Guns, Ebola, Torture, and a Sour Weppner

Image Credit: WBFO.org

At long last, Kathy Weppner got her debate against Brian Higgins yesterday. The candidates vying to represent NY-26 in Congress faced off in front of an audience of about 1,000 students and faculty at St. Joe’s. The debate was moderated by the AP Government teacher, and students selected and asked the questions. 

Here’s what Brian Higgins tweeted after the debate: 

And here is what Kathy Weppner tweeted about it:

 

So, the shorter version is Brian Higgins thanking St. Joe’s and its AP Government class, teacher, and students for a lively and fun debate, versus Kathy Weppner denigrating the kids and their questions, just one step away from accusing them of perhaps conspiring with Higgins’ campaign because she had to face tough questions. 

Also, Higgins accused Weppner of missing two recent candidate fora – not three. She skipped the Good Government Club and the Association of Retired Federal Employees events in the last few weeks. She was invited to them both. For someone who’s spent the last few weeks whining about how the League of Women Voters has conspired with Brian Higgins to support only Demoncrats, you’d expect her to attend everything offered to her. 

The Weppner campaign has been one of the best campaigns ever to be run in western New York, but not for the reasons you think. I don’t objectively mean it was “good” or the “best”; instead, it’s the best insofar as it has enabled regular people to hear and consider things that are usually kept in the deepest basements of AM hate radio. It’s rare that malicious and false right-wing misinformation sees the sunlight, and when it’s taken even a millimeter outside of its typical venues, it’s revealed to be so false and dumb that regular people simply dismiss it as “crazy”.  For instance, 

Yesterday, Brad Riter and I recorded an hourlong podcast where we set out to dissect yesterday’s debate. There’s so much there, we only made it through about 15 minutes’ worth.  You can listen to the podcast here

You can listen to the entire debate here, at WBFO’s site. Did you catch how Weppner whined about how Higgins conspired with WBEN to let the entire debate audio to be shared online? Weppner evidently didn’t read the rules, because the prohibition on recording and re-use of the debate was only as to the campaigns themselves – there were myriad cameras and microphones present, and the rules were quite clear that media could share their recordings. Indeed, after spending so many weeks whining about the lack of debates, you’d reckon that Weppner would scream bloody murder if the debate wasn’t shared with voters, right? 

In terms of substance, the student-led, teacher-moderated debate touched on several issues, none of which are trivial. More importantly, they were things that the students themselves deemed interesting. The first question dealt with the apparent epidemic of school shootings – a uniquely American problem. Weppner’s response to this question was typical right-wing pablum; more guns will lead to a more polite society. Weppner said things about how only “good” people with guns – like she – can protect society from bad people with guns, as if there were no other alternatives. Higgins affirmed people’s 2nd Amendment rights, but added, 

Good people should be able to carry guns but the framers of the Constitution could not have imagined this kind of hell,” Higgins said. “If you are a good guy with a gun then what’s wrong with reasonable background checks? What’s wrong with reasonable gun control?

The Weppner plan can be summarized thusly: 

Weppner came out in support of a travel ban from West African countries, while Higgins said we should follow the lead of medical professionals, and not politicians, on these sorts of issues. Weppner said, 

The CDC has spent 6% of its $3 billion over the last few years on silly studies instead of on infectious diseases. We’ve been squandering the money that we do have. So I believe, yes, there should be a quarantine. They’re quarantining our soldiers in Germany for 21 days. 

According to Weppner, if the CDC spent 6% of $3 billion on “silly studies”, then that still leaves 94% to study and prevent infectious diseases. However, typically, she’s got her facts wrong. She seems to be parroting a Politico article penned by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who claims

Consider the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a new series of annual mandatory appropriations created by Obamacare. Over the past five years, the CDC has received just under $3 billion in transfers from the fund. Yet only 6 percent—$180 million—of that $3 billion went toward building epidemiology and laboratory capacity.

By contrast, the CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement Funding, which helps municipalities deal with outbreaks of disease, has decreased dramatically in the last decade. The CDC’s overall 2015 budget is not, incidentally, $3 billion, but almost $7 billion. That also represents a decrease of 3.5% over FY 2014, and you can see specifically what the administration sought, and what the tea party Congress granted

Weppner got two applause lines – the first when she said that marijuana “kills ambition” and leads kids to sit on the couch, watching TV, and eat Doritos. Not shockingly, teenage kids love the idea of sitting on the couch, watching TV, and eating Doritos, and cheered. Weppner also rejected medical marijuana, claiming,

If there are medicinal purposes that medical marijuana can be used for then we need to study it. We wouldn’t put a medicine on the market without studying it. If there are properties that help seizure disorders then we need to study what properties those are and put it into a little inhaler.  We can’t open pot stores. We need clear thinking young people to attack the problems we have. Not people that are going to sit back with a bag of Doritos and watch television.

Even Channel 2’s Michael Wooten pointed out on last night’s news that Weppner is lying about medical marijuana not having been studied. It’s been studied plenty, and shown to be effective in treating nausea in chemotherapy patients, glaucoma, chronic pain, seizures, and other maladies. UC San Diego has an entire department devoted to the study of medicinal uses for marijuana, a plant that grows in nature

The mic drop moment, though, came when the candidates were asked about the use of torture in interrogation of enemy combatants and terrorists. Weppner claimed, 

I don’t think sleep deprivation or waterboarding is something, if we are going to get valuable information that can save lives, is a horrible thing. I really don’t.

The notion that torture generates valuable information is categorically, scientifically false. While Weppner shocked the Catholic schoolboys with her pro-torture position, Higgins’ one-sentence response resulted in huge applause, prompting Weppner to whine about it later on Twitter (seen above). 

Torture should not be tolerated in any context in any part of the world.

