Qualifications And Byron Brown

Reluctant campaigner Byron Brown denigrates the qualifications of Democratic Nominee India Walton.

Yet India Walton is literally the only candidate who was able to get her name on the November mayoral ballot.

Tell me more, Mayor Brown, about how inexperienced and unprepared she is. Because she’s been cleaning your clock since at least June 22, 2021. March 25th, if we want to go by the filing deadline.

During the Democratic Mayoral primary campaign, incumbent Byron Brown pretended as if it wasn’t happening. He did not campaign. He refused to debate his opponent. He refused even to acknowledge her existence or to use her name as part of his ill-fated “rose garden strategy“. Indeed, every act and omission of the absent Brown for Mayor primary campaign was designed to keep turnout low.

India Walton won that campaign because she worked hard and treated it – and the Democratic voters in the city of Buffalo – seriously. She campaigned. She showed up.

You don’t earn a fifth term by telling your voters to stay home.

Byron Brown’s rose garden strategy was, frankly, insulting to the electorate and his constituency. They didn’t show up so he naturally lost. Not only because he did not show up, but because he has always been little more than a caretaker mayor. (Example: if you’re the mayor of a city famous for snow and you can’t plow side streets until days after a storm, you’re not going to be some sort of beloved figure.)

Now that Brown lost, he has suddenly decided to take India Walton seriously. He deigned to debate her (as well as a couple of other write-in candidates no one’s heard of). At that debate, he said:

He is? He created a brand-new, bespoke little political party line for himself and submitted petitions months too late. He lucked out for a week or so, but on Thursday the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and the NY Supreme Court’s 4th Appellate Division overturned the lower courts and ruled that he blew a perfectly reasonable and legal deadline and that his name and party line would not be on the November ballot. As a matter of fact, if Brown had taken the primary race seriously and done his little “Buffalo Party” petitions months ago to meet the deadline, he’d have been fine.

He messed it up because he is not qualified to be on the ballot, on the debate stage, or in City Hall, frankly. The developers and fatcats who support him can do their worst, but ultimately they’re funding a write-in campaign that quickly became startling in its blatant illegality.

Byron Brown has had 15 years to become an iconic mayor who would deserve to remain in that role indefinitely. Almost every positive thing that Buffalo has to tout has happened around him or in spite of him. It is state money and county money and federal money, people, and politicians who have helped to improve Buffalo since 2006.

The big appeal of India Walton, which most of her detractors don’t seem to get, is that Byron Brown’s City Hall remains mired in a uniquely Buffalonian nostalgic hangover from the good old days. It’s the 21st Century and it’s high time the city had a leadership that looked out for all Buffalonians, and not just the ones with deep pockets and wallets perpetually opened for “Brown for Buffalo” and his other various political clubs and entities. It’s time City Hall worked well and efficiently for everyone equally, fueled more by excellence rather than patronage.

Dear Mr. President – Ignore Bauerle Like The Rest of Us

Mr. President:

Don’t listen to that guy. He’s not right.

I am fully vaccinated American and I am frustrated and angry with my fellow citizens who have chosen to NOT be vaccinated.

I believe that Americans should be required to have something injected into their bodies by law or regulation when necessary to promote public health and welfare, such as those for smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, and polio. I am also informed enough to know that there is no such thing as the “Nuremberg Medical Protocols of 1946.” I do, however, know that there exists something called the “Nuremburg Code,” which, in 1947, established that medical experiments should not be performed on people against their will. I furthermore recognize that it is, at best stupid and at worst evil, to equate the Covid-19 vaccines with, e.g., Dr. Mengele.

What makes me angry is malicious disinformation and propaganda being laundered as “medical choice.” I know, because I am not an idiot, that herd immunity through mass inoculation is the safest and fastest way out of the Covid crisis, and that disinformation is literally killing people.

Mandating a safe and effective vaccine is safer, cheaper, and more effective than simply allowing people blindly to be exposed to and sickened by a disease that has prematurely killed almost 700,000 of my fellow citizens of all ages, races, classes, and nationalities. Indeed, it is outrageous to me that as we commemorate 9/11, we remember how 3,000 lives taken through violence united us, but now we coddle and excuse exponentially more now-preventable deaths in 2021. We lost more than half a 9/11 from Covid on September 13th alone. There’s no unity now, alas, thanks to malicious disinformation and pseudoscience.

I realize that the virus can only be stopped when it runs out of people to infect. I understand that viruses mutate rapidly to bypass our efforts to halt it and that the continued resistance of people to take a literal miracle shot is ruining it for the rest of us throughout the world.

