Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Trap Of The Third Term

New York City has a term limits law, altho you wouldn't know it to look at the make up of the current City administration. Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-Boston) is in the midst of a disastrous third term, and his minions like Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-ouchebag) supported his efforts for this third term despite the expressed will of the NY people, who voted twice for two-term limits on citywide offices.
Now, I oppose term limits in principle, but I have to admit, given that two of the past four mayors (Koch and Bloomberg) have served a third term, and a third (Giuliani) tried to force his way into one,  I'm beginning to think that practicality trumps principle.
Ed Koch, the lovable "How'm I doin'?" mayor who took over as the city was emerging from near-bankruptcy, was a colorful and popular liberal mayor when he won Gracie Mansion the first time. He left office after twelve years a bitter spite-filled man with a barely-working heart (some would say it was removed and never replaced.) Koch had facilitated corruption in the city administration during which he appointed a series of corrupt officials at the behest of the borough presidents of the city, and overreacted so strongly that he ended up stroking. He was never the same lovable liberal, even to this day.
Similarly, the tail end of Rudy Giuliani's second term was marked by hubris, overbearing manner and arrogance and corruption. Most notable on the list of the last is Bernard Kerik, the former NYPD and Corrections Department chief. You may recall, Kerik was considered for Secretary of Homeland Security under President Bush. Until the dustbusting began and his corruptions were uncovered. In 2000, a year before his term was to run out, was the famous Giuliani-Clinton Senatorial campaign, where Giuliani publicly announced his divorce at a press conference, before even telling his wife. This forced him out of a race that saw him stumbling (where he thought he would win the Republican nomination is anybody's guess, beyond his hubris.)
Giuliani's heavy-handed approach to fighting crime, culminating in the torture by the NYPD of Abner Louima and the slaughter of innocents like Patrick Dorismond and Amadou Diallou all but sealed his fate against a third term.
Bloomberg should have taken note of that. New Yorkers have short attention spans when you act all arrogant. Bloomberg's own personal experience as mayor should have seen this happening, yet he ran for a second term and won against an empty paper bag by 4% of the vote. 
I mean, a homeless ex-con could have won that election, that's how weak the Democratic candidate was, and with some suspicion, I think that may have been rigged. However, Bloomberg threw his massive personal resources into the race which probably discouraged a serious candidate from facing him. It's hard to say whether a real candidate with real citywide appeal could have given Mike a run for his money. Literally.  
Towards the end of his second term, with the nation in the grips of a economic crisis (which left New York fairly unscathed) Bloomberg started a wildfire on the city budget, cutting spending mostly for programs designed to help the poor and working classes of the city survive, well, an economic hardship. This created a fair amount of friction, and probably contributed to the close result (his 2005 run saw him win by 20 points against popular former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer.)
Sure enough, Bloomberg's third term started off with a major scandal. It seems $600,000 of Bloomberg's money made it into illegal campaign contributions to the Independence Party.
And of course, the icing on the cake of Bloomberg's third term is his response to Occupy Wall Street.
So it's with a little background that we look at the unfolding story of the so-called "Lone Wolf terror plot" unfolding between the FBI and the NYPD. As I surmised yesterday, it was a bit of a fraudulent case that Bloomberg was trying to rail through the media and down our throats. As it turns out, the suspect, Jose Pimentel, was discounted by the FBI as a serious suspect, a waste of resources to investigate, as he had neither the mental or financial capacity to carry out one bombing, much less the scale that Bloomberg and police commissioner Raymond Kelly harangued about (which included a video of a car blowing up, altho it had absolutely NO CONNECTION to the bombs Pimentel was admittedly making...badly.)
The FBI declined to investigate Pimentel because there were concerns that the "informant" the city had placed with Pimentel was engaging in entrapment behavior. Also, the FBI seriously questioned Pimentel's ability to carry out a plot (the man couldn't even pay his cellphone bill and lived with his mom.)
The guy couldn't even drill the holes the bomb required.
All this was a sham, set up by mayor Mike in order to deflect attention from the demonstration taking place outside his apartment, where Occupy Wall Street had gathered for a 24 hour drum session. Reporters from that site scurried down to City Hall (five miles away) in order to cover this breaking "news."
You disgust me, Mr. Mayor. I'm ashamed to have voted for you. Once.