Tag Archives: Republicans

Cognitive Weppner Dissonance

1 Oct

The big news Tuesday afternoon was that the first case of Ebola was diagnosed Stateside, down in Texas. By the late afternoon, we knew that the afflicted man had flown from Liberia (a former American colony) to Texas to visit relatives. 

Around 4:45 pm, walking, talking insult to your intelligence Kathy Weppner tweeted and posted this to the Bookface

I enjoy the anti-vaxxer weighing in with his idiot opinion, but I actually can’t fault Weppner here. We should deal with it medically and not politicize a disease, and we should be ensuring that the disease is not spread. The CDC worked last night to remind people that you can only catch Ebola by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the disease. 

Yet just 30 minutes later – at 5:16 pm – Weppner asked this question on social media: 

Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute. I thought we were supposed to deal with this medically, not politically! But here we are, worrying not about containing the spread of this virus, but how much it’s going to cost and whether the person is here “illegally”.  

I’m guessing the fact that the person had traveled to a place other than Ireland, they must be – according to Klownshoes Kathy – likely illegals. Of course, when someone flies to the United States from Liberia, they need to apply for a visa, their passport is checked prior to departure and their identity transmitted to the US authorities to ensure that they’re not on any list. Upon arrival, the traveler must go through passport control at the port of entry, as well as a customs check. Just like any of the other millions of travelers who come to the U.S. annually from non-visa-waiver countries. 

But, you know, all brown people are probably illegals.

Weppner also inadvertently makes the case for Obamacare or some other universal coverage construct – who’s going to pay?! Who knows? Who the hell cares? Who paid for the American volunteers in Africa who caught Ebola and were flown on private jets back to the States to get treatment? I don’t give a crap, and neither should you.  I’m just glad they’re ok. Likewise, I hope our Liberian visitor gets the medical care he needs so that he can enjoy his family and go home healthy and safe. One Ebola Liberian isn’t going to bankrupt the Republic. 

If the person was Texan and didn’t have insurance, that means they’re either in violation of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage mandate, and possibly that they fell into the gap left by indictee-cum-Texas Governor Rick Perry’s refusal to expand Medicaid in the U.S. State with the lowest rate of people with health insurance. Texas refused federal money to ensure that people who make too much for Medicaid, but too much for Obamacare subsidies to render private insurance affordable for their incomes. It was a deliberate, political choice to do harm to the most vulnerable people in Texas society. Perry is the person who was feted last night by local thug Carl Paladino and the tone-deaf Erie County Republicans and fusion Conservatives. 

So, yes, Kathy – we should treat the Ebola patient with medical care, and not politicize it at all. 

It’s high time you asked Thug Paladino and the local Republicans and fusion Conservatives why they’re backing this abhorrent, repulsive candidate. 

Kathy Weppner Gets Participation Award

24 Sep

Now that the Erie County Democratic Committee’s biennial re-org shenanigans have devolved into Pigeon/Mazurek self-parody, let’s check up on Kathy Weppner, the very serious candidate for very serious congress

Ms. Weppner took to Twitter and Facebook to tout her 1st place award in the ArgleBargle olympics. Or something. 

She received some sort of press-release-only “award” from a school choice advocate in New Jersey.  For the uninitiated, New Jersey is quite far from here and not at all within the 26th Congressional District. Rabbi Israel Teitelbaum is the head of this “Alliance for Free Choice in Education”, which has one of the reddest, whitest, and bluest webpages in all of the world. 

Rabbi Teitelbaum’s cause is to force taxpayers to fund religious schools under the guise of “school choice”; a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Under the Supreme Court’s test in Lemon v. Kurtzman, any alleged violation of the Establishment Clause will be determined through a three-prong test: (1) whether the government’s action has a secular or a religious purpose; (2) whether the primary effect of the government’s action is to advance or endorse religion; and (3) whether the government’s policy or practice fosters an excessive entanglement between government and religion.

Handing out taxpayer money to fund religious schools violates all three prongs of the Lemon test; to be unconstitutional, in need only violate one. As Kathy Weppner points out, if we don’t enforce the law, we’ll become a lawless society

So what does western New York’s most unintentionally hilarious candidate do? She accepts an award from a ersatz Constitutionalist group that advocates violating the Constitution. 

The Alliance for Free Choice in Education is pleased and proud to congratulate Kathy Weppner, Republican & Conservative candidate for the House of Representatives from New York’s 26th District, for leading the battle to restore Constitutional Government. She joined candidates from across the country who visited the new nonpartisan website [omitted], and took the pledge to do all she can in support of the Constitution, beginning with lower taxes, individual-controlled healthcare and parental choice in education.

So, in order to get this “congratulations”, all Weppner had to do was scour the internet for some cockamamie pledge to take – a pledge not to her putative constituents, but to a particular special interest group that seeks to starve the public schools and subsidize religion with taxpayer money

The site was recently developed by the New Jersey based Alliance to provide the ways and means for citizen candidates to identify themselves as champions of the Constitution, and where voters may meet them, vet them and support them.

While the site is nonpartisan, its mission is to restore Constitutional government by identifying and supporting those who are truly committed to the Constitution and its clearly-defined limited powers. Although most Americans profess to support the Constitution, and every public official takes an oath to do so, a plain reading of the Constitution’s opening paragraph – the Preamble – does not resemble twenty-first-century America.

What’s great about that passage is that the Preamble has absolutely no legal effect.  It’s an introduction.  

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Constitution has been our founding document for over 200 years, and some obscure Rabbi in New Jersey has declared that it bears no resemblance to contemporary American society, and Weppner touts this as totally cool.  So, what the hell are these people talking about? 

One-million-four-hundred-thousand gang members roaming the streets of American [sic], and a crime rate that impacts at least three percent of Americans annually, cannot be described as “domestic tranquility.” Open borders will not lead to “the common defense,” and the “blessings of liberty” are inconsistent with government financially coercing parents to send their children to substandard schools where they are subject to government indoctrination.                                                                                                                                            

Gosh, that doesn’t sound nice at all. Gang members roaming the streets! Remember back in 1787 when there was no crime at all? Remember how we committed genocide against the American Indians? Now that’s what I call “domestic tranquility”.  Also, the War of 1812, slavery, the Alien & Sedition Acts, the Burr/Hamilton duel in New Jersey – all of these things are ostensibly better examples of “domestic tranquility” and “liberty” than what idiots call “open borders” and public schools -an idea pioneered by Horace Mann.  

The United States was a product of the Enlightenment – not the middle ages. 

One need not be a Constitutional expert to recognize that we have veered far off the Constitutional track. In an attempt to turn the tide, masses turned out to vote in the most recent midterm election of 2010, and changed more seats than in any midterm election since 1938. Yet, the distance from our founding principles continues to grow more quickly than ever. It will take informed and activated voters to drive us back on track.

I thought this was a “nonpartisan” organization? 

We can restore Constitutional government, provided we not only vote, but also vote for those who stand for the Constitution and its essential principles of liberty, limited government and equal opportunity under the law. Ideally, we need to meet the candidates and vet them, just as we would do if we were hiring an employee. Alternatively, we may rely on those who have done so. Modern technology now makes it possible for this to be facilitated online.

The ways and means to restore our nation back onto its Constitutional track are now available. It’s now up to every American to do what it takes to turn our government onto the right track. We are most grateful to Kathy Weppner, of New York’s 26thCongressional District, for her courage, fortitude and tireless efforts on behalf of us all. 

TL;DR: Phony Constitutionalist Kathy Weppner gets a “thank you” from an obscure New Jersey crank who doesn’t understand the Constitution. 

Buffalopundit Endorsements: NYS Primary Day Sept 9th

8 Sep

Greetings, citizens of Goodenoughistan, where good enough is good enough! 

Tuesday September 9th is primary day throughout New York State. Here are the races people are watching in western New York, and my comments and picks for each.  As always, these choices are mine alone and do not constitute an endorsement by Artvoice or any of its staff. They are not predictions, but preferences. 

Governor and Lieutenant Governor: Democratic Party

Zephyr Teachout and Kathy Hochul

I wrote about it with some detail at this link.  Andrew Cuomo seems more interested in an historically wide margin of victory than in dealing with the corruption that rots the core of New York State politics. Practically every problem with state, regional, or local policy and politics that you can imagine stem at least indirectly from some form of petty corruption. Until and unless someone in Albany has the guts to do what’s right, this will continue to harm and haunt every New Yorker, from Montauk to Niagara. When given a chance to undertake a profile in courage vis-a-vis corrupt Albany politics, Andrew Cuomo’s response was an epic profile in cowardice. He didn’t just punt – he forfeited.  

Despite all the good he’s done for the state in general and WNY in particular, given a choice in this race at this time between Cuomo and Teachout, I have to go with the political neophyte with the funny name and upstate ignorance. She recognizes what the problem is, and pledges to do something about it. Cuomo told us he knew what the problem was, and he told us he was going to do something about it, but in the end he chose an on-time budget deal with Skelos and Silver over the people. 

As for Lieutenant Governor, @superwuster doesn’t know anything about upstate or WNY, nor does he care to educate himself. Those reasons alone would be enough to pick Kathy Hochul to take the #2 slot. 

