Tag Archives: NY27

#Sloppery

6 Feb

1. The problems with the Sochi Olympics are myriad and sundry, but most of the mockery has been centered on the general shoddiness and unpreparedness of it all. Not to mention safety concerns. What people don’t get is that Russia is not a functioning nation-state, and doesn’t have anything in its long history that comes within miles of the “customer service” concept. Indeed, Russia’s only functioning economic sectors are “corruption” and “graft”, with “gangsterism” close behind. Putin’s portrait on the front desk of one of the unready local hotels speaks volumes. 

It has forever been a feudal kingdom run first by imperial gentry, then by communist nomenklatura, and now by a hybrid kleptocracy/autocracy with a fierce nationalist streak that is joined at the hip with its secret police service. The notion that this Russia could get it together to throw together an Olympic games in its current political and economic climate was always absurd. Perhaps a future Russia will do better. 

2. A United Nations human rights panel sharply criticized the Vatican for: 

…systematically adopting policies that permitted priests to sexually abuse tens of thousands of children globally over the last several decades.

The United Nations committee faulted the church for failing to take effective measures to reveal the breadth of clergy sexual abuse in the past, and for not adopting measures to sufficiently protect Catholic children in the future.

“The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse,” the report said.

The report also criticized the church’s culture of secrecy and longstanding practice of silencing abuse victims in order to protect the reputation of priests and the church’s moral authority worldwide, asserting that the church had systematically placed preservation of the reputation of the church and the alleged offender over the protection of child victims.

This is quite possibly the sharpest and strongest criticism yet of what really amounts to a worldwide criminal conspiracy to protect and cover-up sexual assault perpetrated against children by people in a position of trust and authority who donned a mantle of sanctity and holiness. It is nothing short of sickening. 

3. Much of the criticism of the ECC North STEM expansion is emotional rather than factual. The downtown campus isn’t so much a campus as it is a building, and my curiosity is piqued by the interesting group of people who are most vocal about it, and I’d love to know more about who’s funding these efforts. The fact of the matter is that the health-related expansion is taking place at North campus to (a) effectively compete with NCCC and ensure that students and their money don’t end up in another county; and (b) North has the capacity to most inexpensively support the building. It would seem to me that complaints about the commute to Main & Youngs could be alleviated by an improved, more frequent shuttle bus service between downtown, the medical campus, and ECC North, with longer hours and an app to track bus location, departure, and arrival times. If, as the expansion opponents argue, the real issue is student convenience it would seem as if cheaper, more immediate solutions are at hand. A lawsuit to block the ECC North expansion is great for lawyers, bad for students. 

4. Yesterday, bigshots were in town to announce the creation of 43North, a huge business plan competition that will award $5 million in prizes to the best business plans, with the top idea getting $1 million to get started. The competition is open to anyone in the world over the age of 18.  Winning companies will be required to locate in Buffalo for one year, and will receive not only the cash prizes, but free space. Got an idea? Apply here.  

5. You know how people like Chris Collins are salivating over a CBO report that supposedly concluded that Obamacare will cost 2 million jobs? Chris Collins is one of those plutocrats who think that America only exists to comfort the comfortable and further afflict the afflicted. When Paul Ryan is busy fact-checking your clumsy ass, you’ve really gone down a weird rabbit hole. Next time you see Chris Collins in person (that’s a laugh), ask him why he doesn’t think you and your family deserve health insurance. The CBO didn’t say it would cost 2 million jobs – it said that Americans with newly acquired health insurance coverage would be more free

Obamacare would lead to a decrease in the number of hours worked by up to 2 percent in 2024. Most of that drop, the CBO said, would be the result of Americans choosing not to work, for various reasons, but not because employers would want to hire fewer workers on account of the law. Translate those lost hours into full-time employment and it equals up to 2.5 million jobs by 2024. But that’s not the same as jobs being cut.

