NY is a corruption-filled cesspool — and we have ourselves to blame

New York Post – by Michael Goodwin

Mark the date, remember the moment. The corruption eruption in New York is reaching new heights — and depths.

From City Hall to Albany, the sewer runneth over. It is no longer adequate to talk of a few bad apples. We are suffering through a bumper crop of rottenness.

In normal times, the fall of Sheldon Silver, sentenced yesterday to 12 years in federal prison, would be drama enough. Yet the former Democratic leader of the Assembly is joined in infamy by Dean Skelos, the former Republican leader of the state Senate, whose sentencing comes up next week on the con- man calendar.  

The comeuppance of the bosses of both legislative houses and both parties in the same year is, as far as I can tell, unprecedented in modern times. Even the legendary thieves of Tammany tended to leave space between dramatic downfalls.

Yet the Silver-Skelos scandal is just part of the worst of times.

Mayor de Blasio is in a serious jam, as both state and federal prosecutors have his fund-raising-and-favors operation in their cross hairs. Another sordid chapter would be written if the mayor himself is hit with criminal charges.

Then there’s Gov. Cuomo, who looked as if he had escaped a federal probe only to see a close friend and former aide suddenly land in very hot water about money paid to him by companies with state business. There’s no telling where the case will lead.

How did all this happen? How did New York become such a swirling cesspool?

For answers, it is fitting that we turn to a cartoon character. It was Pogo who declared that, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

If that sounds like I’m blaming the victims, I plead half-guilty. We the people certainly are victims — of our own stupidity and cupidity.

First, we have developed the very bad habit of electing people of low moral character.

Having foolishly decided that integrity is not a necessary virtue in politics, we are reaping the results. If we don’t care about integrity, why should the pols?

The Legislature is especially a comfort zone for crooks. The dozens of lawmakers hauled out in handcuffs in recent years would make a bipartisan diversity specialist proud.

Democrats and Republicans, blacks, whites and Latinos, upstate and down, the Convicts Club doesn’t discriminate. Get caught stealing and you’re admitted.

Second, this deregulation of public morals is not the whole story. The other part is greed — ours.

Too many voters survey the corruption pattern and don’t conclude that they want an honest mayor or governor or representative. They conclude that they want someone who will take care of them. They want their own crook.

Of course, they don’t put it that way, but their choices reflect the entitlement mentality, where people look at government as a source of favors, even a cash machine.

They assume somebody else will make deposits so they can make withdrawals.

Naturally, plenty of politicians oblige them in their fantasies. They run for office on the promise of womb-to-tomb handouts, and spend their days dreaming up new ways to “help” people.

It’s not surprising that many officials also “help” themselves. The old joke about Albany now applies to the city as well: People get elected to do good, and stay to do well.

Corruption is not cheap; it affects everybody and raises the cost of living and working in New York, not to mention the cost of cynicism.

How to clean up the stables? By all means, we should support tougher ethics laws and stiffer penalties for those who break them. Politicians who violate their offices must not be rewarded with taxpayer-funded pensions. And it’s time that Albany try term limits, which would prevent the accumulation of the vast power that Silver and Skelos abused.

Yet there already are sensible laws on the books, and they’re not proving to be much of a deterrent. So another, better law will not be a silver bullet.

Vigilance from voters, and self-discipline, is the answer. We have to make it clear that integrity is mandatory, and prove we mean it by demanding less from government by way of handouts.

Shrinking the size of government is the best way to shrink its power, and the corruption of that power. Instead of looking for endless favors, what if we focused on ending government’s favor bank?

What if we elected people who promised not only integrity, but also modesty about the offices they seek? What if we said we don’t expect bureaucrats to solve all of life’s problems?

In that case, less government would be more. More honest and more worthy of our trust.
Either way, we get the government we deserve.

A disgrace to the bench

The leftist in a robe, Judge Shira Scheindlin, who ruled against the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program in 2013, is retiring with a defense of her outrageous decision.

Inadvertently, she ends up confirming that she was biased from the start.

Scheindlin smeared the department, Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg by finding the tactic racially biased and unconstitutional. The trial was so loaded that an appeals panel stayed her ruling and removed her from the case. For good reason.

Kelly and Bloomberg, Scheindlin now tells The New York Times, looked “like two angry white men” the day after her verdict. “They seemed out of touch with the issues that the communities cared about . . . They didn’t seem to get it.”

Nowhere in the Times does she make a constitutional argument to defend her ruling, or one based on evidence. She was clearly against the police and, as the appeals court ruled, steered the case to herself so she could rule on it.

The city could have prevailed on appeal, but Mayor de Blasio, who benefited from Scheindlin’s ruling, dropped it.

This is judicial activism of the worst kind. Scheindlin imposed her anti-police prejudice on the city and hid behind her robe.

Good riddance to a bad judge.

Diva & The Donald

Renée Fleming knows grand melodrama when she sees it.

Speaking at the celebration of her 25 years at the Metropolitan Opera, the renowned soprano had an idea for a new production: “Next year, we should do Donald Trump: The Opera,” she said to loud laughter. “I want to play Megyn Kelly and we can still have a tragic ending.”


Hill’s coal lumps

Hillary Clinton, in March, said her energy plan would mean “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

On Monday, campaigning in West Virginia coal country, she said, “What I was saying is that the way things are going now, we will continue to lose jobs. I didn’t mean that we were going to do it. What I said was, that is going to happen unless we take action to try to and help and prevent it.”

Anybody believe her? About anything?


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