Even Before David Paterson’s Downfall, New York State Had Lost All Its Leaders Fighting For Marriage Equality.
Snow has engulfed New York City with little end in sight. By tomorrow we should have two feet on the ground — for New York City, that’s a lot! It’s beautiful, it’s dangerous, it’s wonderful. And like the sudden crashing to the ground of ice from awnings, it hit me as I was walking my dog this morning — the realization, not the ice — that the state of marriage equality in New York is like a bastard, orphaned child, crying to be born. And our leaders aren’t fulfilling their parental obligations.
David Paterson, who has been Governor of New York three weeks short of one year, and who last weekend announced his decision to begin his campaign for election to his currently-held seat of Governor — which he inherited when Eliot Spitzer resigned after fourteen months in office when it became known he was the client of a prostitution ring — has just announced after less than one week of officially being a candidate, that he will not seek reelection. Seems he has a bit of a scandal of his own.
That was today.
Yesterday we learned that thirty-nine year veteran U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel, who for some strange reason Democrats saw fit to include at the table in Thursday’s historic Blair House Healthcare Summit with President Obama, and who represents New York’s 15th congressional district (Upper Manhattan and Queens) and is the Chairman of the very powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and who is being investigated for ethical violations, is being publicly rebuked by the House ethics committee for breaking House rules, and is being pressured to resign his Chairmanship. And this is just the initial finding — meaning more on the way for the Ways and Means Chair.
Last month, now-former New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate was the first in nearly a century to be expelled from the Senate, after being convicted of domestic abuse charges, which included dragging his girlfriend by the hair through his apartment building lobby and driving her miles out of the way to a hospital where he would not be recognized. (He was.) He not only has vowed to run for his now-former seat, but last week failed in his lawsuit to have his expulsion expunged.
Monserrate, New Yorkers and regular readers of this blog will know, was key in the overthrow of the New York State Senate last summer, shutting it down for a month, and using the issue of same-sex marriage as a political football. Monserrate may be the most-hated member of New York’s “Hate 38,” the group of Senators who voted in early December against marriage equality, causing it to die under a crushing 38-24 defeat. It seems the former-Senator took our money, claimed he would vote for marriage equality until the last moment, then voted against it.
Add to all this political drama and disaster the fact that both Governor Spitzer and Governor Paterson promised to midwife marriage equality into New York.
Spitzer, who campaigned on a promise to usher gay marriage into New York, at his first State of the State address promised only that he saw New York as a “state that understands that the civil rights movement still has chapters to be written.” That was January, 2007, and that was all we got from him. Two years later, Governor Paterson proclaimed he would take up the fight for gay marriage, proclaiming,
â€œFor too long the gay and lesbian communities have been told that their rights and freedoms have to waitâ€¦ The time has come to act, the time has come for leadership, the time has come to bring marriage equality to the State of New York.â€
Bringing it all home, the Governor, in a televised address, surrounded by a dozen state leaders and politicians, cried, lack of marriage equality was â€œnot a crisis of issues but a crisis of leadership.â€
Now, it seems, the crisis still is a crisis of leadership.
Let’s not forget the recent resignation — albeit more than honorable — of Alan van Capelle, the now-former Executive Director of Empire State Pride Agenda, the leading marriage equality organization in New York. Monday he heads off to work for NYC’s new Comptroller John Liu.
My point to all this is simple. Marriage equality is the bastard, orphaned unborn child of New York because there’s no one leading the fight to bring it into this world. It’s the political football foster child being used and abused to by all camps to gain something else. By the politicians for votes and campaign cash. By anti-gay groups like NOM, for cash. Spitzer, Paterson, Monserrate (and his even more guilty buddy, state Senator Pedro Espada,) and the “Hate 38,” Gallagher, Brown, and their ilk, the list is long.
Every kid needs a parent. Every cause needs a leader, and in New York, there’s no one taking charge.
To mis-quote an old Carol Burnett skit, (or, perhaps, the original “Gone With The Wind,) there’s no one here who knows nothing about birthing no babies…
It’s no wonder people are taking measures into their own hands. It’s no wonder we have “Gays behaving badly.” It’s no wonder activists shout-down Senate candidates like Harold Ford (who deserved to be shouted down — but not during his speech. Wait til he’s done speaking, boys. His words would have garnered enough trouble for him. He didn’t need help looking bad. We didn’t need to look bad, either.)
But, can we really blame them? Those protesters were doing the same thing kids do when there’s no one in charge: acting out.
