Tag Archives: Ostrowski

Tea Party Taxes and Ersatz Paywalls

11 Apr

Dear Tea Party “Leaders”:

It’s sort of silly to complain about your taxes (especially your federal taxes) if you don’t bother to pay them. Also, relying on the expert legal advice of “crazy guy with website” is likely going to get you in trouble.

Love, BP

Dear Buffalo News:

When the Tweet linking to the story linked-to above was first sent, the entire article was present on the website. I read it. Now, it’s only an excerpt, and urges me to buy the paper. Well, the paper is off newsstands now, but the article remains excerpted. Your attempt to get me to buy the paper by withholding certain articles from the website is dumb. It’s 2011, and while the New York Times is getting pilloried for its sieve-like paywall, your clumsy ersatz paywall is stupid and serves not to make me want to rush out and buy the paper, but instead makes me either angry (idiots won’t let me read it!) or ambivalent (must not have been that important).

Love, BP

Tea Party Factionalism and Exclusion

8 Apr

We’ve enjoyed endless schadenfreude over the last couple of years, watching the local tea party factionalize and bitterly fight over stupid crumbs. (The root of the rift seems to center around last year’s crowded race in SD-59 to replace Dale Volker). One wing features libertarians and birthers, while the other wing features Palinists and birthers. One would think they could at least find common ground on Obama being an Indo-Kenyan Communist usurper.

The glibertarian tea party is run by characters such as Jim Ostrowski and David DiPietro. They claim doctrinal purity, outsiderishness, and expressing hatred at some “political class,” which they are both firmly members of.

The Palinist tea party is run by tricorner-clad Rus Thompson. They are more closely aligned with the Republican establishment, but tend to skew more right-wing and somewhat less pragmatic than the GOP committees. The Ostrowski wing denounces the Thompson wing as “TeaGOP”.

Meanwhile, 99.9% of western New Yorkers couldn’t give a crap about far-out glibertarian thought, nor about fringe wingnut theory.

Yesterday, the Ostrowski wing held an event at Brennan’s Bowery Pub to announce that it was endorsing Jack “I hate the browns” Davis for congress in NY-26. If you’re wondering how that may have come about, you should know that both DiPietro and Ostrowski are on the Davis campaign payroll. They claim to have abstained from the vote (results of which aren’t revealed), but really?

At the same time, the Thompson-led group held a “candidate’s forum” near Niagara Falls within the 26th district. It was an event in a public hall, openly advertised as being open to all candidates and prospective voters. Except Ian Murphy from the Green Party. He was not permitted to speak, and instead was left handing literature out in the parking lot. The only candidate to show up and speak to this collection of political misfits was, of course, Jane Corwin. Miraculously, she got their endorsement!

Wow! You can feel the excitement at the Corwin campaign as she dives headfirst into a stupid feud and panders to people driving 15 year-old Oldsmobiles defending the rights of billionaires to not pay taxes. And you can imagine the high-fives and sheer joy at Davis HQ when it was revealed that Davis’ own campaign staffers endorsed him! Wow! This politics thingy is fun!

Corwin went so far as to Tweet her thanks for being endorsed by a bunch of conservative Republicans.

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Jack Davis’ Twitter feed seems to be filled with pandering to the gun fetishist vote.

But what we’ve established is that the Palinist wing of the local tea party is fundamentally undemocratic and exclusionary. By excluding the Green Party candidate for being not “serious” they’ve betrayed the democratic process they so claim to defend and love. Ian Murphy may be using humor to run for office, but he’s also talking more substantively about issues than any of the other candidates right now, who rely on carefully crafted, focus-grouped messages designed to be sound and fury, but signify nothing.

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The Root of the Tea Party Schism in WNY

12 Jun

Albert Matteo is a member of Lenny Roberto’s Primary Challenge, and is the third person to corroborate this exact sequence of events that led to the ultimate split of the various local WNY tea party groups.