State Senate: 60th District: Republican Party

Mark Grisanti

Mark Grisanti is controversial because he takes risks and votes his conscience. Grisanti is detested on the right for his votes in favor of same-sex marriage, and the NY SAFE Act. He is being attacked from the right by the likes of the tea party, and from the left by NYSUT’s PAC, which is backing likely Democratic challenger Marc Panepinto. NYSUT figures that it can throw some shade at Grisanti and help Stocker win the nomination, and that this will make the November race easier for Panepinto. I’m not a big fan of disingenuousness like that, but hey – it’s politics. I respect Grisanti because he sticks his neck out to do what he thinks is right – not just for his constituents, but for the state in general. 

State Senate: 60th District: Democratic Party

Marc Panepinto

Panepinto over Al Coppola should be a no-brainer, even with the former’s past election law issues. Al Coppola most recently gained notoriety for his brave opposition to any Peace Bridge expansion, etc., but prior to that he helped get Antoine Thompson elected to the State Senate by pulling votes away from Marc Coppola. So, even Panepinto’s reported alliance with Steve Pigeon is a minor issue because no one’s sabotaging any Democrats today. 

State Senate: 62nd District: Republican Party

Robert Ortt

Mostly because Gia Arnold showed herself to be woefully unready for prime time with her cheating non-scandal, abrupt withdrawal, and silly re-entry. Ortt is a serious candidate with a serious job. Arnold is an inexperienced and unserious candidate who has, in her very short political life, displayed breathtaking immaturity, and she’s running a one-issue campaign on guns. The winner of this race will face Democrat Johnny Destino, who, like Ortt, is a serious adult person. 

State Senate: 63rd District: Democratic Party

Betty Jean Grant

Given his behavior over the last few years, incumbent Tim Kennedy has a lot of shit behavior to answer for. In 2010, he helped to spearhead a petty Republican coup of what should have been a Democratic majority during the last couple of years of Chris Collins’ tenure as County Executive. Kennedy conspired to hand control over to the Republicans, and the legislature effectively rubber-stamped anything Collins wanted during that time. More recently, Kennedy’s campaign funds provided over $85,000 to the “AwfulPAC” (a.k.a. “Progressive Caucus of WNY”) to defeat endorsed Democrats in primaries and hand races over to Republicans in order to embarrass Erie County Democratic Committee chairman Jeremy Zellner and hand control of the party – and patronage jobs – back over to people friendly with Steve Pigeon. 

If people want to get rid of Jeremy Zellner, then do what’s necessary to accomplish that goal. But if you sabotage the party and Democratic candidates, and help Republicans, you’re doing it wrong.  Tim Kennedy has been doing it wrong, and Betty Jean has been doing it right. In fact, Betty Jean was the stalwart during the legislative coup – calling Kennedy and his henchmen out publicly and relentlessly. She is a warrior for what’s right, and for her constituents. She deserves this. 

New York State Assembly: 141: Democratic Party

Crystal Peoples-Stokes

Seriously, you’d vote for Antoine Thompson? What is it with the political herpes, coming back every few years to make WNYers feel uncomfortable and itchy? Remember how two years ago, Chuck Swanick went gunning for Mark Grisanti by trying to capture the homophobe vote? Now deadbeat extraordinaire Antoine Thompson returns from a cushy city exile to try and weasel his way back into elected office. Do not forget that Thompson was an Albany pol for a few years, and rather widely regarded to be just awful. Don’t believe me? Here’s something I wrote in 2012, when the city hired Thompson:

What can’t be forgotten in this instance is that Antoine Thompson’s tenure in the state senate was pockmarked with scandal. There was the bizarre  junket to Jamaica, where Thompson claimed to be on a trade missionpaid for with campaign funds. During the short-lived and wildly corrupt Democratic leadership of the state senate, Thompson’s behavior became brazen and strange. He got his staff to lie for him, had been accused of accepting money in exchange for influence on Racino management, and developed a reputation for being thought of as a statewide laughingstock.  He stiffed groups that relied on his member item handouts.  In his own life, Thompson stiffed his creditors to the tune of $5,700.  Thompson gave $1000 to the legal defense fund for convicted fraudster and woman-slasher Hiram Monseratte.

Thompson arranged for a $400,000 subsidy to Howard Milstein’s Niagara Falls Redevelopment, an outfit run by a billionaire chairman of the Thruway Authority that has redeveloped absolutely nothing. When Thompson suffered a minor pulled-muscle injury in a car crash and discovered that he wasn’t hurt enough to meet the tort threshold and file a personal injury suit, he tried to change the law

Then there was this:

They claimed to have nobody on staff called John Taylor. They said the Albany staffer is Shawn Curry, a recent hire as a legislative assistant.

So who is John Taylor? That’s what we wanted to know. So we called him up.

The Post: “Hi, is this John Taylor?”

“Yes”

The Post: ” But isn’t your name really Shawn Curry? And if so why are you giving out a fake name from the Senator’s office?”

“Could you hold please . . .[in the same voice] This is Shawn Curry.”

The Post: “Why are you using a fake name from the Senator’s office, Shawn?”

“I am very busy, I have business to attend to, I can’t answer your question.”

Antoine Thompson’s political aspirations should be little more than a punch line, regardless of his opponent’s merits. 

New York State Assembly: 143: Democratic Party

Camille Brandon

Brandon worked closely with Kathy Hochul at the County Clerk’s office, and she’s got a good reputation for being a hard worker. By contrast, note the surname of Brandon’s opponent, and scroll up to read what I wrote about Tim Kennedy and AwfulPAC. You’ll note a similarity, and you’d be right – they’re related, and they have no business being anywhere near any sort of elected office of any sort. 

I’ll be on with Shredd and Ragan at 7am Tuesday on 103.3 WEDG to talk about how awful all of this is. Whatever you do, please go out and vote!

Gia Arnold: Never Mind

26 Aug

A few Wednesdays ago, Orleans County state senate candidate Gia Arnold ended her campaign because her marriage was falling apart. I wrote about it – and the odd pointlessness of her withdrawal – here

But last Friday – the day commonly reserved for politicians to release bad news – Ms. Arnold told the Buffalo News that she was back in the race. 

“When I made my announcement last week, I never fathomed the hundreds of texts, calls and emails that I received, almost all of which called for me to stay in this race and fight for truth, honesty and what is right for our Senate district. For me, telling the truth and being honest with my supporters and the citizens is the most important aspect of running for and representing the people, even if it means losing some support and not helping myself”

North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt is also running in the Republican primary to replace retiring George Maziarz, and there’s no word yet on what Ortt thinks about “truth, honesty and what is right” for SD-62. 

There are about 3 weeks left in this primary season, and it boils down to: 

 

Donn Esmonde, Ass and Other Things

1 Jun

1. The Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski has an interesting piece about Williamsville native Andrea Bozek, the current head of communications for the National Republican Campaign Committee. Tagged as fighting a war on the “war on women”, the actual substance of the piece reveals something quite different. Rendered an embarrassment by the ignorant mouth-noises of some Republican politicians and commentators, the Republicans realize that they need to attract women by, e.g., not repelling them. So, she’s not so much going after Democrats as much as she is counseling Republicans to tamp down any misogynistic utterances or actions they might be contemplating, and to focus on a handful of issues affecting contemporary women that won’t offend any Republican principles. 

The fact that this sort of thing is novel or revolutionary is the story, here. 

2. Back when a few Clarence parents put together a hit list of “offensive” books, (articles here and here) I wrote this to Donn Esmonde, the tea party retiree who inexplicably continues to write for the Buffalo News: 

Mr. Esmonde, 

Last year, you threw every Clarence family who believes not just in public education, but excellence in public education, under the bus. Specifically, you wrote about Marlene Wacek, Lisa Thrun, and the Showalters in glowing terms about how hard they were working to prevent runaway spending (which didn’t exist) and runaway taxes (which was, at best, a wild tea partyesque oversimplification of the facts).  You told all of us working diligently to maintain funding that they wouldn’t really cut anything – that these threats were part of a  “false choice”. 

They weren’t false at all, but you never corrected yourself.  All the threatened cuts to teachers, programs, sports, classes, and electives took place. Families had to scramble to raise money to restore some of what we lost. 

You never addressed how wrong you were about the emptiness of the threats because you saw everything through your facile suburbs-suck lens. 

Well, the Showalter-Lahti family (Roger Showalter and Jason Lahti are related by marriage, and both are now on our school board) are creating a brand-new crisis out of whole cloth. Showalter’s sister & Lahti’s wife Ginger Showalter-Lahti has circulated a letter demanding the banning of certain books and texts, and her husband has added this as an item on the agenda. 

These are the people whom you so uncritically promoted as a new breed of school reformer. I hope you’re satisfied. 

(Here is the letter Mrs. Lahti has circulated to certain, selected local families: http://www.scribd.com/doc/211263269/Clarence-School-Curriculum-Letter-March-2014  Here is the letter I sent to the school board: http://blogs.artvoice.com/avdaily/2014/03/09/clarence-schools-urged-to-ban-books/

Some “reformer” you’ve found.

Surprisingly, Donn Esmonde never replied to me. He can dish it out, but can’t take it. Mostly because he’s an asshole who can’t be bothered to defend himself or admit he’s wrong, but also because the whole debacle was an acute embarrassment for him. 

Here’s another one. 

Detestable creature that he is, Esmonde whines about how – boo hoo – a lot of suburban electeds aren’t going to show up for the new urbanism conference that’s being held in Buffalo this coming week. So, he’s trying to shame them.

