Tag Archives: roberto

Tea Party Taxes and Ersatz Paywalls

11 Apr

Dear Tea Party “Leaders”:

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

Love, BP

Dear Buffalo News:

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

Love, BP

Leftovers (UPDATED)

28 Oct

When Carl Paladino’s racist emails first came to light, Paladino felt he had to establish the fact that he got along just fine with black people.  He got ultraconservative millionaire Thurman Thomas to record a spot for him, and touted how much he had done for “inner city kids”.  In the Buffalo News, Jim Heaney takes that balloon, pops it, stomps it, and grinds it into the ground under his boot. It’s about as thorough and indisputable as it gets.

A debate was held last night for the three candidates in the 144th Assembly race.  Democrat Sam Hoyt, Republican Brian Biggie, and Conservative Joe Golombek squared off.  Hoyt took a lot of heat for being a long-termer in a dysfunctional Assembly who has a working relationship with the hateful, execrable, despicable Sheldon Silver.  But the best line of the night went to Hoyt who, after Golombek argued that Hoyt was Silver’s puppet, quipped that, “There is no bigger puppet in Buffalo than Joe Golombek, what Byron Brown wants Joe Golombek does.” Golombek refused to answer a question about abortion rights, and while Hoyt and Biggie support marriage equality, Golombek does not.

UPDATE:  Joe Golombek writes with this clarification/correction:

I specifically said that I support the law of NYS in regards to abortion. Then I said that it was a non-issue because of the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade. That is when I told Mr. Hoyt that it should not be a political issue and that he uses it as one to get supporters emotionally charged up.

Golombek went on to allege that every single audience question (except for one) came from people in some way associated with the Hoyt campaign.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was in Buffalo yesterday to announce a new GI Bill.  noting that one in five returning post-9/11 veterans are out of work, this bill would provide returning vets up to $20,000 per year to attend a private college, and free tuition at any state college or university.  The announcement was made at Daemen College alongside local veterans.

The “Take Back New York” bus that the state GOP is trundling around the state stopped off in Buffalo yesterday.


Here are some pictures:

Not a great message

The Republicans in Buffalo


Maybe Paladino's duck isn't such a great idea if I can frame pictures like this

I've never seen this man before. He seemed nice.

SD-59. Crowded.

5 May

Yesterday, former Erie County Republican Committee chairman Jim Domagalski announced his candidacy for what has for 40 years been Dale Volker’s state senate seat. In that 40 year period, WNY and Volker’s district has rapidly declined despite his – and senate Republican – “leadership”. It’s safe to say that no matter who wins, the people of that zig-zagged gerrymandered district may be better off.

Of course, I don’t think we need a state senate. And if you thought about it, you’d reach the same conclusion. Last year, we asked Bill Stachowski and Antoine Thompson why we needed a state senate, and the reply was comically free of substance. Yesterday, WNYMedia.net asked Domagalski essentially the same question, but we rephrased it to use the term “bicameral legislature”. Here’s Domagalski’s response:


Good answer, and he’s technically right that the Senate acts as a de facto check on the more populous Assembly.

But a unicameral legislature doesn’t mean abolish the Senate and leave the Assembly as is. Unicam means abolishing both legislatures in their current form, and creating something completely new out of whole cloth. Everyone out, nonpartisan redistricting based rationally on population, and nonpartisan election with no party caucusing. See Nebraska. If you couple that with the Brennan Center’s recommended reforms to ensure that there is freedom to propose bills and free debate, then you have an opportunity to genuinely return the government to the people.

Across-the-board tax and spending cuts address the symptoms, not the disease.

Also entering the race is a lone Democrat, Chris Sasiadek. You can check out Chris’ Facebook page here.

The war within the local Republican party is embodied by the apparent entry in this race by former Erie County Sheriff Pat Gallivan. It’s rumored that a faction of the local GOP loyal to Tom Reynolds (rolleyes) is upset at Domagalski for the way in which Volker was allegedly pushed out of the race by the former party chairman, and Gallivan is their revenge.

In addition, there is a genuine birther in the race. David DiPietro primaried Volker last time around, and won in Erie County. DiPietro hosts a weekly radio program where he takes phone calls only from his good friends in the Tea Party movement. If you want to know what radio shows sounded like in dictatorships, that’s your show. He has since become a leader in the fractured local tea party movement (he is aligned with the Paulist Ostrowskiite faction), and his name popped up in the group of Paladino emails WNYMedia.net received last month.

Check out that idiotic, ignorant birther email. “Heeza Muzlim”, for God’s sake. One glance tells you it’s false. Snopes confirms it. As a matter of fact, Snopes counts 47 urban legends being created about George W. Bush. For seekrit kenyan muzlim frum indoneezha Barry Soetoro, there are now 87. Of those, 43% of the Bush rumors were true. Only 9% of the Obama rumors are true. The birther movement is a particular strain of xenophobic, ignorant conspiracy mongering, and its adherents don’t deserve to be treated seriously.

