Tag Archives: fear

The Voice of Just Awful

14 Feb

Just awful. It’s just awful. Some examples: 

1. Wednesday morning we experienced the coldest temperatures of the season. There was, however, no wind to speak of, so it didn’t feel like it. Howard Stern was a repeat, so I tuned into WBEN to hear the weather, “news”, and traffic. There, the static duo of John Zak and Susan Rose yukked it up about how all those pussy schools and all those pussy kids had “cold days” a few weeks ago, but on the actual coldest day of the season, they seemed to make their way to school just fine. 

The subtext, of course, is what WBEN had  been pushing all that week that schools closed – all these soft people and union schools are un-American jerks for closing schools for cold weather. Every one of their local shows had that as a topic at least once that week. They constantly beat the drum about this complete and utter non-issue. 

So, when the morning newsreaders mount their high horses and criticize schools and kids for not closing on the actual coldest morning, they’re setting up a lie. The schools didn’t close because of low temperatures, they closed because of windchills of -20F and worse. The notion of even kids who are bundled up sitting outside waiting for buses in that sort of dangerous cold just isn’t worth the risk. But WBEN didn’t bring that up – they just left the lie out there so the olds who listen could feel superior to these pussy kids and pussy union schools.

Whatever chump runs the WBEN Twitter feed got sarcastic with me instead of addressing what I wrote. 




If we don’t call them out on stupid little lies, imagine the big ones they get away with on a daily basis. 

2. They put up a picture of the Slovak Olympic hockey team, thinking it was team USA, before changing it. 

I don’t know who’s running their social media feeds, but God almighty. 

3. On Thursday, Facebook added ways for people to identify their gender. The normal human reaction to that is to either cheer this, or shrug. OR TURN IT INTO BREAKING NEWS.  Literally, this “news” went out to people who subscribe to WBEN’s breaking news text service: 

This is, of course, not breaking news. What WBEN was doing was riling up its right-wing omniphobe listenership over the assault on hetero rights in Obama’s America.  You should see the comments to the thread

Facebook. An internet sharing service that is completely free of charge, wholly voluntary, which implemented a change that helps some people and has zero effect on other people. Why would that upset anyone? If it’s so offensive to you, quit. 

The assault on American values comes not from progressives or Obama or same-sex marriage or acceptance of people who are different from you. The real assault on American values comes from hatred, fear, and blatant lies.


4. This morning, Buzzfeed (of all places) published a fantastic take-down of the Trump political con game. This exchange occurred: 


WBEN even took to Facebook to try and make something of it, 

Here’s the thing about this. First of all, Mark Poloncarz is free to “worry” about whatever the hell he feels like worrying about. If he wants to poke fun at WBEN’s incessant massaging of Donald Trump’s prostate, then that’s his prerogative. It has, after all, been hysterical. But the subtext here is that Poloncarz shouldn’t be taking time out of his day to Tweet things to a local media outlet because taxpayers or something. So, look at the time stamp: 8:06. What’s he supposed to be doing at that time? Whose time is he stealing? Also, he’s a professional – he doesn’t punch a time clock. 


 If this is the “voice of Buffalo”, then Buffalo must be a horrible, awful place. 

The 11th Day of September

11 Sep

On this September 11th, let’s remember the dead, but also re-examine how we responded to the one that took place a decade ago. Perhaps we should heed the words of this famous New Yorker: 

The Grass is Not Always Greener: Tex-Mex Fears

16 Nov

The fierce yin and yang of America’s divergent relationship with its two borders is embodied in two provincial border cities: Buffalo in the north, and El Paso in the south. Here our concerns are greater engagement with Canada, the easing of border restrictions, developing an economic plan to build off bi-national trade. Here our elected officials (the incoming county executive, for instance) call for using the border as a business engine. Here we regularly cross north for weekends in Toronto and chinese food.

There, in El Paso, the prime concern is safety from Mexico, enforcing strict border restrictions, and shutting down the most profitable of cross border trades (mules carrying drugs, guns and workers). There elected officials call for ranchers to arm themselves from spillover violence among and between drug cartels and federales. There vacation cross border traffic stopped a long time ago.

The last time I wrote about El Paso after a visit, I said the smell of burning garbage, intense desert heat, and sounds of gunfire in the distance reminded me of Iraq. Last week I returned again, but as we stayed in a hotel north of the city and further from the border, I didn’t get any unwanted flashbacks this time.

While I was there I heard news of a poll, asking Texans to rank the top challenges for Texas and the country as a whole. Like much of the rest of the country, Texans rank “the economy” as the United States’ chief concern. But locally, they are more worried about “immigration.” While to us Blue State northerners this may conjure images of xenophobic Red State racists, talking to actual Texans (not surprisingly) yields a far more nuanced picture. New York may envy Texas’ economic engine, but certainly not the border issues. 

