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Serrano Votes Against Wall Street Bailout – NY Times BlogShare, Yesterday at 8:31pm
Four of New York State’s 29 representatives voted no on the $700 billion economic bailout package that the House of Representatives rejected on Monday in a historic vote, 228 to 205. The four no votes from New York State came from three Democrats — José E. Serrano of the Bronx, Kirsten E. Gillibrand from the Albany area, and Maurice D. Hinchey of south-central New York — and one Republican, John R. Kuhl Jr. of central-western New York. (See the roll call.)
Mr. Serrano, a Bronx Democrat and the only House member from New York City to vote no, explained his decision in a phone interview:
I felt it was not a situation where you should be giving large amount of money to be administered by the same people who caused the problem. I just felt it was not right to begin with.
Second, I didn’t find enough provisions that satisfied me in terms of the oversight. In so many ways it was just giving them a blank check.
I represent the poorest district in the nation, located within the richest nation and within walking distance of the wealthiest district in the nation, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
When Wall Street was doing great and these guys were giving each other $50 million bonuses, I couldn’t see anything happen to the Bronx that made me say, ‘Wow, there’s some good from what’s happening on Wall Street.’ So now, they want $700 billion — which could amount to over $1 trillion, and who knows how much more later on – and that debt would be incurred by the people of the South Bronx, directly or indirectly.
Next year, when we want to increase funding for education, health care or veterans affairs – or just keep them at the same level – we will be told that we can’t because we can’t pay down the debt.
Despite strong pressure from the House leadership, Mr. Serrano added, “I couldn’t in good conscience” support the rescue package.
Mr. Serrano acknowledged that Wall Street’s collapse could hurt Main Street even further. If so, “do my constituents suffer?” he asked rhetorically, replying, “Yes, but what was presented to us did not help my constituents at all. It in fact put them at risk, because it would saddle them with debt. Where was Wall Street when we were cutting the taxes of zillionaires and driving up the debt?”

We should all be Republicans!

Alright, calm down. Let me rephrase.

It just should not be possible that Republicans stand any ghost in heck of a chance of winning any office on Nov. 4, let alone the presidency of the United States.

Yet, here they are and here we are.

Sen. John McCain is buoyant, ascendant, barnstorming the nation, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin beaming on his arm, both confident of a romp in November.

Sen. Barack Obama, meanwhile, is beginning to rue forgoing Federal financing for his political campaign. His message of change, after being brilliantly co-opted by McCain and Palin, sound shopworn.

Bill Clinton’s eight years in office, dogged every step of the way by rapacious Republicans, ended with the nation at peace, the economy robust and in surplus. Clinton handed off to George W. Bush a stable nation on sound economic footing. The question was what to do with the surplus.

George W. Bush, appointed President of the United States by a majority of Republicans on the United States Supreme Court, then proceeded to fritter away the nation’s good fortunes with unfunded tax cuts for the very rich (“the haves and have mores,” as Bush called them, “my base”).

As it turns out, Republicans have not been in power the last eight years, including controlling of all branches of government the first six. Both houses of the Congress acted as the lookout while the Bush administration violated every tenet of the Constitution of the United States, made short shrift of American rights and values, and undermined every national institution.

Didn’t our national legislature dote on this Republican administration as it slept at the switch while terrorists trained on American soil, hijacked American planes to attack Americans in America without anyone so much as raising a finger to stop them.

Exploitive RNC 9-11 Video

Then, when it turned out the men who attacked America were mostly from Saudi Arabia, this government, this administration mounted a Republican headwind to get approval from Congress to attack . . . Afghanistan, then Iraq.

No, it was not really Republicans who started these two costly wars, finishing neither, even as the Congress eschewed any oversight of the corruption and pillaging that took place by Republican functionaries and appointees on the ground in Iraq.

I would call it their mismanagement of the economy if the eventual outcome has not been what Republicans intended.

I would call it mismanagement what happened in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a major American city and American citizens literaly drowning as the world watched, without their government raising a finger to protect them, had it not been Republican blueprint of how government should function, which is not at all.

The list grows but not the outrage.

Because, it turns out, Republicans had not been in charge, did not do these things all these years. Sen. Obama was responsible for the high energy costs. Democrats were at fault for all these things.

