Property Grunt

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Game of Ass

Listen to these words if you want to be a successful politician.

Just before the Lewinsky affair blew up in Bill Clinton ‘s face. (I didn’t mean to do that but I am going to keep it because it is funny.)

He was having “a meeting” with Monica when he received a phone call from a man named Alfonso Fanjul. Now Alfonso was as pissed as Lindsay Lohan at a party without blow. (Crap, did I do that again?)

Alfonso was a huge supporter of the Clintons, he was also man who made a fortune in the Sugar industry and he heard a speech by then Vice President Al Gore that he wanted to tax the sugar industry in order to fund the restoration of the wetlands which did not make Alfonso happy.

And what did the President of the United States do? He took the call. Why? Because the President of the Untied States is not an idiot and understands the game of Ass.

What is the game of Ass? Ask Paul Newman:

It's all about ass, isn't it? Either you kick it... or you lick it.

Gen. Leslie R. Groves
Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)

Bill Clinton understood the game of ass and this was a situation where he had to lick it. He assured Alfonso that everything was groovy and Gore was just a bag of hot air.

On a sidenote, after hearing this story it is hard to think it is a coincidence that Al Gore lost everything in Florida for the 2000 Presidential election.

Why am I bringing this up? Because of the s**t that went down in Albany is due to people not understanding the game of ass.

All hell broke loose when two democrats Senators Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada, Jr., of Queens and the Bronx decided to defect and joined the Gop under the veneer of creating a bipartisan, coalition thereby gving control of the State Senate to the GOP.
So, why did this whole thing come together? The most obvious choice is taxes.

I mean a lot of taxes. So many taxes that Tom Golisano, a rich guy, was getting extremely heated over the subject that he planned on moving to Florida.

Golisano’s blood pressure really shot up because the people who were raising those taxes were the same people he supported to take over the Senate.

So he asked and received a meeting with the majority leader Mr. Smith.

ALBANY — In early spring, Tom Golisano went to Albany from his home in Rochester to meet with Malcolm A. Smith, then the Senate majority leader. Mr. Golisano, a billionaire business executive, had spent heavily to help Mr. Smith and other Democrats win control of the Senate in the November election, and was angry to hear they were now planning to raise taxes on the wealthy. He expected an audience befitting a major financial patron.

Did he get a proper meeting?

Instead, he said, Mr. Smith played with his BlackBerry and seemed to barely listen.

“I said, ‘I’m talking to the wall here,’ ” Mr. Golisano recalled in an interview on Tuesday.

That meeting led to the dramatic collapse Monday of the Democrats’ grip on the Senate majority as a frustrated Mr. Golisano secretly planned with Republicans to persuade two Democrats to join them in ousting Mr. Smith.

Malcolm Smith's is an example of how not to play the game of ass.
And now he is paying for it.

Gotta go, Dems tell Malcolm Smith: Step down to regain control of Senate

When it comes to billionaires Bill Clinton was the Ass Master. He knew not only which asses to lick but how to lick them and how deep his tongue had to go. Because of his knowledge of the game of ass, Bill Clinton was able to finish his presidency on a high note and his wife has a gig in the Obama administration. Malcom Smith will only be remembered as a footnote in New York State history of how to f**k up your political career.

You see, when Golisano came to the meeting he expected to get his ass licked since he had done the same for Smith and his colleagues Instead Malcom Smith’s said to Golisano kiss my ass. Golisano responded by kicking his ass.

I suspect that Malcom Smith was under the impression that he was sitting in the cat bird seat. What he didn’t understand was that seat was on lay away. And he was not the one making payments.

For those of you who plan on entering politics remember in no shape or form should you tell a billionaire to kiss your ass, unless you are a billionaire yourself or friends with other billionaires.

How this whole coup/revolt, or change of power occurred is a subject of fascination because of the way it was orchestrated in such a simple yet brilliant fashion.

Which brings me to the two players of this greek tragedy .

First we have Senators Hiram Monserrate

What type of guy is he?

Queens Pol Arrested in Domestic Violence Shocker

It appears he is some brand of douchebag.