You have urged people to follow the science, and the science is clear that the frail elderly are at higher risk for COVID, as are people with known and unknown comorbidities. The greatest tragedy is when a healthy young person discovers too late that they have an undiagnosed susceptibility to Covid, and they die. I recognize that while children may not become as sick as older people, it is no help for them to lose a parent or become orphaned. I am intelligent enough and completely not a hack propagandist, so I will not equate a communicable respiratory disease to “dying from drowning” for political gain.

While it is great that therapeutic options exist that can, in some cases, help people suffering from Covid, I understand that prevention of disease is far more effective than treating it once you get it. I also realize that studies conclusively show that wearing masks helps prevent the spread of a deadly virus that is transmitted through aerial droplets, most of which are too large to make it through a mask’s filtration layers. Anti-maskers are killing people, too.

Furthermore, you ridicule the conclusions of trained physicians who dare to differ from the Fauci and mainstream media as “conspiracy theorists.” Thank you for this. It is high time we called things what they are.

Thank you for protecting susceptible, weakened patients already in hospitals from being inadvertently infected by health care workers who refuse to be inoculated. The people at greatest risk deserve the highest form of protection, and “freedom” means that you don’t have a constitutional right to be a health care worker, and if you won’t undertake simple protective measures for yourself or your patients, you should find another profession.

You actually believe the economy is robust under your stewardship, when working Americans are seeing their dollars buying less and less? Inflation is, indeed, a symptom of a re-heated economy, and we see this the European and British economies, as well.

There is a trope flying around about refugees bringing Covid into the country and causing the current wave, which is completely false, ascientific and merely an effort by right-wing authoritarians to heap hatred and scorn on immigrants and refugees.

Mr. President, I know that a local right-wing commentator who once equated President Obama with al Qaeda wrote, “what a sad day for America, where “my body my choice” apparently only applies in some circumstances.” Amazing irony. He apparently supports the Texas ban on abortions even in cases of rape. Even in the case of incest. Mr. Bauerle would, based on this quip, demand that the government force a 13 year-old girl to give birth to a child conceived through the most disgusting and horrific criminal violence, while insisting that one’s “liberty” demands that the government not require vaccination to protect himself and those around him against a deadly disease in limited circumstances. This is beyond pathological. It is psychopathy.

To the unvaccinated: this vaccinated American is frustrated and angry with you, but does not blame you. I realize that your hesitancy or refusal is a direct result of utter bullshit being fed to you by quacks, killers, idiots, charlatans, and propagandists. Everything was looking up in June until vaccinations hit a wall and Delta came to the US from India via Europe. I only hope that you see that the hospitals being overrun right now are overrun by victims of Covid-19, while exactly zero hospitals are being even mildly populated by people somehow sickened by the vaccines themselves. I guarantee you that the science bears out the fact that the risk of contracting Covid puts you at an exponentially higher risk of complication and harm to your body than any side-effect of any vaccine in the US.

Most importantly, I reject the notion that it’s perfectly ok if 1.5% of Americans drop dead from Covid. There are 330 million Americans, so Mr. Bauerle here is directly stating that 5 million preventable deaths is perfectly ok. I do not consider 5 million American lives to be disposable on the altar of misbegotten “choice”. I guess not “all lives matter”, right, Tom?

Your orders as to federal workers and contractors gives me hope that more people will get the vaccine and prevent their own illness or deaths – and the illnesses or deaths of those around them.

In Buffalo, we are used to snow blizzards, but I feel like I just got struck by a bullshit blizzard of epic proportions, thanks to the relentlessly harmful and misguided rhetoric of malevolent talk-show hosts. Shame on Audacy and its management for allowing its talent to urge people to go ahead and die in the name of “liberty.”

And what if everybody affected just said “no” to your mandates? Well, if they’re federal employees or contractors, they’d be fired is “what”.

There is a reason that India is not ruled by England anymore: peaceful civil disobedience led by Mohandas Gandhi. India’s slow vaccine uptake, incidentally, led to the Delta mutation, which is now killing people here in the US.

America has nothing whatsoever to learn from right-wing talk show hosts and everything to gain from a safe and effective vaccination. The Covid vaccines were developed under Trump. Why not own the libs by getting the jab?

And hey Audacy? When your afternoon talk show host’s “opinion” has to come with a disclaimer, you’re part of the problem.

Totalitarianism, Texas Style

New State Emblem of TexasSetting aside the fact that the new Texas state statute effectively banning all abortions, (but purporting only to ban them after 6 weeks’ gestation – well before most women even know they are pregnant), the way in which the law is set to be enforced is especially egregious and anti-American in all its facets.

The law does not make an exception for cases of incest or rape.