It’s no wonder New Yorkers are furious. Our politicians either don’t support marriage equality (see: the “Hate 38,”) or say they will, then they vote against it. Or, they say they will, then they leave in scandal. (See: Spitzer, Paterson.)
Our advocates, like van Capelle, get frustrated and move on to bigger things — understandably so.
So, New York state, which by rights should have joined with our New England neighbors when marriage equality was gaining momentum last year, and in which a majority of citizens support marriage equality, is left without leadership, without partnership, and without much hope.
Here’s what will happen.
Activist groups, angry, frustrated, feeling powerless and yet empowered by a lack of leadership, will continue to do things like chain themselves to New York City’s marriage bureau to draw attention to the cause, or shout down political candidates, or crash elected officials’ Christmas parties, or worse, “by any means necessary.”
All these acts will only get worse until the leadership void is filled and until New York gets marriage equality. Fortunately, that bastard, orphaned, unborn child that is marriage equality is going to be born, hopefully sooner rather than later, and when it is, it will be among the most beautiful babies ever to grace the earth.
The time has come. The time for leadership, for smart and sensible action, for equality, for New York.
Who will lead us? Who will follow? Who will fight? Who will win?
Yes, my friends, like the sudden crashing to the ground of ice from awnings, the birth of marriage equality is a natural law that will happen. It’s a matter of time, and it’s up to us.
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‘Sexy’: Comer Obtains Unredacted Emails to VP Biden Revealing Women ‘Privately Mused’ They Found Him Attractive
Amid the chaos of what top Democrats are calling the GOP House’s “civil war,” infighting that threatens to shut down the federal government in nine days, Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer has been obtaining some of then-Vice President Joe Biden‘s emails from the National Archives.
Politico reveals Chairman Comer has been able to obtain several unreacted emails, including one which relayed a tidbit of hearsay, or, “private musings,” from 2009, after an overseas trip Biden took: “multiple” women said they found the Vice President “sexy.”
The emails “include schedules with ordinary family get-togethers,” Politico adds. “One shows Biden had lunch with Hunter Biden’s then-15-year-old daughters, Maisy and Finnegan. Another reveals that the Ukrainians were praising his now-deceased brother, Beau. And then there are the private musings of multiple Georgian women saying they found Joe Biden ‘sexy’ during a 2009 trip that also included a stop in Ukraine.”
“’Must-read email below,’ read an email forwarded by Biden’s then-national security adviser Tony Blinken to Joe Biden and his sons, Hunter and Beau. The email’s subject line: ‘Biden as new Georgian sex symbol.'”
Other emails from the National Archives’ trove include a “June 14, 2016 schedule card shows Biden was to meet with the prime minister of Ukraine. The newly unredacted portions show he was also scheduled to work out with his personal trainer, and to dine with Hunter’s then-15-year-old daughters, Maisy and Finnegan, in the vice president’s office.”
Politico, noting that “Republicans have yet to turn up direct evidence that Joe Biden benefited personally or that he took any official action as a result of those [Hunter Biden’s] connections, also reveals a “May, 27, 2016 schedule card includes a call with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Hunter Biden was copied on the day’s schedule. It’s already been reported that Biden was also due to attend the one-year anniversary of the passing of his son, Beau, back home in Delaware.”
“Comer had been pointing to this scheduling item, since it was also emailed to then-Vice President Biden under a pseudonym email address. Comer even said the vice president was sending a secret message to his son that he was about to fire the prosecutor. As recently as last week, Comer included that email on a list of ‘evidence’ of Joe Biden’s ‘involvement in his family’s influence peddling schemes.'”
Politico also notes that Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy “and his allies insisted that opening a formal impeachment inquiry would empower them to dig deeper. Yet the emails are another example of the House GOP failing to turn up evidence they’ve assured the public exists and that will implicate Biden in some form of corruption that rises to an impeachable offense.”
Image via Shutterstock
‘Total Breakdown’: House Sends Members Home – Experts Warn ‘Republicans Can’t Govern’ And Have No ‘Working Majority’
Nine days before an increasingly-likely shutdown of the federal government of the United States, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has effectively adjourned the House for the rest of the week, with GOP leadership telling members they may go home and come back next week, after a procedural vote to fund the Dept. of Defense failed for the second time this week.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram reports, “Note that the House has not officially dismissed everyone.. but everyone expects they are done for the week. Why? They House lacks the VOTES TO ADJOURN.”
He later added that “Things are very fluid,” and “there could be votes TOMORROW or this weekend still in the house. This could be a problem if some members already got on flights.”
Fox News online is reporting, “House abruptly cancels votes for the week without spending deal after series of defeats for GOP leaders,” and notes members are not expected back until Tuesday.
