17 May 2014

DeBlasio and Boehner, Separated at Birth?

Let’s start with the local guy. He has this much in common with the Congress of the United States:  shameless hypocrisy. 

During his “Tale of Two Cities” election campaign, (in which he shamelessly pimped his biracial children and exposed his daughter’s depression and drug addiction as if that somehow showed what a wonderful parent he was and what a good Mayor he would make)  Fidel DeBlasio’s major promise was that he would do everything in his power to lift up the underclass and give them what they needed so they could rise up out of their “Second City” status.

That was the promise.  Where’s the performance?
For starters, he gave his wife a position in his administration, and hired for her a $170,000 a year assistant, ("Rev" Al Sharpton's chief of staff.  Estimated cost of his wife's office and staff? $500,000+.  I am confident everybody involved is uplifted.)

Next he tried to get rid of the carriage horses in Central Park. Bizarre, huh? Who gave what in exchange for what promise?  Surprise, surprise. Once again, follow the money.  DeB showed no interest in this issue until he was offered hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from real estate interests, PETA, and the SPCA.  They bought DeBlasio's commitment and killed off the primary hopes of rival Christine Quinn who turned down their quid pro quo cash offer.  The whole story is unbelievably sordid. Hold your nose and read the details at the horse carriage supporters' website:

Then came time to uplift the Teacher’s Union, which, though not part of the underclass, was one of Fidel's major campaign funders. He used all the tools. First, he took steps to throttle the Charter School program.  The Teacher’s Union cheered—many Charter School teachers are not union members and the program, though educationally successful, was a threat to the union. Inasmuch as the kids who benefited from the Charter School program were 99% black, Hispanic, and poor, his anti-Charter School campaign was wickedly hypocritical.  

Happily, the effort to strangle the program has so far been been largely frustrated by an outraged community.

Next, he quickly reached a deal with the Teacher’s Union for a nine year contract (four back, five forward) that involved, among other things, a $.75 Billion lump sum payment that he tried to disguise by charging the sum to future years until his ticket-mate Comptroller Scott Stringer said “No way, we ain’t going back to the old days of hiding expenses and making New York City into the New Detroit.” I have to laugh: in their fight with the Comptroller,  DeB’s minions produced an opinion from an accounting professor who said it was okay to pay now and charge it on the books later. Can you guess how far they had to go to get that opinion? Right, California, the highest tax-largest debt state in the Union.

If you want to predict Fidel’s actions,  always follow the money.  Another large campaign contributor was the taxicab industry. Huge. While in office only four months, DeB has accomplished much:  First, he killed off the Taxicab of the Future, a large comfortable Nissan cab the Bloomberg people worked on for years. It has leg room, can store a wheel chair, has adequate passenger compartment air conditioning and is fuel efficient. But it cost more to purchase, so the taxi industry hated it, sued, and DeB has sided with the industry.  Those of you cab riders who are more than 5’9” tall, tough shit.

Another Bloomberg initiative was  the licensed green cab—it would serve the people who lived above 96th Street in Manhattan and in the other boroughs, where the yellow cabs seldom cruise. The yellow cab industry hated it, but Bloomberg didn’t listen, and planned for 12,000 greenies. The first six thousand have been around for a year or so and have gained uniform praise. It should be no surprise that DeB has delayed and maybe killed the second half of the program.  Again, these cabs circulate in the communities DeB promised to help. Once again,  with Fidel, follow the money and it leads to hypocrisy every time.

Now, a few words about our other leaders, the ones whose playground in Washington D.C.

All of us follow with interest the Congressional outrage at the disclosure that one or more Veteran’s Administration hospitals were “cooking the books” when it came to keeping records of the time elapsed between a veteran’s request to see a doctor and the time of the visit. VA protocols provide the waiting period can be no more than two weeks, and the scandalous allegations are that one or more VA hospital administrators kept a hidden list of vets whose wait time was much longer because they could not be accommodated within the two-week period. So now the news is full of Boehner types demanding the resignation of the former U.S. Army general who is now the head of the Veteran’s Administration. Of course, it’s all Obama’s fault: he appointed Shinseki.

What’s wrong with this picture?  The same guys calling for Shinseki’s firing are the guys who want to cut the budget, and who supported the Bush wars that sent hundreds of thousands of troops into harm’s way.  They willingly voted the funds to recruit, train, and arm our men and women,  transport them to combat zones, but then the budget cutters abandoned them.  Duh, did nobody figure how much it would cost for the post-war medical costs that were part of the bargain?  When they doubled the army, did they double the number of VA hospitals, or did they just figure they could kick that can down the road like DeBlasio tried to do with the teacher’s back pay?  

Let’s face it, it is not rocket science: you do not need to be a genius to know that for every dollar you spend now to buy uniforms and bullets, you are going to spend some part of another dollar later on medical expense for those veterans.  Where is that money?  Why the need for hidden wait lists? We really know very little about the VA hospital scandal yet, but so far there is no suggestion that the clerks who hid the delays were stealing money or making a profit. What they were doing was hiding the fact that our government —that’s  Boehner, and Obama too—were breaching a solemn promise to our veterans, and one or more hospital bureaucrats did not want to see his name on the tardy list.

So as the VA scandal plays  out, I am eager to see which of our leaders will own up to what they did, and know will call for budget increases. Making Shinseki a political scapegoat isn’t going to result in one more hospital, one more doctor, one more nurse.  It’s just another take on the the DeBlasio bullshit. 

Shame on them all. Yuch.

A bientot.

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