After nearly a five-year run, this blog will either shut down or transfer to other progressive hands by the end of next month. I hope it’s the latter. In either case, I wish readers in Greene and Columbia Counties good luck. Despite all indications to the contrary, here’s hoping things can change for the better.
I plan to transfer or shut down this blog within the next couple of months, for two primary reasons. The first: progress on all fronts in this area is extraordinarily slow, and I don’t have the time, dedication or patience to continue promoting it. I hope someone better suited to the task will do so instead. The second reason is that local politics seem to have reduced relevance in light of growing dysfunction at the national level and throughout the world (guns, Trump, Brexit).
Tommorow’s Democratic Primary
Vote for Zephyr Teachout—she already has national recognition and that, plus a wide lead in fundraising, gives her a better chance of turning the 19th Congressional District Democratic. Her focus and authority on political corruption are also important, especially here in New York, where corruption continues apace.
The Presidential Election
I’ll probably have more to say about this before I leave, but for now I’ll just note we are facing an abysmal choice this November. Hillary Clinton is precisely the wrong candidate to field against Donald Trump—she is old news, and out of step with today’s electorate, especially young voters. Nevertheless, it’s important that she win.
Mass Shootings and Guns
This is the sleeper issue in American politics and the trigger (pun intended) that will eventually produce massive change in this country, perhaps even to the point of some sort of domestic breakup of our own. The willful distortion of the second amendment (it does say “well-regulated,” folks) has gone on for too long, to the point where our gun policies have slid into outright insanity. What’s more, no one is proposing appropriate solutions, such as the successful buy-back program implemented in Australia. "Common sense solutions" are not enough, as even gun advocates note. We have to remove the 300-some million guns already out there.
They just couldn’t wait, could they? Despite numerous petitions last week urging the media and the Democratic Party to refrain from prematurely announcing Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee, major media outlets did just that on the eve of six primaries, including the all-important California primary. When primary voters woke up this morning and read that Hillary had already clinched the nomination, how many of them were motivated to go and out vote?
It’s a disgusting conclusion to a disgracefully biased nominating process. One can only hope that progressive voters will be so pissed off by this blatant attempt to jump the gun that Hillary will lose California anyway.
Clinton: “I Win!” Photo: RedState.
One can also hope that Tim Canova will defeat the despicable Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s 23rd congressional district this fall. From the very beginning, Wasserman Schultz has employed every tactic imaginable to rig the nominating process for Clinton.
It’s a shame the DNC chair can’t cheat for Clinton in the presidential race as well—Hillary could certainly use the help. She is an extraordinarily weak candidate whose only hope this November lies in the fact that her opponent may be even more disliked than she is.
Come on, California—get out and vote. Remind the country how democracy is supposed to work before we embark on the worst presidential election process in living memory.
Last night, Will Yandik visited a Democratic meeting at the town hall in Tannersville. What he had to say was impressive.
Yandik, who is 38 (he looks younger) and runs a 100-year-old family farm in Columbia County, is running for Congress as a progressive. There is very little to separate him on most issues from Zephyr Teachout, his better-known competitor in the June 28 Democratic primary.
Will Yandik in Tannersville. Photo: Tom Pletcher, BlueInGreene.org.
Some readers will recall that this blog has already endorsed Ms. Teachout to replace Chris Gibson in Congress this fall. (Speaking of Chris Gibson, he surprisingly announced today that he is withdrawing from politics at the end of his current term.) But Yandik, in his brief address to the assembled Democrats and the follow-up Q & A, showed why many local voters really like him.
Yandik correctly views broadband as the single biggest economic issue for our region, and believes the federal government will need to play a role in finally bringing broadband to everyone, including laggard Greene County. He wants the environment protected and he wants consumer privacy preserved (backdoors in software to enable government surveillance should not be allowed, in his view).
Given the similarity of these stands to those of Zephyr Teachout, I asked Yandik why he decided to compete against her. His response: he believes that his local roots and knowledge give him a leg up and make him more resistant to Republican attack. He also noted that he feels the competition has made both candidates stronger.
Will Yandik is a strong candidate. It would be great if we could split the 19th Congressional District and elect Yandik and Teachout both. But we can’t, of course, and I continue to believe that Zephyr Teachout’s growing national reputation and superior name recognition make her the best candidate this time around. Even so, I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of Will Yandik.
Tuesday is primary day in New York. I have no advice for Republicans, except to continue to work on their thinking skills and/or move down south.
For Democrats, though, it’s a different story: New York is critically important for both candidates. Here’s why Bernie Sanders is the clear choice in the primary.
Sanders photo: berniesanders.com.
You often hear that Bernie is a one-note candidate, talking about economic inequality and nothing else. It’s not true. And even if it were true, this ‘one-note’ platform actually encompasses almost every moral and economic issue facing the country today. America is in deep shit, folks. It’s the one thing both parties agree on. Any first step toward change must begin by acknowledging this and talking about it, and addressing the fundamental nature of the problem: a rigged political system and staggering (and growing) inequality.