This means that a school in Texas cannot protect young women against catching Covid-19 through a mask mandate based on “body autonomy”, but the Texas state government can force, say, a 14-year-old victim of statutory rape to carry her tormentor’s baby to term. It is distinctly unconstitutional, based on 50 years’ worth of jurisprudence. It is, truly, medieval and barbaric. It is literally a leap backwards to women being mere chattel with no right to control their bodies.

The same people screaming about not being told by the government whether to wear a mask or take a vaccine during a deadly pandemic based on “choice” are literally legislating away every Texas woman’s right to reproductive healthcare.

Well, not every Texas woman’s. Those with money and connections can always fly to a blue state for a procedure. The men in the Texas legislature who accidentally impregnate their mistresses will undoubtedly find a way to flout these restrictions. So, it’s really a law designed to punish the poor and the underprivileged.

The technical, stated reason why the Supreme Court majority of anti-Roe activists refused to block this patently barbaric law has to do with how it is to be enforced. The statute empowers literally anyone to simply call in a tip and inform on any person who performs, aids, or abets an abortion procedure that is violative of the law. Texas requires women seeking abortions to get “counseling” to discourage abortion, and then wait another 24 hours. This requires two trips to the clinic with the state requiring that the provider ply the patient with propaganda.

This law also empowers private individuals to make anonymous reports to the government about abortions. The law specifically creates a private cause of action allowing people who otherwise have no standing to sue individuals, groups, and institutions that “aid and abet” in providing abortions. This sets up a lucrative incentive for people to lie and engage in punitive behavior and harassment, obviously. But it also empowers average citizens to form anti-abortion bounty hunting posses. That will further act to chill any abortions from being performed – including a D&C of a miscarriage. Yep, a woman with a dead fetus inside of her will be required by law to birth it and not have it surgically removed because there will be no medical providers willing to risk fines or jailtime to do it. Like I said, barbaric. Medieval.

The reason why the right-wing court majority did not enjoin enforcement of this distinctly un-American piece of legislation? Because no one had yet dropped the dime on anyone, so the issue is not ripe. How convenient.

Why do I say this is un-American? Barbaric? Medieval? Because it comes directly from the “my first totalitarian dictatorship” playbook. Under both communist and fascist totalitarian regimes, secret police have regularly recruited and encouraged average citizens to inform on their friends and neighbors. This sort of institutional snitching would result in the informer receiving money or perks, like a citizen of East Germany being granted permission to visit the west. Totalitarian regimes regularly consolidate their illegitimate power through denunciation.

This is how the Texas abortion ban is designed – to institutionalize and legitimize denunciations and to subject women and medical providers to civil and criminal penalties, harassment, and possibly personal harm.

This was predicted when Clinton lost in 2016, and it was predicted when Trump got to pick Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement on the Court. People like Susan Collins and a bunch of male pundits and leftist Clinton haters told people not to worry.

Fully a third of this country – the Trumpers and the political Christianists – no longer support freedom or democratic institutions. They have transformed themselves fully into totalitarian ultra-nationalist one-party authoritarians. This Texas bill is not even the beginning.

India Walton Story Ideas For the Buffalo News

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A neighbor heard from someone that India Walton once drank a beer.

According to the neighborhood grapevine, Walton once spoke with a person who, years later, committed a crime.

A cop phoned in an anonymous tip because he heard from a colleague that Walton once drove 35 in a 30 zone.

A political opponent illegally gained access to Walton’s credit report and phoned in that Walton had missed a credit card payment one time years ago.

A woman in Tonawanda heard from her cousin that Walton once defended herself against false and scurrilous accusations at work and clearly did not know her place.

The friend of an acquaintance of a Lancaster man says he once heard a rumor that Walton had the nerve one time to question a white man’s judgment.

Steve Pigeon, awaiting sentencing, never heard of India Walton.

The ghost of Joe Illuzzi complained that Walton wouldn’t buy an ad on his site and didn’t pay off the head of the Independence Party for an endorsement.

One guy overheard someone at Ralph Lorigo’s weekly breakfast say that India Walton is a dirty commie.

A Conservative Party apparatchik / city worker with a secret home in Cheektowaga was on his fifteenth coffee break one day when he overheard someone say that India Walton ripped the tags off her mattresses.

A former boss who wishes to remain anonymous reported that India Walton did not, in fact, avoid the Noid.

The head of a city department heard from his neighbor that the neighbor’s girlfriend’s husband once saw India Walton cross Delaware Avenue against the light.

Byron Brown, Grassroots, and the Conservative Party have a lot of informants and had put together a comprehensive and dirty opposition playbook against India Walton but never thought they’d have to use it.

The hedge-funder landlord of India Walton overheard from neighborhood chatter that India Walton let someone with a lot of friends stay in her home.

I hope I’m doing this right.