Pay especial attention to the details surrounding the meeting & ensuing emails concerning Domagalski’s entry in the race for the Volker seat.

After squiring her around WNY, promoting her as the great hope against Brian Higgins for months, Jim Ostrowski has now taken to insulting the intelligence of Dr. Jill Rowland, who is running for Louise Slaughter’s seat, and who is no longer employing Mr. Ostrowski. See, it turns out that Dr. Rowland, whom Mr. Ostrowski recruited, doesn’t live in Higgins’ district. What a difference a few months make.

Mr. Matteo’s story:

What I am writing is in response to blogs by Jim Ostrowski that I’ve read. One thing I have learned is that Jim and reality don’t always meet. In other words, what goes on between Jim’s ears and what goes on in the rest of the world aren’t always the same thing. I am learning Allen Coniglio has the same problem. I didn’t want to do this. I tried to ignore it but sometimes you just can’t.

Let me make one thing clear – The tea party has not split! Did you get that – THE TEA PARTY HAS NOT SPLIT!!! The tea party is made up of many different groups. It has been going on for more than 5 years. It didn’t just start. It didn’t just end and it didn’t just split. The “Tea Party Coalition” collapsed, that and only that group.

What has happened to the “tea party movement”? Over the last six months or so, many of its elements here in the Buffalo area did begin talking to see if we could work more closely together. It was an experiment. There was a meeting called by Jim Ostrowski. I was hopeful. It was an idea I had thought about also but never acted on. Many others were skeptical. Time proved them right.

The first meeting did not go well. Many of these people had tried to work together before and the results were not always good. Sitting at this meeting it became evident why. Old resentments were not easily hidden. It didn’t help that the person who asked for the meeting began to attack other groups, specifically attacking Primary Challenge. Apparently, we weren’t doing what he thought we should be doing, therefore we “failed”. Great way to bring people together, huh? After this “Failed” meeting some did not come back. (Although Jim thought the meeting went great. Another case of Jim and reality not meeting.) We had decided that we would try again the next week. I hoped that we would be able to overcome this “disastrous” start and I felt I had a responsibility to be “involved”.

The second meeting wasn’t much better. Let me sum up the results – nothing got done. It was the same in most meetings and it wasn’t just my opinion. Without going in to more needless detail let me say that I went away from almost all the meetings asking myself, “Why did I go to this meeting?” The only good thing I got out of it most days was really good oatmeal and a good cup of coffee.

The signs of impending collapse were there from the beginning. Some personalities and egos just don’t go well together, neither did the name calling, mischaracterizations, rewriting and re-rewriting “tea party” history, with slants usually favoring the rewriter.

Everything came to a head the week of Easter. Both Dave DiPietro and Lenny Roberto had expressed interest in the 59th State Senate seat that is currently held by Dale Volker. I don’t believe either of them had “officially” announced. Now, Dave was very involved with the “Coalition”. Lenny was at the first meeting and foresaw that this was not going to go well and did not come back. There were several of us from Primary Challenge there so it wasn’t like the group wasn’t represented. This was when Carl Paladino was just starting to work on running for governor. Jim never seems to talk about his participation in the “meeting”. There Carl, Rus, Lenny, Dave, Jim O, Mike Caputo (Carl’s campaign manager), and Jim Domagalski met to discuss the upcoming campaign for the state senate seat. At that time it was to be a 4 person race. Not very good odds for someone. Lenny wisely dropped out of that race and switched to 27th Congressional race, which had no announced GOP candidates. There was to be a meeting on Saturday at noon involving Dave, Jim Domagalski, and Carl.

HERE IS THE MISSING ELEMENT: The night before that meeting Jim O hastily calls a phone conference meeting of the “Coalition” for Saturday morning to discuss whether to endorse Dave or Lenny. Now Jim knows that Lenny has dropped out and so do a few others, but he neglects to mention that in the e-mail. Some of us caught on immediately that something wasn’t right. This was an obvious attempt by Jim, a paid political consultant, to manipulate the group. In retrospect I think the whole “Tea Party Coalition” idea was and still is a tool to be used by Jim.