And how about Espada? Well apparently he is not exactly Mr Clean either especially when it comes to declaring his place of residence.

Was there something that the Democrats did to spur these two into jumping ship? For Monserrate, it appears no.

This was Malcom Smith’s position at that time regarding Monserrate.

Facing mounting criticism, Malcolm A. Smith, the State Senate majority leader, on Tuesday defended his handling of Hiram Monserrate, the Queens senator charged with assaulting his companion, saying that everyone deserves the presumption of innocence.
“We will let the court system process take its due course,” Mr. Smith said. “And when that action finalizes then we will take more action if we have to.”

The question of how to deal with Mr. Monserrate is a touchy one for Democratic leaders, who control the chamber, 32 to 30. Because 32 votes are required to pass legislation in the Senate or elect a majority leader, the departure of just one senator would leave Democrats without a functioning majority.

The party’s response to Mr. Monserrate has been generally supportive since he was arrested in December, and so far no Democrats have called for him to step down, temporarily or permanently.

Senate Democrats met behind closed doors on Monday and agreed privately that they would not discuss Mr. Monserrate’s case publicly.

As for Espada, I think he was felling like the low man on the totem pole.

Mr. Espada has said he joined the effort because he wanted to change how Albany does
business. Indeed, shortly after taking power on Monday, Republicans enacted new rules for the Senate, including one imposing six-year term limits for the Senate’s leaders and another equalizing distribution of the $85 million the Senate allocates annually for legislative earmarks.

But Mr. Espada was said to have grown frustrated about power and money.
Mr. Espada has been fined more than $60,000 for ignoring state law requiring disclosure of campaign contributions. A nonprofit organization that he ran for decades, Soundview HealthCare Network, is being investigated by the attorney general on suspicion of having misappropriated funds. And the Bronx district attorney is investigating whether he lives in the Bronx district he represents.

After he agreed earlier this year to back Mr. Smith, Mr. Espada requested perks that he believed should accompany his title as vice president of the Senate for urban policy. He asked for the use of the Capitol office adjoining his, close to $100,000 for rent for his district office — more than twice the amount allotted to other senators from New York City — and a dozen extra staff members. Mr. Aponte denied the requests.

Mr. Espada also clashed with Mr. Smith over housing legislation that the Democrats had promised tenant advocates they would pass. For months, Mr. Espada, the chairman of the Housing Committee, had delayed introducing the legislation. Landlords increasingly viewed him as one of their only defenders among the Democrats.

Mr. Espada sought more than $2 million in earmarks this year for two groups with links to Soundview. State records indicate that the groups were created just days before Mr. Espada put in the requests, which Senate Democrats rejected in early April, saying they could not confirm that the groups were legitimate nonprofit organizations.

For example, Mr. Espada requested $1.3 million in grants for the Bronx Human Services Council Inc., which registered with the state on March 26. The council’s headquarters are at the same Bronx address as a clinic that is part of Soundview. Its chairman is one of Mr. Espada’s Senate staff members.

In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Espada described the concerns raised by Senate Democrats as “character assassination” and said the groups were “new organizations that were formed because these are volunteers, lawyers and doctors, that want to help their communities.”

Which also bring us to Espada’s legal problems.

Espada Faces State and Local Inquiries Into Finances

State and local investigations into Pedro Espada Jr., who claimed the title of Senate president in a coup last week, are broader than previously reported. Law enforcement officials are reviewing records of taxpayer-financed travel, campaign records and legislative earmarks, as well as Mr. Espada’s residency, people with knowledge of the investigations said Saturday.

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has been working with Robert T. Johnson, the Bronx district attorney, for months. The parallel inquiries are focused on several areas, according to people who have been briefed on the investigations but spoke on condition of anonymity because the cases are continuing.

Both are said to be examining attempts by Mr. Espada — who was elected Senate president on Monday, although his elevation was being challenged in court — to direct legislative earmarks to a Bronx nonprofit group that he founded, Soundview HealthCare Network. The investigation has also focused on whether Soundview, which Mr. Espada still serves as chief executive, has misappropriated money. Questions also continue to be raised as to whether Soundview employees have engaged in political activities on Mr. Espada’s behalf.

