Tag Archives: Free NY

Comment Threads are Fun

31 May

This thread has become quite comical, with Ostrowski accusing me first of being a member of the Political Class™, then when he couldn’t prove that, of being a “stooge” and “errand” boy for the Political Class™. The proof is that I support politicians like Higgins and Obama. Also, I ran for office. This is somehow objectively bad, and makes me a member of the Political Class™, despite the fact that I failed epically at 30 – 70%.

Of course, by that metric, his support of Ron Paul makes him a stooge and errand-boy for the Political Class™, seeing as his hero, Ron Paul, has been in elected office since 1976.

When Mr. Ostrowski is criticized as Geek and I have done with respect to his little group’s clumsy messaging, and mocked the fact that he’s hitched his wagon to the future-Trivial-Pursuit-answer du jour, of Teabag Parties, he does what he says he hates seeing on the Internet – he does exactly what he says all the mean people on SpeakupWNY who no longer support him did – he hurls labels and insults, and otherwise behaves like a petulant 4th grader who cries to the teacher about having his toys taken away when, in fact, he’s merely misplaced them.

Jim Ostrowski is a self-aggrandizing boor, and this is a truth made evident through everything he writes.

And, Jim, you should thank me for posting about you and your little circle-jerk of a blog so that you get some hits, and other people can get involved. Especially the posts about the scary brown people. Love those.

A New Pledge of Allegiance?

30 May

I found this interesting.

I pledge allegiance to the principles of the American Revolution, stated by Jefferson, and for which the Minute Men and Washington’s Army fought: that government’s only purpose is to protect our natural rights to life, liberty, and property; that any government that does more than protect our natural rights must thereby violate those same rights and become a tyranny that the people have the right to alter or abolish. I pledge to resist that tyranny by peaceful means if at all possible.

The United States is a tyranny. Glad we sorted that out.

Preening Freeners

29 May

Here, Buffalo Geek explains that the movement to, say, get the state constitution overhauled isn’t really off to an auspicious start.

Leonard A. Roberto, founder of Primary Challenge, is hoping to get 4.7 million New York voters to cast a ballot next year to abolish state government. Before a crowd of 11 people in the back room of Gene’s Junkyard Bar and Grill, Roberto tried to make that goal look not only attainable, but essential. The injustice of a government using property taxes to deprive the people of their right to property was one of the examples he used to illustrate the point.

Geek goes on to suggest,

Your message is off and you’re ideas are too fringe to gain wide acceptance. You need to drop the liberty speak, stop talking like a fresh graduate of the Cato Institute and get back to basics. Talk to people, don’t scold them. Build a big tent, listen to the concerns of the people and break down the issues into simple blocks of information that are divorced from ideology. Once you do that, you might get people to work with you. Until then, you’ll be yelling “fire” into an empty theater. Good luck with all of that.

Naturally, Ostrowski is outraged, and this entire thread devolves literally into predictable self-parody.

This does not bode well for…well, for much of anything.

Tea Party Post

10 May

Today on Hardwick, we launched into a discussion about the tea party “movement”, and it was noted more than once that there are no fewer than four current tea party organizing groups, all with somewhat similar agendas. I quipped that they ought to retain regionalism & consolidation advocate Kevin Gaughan to merge them all into a unified front, and I also mentioned that getting together and shouting into a megaphone is fun and cathartic, but ultimately useless.

Yesterday, Rus Thompson held a “tea party” featuring wealthy gadfly Carl Paladino. They started a group and website to promote and raise money for reform-minded candidates. That is action. Joining a party committee is action. Running for office is action. Becoming personally involved & volunteering is action.

All is not lost, however. The Jim Ostrowski Brand™ of tea party is going to boycott all the evil entities that help to prop up the “political class”.

Either way, I think the tea party monicker is dumb. It cheapens what they’re trying to accomplish, and is historically inaccurate. The original tea parties were about taxes on imported tea from our colonial overlords who never permitted Americans to have representatives in the House of Commons.

On the other hand, put down that $20,000 retainer check to the two biggest law firms in town!

So Many Teaparties

20 Apr

We’re all Victorians now.

Buffalo has now seen at least four teaparties that I know of, two of them held the same week.