The Ballad of Byron Brown

For fifteen long years he’d been cream of the crop.
The king of the hill. The man at the top.
He’d cut all the ribbons for fifteen long years.
For a renaissance fueled by hotels and craft beers.
For fifteen long years, he had gone with the flow,
Mild-mannered and monotone, rostrum in tow.

Byron Brown has been mayor since two-thousand-six.
Plenty of time – with more problems to fix.
While things have improved for the white upper classes,
Not all see his tenure through rose-colored glasses.
Crime getting worse, cops are out of control,
Even punitive speed traps had taken their toll.

So India Walton said she would oppose,
This longtime incumbent, whom everyone knows.
For her community – for change and for hope.
And for her it seemed unlike some boring old trope.
The people, she says, had deserved so much more,
than from Byron Brown’s terms – of which there’d been four.

Progressives knocked doors, they made calls and held signs,
Throughout winter and spring to earn Walton two lines.
She envisaged – promoted a rust belt New Deal,
And spoke of her ambitious plans with a zeal.
But Brown kept pretending she didn’t exist,
His “rose garden strategy”? Easy to miss.

No campaign, no debate, never uttered her name.
He figured that this year was more of the same.
His machine was well-oiled – his lackeys would show,
It wouldn’t be close, if they all would just go.
He thought he was safe and he’d get his fifth term,
But India Walton became a concern.

On primary day, Walton’s backers turned out,
And this suddenly gave Brown a reason to doubt
His own re-election and chance number five.
His campaign ran on fumes and seemed barely alive.
He lost, and his chances were over, he reckoned.
The dread private sector, beginning to beckon.

But lo, who is this? Doug Jemal from the South?
Rocco’s out of his pool and Carl opened his mouth?
The Partnership, Jacobs, our own one percent,
Would not abide changes without their consent.
My fainting couch! Fan me! Arrange my affairs!
(To them welfare’s fine, just so long as it’s theirs.)

A meeting was hastily called to review,
What this millionaire posse should, could, and would do.
Carl called it and made sure that Pigeon was there,
and he told Bob McCarthy; their plans were laid bare.
They canceled it once and then tried it again,
But Carl was like poison to some of these men.

India, meanwhile, was doing the rounds.
Explaining that city hall wasn’t just Brown’s.
The national media gave her much attention,
This winner, whom Brown couldn’t bother to mention.
As mayor, she’d help out the poor and forgotten,
Before Tesla and plans grandiose, misbegotten.

He waited a week, let it all settle down,
Our caretaker mayor, the one Byron Brown.
His people held “protests”, sent loads of group texts,
All his patronage hires were suddenly vexed.
A grassroots campaign! A moment propitious!
But the grass isn’t real. That turf is fictitious.

It was too much to bear, all this talk about “people”.
So Brown hatched a plan both pathetic and feeble.
If democracy‘s something that should not be flouted,
Then where was the mayor’s campaign when it counted?
“There is only one mayor at a time!” Brown proclaimed.
She’s a radical! Socialist! Shame! Shame! Shame! SHAME!!

He could have conceded, acknowledged her win.
Been gracious in loss, let these changes begin.
But power corrupts, so instead he’ll contrive
A plan born of weakness and lame “strive for five.”
Byron Brown, the caretaker of all he surveys,
Will write himself in, if it means that he stays.

Brown’s shelf life, politically, may have expired.
Dems voted last Tuesday and told him he’s fired.
Despite all his noise, our democracy worked.
He didn’t campaign, and instead he just lurked.
Now angry and bitter, too late to the stump,
‘Stop the steal’ he’ll demand, like that other guy, Trump.

Bob McCarthy Doing Mychajliw PR

The Republicans are fighting about which of their Sheriff candidates is MAGAier. Here comes Stefan Mychajliw to offer his ethical and fiscal clarity, such as it is.

Oh, and here comes Bob McCarthy to simply transcribe and publish whatever Mychajliw tells him, without checking it first.

On one side we have Somethingorother Garcia, who switched parties a few times and voted in the Democratic primary in 2016. So not MAGA!

On the other side we have Somethingorother Healy-Case who also switched parties even more times, but did not vote in the Democratic primary in 2016. OMG MAGA!

Who cares.

Anyhow, Mychajliw, gearing up to lose a town supervisor’s race in a landslide, sweatily called Bob McCarthy to tell him:

In a routine review of county expenses, Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr. said he is scrutinizing payments of $282,037 since 2015 to 716 Security and Investigations, partly owned by Garcia.