6. Speaking of our plutocracy, if you want to see the Koch Brothers’ sausage-making recipe, you’re going to want to click here. What people like the Kochs and other billionaires are plotting is to effectively turn the United States into two distinct countries, divided by class.  Succinctly put, they want to effectively end America as we know it and replace our bourgeois revolution of the late 18th century – a product of the Enlightenment – with some restoration of feudalism. The people on the list that Mother Jones obtained would be the lords and you and I would be, at best, mere vassals. The problem is that they’ve got a compliant media, a wholly owned political party, and a poorly informed tea party army to help move the fight along. 

You know, when the rich unionize to halt taxation and further concentrate their wealth and power, doesn’t that prove the fallacy of supply-side, trickle-down economics which has enthralled and destroyed the country since the early 1980s? 

#CollinsCare

25 Jun

Many years ago, the thought was that people in government should seek to help the people. 

Somewhere along the line, that changed. Now, there’s a theory that one helps the people only indirectly, by first helping the rich and powerful. The middle class and the poor must wait for the handouts and subsidies to the very rich and to corporations to “trickle down” to them. 

It’s a long wait, indeed, because 30 years of adherence to that faith, the wealth hasn’t trickled down. It’s been concentrated in a small elite whose wealth keeps growing .

Representative Chris Collins is part of that 1%, and his staff have been very vocal on Twitter lately. Collins is evidently trying to carve out a niche whereby he is the Congressguy who most hates Obamacare. Here, he highlights a Chicago Tribune editorial that wrings its hands over the Affordable Care Act’s coming implementation.  He employs the hashtag “trainwreck” to describe the federal implementation of what had been the conservative solution to universal health insurance coverage – a mandate to purchase insurance through private companies or a government-run exchange. The coming “trainwreck” is merely a nationwide application of Massachusetts’ Romneycare. 

Here, Collins bemoans Washington “dysfunction” over defeat of a Farm Bill. The dysfunction came about because the Republicans demanded a reduction in food stamp spending because government is no longer about helping people down on their luck, but about helping to subsidize private farming. If you’re depending on some Democratic votes to pass the bill, Republicans should keep their members from deliberately provoking Democrats by adding unacceptable last-minute amendments to that bill. 

Here. Collins addresses the right-wing echo chamber. 

Check this survey out:

Did you see this? I looked and looked, but I didn’t see the survey that’s intended for average citizens who also happen to make up Collins’ constituency. After all, we vote for this guy, too. Why is he so concerned about the problems facing businesses? When he goes and talks to Greta Susteren about the poor, beleaguered businesses who are forced to cut people’s hours because of the coming Obamacare “trainwreck”. 

But the translation of that is: people are being deliberately denied health insurance coverage because neither the businesses nor their representative in Congress thinks it’s important. 

What’s Collins’ solution to the health insurance crisis? What is “CollinsCare”? He and his Twitter minions consistently avoid that question, falling back on the argument that NY-27 elected him and not Hochul, and therefore it is his job to demagogue Obamacare in order to ensure his re-election. But given his incessant agitation against the notion that average people should have health insurance coverage, we know what CollinsCare would look like. 

Under CollinsCare, medical bankruptcy is the way to reach universal coverage. 

Under CollinsCare, a vagina should continue to be a pre-existing condition. 

Under CollinsCare, your pre-existing medical conditions should continue to disqualify you from obtaining health insurance coverage. 

Under CollinsCare,  the ER is good enough for you, and preventive care is socialism. 

Under CollinsCare, treatment consists of “Maybe you Shouldn’t Have Gotten Sick”. 

Under CollinsCare, “middle class” is a synonym for “vassal”. 

Under CollinsCare, the best way to treat leukemia and other acute disease is to set up tip jars in convenience stores. 

Under CollinsCare, health insurance is a “trainwreck”, so it’s better to have medical debt you can’t pay. 

Under CollinsCare, a $1 million lifetime cap on insurance payouts is plenty. 

