Tag Archives: Levy

The Day of Neigh

13 Apr

Gosh, for a liberal media elite, we’ve got very little to show for it.

I’m writing this post in OSX’s textedit program because WNYMedia.net was down more often than it was up on Monday in the wake of our blockbuster, possibly campaign-ending, release of outrageous emails sent by Carl Paladino.

The day ended with disingenuousness and desperate subject-changing by the Republican gubernatorial candidate from Buffalo.

To any of the ladies I’ve offended, I apologize. I say this to the men out there who have never opened a graphic image on the Internet: Don’t vote for me. For those who have, I welcome your vote.

Ah, but it’s not about opening graphic images on the internet. It’s more about sending horsefucking videos around town. Seriously, that is a video that I cannot ever unsee. I only wish that I could.

It’s a bit much to listen to Paladino to plead how he’s just human – let he who hasn’t forwarded a horsefucking video cast the first stone!  Yet just a week or so ago, his own campaign website listed Governor Paterson’s past marital difficulties as evidence of Albany corruption.  It was taken down after news of his own affair was made public last Sunday in the News.  You can’t have it both ways.

(Obviously, we obtained the emails thanks to Microsoft’s email tracking software, which is still in beta).

The post was up in the morning, and by noon it had been picked up by Balloon Juice, Talking Points Memo (twice), Little Green Footballs, the Daily News’ Daily Politics, and the Times Union’s Capitol Confidential. Elizabeth Benjamin’s inaugural day at Capital Tonight included news of Carl’s emails. Shortly after that, it was on Daily Kos, Open Left, Digby, Raw Story, the Buffalo News, the New York Post, Media Matters, New York Magazine, Gothamist, and myriad other blogs, sites, and other media outlets. (Like Gawker, HuffPo, Wonkette, CBS, and even this).

Even at the “Tea Party Express III” bus tour merchandizing jamboree this morning, Paladino was forced to address the issue.

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By the late afternoon, the campaign had issued a statement, held a hastily-arranged news conference where Paladino was quite obviously told what to say, and by the evening it was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and Paladino’s campaign was blaming the non-existent Cuomo for Governor campaign for the “hacking” of his emails, and tried to change the subject to a Cuomo aide.

The original statement said:

Carl Paladino has forwarded close friends hundreds of email messages he received. Many of these emails he received were off color, some were politically incorrect, few represented his own opinion, and almost none of them were worth remembering. We’re not surprised the political establishment feels threatened by Carl’s drive to take Albany back for taxpayers. Our campaign won’t be wading through the details of what is just another liberal Democrat blog smear. It figures that members of the Party who brought us record taxes, record spending and record debt would want to change the topic from reform to having sex with horses and S&M parlors.

Paladino’s spokesguy Michael Caputo said this of WNYMedia.net’s work product:

Michael Caputo alleged the Western NY Web site where Paladino’s e-mails first appeared this morning is run by a “hardcore Democrat” who has written a number of critical posts about the Buffalo businessman – including the fact that he not only used to be a Democrat himself, but also contributed campaign cash to the very Democrats he’s now attacking.

Caputo alleged that this blogger is in fact in receipt of “in depth research conducted by somebody’s oppo research team.”

Actually, the information that Chris posted a week or so ago was gleaned wholly from public disclosures that the candidate had made over the years.

The New York State Democratic Committee weighs in:

“New Yorkers need a true leader to be our next Governor. The times are serious and only someone who represents our values and principles can marshal the resources to meet our State’s great challenges. Carl Paladino’s emails offer us a clear insight into the man, his vision, his contempt for so many of our citizens, and his extreme agenda. Unquestionably, his disgusting emails disqualify him completely from public service.

Hell, even the New York State GOP wasn’t all that happy:

The racially and sexually inappropriate nature of Mr. Paladino’s emails is disturbing to say the least, and stands in stark contrast to what the Republican Party stands for and the values it promotes.

And of course, by the end of the day, even the Buffalo Ruse weighed in.

