Rep. Tenney (R-NY-22) spreads fear

We have nothing to fear but fear itself. — FDR

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY-22) tells New Yorkers what to think spreading fear with insinuations. Here are some examples from September 2022:

Lowering the farm worker OT threshold will hurt farmers, the agricultural workforce, and consumers.–facebook, Sept. 15

Anti-Second Amendment Elites are pressuring credit card companies to monitor your firearm & ammunition purchases.s.–facebook, Sept. 14

Lowering NY’s farm worker overtime threshold would be a nightmare for our family farms.–facebook, Sept. 13

New York was just ranked LAST on The Heritage Foundation‘s Education Freedom Report Cards.–facebook, Sept. 13

Experts just urged Georgia to replace the state’s voting machines with hand-marked paper ballots b/c voting machines in Coffee County may have been breached.–facebook, Sept. 9

Big Tech censored the Hunter Biden laptop story, which could have influenced the 2020 election.–facebook, Sept. 7

NEW BOMBSHELL REPORT: America First Policy Institute just released a new report, which uncovered pervasive & problematic practices: jurisdictions are not preserving records from federal elections, leaving serious questions and discrepancies.–facebook, Sept. 7

This week, state AGs obtained emails showing that the Biden admin coordinated regularly with Facebook to censor dissenting viewpoints.–facebook, Sept. 3

Next week, the NY Farm Wage Board will submit a recommendation to lower the farm labor overtime threshold to 40 hours. Family farms across NY would be devastated by this change. Say NO to reducing the threshold!.–facebook, Sept. 2

Today, most provisions of NY’s grossly unconstitutional “Concealed Carry Improvement” Act take effect..–facebook, Sept. 1

Rep. Tenney’s posts consistently spread fear of government, Democrats, and fellow Americans with unsupported allegations. September isn’t even over yet.

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Rep. Joe Sempolinski Republican NY-23

Some handy links:

Rep. Sempolinski’s web site

Rep. Sempolinski’s official facebook page

Rep. Sempolinski’s sponsored legislation

Rep. Sempolinski’s cosponsored legislation

Rep. Sempolinski’s votes. It would be better if he would explain them.

Note: The votes page includes procedural votes normally voted on party lines. This explains why some bills are listed more than once. Usually, the latest vote would be on passage.

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Twenty-two Republican Governors Oppose Student Loan Relief

Everyone knows someone that’s struggling post pandemic. And, you know, if we help folks in the communities so that they – reduce the chances of them going into default, everybody wins. It helps the economy.–Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona

Twenty-two Republican Governors Oppose Student Loan Relief.

From the governor’s letter:

As governors, we support making higher education more affordable and accessible for students in our states, but we fundamentally oppose your plan to force American taxpayers to pay off the student loan debt of an elite few…

Those eligible for relief are not “an elite few.” The idea that individual American taxpayers will “pay off student loan debt” is false. If the governors have a plan for making higher education affordable, the letter doesn’t mention it.

“College may not be the right decision for every American, but for the students who took out loans, it was their decision: able adults and willing borrowers who knowingly agreed to the terms of the loan and consented to taking on debt in exchange for taking classes,” the letter states. “A high-cost degree is not the key to unlocking the American Dream—hard work and personal responsibility is.”

The governor’s answer may be to skip college, if you can’t afford it.

Ayana Archie writes:

It (the letter) further argues that it is unfair to those who previously already paid off their student loans.

This is a silly argument: Helping those in need isn’t unfair to those lucky enough to not need help.

The governors also expressed concern that the forgiveness plan could encourage higher education institutions to drive up their costs, and therefore worsen inflation.

These Republican governors spread fear of inflation, but give no evidence that loan forgiveness would have any undesirable consequences. Some Republican governors didn’t sign the letter.

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Isonomy–The principle of equality before the law of all the subjects or citizens of the state. 

