like a casual and routine untruth — so casual and routine that it has by now become the white noise of Washington — is in fact a serious lapse in the defense of our country.

Mr. President, let us be clear. The impulses underlying the dissemination of such untruths are not benign. They have the effect of eroding trust in our vital institutions and conditioning the public to no longer trust them. The destructive effect of this kind of behavior on our democracy cannot be overstated.

Mr. President, every word that a president utters projects American values around the world. The values of free expression and a reverence for the free press have been our global hallmark, for it is our ability to freely air the truth that keeps our government honest and keeps a people free. Between the mighty and the modest, truth is the great leveler. And so, respect for freedom of the press has always been one of our most important exports.

But a recent report published in our free press should raise an alarm. Reading from the story:

“In February … Syrian President Bashar Assad brushed off an Amnesty International report that some 13,000 people had been killed at one of his military prisons by saying, “You can forge anything these days, we are living in a fake news era.”

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has complained of being “demonized” by “fake news.” Last month, the report continues, with our president, quote “laughing by his side” Duterte called reporters “spies.”

In July, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro complained to the Russian propaganda outlet, that the world media had “spread lots of false versions, lots of lies” about his country, adding, “This is what we call ‘fake news’ today, isn’t it?”

There are more:

“A state official in Myanmar recently said, “There is no such thing as Rohingya. It is fake news,” referring to the persecuted ethnic group.

Leaders in Singapore, a country known for restricting free speech, have promised “fake news” legislation in the new year.”

And on and on. This feedback loop is disgraceful, Mr. President. Not only has the past year seen an American president borrow despotic language to refer to the free press, but it seems he has in turn inspired dictators and authoritarians with his own language. This is reprehensible.

We are not in a “fake news” era, as Bashar Assad says. We are, rather, in an era in which the authoritarian impulse is reasserting itself, to challenge free people and free societies, everywhere.

In our own country, from the trivial to the truly dangerous, it is the range and regularity of the untruths we see that should be cause for profound alarm, and spur to action. Add to that the by-now predictable habit of calling true things false, and false things true, and we have a recipe for disaster. As George Orwell warned, “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

Any of us who have spent time in public life have endured news coverage we felt was jaded or unfair. But in our positions, to employ even idle threats to use laws or regulations to stifle criticism is corrosive to our democratic institutions. Simply put: it is the press’s obligation to uncover the truth about power. It is the people’s right to criticize their government. And it is our job to take it.

What is the goal of laying siege to the truth? President John F. Kennedy, in a stirring speech on the 20th anniversary of the Voice of America, was eloquent in answer to that question:

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

Mr. President, the question of why the truth is now under such assault may well be for historians to determine. But for those who cherish American constitutional democracy, what matters is the effect on America and her people and her standing in an increasingly unstable world — made all the more unstable by these very fabrications. What matters is the daily disassembling of our democratic institutions.

We are a mature democracy. It is well past time that we stop excusing or ignoring — or worse, endorsing — these attacks on the truth. For if we compromise the truth for the sake of our politics, we are lost.

I sincerely thank my colleagues for their indulgence today. I will close by borrowing the words of an early adherent to my faith that I find has special resonance at this moment. His name was John Jacques, and as a young missionary in England he contemplated the question: “What is truth?” His search was expressed in poetry and ultimately in a hymn that I grew up with, titled “Oh Say, What is Truth.” It ends as follows:

“Then say, what is truth? ‘Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time it steps o’er.
Tho the heavens depart and the earth’s fountains burst.
Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal… unchanged… evermore.”

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

 

 

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Most of us are probably sick of putting “lose 10 pounds” at the top of the list, so instead, here are some resolutions to fix America, no matter how long it takes:

IN GENERAL:

Repeal anything the Republicans have repealed.
Unseat Republican officeholders and the IDC—take back Congress (one or both houses).
Dump Trump.

