Friday, May 23, 2014

Governor One Percent gets most of his money from the One Percent

"When I give food to the poor, I'm called a saint. When I ask why they are poor, I'm called a communist." -Archbishop Dom Helder Camara.

WNYC reports that Governor One Percent Andrew Cuomo gets most of his campaign "donations" from... surprise surprise... the One Percent. 60% of his campaign funds come from "donations" of $10,000 or more.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media keeps reporting the line that Cuomo would be hurt by a potential challenge from his left. Few of these journalists* have bothered to notice that there is an actual candidate to Cuomo's left: Green Party standard bearer Howie Hawkins. It'd be nice if state political reporters would inform themselves so they could stop misinforming the public.

(*-The article linked to in the first sentence is a rare exception, notable in that it came not from the usual Albany press insiders but from the paper in Hawkins' hometown)

The Working Families Party, which is not really a party but a faction of the Democrats, continues the charade that it might not give Cuomo its ballot line. No one seriously believes that they would do such a thing, and risk the loss of their lucrative patronage factory. This charade is designed to dupe the media into portraying it as a party that has any relevance to anything, so they don't notice that they add absolutely nothing to the political system. Naturally, the Albany press corps eagerly carries their water.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

When you control the power, you have all the power

In the mid-1990s, voters in the upstate New York city of Glens Falls rejected a proposal to create a municipal power corporation, of the kind 47 localities in NYS now haveThe then-Niagara Mohawk spent a lot of money propagandizing against the referendum so as to preserve its monopoly. 

When multinational National Grid proposed to buy Niagara Mohawk, it was sold as a good deal for customers, who would allegedly benefit from the larger corporation's resources and economies of scale. Customers have never seen one iota of benefit from this merger, but plenty of pain.

The TOTAL rate for the public electric utility in Massena in northern New York is less than the DELIVERY ONLY rate that National Grid charged this month (even before you pay for the actual electric supply). Assuming the municipal utility's website is correct, residential electric rates in Massena have remained the same since 1997 (around the time GF resident's rejected a similar utility).

Right now, individual towns, villages or cities can form their own municipal power corporation, if they feel like spending millions in legal fees to fight National Grid and its ilk. In 2010, a proposal in the New York state legislature would have allowed smaller municipalities to band together to form regional power corporations. The bill appears to have withered on the vine. I wonder why.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Christians rejecting Christ, part 9349

"When I give food to the poor, I'm called a saint. When I ask why they are poor, I'm called a communist." -Archbishop Dom Helder Camara.

The Atlantic's website had a really interesting article regarding US Christians, Jesus and the death penalty. It cited research related what American Christians thought Jesus Christ's opinion on capital punishment would have been.

Personally, I suspect he would've been against execution for two reasons. First, he was, unlike so many Christians in this country, consistently pro-life. And, he had first-hand experience of how easily an innocent man can be murdered by the state.

But that's not the part that really intrigues me.

The article cited polling which found that only 10% of American Christians as a whole (and only 2% of Catholics) believe Jesus would've supported capital punishment.

Yet the Pew Forum found that a comfortable majority of white Christians supported the death penalty. Smaller numbers of black and Hispanic Christians supported the death penalty but the figures (in the 35-ish percent range in both cases) were still several times higher than the number who thought Jesus Himself would support the practice. It found that 71% of Republicans, the party most associated with the fusion of Christianity and politics, supported the death penalty.

The overwhelming majority of Americans believe Christ would have opposed capital punishment. The overwhelming majority of Americans claim to be Christian. The overwhelming majority of those Christians reject the position that they themselves believe their own Prophet would've taken.

I used to assume that religious beliefs instructed personal beliefs. Increasingly, I'm starting to think that one's personal beliefs dictates one's religious beliefs more than the contrary.