“It’s disappointing,” said George Grasser, urbanologist and co-chairman of the CNU host committee. “These are the people who can change zoning laws to spur development, who foot the cost for sprawl. This is all about making their communities more livable. They should be here.” Tell it, George.

If our village mayors, town superintendents and council members drop in on even a few of the dozens of CNU events, tours or presentations, they will be less likely to sign off on awful, neighborhood-assaulting hotels; ugly strip malls; Lego-like office buildings; stores fronted by parking lots; and vehicle-first, people-last communities – all of it hard-wired by zoning laws from a previous, car-centric century.

That’s an interesting phrase, isn’t it? “Liveable”? It used to be “walkable”. Who is to determine what is and isn’t “livable”? Isn’t the homeowner the best arbiter of what is “livable”? Who would move to our suburban ticky-tacky if it wasn’t “livable”.

Zoning codes and design standards aren’t sexy. But they make the difference between walkable, people-magnet neighborhoods like Hertel Avenue or Hamburg village, and irredeemably ugly stretches like Harlem Road in Cheektowaga or Niagara Falls Boulevard. A numbing succession of boxy buildings fronted by parking lots is an awful, inedible fruitcake of a “gift” that gets passed from generation to generation. So is the corrosive cost – in tax dollars and urban abandonment – of sprawl.

If sprawl is so horrific, why does it lead to “urban abandonment”? Perhaps it’s a more complicated equation than whether you can walk to the local quinoa stand. 

If nothing else, there is a bottom line that should speak to elected officials: The more livable a place, the higher the property values and greater the tax revenue. It’s no coincidence that values in Elmwood Village soared in recent decades, as more people grasped the appeal of back-to-the-future commercial/residential neighborhoods.

“Livability” involves a lot more than mere walkability and mixed use. It also has to do with functioning government and school district.  It can’t just rely on whether you can walk to the store to buy a pack of gum, but also whether you’re going to need to scramble to enter a lottery for your kid’s school, or pony up for private.

New Urbanism already has traction here. Such villages as Hamburg and Williamsville are recapturing their micro-urban essence. Buffalo is reshaping its future with a progressive “green” zoning code. The downtown waterfront’s “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” mantra is a CNU staple. What we’ve got, from waterfront grain elevators to walkable villages to a resurrecting downtown, lured CNU here. Many events are open to the public.

Not everywhere wants or needs to be Hamburg and Williamsville. Niagara Falls Boulevard and Transit Road serve their own purpose, just like Delaware Avenue is different from Hertel is different from Elmwood is different from Broadway.

New urbanism is great. Walkability is great. 

But people like Esmonde who proselytize new urbanism to neanderthal suburbanites are like that nightmare friend everyone has who aggressively shoves veganism down everyone’s throat.  There are ways to be something, or to believe something – and even to promote something – that don’t sound like a condescending lecture from an annoying evangelist. 

I wonder what sort of genuine outreach took place between the CNU organizers and suburban electeds – was it an email invitation and a shaming column from Donn Esmonde, or were there visits to planning boards and town boards? Were there in-person pitches or just “your town sucks, you should really go to this”? 

Elmwood Avenue gets a lot of ink and pixels, held up as the model for new urbanism and of what generally should be. But Elmwood Avenue today is not significantly dissimilar from Elmwood Avenue of 10 years ago. The storefronts that aren’t vacant (thanks to short-sighted landlords who demand exorbitant rents and use the empty locations as a tax hedge) are mostly independent local shops.

If we had a vibrant economy, those Elmwood vacancies would be filled, and indies slowly replaced by chains. (Replacing a Blockbuster with a Panera hardly counts). The Gap, Urban Outfitters, Banana Republic, and other mall staples would be filling in the spaces and pushing independents out to new frontiers like Grant Street or Broadway.  We have that small-scale gentrification taking place in fits and starts on Grant, but without the concomitant economic and population growth that happened in places like Brooklyn or Boston’s South End. 

The key to making Buffalo better isn’t to shame suburbanites or laud buildings, but to attract people and their money. While the real estate market is hot in certain Buffalo neighborhoods, we still haven’t tackled the systemic problems that help to prevent population decline or spur population growth and attract wealth. These are people problems – political problems – that no volume of urban planning hand-wringing will solve. 

I get that some town and village executives have day jobs. But there are night and weekend CNU sessions, and a roster of talent that is worth missing work for.

What a condescending ass. 

3. If the new owner of the Buffalo Bills wants a new stadium, he, she, or it will likely build a new stadium. If such a stadium is built, it will likely be done with some contribution from the public through subsidies, tax breaks, and other incentives. The hope is that the Bills will stay somewhere in the region, mostly because of the blow it would deal the local psyche if they were to move somewhere else. Esmonde wrote pieces about how Bills fans would shun the team if it moved out of town, and that the Bills need a new owner who “values loyalty over greed“.

So, Esmonde believes that the community values the Bills, and that we should find an unusually ungreedy billionaire to buy the team. If the new owner decides that there’s value to, say, moving the stadium to a different location – perhaps one more convenient to fans from Southern Ontario and parts East – why not examine and support that? Where is the fundamental flaw? If the new owner decides that a retractable roof would draw in more crowds, then this should be looked at closely. If the new owner decides that the best way to keep the team in the region is to fundamentally change the location and design of the team’s physical plant, then do it. 

If moving the stadium so that it can attract big business and big money from the greater Tor-Buff-Chester megaregion, then moving away from the Southtowns might make a lot of sense. 

Neither Esmonde nor the professors whom he cites own or operate an NFL team, so maybe leave that decision up to the people who are taking the economic and political risk of doing that.

Kathy Weppner on Going Galt

4 Apr

On February 26, 2009 – just about a month after President Obama’s inauguration – Kathy from Williamsville called into the Rush Limbaugh program to complain about how hard it is to earn over $250,000 in Obama’s America. 

RUSH: To the phones we go, Kathy, Williamsville, New York. Glad you waited. Welcome to the program.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. How you doing?

RUSH: Fine. Thanks much.

CALLER: My husband was having a bowl of cereal this morning, and he commented to me that, you know, we had to start socking away more for our retirement. And I said, “No, we’re not going to do that,” and he stopped eating, and he looked up and he said, “What do you mean?” I said, “If we do that, by the time we are ready to retire, they will take it because we will be people that have ‘enough,’ and they will confiscate that retirement.” I said, “We’re going to enjoy it today, because I am not hopeful.” And he said, “Well, then maybe it’s time I cut back a little bit and earn less,” because, Rush, he has worked so many hours a day providing for his family that he’s missed 95% of all the kids’ basketball games, and soccer games, everything. I’m there alone; he’s working. I said, “You know, maybe it is time. Maybe it’s time that you stop working so hard and spend more time with your family.” So that’s what we’ve decided to do because we’re in New York State. Governor Paterson is coming after his income and now the feds are coming after his income. He is not going to work so hard, because it’s a lot of sacrifice. Within an hour of that conversation, the Republican National Committee called me looking for a donation.

You see? New York has its hand out and so does the federal government. They actually expect people to pay taxes to, e.g., fund the most spendthrift military on the planet. 

CALLER: I said, “When we had power, you all acted like Democrats. The only time we act like Republicans is when we have no power! So don’t ever call me again.” So we are going to earn less. I am not contributing any more because they say one thing and they do another, and I really feel it’s too late for our country.

RUSH: May I ask a personal question?

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: No?

CALLER: Yes. Go ahead.

RUSH: Oh. Does your husband, your family income, exceed right now $250,000?

CALLER: Yes, it does. It’s not going to. We’re going to fix that. We are going to fix it.

They are going to earn less, by gum. It must be an absolutely wonderful place to be – well-off enough that you can consciously choose to work less in order to earn less. I know people who work several jobs just to make ends meet.  This is elitism run amok. 

RUSH: Well, I hate to tell you. (sigh) Your day is already bad enough. You’re in a state of shock. I mean, you live in the United States of America — and you had this conversation with your husband this morning?

CALLER: Yes, this morning.

RUSH: Over cereal.

CALLER: Over cereal.

RUSH: Look, I know how you feel. You live in the United States of America, and you have decided that in order to be secure you gotta work less and earn less, so that you can hide from the revenuers, right?

CALLER: Well, there’s so… I mean, he works 12- and 14- and 15-hour days and it’s because he wants to provide nice things for his family.

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: And if working all of those hours and missing all of that stuff —

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: — is not going to allow him —

RUSH: I hear you.

CALLER: — to do that, there’s no reason to do that.

RUSH: I understand it. I know exactly how you feel. I know what you’re saying. You are engaging in Atlas Shrugged kind of activity. But let me just tell you that it is a misnomer if you think your taxes are not going to go up if he earns less than 250.

CALLER: I know. I know. I know. And we’re the people that pay for everything. We get no breaks. We don’t get tuition assistance.

RUSH: You ought to be thanked.

CALLER: We don’t get anything.

RUSH: The people who are paying, they ought to be thanked. They ought to be wined and dined. Instead people like you are impugned. You are attacked; you are targeted. It makes me livid. I understand exactly how you feel. Let me just tell you a little story.

CALLER: Yeah.

Limbaugh here is likening Weppner’s husband’s decision to work fewer hours to “going Galt”. But, you know, even if you earn less than $250k Obama and his cadres are going to come after you because communism. 

RUSH: I told this on the air the other day. I met with my financial advisor and he’s running through all the numbers.