The candidates’ reactions on Twitter aren’t an accident – Higgins’ performance was competent, relevant, and rational. Weppner’s was defensive, offensive, and bizarre. This is the shorthand to describe both candidates and their campaigns, overall. 

You think I hate Weppner or her right-wing followers? I don’t. I feel sorry for them, frankly, because it must really suck walking through life being angry and afraid of everything, always. I hate people who commit crimes and hurt others, I don’t hate people who think differently from me, however misguided I think they are. Part of what I do through this blog is highlight thoughts, ideas, words, and deeds that I believe to be ugly or nice – dangerous or helpful – reactionary or progressive. I pay attention to what my ideological opponents have to say because I refuse to formulate my opinions in a left-wing echo chamber. I read and listen to lots of points of view from lots of sources – so if I see, for instance, that the local AM talk radio station leaves a comment up for over an hour, which calls for the extermination of all Muslims on Earth, I feel it’s my duty as a normal human being to call that to the station’s attention.  It’s not only Nazi thinking, it’s violative of that station’s Facebook terms of service, “… will not tolerate racist, homophobic, sexist or abusive comments”. 

The real hatred comes from those who shut down dissent, and get called out in other venues. The real hatred comes from those who are utterly allergic to scrutiny or criticism of any kind. The real hatred comes from people who cower in their echo chambers, treating as unpatriotic or insane anyone who dares to disagree. The real hatred comes when the local news radio station blocks you on Twitter, because you pointed out that maybe “all Muslims need to be exterminated” doesn’t belong on their Facebook page. 

Election Day is next Tuesday. The tea party point of view is out in the sunlight for all to see. Reject it. 

NEJM: Ebola Quarantine “Like Driving a Carpet Tack With a Sledgehammer”

From the leftist pinkos at the New England Journal of Medicine, who are totally in Obama’s evil, Marx0-fascist totalitarian pocket or something: 

The governors of a number of states, including New York and New Jersey, recently imposed 21-day quarantines on health care workers returning to the United States from regions of the world where they may have cared for patients with Ebola virus disease. We understand their motivation for this policy — to protect the citizens of their states from contracting this often-fatal illness. This approach, however, is not scientifically based, is unfair and unwise, and will impede essential efforts to stop these awful outbreaks of Ebola disease at their source, which is the only satisfactory goal. The governors’ action is like driving a carpet tack with a sledgehammer: it gets the job done but overall is more destructive than beneficial.

Read the whole thing here, and stop living your life sprinting from one crisis spelling imminent doom to another. In other words, stop being this: 

Kathy Weppner: Victim

Kathy Weppner, for whom you should totally never vote, scored a few points on Monday.  

Not against her opponent, but against the Buffalo News. She even recorded a radio ad blasting the News, because she is accusing its Washington correspondent, Jerry Zremski, of misogyny and sexism. For instance,

Here’s something I’ve not said before – Weppner has a point. When I read that passage, I thought that Zremski’s description of Weppner’s manicure was out of line; it’s simply not a way you write about a female candidate for office. But look at the passage within its context

Looking out over Canalside from the plaza outside downtown Buffalo’s new Courtyard by Marriott on Friday, with the new HarborCenter rising to his left and his brownish hair flying every which way in the breeze, Rep. Brian Higgins talked a bit like a proud father.

“It’s campaign season, so I’ll say it: We had something to do with this,” said Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat whose strong-arming of the New York Power Authority provided the funds to begin the city’s waterfront boom.

But a day earlier at the Lake Effect Diner in University Heights, Higgins’ opponent laid two immaculately manicured hands, with 10 long hot-pink fingernails, out across a pile of paper that foretold doom of one kind or another, and spoke like a very worried mother.

The emphases are mine. Zremski described something about Higgins’ appearance, and described him as a “proud father”, and then described something about Weppner’s appearance, and described her as a “worried mother”. He was more descriptive about Weppner’s nails, admittedly. 

He wasn’t blindly mocking Weppner’s fingernails – he was trying to illustrate for readers something about each candidate’s demeanor and appearance. You’ll note that no one quotes the Higgins passage, and plenty of people locally poke fun of Higgins’ sense of style. 

Interestingly, the people screaming loudest about this insult are the people who scream loudest against things they call “political correctness” and the “war on women”. People like this guy: 

I mean, if you’re going to be a hypocrite, I guess it’s best to do so within the same thread. But you can’t with a straight face complain about PC and then accuse someone of being a celibate or gay or whatever Bauerle’s trying to do here. Bauerle and his buds make all kinds of cracks about Higgins all the time. Their buddy Carl goes so far as to reportedly call Higgins a “cocksucker” in private, and he means it literally. That’s OK, I guess. 

But does Weppner not want people to notice her nails? I mean, they neither qualify or disqualify her for office, but they’re quite palpably there

This is a candidate who refers to women as, “girls” in a video mocking the very notion that there exists a “war on women”.  Now she’s a victim of it? 

She complains that she never had a professional manicure, but Zremski never said she did – he simply said they were manicured – he didn’t say who did it. 

Here’s what I wrote in May about Weppner’s dismissal of the “war on women”: 

The “war on women” has been coined as shorthand for policies and proposals that specifically target issues relating solely to females.  These can include restrictions on reproductive rights and choices, lax enforcement of workplace anti-discrimination regulations and statutes, outrageous slut shaming of feminists who advocate for women’s rights, and still-prevalent positions held mostly be men that, for instance, women who are beaten or raped must have contributed to their own victimhood; that they brought it on themselves or “deserved” it.

It’s perfectly reasonable for people to argue about how to deal with these sorts of things from different political and moral perspectives, but it’s not reasonable to simply deny that the problems themselves exist. It’s not reasonable to suggest that it’s ok that women are treated like inferiors in the labor market, for instance.

