Supercomittee… Epic Fail!

If ever there was a cynical, transparent creation in recent political memory, it has to be the so-called supercommittee that’s just imploded in Washington.

From the minute this foolishness was announced, anyone with eyes could see it was doomed to failure. That wouldn’t be just ordinary failure, but, in the words of G4 TV, EPIC FAIL (this cable channel actually has a segment called that)!

So this supercommittee, charged with figuring a way to cut $1.2 trillion dollars from the nation’s budget, came up with nothing.

The traditional rationale is that Democrats wouldn’t agree to gutting programs like Social Security and Medicare, while Republicans swore a blood oath not to raise taxes on anybody, regardless of wealth. And yes, all of that is true.

Yet it obscures the issue at hand. When will politicians start to take their work seriously? When will the GOP move off its agenda of making President Barack Obama look bad so they can recapture the White House? And when will Democrats devise a winning strategy for truly speaking to the concerns of the American people?

From the day the supercommittee was announced, it was doomed to failure and all the players knew it. It wasn’t created with a tiebreaker (a 13th vote- too partisan), and unless somebody was ready to compromise nothing was going to happen. So now the American people have a series of automatic cuts to look forward to just after next year’s presidential election (note the timing).

As is typical of congressional tap dancing, there are now some people who voted to create the supercommittee in the first place who now want to create an out such that the committee’s fail has no consequences at all. They don’t want to see the military budget cut (check and see how many have big defense contractors in their home states), and they’re willing to risk looking like complete hypocrites to accomplish that goal.

President Obama is right to say he’ll veto any attempt to do an end around the mandatory spending cuts. If only he’d gotten hard with these folks a bit earlier.
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Occupy Wall Street evicted? They Ain’t Done Yet!

So NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly pulled off an early morning police raid on Occupy Wall Street.

Police raid Occupy Wall Street - Courtesy S. Principato

Congratulations, and for shame!

The trumped up rationale for driving largely non violent protestors out of  Liberty Square (Zucotti Park) was shameless and transparent. It was also expected.

Also expected was the police excess normally reserved for communities other than Lower Manhattan. The arrest and detention of City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez should cost someone at 1 Police Plaza their job.

Sadly, the Mayor can’t be touched politically. He’s in the midst of an ill advised third term. Yet make no mistake. Mayor Bloomberg deserves to criticized for the raid on Occupy Wall St. the same way he was criticized for his handling of the blizzard.

For a sitting Deputy Mayor (Cas Holloway) to argue before a judge that OWS was stockpiling weapons sounds as hollow as GW Bush’s “weapons of mass destruction” argument for invading Iraq.

Cas Holloway


When the history of this time is written, it will be the police, not protestors, who will be remembered for their callous disregard for their fellow human beings. They didn’t even have sense enough not to go around arresting journalists!

The stealth raid, complete with keeping journalists at bay, ought to make people concerned with basic liberties hang their heads. However, out of adversity comes opportunity. Occupy Wall St. isn’t going away any more than other Occupy movements around the nation and world.

People like Bloomberg and Kelly will find out you can’t arrest, raid, beat down, or otherwise trample on an idea. The issues brought up by this movement won’t go away. The powers that be will find this out sooner than most people think.

What do you think about the Occupy Movement?
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Should Bad Cops, Firemen Keep Their Pensions? They Can Now!

In late September, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that essentially allows New York City cops and firemen to hold onto their pensions even when convicted of a crime.

Public protest against criminal cops keeping pension.

Understand that the bill started as a home rule message from the City Council.

It passed 49-0, without a word of dissent at a public hearing.

It then went to the state legislature, where it passed by votes of 128-14 in the Assembly, and 61-1 in the Senate. What it means is cops and firemen will have to be convicted of a felony before their pensions are at risk. In fairness, corrupt politicians, even those convicted of felonies are still getting paid. The Governor did try to close that loophole with the introduction of a bill after the conviction of former state comprtoller Alan Hevesi.

Also to be fair, cops and firemen in other jurisdictions in the state already get to keep theirs unless convicted of a felony. However, with the spate of corruption investigations, indictments, and convictions of NYPD officers lately, you have to wonder whether everyone in the food chain thought this through. For example, former cop Kenneth Moreno was sentenced to a year in prison for official misconduct in connect with the infamous “cop rape” trial.

That happened in August.

If the bill Gov. Cumomo signed had been in effect then, Moreno, assuming he’d served for 20 years, would have kept his pension. That’s because official misconduct is a misdemeanor. With government workers’ pensios coming under increased scrutiny, does this pass the smell test?

Brutal cops thrown off the force, or even charged, tried and convicted for acts of brutality will keep their pensions. Now any cop facing even felony charges will be advised to retire from the NYPD between the time of arrest and verdict.

The ticket fix cops, and many others recently charged with crimes, will walk away with a pension if not convicted of a felony. This whole thing seems to have flown under the radar, save a couple of articles in the tabloid press and an op-ed from Arnold Kriss in the Daily News. He’s a former NYPD Deputy Commissioner, and sees the long term impact of taking away a police commissioner’s discretion in punishing rogue or criminal behavior.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg was on the right side of this issue.

He urged the Governor not to sign the bill. He lost on this one. By the way, at about the same time Gov. Cuomo signed this bill into law, he evtoed a measure that would have extended health benefits tomworkers laid off after OTB closed its doors.

So let me see if I’ve got this straight. Crooked cops?  Pensions. Laid off OTB workers? No health benefits.

What’s wrong with this picture?

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