Specifically: 

Revise election procedures:

  • Get rid of the electoral college.
  • Undo and prevent all gerrymandering.
  • Institute voter protections, and extend voting hours (midnight to midnight?), locations, and ability to use absentee ballots (good for more senior votes and more college student votes). Make Election Day a national holiday.
  • Require every candidate for public office to reveal tax returns, investments, businesses, and donor amounts, and sign an emoluments clause.
  • In all elections, require paper ballots, machine-counted and hand-counted by poll workers from both parties.
  • Overturn “Citizens United” decision

Change the law:

  • Review the Constitution with a microscope and plug up all the little holes that the Republicans have weaseled through.
  • Same with federal and state tax codes.
  • Raise corporate taxes; but tax individuals on a sliding scale.
  • Strictly separate church and state.
  • Reform Congressional procedure:
    • No bill can have unrelated pieces in it, e.g., a tax bill can’t include health care or a military budget.
    • Any bill must be finalized and distributed to every single member of both houses a minimum of 2 working weeks in advance of a vote.
    • Bills must be voted on during regular working hours, not at midnight or on a weekend when MoCs may be out of town.
    • Bills/acts/laws/executive orders, etc. must be accurately named and not mislead the public. E.g., It’s not “Citizens United,” it’s “Corporations Can Buy Elections.”
  • Any law enforcement official seen on video or witnessed using physical violence against an unarmed person, or committing murder, will automatically be fired and brought up on criminal charges. No “internal affairs” investigations.
  • Prosecute sexual harassment and rape in the military according to criminal law, not through military investigations or tribunals.

Executive branch:

  • Limit the number and type of Executive Orders. Maybe limit them to addressing noncompliance and safety issues?
  • Prevent government officials from hiring relatives.
  • Bar a sitting president or vice president from having an alternative residence.
  • Prevent presidential pardons from being given to a president’s family or friends.
  • Any Cabinet appointee must have specific, relevant qualifications for the job.

Military:

  • Slash the military budget
  • Give the savings to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and public schools.

Equal rights:

  • Pass the Equal Rights Amendment—we need just two more states to ratify it!! Take your pick: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia.
  • Prevent deportation of “Dreamers.”

Environment:

  • The U.S. must rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Ban use of public land for private purposes.
  • Restore any EPA cuts or suppression of information
  • Ban fracking
  • Ban oil drilling in oceans, national parks, and fragile areas. If that throws people out of work, retrain them for other jobs.

Healthcare:

  • Review the Affordable Care Act and mend any flaws.
  • Reinstate CHIP.
  • Take reproductive issues OFF the table; prevent the Federal government and any state from outlawing abortion.
  • Require birth control to be part of any health insurance plan.

National security:

  • Establish a fail-safe system so that a president does not have unilateral power to start a nuclear war.
  • Prevent surveillance of citizens not suspected of terrorist or illegal activity.

Consumer protection:

  • Reinstate net neutrality.
  • Remove Ajit Pai as FCC head
  • Regulate banks
  • Regulate Wall Street

If something’s been inadvertently left off this list, add it.

And if you really want to, lose 10 pounds.

 

 

 

Bulletin re property taxes: Cuomo helps out!

For those who don’t know:

Gov. Cuomo issued an executive order on Dec. 22 to help New Yorkers get around the heinous tax bill passed by the Trumpian Republicans in Congress. Spread the word to all property owners you know!

It wouldn’t hurt to thank Cuomo– but remind him about his mistake in supposedly bringing the IDC on board with the mainstream Democrats:
Albany: (518) 474 – 8418
New York City: (212) 681 – 4640
Press.Office@exec.ny.gov

Press release is below.

DECEMBER 22, 2017 Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Takes Emergency Executive Action to Deliver Property Tax Deductibility For New Yorkers

Executive Order Authorizes Localities to Issue Warrants For the Collection of Early Tax Payments

Executive Order Allows Taxpayers to Make Partial Property Tax Payments

Governor Directs State Department of Taxation and Finance to Work With Localities to Facilitate Early Tax Collection

Action Helps New Yorkers Avoid Devastating Impact of the $10,000 Cap on SALT Deductions in the GOP Tax Bill

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued an emergency Executive Order to help protect property owners in New York from the devastating impact of the GOP tax bill. This order authorizes local governments to immediately issue tax warrants for the collection of 2018 property tax payments and allows property owners to pay at least a portion of their bill before the end of the year and under the current tax construct. The Governor directed the Department of Taxation and Finance to work with local governments to facilitate early tax collection.

