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Governor Cuomo Unveils Agenda for First 100 Days – 2019 Justice Agenda

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In the face of the federal government’s assault on New York, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled his “2019 Justice Agenda,” urging the legislature to act in the first 100 days of the next legislative session. The Governor’s agenda represents a suite of ambitious proposals to ensure the promise of full, true justice for all, including economic justice, social justice, racial justice.

Governor Cuomo announced the agenda in a speech hosted by the Roosevelt Institute. This year, in the face of the nation’s biggest social crisis, and with the federal government seeking to undo generations of progress, Governor Cuomo broke with tradition, laying out his legislative agenda in December 2018 instead of waiting until the State of the State address to enable the Legislature to commence action on these top priorities immediately upon convening.

“Let this agenda be New York’s Declaration of Independence. We declare independence from this federal government’s policies. We disconnect from the nationalism, and the racism, and the chaos, and the xenophobia, and the misogyny, and the discrimination, and the dissembling of this Washington administration,” Governor Cuomo said. “We proclaim our Federal Government’s policy not only regressive, not only repugnant to New York values, we declare it un-American. Let us pass this ambitious progressive agenda as New York’s restoration of true democracy, restoring fairness, progress and pride.”

The 20-point agenda includes:

Ensure a Progressive Tax System: While the federal government prioritizes tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Governor Cuomo believes in a just, progressive tax system that taxes its citizens based on their ability to pay. The Governor will maintain the state’s progressive income tax with a millionaire’s tax, while permanently capping regressive local property taxes at 2%.

Cut Middle Class Taxes while Fighting to repeal SALT: The federal government’s cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions was a devastating and targeted assault on New York that has increased taxes on New Yorkers and reduced home values. Governor Cuomo will continue to lead the fight to repeal the cap on SALT while in New York continuing tax cuts for middle class families.

Protect Quality, Affordable Health Care: While the federal government and radical judges continue to roll back the Affordable Care Act and tear away health care from millions of Americans, Governor Cuomo will take action to make sure New Yorkers are protected. The Governor will work to codify the health exchange into law and pass a law to ensure pre-existing conditions continue to be covered by insurance companies regardless of what happens at the federal level.

Codify Reproductive Rights: In the face of the federal assault on women’s reproductive rights, including a Supreme Court that threatens to roll back Roe v. Wade, Governor Cuomo will fight to pass the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act within the first 30 days of the new session.

Enshrine Gender Equality into Law: Nearly a century after it was first proposed, New York State has still not passed the Equal Rights Amendment to protect against discrimination on the basis of sex in our State constitution. To right this decades-old wrong, Governor Cuomo will push to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to add sex as a protected class.

Combat Gun Violence: 2018 was by far the worst year for school shootings in American history. To once again lead the nation on gun safety, Governor Cuomo will push to pass the Red Flag Law, ban bump stocks and extend the waiting period for purchasing a gun from three days to 10 days.
Launch a $150 Billion Infrastructure Plan: While the federal government fails to make progress on an infrastructure plan, Governor Cuomo will expand on New York’s nation-leading $100 billion infrastructure plan — building new airports, bridges and train stations all across the state — by investing an additional $150 billion in our infrastructure that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Fund and Restructure the MTA While Easing Traffic in New York City’s Business District: After decades of neglect and diffused responsibility, the MTA is in dire need of funding and reorganization. Governor Cuomo will fix the MTA by passing congestion pricing and overhauling the outdated structure of the authority in order to build a reliable, state of the art mass transit system with a steady funding stream and a structure that supports operational excellence.

Ensure Education Equity: After requiring data on how local schools distribute funds in last year’s budget, it’s clear that poorer schools too often do not receive an equitable share of funding from their school districts. Governor Cuomo will fight for an education system where districts distribute funding based on need and fairness to ensure that every child receives a quality education.

Pass the Dream Act: While the federal government has declared war on new immigrants, New York is standing up for our immigrant communities. This year, New York will pass the Dream Act once and for all to ensure a higher education system that opens the door of opportunity to all of our children.

Launch the Green New Deal: The federal government still denies climate change, remarkably turning a blind eye to their own government’s scientific report. New York will be the most progressive state in the nation in moving to renewables and growing the new sustainable green economy. The Green New Deal will make New York’s electricity 100% carbon neutral by 2040 and put the state on the path to eliminating its carbon footprint.

Ensure Clean, Safe Drinking Water for All: Industrial toxins have infiltrated many of our communities’ drinking water systems, but the federal Environmental Protection Agency has been slow to test and regulate chemicals and to regulate pollution. Governor Cuomo will invest in our water infrastructure and clean our water for our children and our children’s children.