Bob McCarthy

Mychajliw has spent much of his recent tenure as “Comptroller” no-showing and launching little culture war catfights. There exists no place on earth and no person with a brain who suddenly believes that Mychajliw – who doesn’t know how to do the job from which he has absented himself – undertook a “routine” review of county contracts with a current candidate for office. It insults everyone’s intelligence and quite obviously so. But what McCarthy wrote next is simply amazing:

Mychajliw, also a Republican, emphasized that he has taken no position in the hotly contested primary race featuring Garcia and Karen L. Healy-Case, the endorsed party candidate.

Bob McCarthy

Now, this is a lie. To clarify: I have no doubt that Mychajliw opened his gob and told Bob McCarthy this lie. What is doubly egregious, however, is that McCarthy and the Buffalo News did not see fit to double-check Mychajliw’s assertion that he had “taken no position” in the Sheriff’s primary race between Garcia and Healy-Case.

Had McCarthy or his editor undertaken a simple check of the state election website, he would have discovered the $100 donation Mychajliw made to Healy-Case in late March 2021.

Mychajliw can support whomever he wants, but it is an abuse of his power to use his state-sanctioned office to target political opponents for special scrutiny or persecution. It is just as much an abuse of power as Trump pulling reporters’ phone logs or Mychajliw using the Comptroller’s office to issue what amounts to a campaign press release. I guarantee you that the Erie County Comptroller has no say or authority over what the state does with its state and federal funding for the Skyway.

Mychajliw also noted that the payments pose “numerous issues and concerns” for Garcia, especially should he win election as sheriff and profit through the county.

“There could be a serious conflict if he is potentially sheriff and privately benefits from a job his office can handle to begin with,” he said.

Bob McCarthy

So, Mychajliw is not accusing anyone of malfeasance, but merely suggesting that there is a potential conflict of interest. “Could be” and “potentially” are the weasel-word clues. Garcia responded he would sever his relationship with that company if he should win, so what is the problem?

The problem is that Stefan Mychajliw used his public office to do the Healy-Case campaign’s bidding and generate some mailer copy for it.

It is time for this shamefully opportunistic serial candidate to be retired to the dreaded private sector.

The Jacobs Coup

Dear Congressman Jacobs:

You are a disgrace to your district, your constituents, and everything for which you purport to stand. You dishonor your office and its oath. You waited until the last possible moment to issue this statement on January 6, 2021 :

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Was this you paying Trump back for his support of your candidacy? Do you really believe a word of that statement? Was this you pretending to be a tough MAGA guy for all your supporters out in the country, around whom you look so awkward? We’ll never know. I called your Washington office and expressed my outrage over your anti-American, anti-democratic abrogation of your oath of office. Your participation in this idiotic and manufactured soft coup came quietly and late.

Literally just moments after I made my call (at 1:34 pm, for the record), your people – your MAGA Trump people invaded the Capitol. They defiled it. It was as violent and lawless a mob as anything anyone saw last summer, but last summer people were enraged by the mistreatment of Americans at the hands of lawless police officers – what exactly are you and your cohorts enraged by? Losing an election?

We cannot have a democracy if your side refuses to accept loss and the peaceful transfer of power. Your abrogation of your oath of office and your participation in this vile charade will not be forgotten.

By 4:30 – just three hours later – you sent this to the Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski:

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Too little, too late.

No, this current behavior has no place in a democracy. Trying to manufacture a procedural coup to steal the election from Joe Biden has no place in a democracy. The President inciting a riot has no place in a democracy. Trump throwing gasoline on the fire he set has no place in a democracy. Your army of MAGA snowflakes storming the Capitol has no place in a democracy.

Eternal shame on you and your family name for this. Not only did you eagerly participate, but you tried to have it both ways and delay your announcement of the participation. You and the entire western New York Republican committee heirarchy – all of you supported Trump and Trumpism with breathless and instantaneous enthusiasm – you all own this coup attempt, this riot.

You are a disgrace to western New York and your family name. You have no honor. You have no courage. You have no moral authority. You are a shell and a puppet, moistening a seat you haven’t really earned.

I urge your interns and employees to abandon your office immediately. None of this is worth the stain on your resumes. Get out while you can. There’s more to life than doing the bidding of coup plotters.

I fully support Congressman Cori Bush’s proposed resolution:

I fully support it. You defile your office like your supporters defiled the People’s house.

Covid And Your Rights

(I posted this to Facebook but for various reasons will not make it public there. Instead, I share it here).

I start by saying that I utterly detest Facebook and think it is, overall, a force for ill in our society. I maintain this account, nevertheless, because I am apparently a masochist. I used to enjoy the occasional debate on here over things but my patience is exhausted; and while debates over trivialities may remain fun, debates over fundamental truths vs. utter disinformation and lies, are not; they are not fun.