In places like El Paso and Laredo and Corpus Christi, large Latino populations predate the United States or State of Texas; the border moved, not the people. With families split by the river and an open relationship between the two countries, people and goods moved back and forth unofficially, under the radar, but mainly peacefully. A rancher I spoke to, who grew up in south west Texas, remembers fondly the days of mutually positive relationships between land owners and migrant workers; days that are now as far away as the old timer’s childhoods.

That less-than-legal but tacitly-accepted easy relationship has been replaced by fear and anger. Not fear of “immigrants,” and the jobs they may take or strain they put on social services (Texas is not California), but fear of violence: murders and kidnapping. The anger is almost exclusively reserved for the Obama administration, perceived as ineffectual at best, and purposely and dangerously ignorant at worst.

First, the situation. Some 40,000 odd people have died in Mexico since 2006 as a result of the war between various drug cartel factions and the Mexican government. In the last year, the violence has increased in both volume and scope: more deaths than ever, and more gruesome methods (car bombs, chainsaw beheadings (I’m not linking to it), targeting of social media reporters). To Texans, this violence is not academic – the majority is happening a couple of miles away, especially on the border town of Ciudad Juarez, and is crossing the border in under-reported ways. The reported murder rate for Americans in Mexico is up 300%, but that figure only includes voluntary reports to the State Department, not reports from Mexican officials. American gangs are increasingly linked to Mexican cartels. Locals will tell you that while the vast vast majority of bodies are found on the Mexican side of the border, the general suspicion is that at least some are killed here and dumped there.

In response to this trend, Texan and federal government officials have mostly squabbled. Texan politicians feel like the feds aren’t taking the situation seriously, as evidenced by President Obama denying a meeting on the issue with Governor Perry. In Washington, officials are uneasy about the scope of the response already: fences and border patrol and deployed national guard. When the Obama Administration does act, it does so incompetently – a major story down south (and mostly ignored this far north) is the bungling of FBI/ATF Operation Fast and Furious. That firearm sting operation sent 2000 functioning and untracked weapons to Mexico, 1400 of which are unaccounted for. When locals take efforts into their own hands, tragic mistakes inevitably follow.

Fear and anger. Beneath the failed Birther rhetoric that creeps into the vocal frustration is a basic human fear of violence. Fear for one’s family. Fear of a way of life taken, not by economic force but physical force. Anger that a Border Patrol agent was killed by an errant gun from the Fast and Furious operation, and no one in the federal government (especially AG Holder) has taken responsibility. Frustration that a war is happening a mile or two away and the rest of the country doesn’t know or care. STRATFOR, the Austin-based private global intel company, has declared Mexico is nearing failed state status. Is anyone paying attention?

Bauerle: Islam “Not Compatible” with Western Democracy

9 Sep

There are a hundred reasons why I don’t want to write this post, but having been essentially called out personally, I feel compelled to do so.

Yesterday, I received communications from numerous people asking why WBEN’s Tom Bauerle was saying I have a “crush” on him, or that I’m otherwise gay for him. At around 12:10 yesterday, I emailed him at tom@wben.com to ask if this was true. It’s been 22 hours and the cowardly, gun-toting, little mulleted creature doesn’t have the balls to respond. I figured as much. He’s a coward who hangs up on people who disagree with him because it might take him off-message. He cannot defend his indefensible mouth-shits.

This morning, Bauerle hosted uncredentialed deadbeat Doug Hagmann so that they could engage in a circle-jerk, determining whose “Islam is incompatible with western culture” dick was bigger. On and on and on they went, alternating between making statements and agreeing with each other. Wow.

And then, later on, Bauerle informed his (masochistic) Muslim listeners – both of them – that they shouldn’t worry, he’d be against any mobs attacking Muslims living and working peacefully among us here in WNY. No, no, no. He won’t curry some ignoramus being whipped by him into an anti-Muslim-all-Muslims-want-to-kill-Christians-democracy-America frenzy and then acting on it. That just won’t do.

And Bauerle‘s argument as to why Islam is incompatible with Western civilization? He cites examples like beheadings, honor killings, stonings, and other primitive behaviors that take place in backwards-ass third-world places. But does the Pakistani doctor stone anybody? Does the Bosnian factory worker behead anyone? If the bad acts of some Muslims makes Islam incompatible with Western Democracy, we should ask the same question of people of German heritage. After all, in a mere dozen years, the Germans killed way more innocent people than any Islamic-majority country has in recent memory. Therefore, all Germans must be indicted for the crimes of the German people, and their nation is incompatible with Western civilization, no? That’s the exact argument Bauerle is making.

Turning now to the burning of the Koran by some imbecile down in Florida.

Bauerle grabbed his crayon and construction paper to scrawl some sort of nonsense on WBEN’s website. Let’s take a look at it.

