Elise Stefanik, John Katko and a Snowflake in Snow Country

John Katko, Elise Stefanik from Auburnpub.com – Google Image Search

Elise Stefanik, John Katko and a Snowflake in Snow Country

Elise Stefanik showed her allegiance to the Freedom Caucus and Trump at the Impeachment Hearings last week. She showed that she could talk trash to Adam Schiff, who is heading the hearings, but who is a Democrat. She was as disrespectful as those in her party like to be and they have been in Congress for far longer than she has. She proved she could be “one of the boys.” Perhaps she handled the moment when Adam Schiff held her to the process rules in such an unprofessional manner, even though they had been agreed upon in advance, because she is new to her role as a disrupter and she just reacted as the young person she is. But everyone certainly noticed her and she had her 15 minutes of fame, and may it be the only 15 minutes she gets. It is far too simple, if you are Republican, to join the Trump cult and to find yourself unable to disapprove of anything our creative and criminally-minded leader thinks up even if he breaks every rule America tries to live by and every rule Ms. Stefanik has sworn to uphold. 

Elise Stefanik represents the NY 21 district which stretches from the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario (Watertown) over to the Vermont border (Plattsburg), from Albany to the Canadian border. Much of the region is mountainous and rural, sprinkled with a few resorts and tourist spots, a few wealthy suburban enclaves, some farmers, some Amish residents, some colleges, the Adirondack Preserve, and the seat of NY State government. Summers are spent near water and winters are snowy, long, and very cold. Her parents own a successful business and Stefanik has a degree in government from Harvard. She has stuck to her goal to work in government ever since beginning with the Bush 43 administration.

Some of northern NY is very similar to the Rust Belt, with factories that once offered lifelong employment folding or moving elsewhere. It was not obvious before Stefanik was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2014 that many in the north country would be backing Trump in the 2016 election. Although Stefanik said she was a moderate Republican she helped Paul Ryan, a Tea Party favorite, prepare for the 2012 election. She has also worked for two groups, Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Foreign Policy Institute – two organizations that claim to be nonpartisan, a claim that is considered questionable. Since Stefanik’s district abuts mine to the north I knew that she became a Trump backer in the 2016 election. Many people in the north country who do not support Trump have no current local representation in the House since Trump supporters almost never vote with the Democrats.

So here I am, a libtard, a snowflake in snow country, surrounded by Republicans who toe the party line. I have Stefanik in NY 21 and then I have John Katko in NY24. John Katko came to Congress through law enforcement. He worked for the DOJ as a senior trial attorney at the US-Mexican Border (he has a degree in law from SU) and in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and as an assistant US attorney in Syracuse, NY where he helped prosecute gang members. He is a good man, except for the fact that his ideology is old and his law and order approach is currently being questioned. 

Syracuse, NY has popped up in recent research as one of the places in America with the most stubborn pockets of poverty and segregation. Policies pursued in the get-tough-on-crime years have done nothing to change this situation in Syracuse (and many other cities). John Katko has proven to be a hard worker, but inflexible in his belief that tougher is better. He also sees no reasons to work across the aisle although he occasionally votes with Democrats when it suits him. He does not want to listen to other points of view. If you write him he answers, however he says he understands what you are saying but he cannot agree with it and he must vote his conscience (not exactly the way one would expect a representative to think). It is incomprehensible how he can stomach someone like Trump as he is a very straight-arrow Catholic. But his inability to be flexible, both in terms of policy and sociological remedies, is the biggest argument against him. John Katko and Elise Stefanik are both members of a conservative group in the House called Tuesday Group.

So I am living in the midst of one district full of Trump supporters (and Katko has many in the district who agree with him), and I am bordered on the north by another Trump district. I have to hope that Dana Balter will win in NY24 (by magic) and that Tedra Cobb will win in NY21 (she has a bit more financial backing) and it appears that both of these House seats are very unlikely to be overturned in 2020. Slick ads for John Katko have already begun to appear, but I have seen no ads, slick or otherwise, for Democrats. And while I understand the rigor and purity of grassroots funding, I find it almost impossible to accept that it can win a national race in the age of Citizens United.