“You got this over here; you got this over here.”

I said, “No, no, no. You’re looking at it the wrong way.”

“Why? What do you mean?”

“I don’t have any of it. I want you to understand that my attitude now is that if I ever do retire, that money isn’t going to be there. I’m counting on the fact that this administration is going to find a way to come get it, just like you think.”

It is 2014 and I can confirm that this is Rush Limbaugh’s estate

They didn’t come get it. Obama didn’t nationalize Limbaugh’s estate. Weppner continues, 

Well, they will. They absolutely will, because the country will be in such a bad shape that it will be totally reasonable in everybody’s mind, “Well, we need that money, and it’s just sitting there and we’ve gotta get out of the crisis.” That’s the way New York State is talking right now. “We need to have the baseline be the tax rate right now, but it has to be ‘progressive.’ Those who can give more should give more, just ’til we’re out of the crisis.” I don’t think we’re going to… The last week has made me so upset because they keep pulling hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars figures out of the air and they’re just spending, spending, spending. How are we going to get out of that? I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

New York didn’t balance its budget on the backs of millionaire talk-show hosts or well-to-do physicians. It balanced its budget, in part, on the backs of middle-class families and the public schools with the Gap Elimination Adjustment. 

Fuck Kathy Weppner and her bullshit “I make $250k and Obama’s going to come and get me” resentment. 

Kathy Weppner Tries to Explain; Fails

25 Mar

Kathy Weppner, the Republican trainwreck running against Brian Higgins, has descended into self-parody with record-breaking celerity. I almost have to congratulate her on the speed with which she has beclowned herself.

On Monday morning, I went to her “Str8talk” blog to peruse its sanitized state and noticed that it had been completely scrubbed out of existence. The Weppner sanitization had been completed by redirecting to her campaign website. That means, we have to rely on the Waybackmachine to find anything and everything about what she thinks when it doesn’t really matter. 

But there may be something even better on her campaign website – a passive-aggressive page of whining about “yellow journalism“. In 1941, Frank Luther Mott set forth five elements of yellow journalism

– scare headlines in huge print, often of minor news

– lavish use of pictures, or imaginary drawings

– use of faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudoscience, and a parade of false learning from so-called experts

– emphasis on full-color Sunday supplements, usually with comic strips

– dramatic sympathy with the “underdog” against the system.

None of those exist in Zremski’s piece

Let’s now turn to Weppner’s epic self-defense. It’s an admittedly unique tactic – lashing out so furiously at the librul meediya in ALL CAPS AND RED TEXT AND ZOMG. 

As a threshold matter, I don’t precisely get why she all-caps the word “NEWS” rather than just capitalizing “Buffalo News”.  I’m thinking it might be her way of telegraphing the fact that the Buffalo News is a front for the Bilderberg/Illuminati conspiracy, or that it’s really an acronym for something nefarious.  (Also, I will edit out some of the text from Zremski’s article to save space).  

The first article from the Buffalo NEWS posted online Saturday March 22, printed March 23.   My final comments are under each news comment. 

I would like to thank the Buffalo NEWS for exposing themselves today as yellow journalists and providing the evidence to WNY for how they manipulate public opinion during elections.

Last week, while I was out of the country Buffalo NEWS Washington Bureau  reporter Jerry Zremski  sent an e-mail filled with questions about my past radio show topics, why I discussed them and where I read about the topics I discussed.  He indicated that his editor wanted these questions answered for an upcoming article.

I found the nature of these questions to be very peculiar however, I responded to the questions and now you can find  both the Questions and my responses  on the website & facebook.

Now it’s the public’s job to evaluate  questions and answers in full to see if the reporting lines up with the facts.

You see. How inconsiderate. She was out of the country while her serfs are out getting petition signatures on her royal highness’ behalf. How dare this middle-class peon working for the “NEWS” email her a set of questions

If Kathy Weppner wasn’t prepared at this time to be interviewed, or to have her background and viewpoints examined, then perhaps she should have waited until after her foreign travel to announce her candidacy. 

Readers must decide what the urgency was that this had to be published on Saturday.  In two separate e-mails (both on March 21st) I stated I would be available this week for an interview.  Could it be that petitions are being walked throughout the district right now?  Could it be that fundraisers are being set up right now? How many other campaigns have had this happen in the early stages of getting organized?  Why change any of the wording from the online version to the printed version? You decide

Let’s. 

Weppner final analysis in red of  BUFFALO NEWS ONLINE Article   22-2013 1:08 pm   (since removed) changes noted in print edition are in green & yellow.

 Here, Weppner posts the first several paragraphs of Zremski’s article

…Weppner refused to be interviewed for this story, instead answering questions via email.

Weppner response 1: Attached find my response to your questions. Sorry about the delay I was out of the country. Monday I will be releasing a report to the media regarding a pressing issue facing Western New York. You will be included in that release. I am currently putting together my platform and when that is completed we can sit down for an interview.

Let’s NEWS some more.  

Zremski Follow up: Jerry Zremski wrote:

5) Perhaps it is best if we talk about these things. What is your number?
Kathy Weppner response: For now I am totally focused on organizing my campaign. I anticipate having time next week to talk about issues in Western New York and the report I mentioned.

Phones work outside the country, and she punts here – she’s not offering to address Zremski’s questions – she will only “talk about issues in Western New York” as she defines them, and some “report”. I’m sure the report provides us with, I dunno, exquisite detail about how communist homosexual gangs of paper clips have conspired to bring down the WTC and American exceptionalism. 

Zremski notes that Weppner paid a lot of attention to the birther movement, going so far as to interview Orly Taitz, whom nobody with half a brain takes (or took) seriously. Weppner picks nits,  

“In a series of written replies to questions,”  is omitted in the printed version changed to:   “She also wrote.”There were eleven e-mails back and forth.  Why would this be taken out for the printed version? 

Because who cares. She reprints portions of the email exchanges with Zremski, 

Q1)  You have repeatedly questioned Barack Obama’s eligibility for the presidency. For example, in a 2010 Blog Talk Radio appearance, you said: “What Obama’s campaign has put out is not a birth certificate.” Do you still believe that Obama may not have been born in the U.S. and therefore may not be eligible to be president? 

A1 Kathy Weppner response: “I believe, at that time, Mr. Obama’s submission of a “short form” birth certificate was a topic of conversation nationally as there were many lawsuits attempting to see his long form birth certificate.  I found it interesting that there was such resistance to produce this when it should have been simple.  Mr. Obama Is our President”                                                                                               

Q2 NEWS follow up: Jerry Zremski wrote:
2) Your answer to my question about President Obama’s birth certificate is inadequate. Yes, Mr. Obama is our president — but do you believe he was born in the United States?
Kathy Weppner response: That question has already been decided. I raised three kids that took an oath under this president. Our family’s willingness to sacrifice for this country is clear period.   

It’s a simple yes-or-no question, yet Weppner is pathologically unable or unwilling to simply say, “yes, I believe Obama was born in the US”, or “no, I believe Obama is a Manchurian candidate placed as chief executive as part of a 50 year-long communist plot to make the US an Indo-Kenyan vassal state”. 

Weppner analysis of the NEWS article published:  Please note from  the questions asked by the NEWS that:

I was never asked about my involvement in “the birther movement as Mr. Zremski claims. Nor did I ever claim to be a birther.  I am not  exactly sure  what the “birther movement” means or who is in  it”?  What constitutes membership? 

No way she’s serious about this here. You don’t host Orly Taitz on your radio program, discuss birtherism, and then get to deny even knowing what the term means.  She appeared on some internet radio show and rejected Obama’s birth certificate there. 

Read carefully-Mr, Zremski  alleges that because “birthers” question Mr. Obama’s eligibility,  and I once stated, “What Obama’s campaign has put out is not a birth certificate,” that means I am  “a birther”.  Because Mr. Zremski believes I am a birther,  I must have believed in the past, and still must believe now, that Obama is not eligible to be president.  

Well, why discuss it, otherwise? Why complain about the short-form birth certificate, which is enough for anyone legally to get a passport or otherwise to prove their place of birth? 

This Article was not offered on an opinion page.   Mr. Zremski’s questions and conclusions are not journalism.  Mr Zremeski’s personal opinion about “birthers,” and his personal opinion on who qualifies as a “ birther,” interjected into an NEWS article  is bias masking as journalism.

No. Zremski’s article is factual in nature. His opinion was that Weppner’s original punt of an answer was inadequate. He had to ask her two times if she believed that President Obama was the legitimate head of state, and she refused to answer it directly on both occasions. He was cross-examining her, and she couldn’t handle it. The truth. 

Like many others, I was a show host doing an interview just like  Salon, MSNBC  and the Daily Beast,  when they also did interviews with Taitz.  The numerous legal cases involved had aspects we have never heard before. This topic was in the news and interesting!

Salon  2009  http://www.salon.com/2009/08/13/orly_taitz/
MSNBC 2009 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vNpXJxpu48
The Daily Beast http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/07/30/queen-of-the-birthers.html

It was especially interesting to right-wing tea party Obamaphobes. Weppner’s evasion and unwillingness to answer a direct question speaks for itself. Also, Salon and the Daily Beast give Taitz the mocking beat-down she deserves. Did Weppner do that? Is she doing it now, or is she denying that she even knows what “birther” means? 