By now, you’ve heard about an anti-Muslim Koran burning scheduled for this Saturday, September 11 in Gainesville, Florida.

This protest has drawn severe fire and sanctimonious rebukes.

Maybe it’s me, but some folks are more upset about the Koran burning than they’ve been about the murder of 3,000 innocents nine years ago in New York, Washington and a field in Pennsylvania.

One of the comments at WBEN’s site said it perfectly: “What an idiot. At least the Wizard of Oz has only one straw man”. Bauerle doesn’t name “some folks” being more upset over this Koran burning bullshit than they were about 9/11, but as we’ve learned over the past few weeks, Tom Bauerle is not above repeatedly using audiotape of a man being murdered on 9/11/01 to make the point that all Muslims are anti-American “islamofascists”.

For the record, I believe this Christian minister has every right to burn as many Korans as he wishes. For all I care, he can roast bacon over the flames while wearing a pork chop loin cloth and singing Christmas Carols.


It is protected speech, which the left has no problem defending when our national flag is abused.

That being said, I think burning Korans, Bibles, US flags and even The Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx is stupid, unproductive and hateful.

There are many doctrines in print, and I’ve never been inclined to consign any of them to flames, no matter how loathsome to freedom and decency they may be.

Of course it’s protected speech. No one is debating whether this Koran burning is permitted under the 1st Amendment, just as any American has a 1st Amendment right not to be stopped by the government from criticizing this burning of the Koran. Bauerle clearly here misunderstands the 1st Amendment and what it means, but he also takes a swipe at the Koran as being “loathsome to freedom and decency”. Has he ever read it? Have you? Have you read the Bible? Is there stuff in there that doesn’t wash in this day and age? Of course there is.

While many of the media, political and religious elites have excoriated the minister and his church -even employing the old “let’s get his kids to say what a jerk he is” tactic- I want to explain why more than a few Americans are not rushing to throw stones at Rev. Jones.

Ah, strawmen. “Many of the media” – unnamed, uncited, unsourced bullshit. After saying that this minister has a never-disputed 1st Amendment right to burn the Koran, and after saying he thinks it’s stupid, now he’s getting into why he is totally cool with it.

You’ve heard the question a million times: “How will such and such American insensitivity play on the Arab/Muslim street?”

Let me try to explain the view from the Judeo-Christian USA “street.”

There’s a street? Before getting on the air to walk it back, he’s quite obviously alluding to rioting we see on the news from the Middle East, and subliminally suggesting that the same should happen here. Because our civilization should be judged against the lowest common denominator.

For years, people of faith have been subjected to increasingly radical and hard-core intolerance of traditional Western religious beliefs.

Do you remember when the State of Alabama was told by Uncle Sam to remove the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the state house?

No, I don’t.

I remember when Judge Roy Moore personally installed a granite monument of the 10 Commandments in the rotunda of the Supreme Court of Alabama, and there was a lawsuit and a trial, and the court determined that the installation of a Christian monument in a state court violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Interesting that Bauerle (correctly) supports and acknowledges the 1st Amendment speech rights of some whacko to burn a Koran, but ignores the parts of the Constitution – the parts of that same Amendment to the Constitution – that are inconvenient for him, like the Establishment Clause.

Do you recall the hate speech of the left when Christians were appalled by the photographs of the crucifix in a jar of urine? The delightful “artwork” known as Piss Christ was even paid for by taxpayer money stolen from us by the government and awarded to an artist.

I don’t recall “hate speech” – another unsourced strawman argument from Bauerle. I recall there being a vigorous debate over respecting religion, use of NEA funds, and free speech.

What is bizarre is that I could be fined by the FCC for simply stating on-air the name of this artwork that our government took our money to subsidize.

No, you can’t. A federal court recently struck down the FCC’s indecency policy as overly broad. Using “piss” on the air could arguably be considered indecent if the FCC determined that it constitutes “language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities.” I don’t think “piss” is quite that shocking to the conscience, and the FCC is currently enjoined from enforcing this unconstitutionally vague rule.

The Virgin Mary covered with dung? Deal with it: it’s “art.”


Even private businesses have replaced “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” while at the same time urgently reminding us how few days there are until December 25th.

My alma mater, SUNY/Buffalo, welcomed the Dalai Lama with open arms and taxpayer dollars a few years ago. I can remember no Christian leader afforded such respect at UB.

The Dalai Lama is the head of state in exile of Tibet, a Chinese province that lost its autonomy and freedom over time. Here’s the list of past UB speakers. A pretty diverse group. And I love how he got the jump on O’Reilly for the whole “Happy Holidays” faux outrage that comes up every December.

The left has been snarky toward Christians for being “homophobic” and “anti-women,” but oddly seems to have fallen in love with Islam.

Apparently, hanging homosexuals in Iran and shooting women to death in Afghanistan under sharia law does not register on the left’s usually-so-sensitive outrage meter.