The federal tax plan, signed into law today, caps the deductibility of state and local taxes at $10,000, effectively raising property taxes and reducing home values in New York and in states across the country.

“As Washington wages an all-out assault on this state and this nation, I have authorized local governments to allow property owners to pay part or all of their taxes early,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York has made unprecedented progress reducing the burden of taxes on our middle-class families, and we will not allow this attack to roll back all that we have achieved. This Executive Order will allow property owners to deduct either part or the full amount of their payment from their federal taxes before the GOP tax bill goes into effect.”

Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order #172 today, which includes two actions:

Authorizes Local Officials to Immediately Levy Taxes

The Governor authorized local governments to immediately issue warrants to levy property taxes by the end of the year. Officials should issue warrants for the collection of taxes and deliver them to the local tax collector immediately, and no later than 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, December 28, 2017.

This will allow New Yorkers to pay their property taxes for 2018 in the 2017 calendar year and allow localities to accept advance payment so that property owners can deduct the full amount of their payment at the federal level.

Allows Taxpayers to Make Partial Payments Early

The EO will also suspend local laws limiting the ability of taxpayers to make partial payment of property taxes until the end of the year. Since many taxpayers do not yet know the exact amount of their bill, this will allow for a portion of taxes to be paid early and under the current federal tax law.

Each local tax collector is now authorized and directed to accept partial payments of warranted taxes from property owners until the close of business on Friday, December 29, 2017. Online payments can be made until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 31, 2017, and payments made by mail that are postmarked on or before December 31, 2017 are authorized.

New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica said, “For those local government and school districts able to issue their warrants before the end of the year, we encourage them to do so. We understand that for some, it would not be feasible nor practical.”

New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said, “We commend Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for using his executive authority to provide options for homeowners in New York to prepay their 2018 property taxes. Due to the end of year time frame, this action is necessary to provide local authority to receive the taxes for payment in 2017.”

New York State Conference of Mayors Executive Director Peter A. Baynes said, “As the capping of the SALT deduction has become a painful reality for New York, our city and village leaders have been doing all they can legally to allow full or partial prepayment of 2018 property taxes in 2017. Fortunately, today’s decisive action by Governor Cuomo will assist our members as they help their residents deal with the negative financial impacts federal tax reform will have on millions of New Yorkers.”

 

FEAR OF THE INBOX

We need a break from the shitstorm that has become daily life, a laugh to take our minds off the hateful tax bill, Russia probe, planned deportation of 10,000 people, “Concealed Carry Reciprocity,” sexual predators, the anti-Muslim travel ban, police brutality…the list is endless.
On the other hand, “Schneider-Man” is having a birthday party, and Samantha Bee continues to tell it like it is. Yay!

Rest your brains for a moment, then let’s get back on the horse. Or bicycle, as in the case of Juli Briskman.

FEAR OF THE INBOX

Psychologists and psychiatrists across the U.S. noted such an uptick in depression, anxiety, fear, shock, anger, insomnia, nausea, and nightmares (especially among women) since Nov. 8, 2016 that they named it: “election stress disorder.” And now we’ve got “headline stress disorder.”

Indivisible people are a hardy lot: like roly-poly toys that pop back up no matter how hard they’re slammed down. However, there’s one thing that can make even the strongest stomach flutter: the inbox.

Because we want to stay informed,and be ready to act at a moment’s notice, we signed up for every mailing list: Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Facebook pages, Scott Dworkin, The Hill, Politico, representatives, senators…

Which is why sometimes, after work when we go to check our personal emails, we’re too scared to open our inboxes. 11,639 (Stella Maris’s total today) is just too overwhelming. We’re inundated with emails from candidates, groups, officials, campaigns, and causes, some of which we didn’t even sign up for.

Some headlines don’t match the contents, are deceitful, ridiculous, or embarrassing. Some are meant to pump up the Resistance and scare us into action, some are direful predictions, some are utterly wishful thinking, some try to tap into guilt, and 90% are pitches for money.