And it’ll take a Republican, that maverick John McCain, and his moose-hunting sidekick, Sarah Palin, to set things right. McCain, the Charles Keating consort, and Palin, she of that welfare state, Alaska.

That’s my point. Republicans should have no leg to stand on, no argument to muster in the national debate on how make right what is wrong with our nation.

Wasn’t it Republicans who presided over the deterioration of the nation’s infrastructure, watched a major bridge collapse in Minnesota and then had the audacity to hold their national convention in that state, despite not raising a finger to fix that bridge?

So, you have to ask that old Harry S. Truman question:

“I wonder how many times you have to be hit on the head before you find out who’s hitting you? It’s about time that the people of America realized what the Republicans have been doing to them.”

Yet, here they are and here we are.

Which has led me to this ledge. If Republicans manage to win in November–and the polls show McCain-Palin either ahead or about even with Obama-Biden–then we should all join the Republican Party and change it from within.

Democrats, by losing an unloseable election, would have forfeited the right to be called a major political party.

A Good Story

I am a regular reader of Newsweek magazine. Most of the time, I don’t like what I read in there. I find its journalism often sloppy, if not downright dishonest. The fact is, I read it through gritted teeth most of the time.

For instance, I think they’re highly tilted toward John McCain in this election. He was their preferred candidate during the Republican primaries. Although they’re intrigued by Sen. Barack Obama’s candidacy, especially now that he’s the Democratic Party nominee, McCain remains their man.

They’ll do anything, including shred any credibility the magazine has left to get him elected.

But, I am writing today to praise Newsweek, not to bash it. At least praise Christopher Dickey, its longtime foreign correspondent, for a superb piece on the magazine’s cover this week.

Southern Discomfort is a special piece of journalism, well written. As a writer, one of the things I struggle with is the pronoun “I.” Dickey wielded it judiciously in this piece to great effect. He did not get in the way of telling this story, which is quite an achievement.

I could try to quote from it but there’s so much that’s good in the piece that you, dear readers, would be better off buying the magazine at the newsstand, or reading the piece here:

I cannot resist one quote from the article, which got me:

“I think if there were a better economy more people would take a risk on Obama,” said Patricia Murtaugh Wise, a lawyer from Nashville sightseeing with her kids at Atlanta’s landmark Varsity Drive-In restaurant. Her friends are blaming Bush more than his party, she said. “I’m not sure people are saying, ‘Because Bush got us into this, let’s vote for a Democrat.’ I think people are saying, ‘Let’s get a new person in there’.”

Her name notwithstanding, the quote and the reasoning behind it are patently stupid. If, as the woman said, times are good, her excuse not to vote for Obama would be that he’d ruin the good thing she had going.

Rudy Pooh-Poohs Dem Bigs’ Digs By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and LISA REIN Daily News Staff Writers

Sunday, October 26, 1997

With a comfortable lead in the polls, Mayor Giuliani yesterday refused to engage in a war of words with Democratic challenger Ruth Messinger — even allowing harsh comments from his predecessor, former Mayor David Dinkins, to go unchallenged.

Dinkins, who spent the better part of a rainy afternoon campaigning with Messinger in Brooklyn and Queens, accused Republican Giuliani of running an “out-of-control” campaign that would “self-destruct” before Election Day.

“I predict that Mayor Giuliani has a great capacity to self-destruct, and I think he’s going to do that in the next 10 days,” Dinkins said, at times stealing the spotlight from Messinger yesterday.

“He’s out of control right now,” Dinkins continued, recalling the mayor’s blistering attack on Messinger for not attending Mass on Columbus Day. “He seems to think that the whole world started on Jan. 1, 1994, when he became mayor.”

But Giuliani, crisscrossing the city with campaign stops in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Harlem and Throgs Neck in the Bronx, refrained from attacking Dinkins, saying only, “The best thing for me to do with a question like that is to say, ‘I’m not going to respond.’ ”

When asked if he thought Dinkins could rescue Messinger’s flagging campaign, the mayor said he “couldn’t evaluate the other side.”

The mayor’s comments came at Sylvia’s Restaurant, a Harlem landmark where he capped a swing through clothing stores along W. 125th St., receiving warm greetings from proprietors.