Needless to say, many e-mails ensued from many directions. It was very ugly. At that time I felt it was best for Primary Challenge to back out of the “Tea Party Coalition” but left the final decision to the board. Most were surprised I had stayed in that long. The Board voted to leave the “Coalition”.

I learned that Primary Challenge wasn’t the only group to leave. At this point there are maybe 5 or 6 people involved in the “Tea Party Coalition”. Why? I blame Jim. As is displayed in his writings Jim is a very angry, bitter person. He is extremely resentful of the success that Rus and Lenny have had. He especially craves the spotlight. He won’t say it. He might even argue publicly against the idea but I am convinced that he desperately craves it.

What he doesn’t understand is “POLITICS” or “SUCCESS”. Yes he has been at it for years and years but he still doesn’t understand it. Politics is a game of negotiation and compromise. If you can do this without compromising principle you will be very successful. If you can’t negotiate, you lose. If you won’t compromise, you lose. If you compromise your principles, you lose. It is a balancing act but it can be done.

I believe that Rus and Lenny have learned this. Jim has not. He has only succeeded in driving people away and has done so for many years.

In conclusion let me say that we have not won the war to regain our government and the fight is not over. There is much to be done but we are making progress. Those who were considered the “enemy” are now seeking our endorsement. The success of the movement across the country has shown that we are relevant and that we are powerful. If we keep up the fight, if we cast aside distractions, if we work with those we can and disassociate from those with whom we can’t, we will win.

In the end the tea party has not split. It has not died. The MOVEMENT is ALIVE and VERY WELL. Most of us still work together and there is a lot of overlap among the groups.

Only the “Tea Party Coalition” has collapsed. It collapsed from within. The poison that was at its root was the cause.

Politics is About More than Just Process

9 Jun

Jim Ostrowski responds here to my post criticizing him (or, as Jim terms it “viciously attacking” him).

It starts out with a faux outsider’s lament:

I did not want this to go public but since I have been repeatedly and viciously and falsely and personally and now publicly attacked, I must respond.

If Ostrowski really didn’t “want this to go public”, he shouldn’t have made it public by leaking attacks on Rus Thompson to the political class’ own media outlet. Did he really think people wouldn’t react to his attack, and defend themselves?

The lord of the local glibertarian manor takes issue with my conclusion that the tea party split is due to substantive policy; Hayek vs. Palin or Libertarians vs. Reaganites.

Looks like I gave Ostrowski too much credit.

His public betrayal of Rus Thompson isn’t about policy or substance, he says. Instead, it is about process and purity – a standard of purity that, incidentally, only Ostrowski himself can ever hope to meet. Oh, when Ostrowski recruits a candidate, he is invariably retained as a consultant for them. But if that candidate is taken under the party apparatus’ wing, that consulting gig is in jeopardy or ends altogether, since Ostrowski isn’t well regarded by the local Republican committee. It’s a hate-hate relationship.

When Domagalski decides he’s going to run for Volker’s seat (thus prompting Volker to drop out), despite what Dave DiPietro does, Ostrowski lashes out. That’s because Ostrowski managed DiPietro’s last campaign against Volker, and appears to still be doing so.

While Ostrowski denigrates Rus Thompson and Lenny Roberto for being “regular office-seekers”, Ostrowski admits to only having run once “with the intention of winning”. I guess that handily omits the mid-90s run for governor. Instead, Ostrowski is a regular hanger-on to regular office-seekers. Not for nothing Ostrowski shows up and unexpectedly collects thousands of dollars at a tea party rally in 2009 that Rus Thompson organized. I’ve not seen Rus Thompson go to a Free NY thingy and do the same.

Lenny Roberto has actually garnered serious attention from the Republican Party committee, as well as the endorsement of the Conservative Party. It doesn’t get much more serious than that in local politics-land. And that’s why Ostrowski wants nothing to do with Roberto anymore. Roberto has, in his eyes, become impure – sold out to the political machine.