When the Hunter Biden laptop disinformation hit the NY Post a couple of weeks ago, I watched to see who would share it uncritically. At first, I considered arguing about it; but I instead opted to mute a few people and simply unfriend others. You’re not my friend if you’re busy amplifying Russian disinformation. Honestly, I don’t wish to have an association with people who would uncritically share politically irrelevant, false information based on things hacked from the iCloud account belonging to an un-political person. Consider if you were related to a political figure and someone hacked your personal accounts and released them to the world. Fuck that.

Likewise, I am now on the lookout for people damning the tightening of Covid restrictions in New York State.

Simply put: if you have a big problem with Cuomo banning in-person, maskless, un-distanced get-togethers of more than 10 people inside private homes during cold weather then you are simply too irresponsible for me to bother with you. If you would put an unknown number of people exponentially at risk because you had to have a big Thanksgiving or football party, I don’t think you are a good or responsible person. Honestly. Don’t bitch to me about what his powers are or whether he will send cops to your house – I don’t care. He does have the authority because there is a global pandemic and a state of emergency, and if you’re worried about him sending cops to check on your house that means you *want* to host a gathering such as this and you can click on that good ol’ unfriend button right now because really whom are we kidding?You are not special and your experience is not unique. Every person I know has sacrificed in some way because of this virus. Some of you are business owners, restaurateurs, etc. Some of you have loved ones in nursing homes. You have been harmed immensely. I get it. We all have put our lives on pause for over half a year in some way, and it will be next Spring before we have some hope of a slow return to normalcy, when a vaccine is made available and true herd immunity can proceed safely and responsibly, without the concomitant threat of illness.

During WW2, we fought the Nazis and Japan and this country made shared sacrifices for 4 years. We don’t have ration books right now, but I’m sure if there was a nighttime air raid alarm in the early 40s, people didn’t say they wouldn’t turn their lights off because really who were these people to tell me what to do in my own house. We are in a war right now against an invisible enemy, and it’s been like 7 months and so many of you are ready to give up, and rationalizing your premature capitulation.

So we look at the recent spike in cases and all signs point to unmasked, undistanced in-person gatherings among groups of people who have not quarantined together. At work, school, and out in the shops you have to be masked. At your house, you don’t, but if you invite outsiders in, being close and unmasked is dumb and irresponsible. So every time I see the people down the street have 10 – 15 cars parked outside for the Bills game, I am appalled. Now multiply that by how many times you’ve seen that in your experience. These parties and gatherings are why this third wave is spiking, and it is far worse in terms of case numbers than back in March when everything shut down. The easiest thing to do is keep the case number down – if you can do that, you don’t need to worry so much about hospitalizations and deaths. Plus, it’s easy.

We have sent our child back to in-person school despite having very very strong concerns and reservations about it. Teenagers are not responsible people. Nevertheless, everything went swimmingly until 3 weeks ago. We got the call from NYSDOH that she had been exposed through close contact and was quarantined and prohibited from returning to school until 11/2. Literally the next day the high school determined that so many kids were under quarantine that the whole school went remote through 11/9. The apparent culprit? An off-campus high school hockey team party that evidently took place while in Massachusetts for a game. So all of our care and caution was for naught because our lives and schedules fell at the mercy of the least responsible people associated with that school. The kicker? Despite throwing the lives of some 400 families into sudden chaos, I have zero confidence that any discipline resulted from this shameful breach of protocol. I feel like I am owed something for having to quickly re-arrange my family’s life thanks to other people’s irresponsibility – even if it is just the satisfaction of knowing the culprits were punished.

So *we* can follow all the rules and guidelines yet still get motherfucked by people too selfish and short-sighted to follow those same rules. When that happens enough – as evidenced by the current spike – someone has to impose restrictions that people refuse voluntarily to undertake. So, because some irresponsible and lazy people think it’s perfectly fine to return back to normal life – so long as it’s at home – we all now suffer, either through increased government restrictions, or through a higher likelihood of exposure to a deadly and unpredictable virus that is now killing 1,500 Americans per day. Hope that party was worth it!(And don’t get me started on the federal government’s scandalous abdication of its duties and responsibility to get this under control in all 50 states until a vaccine is available. Also, please do not lecture me about death rates or hospitalizations or hydrochloroquine or Famotidine or Vitamin D or anything of the sort. Do not condescend to explain to me that “oh well a lot of those people had other causes of death listed on their death certificates and it’s all overblown and a scam.” This just proves to me that you don’t know how a death certificate works and that you believe nonsense peddled by malignant charlatans who want you to think that everything is – and should be – back to normal. If a person with cancer catches Covid and dies from resulting pneumonia or a PE, they died from Covid, not cancer. OK? Also, please spare me the “there is no evidence of community spread among schoolkids” because I am not advocating for schools to all go remote – on the contrary, I want them to have the ability to stay in-person. I am advocating against partying and other risky maskless get-togethers outside of school hours and property.)With all of that said, here is the hard reality: you don’t have to like Cuomo and you don’t have to like what he says and you don’t have to like what he did or what he’s doing. Also? I will for the purposes of this rant concede that he fucked up with nursing homes back in March, ok? But we are so so past nursing homes and March. We had just about everything re-opened. We consistently had a positivity rate under 5%, signaling minimal community spread. People are generally good about wearing masks. So, the culprit is in-person, private, undistanced and unmasked get-togethers. I am highly confident that the current spike in WNY has its genesis in Bills parties and Halloween parties. The timing is right.