Improve Our Democracy: To continue New York’s progressive path of justice for all, Governor Cuomo will protect our democracy to make sure our government truly represents the people. While the federal government works to disenfranchise voters, Governor Cuomo will encourage citizens to engage in the democratic process by allowing voting by mail, enacting early voting, instituting same day and automatic voter registration, synchronizing federal and state elections and make Election Day a State Holiday to ensure as many people as possible participate in the democratic process.

Increase Trust in the Democratic System: To ensure our government is for the people, by the people, Governor Cuomo will close the LLC loophole, ban corporate campaign contributions, overhaul our campaign finance system and end outside income for lawmakers.

Protect Public Sector Unions: While the federal government is waging an all-out attack on the labor movement in both the public and private sector and seeks to undermine the right to organize and collective bargaining, Governor Cuomo believes that the labor movement is a force for social justice and the middle class. The Governor will expand the Janus protections to cover public sector labor unions at the local level and ensure workers have labor rights in the gig economy.

Keep Housing Affordable for New Yorkers: The lack of affordable housing is a crisis across the state and nation. While the federal government has abandoned its constitutional and moral responsibility dictated by the 1949 Housing Act, under Governor Cuomo’s leadership New York will invest more in affordable housing than ever before. Governor Cuomo will reform rent regulations, including ending vacancy decontrol, repealing preferential rent and limiting capital improvement charges to protect affordable housing and respect tenants’ rights.

Pass the Child Victims Act: Governor Cuomo will fight to ensure our society holds those who abuse our children accountable criminally and civilly by passing the Child Victims Act once and for all.

Protect LGBTQ Rights: New York was the first large state to pass marriage equality, but as the federal government still seeks to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, Governor Cuomo will codify the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act into New York State law and end conversion therapy.

Legalize Adult Use of Recreational Marijuana: Governor Cuomo will end the disproportionate criminalization of one race over another by regulating, legalizing and taxing adult use of recreational marijuana.

Ensure Fairness in the Criminal Justice System: Governor Cuomo will work to address injustice in the criminal justice system by ending cash bail and enacting speedy trial and discovery reforms.

Source: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-unveils-agenda-first-100-days-2019-justice-agenda

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Analysis: Deval Patrick revives debate over ‘electability’

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s late entry into the presidential race offers Democrats a fresh — and perhaps last — chance to reassess who they think is the strongest candidate to take on President Donald Trump.

It adds to the now months-long debate within the Democratic Party over “electability” less than three months before the first votes are cast. For a party that prides itself on diversity, the answers so far have been consistent and, to some, frustrating — a top tier dominated by white candidates, only one of whom is a woman.

But Patrick’s campaign is a reminder of the divergent paths to victory for presidential hopefuls. White candidates must prove they can win over black voters. Blacks and other minority contenders, however, must show they can build white support.

That type of multiracial coalition has eluded virtually everyone in the race except Joe Biden, who — for now — has deep support among black voters in addition to working-class whites. Those who assess that backing as soft, however, see an opening for a moderate candidate like Patrick, a black governor who made history winning in a majority-white state.

That, some strategists say, differentiates Patrick from Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey, the two other major black candidates whose past electoral success has come in more diverse states and who are lagging in the presidential polls.

“Kamala Harris and Cory Booker are well-funded, high-profile black candidates, but have not been able to rise during a cycle where appeals to black voters are central to who will be the eventual winner of the primary,” said Democratic strategist Joel Payne. He said the election will confront what stigma still exists with white voters toward black candidates in the post-Barack Obama era.

“We can make the assumption that Patrick will be the next black candidate to face this test, but his appeal is altogether different than Booker and Harris,” Payne said. “The Patrick candidacy is an appeal to moderation and to the center-left more than a direct appeal to black voters.”

In 2008, then-Sen. Obama was the lone black candidate in the Democratic primary field and didn’t begin to gain momentum until the final weeks before the Iowa caucuses, trailing Hillary Clinton and John Edwards for much of the contest. But Obama’s showing— winning an overwhelmingly white electorate — gave him momentum to convince black voters in South Carolina and across the Black Belt that he was viable.

Obama’s diverse coalition was a new blueprint in Democratic electoral mapmaking, earning him the party’s nomination and his history-making general election victory. Observers say it’s an electorate Democrats will have to replicate to win in 2020.

The trio of African Americans have taken different approaches in how they contend with the racial aspects of their candidacies.

Harris announced her candidacy on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and has unique status as an alumna of historically black Howard University, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and the lone black woman in the 2020 fray.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker announced during Black History Month. The former mayor of Newark touts his residency in an impoverished black neighborhood in the city but has also sought to cast himself as a bridge builder — pointing out his ties to a civil rights legacy that changed his family’s trajectory with intervention from progressive whites that helped him integrate his childhood neighborhood.

In a brief interview Friday, he encouraged voters to “pull the lens back on diversity.”