In other words, Roberto is trying to win an election.

Interesting to note that Free NY/Free Buffalo, under whose auspices Ostrowski collected the money, has never released a smidgen of financial information to show where its funding comes from, how much it takes in, how much it spends, and more specifically where the money went. I don’t have my economics primer, do you?

Setting aside the fact that Ostrowski’s ire is also partly due to the fact that his management of Jill Rowland’s campaign is now over due to the fact that she is running against Louise Slaughter, in whose district Rowland lives, reading between Ostrowski’s lines, the whole split boils down to some sort of irrational obsession and visceral hatred he has for Brian Higgins. The machine took away my candidate! Rus and Lenny Roberto sold out to the party apparatus! Well, to the extent they are working with the ECGOP to elect Republicans, I guess that’s true.

So, Thompson and Roberto are bad for being “regular office-seekers” and also bad for aligning with the party that can best help them attain public office. They are bad for trying to win. Notice the complete absence of substantive policy narrative in Ostrowski’s explanation. It doesn’t matter what they think, just how they operate. Only Jim and the Jimistas are pure.

While Ostrowski launches into an attack of Republican taxation and spending once they’re in office, he ignores the fact that his own group’s endorsed candidate for State Senate in district 60, Matt Ricchiazzi, writes this on his website:

So, it’s ok for Ostrowski to support a kid who backs a “massive state investment” in local infrastructure and expansion of “government schools”. That’s meets Ostrowski’s standard of purity because Ricchiazzi is eschewing the ECGOP. It’s about process, not policy. That’s why Ostrowski backs Mike Kuzma for Stachowski’s seat. He is procedurally pure, running without the support of any established political organization.

Ostrowski is in many ways the very embodiment, to its extremes, of the typical boomer trajectory. Liberal Democrat during Vietnam, morphed into a Libertarian during the “me” generation’s decade, which has ultimately morphed over time into various political constructs, all with the same underlying theme of “leave me alone so I can do whatever I want to whomever I want.”

Hence, the tea party was born, to fight the machine the GOP had become.

So I ask you, how can people who play ball with the machine remain part of the real tea party movement? They may be “winning” but they are not achieving the goals of the movement.

The Republican Party, like the Democratic Party, is a coalition. The Republicans are a coalition of diverse and various conservative, and right-of-center people and ideas. It incorporates people like Nelson Rockefeller and Rand Paul. The point of politics is to win elections in order to effect policy changes that you believe in. Not to engage in idiotic purity pissing matches.

Ostrowski will forever be disappointed by others, because no one but he can live up to his own standards of political procedural purity.

The whole “explanation” is an embarrassment.

Political Machines and Drama Queens

8 Aug

Jim Ostrowski is a hypocrite.  He is a drama queen who hurls invective and insults at people with whom he disagrees.  He calls people members/tools/shills for the political class if they challenge him.  He doesn’t think liberals or conservatives are politically wrong or misguided – he thinks we all have a mental disease.  He refers to even the mildest criticism as an “attack”.  If you disagree with him, you are someone who has been brainwashed by the government schools and you can’t think logically.

Drama queen?  Yep. He fancies himself a revolutionary, and any good revolutionary will tell you that it’s an easier game to play if you can claim victimhood.

He’s also predictable.  You see, he linked to two fundraisers for people whom he would typically refer to as members of the political class; a $20 beer blast for Mickey Kearns (BOE disclosures here) and a $75 soiree for Shelly Schratz (BOE disclosures here).  I posted one today for Brian Higgins.  It’s the first political fundraiser I’ve posted about in literally months, if not a year or more.

But you see, Ostrowski and the Tea Party movement will be targeting Brian Higgins’ family picnic fundraiser this Wednesday.  By supporting Higgins, along with about 74% of the voters in NY-27, Ostrowski suggests that I am a tool for him; a shill for him.

Let’s cut the bullshit, shall we?  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.