Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Et Tu, Honduras?

When Coup Becomes All The Rage

Last we looked, Pedro Espada hadn't been elected to lead the junta in Honduras, nor has Dean Skelos tried to seize power -- and hold onto it for dear life, forsaking all else -- in the capital city of Tegucigalpa.

No, the darlings of the NYS Senate have stayed put in Albany, persistent of mind -- and mindlessness -- that they are in control.

Control of what, you may ask? Well, let's not be bored with the silly little details.

Suffice it to say that what has now become the lawless gang of 62, dubbed by the Governor as "the do nothing Senate," (we at The Community Alliance blog gave the Senators this dubious distinction weeks ago), has ceased being of service to the people of New York, and it would appear that no one can -- or will -- do anything about it.

Governor Paterson remains just this side of wimpdom.

Were we to stage a coup, deposing the Gov from office, we'd direct the State Police to arrest each and every State Senator, escorting them to chambers, handcuffing them to their wooden desks, where they shall remain until every last piece of legislation is given a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

Not within the Governor's power, you say? So, sue us.

The courts appear hog-tied, as well, as concerns efforts to get the albatrosses of Albany back to work. "Settle this among yourselves."

Democrats. Republicans. It matters not. They may not have left the building, in body, but as a whole, and individually -- cowards all -- they have abandoned their posts and their duties to the citizens of New York.

Shameful, to put it mildly.

And will we remember this bad turn come November 2010, when next we have the opportunity to throw the bums out? Doubtful. Short of a Constitutional amendment giving New Yorkers the right of recall, where a vote of no confidence sends the infidels home for good, our recollections of these sordid days in the Capitol will likely fade in a year's time (presuming the Senate ever gets back to business), and we will simply swallow hard, sending the Bozos back to Albany for yet another term.

Maybe we're the wimps, eh? Certainly, we are being played for fools on a daily basis.

Perhaps rather than to try in vain to get State government to work (remember, it was dysfunctional before the coup), we should simply allow the Senate to remain in gridlock, and learn to get along without.

After all, if they can't legislate, they can't spend, something they've been prone to do, in excess, for the past forty years. Why, they can't even borrow.

In a scene straight out of Life After People, downtown Albany would become a desolate place (you mean it isn't already?). No money for roads and bridges. No money for mass transit. No money to feed the coffers of those bloated State agencies and so-called public authorities.

Our roads and bridges crumbling? Mass transit grinding to a halt? Would anyone notice the difference?

Think about it. With no money being appropriated out of Albany, our State income taxes, 75% of which we never see back locally, could be redistributed -- locally -- to build and maintain the infrastructure; to create and improve public transportation; to operate and elevate our public schools.

100 cents on every single dollar staying here at home, paying for the services we need, and not for the pork that our State Legislators want.

Okay. So maybe no State government is an unrealistic goal. For the moment.

Still, it gives us plenty of food for thought, and perhaps, just perhaps, the impetus to do something more, as citizens, to assure that we have a government, not of bobble heads and egotists, but, as it was so memorialized, of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Now, wouldn't that be nice, for a change?
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We are fortunate to have with us, as a regular reader of The Community Alliance blog, Richard Cooper, former Chairman of the Libertarian Party of New York.

He recently penned a piece in which he opines that this gridlock in Albany could be a good thing.

Would Libertarians, who espouse "smaller government, lower taxes, and more freedom" (didn't that used to be the credo of the Republicans?), behave any differently than their Democratic or GOP counterparts once in power? Power corrupts, after all. Absolutely!

Could be anarchy is our thing here in New York.

One thing is for sure. Unless New Yorkers seize the day and take back control of government, on all levels, it is not the likes of government officials we must fear, but rather, our own incapacity, or is it sheer unwillingness, to govern ourselves.

How about a new declaration for independence from the citizens of New York, on this, the 233 anniversary of the Declaration of Independence?

Could it be that Pogo was right all along?
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The Albany Legislative Struggle: Gridlock Is Good!
by Richard Cooper

The New York State Senate has been in an uproar for weeks after two Democrats from the majority (32 versus 30 Republicans) elected in November 2008 defected to support former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos as Majority Leader. One of these Democrat defectors (Pedro Espada, Jr. from the Bronx) became President Pro Tem, presiding over the Senate deliberations. The other defector, Hiram Monserrate, has since returned to the Democrats in the organization of the Senate. Tied at 31 to 31, with no Lieutenant Governor to break ties since David Paterson was elevated to replace Governor Spitzer after his resignation in a prostitution scandal last year.

As a an admirer of the writing of H. L. Mencken, I can only wish he were here to comment on this. Currently unavailable due to death, Mr. Mencken will not be able to handle this task.

Therefore, I will have to press on myself.

The media reports that this so-called "coup" was brought about by billionaire Tom Golisano, who founded the Independence Party and ran for governor unsuccessfully.

When Espada and Monserrate were still voting for former (?) Senate Majority Leader Malcom Smith (D-Queens), the Republicans pointed out their tarnished records. Former policeman Monserrate was indicted for slashing his girlfriend with glass, while Espada is under investigation for operations of a non-profit organization he controls, his residency and failure to file campaign financial disclosure reports. Suddenly after they voted to install Skelos as Majority Leader, the Democrats had a problem with them. Now that Monserrate is back he is in their good graces.

Democrats, the Working Families and others in their orbit call this a coup and wave signs proclaiming "The Senate Isn't For Sale." I don't recall them saying this when Golisano's political action committee backed Democrats for the Senate races. Golisano's money helped obtain the Democrats a majority in the Senate in 2008.

Do Democrats complain about "coups" when Republicans defect to give working control of a legislative body? No, of course not. Republicans and Democrats are hypocrites.

The Senate's session was supposed to end on Monday, June 22nd. Governor Paterson called the Senate into special session to consider emergency bills. Why is a cigarette tax hike in Nassau and Suffolk Counties an emergency?

While reforms to lessen the opacity, size, scope and expense of government in New York are vitally necessary they are simply not to be expected. I do not care which of the two gangs of statist parasites and predators that call themselves Republicans and Democrats controls the New York legislature. They both stand for legalized theft.

Given the current makeup of both houses of legislature, let these be our watchwords until we have a Libertarian governor and legislature. "Gridlock is good."

Richard Cooper is an international trade executive with a manufacturing firm on Long Island, New York, USA. He is active in the Libertarian Party on eminent domain and other issues. He was chair of the Libertarian Party of New York