Q1)  On that same radio show, you said that when Bill Clinton’s medical records were released, “they found out that he had VD.” I can find no proof of that; in fact, I found a quote from his press secretary in the late 1990s saying that Clinton’s most recent physical had found that he had never had a sexually transmitted disease. What proof do you have that President Clinton had VD?

Q2 Zremski follow-up Jerry Zremski wrote:
3) In your answer to question 3, you say, “Bush Jr. admitted cocaine use.” According to my research, he never admitted that. What is your source?

Kathy Weppner response to #2 follow-up: 
http://forums.cnet.com/7723-6130_102-65801/bush-admits-past-drug-use-in-interviews-with-author/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-seery/the-bush-cocaine-chronicl_b_37786.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/BothSidesAllSides/story?id=2773754

The ABC link is a Michael Medved opinion piece. He expressly states that Bush has refused to reveal his past drug use.  The HuffPo article, likewise, discusses how the media refuse to take Bush to task over his refusal to admit or deny past drug use.  You can see the pattern – the CNET article also shows nothing to confirm that Bush ever actually tried cocaine

A)  Weppner response 1: I find it interesting that I spent over 700 hours on the radio and you have focused on a fifteen minute interview on a blog show that I did not have documents in front of me for.  I was asked to appear on the blog radio to explain how I was transformed from a talk-show caller to host. My appearance ended after about fifteen minutes when I hung up realizing that I had been deceived and the real purpose of the interview was to ambush me with controversy. I had been asked about politicians and documents. I did not have the source of those allegations with me as I usually do for topics I discuss on shows,   I have no intention of digging though 9 years of clippings as my time is better spent on pressing WNY issues that matter.  The STD story you refer to originated in 1996, during the Dole Clinton race when reporters asked Clinton if he was hiding conditions like STD’s by  refusing to release his medical records.  There are still press accounts remaining online about this line of questioning you might want to research. There were so many other Clinton allegations over the years such as  American Spectator, the magazine that broke the “troopergate” story, Paula Jones etc.  alleging Clinton cocaine use using Little Rock Dr. Sam Houston as the source.  I also recall these kinds of topics coming up in the news again in 2000 & 2004 when Bush Jr admitted previous coke use, and again in 2008 during Pres. Obamas campaign because Obama admitted cocaine use in his book.  ie :
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/BothSidesAllSides/story?id=2773754
If  I confused  decades old issues  during the middle of a brief ambush interview that I ended by hanging up, if I did not properly cite facts or sources on this issue, my sincere apologies to listeners and to Mr. Clinton. If the public can forgive admitted cocaine abuse perhaps a momentary confusion by a talk show host seems worthy of forgiveness. 
http://capitalismmagazine.com/1999/09/the-coke-question-why-bush-not-clinton/
CNN ARTICLE
http://cgi.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/news/9609/13/clinton/

That’s quite the protestation. No one owes her “forgiveness”.  Zremski merely asked her for clarification of her views. Of course, there’s nothing in the CNN article revealing proof of a Bill Clinton STD, and the “Capitalism Magazine” *rolleyes* article is just another hit piece on Clinton. Here’s a tip – if you’re going to whine about unfair press coverage, don’t cite unfair press coverage. 

Q7)  On Nov. 15, 2008, you reposted an article called “White Guilt Is Dead.” What you posted includes this passage:  “I’ve always despised lazy white people. Now, I can talk smack about lazy black people. You’re poor because you quit school, did drugs, had three kids with three different fathers, and refuse to work. So when you plop your Colt 45-swilling, Oprah watchin’ butt on the couch and complain “Da Man is keepin’ me down,” allow me to inform you: Da Man is now black. You have no excuses. “ Do you agree with that sentiment? Some might find it to be racially insensitive – do you?
A1 Weppner response: I find your question as insulting as the stereotypes printed in this Philadelphia  Inquirer editorial titled  ‘White Guilt is Dead ‘. Some might find it to be racially insensitive – do you?  ‘  “ I was surprised the Inquirer printed  this. Did you pose the same question to their editors?
Q2 NEWS FOLLOWUP: 4) On the “White Guilt Is Dead” post, why did you post it?
A2 Weppner response: Regardless of his political policies, Mr. Obama’s election was a proud moment in American history. I always feel deep pride in the American people and their willingness to embrace all ethnicities. It’s a statement to the world that in America if you work hard you can achieve anything. If you read the article carefully it actually reflects the same sentiment that in order to achieve you must rise above the offensive stereotypes.
Weppner final analysis: I invite readers to decide why Zremski edited my comments the way he did.

I went back and read the article “carefully”. What I see is nothing about “willingness to embrace all ethnicities”, or that “if you work hard you can achieve anything”. I see some base fucking racism there. I see an article written by someone who is so filled with rage and resentment that he writes something so base and so ugly that even Weppner – in her “A1 Weppner response” – expresses surprise that it was published in the first place. Yet in the next breath, she’s characterizing it as a reconfiguration of Emma Lazarus’ The New Colossus. The cognitive dissonance is stark beyond belief. If Weppner thought that reprinting this exchange would make her look better by comparison, I question her judgment, full stop. 

Weppner then addresses what Zremski wrote about her anti-Muslim writings and pronouncements. Nits are again picked. 

“THIS IS AN EXCELLENT SYNOPSIS OF ISLAM AND HOW IT WORKS,” Weppner wrote.   [wrote changed to “posted” in print version

Again – a distinction without a difference.

6)  On May 5, 2008, under the headline “Wake Up America,” you posted what you called “an excellent synopsis of Islam and how it works.” That synopsis says that after a country’s Muslim population exceeds 80 percent, people can “expect State run ethnic cleansing and genocide.” But Turkey, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates are stable and peaceful, with no ethnic cleansing or genocide, despite being more than 80 percent Muslim. How, then, is this an excellent synopsis of Islam and how it works?

Kathy Weppner response:  
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/12/international/asia/12cnd-indo.html?fta=y&_r=0
For your further research please see link  
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Wake+Up,+America!-a0173513219

“ A book called ‘Wake up America’ not about Islam but what we now refer to as  islamofacism  also came out around that time.   “Tolerance is cultural suicide when it is a one-way street. “ Hmm… some might say the last line reminds them of Democrat & Republican politics. I also suggest your further research regarding Indonesia  and Turkey, cleansing and genocide. I have included some links to broaden your knowledge:  Ethnic cleaning in Indonesia  2001 Thousands flee bloody Borneo ethnic cleansing.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/feb/26/indonesia.johnaglionby
“”Ethnic cleansing perpetrated by indigenous tribal fighters against migrants in Central Kalimantan engulfed the capital of the Indonesian province for the first time yesterday as tens of thousands of refugees fled hordes of head hunters. As the official death toll from eight days of carnage on the island of Borneo rose to 270, hundreds of local Dayaks swept through the city of Palangkaraya looking for settlers from the island of Madura. Police did nothing to prevent them burning dozens of homes and setting up roadblocks across the city to stop the Madurese escaping….The The slaughter was sparked by two local government officials who paid a group of Dayaks to attack a Madurese housing complex. Indonesia’s Antara news agency reported yesterday that the death toll is at least 400; Madurese in the Sampit refugee camp reckon it is several times that figure.”
 Indonesia discrimination against Chinese:
1)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination_against_Chinese_Indonesians
“Turkey Armenian Genocide:
I had a guest on by the name of Thea Halo author of Not Even My Name.  Her mother was a survivor of the Turkish genocide of over three million Christians. She spoke later at UB. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Armenian_Genocide: “The Armenia Genocide was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian  subjects from their historic homeland in the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. It took place during and after World War I and was implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and forced labor, and the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches to the Syrian Desert.[…… There, the Armenians were subject to the whims of their Turkish and Kurdish neighbors, who would regularly overtax them, subject them to brigandage and kidnapping, force them to convert to Islam, and otherwise exploit them without interference from central or local authorities.[32] In the Ottoman Empire, in accordance with the dhimmi system held up in Muslim countries, they, like all other Christians and also Jews, were accorded certain limited freedoms (such as the right to worship), but were in essence treated as second-class citizens and referred to in Turkish as gavours, a pejorative word meaning “infidel” or “unbeliever
Weppner final analysis of the NEWS published article:  Mr. Zremski’s report is incorrect.  The synopsis is not an essay about the religion of Islam alone and it clearly states that in my post. The synopsis dealt with the “system of Islam,” and it’s various components-the religious, legal, political, economic and military components in Islamic states. The synopsis was written by the author of a book entitled,  Slavery, Terrorism & Islam – The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat’,  by Dr. Peter Hammond , a missionary from Africa. My post clearly identifies the book and author as well.  It was posted at a time when all Americans were learning about the difference between Islam and Islamofacism. http://www.amazon.com/Slavery-Terrorism-Islam-Revised-Expanded/dp/0980263913

The problem is that Weppner – and WBEN – never set out to, e.g., teach the difference between Islam and what they term “Islamofascism”. The New York Times article from 2006 that she cites describes a singular crime against Americans. It has nothing to do with genocide or ethnic cleansing, but with a terrorist act. Stalin didn’t commit genocide in the Soviet Union because he was a Muslim. Hitler didn’t murder millions throughout Europe because he was heading up a Sharia-based caliphate. The Khmer Rouge’s Pol Pot wasn’t following the “dhimmi” system to create his agrarian dystopia. Milosevic and his henchmen in Bosnia weren’t Muslims committing genocide – quite the opposite, actually. 