More strawmen. No examples, no citations. Just a blanket statement about alleged “snark” and a love affair with Islam. Hanging homosexuals in Iran doesn’t register on the left’s outrage meter? There was plenty of outrage. Plenty. Shooting women to death in Afghanistan goes ignored? I did a Google search for that and didn’t get a hit within the first three pages. But I’ll note that most Bauerle types point to stoning of women, so we’ll roll with that instead.

Stoning as punishment has a long history, and was practiced quite commonly in ancient Israel for mostly sexual crimes, but also for cursing one’s parents, rebelling against one’s parents, idolatry, and Shabbath-breaking. It’s in the Bible.

Today, it is practiced in Sudan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Somalia, pursuant to Sharia law for adultery. Interesting that Bauerle argues continually that Muslims want to institute Sharia Law in America, when they don’t even apply it in every Muslim country.

But in this country, we kill criminals. The United States joins such enlightened beacons of hope and prosperity like: the PRC, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Vietnam, Syria, Japan, Egypt, Libya, Bangladesh, Thailand, Singapore, Botswana, Malaysia, and North Korea.

I never quite understand why conservatives like Bauerle point to the despicable practices of third world hellholes and use them examples of just how ok it is for the US to violate its own laws, Constitution, and principles.  We hold ourselves up to a higher standard than Yemen or Saudi. You know, there are exactly as many synagogues in Vatican City as there are in Mecca.

In any event, are we to believe that Tom Bauerle is suddenly some sort of spokesidiot for women’s rights, equality, gay marriage, etc?

In short, more than a few of us see a war against our traditional beliefs at the same time as we are lectured about the need to be tolerant of other religions.

Jews and Christians can rightly ask: “Where is the tolerance for us?”

Lectured by whom, and what sort of straw are they made of? In what way are Jews or Christians not tolerated in the United States? What a load of unsourced, unsupported nonsense.

Against this backdrop, a so-called “moderate Imam” (snicker) and useful idiots on the left propose and support an Islamic Center at Ground Zero. A building close enough to the terror outrage to have had landing gear crash through its roof can be safely called a Ground Zero building.

We are told that the Cordoba Project (significant name) is designed to reach out to the people of New York, yet Imam Rauf has been deaf to the protests of people who are angry and concerned about the site.

In this country, people are free to build whatever they want wherever they want, pursuant to the law. We are a nation of laws, and there is no law preventing Imam Rauf, a Sufi Muslim (read about it), from building a community center in lower Manhattan.

While the Koran burning story is the raging controversy of the moment, the larger issue for thinking Americans is:
Can our form of government and freedoms co-exist with a religious and political system which regards anything BUT Islam and sharia as evil?

Of course it can.

What a seriously fucking stupid question. Religions may be “tolerant” of other religions, but each and every one of them (except maybe the UUs) think that the other religions are all wrong, if not evil and going to hell.

The arguments being made about Islam and Muslims are no different from anti-Catholic rhetoric from the turn of the last century, or against Jews throughout history. They’re different. They’re the source of all our ills. They’re at war against us and our way of life. Same old shit dug up by shit-diggers throughout history. Like I said earlier, through this argument, Bauerle advocates for the expulsion of Muslims from the United States. (Maybe just camps?) After all, their faith “regards anything BUT Islam and sharia as evil”.

Therefore, the owner of the corner store? Back to Yemen. The Pakistani physician? GTFO. Bosnian laborer? See ya. Your faith prohibits you from living peacefully in the United States, according to some cretin on the radio.

Mr. Kipling said it best:
East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.

Just like a demagogue to cherry-pick from a poem one line that reinforces a weak point. Would that Mr. Bauerle would read on, just a few extra lines.

Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

Terror is nothing new. Demagoguery is nothing new. Hatred is nothing new. Fear is nothing new. Fear and hatred of different faiths or ethnicities is nothing new. But good people are good people, and bad people are bad people. The good battles the bad every day, and it matters not whether the good is Christian or Muslim, and it matters not whether the bad is German or Chinese. It is important to do battle with the bad and to confront it when it threatens. It’s time for good people to address the threats and hatred from people like Tom Bauerle.

Paladino Doubles Down on Paranoia (Also, Fascism)

9 Aug

The Pamela Geller / Little Peasant gubernatorial candidacy doesn’t play as well when it ventures outside its echo chamber of ignorance and hatred, does it?

Make no mistake that this Republican gubernatorial candidate is bigoted against Muslim Americans. It’s quite clear here. So are his parrots in the mainstream fascist talk radio medium (Limbaugh, Hannity, Bauerle, et al.)


Every single day, the Pamela Geller wing of the American fascist community pens the equivalent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion against law-abiding, patriotic Americans of the Islamic faith. And for some reason, even a local mainstream talk radio station gives them time on the public airwaves.