Do Elephants and Men Have Equal Rights? – By George J. Marlin

Posted April 9, 2022 by streetcornerconservative
Categories: Articles/Essays/Op-Ed, Newsmax

This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on Friday, April 8, 2022.

Can Cuomo beat Gov. Hochul in November? – By George J. Marlin

Posted April 5, 2022 by streetcornerconservative
Categories: Andrew Cuomo, Articles/Essays/Op-Ed, Blank Slate Media, Kathy Hochul, Political Issues

The following appeared on Monday, April 4, 2022, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website, theisland360.com:

Lately, there has been plenty of nervous chatter in Democratic circles that former Gov. Andrew Cuomo will seek a political comeback.

Political wags tell me that Cuomo may attempt to resurrect the defunct New York State Liberal Party and nominate himself as its candidate for governor.

For the under-50 folks unfamiliar with the Liberal Party, here’s a little background: Founded in 1944 by leftists who abandoned the Communist-dominated American Labor Party, the Liberal Party provided the margin of victory for many like-minded Democrats and Republicans. Democrats endorsed included Hugh Carey, Mario Cuomo, and Robert F. Kennedy. Republicans were Jacob Javits, John Lindsay, and Rudy Giuliani.

Ironically, the Liberal Party went out of business in 2002 when its gubernatorial nominee, Andrew Cuomo, failed to receive the 50,000 votes required by law to maintain its ballot line.

Cuomo may have convinced himself that by running on the Liberal Party line he could win in a four-way race because sexual harassment criminal investigations into his behavior have been dropped by five district attorneys due to a lack of evidence.

Theoretically, that outcome is possible if the following were to occur: First, the Working Families Party candidate Jumaane Williams would have to receive at least 5 percent of the vote. Next, support for the Republican-Conservative candidate Lee Zeldin could not exceed his base, which is about 30 percent.

That would leave 65 percent of the remaining electorate for Gov. Kathy Hochul and Cuomo to tussle over.

If Cuomo’s traditional supporters—minorities, center-left Democrats and Independents—were to stick with him, he could get the 33% needed statewide to win.

Then again, such a plan could easily backfire and put Zeldin over the top. Yes, if enough centrists, particularly in Westchester County and the Hudson Valley area, say a pox upon the houses of Hochul and Cuomo and support Zeldin, he could pull off a surprise victory with a 33% plurality.

Frankly, I believe a Cuomo comeback is unlikely.

In my judgment, his coverup of nursing home COVID-related deaths will destroy his chances.

An audit released in March by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Cuomo’s COVID performance explains why Cuomo has much to fear. DiNapoli reported that “the public was misled by the highest level of state government and given a distorted version of reality that suppressed facts when they deserved the truth.”

Cuomo’s Department of Health:

  • Understated the number of nursing home deaths due to COVID-19 by at least 4,100 and at times during the pandemic by more than 50 percent.
  • Was slow to respond to a federal directive to conduct surveys of nursing homes for infection control problems, surveying just 20 percent of facilities between March 23 and May 30, 2020, compared with over 90 percent for some other states.
  • Imposed impediments on the audit, including delaying requested data, limiting auditors’ contract with program staff, not addressing auditors’ questions during meetings and not providing supporting documentation.

The audit also revealed that the Department of Health was delinquent in performing its duties. Instead of being dedicated to promoting public health, it “conformed its presentation to the executive’s narrative”, (i.e., the former governor and members of his staff) “often presenting data in a matter that misled the public.”

Andrew Cuomo’s management of the reporting of COVID-nursing home deaths throughout the crisis “lacked transparency, and was at times, inaccurate, inconsistent, incomplete, and/or not amenable to analysis,” the audit said.

DiNapoli’s report concluded that consistent with Cuomo’s governing style, his DOH was “plagued by a threatening environment, closed ranks and lack[ed] commitment to openness—at the expense of the public’s trust.”

That’s quite an indictment!

If Cuomo jumps into the governor’s race, I am certain his opponents, and the families and friends of the more than 15,000 New Yorkers who died in nursing homes from COVID-19, will brandish the devastating DiNapoli report.