3)  On Jan. 7, 2006, you reposted on your blog an item called “21 Things You Must Believe to Be a Good Democrat.” Among those reasons were “You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural.” Does this mean that you think being homosexual is unnatural?

Kathy Weppner response: Please read all 21 Reasons below. Since you apparently, missed the humor and irony reason # 21 answers your question # 21. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.   I know plenty of Democrats who feel their own party has been perverted by extremism. I know plenty of Democrats who are insulted by media who assume that all Democrats  think alike.  I don’t believe all Democrats think alike, ditto for Republicans. That’s why I am running.  That’ also the reason why the irony expressed in article is amusing.

Weppner analysis of NEWS article published: I stand by my response. Mr. Zremski called it an “essay”.  I called it humor. There are many different versions of this on the internet.   There is also a version for Republicans. Below are ALL of the 21 things in the article.  Buffalo News readers and editors should be asking why Mr. Zremeski picked  only #6 and ignored #21:

1. You have to believe the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.
2. You have to believe that the same teacher who can’t teach fourth-graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.
3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese communists.
4. You have to believe that there was no art before federal funding. 
5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical, documented changes in the earth’s climate, and more affected by yuppies driving SUVs. 
6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural 
7. You have to be against capital punishment but support abortion on demand. 
8. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity. 
9. You have to believe that hunters don’t care about nature, but loony activists who’ve never been outside of Seattle do. 
10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it. 
11. You have to believe the military, not corrupt politicians, start wars. 
12. You have to believe the NRA is bad, because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution. 
13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high. 
14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinen are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, General Robert E. Lee or Thomas Edison. 
15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides aren’t 
16. You have to believe Hillary Clinton is really a lady. 
17. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been tried is because the right people haven’t been in charge. 
18. You have to believe conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and sex offender belongs in the White House. 
19. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites and bestiality should be constitutionally protected and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal. 
20. You have to believe that illegal Democratic Party funding by the Chinese is somehow in the best interest of the United States. 
21. You have to believe that this letter is part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

WTF does that even mean? First of all, this confirms my going theory that Weppner is little more than a repository and regurgitator of mean-spirited right-wing chain emails. Secondly, it says you have to “believe” all 21 of these things in order to be a “good Democrat”. Where is the joke? What is funny about this? That homosexuals are abnormal and should be held up to ridicule? That feminists are garbage? That “Hillary Clinton is [not] really a lady”? Where is the “irony”, much less the “amusing” irony? It’s just culture warfare diarrhea.  

In 2007, she criticized an immigration bill that was before Congress at the time, saying it amounted to amnesty for illegal immigrants and adding: “If people truly want to be reunited with their families they can go home!”

Asked about the quote this month, she said: “Do you really think a complex issue such as immigration can be solved by asking a single, seven-year old, out-of-context question such as posed?” 
Weppner final analysis:  I stand by my response.

If you stand by your response, then what did Mr. “Zremesky” do wrong? Weppner blogged and spent time on WBEN with reductive xenophobia concerning immigration, so certainly she should be ready, willing, and able to defend or discuss something that she so casually wrote. 

9)  On Sept. 8, 2009, you posted an item on your blog headlined “Who Am I?”  It says, among other things, “* I was born in one country, raised in another. My father was born in another country. I was not his only child. He fathered several children with numerous women.” And it ends with the words: “Who am I? ADOLF HITLER. WHO WERE YOU THINKING OF?” That seems to imply parallels between Adolf Hitler and Barack Obama. Do you see such parallels?
Weppner response: To me the article was a humorous way to warn of the dangers of  not vetting a candidate properly, of relying on press reports that sound nice but have no substance in the report. To me it implies that Greek pillars, chanting for candidates and songs about them is bordering on dangerous idolatry.   To me it simply pointed out the dangers history has taught us in wholehearted support without doing your own critical evaluation. Stepford Media helps create Stepford Voters.  The article meant more about the criteria we are relying on to elect candidates in this modern age. 

Weppner final  analysis:  
Jeepers Jerry. You missed a few really important things. Did you read past the first line? Or did the rest not fit your agenda?

Again – WTF does any of this mean? Zremsky accurately condensed her response into something readable, and she’s complaining that he didn’t add in her pithy “Stepford Media” quote? She equated Barack Obama with Adolf Hitler because ha ha socialism and foreign. Any attempt by her to turn it into something about “vetting” is utter bullshit. There was no lack of vetting of Hitler. Hitler, first of all, was not duly elected to the Reichstag in 1933 in anything remotely similar to what the US did in 2008 or 2012. Secondly, Hitler and his ideology was well-known to Germans thanks to his 720 page book, “Mein Kampf”.

That book was a best-seller in Weimar Germany, and required reading between 1933 – 1945. The first chapter details Hitler’s upbringing in Austria, the fact that he fought in World War I for the dual monarchy, and his coming-of-age in Vienna. None of these pieces of information was unknown, and whether Hitler’s father had lots of kids with lots of women seems microscopically irrelevant in comparison to the malevolence for which he is remembered. 

Weppner’s “final analysis” is ridiculous on its face. 

Continuing to criticize The News’ line of questioning, she said: “Should I assume the NEWS supports the Obama administration’s new proposal to have the federal government investigate and monitor how newsroom editors decide topics and how topics affect policy?”

Asked about that purported policy, Debra Gersh Hernandez, spokesperson for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said: “I have no idea what she’s talking about.”

Weppner final analysis: 
I stand by my responses. Can the NEWS stand by it’s reporting? How could the news have missed this story that was covered internationally?  Can the NEWS stand by its’ sources? Stepford Media produces Stepford America. I read  ‘The FCC Wades Into the Newsroom…Why is the agency studying ‘perceived station bias’ and asking about coverage choices?’ This article published in the Wall Street Journal, written by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai in Feb.HTTP://ONLINE.WSJ.COM/NEWS/ARTICLES/SB10001424052702304680904579366903828260732    Quote FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai:

“Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission, where I am a commissioner, does not agree. Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.”

 I also read ‘CC Suspends Critical Information Needs Pilot Study …Will change methodology and will not ask questions of journalists or owners’ 2/21/2014  in broadcasting.com saying the questions were way out of line:http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/washington/fcc-suspends-critical-information-needs-pilot-study/129333   

– “The study has come under fire, fueled by commissioner Ajit Pai’s op ed in the Wall Street Journal this week taking issue with it.”

– “”Chairman Wheeler agreed that survey questions in the study directed toward media outlet managers, news directors, and reporters overstepped the bounds of what is required. Last week, chairman Wheeler informed lawmakers that the commission has no intention of regulating political or other speech of journalists or broadcasters and would be modifying the draft study. Yesterday, the chairman directed that those questions be removed entirely.

–  Commisssioner Ajit Pai “The Commission has now recognized that no study by the federal government, now or in the future, should involve asking questions to media owners, news directors, or reporters about their practices. This is an important victory for the First Amendment. And it would not have been possible without the American people making their voices heard. I will remain vigilant that any future initiatives not infringe on our constitutional freedoms.”

Look again. Weppner characterized this as the “Obama administration’s” proposal to intercede in the newsroom. The FCC is an independent agency, not directed by the White House, but run by a bipartisan board. It was one study that the FCC was conducting in one Southern market, and it responded to reporters’ concerns by halting it altogether. It wasn’t an effort to monitor, but to study. Here is the text of the questions asked. It’s a far cry from that to “OBAMA IN UR NEWSROOM ZOMG”. 

Weppner final analysis of Buffalo NEWS and the article published: Kathy Weppner response:

Attached find my response to your questions. Sorry about the delay I was out of the country. Monday I will be releasing a report to the media regarding a pressing issue facing Western New York. You will be included in that release. I am currently putting together my platform and when that is completed we can sit down for an interview.

Dear Mr. Zremski,

Reviewing your questions, I note that you did not ask one question about Western New York or about my agenda. Given the problems facing WNY I am surprised you’d focus on the minutia of radio talk show fodder, which is nothing more than food-for- thought-discussion. Additionally, just as your e-mail demonstrates, like reporters, hosts are often influenced from above regarding timely topics for discussion. Should I assume the NEWS supports the Obama administration’s new proposal to have the Federal government investigate and monitor how newsroom editors decide topics and how topics affect policy? 
Please know that I have no intention of responding to every topic I have ever discussed over the last 9 years. As a subscriber to the Buffalo NEWS I can assure you that if something is printed in the NEWS it does not mean the information is always credible. My time will be spent on agenda items. Now that we’ve addressed your editor’s pressing questions I would ask the NEWS to focus its’ attention on the real issues that matter to Western New York.

I am a strong supporter of a free press because I believe a strong press is a crucial component of a Democratic Republic. The Founders envisioned a strong checks- and- balance free press with robust debate. However, as my website will explain, we are now living in an age of “yellow journalism” and blatant bias. There is a whole generation now that has not been taught about yellow journalism. I will deal with that element on my website. You are free to print what you want.

As I said at my announcement, it is not for the media to pick winners or losers. I believe that the greatest threat to our American Republic is not whether you have a D-Democrat or R-Republican on your registration; rather, it is a media that serves it rather than the people. When the public fears to discuss what the media refuses to report, our country and our hard-earned freedom is lost. When the media assumes the election is over before it begins WNY loses.

