The RIGGED FLAG ‘COMPETITION’ PRODUCES A ‘WINNER’; ONLY THE PLANET HAS THE TRUTH, plus The “PHONY BASTARDS” FIRESTORM: MUCH HEAT, MUCH SUPPORT, & a WARD BOND
BY DAN VALENTI
FIRST ADD, APRIL 13, 2011
Flagging Down the Truth
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, APRIL 13, 2011) — On March 25, The Planet posted the exclusive expose on cheating in the City Flag Competition. Today, The Boring Broadsheet wrote the scintillating (NOT!) of the winner. Here’s what we wrote, as a refresher. No one else had it:
Planet Network Uncovers Cheating in City Flag Competition
What’s in a Phrase?
The phrase ignited a firestorm on The Planet yesterday, much greater than that needed to toast marshmallows but far less for us to feel the heat.
We labeled my Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council with the epithet yesterday, in connection with a dereliction of duty that has been a continuing pattern since the early 1990s, post-GE, post-Anne Wotjkowski, and at the dawn of a disastrous era of barroom politics. We have received an avalanche of reaction, 10 to 1 loving The Planet’s particular and restricted use of the phrase. We might call it a laser-like usage.
Council: Aider and Abettor to Forces of Political Darkness
During those dark years, the city council enabled the forces of political darkness to:
* Solidify the GOB network (what Wotjkowski famously called in her shellacking of Angelo Stracuzzi in 1989 “the Pittsfield 100”);
* Defeat any attempt of a healthy post-GE life (the story still has to be told how the Spaulding manufacturing facility was deliberately kep out of Pittsfield!). The city is paying for it still.
* Sign a disastrous Consent Agreement with GE that let the company skip town; leave its tons of industrial toxins in our air, land, and water; and exit leaving the city permanently toxic all in exchange for a few million dollars, which the council proceeded to waste on grease and graft;
* Encourage public apathy that left the GOD in charge;
* Drive down civic engagement, mock democratic rule, and adopt a poisonous “We know better than you” paternalism that has discouraged women to run for office and forced those who have to play the game “like men.”
We could go on and on. Phony bastards.
What it Says and What it Means
Now when one uses a blanket description of this type, most intelligent and reasonable people realize the usage. A blanket phrase will appear to cover ALL, even the non-phony bastards. Who is not a phony bastard on the present council? Actually, all of them. They are: Yon, White, Cappy, Ward, Lothrop, Krol, Nichols, Lee, Marchetti, Mazzeo, and Sherman. See, as people we love every single one of them. We love them as brothers and sisters. As politicians? That’s always a different consideration.
This is an 8-3 council. This council could have forced, for example, tougher negotiations with the bargaining units of the Big 3 (police, fire, and schools). This council could have taken an early and aggressive position to demand immediate drug testing for the PPD. This council could have adopted a unanimous consent that it is in favor of the removal of GE industrial toxins and is willing to open the Consent Agreement and this time amend in favor of We the People. This council could have inserted itself into the PEDA question: Why, after 13 years, hasn’t a single company wanted to invest there? There are countless other actions upon with my Right Honorable Good Friends have been timid, wimpy, and silent.
Let me tell the non-linguists who objected to our use of “phony bastards.” Mike Ward, Democracy is a blanket form of government. Majority rules — really, an immature way to decide affairs when a majority chooses not to participate. But because a “majority” decision applies to all, when we apply “phony bastard” to an aspect of the democratic process … uh, sorry Mike. We didn’t invent the rules. We only follow them.
Mayor Ruberto: The Executive, with a Vision, and Therefore Exempt
We exempt Mayor Jimmy Ruberto from being under the blanket. Why? Because he’s earned it.
Like what he’s done or not, he has at least DONE SOMETHING. He was left with seeds and stems by years of mayoral neglect. He made the most of the lemons. He boosted the recreation and resort element as the city’s “better something than nothing” best option. That has worked. no question. The mayor has brought Double-A quality professional baseball back to the city. The Colonials are here to stay.
Mostly, however, we exempt the mayor because the mayor is the executive. The executive proposes. The council disposes. That is why we don’t deny Jim Ruberto his vision. At least he has one. Sara Hathaway (policy wonk), Gerry Doyle (barkeep), Charlie Smith (We dont need no stinking mall), or Ed Reilly (lost in minutae) did not have coherent visions. Anne Wotjkowski did. Jimmy Ruberto does.
Mike Ward: Taking His Football and Going Home
Added to the “phony bastard” debate was this comment from Ward 4 councilor Mike Ward:
WARD: “It’s not just your audience that needs policing, Dan. You crossed the line with the “phoney bastards” comment and it has undermined the positive work you have done. You are free to say whatever you want in this fine country and I defend that right. But for my part, I would feel pretty stupid if I continued to respond to requests for comment from a media outlet that refers to me as a phoney bastard. So don’t bother sending me your Silver Lake & PPD Drug Testing homework assignment. When the phone doesn’t ring you’ll know it’s me.”
We thank my good friend for defending our right to publish. We are surprised at his petulance, which likely comes from a source about which we, the public, knows nothing. As we answered Ward’s comment, we told him we shall still be sending him our poll. We will bother to include him. He says he will not bother to respond.
He can decide not to respond and thus bail out on Ward 4, but it won’t matter. Ward’s situational courage won’t hurt him, since he’s a lame duck. And no, he’s not a “phony bastard.” We know him, like him, and have recreated with him. We like his spunk and how he can give us “what for.” Politically, though, we submit that his comment above might ironically incline one to place him, POLITICALLY, in the very category he insists does not include him. He will learn.
FIRST ADD TO COME LATER. FOR NOW, “OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.” LOVE TO ALL.