But I think we were most proud of this:

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It’s interesting to watch a local story turn into a national one.  It’s fun to watch a nascent campaign try and address its third major crisis/scandal in as many weeks.  Seriously, how many times is Paladino going to apologize for being “human”?

Because no one is denying his humanity, and no one is saying he needs to be perfect.  But some people think sending racist emails or emails containing bestiality videos is funny, and others don’t.  I’d wager that most people don’t.  But you don’t run on a traditional values platform and have that in your background.  You don’t criticize others’ ethical or moral shortcomings when you have your own, in spades.  Paladino is flailing around now, accusing everyone of everything, when he has only himself to blame.  His apologists and promoters also shoot the messenger, but in the end if you hold fringe beliefs, you can’t just shrug them off as folksy outspokenness or a lack of political correctness.  That’s just a passive-aggressive way of saying you screwed up.

And the problem for us New Yorkers is that this year’s gubernatorial candidate stable is quite thin.

Paladino’s Conundrum

31 Mar

If I was a Republican in New York State, I’d be pretty ticked off, too, by the late entry of unlikely candidate Stephen Levy, the Democratic Suffolk County Executive, into the race.  Lazio has been running for governor for over a year, and if nothing else, he’s a dedicated Republican.  Levy’s a late switcher, and the whole thing reeks of desperation.

(I don’t know how the mustachioed Democrat from Long Island is meant to defeat the Cuomo juggernaut, but then I don’t make Ed Cox money).

But forget Republicans – we have a genuine tea party candidate announcing next Monday. Noted Buffalo professional loudmouth and sometime developer Carl Paladino is running as a real Republican; right down to the fact that he’s got Roger Stone’s BFF Michael Caputo as campaign manager.  They’ve gone the whole mockery route, essentially ignoring Lazio and instead running guns-a-blazing against Levy.

Don’t ignore the Cox/Stone Nixon connection.  There’s also allegations of a quid pro quo whereby Cox threw Levy the nod in exchange for his son, Chris Cox, getting support for an unlikely congressional run in Suffolk County.

Paladino would have you believe he’s a lifelong conservative Republican.  A guy so politically principled, with tea party credentials so pure, that he’s mocking Steve Levy’s recent Democratic past, and his support of Sheldon Silver’s Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee. Naturally, a good tea party candidate includes Biblical language implying that Cox and Levy are not unlike Judas; 30 pieces of silver was Judas’ payoff for betraying Jesus to the Romans.

But since Paladino is blasting Levy as being a Johnny-come-lately to the Republican fold, what about his own contributions and electoral history?

As Chris Smith reports, Paladino was a registered Democrat between 1974 – 2005.  He switched in late October 2005, coincidentally just a week or so before Byron Brown won election as Mayor of the City of Buffalo.  Paladino was tight with Tony Masiello.  With Brown’s election imminent, he switched parties.

Paladino was a big Helfer backer in 2005. In fact, the Brown campaign attacked Helfer for his very close ties to Kevin Helfer, whom Paladino employed to run BCAR.

But you can’t just erase a 30-year history as a loyal Democrat and generous donor to Democratic candidates and causes.  Including the dreaded  Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee that Paladino now berates Steve Levy for having donated to.

Levy’s donations to the DACC amount to a paltry $650 since 1999.

But Paladino’s donated – and continues to donate – quite generously to Democratic candidates. From Chris’ post:

Staats Street Group, Inc. has given nearly $5,000 to local and statewide Democrats, including $150 to the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, which Paladino uses as evidence that Levy is really a Democrat.

Swan Group LP, has given nearly $27,000 to various Democrats, including Robin Schimminger, Byron Brown, Brian Higgins, the New York State Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, Erie County Democratic Party (ECDC), Len Lenihan, Jim Keane, and Dennis Gabryszak.

Mohawk Group LP, has given $9,600 to Democrats including David Paterson, Mark Poloncarz, Sam Hoyt, the ECDC and the Lackawanna Democratic Committee.