Some organizations accuse you of not stepping up to the plate, ignoring important causes, letting down the side, or worst of all, being a Trump supporter. Somewhere in their no-doubt-short lives (no experienced activist would take these tacks), they were told to make an emotional appeal, and got the so wrong end of the stick.

Here are some stellar examples. Note: All hyperventilating caps, punctuation, and miscellaneous oddities are original.

The “Insult Your Base” Tactic:

1) “[Name deleted] actually APPROVES of Donald Trump? [PLEASE SAY NO!]
OFFICIAL: Do Not Ignore
ACTION ALERT: [name deleted] you were selected to participate in our Trump Approval Survey →
NEW POLL: Trump Approval PLUNGES in all 50 states
But you IGNORED our Trump Approval Survey?!?!
This is our chance to TAKE DOWN Trump’s Presidency. But that simply won’t happen if you keep ignoring our surveys!!
We need your response within 12 hours: click below to represent [insert name of your town] right now →…
We thought that would inspire a wave of progressives to help end Trump’s Presidency. But sadly, we haven’t heard anything from you!

2) [Name] is DELAYING this urgent Democratic survey
YOU IGNORED THIS SURVEY: Click to take our Trump Presidency Survey NOW >>
[Name] — we’re tabulating [name of your town] responses to our Trump Presidency Survey, but it looks like you NEVER completed it?
We selected you because we thought you were a strong Democrat in New York — so we’re SHOCKED to see you haven’t completed our survey!!
THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO REPRESENT [insert zip code].

Some embarrassing ones:

The Completely Misleading Subject Line:
AMAZING news (finally!!)
WOWOW: Doug Jones for U.S. Senate [contact@dougjonesforsenate.com

Wouldn’t you think that meant Jones already WON??

The actual message in the email:

Here’s the bad (ok, devastating news):
We just fell short of a MAJOR budget deadline. We need to raise $170,423 more by the end of the month to make up the difference.
But here’s the great (actually, AMAZING!) news:
Our campaign is made up of more than 2OO,OOO individuals (including you)!
If every single person chipped in just $5, we’d CRUSH our goal — and then some!
48 hours to go!! Will you do your part and donate $5? We need your help to win the Special Election!!

The Hallucinatory Wishful Thinking Subject Line:
Why Republicans are PANICKED
Paul Ryan FURIOUS!
Humiliate Paul Ryan
Trump HUMILIATED
Donald Trump COLLAPSING
HE’S. SO. PISSED.
This will make Trump LOSE HIS MIND
PUNISH DONALD TRUMP

As if! Those people have ice water in their veins.

Like I’m sure the bad guys care:
• Rachel Maddow CALLS OUT Trump
• Nancy Pelosi just OBLITERATED Trump [OMG!!]: HUMILIATING
• Dan Rather just BLASTED Trump’s lies: MUST SEE
• Al Franken SLAMS Jeff Sessions: UNBELIEVEABLE

And how unbelievable is it that the Democrats can’t spell? Mortifying.

The Guilt Trip:
ACCEPT DEFEAT
EMBARRASSING MISTAKE –
when we told you we had a real chance to defeat Paul Ryan, we thought THOUSANDS of Democrats would step up.
THAT. DIDN’T. HAPPEN.
Our end-of-month deadline is in 48 hours. Almost NO ONE is donating. We are SO embarrassed.
If we miss our $25,000 goal, we’ll LOSE this opportunity to take down Paul Ryan. And we’ll have NO ONE to blame but ourselves.

The Combo Wishful Thinking/Guilt Trip:
Paul Ryan is so PISSED at this letter (but where’s your signature)
[1] Ignored Email

Gloom and Doom:
• Special Election RUINED
URGENT: READ NOW

• [SPAM] We’re SHAKING [CNN Breaking News]
Tragic Senate Prediction

• kiss all hope goodbye

Reverse Psychology: (They think they’re so clever.)
The NRA does not want you to sign this.