But instead of praising the women who have worked tirelessly for decades to improve the lot of all, Weppner denigrates their fight for equality as the real “victimhood”. Was Susan B. Anthony displaying weakness when she demanded equal rights and suffrage? Were the suffragettes just playing as weakling whiners when they demanded the vote? How about the women who, in the mid-19th century, gained the right to be treated as more than mere chattel under the law?

I do like that this lecture is being delivered from an all-American kitchen with a dollar-store flag in the background. Because patriot.

Kathy Weppner, an allegedly serious person supposedly running for federal elected office, can get on the YouTubes and allege that, when women fight for equality and liberty, they’re really waging war on men.  But I’ve got a transvaginal ultrasound right here that says Weppner’s wrong .

Weppner: she rejected the “war on women” before she decided it was politically expedient to become its victim. 

I don’t know if I agree with the “war on women” rhetoric, but I do believe that women should be treated as equals with men. I also think that the media need to be mindful of the ways in which they describe female candidates, and Zremski’s attempt to contrast Weppner’s and Higgins’ appearance was clumsy, at best. But there’s nothing here to indicate that he was displaying any animus, or that it was in any way an attempt to de-humanize Weppner because she’s a woman. He should have simply added something more about Higgins’ appearance. 

You can’t spend all your time complaining about political correctness, and then try to be politically correct. It’s either a valid concern, or it’s not.

In the end, none of this renders Weppner any more or less electable than she was on Sunday morning – i.e., not remotely

UPDATE: Here is one of the few remaining clips of Weppner’s WBEN show that exist on the internet, courtesy of WNYMedia.net. In it, she denigrates activist Sandra Fluke for her sex toy agenda or something; “contragestives are being snuck in under the name ‘Ella'”. Sandra Fluke was famously insulted as a “slut” by Viagra huckster Rush Limbaugh for daring to suggest that contraceptives be included in health insurance policy. 

When Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut”, Kathy Weppner piled on. She is a hypocrite of the highest order. 

Also, a commenter on Twitter suggests that it wasn’t the crack about the fingernails that was insulting, but that the juxtaposition of “proud father/worried mother” is just as troubling. I think it’s an interesting point, although I think that the whole passage was more about color commentary than about substance. 

Vote Brian Higgins in #NY26. Here’s Why.

First: Don’t be a lunatic

Election day is coming up, and I generally give you some BS half-assed “endorsements” of candidates who, in my opinion, deserve your vote.  Typically, I don’t do that until a day or two before election day itself, but the race for the 26th Congressional District is not remotely typical. 

I don’t agree with Brian Higgins on every single issue because he can be sometimes more conservative than I, and because he can sometimes be overly cautious on waterfront issues.  By way of example, I am disappointed that he is opposing the construction of places to live and things to do on certain portions of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. 

That aside, there is absolutely no doubt that he has been a wildly effective proponent of all things Buffalo and western New York. Sure, as the Buffalo News pointed out earlier this year, he’s not lighting Washington on fire with pointless legislation that is likely to go nowhere in a tea party-dominated body. But when it comes to using his power and clout as a federal representative to help rebuild Buffalo and her waterfront, to restore NYPA funding to do it, to help improve our border and to push for needed changes in air traffic regulation, Higgins is the guy for us. When it comes to using the power of the federal purse to help fund projects and programs that help feed, clothe, house, and employ the weakest in our society, Higgins is the guy for us. Even Republicans recognize Higgins’ value and leadership. Higgins says

My service in Congress is everything about Buffalo and Western New York. I’ve learned that when you do good for your community, you’re doing good for your country, because the most important part of my country is my community.

While Brian Higgins represents the best that western New York has to offer, his opponent is the polar opposite. Kathy Weppner is nothing more than a craven cartoon character.  Her deep paranoia and hatred, willingness to promote and advocate for utter and complete nonsense, ease with which she lies and makes things up, and mindless regurgitation of whatever gibberish she reads on the right-wing internet renders her palpably unfit for public office. 

But it’s not just that. 

Below is a compendium of every post I’ve written about Kathy Weppner since she began her campaign. As a political meme for this season, she has been a bottomless pit of unfortunate material. What Kathy Weppner represents is the absolute worst of what western New York has to offer; reactionary thought, paranoia, a tendency to lie and to promote others’ lies, a provincial and narrow mindset, and above all – ignorance and misinformation. 

When Weppner first announced, this is what I wrote

In the 26th, incumbent Democrat Brian Higgins is likely to coast to re-election, as well. This is especially true thanks to the fact that his opponent is not only going to be a tea partier, but is – quite literally – a low-information WBEN caller. “Kathy from Williamsville” is going to take her fact-free jingoism on the campaign trail. She is a walking, talking anti-Obama chain email, and anyone reporting on her should be sure to have Snopes queued up on their mobile browsers. Seriously – there will be no point covering her campaign if you’re not able immediately to vet her pronouncements and cross-examine her on the inevitable fabrications and fantasies she’ll discuss. After all, she has a list of known communists, doesn’t seem to be ready or willing to represent Muslim residents of the 26th (hint: it’s the primitive blood lust), has declared “white guilt” to be “dead”, warned against a hyperinflation that never came, and – like Ronald Reagan – opposes Medicare

That one will be fun. 

I love it when I’m right. 

Take this for example. This was posted (publicly) to Weppner’s own Facebook page just this week. For some reason it wasn’t good enough for her campaign, but this is a pretty representative insight into the mind of a person who wants to go to Washington and represent the people of a diverse NY-26. 

To start out with, I absolutely detest these sorts of ignorant, uninformed violations of Godwin’s Law. Simply put, the United States is not at any risk of becoming a Nazi state, and anyone who thinks it is, is a moron.