“We have women in this race, we have an openly gay person in this race, we have (a) biracial person in this race, African-Americans in this race,” he said. “It is an incredible moment in American history that our field is so diverse and that voters have such qualified folks to choose from.”

Patrick himself has made relatively few references to race since launching his campaign. But as he registered this week to appear on the ballot in the New Hampshire primary, he spoke of the “skepticism” he has experienced as a black man.

“He has demonstrated an ability to win over white voters in an overwhelmingly white state,” said Democratic strategist Doug Thornell. “The question is whether he has enough time, whether he can raise the money, and whether he can carve out a compelling narrative and identity that allows him to break through. That’s a lot to accomplish in two months, but it’s not crazy.”

His path would be a challenging one. Though Patrick is not a national name, he is fairly well-known in neighboring New Hampshire, where voters saw television ads for his gubernatorial campaigns.

A strong finish in the Granite State could provide momentum heading into South Carolina, disrupting the field and leaving no clear frontrunner heading into Super Tuesday, said Thornell.

“If you look at the African American candidates running, he might be the best positioned to pull that off,” Thornell said.

Patrick’s late entry is reminiscent of Gen. Wesley Clark’s 11th-hour bid in 2003. Clark was able to briefly break through after some among the electorate worried about then-Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s path to the nomination, or that former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was too liberal.

As a prominent African American who can appeal to black and white voters, Patrick could appeal to soft Biden voters looking for an alternative to Booker or Harris, or who don’t like Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Sen. Bernie Sanders’ progressive agenda, said Democratic strategist Adrienne Elrod.

“He can create that ‘I’m more left than Biden, but not crazy like Warren/Sanders’ message,” Elrod said. “He could appeal to some of those voters who are on the fence and not satisfied with others in the field. He can say, ‘I can be your candidate.’”

— Errin Haines

 

Source www.amny.com

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White House beancounter defies Trump to tell impeachment inquiry about $400M in suspended Ukraine aid

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A White House budget official defied President Trump and testified Saturday in the House impeachment inquiry about the controversial suspension of defense aid to Ukraine.

Mark Sandy, a career Office of Management and Budget official, told lawmakers that he raised questions about whether the decision by Trump acolytes to hold up $400 million in desperately needed military assistance violated laws mandating money allocated by Congress be spent, CNN reported.

The budget expert did not explain what reasons were given for the hold up in aid. He testified behind closed doors in a rare Saturday session as the impeachment investigation continues to deliver heavy blows to Trump.

Sandy acted on orders to put an initial hold on the aid in late July and the issue was later handed over to Trump political appointees.

The aid was already appropriated by Congress, meaning the White House would have had to offer a legally valid reason for withholding it.

It’s not known what explanation if any, was given for removing the suspension from Sandy’s purview.

Sandy’s testimony shone a harsh spotlight on Mick Mulvaney, who is both the OMB director and Trump’s acting chief of staff.

“Mulvaney not only has refused to testify, but actively worked to block others from complying with subpoenas,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Cal.) in a statement. “(He also) refused to provide Congress with documents relating to Trump’s suspension of Congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine.

Mulvaney admitted that Trump imposed an improper “quid pro quo” on Ukraine at a disastrous press conference although he later sought to walk back his admission. He has refused to testify to the impeachment probe.

A key contention of impeachment advocates is that Trump suspended the aid so he could use it as leverage to force Ukraine into launching bogus investigation of Trump’s Democratic rivals.

In fact, the suspension of aid shocked Ukraine officials and reportedly led them to consider announcing the corruption probes to get the cash flowing again.

By that time, in early September, the intelligence whistleblower complaint had hit the headlines, forcing the White House to reinstate the aid without getting the investigations announcement that Trump wanted.

In a statement Saturday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, called out Mulvaney for refusing to testify.

“If Mulvaney had evidence that contradicted what we’ve already heard, he’d be eager to testify and provide documents. Instead, he’s hiding behind, and assisting in, Trump’s efforts to conceal the truth from the American people,” Schiff said.

Also on Saturday, impeachment investigators released the transcripts of depositions given by deputy assistant to the president Timothy Morrison, and Vice President Pence’s special adviser on Europe and Russia, Jennifer Williams.

In Morrison’s Oct. 31 deposition, he testified U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland told him he’d spoken with Ukrainian presidential aide Andriy Yermak about American military funding being conditioned on corruption investigations. “My concern was what Gordon was proposing about getting the Ukrainians pulled into our politics,” Morrison testified.

In Williams’ Nov. 7 deposition, she confirmed that Trump told Pence to not attend the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s inauguration in an apparent signal that he needed to pursue the corruption probes or be frozen out of the military aid.

“My understanding from my colleague—and, again, I wasn’t there for the conversation—was that the President asked the Vice President not to attend,” she testified.