McCarthy this week has repeatedly denigrated and attacked the extremist members of the House Republican conference on camera to reporters, and Thursday was no different, saying, “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) blasted House Republicans upon hearing the House was about to adjourn for the week.
“What you need to understand is that chaos is the point for a big chunk of House Republicans. They came to congress to BURN THE GOVERNMENT TO THE GROUND,” the Connecticut Democrat wrote. “Their goal is a shutdown.”
The sentiment is being echoed by political experts, but many of those are placing the blame on Speaker McCarthy.
Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor to former Obama Cabinet secretary Julián Castro Thursday afternoon wrote: “Reminder: Kevin McCarthy could put a clean bill to fund the government on the floor right now and it would pass easily. Instead, he’s sending members home for the weekend with 9 days until a shutdown—all because he’s afraid he’ll lose his job.”
Evidence that the far-right extremist House Republicans, led by U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are effectively in control comes via Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman:
At 1:13 PM ET Sherman posted that Rep. Gaetz had “just emerged from” Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s suite. “Gaetz said that he’s advocating for pausing consideration of the Pentagon spending bill and moving to bills that cut spending. He mentioned: State-Foreign Ops, Agriculture, Energy and Water.”
Sherman noted that Gaetz “said again there are not enough votes” for a continuing resolution, legislation to keep the government open temporarily, possibly 30 days past the September 30 deadline.
“Just to review, the plan right now is to begin passing 11 appropriations bills with relatively open rules allowing for amendments between next tues (possibly wed) and Sunday.”
At 2:40 PM, Sherman added, “This is now the strategy. They’re going to bring up individual approps [appropriations] bills next week, per lawmakers who just met with @SpeakerMcCarthy.”
Others were less pleased.
Veteran foreign policy journalist Laura Rozen wrote: “truly insane. Mccarthy surrendered to Gaetz.”
Even before McCarthy adjourned the House for the rest of the week, political experts had warned the volatile situation was worse than it may have appeared.
Sherman, late Thursday morning, issued this warning on social media after the failed Defense Dept. vote: “Just to put this in context, republicans cannot even agree to debate the pentagon spending bill. This bill usually passes by big margins. It failed twice this week. Kevin mccarthys House Republicans are in a state of crisis.”
Josh Chafetz, Georgetown Law professor of law and politics, responded to Thursday’s failed Defense Dept. procedural vote, writing: “if you can’t pass the procedural stuff you don’t have a working majority.”
Aaron Fritschner, the Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) is calling the state of the GOP House a “total breakdown.”
“I started working in the House nearly 11 years ago, I’ve seen some crazy days and some chaotic votes but never seen anything like what is happening with this majority. Just a total breakdown,” he wrote Thursday morning.
Professor and American historian Aaron Astor on Thursday asked, “Does the GOP actually have a working majority in the House?”
Veteran journalist John Harwood quickly replied, “clearly not.”
‘Just Want to Burn the Whole Place Down’: McCarthy Rails Against House Republicans as GOP Conference Explodes in Chaos
Speaker Kevin McCarthy unleashed his anger against his own House Republican conference Thursday as chaos erupted after yet another procedural vote on a defense spending bill failed and the clock ticks closer to a GOP-caused shutdown of the federal government.
McCarthy “failed a crucial test Thursday of his ability to unite his fractured Republican caucus as he tries to rally support to pass a spending bill aimed at avoiding a government shutdown at the end of the month,” CNBC adds.
“It’s frustrating in the sense that I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea and having the debate, and then you got all the amendments and if you don’t like the bill,” McCarthy admitted to reporters in what has increasingly become opportunities for him to trash the most far-right Republicans in the House.
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” he lamented. “It doesn’t work.”
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.”
— After House Republicans once again failed to pass a basic procedural rule to fund the Pentagon, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hits some members of his own conference pic.twitter.com/Qt4AR71jP3
— The Recount (@therecount) September 21, 2023
“This is really unheard of,” CNBC’s Emily Wilkins reported. “I mean just a rule going down as a procedural thing, that’s pretty rare as is, and for it to happen twice in one week. Last night Republicans came ut of their all hands on deck Republican meeting. A number of them sounded optimistic about moving forward.”
Thursday failed procedural vote “really did catch Speaker McCarthy by surprise,” Wilkins added.
“He said he did not realize there were not going to be the votes to move forward on this.”
The House failed to pass a procedural rules vote today, @emrwilkins
reports. “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said. “That doesn’t work.” https://t.co/1xf6Y33riV pic.twitter.com/kK31lrHOyr
— CNBC (@CNBC) September 21, 2023
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