But let’s examine the specifics; most basic is the lie – oft-repeated by demagogues and charlatans – that the Nazis killed capitalism in Germany. Nothing could be further from the truth, as National Socialism was, at least in part, a corporatist movement where the party, the military, and big industry were united in goal and deed. It wasn’t Marxist socialism that drove Nazi ideology – quite the opposite, as the Weimar-era street battles with the Spartacists can attest. Instead, it was a nationalist reaction to Marxism’s internationalism. The goal wasn’t a proletarian utopia, but a pure and strong Germany where the individual was subjugated to the state. Any notion that Naziism is remotely similar – much less identical – to the kind of western pluralist liberalism that people like Weppner so oppose – is as laughable as it is wrong. 

Prayer was taken out of schools? Hitler didn’t just stop there – he was openly hostile to all organized religion, because it represented a singular challenge to Nazi hegemony and the totalitarian deification of Hitler himself. In the United States, we have no such action taking place, and prayer is not allowed in school because of the prohibition against a government establishment of religion; it’s in the Constitution. Students, however, are perfectly within their rights to initiate spontaneous prayer in school at any time. It just can’t be something the school organizes. 

Like all things, under Hitler’s totalitarian state, all school curricula and administrations were subjected to the will of the party. Private and Catholic schools did exist, but were under constant scrutiny. No such thing happens in the US today. 

“Socialized medicine” didn’t lead to the extermination of the disabled – that was the Nazi sterilization and eugenics program – one that was quite popular in the United States in the early 20th century, as well. Every single western industrialized nation has some form of universal health insurance – some of it socialized – yet extermination of the old, sick, and disabled is not part of any of those programs. This is a lie and a scare tactic, used by depraved people to misinform voters. 

I have visited and lived in totalitarian dictatorships in my life. While some may find fault with our government using signals intelligence and other surveillance methods to try and keep tabs on real and suspected terrorists, it is not the same as a government using secret police, informants, and SIGINT to maintain a totalitarian purity of thought. We don’t have political police out there manning checkpoints to make sure where you’re supposed to be, and limiting what you think, say, or with whom you associate. Having experienced true totalitarianism, I can tell you that my possession of a passport, my ability to write this blog, my right to say and think what I please, and my right to express my political opinion all run counter to any half-brained notion that this country has devolved into some sort of fascist totalitarian nightmare. Anyone who suggests otherwise has automatically disproven their own point: if we truly were that totalitarian dystopia, you’d have no ability to express that fact, and you’d be arrested, subjected to a show-trial, and then exiled or killed. 

Government spending in Germany skyrocketed because they were planning to take over the world through endless war. Germans have always been very ecologically conscious – this pre-dates and post-dates Hitler, and is part of the German psyche. While Nazis and Communists alike purported to love and protect the natural environment, that doesn’t mean protecting the environment is a totalitarian aim. 

Finally, Hitler actually eased gun restrictions, but only for non-Jews. The US has a hodgepodge of state and federal gun laws, none of which have disarmed anyone based on religion. 

The copying and publication of that passage above – alone – disqualifies Kathy Weppner from public office. But there’s so much more. Here’s a list of just some of the abhorrent things that this candidate has done and said since announcing her campaign.  She – and the people who endorse her – are an insult to the intelligence of western New Yorkers. 

March 2014: Weppner Deletes It All

Back in the early Spring, the Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski picked over some of the more malodorous parts of the Weppner mindswamp, and asked her for an interview. She declined, and agreed instead to answer via email. The result was a glorious, factual recitation of some of the things she’s promoted and said, and her weak explanations for them. (Weppner Vetted 3/24/14) Much of it surrounded her very outspoken involvement in the “birther” nonsense, questioning whether Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, or part of some half-century-long conspiracy to overthrow America. 

The candidate’s response to Zremski’s article was jaw-droppingly horrible. (Kathy Weppner Tries to Explain; Fails 3/25/14) I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself. The passive-aggressive whining about being on vacation, and the declaration of war on the librul meediya set the tone for the next several months’ worth of self-pitying nonsense. 

Much of Zremski’s piece focused on Weppner’s enthusiastic dalliance with Obama birtherism. Among Weppner’s defenses was that she was just asking questions, like everyone else, about Obama’s birthplace, along with other unpersuasive,  halfhearted denials about being part of some wider birther movement. A quick listen to an online radio show on which Weppner appeared reveals not only that she was more than just “asking questions”, she was an active believer in the lunatic rantings of the fringe dead-ender birther movement. (How Not To Be A Birther, By Kathy Weppner 3/26/14). 

Much of the information that the Buffalo News and I had been using to vet Weppner came from recordings of her own WBEN radio show, as well as materials that she published on her blog “str8talk.wordpress.com”. Up until late March, that site was still intact. After Zremski’s piece, she began selectively deleting certain passages, such as a racist “White Guilt” article she reprinted, verbatim, without comment. Soon, she took the entire site down altogether, and redirected the url to her campaign website. It was, for a time, still visible via the waybackmachineFinally, by 3/31, her campaign had successfully petitioned Archive.org to remove her entire internet archive from its site, and we are now left with not a single piece of evidence that she ever published a blog or had a radio show. Despite the fact that she proudly touts her WBEN radio show on her campaign bio, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any lasting evidence of its existence. (Kathy Weppner: So Proud of Her Radio Program She Deleted All Evidence of It 3/31/14). 

All we’re left with now is transcripts of her several calls to the Rush Limbaugh radio program.  Everyone knows who Rush Limbaugh is – he’s the fascist, racist, drug-addled, misogynist radio troll who spits hatred on a daily basis over the publicly owned airwaves. It was her unbelievable deletion of her entire pre-campaign radio and web history that led me to track down what was left, before she got rid of that, too. 