Source www.nydailynews.com

By DAVE GOLDINER

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Social networks have been weaponized for the impeachment hearings

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facebook, instagram whatsapp also affected

Impeachment hearings got underway in the House of Representatives this week, as you likely noticed from the wall-to-wall coverage. The process involves the sort of high-stakes, highly partisan events that naturally dominate social feeds. What television was to impeachment in the 1970s and 1990s, Facebook and Twitter — and YouTube and maybe TikTok — will be to impeachment in 2019.

The hearings on President Donald Trump’s apparent attempted bribery of Ukraine won’t be the first time a president has had to contend with, or benefit from, a hyper-partisan media. Conservative talk radio and Fox News were in full swing when Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, even if their rhetoric looks quaint by today’s standard. But the World Wide Web was in its infancy, and the world was then still innocent of algorithmically sorted news feeds, partisan bot armies, and state-sponsored meme warfare.

Not anymore. If the first day of hearings is any indication, social networks promise to play a powerful role in shaping the way that impeachment hearings are understood by Americans. They are also playing a powerful role in shaping the hearings themselves.

As Ryan Broderick documented at BuzzFeed, Republican lawmakers used their time during Wednesday’s hearing to promote discredited conspiracy theories that are popular on right-wing message boards:

There is one America that believes what was in former FBI director Robert Mueller’s report, that there was coordinated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which helped the Trump campaign. But there is a second America that believes that in the summer of 2016, the Democratic National Committee colluded with Ukrainian nationals to frame the Trump campaign for collusion with Russia, implicating a Ukrainian American DNC contractor, Alexandra Chalupa, in the collusion and the California-based cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike in the subsequent cover-up.

This unfounded theory has been propped up by a 2017 Politico story; reporting from right-wing political commentator John Solomon published earlier this year in the Hill; Attorney General Bill Barr’s summer travels; the yearlong personal investigation into Ukraine conducted by Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer working for Trump; and coverage from Fox News and conservative news sites. All of that came into play during Wednesday’s hearing, sometimes implicitly and sometimes explicitly.

After Republican members of Congress promoted these various smokescreens, right-wing media universally dismissed the hearing — either as an absurd exercise led by clowns, or as an outrageous abuse of power. Brian Stelter described the atmosphere on cable news:

Here’s what else I heard: Wednesday’s hearing was a bust. It was all just hearsay. It was a “disaster” for the Democrats and a “great day” for the Republicans. Impeachment is “stupid.” Impeachment is “fake.” There’s nothing impeachable here. There’s no reason to hold hearings. This inquiry needs to stop right now.

The message was one-sided and overwhelming. Every host and practically every guest said the Republican tribe is winning and the Democrat tribe is losing. I’m sure the president loved watching every minute of it. That’s one of the reasons why this right-wing rhetoric matters so much — because it is reassuring and emboldening Trump.

Meanwhile, if you’re reading the New York Times or watching CNN, you’re getting the sense that the case against Trump is a slam dunk, with multiple people having heard the president directly pressure his ambassador to the European Union to pursue a bribery plot. As Ezra Klein wrote recently, this impeachment is “the easiest possible test case for can our system hold a president accountable.” And yet with something like 40 percent of the country living in an alternate media universe, the basic, actual facts of the case may never penetrate into their reality.

Of course, that fear was one of the best reasons for Democrats to initiate impeachment proceedings in the first place: Show people real witnesses answering important questions over a long enough period of time — train everyone’s eyes on the same set of facts — and maybe a greater consensus will emerge.

Time will tell if they succeed. In the meantime, impeachment has proven to be big business on Facebook — where politicians are taking out highly partisan ads consistent with their respective worldviews. Emily Stewart and Rani Molla have a thorough walkthrough of how impeachment is playing out on Facebook, with Trump and Sen. Elizabeth Warren using ads to fire up their base and build their donor rolls; Tom Steyer using impeachment as a signature issue to promote his presidential candidacy; and a spice company buying tens of thousands of dollars worth of pro-impeachment advertising because they spread farther on Facebook than non-impeachment ads, resulting in a better return on investment.

Much of the debate about whether Facebook should allow political advertising noted that it represents a small fraction of the company’s business. But as the Vox writers note, that doesn’t mean it’s an insignificant business:

Facebook itself has grown into a formidable political platform in recent years, with campaigns and outside groups spending $284 million on the platform during the midterm elections, according to a report by Tech for Campaigns, a nonprofit that helps political campaigns with digital tools. While that’s just a small share of Facebook’s overall ad revenue, it’s a growing chunk of what campaigns are spending to reach constituents.

As impeachment hearings intensify, it seems likely politicians’ spending on Facebook ads will increase. And a good number of those ads, like so much about impeachment in 2019, will seem to have been created in a parallel world. In many ways, they were.

 

 

read more theverge.com

By Casey Newton

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