And the upshot of this is that you can spit fire at Cuomo all you want until you’re red in the face, but if this shit doesn’t get under control soon and continues to worsen, you will be fucking *wishing* for the halcyon days of Cuomo leaving just about everything open but restricting opening times and him literally begging you not to hold big parties at your house (especially indoors now that it’s cold out).Instead, if this keeps up, we’ll be back to square one – back to how it was in late March, working from home, suiting up to go to Wegmans and nowhere else. Takeout only. Schools will be remote. (I am almost positive that schools will be remote-only shortly after Thanksgiving because people will continue brazenly to flout simple requests and to irresponsibly interact in close proximity indoors without masks with people with whom they do not live.)There is nothing here to dispute or debate. I am not interested in or persuaded by your “but muh Cuomo is a dictator” shit. I am trying to keep my family safe and free from this virus, and we are following the rules which honestly are not that complicated or onerous.

Finally, here: “The White House coronavirus task force has been urging states that are virus hot spots to curtail maskless get-togethers of family and friends, saying in reports that asymptomatic attendees “cause ongoing transmission, frequently infecting multiple people in a single gathering.”

The Fatigue Election of 2020

Joe Biden is the perfect general election candidate for our time. He is known. He is kind. He is experienced. He is empathetic. He is smart. He is moderate. He is the hard reset that this country so desperately needs.

It goes without saying that the Democratic Party could have nominated a quarter-pound of ham for President, and that thinly sliced cold cut would offer a more positive vision and plan for America over the next four years than the current occupant of the White House.

We have endured a relentless, constant, chronic geyser of bullshit spewing from Donald Trump over the past 5 years, but that’s not the only thing shaping and defining our zeitgeist. The potent, toxic mixture of grievance and cruelty that fuels the American right is as exhausting as it is ugly. We are all of us Joseph Welch, expressing publicly how fatigued we are by the endless stimulant-fueled shower of hatred, lies, and cruelty that falls from Trumpworld like volcanic ash. Whining about things hasn’t helped. Neither has blaming Black people, Jewish people, immigrants, feminists, LGBTQ+ people, Latinos, Hispanics, Asians, Mexicans, China – good God, it’s enough.

It’s enough.

The pandemic is the icing on the cake. It is Trumpworld’s downfall. It lays bare the fundamental lie.

We all know that the Obama Administration, which had its own experiences with infectious diseases, left behind a literal pandemic playbook and an office staffed to take charge when necessary – the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the National Security Council. The Trump Administration got rid of it in 2018. Now, the United States ranks among the worst countries in terms of its response to the novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. We have almost unlimited community spread in many places, the federal government has failed, and plans only to continue its policies of failure for the foreseeable future. Over 220,000 Americans are dead and this is a massive public health catastrophe, not to mention the economic destruction that has taken place as a result of our feeble, third-world quality response.

This all started in mid-March. It is now the end of October, and you still can’t get a Coronavirus test on demand for any reason and have reliable results within the day. We’re instead still relying on travel bans and quarantines when testing and tracing is key.

The most glaring failure? The federal government’s response was so deliberately inept and poor that mask wearing is now a political statement in some places, and we are left with a situation where the lives of people in North Dakota are effectively less valuable than the lives of people in New York. That shouldn’t be. Everyone in America deserves the same protection from uncontrolled community spread of this virus, and history will forever condemn us for allowing some places needlessly to suffer while others benefited from competent government following science.

In late October 2020, our Trump fatigue intersects neatly with our Covid fatigue. Most Americans have simply had it with the bullshit geyser and the manufactured drama. We’re not interested in this season of the Apprentice anymore.

Everyone’s life is upended in some way, you can’t just not “let it dominate your life” because that is literally impossible. It dominates our lives. You can’t really go out and do stuff like you used to, you can’t travel literally anywhere, and everyone is still hunkered down, waiting for a truly effective treatment protocol or a vaccine. (On the bright side, flu cases will be hopefully down this season as more people are masked and distanced than ever before. Also get a flu shot).

