Selected news highlights from this week:
>The Mueller investigation seems to have evidence that Paul Manafort was interacting with Russian Intelligence agents, and he knew at the time that they were agents. This ties the Trump campaign to Russia, and is certainly a form of collusion.
>Trump fired the head of the VA and proposed the White House doctor to replace him, which is yet another ludicrous and wildly inappropriate nomination for a crucial agency, in this case employing close to 300,000 staff and serving 22 million veterans. “My bank teller was really nice to me. I think I’ll nominate him to head the Federal Reserve.”
>The state of New York has yet to pass a budget, and the Democrat-held Assembly and Republican-controlled Senate are still battling over a variety of items to include or exclude. Already tossed aside are badly needed voting reforms, the Child Victims Act, and bail reform. Leaders are currently trying to build provisions that shift the property tax burden to employer payroll taxes, since individuals can no longer deduct state and local taxes but employers can–which is an epic mess for blue states that Rep John Faso helped to bring about, and then applauded.
>NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer will back two Democratic primary challengers to incumbent Democrats who belong to the IDC, the rogue group that has sold itself to the Republicans in the State Senate. This development is the latest in a growing push by grass-roots activists to replace the IDC members with real Democrats in order to break the Albany log-jam that has poisoned our state and held it back for so long.
>It was alleged by a whistle-blower that Cambridge Analytica routinely hired and used foreign employees to work on domestic political campaigns, which is illegal. More troubling, it was alleged that because the backer of CA, Robert Mercer, is a billionaire and doesn’t need money, CA was able to offer campaign data services to numerous state and local Republican political campaigns for far less than the actual value, which would be an in-kind political donation likely in violation of donation limits. So Republican campaigns were getting ultra-cheap help that was illicit. Did CA do any work for John Faso? It’s worth asking him.
Faso is inextricably tied to the Mercer empire, which is looking shadier and more corrupt by the day. Meanwhile, Trump is destroying our institutions by staffing them with incompetent lackeys, and Faso says nothing. Faso holds telephone or radio call-ins where the questions are tightly controlled and the answers and discourse are superficial at best, which allows him to claim that he is open and accessible even though we all know the events are a sham and reveal nothing of substance. Faso presents himself as a public servant but his votes serve the powerful at the expense of everyone else. He pretends to be a leader, but he remains silent on many of the most pressing issues. We simply cannot afford another term by Rep John Faso, especially when a dangerously incompetent, impetuous and dishonest sleaze-bag in thrall to Vladimir Putin occupies the White House. Keep working to fire Faso.