Primary Challenge founder Len Roberto had earlier decided that his annual run for office would be for Volker’s district, but he’s since decided to run for Congress against Brian Higgins (NY-27). Roberto belongs to the rival, Palinist wing of the local tea party movement.

There has also been a rumor spreading about former IP chairman Tony Orsini running as a Democrat. That would be humor of epic proportions.

Open Senate seats only pop up in this case once every two generations. It’ll be interesting to see if the campaigns rise above the angry pablum that seems to be in vogue now (See Paladino, Carl) and actually begins discussing serious ways to fundamentally change how Albany does business.

Disorganized Reform

29 May


Perhaps it is a reflection of the massive dysfunction of state government that efforts to reform it are as disorganized and dysfunctional as the entity itself.  Take for instance, Leonard Roberto’s group, Primary Challenge.

What started as a grassroots effort to get fresh faces into government with a shared resource pool for candidates who sought to challenge incumbents in primary elections has changed drastically.  First it morphed into a support team for Len’s various efforts to get elected and has now become an effort to abolish New York State Government.  Earlier this month, Primary Challenge held a press conference to announce Project 2010.


In the event you don’t want to watch the video, here’s the money quote:

As a part of Project 2010 Primary Challenge will sponsor and support a citizen referendum to abolish New York State’s government and institute a new government under a new constitution. The new constitution must include stronger and lasting safeguards of our liberty and prevent the centralization of power into the hands of a small and corrupt body.

Throughout the speech, we are treated with similar language used at the tea party protests in April.  Lots of liberty buzzwords, references to our forefathers and the Declaration of Independence.  Roberto dreams of having armed officers escort our current legislators from their chambers, never to return again.  Problem is, Len is going to need 4.7MM citizens to vote to abolish state government.  That’s a tall order.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown more cynical about politics and I’ve also become more of an absolutist than someone willing to wait for incremental change.  However, I know when an idea is dead on arrival, and this one is.  Why?  First of all, it’s buried in libertarian bullshit which turns me off from jump street and it just seems disorganized with a low likelihood of success.  It also seems to lack unity with the other “reform” groups.

Primary Challenge had some momentum when it was a mildly non-partisan group with designs on reforming government.  Over the course of one year, the group split into warring camps of Republicans and Libertarians who couldn’t seem to agree on an agenda.  Lots of egos and nonsense which put them on a train of 11AM appearances on Tom Bauerle’s radio show and general irrelevance.

We’ve now seen Rus Thompson start his own reform initiative with Carl Paladino called Tea New York which kicked off the reform season by calling for the head of State Senator Bill Stachowski on a silver platter.  Of course, there were no similar calls for the resignation of do-nothing career hacks like Dale Volker or George Maziarz.  I think most people will agree that Stachowski is a waste of legislative space, but at least be intellectually honest enough to call a spade a spade and ask for the resignations of people on the Republican side of the house as well.

You’ve got the ponderous Free New York with their constant libertarian drumbeat and links to Ludwig Von Mises and their steady request for money to study shit we all know is broken.  As usual, most people are cool with the idea of being a libertarian until they read the fucking platform and/or spend more than 30 seconds being scolded by one of the condescending adherents to the ideology.

Then you’ve got ReformNYS, a loose conflagration of unaffiliated quasi-libertarians and fringe Republicans who don’t have a website but have a rollicking mailing list.

So, with all of that as a backdrop, Len Roberto has less than 12 months to unite these disparate factions behind his cause and attract 4,699,850 additional people to sign on to his quest to abolish state government.  So, how’s that working out for him so far?  Yeah, not so good.

In the style of the American Revolution, a small group of people from all over Erie County got together Tuesday night in a City of Tonawanda bar to plan a coup.

The organizer’s goal: To oust New York state government and start over from scratch.

Leonard A. Roberto, founder of Primary Challenge, is hoping to get 4.7 million New York voters to cast a ballot next year to abolish state government. Before a crowd of 11 people in the back room of Gene’s Junkyard Bar and Grill, Roberto tried to make that goal look not only attainable, but essential.

Now, this post has been full of snark, but I applaud Len for trying to do something to fix state government.  However, I criticize because I care.  Your message is off and you’re ideas are too fringe to gain wide acceptance.  You need to drop the liberty speak, stop talking like a fresh graduate of the Cato Institute and get back to basics.  Talk to people, don’t scold them.  Build a big tent, listen to the concerns of the people and break down the issues into simple blocks of information that are divorced from ideology.  Once you do that, you might get people to work with you.  Until then, you’ll be yelling “fire” into an empty theater.  Good luck with all of that.