State board breaks with farmers on overtime pay standards

Joe Mahoney, CNHI State Reporter, writes that the state Farm Labor Wage Board voted 2-1 to recommend that New York reduce the overtime threshold for farm workers in New York from 60 hours per week to 40 hours. Under the plan, the overtime threshold would drop to 52 hours per week at the beginning of 2026, and then go down to 40 hours starting Jan. 1, 2032. Commissioners Hughes and McDuffle voted in favor, Commissioner Fisher voted against it.

Commissioner McDuffle stated:

The board has a “duty to protect tens of thousands of farm workers and align their rights with those in other industries. We believe this decision protects the rights of farm laborers while taking into account the needs of farmers.

Commissioner Hughes isn’t quoted in Joe Mahoney’s article.

Commissioner Fisher complained:

The report accepted by Hughes and McDuffie failed to mention that an analysis of the impact of reducing the overtime threshold would prompt employers to reduce hours for workers, which in turn would spur most migrants to spurn jobs in New York and go to other states where they could work more hours.

Mahoney writes:

Agriculture was exempted from federal labor standards adopted in 1938. The Depression-era law, adopted before widespread mechanized farming, exempted farms from the overtime rules, with advocates then citing the seasonal nature of agriculture.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, which has pushed for a 40-hour overtime threshold, argued the standard should be implemented immediately by Hochul and her labor commissioner, Roberta Reardon, saying to do so would be “eradicating this racist Jim Crow policy once and for all.”

The Northeast Dairy Producers Association urged that the recommendation be rejected, arguing consumers, schools, food pantries and farm workers themselves will be negatively impacted if they are implemented. The association said 70% of the farm workers who participated in a series of hearings held by the wage board had urged that the threshold remain at 60 hours.

Reportedly, the AFL-CIO supports the recommendation, noting that farm owners will benefit from improved tax credits enacted in the NYS budget including an increased non-refundable credit and a new refundable credit.

Many NYS Republican office-holders, including Reps. Stefanik, Tenney, and Zeldin oppose the recommendation.

I understand that farm workers may fear they will never see the mandated overtime and thus prefer the status-quo. However, I believe that fairer labor standards will benefit all, that the ten-year phase-in will give the market plenty of time to adjust, and that strident alarms from farm interests and politicians are overblown.

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Presidential Privilege and Classification

The two sides also clashed substantially over the duties of the special master. Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that the arbiter should look at all the documents seized in the search and filter out anything potentially subject to attorney-client or executive privilege. By contrast, the government argued that the master should look only at unclassified documents and should not adjudicate whether anything was subject to executive privilege. — Reported in “The New York Times” by Charlie Savage, Alan Feuer, Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman Published Sept. 9, 2022 Updated Sept. 10, 2022, 7:36 a.m. ET

Could documents subject to a president’s attorney-client privilege be properly classified? I don’t think so. It is unlikely that anyone would need to discuss state secrets with a lawyer, even if the lawyer had proper clearance. But not all classified documents are properly classified–some might be classified mistakenly or to save government agencies or officials from embarrassment. The former president did use classification to hide his phone conversation with Ukraine’s president, reportedly. Evidently, a president could order documents classified to hide his interaction with a lawyer.

Could documents subject to executive privilege be classified? They could be. A president might order privileged documents classified to protect them from exposure. The Defense Department might classify documents related to discussions with others in the government including the president. That said, it isn’t clear what “residual executive privileges” a former president retains. DOJ reportedly believes there are none.

Are documents marked classified still classified? When officially declassified, copies should be so marked; as long as documents are marked “classified,” they must be treated as if they are classified. A looser policy would lead to chaos.

What became of the notes on the Helsinki meeting? Does President Biden know the secret? Will the public ever know?

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Claudia Tenney’s slander

Seen on Claudia Tenney’s campaign website:

Biden is and has always acted despicably.

Joe Biden was also the worst Vice President and the worst Senator in American history, save maybe Kamala.

Reminiscent of a decrepit old Soviet leader of yore propped up by the diabolical shadow of government behind the scene …

The meanness of Communist authoritarianism was screaming out of a decrepit Biden.