In 2008, Weppner called in with a particularly dumb theory about how Hillary Clinton was going to get the Democratic nomination because Obama was such a racist who “bathed his children” in hatred of white people.  She also bleated on about a conspiratorial “October Surprise” and other such half-baked nonsense. (Kathy From Williamsville Calls Rush Limbaugh in 2008 3/31/14). That same day, I found a campaign image on her Facebook page that used the House seal, in direct violation of federal law. (Kathy Weppner Violates Federal Law 3/31/14)

April 2014: Kathy From Williamsville’s Calls to Rush Limbaugh

In 2011, Weppner called Limbaugh to vent about how people need to start attending tea party rallies, or else we’d have “nothing left”. Also, her kids are serving in the military to protect things like Chris Lee and sovereign debt. It was a quick and mindless recitation of a couple of dopey talking points generating no discussion whatsoever. (Kathy Weppner: Why Are American Troops Fighting for Shirtless Chris Lee? 4/2/14). 

This one is one of my favorites – Kathy Weppner complaining about how no one from Congress held any town hall meetings in WNY so she and her cohorts could go and disrupt them. Yet she is so deathly afraid of the opinions and pronouncements that she spat when no one was looking, she deleted all evidence of them. Where have Weppner’s town halls been? (Kathy Weppner on Town Halls 4/3/14

Weppner called Limbaugh in July 2008 to ramble off a litany of groups whom she resents.

You know, we have ended up with a society where all the people that work in government, all the politicians, the teachers, the firemen, the policemen, all of our state governments, municipalities, and we are in a very heavily governed area here in western New York, all of them are living inside the castle walls, and all of us, everybody else is living outside of the castle walls. And all of the rules they make protect them, where our people, the public employee, they can retire at 55 here and they live to 85.

Yeah! To hell with our first responders and educators! Good talk, Kathy! (Kathy Weppner on Whom She Resents 4/4/14). 

There was another call to Limbaugh in 2009 – just a month after Obummer overthrew ‘Murrka, and Weppner threatened to go Galt because Barry and his cadres were going to just take everything anyway and give it to the lazy takers, (ostensibly the aforementioned teachers, firemen, policemen, and lazy blacks). Meanwhile, I learned that even physicians who receive Mexican medical degrees can earn a tremendous amount of money here in the United States. Weppner. What a card! (Kathy Weppner on Going Galt 4/4/14). (I posted the actual audio here on April 30th). 

We discovered that Weppner’s rag-tag campaign team includes a treasurer who has . . . interesting taste in caricatures, and “developed” a blatant ripoff of mobile app “Angry Birds”. In this version, we had angry “patriots” killing famous leftists like Al Sharpton and Karl Marx. (Weppner’s Carnival Sideshow 4/9/14)

If you’re looking for a nice yacht, cheap, try Kathy’s! (Weppner Selling Yacht 4/10/14).  We’re also still waiting for Kathy’s Obamacare report with bated breath! (Guns, Mental Health & Fascism 4/11/14)

May 2014: Issues!

Kathy introduced herself to the “girls” of western New York with this amazing video. You see, if women fight for equality, they’re embracing victimhood, or something. (Girls, Can We Talk?(!) 5/11/14)

Mrs. Weppner wrote an amazing piece blasting the Common Core, and calling for the immediate abolition of the Department of Education. Unfortuately, it needed some corrections. (Kathy Weppner’s Common Core Piece 5/23/14).

Here, our plucky tea partyist campaigns quite literally on the graves of our fallen heroes. (Kathy Weppner, Solving All the Problems 5/28/14).

Just hours after a madman went on a shooting rampage in California, Kathy graciously and with utmost sensitivity posted a YouTube video explaining how America was founded on the principle that armed lunatics should have the capability to commit treason at any time. (2nd Amendment and Kathy Weppner 5/29/14)

She then promptly took the video down, without explanation or apology.  She also knows all the things about Ohio fertilizer runoff. (Kathy Weppner’s Clownshoes: Now with Guns and Corn! 5/30/14)

Summer 2014: Infected Poors!

The month of June was pretty quiet.

In July, a campaign volunteer who was also managing some of Weppner’s social media, Laura Yingling, sent an email to the campaign’s list, seeking “not so nice” photos of “vacant homes, urban blight, anything I can use against Brian Higgins on Twitter and Facebook”. (Weppner Campaign Seeking “Not So Nice” Incidental Blight Photos 7/17/14). This led to a hilarious Twitter meme “#HigginsBlight”, showing off all the wonderful things that have happened in Buffalo and WNY since Higgins came to office. 

A few days later, Weppner reprimanded Yingling for this idiotic idea. (Weppner Disavows 912 Blight Exploitation Strategy 7/22/14). 

At the end of July, Weppner inexplicably chose the Peace Bridge as a backdrop to spout a bunch of hate-filled rubbish about a crisis of migrant children crossing the border. She went so far as to Tweet that Guatemala was sending us their “infected poors”. (Kathy Weppner and the “Infected Poors” 7/30/14). 

When the “infected poors” thing made national news and became embarrassing, Weppner blamed the help, (Laura Yingling again), and posted pictures of “Mariachi Kathy” in a sombrero to prove that some of her best friends are infected poors. (Shorter Weppner: #BlametheHelp 7/31/14). 

September 2014: ISIS Fundraising

August was also quiet, but campaign season sort of starts in earnest in September.  The civilized world watched in horror as radical Islamist murderers from the ISIS death cult slaughtered American and British hostages. Not one to let a beheading go by without a fundraising plea, Kathy Weppner displayed her shocking lack of propriety and morality, and did just that. (Kathy Weppner’s Moral Depravity 9/4/14). This insensitive exploitation of tragedy was becoming a pattern for the endorsed Republican candidate. 

