Joe Bruno: Broke-Ass Loner

Oh, man.  This is a rich one.  The Empire Zone has Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s response to Eliot Spitzer’s Reform Albany Day event and the campaign finance reform bill he attempted to push through.  Seems like Bruno might be a trifle upset.

In addition to a choice selection of other stupid quotes from Bruno’s press conference, this one sticks in my head as the solid-gold whopper of the day.  Hang on to your trousers, folks, ‘cuz the shit’s about to get deep [em. mine]:

Bruno to Spitzer: Lets Debate – The Empire Zone – N.Y. / Region – New York Times Blog

“[Spitzer says], on one hand, everybody has to be controlled in what they contribute, which limits people’s ability to support whoever they want to support, and yet he himself has the ability to write checks by the millions of dollars. He can call friends who will raise 100,000 at a time. He has got that ability. He is very fortunate. I don’t. People like me don’t. People like Senator Farley don’t. We have to do it the hard way.’’

Bwaaaaaaa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

I had to read the piece twice to make sure this was the same Joe Bruno.  Sure, Spitz is rich.  Very rich, indeed.  But for Bruno to play the role of the unconnected, hard-working blue-collar guy just trying to make it is preposterous. He’s the most well-connected guy in Albany, and even if the reforms were to go through, he’d be in no danger whatsoever of losing his seat.

But like I said: excuses are going to get interesting as we go forward.

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Through the Metro Justice Clean Money, Clean Elections mailing list, I was alerted to this rather interesting article from the Albany Times Union concerning Eliot Spitzer’s proposed reforms on campaign contributions and the objections lining up against it.  It should come as a surprise to no one that there would be strong resistance to any reform of a system that keeps politicians employed for a life time.

However, you have to give them credit: you would think that, their positions assured after years and even decades of collecting campaign donors, Albany politicians wouldn’t be that good at making up creative excuses for their continued employment.  Ah, but there you would be dead wrong:

Campaign finance stirs opposition — Page 2 — Times Union – Albany NY

Canestrari, chairman of the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee the past decade, is one of several lawmakers briefed in recent days on the talks and opposed to across-the-board reduction of donation levels.

“I’m a firm believer of the two party system in our state and nation; it’s shown to be a model for the world,” Canestrari said.

What, dude, what?

National Clean Money Legislation? Where is New York’s?

While we haggle about the same stupid crap here in this state, even as Citizen Action has been working on Clean Money, Clean Elections legislation for over 11 years, it looks as though the national coalition is in full swing to take the Congress by storm:

TomPaine.com – A Chance For Fair Elections

The importance of this bipartisan legislation is underscored by the number of organizations that immediately got behind it. In addition to reform organizations, endorsers of the Fair Elections Now Act ranged from unions to business leaders, environmental groups to church-based organizations. With a combined membership of 60 million Americans, the coalition assembled is unlike any other federal effort on campaign finance reform. This reform effort is fundamentally different from those of the past.

So, what’s up, Spitz?  Where’s all that dedication to Clean Money, Clean Elections you talked about during the election?  You don’t want the Congress to make us look like a bunch of chumps, do you?

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Meetings at the Town Hall for Clean Money

The Metro Justice Clean Money, Clean Elections team is getting all fired up for a push to create local “Town Hall Meeting” style meetings with local officials and Albany representatives as a way to leverage more pressure on the issue of Clean Money, Clean Elections. The idea is to present a unified and vocal front at home to encourage representatives to pay more attention to the issue as it gets mentioned in Albany. Also, getting representatives to promise things in a public setting is more effective than just talking to them in private.

They’ve got every reason to be proud of the work they’ve done so far. Metro Justice has met with countless local organizations to promote CMCE, gotten more than a few Letters to the Editor published in the D&C and other local news publications, and generally done an excellent job of spreading the CMCE word. They’ve also made contact with numerous officials on the state and federal levels (I personally attended the first meeting with Louise Slaughter’s people on this issue at their Federal Building offices), but now the time has come for them to get more vocal and public, instead of focusing on groups. Hopefully, the work they’ve done with the small groups and organizations will help to amplify their efforts going forward.