This is how she claims to be “fighting for you in Congress.” Don’t believe it? Look for yourself. Claudia Tenney isn’t fit to be a member of the House.

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PBS Frontline Special: Lies, Politics and Democracy

This PBS program is interesting:

FRONTLINE’s season premiere investigates American political leaders and choices they’ve made that have undermined and threatened democracy in the U.S. In a two-hour documentary special premiering ahead of the 2022 midterms, FRONTLINE examines how officials fed the public lies about the 2020 presidential election and embraced rhetoric that led to political violence.

The Frontline program suggests that there were many warnings of future trouble in the former president’s campaign and time in office. Republicans ignored the warnings and rallied around the candidate. The program details how close the effort to overthrow democratic elections came to succeeding.

I was annoyed by the suggestion that Democrats caused Republicans to close ranks by calling attention to the warnings. I doubt that had Democrats said and done less, Republicans would have said and done more.

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Courts, Special Master, Executive Privilege, oh my

Philosopher Jason Stanley of Yale University, best known for his 2018 book How Fascism Works, tweeted today: “Once you have the courts you can pretty much do whatever you want.” — Heather Cox Richardson

An article in The New York Times by Charlie Savage discusses the move to appoint a special master in the Trump documents case. Savage writes:

A federal judge’s extraordinary decision on Monday to interject in the criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s hoarding of sensitive government documents at his Florida residence showed unusual solicitude to him, legal specialists said.

Here are some excerpts:

  • This was “an unprecedented intervention by a federal district judge into the middle of an ongoing federal criminal and national security investigation,” said Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at University of Texas.
  • Paul Rosenzweig, a former homeland security official in the George W. Bush administration and prosecutor in the independent counsel investigation of Bill Clinton, said it was egregious to block the Justice Department from steps like asking witnesses about government files, many marked as classified, that agents had already reviewed.
  • “Judge Cannon had a reasonable path she could have taken — to appoint a special master to review documents for attorney-client privilege and allow the criminal investigation to continue otherwise,” said Ryan Goodman, a New York University law professor. “Instead, she chose a radical path.”
  • A specialist in separation of powers, Peter M. Shane, who is a legal scholar in residence at N.Y.U., said there was no basis for Judge Cannon to expand a special master’s authority to screen materials that were also potentially subject to executive privilege. That tool is normally thought of as protecting internal executive branch deliberations from disclosure to outsiders like Congress.
  • David Alan Sklansky, a Stanford University law professor, said he was glad that work had been allowed to continue given its importance. But he said there was an inherent contradiction in allowing the executive branch to use the files for that purpose while blocking it from using them for an active criminal investigation.
  • Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., a Harvard Law School professor, said anyone targeted by a search warrant fears reputational harm, but that does not mean they can get special masters appointed. He called Judge Cannon’s reasoning “thin at best” and giving “undue weight” to the fact that Mr. Trump is a former president.

Charlie Savage notes:

In reasoning that she had a basis to install a special master, Judge Cannon relied heavily on a 1975 appeals court ruling. It held that courts had jurisdiction to decide whether to order the I.R.S. to return a businessman’s records that he claimed had been taken unlawfully, and laid out a multipronged test for such situations.

One part of the test is whether the government had displayed a “callous disregard” for the constitutional rights of the person subjected to the search. On that issue, she sided with the Justice Department, which had obtained a warrant from a magistrate judge.

But she said the other parts of the test favored Mr. Trump. They included whether he had an individual interest in and need for the seized property, would be “irreparably harmed” by a denial of that request and lacked any other remedy.