Later that month, Weppner touted the fact that she had received a participation award – a prize for just showing up – from some obscure New Jersey-based school choice lobby that no one’s ever heard of. (Kathy Weppner gets Participation Award 9/24/14). The irony, of course, is that right-wing nutjobs like Weppner detest what they perceive to be participation awards and social promotion in our public schools. It makes the kids soft, don’t you know?  

The League of Women Voters put out the results of candidate questionnaires, and Weppner’s was just wonderful.  Any WBEN caller could have written it, right down to the throwaway, casual parenthetical Hitler reference. (Weppner and the Parenthetical Hitler 9/30/14). At least we know she’s a patriot. 

October 2014: Desperation Sets In 

The more desperate Weppner became, the more hateful and odd her pronouncements.

October 1st, Weppner declared that Ebola needed to be dealt with medically, not politically.  In the very next breath, she politicized Ebola. (Cognitive Weppner Dissonance 10/1/14). 

She decided to hammer Brian Higgins for not doing enough to stop the growth or territorial expansion of ISIS. She claimed that you should “change your congressman” because, presumably, she’d be appointed to the very same committees as Higgins, and by gosh, she’d get the anti-jihadist job done! The problem for Weppner goes back to her careful-then-comprehensive scrubbing of everything she ever wrote or said before March 2014. It’s disingenuous, at best, to attack Brian Higgins for past acts or omissions of word and deed, when you’ve deprived everyone of the ability to do the same with you. Certainly if ISIS was such a clear and present danger, Weppner’s own radio show or blog must be replete with warnings and pronouncements about this threat? (How Did Kathy Weppner Warn Us About ISIS in 2013? 10/9/14). 

I highlighted the insanity of some of what Weppner was pimping in this post (Kathy “Purple Penguin” Weppner 10/10/14). She is – and will always be – the Snopes candidate; whenever she mouth some weird nonsense, you have to check Snopes first and determine just how wrong or misguided she is.  Is that who should be sent to Washington as a legislative representative – someone so casually loose with reality and facts that you have to check what she says against an urban legends debunking site

Weppner’s so-bad-they-must-be-joking media allies defamed the League of Women Voters for supposedly succumbing to Brian Higgins’ scary pressure, deciding to not hold a NY-26 debate. The problem is, the local LWV isn’t holding any congressional debates in WNY this season. (The League of Women Voters Would Like Everyone to Stop Lying, please 10/17/14). It’s come to right-wing lunatics denigrating one of the most venerable voting organizations as a bunch of “libtards” and “demoncrats”, because that’s a normal way to talk. 

In a follow-up to the abysmally written “Stop Common Core” piece that Weppner released in May (above), I red-lined an equally bizarre Ebola/ISIS thing she posted on her website. (Kathy Weppner on ISIS and Ebola 10/23/14). 

That same day, as Canada was reeling from a terrorist attack against its Cenotaph and Parliament, resulting in the slaughter of a serviceman guarding the War Memorial, Weppner took that as an opportunity to idiotically discuss Canada’s gun laws. (Weppner Disrespects Canada’s Fallen 10/23/14). It was, for her, typically and shamelessly disrespectful. 

Finally – at long last – we come full circle.  A birther to the last, on  October 26th, Kathy Weppner told the Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski

But there’s one thing Weppner doesn’t regret: her repeated questioning of whether President Obama was born in the United States.

Nonpartisan fact-checking sources such as PolitiFact dismissed that question out of hand years ago, but Weppner said last week: “I think that was a very legitimate conversation to have.”

There’s only about one week left of this shambolic campaign, and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last dumb pronouncement. But given all of the above, it’s clear that you simply don’t let a low-information WBEN caller run for elected office. What vision has she offered, other than poorly articulated, paranoid hatred? The removal of the “str8t talk” archive tells you all you need to know about a tea party candidate who refuses to answer for the things she’s said or done before she was involved in a campaign.  If the stuff she’s said and written during the campaign, as chronicled above, is as bad as that, you can image what sort of insanity lurked in those archives. 

Brian Higgins deserves re-election because he’s a strong champion for Buffalo and WNY. That, and his opponent is not deserving of consideration, much less support.

Caveat: Artvoice does not do political endorsements. Nothing written in this post should be interpreted, construed, or cited as an endorsement by the owners or editors of Artvoice itself.  This endorsement is mine alone.  In addition, because of how prolific Weppner’s campaign has been in putting out horrible things, some have accused me of being a paid blogger for the Higgins campaign.  This is categorically false and defamatory.  It presupposes, of course, that no one could possibly support a Brian Higgins or a Democrat unless they were on the take – an accusation so despicably sleazy that it requires no response. In any event, I do not know whether Higgins has ever paid for an advertisement in Artvoice, nor would I be in a position to know. I am an independent contractor and have no involvement or employment with Artvoice or its advertising or editorial staff. I can also state unequivocally and unreservedly that Higgins, his staff, and his campaign have never paid me in money or favor, ever. 

NY-27 Candidate O’Donnell: S.C.O.P.E. is a Conservative Party Front

Budd Shroeder is the head of “Shooters Committee on Political Education“. SCOPE is chartered as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit issues advocacy organization. It states in its own “about” statement

While SCOPE role is focused primarily on the political process, it is an issues oriented organization.  It does not align itself with any political party nor does it endorse any candidates for elective office.  Our function is to counter assaults on the right of firearms ownership.  This entails providing legislators and executives with timely and accurate information to support sound decisions.