I am personally hoping that this push for more public audiences will allow me to get more involved with the effort. I’ve got some ideas of how to make that happen, but nothing I’m willing to publish just yet.

Blogie Nights, TransAlbany and the Devil in Craig Johnson

Oh, this is just rich.  Nothing like seeing Albany politicians getting into this type of argument: a money and fundraising argument.  Better yet, let us now hear from the master of ceremonies in the Albany Rent-a-Slut Daily Cavalcade of Human Intemperance and Legislative Bazaar:

Bruno Ramps Up Spitzer Attack – The Empire Zone – N.Y. / Region – New York Times Blog

Among other things, he was irked that Democrats are using common tactics like circumventing limits on individual donations to Senate candidates by raising funds for the party instead of directly for the candidate. Not that Mr. Bruno, the state?s most powerful Republican, was making a case for campaign finance reform?he was not.

?My point is they can do whatever it is that they please, but please don?t step up on a pulpit and pontificate,? he said. (Em. mine)

Translation: “Be a whore and for God’s sake, don’t question it.  Suck it like a man.”  Good one, Joe.  You’re really earning that monogrammed designer cock-ring you got for Christmas.

Now, as for Spitzer and the rest of the kids: well, Patterson certainly has an excuse which allows for the “plausible deniability” factor.  His is the kind of equivocation the stuff of which lawyers dreams are made of:

Bruno Ramps Up Spitzer Attack (cont’d)

?We are playing by the rules that exist in that particular campaign,? Mr. Paterson said, adding that the governor was ?not raising money for himself, he?s raising money for Craig Johnson.?

Hardly fills you with pride in your new governor, now does it?  No, indeed, though I get the feeling I’m getting filled with something.  In fact, what he’s really saying ~ and what the Spitzer camp is saying through it’s surrogate ~ is, in effect, “we were never going to lose, so we didn’t need to be whores. This guy, on the other hand, is ripe for a rim-job. Just look at that ass! Step right up, boys!”

It is horribly depressing for those of us who have worked so hard to try and push the Clean Money, Clean Elections agenda forward; those of us who until quite recently had thought the Spitzer camp an ally in that fight; to find them peddling ass at the first convenient moment.

Meanwhile, I must say that I’m also a bit disappointed in my friends at RochesterTurning.com and TheAlbanyProject.com and loads of other blogs for having been wooed into the middle of this Saturnalia that Spitzer’s gotten himself involved in.  Dangle a bit of DailyKos in a blogger’s faces, and they get all exited.  In addition to a $25,000 a plate dinner, they’re organizing a big “bitch betta have ma money” festival including a whole slew of big-name blogs.  Check out the lame advertisement done by Spitzer.  Suddenly, all that inspirational music just makes me sick.  I’d like to believe that I’m wrong, but man, he’s not helping me.

Let me be clear in this: that blogs have the ability to keep the politicians and journalists honest; that we can provide the “meta-journalism” needed to add context to the national and local narratives; that we even have the power to change the direction of the entire conversation; that we have the power to affect even the relatively disaffected Democrat and Chronicle is a good thing to be praised.  That we just get used to be the free billboards and unpaid labour for the next round of whores is not.

I confess that, had I been asked, I probably would have considered it for a moment.  I’m as given to having my ego stroked as anyone.  But eventually, I would have come to the rather obvious conclusion that the only thing worse than being involved in an Albany Orgy would be getting stuck being the stenographer to an Albany Orgy. 

Eewww. . .  You can keep the free pencil holder. . . .

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Boy, Are Their Faces. . . Well, Red. . .

Linked through NYCO’s Blog, here’s a great chart over at TAP showing the New York State Senate member spending by party.? It would come as no surprise to anyway that the majority party is spending the lion’s share.? This is true on the national level as well, and right or wrong, is one of the spoils of political war.? However, I’m not certain that you could find a more outrageously slanted scheme anywhere else than in good old New York if you tried.