On Executive Privilege, for Just Security, Andy Wright wrote:

Executive privilege is a contested doctrine in our separation-of-powers scheme, with Congress and the Department of Justice traditionally at loggerheads over its scope and application. In practice, executive privilege is an assertion of presidential authority to preserve executive branch confidentiality interests by withholding information from a judicial or congressional proceeding. The doctrine encompasses a bundle of components that cover a range of executive branch confidentiality interests, including presidential communications, deliberative processes, investigative integrity, state secrets, and individuals’ civil liberties that the administration may seek to shield from disclosure. Such claims can arise in legislative inquiries, criminal investigations, and civil litigation involving private parties, especially litigation arising under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 

Andy Wright’s article goes on with a more detailed discussion of executive privilege.

Charlie Savage is a Washington-based national security and legal policy correspondent.

Andy Wright is a Partner in the Washington office of K&L Gates and was previously Associate Professor at Savannah Law School, where he taught constitutional law.

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Rep. Tenney makes sly innuendoes

An innuendo is a hint, insinuation or intimation about a person or thing, especially of a denigrating or a derogatory nature. — Wikipedia

In Rep. Tenney’s Sept. 3 Newsletter, we read:

Last year, due to overreaching government policies in Albany and Washington that discouraged work, many small businesses struggled to find the workers they needed to keep their doors open. 

Rep. Tenney refers obliquely to policies needed to prevent the spread of Covid 19, which killed a million of us so far and caused our average life expectancy to decline.

According to an estimate from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Biden’s unprecedented and illegal giveaway could cost as much as $600 billion and will benefit higher-earners with advanced degrees over hardworking American families.

Debt relief will directly benefit most people encumbered by student loans and indirectly benefit all of us. “No man is an island.”

Attacking the American people for his incompetent leadership as he did this week is neither a solution nor a strategy.

President Biden warned of the danger to democracy posed by those trafficking in lies.

President Biden is willing to jeopardize our national security and the credibility of the entire nuclear non-proliferation architecture in his misguided and irresponsible rush to rejoin the failed nuclear deal with Iran. 

President Biden an Claudia Tenney have different ideas on foreign policy, but President Biden certainly isn’t indifferent to national security.

Rep. Tenney frequently complains, seldom documents her claims, and opposes progress on many issues.–NY22.html

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The Sordid Story of Spiro Agnew’s Crimes

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because history really is here to help. — “Bagman,” page 19

If I leave this office without enemies, I will not have done the job properly. I think that the public has to know there is an office somewhere that is incorruptible. — George Beall, “Bagman,” page 263

I recently read Bagman by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz. The book’s subtitle is “The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House.” There is also a podcast.

The story is shocking, detailed and well-documented. Here is a brief summary:

  • Corruption in Maryland in the 1960’s and 1970’s was commonplace, expected.
  • Spiro Agnew was elected Baltimore County Executive in 1962.
  • In 1967, he was elected Governor of Maryland.
  • Paying government officials to get a contract was normal.
  • Agnew set a standard for his share–five percent for him in cash.
  • In 1968 and 1972 Agnew was elected Vice President.
  • Agnew continued to receive envelops full of cash in his White House office.
  • When Attorney General Elliot Richardson learned that Federal Prosecutors planned to charge Agnew with multiple felonies, he knew he had a problem. President Nixon might not finish his term, which would make Agnew President.
  • When Agnew learned of the investigation, he pushed back, claiming political bias, over-zealous prosecutors, leaks to the press, and proclaiming his innocence.
  • Agnew argued that the Vice President couldn’t be indicted. The Justice Department decided differently: The President couldn’t be indicted while in office, but the Vice President could be. This is why Michael Cohen more recently went to jail but President Trump wasn’t indicted.
  • Normally Agnew’s crimes would mean a long prison sentence, which the prosecution demanded.
  • Nixon was on the ropes; there was no time for a lengthy trial. The prosecution agreed to a plea deal. Agnew would plea to a felony, resign and receive a light sentence — he got off with a $10,000 fine and three years of unsupervised probation. He wasn’t required to return the money he extorted.
  • Ten days later, Attorney General Elliot Richardson, who orchestrated the plea deal, resigned in what is known as “the Saturday Night Massacre.”

The book is full of juicy details, an interesting and informative read.

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