The two most recent ones took place mercifully while I was out of the country or in transit, but the Libertarian one held on the 18th was billed as a teaparty with a “focus” and a “plan”.

Held in a bar, with a march to City Hall and back, its focus was on the same stuff the Freeners have been yelling into the ether about for years now. From what I can gather, we have to adopt Austrian School laissez faire economics and return the government to what it was in pre-Constitutional, post-revolutionary America. Or something. But you have to cherry-pick which founding father you agree with and pay attention to.

Here, incidentally, is the “plan” set forth at the last tea party.

It seems to be heavy on symbolism, light on action. If one was a cynic, one might almost think it was giving local Ron Paul supporters something to do. And from a fundamental standpoint, I’d never, ever associate with the paranoid Birchers here. The full “plan” set forth after the jump. “DO IT!” Continue reading

The Taxpayer Lawsuit Cometh

2 Dec

I wanted to make a joke about hyperbole and Jim Ostrowski, because the two are seldom parted. Ostrowski, the libertarian gadfly, is counsel for a set of plaintiffs who have sued the state of New York over what they term “corporate welfare” – giving tax breaks, incentives, and sometimes outright handouts to private entities to induce them to do business in the state. The plaintiffs in the suit claim that the amount approaches $2 billion. The case is Bordeleau v. State of New York under Albany County Index no. 6258-08.

Tomorrow, Judge Michael Lynch will hear argument on the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Naturally, a rally will be held on the Capitol steps at noon in support of the lawsuit, and people are being encouraged to travel from throughout the state to attend.

The case documents are available online here, and Ostrowski is posting news about the case here. The plaintiffs claim that the use of state money in aid of private enterprise is violative of the state constitution. If they’re right, they claim that the state can save tens of billions of dollars over the next several years, and “pave the way for the outright repeal of the oppressive New York gas tax of 32.4 cents per gallon.”

That’s all well and good, but I would add that the success of this lawsuit:

1. would set New York even further back, as it would be unable to compete with other jurisdictions for whom incentivization is not illegal; and

2. what does the gas tax have to do with it? When people are asked to list the oppressive or excessive taxes and fees that they pay, the gas tax – which is based on actual consumption – isn’t it. Property taxes are the most onerous statewide, and our income taxes and generalized sales tax is nothing to write home about from Charlotte, either.

So, while the merits of the lawsuit are interesting from an esoteric legal standpoint, I’m pretty sure that the court will dismiss the suit regardless. After all, using Ostrowski’s own theory, they’re all part of the political class, and the courts will kill the case rather than permit the state to be embarassed.

"Mother of All Taxpayer Lawsuits"

3 Aug

Jim Ostrowski is representing a large group of plaintiffs who are suing the state, state leadership, and several companies who have (or may) receive state economic development incentives. The defendants include Delphi, American Axle, IBM, and Bass Pro.

Ostrowski argues that this provision of the state constitution prohibits “corporate welfare”:

“The money of the state shall not be given or loaned to or in aid of any private corporation or association, or private undertaking; nor shall the credit of the state be given or loaned to or in aid of any individual, or public or private corporation or association, or private undertaking, but the foregoing provisions shall not apply to any fund or property now held or which may hereafter be held by the state for educational, mental health or mental retardation purposes.”

The Bass Pro example wouldn’t apply because there isn’t a loan or donation being given by the state (or any state-controlled entity) to Bass Pro. The incentive package has to do with tax reduction or elimination – not a handout. But other examples do involve outright grants from the Empire State Development Corporation to private firms to enable some form of expansion with corresponding pledges of job creation.

The Empire State Development Corporation, however, is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit despite the fact that it is the entity that makes the incentives.

By way of a guess, I’d suspect that the creation of the ESDC is the workaround this constitutional prohibition. By using the ESDC, it is not the “state” per se which is giving out the money, but a public benefit corporation (a.k.a. Authority). As we all know, Authorities in New York have been carved out and created in such a way as to best avoid public oversight and scrutiny, so the counterargument will most likely be that the ESDC is a legal creation, and it – not the state – hands out the pork.

But it’ll be interesting to see what happens. Also, as far as I’m aware, the Wendt Foundation is not funding this lawsuit.