As much as this seems at first blush to be a black eye for Republicans in this state (and certainly, for us Lefties, it’s convenient), the truth is that this is a far more damning indictment of the political system in our state than the political parties that thrive in it.? As NYBri, the author of the original TAP post points out, “(and I bet if I looked at the Assembly, I’d see blue.)“? The problem is not specifically Republican corruption as it has been on the national level for the last few years; neither is it the whim of a party recently elected to power and basking in it’s own self-importance; but rather the fault lies in an ingrained power structure in which no one loses their seat and the majority in both houses run their houses like brothels.

Elsewhere in Clean Money, Clean Elections news, don’t miss Bob Schieffer’s closing remarks from yesterday’s Face the Nation.? I love the way this guy writes, I really do.

Big News in Clean Money Campaigns

Could this be the year that New York gets Clean Money, Clean Elections? Well, that may be, but there’s no question that Governor Spitzer’s commitment to electoral reform has gone beyond the campaign and he’s remembered his friends in the Clean Money, Clean Elections camp. This is a direct quote from the State of the State address he just gave:

wcbstv.com – Full Text: Gov. Spitzer’s State Of State Address

“To neutralize the army of special interests, we must disarm it. In the coming weeks, we will submit a reform package to replace the weakest campaign finance laws in the nation with the strongest.

Our package will lower contribution limits dramatically, close the loopholes that allow special interests to circumvent these limits, and sharply reduce contributions from lobbyists and companies that do business with the state.

But reform will not be complete if we simply address the supply of contributions. We must also address the demand. Full public financing must be the ultimate goal of our reform effort. By cutting off the demand for private money, we will cut off the special-interest influence that comes with it.”

Well, there you are, then.? And do you think it ends there?? Ho, no!? He’s got a host of other great reforms in mind.? Whatever else you might say about Elliot Spitzer, “unambitious,” doesn’t seem to apply here.

The question is: with a laundry list of reforms in mind, how do we know which of them are most important to him, and which does he drop along the way?? Well, like most politicians, I suspect he will drop the ones that the public clamors for least.? You know what that means: writing letters to the editor, writing letters to the governor and anything else you can do to keep CMCE front-and-center in the mind of our governor and in the face of anyone who would try to knock it down.

If you’re interested in learning what Clean Money, Clean Elections is all about, then you can read all about it in the Clean Money, Clean Elections section of this website, cmce.dragonflyeye.net.? If you’d like to get involved, then contact Jon at MetroJustice.org to find out what you can do to help!

James Inhofe’s “Challenge” to Journalists:

Dare to keep readers off topic:

U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Washington D.C. – Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the outgoing Chairman of Environment & Public Works Committee, is pleased to announce the public release of the Senate Committee published booklet entitled ?A Skeptic?s Guide to Debunking Global Warming Alarmism. Hot & Cold Media Spin Cycle: A Challenge To Journalists who Cover Global Warming.?

Meanwhile, the National Science Teacher’s Association does what it can to keep kids off topic as well:

The Blog | Laurie David: Crooked Curriculum: Oil Company Money Scandal at Nat’l Science Teachers Association Deepens | The Huffington Post

Since the Washington Post published an op-ed I wrote asking if NSTA’s puzzling decision to reject 50,000 free DVDs of Al Gore’s global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth might – just might – have had anything to do with more than six million dollars the organization has accepted from ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, ConocoPhillips and the American Petroleum Institute, the muck keeps piling up.

It’s a shame that all the rest of us have on our side is truth and inevitability.  Those are seldom enough.

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Many, Many Thoughts About the Election

It’s hard to know where to begin with some of the thoughts about last night’s election. The first thing that jumps out at me is, “hell, yeah!” The Dems take the House in a landslide, and they’re a lot closer to victory in the Senate than I might have hoped. I watched CNN most of the night and Comedy Central for comic relief at the end of the night whilst sipping on some Crown Royal.