Dana Balter and Democrats, Please!

fast_food_workers_on_strike_for_higher_minimum_wage_and_better_benefits_26361270471

We need to vote for Dana Balter. Republicans, in their TV election ads, are telling people in New York’s 24thdistrict that Democrats (specifically, Dana Balter) want to raise our taxes. Elections ads are always one-sided, and often skewed ideologically. What these ads are not telling voters is what they will most likely get if they vote for the Republican candidate (John Katko) and what they will most likely get if they vote for Dana, a Democrat.

So far Republicans have not raised anyone’s taxes. Remember that Grover Norquist of Americans for Progress holds Republican pledges which attest that they will not raise taxes ever. I don’t know if each new group of GOP members of Congress signs on to the same pledge, but you must have noticed that no one’s taxes went up. Some went down a little, some went down a lot. In fact, the more money you had the larger the cut in your taxes. Why are government representatives signing a pledge to an organization outside of our government?

What did this tax cut bill, which my Republican Representative voted for, get us. Precious little!. We were told to expect pay raises. How big was your raise?

What we will get is a big deficit.

Republicans were against the stimulus Obama wanted and got, which halted the Great Recession and turned the economy around. But the GOP insisted on budget sequestration (across the board cuts) because of “big spending” Democrats. The GOP constantly complains that we need a balanced budget amendment (a terrible idea given the flexibility needed in a federal budget). Events arise that cannot be predicted.

So how could the GOP pass a tax cut bill that will raise the deficit so much?

They can do this because they have big plans for the 2019 FY Budget (fiscal year), which they don’t plan to bring up formally until after the 2018 election. 2019 is a year when no one is up for reelection. The proposed budget for 2019 has already been written and is out there on the internet, although not finalized.

That 2019 Budget plans to make up for GOP overspending on tax breaks and military spending by making cuts. Guess what they plan to cut – and by quite a lot – Social Security and Medicare. How will that play out for people who survive on Social Security (which they paid for) or because of Medicare (which they paid for).

Here’s what Paul Krugman had to say on the subject:

“Now, Republicans who call for cuts in social spending to balance the budget are showing extraordinary chutzpah, which is traditionally defined as what you exhibit when you kill your parents, then plead for mercy because you’re an orphan. After all, the same Republicans now wringing their hands over budget deficits just blew up that same deficit by enacting a huge tax cut for corporations and the wealthy.

So it might seem shocking that only a few months later they’re once again posing as deficit hawks and calling for spending cuts. That is, it might seem shocking if it weren’t for the fact that this has been the G.O.P.’s budget strategy for decades. First, cut taxes. Then, bemoan the deficit created by those tax cuts and demand cuts in social spending. Lather, rinse, repeat.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/23/opinion/obamacare-medicare-social-security-midterms-republicans.html

If we reelect our Republican representatives, who vote the party line or (same thing) the Trump line 90% of the time or more, we are voting to experience the sadness of watching our parents and grandparents or even us, live lives of financial desperation. Some Americans cannot afford to live if they lose their Social Security payment and/or their Medicare coverage. It will not be pretty. John Katko (NY District 24) votes with Trump 89% of the time.

Dana Balter, Democratic candidate, is, therefore, your best bet if you want to live comfortably in a society that seeks to benefit workers as well as people who are unable to work. Dana Balter is a Progressive Democrat, not far from Bernie Sanders at all, although she is not running as a Democratic Socialist. She is running as a Democrat but she will also run on a Working Families line.

Working people should be paid more. If corporate heads are walking away with such enormous profits, then that makes you really cheap labor. Even if they paid workers higher wages they could still have enough profit to make themselves wealthy. Our taxes should help pay for things working families need like bigger pay checks, paid family leave and universal health care. We might even ask for more vacation time.

Judging by the wealth captured and held by the 1% there is plenty of money around to pay for those things. If so much wealth is pooling at the top something is off-kilter. It may be greed, it may be fear, it may be entitlement, it may be pure hedonism, but it is wrong. We might need to raise taxes on the wealthy because they are unlikely to willingly pass some of their profits back down the line. All evidence suggests that “trickle down” does not work.

Dana doesn’t want to lie and say that taxes definitely won’t go up if we try to give workers better supports that suit the times we live in when both parents usually work and there are so many single parents. But there are other places we might find money besides raising taxes. There is far too much money in our military budget, at least there would be if Trump would stop fomenting hostilities around the globe. What was just added to our military budget would pay for Social Security and Medicare for quite a while.

As far as we the people are concerned we can’t afford John Katko. We need Dana Balter to win!

Vote! Kocpc.com.tw