Pathos:
celebrating ALONE (Hillary’s Birthday)
HAPPENING TOMORROW
Hillary Clinton’s birthday is literally TOMORROW!!
But you really still haven’t signed her card?! So many proud Democrats in [zip code] already did:
Don’t let Hillary celebrate alone!! Please sign before we send the card tomorrow:

Note: It will not matter how many other birthday cards you’ve signed. If YOU don’t sign THEIRS, RIGHT NOW, poor Hill will be crying in her beer that she hasn’t heard from you. That’s right, YOU made Hillary cry.

Groveling:
We’re BEGGING [PLEASE]
HUMILIATING DEFEAT

Plus variations on “pleading,” “desperate,” and other confidence-inspiring messages.
Do the Republicans start emails this way? Heck no!

On the other hand, here’s a keeper:
Dear Trump: you make me SICK.

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE

Did anyone noticed that in The New York Times article, “The ‘Resistance,’ Raising Big Money, Upends Liberal Politics,” Kenneth P. Vogel equated the Democratic Party with “the left”? He’s not the only one doing that.

Since when is the Democratic Party leftist? The Left is called The Left because it’s left of center. The Democratic Party is centrist. If anything, it needs to move farther left.

Vogel was born in 1975, so he missed out on the actual Left, but he could at least have studied history. The distinction between left and centrist was very clear in the 1960s and 1970s: The Left was radical, the Democrats were moderate, and the liberals were Democrats who were just slightly left of center. A lot of Lefties had contempt for both liberals and Democrats for being too middle-of-the-road.

Using “left,” “liberal,” and “Democrat” interchangeably are playing straight into the right wing’s hands. The right has already turned “liberal” into a dirty word in the red states (even some blue state people are afraid of it), and they can easily convince people that “left” means chaos. They excel at scare tactics.

The Washington Post is also tripping up with its language. They keep referring to the Trump tax bill as “reform,” and talking about “tax cuts.” They’re drinking the Kool-Aid if they continue to use the language that comes from the White House. The WaPo should be calling a spade a spade, and not taking its cue from the orange dotard fan club.

The GOP specializes in language tricks. Whaa? “Citizens United” is about allowing corporations status as individuals for the purpose of campaign funding?? You mean it’s not an all-for-one, one-for-all rah-rah America group? Oops.

The WaPo needs to keep spelling out that the only tax cuts involved are for the rich and for corporations, because the GOP language will fool a lot of people into favoring it—who wouldn’t want a tax cut? This bill is in effect raising taxes for most Americans, but the Republicans think if they keep reciting the “tax cuts” mantra, people won’t notice the attack on Medicaid and Medicare. Or the $700 billion military budget.

And why are Medicaid and Medicare called “entitlement” programs? The right wing has cleverly distorted that word into a negative — the way people talk about college millennials feeling entitled to everything — as if people who need Medicare or Medicaid (and Social Security) are freeloaders, a burden on the government, instead of the people who actually paid for those supports throughout their working lives.

Let’s reclaim the true meaning: people who paid into Medicare (and Social Security) are entitled to (i.e., owed) these benefits. Those who need Medicaid are entitled to the help they need, because this country can afford it.

Let the Times and the WaPo hear from you. Write a letter to the editor. Or tweet. For that matter, let everyone hear from you, every time you encounter these language faux pas. (And yes, that’s the plural of faux pas.)

To send a letter to the editor of The New York Times: letters@nytimes.com
Thomas Feyer is the letters editor.

Rules for submission: Letters should preferably be 150 to 175 words, should refer to an article that has appeared within the last seven days, and must include the writer’s address and phone numbers. No attachments. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

To send a letter to the editor of the Washington Post: letters@washpost.com, or use the form on their website: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/letter-to-the-editor/?utm_term=.08f674ce4f0a
Letters editor is Mike Larabee.

Rules for submission:
“We prefer letters that are fewer than 200 words and take as their starting point an article or other item appearing in The Post. They may not have been submitted to, posted to or published by any other media. They must include the writer’s full name — anonymous letters and letters written under pseudonyms will not be considered. For verification purposes, they must also include the writer’s home address, e-mail address and telephone numbers. Writers should disclose any personal or financial interest in the subject matter of their letters. If sending e-mail, please put the text of the letter in the body and do not send attachments — they will not be read.”

P.S. from Stella:
You can’t use any 4-letter words, either. Darn!