And that would sound the death knell for Cuomo’s restoration hopes.

Time for centrist Democrats to wake up – By George J. Marlin

Posted March 27, 2022 by streetcornerconservative
Categories: Articles/Essays/Op-Ed, Blank Slate Media

The following appeared on Monday, March 21, 2022, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website, theisland360.com:

New York State’s Democratic Party, its representatives in the state Legislature, and its governor, have moved further and further to the left because they fear the wrath of the Democratic Socialists of America.

When the DSA’s poster child, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, handily beat 10-term Congressman Joseph Crowley in the 2018 Democratic Primary, the Democratic establishment went into a state of shock.

Since AOC’s victory, the DSA has been on the ascendency. Its candidates have defeated other mainstream Democratic officeholders, including Brooklyn Assemblyman Joe Lentol, a 47-year incumbent.

DSA has been using its clout to push for passage of radical legislation in Albany. This included the “No Bail,” law which is a major contributor to the crime spree in New York’s inner cities.

This month the DSA poked its nose into foreign affairs. In a statement released on March 8, the DSA, while condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, called on the United States “to withdraw from NATO and to end the imperialist expansion that set the stage for that conflict.”

Calling the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “imperialist,” an alliance that not only contained the Soviet Union but permitted democracies to flourish in Western Europe in the post-World War II era—was a bit much for me.

Apparently, I was not alone.

The New York Times reported on March 9 that DSA’s statement “drew rebukes from a White House spokesman and from a number of Democratic candidates and elected officials, from Long Island congressional contenders to officials in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.”

DSA’s absurd response to the war in Ukraine induced me to take a look at the organization, whose largest chapter is in New York City.

Learning about DSA was easy. Its website describes its history, programs, policies, etc.

DSA was founded in the early 1970s when two radical organizations—the New American Movement and the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee—joined hands. (Many of its charter members were formerly affiliated with the 1960s SDS—Students for Democratic Action).

DSA was initially dedicated to opposing “corporate domination of America” and later developed an “ideological and organizational socialist presence among trade unions, community, feminist and people of color and other activists.”

Opposing the “neo liberal Democratic Clinton Agenda” and disappointed with the Obama administration’s “moderate program,” DSA embraced the Occupy Wall Street movement and later Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign.

As for DSA ideology, the organization embraces the brand of Marxism developed by Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937).

Gramsci rejected Karl Marx’s view that man’s history is the story of economic class conflict. “The real class conflicts,” Gramsci argued, “are cultural … and only after the existing culture has been thoroughly destroyed can the new culture—and the new economics—be established.”

Hence, to bring down our way of life, DSC promotes “identity politics,” which Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald has pointed out “holds that human beings are defined by their skin color, sex, and sexual preference; that discrimination based on those characteristics has been the driving force in Western civilization; and that America remains a profoundly bigoted place, where heterosexual white males continue to deny opportunity to everyone else.”

DSA also “unapologetically stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle for liberation.”

And last September, they condemned as “barbaric” the “vote by the congressional house to fund Israel an additional $1 billion for their ‘Iron Dome’ Missile Defense System.”

DSA opposes the “Iron Dome” that protects the only truly democratic country in the Middle Ease from terrorist attacks. How ludicrous is that?

Yet, despite its positions, the DSA is hijacking New York’s Democratic Party.

Why?

Because most mainstream Democrats have not been voting in primaries. Turnout on any given primary day for state and local races is only about 10 percent. And low participation permits the well-organized DSA to win many races. For instance, last year, Buffalo’s incumbent mayor, Byron Brown, lost to Democratic Socialist India Walton.

Out of 289,000 Buffalo Democrats, only 21,000 came out to vote. Walton won with 51 percent.

If centrist Democrats don’t wake up, organize and get out to vote, they will cede control of their party to illiberal extremists. And New York will continue down the road to becoming the East Coast version of California.