Earlier, the mayor tasted meatball calzones and onion rings on his first-ever tour of a superstore, the Costco in Sunset Park. The visit came a day after he pledged to mount an aggressive campaign to revive his failed proposal to speed up the opening of more megastores if he wins reelection.

But as he marched in the small Parade of Flags along Fifth Ave. just a few miles away, some merchants told the mayor that superstores would decimate their mom-and-pop stores.

Messinger campaigned in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, getting thumbs-ups from shoppers and merchants along Broadway.

She then took the stage with Dinkins at the Panamanian Day parade in Brooklyn, where she accused Giuliani of positioning himself for a run for national office, a move she insisted would push him to the right politically and divert his concerns from the city’s schools.

Giuliani denied the charge, calling it an “irrelevant issue” and calling his “sole focus” his race for reelection.

Original Story Date: 102697

Rudy Adds Help For Abuse Victims By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

Friday, April 18, 1997

The city will make available 312 new shelter beds for victims of domestic violence in an effort to ease a chronic shortage, Mayor Giuliani said yesterday.

The city also will hire 14 more workers to answer calls from battered women as part of a $7 million expansion of victim support systems that will use state, federal and proposed city funds, Giuliani added.

Giuliani said the improvements are in response to a survey by City Controller Alan Hevesi, whose staff found that women seeking refuge from abusers often could not get anyone to help them.

The controller’s staffers made 112 calls over two weeks to a 24-hour city domestic violence hotline established by Giuliani. The line was often busy and lacked staff fluent in foreign languages other than Spanish.

Eighty-two callers said they were victims. Of 57 callers who got through, 36 were told they could not get help because there were no available beds, Hevesi said.

“Of those who connected, 63% were not able to obtain help in the system and were left on their own,” Hevesi said.

Giuliani stood next to Hevesi at a City Hall news conference as the controller described flaws in the mayor’s system. Giuliani thanked him, then announced his plan.

He insisted he has made improvements since becoming mayor. And he said the system is burdened because the city is taking on more cases by advertising its services.

“The city should really be encouraged here,” Giuliani said. “New York does more about domestic violence than any city in the United States.”

Joyce Shepard, a Queens social worker who, Hevesi said, relentlessly pursued him to look at the shelter system, called the announced improvements a good beginning.

“I felt like I made history in seeing a Democratic controller standing next to a Republican mayor as they put aside their differences and worked together to save the lives of citizens,” Shepard said.

Original Story Date: 041897

Rudy: McCall Playing Politics By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

Sunday, March 30, 1997

Mayor Giuliani snapped off a defiant reply to state Controller Carl McCall’s complaint that the city improperly blocked two state auditors from checking on city agencies: See you in court.

Stepping up a long-running political feud, Giuliani accused McCall of misusing the controller’s office by flooding city agencies with performance audits that far exceed McCall’s authority.

Giuliani vowed to fight a promised McCall legal challenge over the decision to stop the state auditors from analyzing records at city health and social services offices on Friday.

“We are happy to meet him in court,” Giuliani said, citing a 1977 state court ruling that he said restricts McCall’s office to financial audits. “The fact is he has no right under the Constitution of the state to do performance audits of the city.”

The Republican mayor, who is seeking reelection in November, charged that the Democratic controller had launched numerous audits in a bid to cost him votes at the polls.

“This isn’t looking at the books, the accounts and the records of the city,” Giuliani said. “These are audits to create negative, political audits that he’ll release in August, September and October.”

McCall fired back, insisting that his office was fulfilling its oversight role by auditing delivery of city services.

“The mayor has yet to deal with the substance of any audit,” said McCall. “He has not identified any particular audit that was inaccurate, or incomplete. All we get is the response that it’s political. And I say, ‘Where is the evidence?’ ”

McCall said his office would seek court subpoenas to get city records needed to complete the audits. The audits focus on the city’s screening of welfare applicants and handling of requests for birth and death certificates.

While gearing up for reelection, Giuliani has touted his success in shrinking the welfare rolls and speeding response to requests for copies of birth certificates.

He vowed to block McCall from conducting any further audits at least until after this year’s mayoral election.

“If he wants to subpoena records for these broad-based performance audits, we are happy to test our legal position in court,” Giuliani said.

Original Story Date: 033097