Danny’s Environmental Untruth Squadron: Organic Fertilizer or Toxic Waste?

According to “EPL/Environmental Advocates”, which publishes “New York’s Only Environmental Scorecard for State Lawmakers”, the “Bigger Better Bottle Bill” (BBBB) expands the definition of “beverage” in the current bottle deposit law to include non-carbonated drinks other than milk and liquor, and to direct unclaimed deposits to the Environmental Protection Fund.

EPL classifies BBBB as one of its five “Super Bills”, a term it uses to describe their legislative priorities, chosen by their “Green Panel”, which includes representatives from New York State’s leading environmental groups. “Super Bills” are deemed by EPL to be so important that they are counted in their legislative ratings, even if they were not voted on—a phenomenon all too common in Albany.

How does one score a legislator for a bill on which he or she never took a vote? EPL awards points to legislators based upon whether they sponsored the bill.

But in Albany, that’s not so simple. BBBB is a “Governor’s Program Bill”, first introduced by the Spitzer administration and then adopted by Governor Paterson. Under the rules, Governor’s program bills are introduced only by members of the Majority Party in each house. In the State Senate, that’s the Republicans. To put it mildly, the State Senate Republicans are not a group known for their zeal in backing either environmental legislation, or bills originated by Eliot Spitzer, but Suffolk’s Ken La Valle is better than most of his party colleagues on environmental matters (not a difficult task) and agreed to carry the bill. However, La Valle could only attract two other members of his conference to join him in sponsoring BBBB.

Many Democrats clamored to join La Valle as well, but in Albany that sort of thing just isn’t done. EPL recognizes this, and allows Minority members credit for sponsorship merely by requesting to be added as a co-sponsor, a request that is invariably turned down (if life worked that way in other sectors, I could have claimed to have lost my virginity at 13; Lord knows I asked).  

Eight Senate Democrats submitted “buck sheets” asking to be sponsors of BBBB: Eric Scheiderman, Neil Breslin, Tom Duane, Craig Johnson, Liz Krueger, Velmanette Montgomery, Suzi Oppenheimer and Marty Connor, and all got extra credit from EPL; in fact Duane, Oppenheimer and Connor were EPL’s three highest rated members in that body. 

Some of the Democrats also introduced their own copycat BBBB, a move which arguably has some tactical merit. I would have given sponsorship credit to those members who put their names on the copycat bill, whether or not they submitted a “buck sheet” to be on the real legislation offered by the Governor, but EPL (which admittedly knows more about this stuff than I) thought differently. Nonetheless, I think this is a bit unfair. Likewise, it would be just as unfair to attack as an enemy of the environment any Democrats who submitted a BBBB buck sheet, just because they didn’t bother to go on the copycat bill as well. Either/or would seem to be quite sufficient.      

Clearly, to attack a Democrat who submitted a BBBB buck sheet for not having his name as well on the symbolic copycat bill would be wrong. To do so, one would either have to be stupid, ignorant or a willful demagogic opportunist.

When we last heard from State Senate candidate Daniel "Untruth" Squadron, the Sammy Glick of Brownstone Brooklyn, he was attacking State Senator Marty Connor for taking part in a tactical walkout from the Senate floor organized by the Senate’s Democrat Conference. Squadron actually adopted the spin spread by Senate Republican Leader Joe Bruno in attributing false motives for the walkout, thereby adding undeserved bi-partisan credence and credibility to Bruno’s egregious lies. Ironically enough, this time Squadron is attacking Connor for failing to take part in a tactical maneuver, because Connor didn’t bother to put his name on a bill identical to one for which he’d already requested sponsorship.

So is Squadron, stupid, ignorant or a willful demagogic opportunist? Thoughtful observers say he is extraordinarily bright, but otherwise the jury is still out. Since intent to spread falsehoods knowingly has yet to be established, it would be unfair at this juncture to brand Danny Squadron as a lying sack of shit; we must be open-minded as to this important question. He may have been careless with the facts, or he may have been reckless; perhaps his attitude towards the truth is one of depraved indifference; or his falsehoods may have been spread knowingly. All that can be established at this point is that he’s a serial disseminator of false and misleading information.

Admittedly, Squadron is correct in his assertions that Connor has taken contributions from bottle bill opponents, though he neglects to mention that Connor has taken contribution from bottle bill supporters as well. However, given Connor’s quite public position in support of BBBB, one can only conclude that if the opponents were looking to buy Connor’s vote, their money was put to waste. If that’s the case, then more power to him.

Obviously, to link Connor with positions he opposes is the worst sort of guilt by association, but so far that hasn't stopped Squadron. 

What's next? Perhaps we'll learn from Squadron that the Priest at the Church Connor's attended for over twenty years preaches from his pulpit against abortion. Yes, Connor says he is pro-choice, but if that really is the case, why then didn't he quit the congregation?  

But, guilt by association works in mysterious ways. For instance, take this example of less than six degrees of separation:

1. Dan Squadron attacks Marty Connor for taking money from John Cordo, the incredibly annoying dweeb whose firm acts as lobbyist for the NYS Beer Wholesalers Association. 

2. Among the registered lobbyists working out of Cordo & Company is Jennifer Cunningham.  
3. Jennifer Cunningham is also a member of the political consulting firm, Knickerbocker SKD.
4. Until he quit to challenge Connor, another member of Knickerbocker SKD was Dan Squadron

Not to belabor the point, but among the clients of Knickerbocker SKD was Joe Lieberman, in his successful race as an independent against Democrat Ned Lamont. I will not attack Knickerbocker for working for Lieberman in the primary, when he was still a Democrat, however, the general election was clearly a different matter.

As a result of his Knickerbocker-facilitated success, Lieberman now maintains a perch from which he helps to advance the presidential ambitions of John McCain, who has just promised that if he’s elected president, they’ll be no more Souters appointed to the Supreme Court. With John Paul Steven nearing 90 and Ruth Bader Ginsberg being somewhat less than the picture of good health, this is no idle threat.

Squadron joined Knickerbocker a year after Lieberman re-election, which would seem to make his employment there the equivalent of signing a personal service contract with “Emperor’s Club VIP”, the only difference being that Emperor’s Club serviced Democrats.

Dan Squadron: Too Smart for the Truth