The notion that SCOPE is not aligned with any political party is utter and unadulterated nonsense. Here is what Congressional candidate for NY-27 JimO’Donnell – a pro-gun, anti-SAFE Act – Democrat found out, and has to say about SCOPE (emphases added): 

The Truth About S.C.O.P.E.’s Chairman:

Today a neighbor brought me SCOPE’s ratings and asked why it listed me as a B and my opponent was given an A+. After all, my opponent was “accidently” a founding member of one of the groups that helped write the SAFE Act, and I, unlike him, am one of the citizens who actually owns one of the guns made illegal. You would think on those facts alone, I would get an A and he would get an F. So why the discrepancy?

A few weeks ago Budd Schroeder, chairman of SCOPE came up to me and introduced himself. He came up to me on his own, and introduced himself and asked me not to be too hard on my opponent. “He may have made some mistakes, but you don’t want to dwell on them. Just be civil.” I had always planned on being civil, but I thought it was odd that the head of SCOPE would be asking this of me. A few days later, Budd introduced me to a SCOPE gathering as “a candidate for NY State Senate.” This was after he introduced my opponent as a close friend, whose son Budd taught to shoot his first gun.

Never mind Collins being “snookered” into being a founding member of a group that supported the SAFE Act, he has done absolutely nothing legislatively to promote 2nd Amendment rights. I, on the other hand, have written and shared with SCOPE legislation that would help their cause. So why give him a better grade than me? Because Budd is more interested in helping his friends than repealing the SAFE Act.

That’s not where it ends. I have been saying all along that the only way to repeal the SAFE Act in NY is to show all of the democrats who are opposed to it, which from going around this district, is a huge number. I brought this up to Budd and said he should try to reach out to those Democrats, this was his response:

“I have friends who are Democrats. Some close friends. I am a registered Conservative and like having friends on both sides of the aisle. I am also on the Executive Board of the Erie County Conservative Party. Been a Second Amendment activist for almost a half century. Some habits are hard to break and I don’t want to break this one. Thanks for checking in.
Budd”

By this comment, it is clear that Budd does not want to repeal the SAFE Act. It is the single greatest fundraiser for the Conservative Party ever. Budd doesn’t want that to end. I have sat through a few SCOPE meetings, unlike my opponent who received a higher grade than me, and during it I witnessed Budd and others offer flat screen TV’s to the groups who registered the most new people as Conservatives. That is the only goal Budd has, growing the Conservative Party and thereby growing his influence.

People opposed to the SAFE Act: Stop supporting this man – he is wasting your money.

Thanks for checking in.
Jim

I don’t even get what Schroeder’s response to O’Donnell is supposed to mean. Which “habit” is hard to break? Being a Conservative Fusion Party Shill?

The issue isn’t whether Schroeder showed undue and improper favoritism to Chris Collins. That’s pretty typical for a conservative front group, to prefer the Republican candidate over the Demonrat. Even nominal Democrats who are really Paladino Republicans like Johnny Destino have been the victims of SCOPE anti-Democrat animus.  SCOPE decided to “downgrade” Destino’s score because people supporting him are in favor of gun control. That’s simply pathological

In the meantime, SCOPE seems to have listened to O’Donnell and upgraded him from a B to an A, but Collins gets an A+. I mean, based on what, except party affiliation or Conservative Fusion Party endorsement? It’s all nonsense. For instance, in 2012, Brian Higgins received an A+ rating from SCOPE.  This year, he gets an F and Weppner Clownshoes gets an A+.  Ballotpedia says that Higgins supports an “absolute right to gun ownership”. That gets an F? 

What I want to hear more about is the TV giveaways for Conservative Fusion recruitment at SCOPE meetings. If true, it would likely be a clear and absolute violation of the group’s 501(c)(4) mandate to be a non-partisan issues advocacy group. As for the SAFE Act being a great fundraising tool for the Conservatives, well, of course it is. 

I sent a message to Mr. Schroeder asking him for his reaction, and received no reply. 

Weppner Disrespects Canada’s Fallen

Just a few weeks ago, tea party stereotype Kathy “Infected Poors” Weppner tried to raise funds off the severed head of an American journalist brutally slaughtered by the ISIS death cult

Yesterday, a terror attack was carried out in Ottawa, Canada and details are still rolling in. It’s likely to have been perpetrated by some homegrown death cult wannabes. But not one to let a good tragedy go to waste, Weppner wanted to score political points off the deaths of a Canadian serviceman.  

I don’t even know what that means. That Canadians don’t want to “protect themselves”? That their sane and rational gun control laws render them unprepared to handle some random homicidal lunatic? 

Also, “Canadiens” is a team, “Canadians” describes the residents of the country of Canada in English. 

 

But despite a uniformly negative reaction to Weppner’s poorly considered and misspelled Tweet, she doubled down, as she does.  

Most savvy politicians or compassionate, human people would express sympathy and outrage at the murder of a Canadian serviceman, shot dead while ceremoniously guarding the nation’s Cenotaph.  Not our Kathy, though.  She sees this as part of the gun-hugging cause. 

Incidentally, the closest thing we have in the US to the Cenotaph is the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetary. 

The tomb guards in Virginia, USA carry M14 rifles with ceremonial stocks.  The weapons are kept unloaded. Here’s a message to Kathy Weppner and tragedy trolls like her: 

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

Kathy Weppner is morally depraved, and it’s shocking that she’s endorsed by anyone, except people like Carl Paladino. 

The Borscht Belt Debate

Courtesy WNED and CBS2 New York

Despite Brian Meyer’s desperate efforts to keep the format tight and moving, it was unwieldy. With four gubernatorial candidates being provided with equal time, it seemed at times that Cuomo and Astorino were afterthoughts. After all, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian Party candidate Michael McDermott threw some good ideas at people last night at WNED’s studio.

McDermott liked to cut through the BS and had one of the best answers about fracking; that his philosophy was that it was important to wait and see what it does to the environment, because you’re allowed to do on your property whatever you want unless it harms someone else. For his part, Hawkins gave super-liberals the red meat they crave – single-payer, a hard no on fracking, social justice, funding for mass transit. 