Under CollinsCare, having the 37th best health insurance system in the world is good enough. 

Under CollinsCare, being a citizen means not caring about your fellow citizens. 

Under CollinsCare, 50 million uninsured Americans is too few. 

Under CollinsCare, chemotherapy is for the privileged few. 

Under CollinsCare, your college grad loses coverage. 

Under CollinsCare, medical treatment is a privilege for the well-to-do. 

Under CollinsCare, the slogan is “Fuck People”. 

But in the video shown above, Collins tells Greta Van Susteren that the Affordable Care Act was passed “in the middle of the night” in a “hurry”. 

The Affordable Care Act was debated and negotiated between the Summer of 2009 and its signing in March 2010. It was reported out of committee in July 2009. The Senate vote took place at 7:05 pm on December 24, 2009. The final House vote took place months – on March 21, 2010 at 10:49 pm

No hurry. No “middle of the night”. If Collins would so brazenly lie about silly, easily rebuttable facts, it calls everything else he says or writes into question. 

Quick Take

7 Nov

Quick take because President Obama didn’t start giving his acceptance speech until almost 2am. If you see me today, steer clear. I’m tired and filled with mixed emotion. 

POTUS: Barack Obama won re-election rather handily, and a great deal of people – mostly made up the disingenuous and the dumb – owe Nate Silver from 538 a massive apology for doubting his predictive models and for complaining about “skewed” polls. Silver was right on the money, and people like the always-wrong Dick Morris, and a whole set of mostly Republican “pundits” were beyond wrong. Science and math win over “gut” and “feelings”. Maybe it has to do with boomer conservatives all being former hippies. You know, “me, myself, and I”. I’ll write more about this later, but a win is a win, and watching Fox News during part of last night, I found the most amazing Vaudeville show ever produced

NY-27: This is devastating. Make no mistake, the electorate of the 27th Congressional District has left me – themselves – effectively without Congressional representation. For all intents and purposes, I’m an inadvertent, unvoluntary liberal tea partier.  Only for real. Late last night, Kathy Hochul, who has served in Congress with excellence and bipartisanship sent this: 

“Early this morning I called Chris Collins and congratulated him on being elected to Congress.  I encouraged him to work across the aisle and offered to assist him in any way I can.  I also volunteered to help him make a smooth transition in January to ensure our constituents are well served.  Congress can do better, and the people of this country deserve better than what Washington has given them.”

Collins is all over the air saying Hochul lost because of her Buffalo China ads. I’ll agree that they went too hard on that tack, and didn’t push the real issue – that she’s bipartisan and he’s completely partisan. Mr. Obamapelosi has no business claiming not to have been more negative than Hochul in the race. Thank God Obama won, otherwise you’d see the rapid dismantling of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and a whole variety of so-called “entitlements” that you depend on and pay for

Comptroller: Voters chose name recognition over qualifications, such as they were. No surprise there. Now what, Stefan? 

Other than that – marriage equality won referenda in Maine and Maryland – a first. Horrible red-baiting Congressman Allen West is gone. Michele Bachmann almost lost. Elizabeth Warren defeated Scott Brown in Massachusetts; democrats took back “Teddy Kennedy’s seat”. 

A mixed night, but a relief that we will continue to move forward with President Obama. Hopefully Washington will start to get things done, now that the Republican’s chief policy aim of preventing Obama’s re-election is extinguished, they can get back to governing

 

 

Chris Collins: Excellence

1 Jun

1. Good luck finding Collins’ campaign website. Searches on Google for “Collins for Congress“, “Collins for Congress 2012“, or “Chris Collins for Congress” reveal no relevant hits on the first page of results. 

2. Collins released a “Small Business Bill of Rights”, a set of talking points masquerading as policy proposals, wrapped up in a faux parchment wrapper.  He released it on Wednesday, and a glaring error – uncaught through Eagle eyes or Six Sigma process review – remains evident there today. 

