Governor Cuomo creates a commission to investigate government corruption that he claims is independent, but in his view has no authority to investigate most of the government. He then has his closest aide interfere when his appointed panel of district attorneys running the commission begins to follow trails that lead back to him. Throw in a little violence and you have the makings of an episode of House of Cards.The story line gets better. The commission apparently was only formed to intimidate the legislature with the intent of causing members to do what Cuomo wanted on some potential high profile pieces of legislation.Once again, the commission members — most of whom were sworn law enforcement officials — were not aware that they were simply being used for this purpose until the governors chief aide Larry Schwartz began to issue instructions through a commission executive director who was reporting back to the governors office on a daily basis. So much for independence. And if all this were not enough for a good crime/political drama, the governor –a former attorney general himself — has the present attorney general deputize the investigative staff as deputy attorney generals, thus by definition negating the very basis of the governors defense of his intrusive involvement and raising real questions concerning possible criminal interference and tampering offenses. The New York Times is reporting, investigating and editorializing as if this was the 2014 version of the Pentagon Papers. Good government groups are demanding an explanation from the governor. He owes them and all New Yorkers one. And it is just a matter of time before there is a chorus of calls for the governors chief aide Larry Schwartz to resign. Then there is the U.S. attorney who has already criticized the governor for his closure of the commission. One can only imagine what he is thinking as they sort through the governors role in steering the so-called independent investigation. * * * The media coverage of Mayor de Blasios vacation trip to Italy was over the top. Maybe it was just an opportunity for summer press excursions abroad. Certainly, it was not an opportunity for news since there was little to nothing the mayor did in Italy that — beyond a personal interest storyline –mattered to the average New Yorker. I, for one, had no problem with the mayor talking a vacation. Mayor Bloomberg went to Bermuda most weekends he was mayor and told no one. Mayor Giuliani enjoyed long weekends in the Hamptons with his girlfriend. The de Blasios, despite all the attention, seemed to desire some family time together as the children grow older and move on to college. Circumstances regarding the Eric Garner death resulted in expected criticism for leaving the city. Yet I suspect it is near impossible to plan a vacation when you are the mayor of New York without something happening that could require your attention. Short of a large scale crisis, a mayor should be able to get away and still tend to the necessary business of government. *** The de Blasio trip to Italy might be the only positive piece of international news to have been shown on a New York city TV screen recently. Between Gaza and Ukraine, the insanity of world events seems to be growing worse each day.One cannot downplay either as a major threat to international stability and to the United States. This all comes about as Iraq continues to unwind and Afghanistan remains an active conflict involving American troops. In under six years, the United States has gone from being a military power both feared and respected throughout the world to being ignored by Russia and generally ineffective as a proponent for peace and stability. The blame rests with one person President Obama.
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