May Gabbard Keep Fighting Left’s ‘Empire of Lies’ – By George J. Marlin

Posted March 25, 2022 by streetcornerconservative
Categories: Articles/Essays/Op-Ed, Newsmax

This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on Friday, March 25, 2022.

Gov. Hochul’s budget embraces tax and spend – By George J. Marlin

Posted March 12, 2022 by streetcornerconservative
Categories: Articles/Essays/Op-Ed, Blank Slate Media, Kathy Hochul

The following appeared on Monday, March 7, 2022, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website, theisland360.com:

In the spring of 2021, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a record-breaking $212 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that began on April 1.

Spending all of the $12.2 billion, one-shot federal COVID revenue was not enough revenue to balance his budget. To meet that end, Cuomo deferred $3.5 billion in Medicaid payments into the next fiscal year and raised taxes.

New York’s highest earners now pay a 10.9 percent state income tax. In addition, a 1 percent surtax was added to the state’s capital gains tax. Estate taxes jumped from 16 percent to 20 percent on estates valued over $10 million. The corporate franchise tax went from 6.5 percent to 7.25 percent.

Cuomo’s budget, which increased by a staggering 10 percent in 2021, was twice the expense budget of Florida, which has 3 million more people than the Empire State.

In 2021 and early 2020, additional revenues continued to flow into the state’s coffer. There were more federal pandemic dollars, and thanks to an expanding economy, significantly more tax revenue.

“Initially,” state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli noted in his recent analysis of the state’s fiscal year, “tax collections were expected to increase only 10.6%; however, year to date collections have increased 31.2 percent.”

This was all good news for Gov. Kathy Hochul as she prepared an election year budget that appeases big government radicals in her party and state and municipal employees.

Hochul recommended more spending even though there are ominous signs that the economy may slow down this year, and inflation is hitting levels New Yorkers have not witnessed since the early 1980s.

The bloated budget Hochul presented to the state Legislature not only spends the excess revenues but includes another $5 billion in capital funding from President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Hence, total spending is projected to increase to $217 billion. And that’s before insatiable legislators begin negotiating for more swag for their favorite interest groups.

It should come as no surprise that the biggest spending increase is school aid. To placate teacher unions, the Executive Budget proposes $31.2 billion in aid, up 7.1 percent from the previous fiscal year.

There is the proposal to move forward with the final phase-in of the so-called “middle class” tax cuts, but that’s a pittance—about $162 million in relief.

While the Hochul administration is boasting that her budget increases reserves in various “rainy day” funds, totals will still be relatively low. Reserves, projected to be $6.1 billion, are far below the permissible maximum level of $19.4 billion.

And Hochul’s proposed reserve numbers are a bit deceptive. The state comptroller’s report states that the increase “disproportionately utilizes informal, unrestricted reserves by leaving resources in the General Fund with the administrative designation ‘reserve for economic uncertainties.’”

Those funds are very fungible. They “could be obligated and spent at any time at the Department of Budget’s discretion, for any appropriate purpose,” the report says.

How convenient.

Furthermore, the comptroller notes, these “informal reserves have no obligation of being replenished. Accordingly, such funds do not have the same stabilizing value as formal, statutorily restricted revenues.”

Then there’s the lack of budgetary transparency and accountability. Like her predecessor’s budgets, Hochul’s financial plan “identifies billions of dollars allocated to broadly define purposes with no specificity.” In other words, billions in appropriations could be easily misused.

Another Cuomo budget gimmick Hochul is adopting: the comptroller’s oversight authority to pre-review contracts for Medicare managed care contracts and competitive bidding requirements are slated to be eliminated.

Thanks to the influx of windfall revenues, Hochul had an opportunity to repeal last year’s income tax increases and to truly replenish the state’ depleted reserve funds.

Instead, Hochul chose to continue Cuomo’s tax-and-spend policies. This may get her past the election in November, but come 2023, when the “free” money from Washington runs dry and the economy tanks, there will be dire consequences for New York taxpayers who will be the ones stuck paying the tab for Hochul’s largesse with even higher taxes.