Niagara Group, LP has given $4,790 to local and statewide Democrats including Spitzer for Attorney General, Higgins, Dan Ward, Paul Tokasz, Hoyt and the ECDC.

Slade Group, LLC has given $10,500 to corrupt former candidate for Erie County Executive Paul Clark.

Michigan/Seneca Group, LP has given $14,750 to local and statewide Democrats including Spitzer for Attorney General, Paul Clark, Len Lenihan, the ECDC, Denise O’Donnell, Higgins, Paterson and Spitzer for Governor.

8246 Group, LP has given $6,600 to local and statewide Democrats including the ECDC, Spitzer, Paul Clark and Jim Keane.

2468 Group, LP has given $13,600 to local and statewide Democrats including Hoyt, Higgins, Denise O’Donnell, the ECDC, Jim Keane, Carl McCall,  Spitzer, Paul Clark, and Crystal Peoples.

Ellicott Development has given over $12,500 to local and statewide Democrats including Denise O’Donnell, Gary Parenti, Joe Nicoletti and Spitzer

Ellicott Group has given $700 to local Democrats including Hoyt and Higgins.

Ellicott Group, LLC has given $1,200 to local Democrats including the ECDC.

Ellicott Group A Partnership has given $5,600 to local Democrats including the ECDC, Hoyt, Paterson and Mickey Kearns.

JP Group has donated nearly $20,000 to local and statewide Democrats including Spitzer, Bonnie Russell, the ECDC, Paul Clark, Alan Hevesi, Lynn Marinelli and Joe Mesi.

Jefferson Utica Group, LP has given $1,200 to local Democrats.

9274 Group, LP (Who by the way have won 62 GSA contracts for a total of $738,171 in government money) has given $4,200 to local Democrats.

Paladino and his various shell companies and associations have donated over $135,000 to Democratic candidates since 2000, including several hundred dollars for Sheldon Silver’s Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee.  We’d have to consult paper records to go further back than that.

The appeal of the tea party movement is that it attracts and energizes people who believe themselves to be disenfranchised or otherwise ignored by government. Paladino is the consummate insider. He knows all the players. He donates generously to his favored candidates – to the people who will best help him and his businesses. He is not a principled player but a fundamentally transactional one.

Just look above at the various legally constituted entities he uses to donate money to candidates. He can donate far, far above the individual or corporate maximum by peppering his donations across several entities. It’s an insider’s trick, designed to maximize influence and minimize public scrutiny. (No one’s heard of “Niagara Group, LP”, for instance).

He can play conservative make-believe all he wants, but he can’t change the past. No matter how he explains the difference between “gun owners” and “sportsmen”.

And turning back again to the party switch in 2005, Paladino has been relentlessly critical of the Brown Administration. Of course, Brown has decided that Rocco Termini is his local developer of choice, thus shunting Paladino off to the side. I have no doubt that this:

…has nothing to do with a change in political belief and ideology and everything to do with the imminent Masiello exit and Brown entry, and quite likely the difference in how the Brown administration handled the downtown casino issue. (Read: stopped using Paladino to help negotiate on the city’s behalf with the Senecas). It’s no secret that Carl Paladino is the owner of all that attractive surface parking in the Cobblestone near where the permanent casino is supposed to go.

But in the end, this exchange from an interview Artvoice’s Bruce Jackson conducted with Carl Paladino is quite telling:

CP: I’m on your side on that one, Mr. Jackson. Totally. We could have protected ourselves, but they didn’t do it. And your buddy Byron Brown—

BJ: My buddy?

CP: Yeah, your buddy. He’s a liberal. He’s a liberal like you are. They’re your buddies.

BJ: Aren’t you a liberal? What are you?

CP: You tell me: How was that deal made?

BJ: What are you?

CP: I don’t know what I am. I’m a whatever. I don’t care. Any way you want to define me.

That was in 2006. Just four years later, Paladino has morphed from left-leaning transactional political player to right-leaning transactional political player. But he’s not in any position to accuse others of not passing a political purity test.