I am aware that you have a new Editor at the NEWS since the last Congressional elections so please convey the following NEWS look-back information regarding the 2012 26th district race. To my memory, the NEWS published 2, perhaps 3 articles on Mr. Higgins’ opponent Mike Madigan with an overwhelming press focused on the Hochul- Collins race. The reporting was so out of balance this created much confusion for voters. Due to the last minute redistricting, no maps were available at the county. I along with many other voters contacted the NEWS and requested a map with street names be published so folks could figure out whose district they were in. The NEWS acknowledged the problem, but took no action. I spoke to many voters who did not know for sure until arriving at the poll, which district they were placed in, this despite the fact that the 26th district contains the two largest cities in WNY, Buffalo & Niagara Falls. 

As I stated in my announcement, a strong America was built by competition. The most important element is the competition and melting of ideas. WNY is no different. America must never allow politicians the comfort of having no competition. I will be tackling many of WNY challenges on my website. My time will be focused not on minutia and character assault but on the issues impacting WNY. I invite the Buffalo NEWS to rise to the challenge and to explore the issues anew with an open mind. I urge you to bring your A-team because WNY deserves nothing less.

As of Tuesday morning, this passage has been redacted. Probably because it’s a little crazy and more evidence of the end of punctuation. 

To the people of Western New York:  YELLOW JOURNALISM IS NOT MY PROBLEM…. IT IS OUR PROBLEM. The Buffalo NEWS has been caught red-handed manipulating the facts to manipulate the outcome of a campaign before it even starts.  You deserve better. The Buffalo NEWS owes a huge apology to its’ readers and to you.  It’s time for Western New York to empower themselves and demand it!    end analysis

 “Melting of ideas” alright. 

Perhaps Zremski’s article wasn’t an article at all. Perhaps Weppner missed its inherent irony; that 

“To me the article was a humorous way to warn of the dangers of not vetting a candidate properly, of relying on press reports that sound nice but have no substance…”

When the light of “vetting a candidate properly” is shined on Weppner, she takes out her shovel and digs her whole ever-deeper.  

I have a hard time believing that a serious adult wrote any of this, as it reads more like some of the blithering rantings you’d find at an online forum. It’s always a good strategy, I suppose, for Weppner to run against the media. It’ll play great with the base. But as far as her having any mainstream credibility whatsoever, it wasn’t Zremski’s article that torpedoed that so much as this astonishing response to it. 

Oh, and don’t bother trying to delete it. I took a screencap

Erie County Republicans Support Free Tuition for All

24 Feb

I applaud the Erie County Republican Committee’s efforts to make a college education free for all in-state children. The problems that the students in this video identify are all wholly solvable through legislation, and I’m sure that our local Republican delegation is working feverishly to ensure that every New Yorker attending a state school gets the free quality education that our post-industrial society requires. 

Volkswagen Tennessee and the Works Councils

20 Feb

VW Bluecross Concept

Be careful what you agitate for. 

Last week, workers at the new-ish Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee voted to reject UAW unionization by a very narrow margin. 

Let’s not forget, shall we, that Volkswagen, AG has a global reach.  Here are its stated corporate “Basic Principles”: 

Top performance

To survive in the face of competition and to achieve top performance, the Volkswagen Group needs employees who enthusiastically give their best. A good balance between demands and ability (the so-called “flow channel”) is the basic precondition for optimum performance and results. For this reason, we do not want our employees to be overstretched, but also not understretched, so that they are able to deliver top performance and advance the success of our company. 

Leading by example

The management assumes a decisive role in this entire process. Our principle has to be “Lead, Demand and Promote”. The Group will only be able to achieve its goals with exemplary leadership and constructive cooperation between management and workforce. This includes both targeted and continual personnel development and work organisation, which we continue to develop with the so-called “Volkswagen Way”. 

Active involvement

A standard survey of employees across the Group was introduced in the form of the so-called “mood barometer”. The “mood barometer” gives employees the opportunity to anonymously voice their opinion and so to become actively involved in the organisation of the company. The results form the basis for continually developing our strengths and for exploiting potential that is brought to light. The high rate of participation shows that employees have positively accepted this instrument as an expression of their esteem. In this way, they make a contribution to the continued development of the company. 

Social responsibility

Not only does Volkswagen’s corporate culture focus on people, it also represents the sustainability of economic and social goals, “corporate social responsibility”. The “Declaration on Social Rights and Industrial Relations” expresses Volkswagen’s global understanding of social responsibility on the basis of minimum standards.

This includes Volkswagen’s active cooperative conflict resolution between the Works Council and the company management. We created European and Global Works Councils early and without any statutory obligation. We do not cling to traditional questions of co-determination. Rather, we discuss the development of the company with our Works Council representatives. This is the way from co-determination to shared responsibility.

In other words, Volkswagen has made a global commitment to maintain a positive and cooperative relationship with its employees.  It wants them to be happy and productive. Unfortunately, that sort of mentality is completely anathema to our post-Reagan “greed is good” labor-bashing stock price culture. 

But Volkswagen is thriving, building everything from the VW Polo to the million-dollar Bugatti Veyron, with some Audis and Bentleys in between. The Volkswagen Works Councils are an integral part of the company’s success. The push to unionize in Tennessee was not so much pushed by the UAW as it was by Volkswagen itself, because under American law the council can’t be set up without union representation. In fact, the Chattanooga plant is the only Volkswagen facility anywhere in the world where workers are not represented by a Works Council or labor union. 

This would also be something new for the United Auto Workers. They wouldn’t have the same relationship with VW as they do with Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford. Rather, the idea is to create something called a “works council,” which are widespread across Europe and enjoy tremendous influence over how plants are run. In America, that kind of body can’t be established without a union vote — but crucially, the works council would be independent of the union, meaning the UAW would give up some control as soon as it gained it.

Why does the company favor works councils

There are three major advantages of councils. You’re forced to consider in your decision making process the effect on the employees in advance…this avoids costly mistakes. Second, works councils will in the final run support the company. They will take into account the pressing needs of the company more than a trade union can, on the outside. And third, works councils explain and defend certain decisions of the company towards the employees. Once decisions are made, they are easier to implement.

Works councils don’t call strikes because they don’t need to. Their inherent authority helps to avoid crises before they arise. The UAW would not be running labor relations from the outside, and the vote in Tennessee was done via secret ballot

Currently, the Chattanooga plant manufactures Volkswagen’s Passat sedan, which is nearing the end of its life-cycle. It is a unique factory that can build more than one model side-by-side on the line, and it’s slated to get Volkswagen’s upcoming mid-sized 3-row SUV, to replace the Routan minivan and slot between the expensive Touareg and the smaller Tiguan. 

As VW negotiated with the UAW in advance of the works council vote, politicians in the notoriously anti-union, anti-worker South remained relatively quiet. That is, until it seemed as if the plant would, in fact, become the first auto plant in the South to vote to unionize. Republican politicians tripped over themselves to predict armageddon if the vote was successful, and panacea if it wasn’t. For instance

That doesn’t mean, however, that the vote is unopposed. National anti-union groupsand the state’s Republican leaders are campaigning against the UAW, saying unionization will spread like a contagion through Tennessee’s other auto plants. “Then it’s BMW, then it’s Mercedes, then it’s Nissan, hurting the entire Southeast if they get the momentum,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R.-Tenn.).

BMW also uses works councils in other countries, to great success. It has operated a non-union plant in South Carolina since the mid-90s. But this wasn’t at all a fair vote. Big-money corporate anti-labor (Republican) interests from Washington interfered and campaigned against the works councils

Two of Tennessee’s most powerful Republicans, Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, insist they know how to run an auto company better than VW. Despite this successful international auto company’s actual business experience with work councils, these GOP politicians say that they know what’s best, that they just know unionization won’t be good for VW.

A union-hating group, the National Right to Work (For Less) Committee, travelled to Chattanooga from its headquarters near Washington, D.C. with a carpetbag full ofcash for legal challenges to the unionization effort. And GOP crank Grover Norquistsent his Washington, D.C.-based organized labor-hating group, Center for Worker Freedom (To Work For Less), to Tennessee to thwart the Chattanooga workers’ right to unionize.

VW objected to the interference. CEO of VW Chattanooga Frank Fischer asked the outside agitators to stop, saying, “Volkswagen is committed to neutrality and calls upon all third parties to honor the principle of neutrality.”

They ignored him — disregarding a CEO, a figure before whom Republicans typically grovel! That is how much Republicans hate unions.

They refuse to believe what VW is saying, that works councils are valuable management tools, despite evidence that the model already succeeds in the United States.

Corker went so far as to say that he had spoken with VW corporate, and that they had told him that VW would announce that it would be building the mid-sized SUV in Chattanooga (instead of in, e.g., Puebla Mexico) only if the vote to establish works councils failed.

… it was the conduct of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) that most damaged the prospects for a free election. After stating that he would stay out of the vote, Corker returned to Tennessee to claim that he had been assured that VW would manufacture a mid-sized SUV in Chattanooga if the workers rejected the union. Head of the Chattanooga plant, Frank Fischer, immediately disowned his remarks and stated that the decision on where to expand production was separate from the union vote. Unperturbed by this denial, Corker accused Fischer of speaking from “old talking points” and stood by his comments. Corker’s remarks made a fair election impossible and did much to turn the vote against the union. He had used the authority of his office to say that a vote against the UAW was vote for more work in Tennessee, even though, according to VW management, his comments were unfounded.