Click to Enlarge

3. David Bellavia, who is running in a Republican primary against Collins, called this out as blatant plagiarism.  He noted that former NY-26 Congressman Chris Lee was a co-sponsor of a “Small Business Bill of Rights” in 2010, which also included provisions for tax and regulatory relief, limiting union influence, health care costs, and intellectual property protection.  Lee also released a “Manufacturing for Tomorrow” plan with the aim of strengthening manufacturing in the Buffalo area. It also called for tax relief, tort reform, and IP protections. Collins’ calls for China to not be an authoritarian pseudo-Maoist brute crony capitalist bad actor in international trade is cribbed – at least in part – from former Congressman Tom Reynolds, who co-sponsored a bill to address China’s currency manipulation. As Bellavia points out, it’s ironic to call for IP protections while cribbing others’ work without attribution, and the rest of the “Bill of Rights” is just a generic Republican recitation of typical platform positions, with a smidge of Obamaphobia mixed in. 

4. Collins’ media geniuses at Greener and Hook posted this to Twitter yesterday: 

5. Collins’ people don’t know how to spell. Not only is there the error on the Bill of Rights, which has been out since Wednesday, but even silly “forget the market – the government must manipulate gas prices” pieces have glaring errors. Of course, that’s before you get to the fact that Collins (a) doesn’t rebut the fact that domestic oil production is at an all-time high; (b) merely calls for more drilling on federal lands; (c) demands that an oil pipeline be built; (d) and otherwise completely ignores the fact that the world has been jerking from oil crisis to oil crisis since 1973, with no end in sight, and that it might be time to switch to renewable sources of energy, or more efficient engines such as biodiesel. It couldn’t be a stupider piece of writing, directed at a fundamentally ignorant audience. He thinks you’re just stupid. Must be why he won’t go meet with or listen to your genuine concerns as a middle-class suburban or rural New Yorker, and instead just regurgitates what he reads in the memos he gets from his handlers and pollsters.

6. Collins refuses to debate Bellavia; refuses to negotiate for any debates. 

7. Collins refuses to release his tax information. He figures he can wait it out until after the primary, during which he can simply out-spend Bellavia on direct mail and TV ads, and deal with it in the Fall. The problem is that, like Mitt Romney, it’s quite likely that there’s some juicy stuff in Collins’ returns that he doesn’t want to reveal. Does he pay less than 20% on his multi-million dollar income? Has he taken advantage of federal amnesty provisions for offshore tax avoidance accounts? No one knows. Bellavia made his returns available several weeks ago, but Collins directly refuses to do the same. I thought wealth wasn’t something to be ashamed of?  

Collins appeared before a Niagara County audience, and directly told them that he’ll never reveal his tax returns because, “his business partners’ income would be exposed and his competitors would pounce on the information to somehow kill jobs in western New York.” This ignores the fact that any such confidential material not relevant to the tax Collins pays is easily redacted, but Collins claimed that, for tax year 2011, he paid 44% of his income in taxes, including “my state income tax, my property tax and my federal tax last year.”

 So, math geniuses, how much is that? Collins’ property and school taxes are close to a whopping $24,000 per year. What is he hiding or ashamed of? 

8.  Collins got caught backtracking and blaming aides (never his fault) for his membership in a Bloomberg-sponsored anti-illegal-gun group. Being for gun control is acceptable for New York City Republicans, but not for Republicans here in WNY. 

On the bright side, so far, Collins has refrained from making any sexist or vaguely anti-Semitic remarks about donors or other political figures, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice. 

 

#CluelessCollins

15 May

To accompany his take on the Collins-buys-Calvins-to-ingratiate-himself-to-the-hicks story, Genesee County-based writer and friend Chris Charvella used this image

Something about the surprised look on Collins’ face made this ripe for a meme, so we launched #CluelessCollins, which produced these, along with Buffalo Rising writer @HeyRaChaCha

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