Poor Jack Davis, we really thought he was going to do it, this time. Poor us in Downtown Rochester who get stuck with freakin’ Tom “Rent-a-Kid” Reynolds again. Then again, it’s tough to imagine the chair of the most powerful political machine in America going down that easy. Eric Massa’s not going down without a fight, but when he’s down by 5000 or so votes, it doesn’t look too good. Alas for our Monroe County Caucus on the Hill, as proposed elsewhere.

On the other hand, every single state-wide gig is held by Dems, and that’s quite a thing. We shall see what that does for us, and what Spitzer has to offer. I’ve been a strong supporter of his, particularly since he’s been vocal on Clean Money, Clean Elections, and I’ll be particularly interested on his movement in the CMCE realm.

Them’s the general thoughts. I’ll get into the more specific thoughts in other posts and keep this one a relatively brief synopsis.

MetroJustice CMCE Article on D&C

Perserverance pays off.  The folks at MJ have been working on getting an actual opinion article posted to the D&C for a while now, and I’m pretty sure this is the first one.  I know how long they’ve been working at it because I tried and got rejected some time ago.  I’m too wordy, as many of you probably already know.

But this one’s a great read, and I’m very happy for the cause!  This comes just as Citizen Action has announced a new Leadership Meeting for November, so the Rochester delegation goes in strong with a nice article in one of the largest media markets in the state and the country.

Democrat & Chronicle: Essays

(October 12, 2006) ? One issue that virtually all New Yorkers agree on is the need for reform of our Legislature and legislative process. Newspapers, civic groups, candidates, even our elected officials all point out the need for improvement. If we all agree that fixing the problem is crucial to the future of New York, why aren’t we getting it done?

There’s a simple answer to that question ? money. In today’s world it takes big money to get elected. New York state legislative candidates in 2004 raised on average $235,000 each for their campaign war chests, according to Common Cause.

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MetroJustice CMCE Article on D&C

Perserverance pays off.  The folks at MJ have been working on getting an actual opinion article posted to the D&C for a while now, and I’m pretty sure this is the first one.  I know how long they’ve been working at it because I tried and got rejected some time ago.  I’m too wordy, as many of you probably already know.

But this one’s a great read, and I’m very happy for the cause!  This comes just as Citizen Action has announced a new Leadership Meeting for November, so the Rochester delegation goes in strong with a nice article in one of the largest media markets in the state and the country.

Democrat & Chronicle: Essays

(October 12, 2006) ? One issue that virtually all New Yorkers agree on is the need for reform of our Legislature and legislative process. Newspapers, civic groups, candidates, even our elected officials all point out the need for improvement. If we all agree that fixing the problem is crucial to the future of New York, why aren’t we getting it done?

There’s a simple answer to that question ? money. In today’s world it takes big money to get elected. New York state legislative candidates in 2004 raised on average $235,000 each for their campaign war chests, according to Common Cause.

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MetroJustice CMCE Article on D&C

Perserverance pays off.  The folks at MJ have been working on getting an actual opinion article posted to the D&C for a while now, and I’m pretty sure this is the first one.  I know how long they’ve been working at it because I tried and got rejected some time ago.  I’m too wordy, as many of you probably already know.

But this one’s a great read, and I’m very happy for the cause!  This comes just as Citizen Action has announced a new Leadership Meeting for November, so the Rochester delegation goes in strong with a nice article in one of the largest media markets in the state and the country.

Democrat & Chronicle: Essays

(October 12, 2006) ? One issue that virtually all New Yorkers agree on is the need for reform of our Legislature and legislative process. Newspapers, civic groups, candidates, even our elected officials all point out the need for improvement. If we all agree that fixing the problem is crucial to the future of New York, why aren’t we getting it done?

There’s a simple answer to that question ? money. In today’s world it takes big money to get elected. New York state legislative candidates in 2004 raised on average $235,000 each for their campaign war chests, according to Common Cause.

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