Now that the election is over, Corker should have no problem disclosing who assured him that the rejection of the union would result in VW locating the SUV production in Chattanooga. If VW executives said this – which seems unlikely given the company’s respect for labor rights throughout the globe – that comment could form the basis of an unfair labor practice complaint. If not, it appears that Corker suggested this in order to pressure VW workers to vote against the union. While third parties are held to lesser standards in NLRB elections than the parties directly involved – allowing Corker to make comments that might be ruled illegal if made by VW or the union – the NLRB can set aside elections because of third party interference in exceptional circumstances such as these.

What are they so afraid of? Employees having rights, apparently

…a UAW victory would show that even billionaire anti-union zealots can be beaten. Right-wing groups are furious that Volkswagen is not fighting the UAW, so they have chosen to do so on their own. National organizations funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers and other right-wing activists have taken to the airwaves to demonize the UAW. State politicians have attempted to blackmail autoworkers to vote no by stating that Volkswagen may lose state financial support if it becomes unionized. Unionization, one elected official explained, “was not part of the deal.”

Promising auto lines out of turn? Threatening to withhold or withdraw negotiated, promised incentives? Blackmail? The anti-union Southern GOP and big-money interests may have won this round, but it’s also beginning to backfire

DPA, the German news agency, quoted [head of VW’s global works council Bernd] Osterloh as saying that, without a mechanism for “co-determination,” as Germans refer to the works council system, VW’s works council could “barely” agree to further investments in the US. The works council approves all decisions on investments in plants or their closure.

“I can absolutely imagine that a future VW facility in the USA, should another one be built there, would not definitely go to the south again,” Mr Osterloh said.

Ugly stuff, that. It would be a rich irony if the malicious intervention from Republican union-busters and Washington corporate interests in Tennessee resulted in the expansion halt that they threatened would happen if the works council was allowed to pass. Works councils cannot be formulated in the United States without union involvement – the company cannot create one unilaterally

Indeed, Mr. Osterloh’s comments have been interpreted to mean that VW head office in Wolfsburg will not permit the Bluecross-based SUV to be built in Chattanooga specifically because of the defeat of the works council and the malicious, false intervention by the likes of Senator Corker. 

Volkswagen wanted this union vote to pass, because it wanted the works council set up now – not in a few years when people get around to changing the rules. Republican lawmakers and special interests thwarted this, and it’s mind-boggling that these CEO-worshippers would deliberately thwart the wishes of a big manufacturer,  and threaten a big employer in the process. 

Since 1999, I have owned a Golf, a Jetta Wagon, two GTIs, a Passat Wagon, a Chattanoogan TDI Passat, two Beetles, and a TDI Beetle Convertible. I love the design, driving experience, features, engine choices, and build quality of Volkswagens. 

The Republican party and its lobbyist paymasters have long ago jettisoned good policy and good government for ideological purity. This has been – simply put – bad for America. It’s high time these nihilists were hoist by their own petards. 

Mark Grisanti Campaigns in Downtown Tantrum

12 Feb

Photo by Jill Greenberg

In a few short years, State Senator Mark Grisanti has accomplished what few of his colleagues manage to do in a lifetime of “public service” – he has made a name for himself.  

Depending on whom you ask, he’s either a hero or an infamous traitor. In a way, that’s something for the senator to be proud of. After all, you don’t become an elected representative to blindly poll your constituents and see which way the wind is blowing.  On the contrary, while you should be responsive and available to constituents, you’re supposed to vote your conscience. It’s at the ballot box where your constituents get to tell you whether they agree. 

Grisanti’s change of heart on same-sex marriage is legendary. For supporters of civil rights, he is a hero for coming around on an issue of fairness and equality. For homophobes, he is a traitor because he had once promised not to support marriage. In the end, Grisanti got a boost, same sex marriage is no longer the huge controversy that it used to be, and he was on the right side of history. 

In the wake of the massacre of 20 first graders in Newtown, CT, Governor Cuomo decided to toughen New York’s laws regarding assault weapons and limiting the number of ammunition rounds that can be kept in a magazine. Some prominent recent shootings – Newtown included – saw gunmen carrying veritable arsenals around to do maximum harm in minimum time.  While Cuomo famously said you don’t need 15 bullets to kill a deer, you also don’t need 11 bullets to kill a 6 year-old

Opponents of the SAFE Act point to mental health treatment as the way to stem mass shootings. Gun control advocates likely believe that to be partly true, but expansion publicly funded mental health treatment and intervention don’t appear anywhere in any Republican manifesto of which I’m aware. So, while elected officials decide what they want to do about mental health services, it’s a good idea to make it as hard as possible for people who shouldn’t have weapons to get them. For this, Grisanti is now practically persona non grata

Before NY SAFE, New York already had among the most restrictive set of gun laws in the country. For instance, you’re not allowed to own a handgun unless you apply for – and receive – a permit to do so. New York still enforced the expired federal assault weapons ban, and NY SAFE strengthened it further.  Rifle magazines are never allowed to contain in excess of 7 rounds of ammunition. Semi-automatic rifles or shotguns with certain features (e.g., pistol grip, flash suppressor, bayonet lug, etc.) are banned, but if you owned one prior to the law’s passage, you  get to keep yours. A person’s weapons may be seized if there is probable cause to believe that the person is about to commit a crime or is mentally unstable. In New York State, the government has discretion in issuing pistol permits or conceal carry permits. In New York City, the rules are more restrictive than that. 

What part of “shall not be infringed” do you not understand? 

Well, the right of the people to bear arms is restricted, not infringed. It is up to the courts to determine whether a restriction is a 2nd Amendment infringement. Furthermore, each state’s laws differ on gun ownership and possession. Usually, conservatives cheer that sort of 10th Amendment state’s rights sort of thing, but perhaps that cheering is absent when the states choose policies with which the right does not agree. What came about? Right-wing freakout temper tantrums. 

It’s gotten so bad that it’s been rumored that Grisanti’s camp has had preliminary talks with the Erie County Democratic Committee about an endorsement. 

At last weekend’s Republican roundtable, tea party rabblerouser and former congressional candidate Mike Madigan apparently lit into Grisanti as “untrustworthy”. Grand Island Paladino shadow Rus Thompson (R-Tantrum) has threatened to primary Grisanti. Attorney and perennial candidate Kevin Stocker is already trying to reprise his 2012 loss.  At the GOP confab, Grisanti warned

…that the Republicans may lose their hold on the majority in the State Senate. Perhaps warning against a bruising GOP primary for his seat, he noted that four key Cuomo programs are targeted for early passage if the Dems gained control of the chamber: abortion of babies in the 9th month of pregnancy, taxpayer funded elections, fusion voting limitations, and the DREAM Act – free tuition for illegal aliens. Notably, the fusion changes Cuomo seeks could spell the end of the Conservative Party, the endorsement Grisanti has coveted and been denied. 

Oh, joy and rapture. An end to the perverse electoral fusion system that runs on graft, patronage, and confusion would be perhaps the best and most significant change that Governor Cuomo could ever bring about. The Conservative Party yanked its support from Grisanti over same-sex marriage, yet it has astonishingly continued to endorse other candidates who voted for it. Because “principles”. 

Given the hate and vitriol the small minority of ultra right-wing neofascists hurl at Grisanti, he’s not wrong to seek out a possible Democratic endorsement. These loons have labeled Grisanti a “RINO”, which is, to them, worse than being a Maoist, and they have set out to destroy him. They insist on conservative purity, which will go over great in a primary and lead to a catastrophic loss in the general election, because in November, people are generally in the middle. We’re not all gun-hugging omniphobes. 

Ask political choad Chuck Swanick how well he did running against Grisanti on an anti-gay platform in 2012. 

So it looks like it might fall to Canisius Professor and County Legislator Kevin Hardwick to primary Grisanti. Before he was a politician, my image of Hardwick was that he was not unlike Grisanti – an old-school, middle-of-the-road, northeastern Republican. Like a Bill Weld, conservative when it came to spending and taxes, and socially laissez-faire. But to challenge Grisanti, Hardwick is going to have to tack right, and I don’t know how that’s going to come across or how well it’ll do for him in November. 

Either way, chances are that Langworthy’s Republican committee isn’t going to be endorsing Grisanti, ever. They might endorse Hardwick if he runs. Time will tell if they get involved in a primary at all. Hardwick says he doesn’t like the NY SAFE Act, either, and that will be the centerpiece of any Republican challenge mounted against Grisanti. I think Grisanti has an opportunity to talk about the SAFE Act and why he voted the way he did. It could be as simple as pointing out just how much positive attention Governor Cuomo has given western New York since that vote. In an Albany run by Andrew Cuomo, Sheldon Silver, and Dean Skelos, you won’t be particularly effective by going against them. Just ask Mickey Kearns. (Changing the way Albany is run is a different matter, but no one in government makes a serious go of it for a variety of reasons.) Hardwick could end up in Albany, and then what? Is he going to get the SAFE Act repealed? Of course not. The whole thing is silliness. The entire landscape in that senate district is a massive fit of gun-hugging pique. 

The district that Mark Grisanti represents is a predominately Democratic one. 

So, to my mind, I wish Grisanti well. I want legislators like him in Albany and Washington – legislators who do what they think is right, even when it’s unpopular. I want legislators who take a controversial stand and then take the time and intellectual effort to back it up. We can do a lot worse than Mark Grisanti in Albany