If he is already being treated like the red headed step child, he might as well align himself with people who will support and protect him. Regardless of party of affiliation, in other words, this is all about self preservation for Espada.

Any martial artist worth their salt knows that weakness is strength and strength is weakness. What is occurring in Albany is a clear example of that.

Malcom Smith and the Democrats truly felt that they were in the position of strength, which they were. But they mistook their strength as invulnerability, which they were not.

What crippled the Democrats were two of their own. But they were their not strongest but their weakest. These were two members of their party who were either on their way out or were going to be lame ducks till the conclusion of their respective terms. The GOP approached these two Senators because they knew these two men were up their necks in their own s**t needed a hand to get pulled out of it.

The arrangement between Monserrate and Pedro Espada, Jr. and the GOP reminds me of a scene from the Godfather Part II between Senator Geary and the Corelones. We first see the Nevada Senator trying to put the squeeze on Michael Corleone over a gaming license. Which turns out to be a really bad idea for the Senator because the next time we see him, he is going bats**t scene over a dead prostitute which he is unsure whether he killed or her or not. Tom Hagen comes to the rescue assures him that none of this ever become public and that "All that will be left is our friendship."

Make no mistake. I am sure Golisano and the GOP considered cutting these two pieces of deadwood off in order to gain a majority in the Senate and wound the Democratic party. However that would mean another election and there was no guarantee that a Republican would take their place.

By having these two on their side, Golisano and the GOP at least have control of the Senate.

In many fields, background checks are a common practice for new candidates. The purpose of these checks is not only to make sure that these candidates are qualified but to see if there is anything on record that could be used against them which in turned be used against they company or entity they are working for. The background check for these two meat heads was an open book but the Democrats failed to make use of it.

The Democrats should not only have watched these two senators more closely but they should have either made efforts to ensure their loyalty to the Democratic Party. If they were unable to get those assurances, then Democrats should have taken steps to render these men useless to the point that they could do no harm to the party.

Which brings me to Golisano. Despite the reports that he was the one responsible for this revolt, I do not think he was alone and I do not think he would have been able to go forward without the support of certain parties.

All that needs to be asked is Who Benefits?

All you need to do is look at the issues that appear to be dead in the water.

Taking a Rent Check

The fight over changes to rent regulation has been one of the Legislature’s more high-profile battles since the Democrats won control last November, and a climax of some sort was expected this month, as the Senate was likely to pass at least some changes to rent laws that had been blocked for years by Republicans. But now that the G.O.P. has regained control after a tumultuous five months, tenant activists like Mr. McKee have immediately thrown up their hands, declaring all is lost—at least for now.

“We have been tantalizingly close,” Mr. McKee said of the set of pro-tenant bills. Now? “It’s dead. It’s dead.”

The various landlord groups are skeptical that a full repeal was actually in the tenant groups’ grasp, but, as noted by Mr. Strasburg: “It’s a moot point.”

Then we have Gay marriage

New Senate President Wants Vote on Same-Sex Marriage,%20albany&st=cse

As I stated before in a previosu entry, Gay marriage is about money and power

That is why I am a little unsure whether it will pass.

“I am for same-sex marriage,” Mr. Espada said. “There will be no guarantees and no quid pro quos, I think there will be a vote of conscience of the senators. And with my partner in government, Senator Skelos, we have not discussed bringing it out to the floor. I’m expressing my own personal desire to see a full debate and decision on this matter.”
The Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican who is sharing power with Mr. Espada under the new leadership arrangement, said he and Mr. Espada would discuss the issue of same-sex marriage and other matters later on Tuesday.

Remember. Discussing an issue and voting on it are two different things.

In the beginning of this entry, Tony Montana was explaining the mechanics of upward mobilization of in American society.

For those who disagree with Mr. Montana's thesis. Remember that if Golisano was not a billionaire, this whole mess would never have happened.