Republicans do not recognize this central truth; instead they want to perpetuate the economic status quo, or even intensify the trends toward inequality. In that sense they are irrelevant in terms of your vote on Tuesday (see my recommendations for Republicans above). Democrats do acknowledge the truth (mostly) but are divided as to how to address it. Sanders voters don’t believe he can fix everything in 100 days. But they do believe he’s identified the core problem and honestly wants to effect real change, and that is the crucial difference.
Hillary’s incrementalism seems very weak and unappealing in contrast. And many of us have grown old with Hillary; she’s been around forever and she is basically part of the problem, regardless of anything she now says. Young people know this. Listen to them.
This Saturday, April 9, there will be a rally for Bernie Sanders, clean energy and a safe climate in Kingston. Sanders is the only presidential candidate who has a comprehensive plan to remove subsidies from the fossil fuel industry and transition to a prosperous, clean-energy economy.
Sanders is also the only presidential candidate of unquestioned integrity. He has won seven of the last eight contests and narrowed Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead considerably. A win in the New York State primary on April 19 would demonstrate conclusively that he is the better, stronger candidate against the Republicans this fall.
Photo: Matt Rourke/AP.
Anti-fracking activist Josh Fox (Gasland) will be at the Kingston rally, along with Tribal rights attorney and Honor the Earth Campaigns Director Tara Houska, environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, environmental justice organizer Anthony Rogers-Wright, local organizers and other special guests. After the event, everyone will head out into the community to knock doors and turn out the vote for Bernie.
It’s your chance to help make a real difference, by supporting the candidate most likely to help re-energize upstate New York and our country.
The address is 323 Wall Street, Kingston. Doors open at 2 PM tomorrow. RSVP here.
Yesterday New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined the chorus of support for Zephyr Teachout for Congress. Here’s an excerpt from the senator’s "Send Zephyr to Congress" email:
"There’s another thing I love about Zephyr—she’s got courage. Running for office isn’t easy. You’re vulnerable in ways you never imagined. But that doesn’t seem to worry Zephyr. She has a real commitment to public service, a joy for the democratic process that you don’t often see."
Kirsten Gillibrand. Photo: Wikipedia.
The senator goes on to add, "I can’t wait to work with her on the New York delegation, and I think her unique voice will be a breath of fresh air in the halls of Congress."
Zephyr Teachout is far and away the best choice for Congress this fall. You can lend your support here.
A few days ago MoveOn.org polled over 20,000 of its members in New York’s 19th Congressional District as to which candidate the progressive organization should support. The results are just in, via email:
- Zephyr Teachout – 80%
- Will Yandik – 19%
- John Kehoe – 1%
Zephyr Teachout, the Overwhelming Favorite.
As MoveOn says, "Zephyr Teachout literally wrote the book on ending corruption in politics. And she’s fought for those values alongside progressives for years. From pioneering small-dollar grassroots fundraising on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, to challenging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, to working alongside Lawrence Lessig to get big money out of politics, Zephyr Teachout has been a lifelong champion of fixing our broken, money-driven political system.
"Zephyr is exactly the kind of progressive we need in Congress now more than ever."
Do you want to see a Democratic Congressperson representing the 19th? Then let’s all get with the program—Zephyr Teachout can beat any of the Republican candidates this November.
Will New York’s 19th Congressional District Democrats never get it right?
Back in January, it seemed they had: party leaders from every county in the district endorsed Zephyr Teachout, the best candidate to run for this office in ages.
Since then, though, renegade party elements in Columbia County—and now Greene County as well—have endorsed Columbia County farmer Will Yandik.
Will Yandik. Photo: Daily Freeman.
Yandik is not a bad candidate per se, but he has nowhere near the stature of Teachout and has no business running against her. He trots out the tired “carpetbagger” argument to support his role as an interloper.
To repeat, Zephyr Teachout is far and away the best candidate this district has seen in some time. Is she a recent arrival to the district? Yes, she is, and so what? It’s not as if the natives have accomplished much lately.
Fortunately, Teachout is likely to vanquish Yandik in the primary, then prevail in the general election, thus putting the 19th District in Democratic hands. But in the meantime it’s irksome Yandik is running at all, and doubly irksome that local party leaders have endorsed him.
It’s encouraging whenever a local politician moves to do something worthwhile, so we salute Assemblywoman Didi Barrett for her recent call to Columbia County leaders to address the woeful broadband situation.
This site has been urging improved broadband coverage for years, but all we’ve had so far is lots of political posturing (I’m looking at you, Chris Gibson) and no real-world impact. Instead, local officials on both sides of the river drag their feet and resist any sort of positive initiative or, if they do try to act, they invariably screw things up somehow.
Didi Barrett speaks out. Photo: poughkeepsiejournal.com.
What’s more, David Salway, Director of the state’s Broadband Program Office, is projecting 2019 as a broadband delivery date. After years of pointless local delay, the state’s target seems unconscionably far off, even if there is a lot of work to do. Meanwhile, officials like Columbia County Planning Commissioner Ken Flood are “waiting to see” (the favorite activity of many local politicos) whether or not Columbia County is even eligible to receive state broadband funding.
By speaking out forcefully now, Barrett is calling attention, yet again, to the need to finally tackle, begin work on and resolve an intractable local problem that has been ignored for far too long.