Alas, Hawkins and McDermott don’t have a credible chance. 

The format gave candidates one minute to answer questions that often seemed to run on for twice that time, and then occasionally a 30 second rebuttal. One of the problems with contemporary political speech is that we’re too reliant on dopey ads and sound bites, and this sort of debate-by-one-liner exacerbates the situation. No one watched that and learned anything. It treated us like dumb assholes, and yet again we’ll get the Albany government we’ll deserve. 

Take my wife, please. 

Republican Rob Astorino came out swinging at Andrew Cuomo, and didn’t get an opportunity to tell us very much about what he’d do. Cuomo gave as good as he got. It was a good time, but not at all a substantive one. 

Where did you get your haircut, the pet shop?

Here’s how it went, as it went along. 

Kathy Weppner on ISIS and Ebola

The silly radio lady – our own politically backward version of Mariann from Brooklyn, Kathy “Infected Poors” Weppner – is following up her big May hit, “Stop Common Core in NY” with this doozy that links together Islam, ISIS, and Ebola.

Remember – this is a serious candidate for Congress. Not a joke. Not at all. Now, on with the countdown. 

Kathy Weppner on ISIS and Ebola and Islam

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/243984430/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=true

Paladino’s Financial Stake in Charters

I’m skeptical of charter schools because I believe that they’re being used as an effort to abolish public education in the United States. The only exception is that instance where they’re used in a limited way to save kids from failing public schools.  Since Buffalo has its share of failing schools, I’m not going to begrudge parents finding a way to get their kids a decent education by any means necessary. You only get one chance, after all. 

The Buffalo News details the ways in which Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino has profited from the establishment of charters in Buffaloin fact, he’s the sole investor in some of them. It would be easy (and tempting) to dismiss all of this as Paladino personally profiting (which he does) off of charter schools, and demanding his resignation or recusal from anything having to do with charter schools in the Buffalo system. 

But the real issue isn’t whether Paladino is profiting off of charter schools – past, present, and future – the issue is that this situation is novel enough that the school board needs to clarify its conflict of interest rules. It’s not enough to just let Paladino subjectively pick and choose when there is or isn’t a conflict of interest, there need to be objective and uniformly applicable rules, and clearly defined instructions. It should not be left up to Paladino – a thuggish character who yells obscenities at strangers on the street, like a vagrant

“…I’m totally insane.” – Carl Paladino

As toxic, hateful, and repulsive as I find Paladino as a person and a political entity, I am conflicted about what he’s doing on the school board. I agree with his conclusion about its dysfunction and desperate need for improvement and accountability, and I think some of what he’s done has been positive, bold, and overdue. But the school board needs to be the one forcing Paladino to recuse himself – not only from any vote involving any of the charters in which he currently has a financial stake, but also those in which he has a potential financial stake. He needs to avoid not just actual impropriety, but the appearance of impropriety. 

That means that, while Ellicott Development may be a closely-held private company that isn’t mandated to release financial information, it should live up to Paladino’s political demands that others be transparent and make available all personal and corporate financial information as it relates to public charter schools. Paladino would demand no less of anyone else, if the shoe was on the other foot. Showing this information to a few reporters from the Buffalo News is not transparency – that’s Paladino taking advantage of the public trust. 

In the meantime, he’s controlling a majority on that board, and he’s effectively dictating the school board’s agenda and actions. He’s got his wish with respect to the removal of Pamela Brown. So, he’s all out of excuses, and it would be idiotic to hope he fails. I hope he succeeds and that the Buffalo school system becomes a nationwide model for turning around a troubled urban district. Transparency, ethics, and accountability: shouldn’t Paladino be held to the standards he selectively demands of others? 

I guess we’ll see how that hopey – changey thing works out for everyone. 

Ban the Flights! Which Flights? How?

That guy from Liberia who died from Ebola in Dallas – patient zero, right? Well, so far, there have been only two cases of disease transmittal, and they were both his nurses. The 21 day quarantine is over for everyone else who came into contact with him, and no one else contracted the disease.  There are, therefore, two (2) cases of new-onset Ebola in the US in its history, and everyone is freaking the hell out.  

That’s fewer people than have been married to Rush Limbaugh. 

None of this has stopped craven politicians and their ignorant media enablers from demanding an as-yet undefined travel ban. 

Rob Astorino thinks that the governor of New York can ban international travel? Under what legal authority? Wouldn’t this be something to be decided in Washington, or by the carriers themselves? How would the governor of New York gain access to the passenger manifests that federal agencies maintain? Would the governor demand to place State Police alongside customs or immigration agents at JFK – the only airport in the state with regularly scheduled transatlantic flights? Under what authority? Are we banning an entire Delta flight because one passenger connected in Paris from a west African nation? 

While the WHO declared Nigeria (a west African country) “Ebola-free” yesterday, most of the Ebola outbreak in that part of the world has been in the countries of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. It might surprise you to learn that there are no flights to the US – no flights to JFK – from any of those three countries. The only regularly scheduled flights to the US from that region originate in Ebola-free Senegal, Ghana, and Ebola-free Nigeria. 

As this study by Five Thirty Eight shows, the stricken countries have very few flights through Europe – only 18 weekly flights connect Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone and half of those aren’t operating – so 9 weekly flights that could connect to flights to the US. 

Rob Astorino and other hysteria whores want to ban individual travel between JFK and as-yet-unnamed west African countries, but there’s no state-level authority for that, it wouldn’t work, and it would cost untold money and resources to do the requisite monitoring and banning of flights, and for nothing. If Nigeria can contain its Ebola outbreak, I’m pretty sure the United States  can, too. 

 

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