Saturday, September 04, 2004
Idiotic Politician Du Jour
I'm still seething over those pictures of what the kids looked like when they came out of there.
A post yesterday on Right Wing News pointed me toward this latest idiocy by Major Owens (Buffoon-NY) claiming we're just about ready to start Sieg Heil-ing away. A bit of history is in order here so that we can understand Mr. Owens' and some of the rest of the New York City-based congressional delegation's idiocy. The political landscape in Brooklyn was dominated for many, many years by a Democratic snakepit known as the Madison Club, where the famed Emmanuel Celler kept his franchise going in the 16th District for some 50 years, all the while bringing absolutely zero pork back to the district (considering the district's makeup for most of that time, it should've at least been koshere chazzer fissel). Celler was the soulmate of New York Assembly power broker Irwin Steingut, who as a sterling example of democracy and parliamentarianism fixed it so that his son Stanley would take over his position as speaker of the New York State Assembly. Stanley was a real cutie as well, nominally maintaining a residence in the district while actually living on Sutton Place in Manhattan. Manny Celler suddenly learned in 1972 that putting large posters on Kings Highway wasn't considered quite enough by the locals, and he was replaced by local loudmouth leftie lawyer Liz (ooh, great alliteration) Holtzman, who as we well know made her bones shooting her mouth off about plumbers (I well remember riding the B6 bus sometime during high school and hearing a couple of ladies of a certain age discussing her; I couldn't pick up too much of what they were saying but there was a lot of tsk tsking).
Since Liz had taken out one of the mainstays of the Madison Club, needless to say the Steingut / Meade Esposito (Brooklyn's version of Carmine DeSapio) faction was disinclined to support her, and she aligned herself with power broker Jerry Finkelstein and his media-friendly (read as being dangerous to stand between him and a camera) son Andrew Stein. This combination decided a bit later on to take on the Steingut dynasty, and launched a campaign to unseat him with a local unknown named Helene Weinstein. The Madison Club's dirt squad went into overdrive and got Helene knocked off the ballot, where she was promptly replaced by her father. Stanley suddenly saw some momentum building against him and actually started being seen in the district (one memorable afternoon the big cheese himself actually rang our doorbell looking for our vote), but Jerry threw a load of resources at the campaign and Stanley lost the primary. Steingut and Esposito quickly remade the Madison Club into a Liberal Party (now, there's a joke in itself) bastion and attempted to beat Helene's father in the general election, but it was to no avail. Meade Esposito found his political position weakened, and started to concentrate instead on selecting judges and their bagmen, and tacitly supporting Chuck Schumer, who sensed the local power vacuum developing.
The power vacuum provided the opening for black politicians in Brooklyn to get on the gravy train as well. The Madison Club had provided the bulk of patronage jobs, however, even they had looked at the changing ethnic landscape in Brooklyn and reached out to the up-and-coming black politicians and given them enough tutelage to secure their positions. They learned quite well, smoothly moving past the old lions and taking over the Kings County Democratic organization, with all the attendant goodies and perks. The old kingmaker, Esposito was eased out and garnered certain ahem, scrutiny for his troubles while the remnants of the old organization basically bowed out in favor of retaining absolute control of areas like Sheepshead Bay. Meanwhile, the new organization swiftly gerrymandered most of the rest of Brooklyn to provide seats for their cronies, folks like Ed Towns (hey, his real name is Edolphus! Sounds awfully like Adolf, doesn't it? And if you look at Hitler's birth certificate, it says "Adolphus"! I guess Ed Towns = Hitler!!!!) and Major Owens, previous minor functionaries in the City Council and Assembly dispensing minor patronage jobs after the fallout from the Sam Wright scandal. In essence, Major Owens is nothing more than Vincent Impelliteri was, the right man at the right time and place with no qualifications other than being a loyal party hack. Impelliteri was selected under the bizarre ethnic calculus that drove New York politics at the time, solely for the fact that he was of Italian extraction, from Manhattan, and was considered "safe" (His running mates were Bill O'Dwyer from Brooklyn and Lazarus Joseph from the Bronx; Impelliteri only became mayor because O'Dwyer hightailed it out of town one step ahead of an indictment).
Owens' district is a mixture of Central Brooklyn housing projects, and one and two family private homes largely owned now by folks of Caribbean extraction. The Caribbean folks are the archetypical hard working types who are trying to maintain and upgrade their investments in their homes and neighborhoods, and the projects, well, needless to say they provide the quote unquote activists that form Owens' power base. Overall the district is a mess because even though a lot of the folks are strivers, the crime continually gets worse and the quality of life issues are ignored by the elected representation (and certainly by the power brokers). The schools in this district, once legendary for their academic achievements, are mediocrities at their very best, and for the most part have become cesspools. (This of course dates back to the the '68 teachers strike, where "community control" first manifested itself; the aforementioned Sam Wright was savvy enough to kick out the first bunch of loudmouths who started the whole mess, and started making it possible for today's loudmouthed mediocrities to entrench themselves)
This is some of the history and environment that brings Major Owens to our attention. He can't be bothered to do anything constructive for his constituency, yet he's quite quick to make inane comparisons of our country with Nazi Germany. I suppose that Owens, allegedly an attorney, has never read any of some of the legal writings of Hans Frank and Hans Lammers to make an educated comparison.