Daily Bread for 8.9.21: Willing Enablers

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see scattered thunderstorms with a high of 80. Sunrise is 5:56 AM and sunset 8:04 PM, for 14h 08m 20s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 0.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Planning Commission meets at 6:00 PM. The Whitewater School Board meets in closed session at 6:45 PM and open session at 7 PM.

On this day in 1944, the United States Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council release posters featuring Smokey Bear for the first time.

Luis Ferré-Sadurní reports Cuomo’s Top Aide, Melissa DeRosa, Resigns as He Fights to Survive (‘The governor’s strategist helped lead efforts to retaliate against one of the women who accused him of sexual harassment, the attorney general’s report found’):

ALBANY, N.Y.  — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, said late Sunday that she had resigned, a move that came as the governor fought for political survival after a report from the New York State attorney general concluded he had sexually harassed nearly a dozen women.

Her resignation meant that Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, lost one of his most loyal aides and trusted strategists while facing an imminent threat of impeachment in the State Legislature and calls to step down from a constellation of top officials in his party, including President Biden and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

Ms. DeRosa had stood by the governor’s side for years even as his inner circle shrank in size and many of the top staffers who had helped first elect him in 2010 left the administration.

The state attorney general report found that Ms. DeRosa had spearheaded efforts to retaliate against one of the women who had spoken out publicly about her allegation in December.

After becoming a fixture in Mr. Cuomo’s coronavirus briefings during the pandemic, Ms. DeRosa also had come under fire earlier this year for her involvement in the administration’s efforts to obscure the full extent of nursing home deaths, a matter that is under investigation by federal authorities and the State Assembly.


The attorney general’s report painted an unflattering portrait of Ms. DeRosa and her role in fostering a toxic workplace and attacking the credibility of Lindsey Boylan, a former economic development official who had accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment in December.

It might seem odd at first look that DeRosa, an influential woman and daughter of a successful lobbyist, would commit herself to the defense of a serial harasser. This is, however, the reason one should look at a person or topic more than once. There are, after all, many successful people who betray or abuse others like themselves. It was not enough for DeRosa merely to climb a ladder: she kicked downward as she climbed upward.

There often are a few willing enablers of the worst, justifying their actions as a defense of professed policy goals, a better society, etc. In corporate scandals, church scandals, and political scandals there are to be found those who argue that they did what they did, and supported whom they supported, for some higher principle, for the ‘good of the institution.’ The individuals injured and left aside are, to these willing enablers, merely collateral – indeed necessary – damage to these enablers.

These aren’t problems only in Albany, New York. Every city and small town has a few officials who are act utilitarians, who justify their injuries to others as vital to one of their goals.

These supposed policy goals for which some officials injure others are really no more than personal accomplishments in self-promotion, self-satisfaction, and self-enrichment.

According to the report of New York Attorney General Letitia James, Melissa DeRosa saw Cuomo’s conduct as a problem for Cuomo, not those he harassed:

While the governor and Ms. DeRosa were traveling in a car, she said she told Mr. Cuomo, “I can’t believe that this happened. I can’t believe you put yourself in a situation where you would be having any version of this conversation.”

The ‘situation’ that matters here, needless to say, is not Cuomo’s; it’s the situation of nearly a dozen people he harmed.

In DeRosa’s case, has she resigned in guilt over her role in supporting Cuomo’s harassment? It doesn’t seem so:

In the wake of the report, Ms. DeRosa determined that Mr. Cuomo no longer had a path to stay in office and that she would no longer be willing to stand up in public as his defender, one of the people said, requesting anonymity to discuss private conversations in the middle of criminal investigations into the governor.

DeRosa’s explanation to others, if reported correctly, shows that her determination to keep defending Cuomo rested significantly on whether he “had a path to stay in office” and describes her willingness “to stand up in public as his defender” as a secondary, contingent consideration.

That’s not a description of someone who finds Cuomo’s conduct fundamentally wrong. It’s a description of someone who finds his conduct inconvenient.

In cities, small towns, everywhere: there are officials like this.

In cities, small towns, everywhere: officials like this merit removal.

Sky glows red over ferry evacuating people from Greek island fire:

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