The outcome of the Presidential race won’t fix everything, but if Biden wins (and I think he will), it will reset the federal government to being at least minimally competent again. We will implement a Covid strategy that values every American life equally. We will restore good relations with our allies and keep a closer eye on our enemies. We will reintroduce the rule of law and eliminate nepotism in the White House. Our government will listen more closely to experts and science, and the deniers will be relegated to their fringe websites and YouTube channels where they can freak out about – and consume themselves with – lizard people and Pizzagate 2.0. Hunter Biden won’t matter because Hunter Biden won’t be paid a public salary to be a Presidential aide.

In New York State, early voting starts today – October 24th and runs through November 1st. The polling hours and locations for Erie County are here, and you can vote at any of them. If you applied for and received an absentee ballot, send it in. If you changed your mind and want to vote in person, discard the absentee ballot you received.

I am hopeful that this will be a big year for America to turn a positive corner. Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd. If you didn’t vote absentee or early, that’s your chance – in Erie County polls will be open from 6am – 9pm. Every vote counts, even in New York. Lots of downballot folks are relying on you. People like Monica Wallace, Karen McMahon, Jacqui Berger, Pat Burke, Sean Ryan, Bill Conrad, Brian Higgins, and Nate McMurray are depending on you to turn out and turn up.

the EXEGESIS of McCarthy on Collins

collinstrump

Chris Collins pleaded guilty in Federal Court to committing crimes. He was sentenced to prison.

Like starting up an old, garaged jalopy, Bob McCarthy took one more opportunity to just talk to Collins and then transcribe whatever he says. It was the stuff you’d expect to see in the lifestyles section of the paper. The Buffalo Spree is publishing more interesting political pieces than this nowadays, and it seems to me to be the yang to the yin that has been Jerry Zremski’s excellent reporting on the Innate Immunotherapeutics scandal that brought down the Collins crime syndicate.

For over a year – from the date of Collins’ August 2018 indictment, until he ultimately pleaded guilty in late 2019 – the people of the 27th Congressional district had no de facto representation – we had a liar purporting to represent us in Washington. We had a man in office who was distracted by his own illegalities and criminal defense strategies. When he resigned in disgrace, we then had no de jure representation until the special election in June and subsequent swearing-in of Chris Jacobs.

Chris Collins does not deserve anyone’s respect or sympathy. At least, not until he has satisfied his debt to society. Not until he has apologized to the constituents he conned and disrespected.

But when Chris Collins holds a pity party over the phone with Bob McCarthy, we get all of that in spades. Collins is still rich. He still lives in his Florida mansion. His wife and kids will be looked after. He will be serving his time at a Club Fed facility in Florida – 17 months if he’s a good boy, despite a sentence of 26. But he’s still got gripes.

And he is fearful. He does not want his 17-month incarceration – the time he expects to serve based on his imposed sentence of 26 months – to turn into a “death sentence.”

“I’m 70 years old with asthma and hypertension, and it’s senior citizens that we’re supposed to worry about,” he said while driving to Pensacola on Monday. “That’s me. 

“I’ve got to do it. But I do know I do not want to get this virus.”

There are thousands of convicted criminals in federal prisons who are trying not to catch Covid-19, and there is nothing in the eyes of the law that makes Chris Collins more special than them, or entitled to special treatment. And this is not going to be hard time.

Beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Collins – a multimillionaire – reports to the prison camp in the Florida panhandle. He notes it has no hardened prisoners, no barbed wire and few guards.

“I’ll have some buddies to talk to in the morning, have a cup of coffee and read the paper – almost what you do in retirement,” he said. “You actually make good friends. Everyone there has made a mistake. They have regrets related to that mistake. But most everyone everyone has done good things in their lives, and I know I’ve done a lot of good things. 

“My family is with me. It’s not like I did something that made them destitute. My family is stronger now than it’s ever been.”

He should be counting his blessings. Any sympathy should be reserved for the victims who lost everything in the Innate Immunotherapeutics collapse and who did not have the benefit of inside information to try and minimize their losses. Any sympathy should be reserved for the people living in the 27th Congressional District, who were owed Collins’ bona fide representation and hard work but instead were lied to and cheated; cheated most importantly during that critical period from January through June of this year as the federal government learned about then lied about Covid-19 and then completely bungled the federal response.

This article was disgusting and tone-deaf, to put it mildly. Bob McCarthy always treats rich politicians with kid gloves. Maybe that’s bad.

This morning, I woke up in my house. I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee, free from direct government supervision. Then I went exactly where I damn well pleased. Chris Collins, who always had to be the smartest wiseass in any room, did not.

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