Chris Jacobs Goes Negative


He strides in confidently, wearing a carefully starched dress shirt, sporting a pair of comfortably relaxed dad jeans. In one, he’s in front of a green screen that projects words behind him to emphasize their importance about what the candidate says is a critical issue in this campaign. In another, the background is pure, virginal white – the greenscreen is a sign he’s holding that he casually flips to reveal different campaign messages. He is Chris Jacobs, the likeable, risk-averse scion of one of the wealthiest, most prominent families in Buffalo – an elitist’s elitist. A Republican who isn’t shouty about it, he enjoys a lot of cross-over appeal, and is acutely aware of it during this year of the Trump. Politically safe to a fault, Jacobs has gotten away with neither endorsing nor rebuking his party’s Presidential nominee. 

Jacobs owns Buffalo-based Avalon Development, LLC, but has been in elected office pretty much non-stop since 2004. First, he spent seven years serving as an at-large member of the Buffalo school board, was Pataki’s Secretary of State for less than a year, and succeeded Kathy Hochul as Erie County Clerk in 2012. 

Jacobs’ political caution and reluctance to be drawn into controversy is well-honed. He avoids running in genuinely competitive, big-money races, and his non-endorsement/non-rejection of Trump is all talk less, smile more. On rare occasions, one can divine what he stands for from his philanthropy, the support he attracts, and his signature campaign issues. This year, for perhaps the first time in his career, he finds himself in an unexpectedly competitive race with an enrollment disadvantage, but a strong record of soliciting promotional pens from campaign contributors for customers to use at the DMV upon which to fall back.

Jacobs’  many years on the Buffalo school board revealed an affinity for charter schools and rejection of organized teachers. Critics charge that charters use public money to set up quasi-public schools that have the flexibility to act as though they were private. Although charter schools can act as a temporary Band-Aid in districts with failing schools, they divert much-needed funding from traditional public schools, which don’t enjoy the enrollment selectivity advantages of charters. Jacobs’ philanthropy includes raising money to send underprivileged kids to local Catholic schools. 

Campaign Issues

Jacobs’ campaign has three platform planks right now – he’s the good guy, striding in to ha-ha joke around about term limits for Albany politicians, and withholding pensions for pols convicted of felonies. You couldn’t find two safer positions, and these constitute the foundation of his campaign. If elected, Jacobs would ensure a Republican majority in the State Senate – the same Republican majority that refuses even to address – actually blocks – the loophole that allows any LLC to max out to political campaigns, much less term limits or pension abuse. Jacobs would have no seniority – how exactly would he push intransigent members of his own party to act against their own self-interests

Yet, for a guy whose entire campaign is founded on an apparent opposition to term limits, he doesn’t act on that principle. Over the past several years, Jacobs has contributed over $11,000 to long-term politicians, including perennials like Ed Rath, Byron Brown, Ray Walter, George Pataki, Jack Quinn, Mary Lou Rath, Sam Hoyt, Joe Golombek, and Mike Ranzenhofer. The most glaring is Dale Volker, who was a State Senator from 1975 – 2010, serving 18 terms. Jacobs gave Volker $250 in 2008; no self-respecting supporter of term limits would have donated to Volker at any time after, say, the early 80s. Why believe his words when his actions – and his wallet – contradict them? 

But on top of that, Jacobs founds his entire effort on term limits and stripping convicted legislators of their pensions, but if he goes to the Senate, where’s his platform going to go? As this astute letter-writer to the Buffalo News notes, “term limits” is Republican sound and fury, signifying nothing, 

That’s an easy promise to make, especially since he knows the GOP State Senate Conference won’t allow that to come to the floor for a vote. I’d say that’s true of about everything he professes he will do on arrival in Albany.

If he and his party are sincere, have Majority Leader John Flanagan and a majority in that conference come here to Western New York and sign a pledge to do just that.

Good idea! Let’s see the Republicans in the State Senate, who have controlled the Senate majority almost without interruption since 1939, run with “term limits”, and withholding pensions from the Dean Skeloses of the world. Term limits won’t happen in Albany, and there would need to be a consensus among Senate Republicans to go along with any plan to gut pensions for criminal pols. They won’t even shut the LLC loophole, so this would seem to be a non-starter. These are perhaps the most banal focus-grouped “issues” one can present. Like tea party extremists like Assemblyman David DiPietro, this is all mere shouting into an abyss. We’ll get to Jacobs’ third platform plank shortly. 

Green Party Raiding & Hedge Fund Money

The local Republican party effectively raided and stole the Green Party line to split the left-of-center vote on November 8th, eroding support for Democrat Amber Small. The Greens mounted a court effort to reject this candidate, and a Supreme Court judge denied that request because the order expelling the candidate from the Green Party was not sufficiently annotated. Green Party leadership is now appealing that denial.

Jacobs’ campaign is enjoying funding from Wal-Mart heirs, who support his public school privatization agenda. Avoiding controversy in his jeans and white background, Jacobs lets the state Republican committee do most of his dirty work for him, accusing Democrat Amber Small – whose ethics are beyond reproach – of somehow being corrupt, without even a shred of evidence. He just attracted an $18,000 contribution from Manhattan hedge fund bad boy Dan Loeb, possibly exceeding campaign finance limits. Loeb is connected with “New Yorkers for a Better Albany“, which is also funded by the Walton family. Alice Walton of Bentonville, Arkansas, in just this election season, has donated $300,000 to “Moving New York Families Forward” – operating out of the same address as this pro-charter organization, $75,000 to “Campaign for a Fair New York“, $500,000 to “New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany“, apparently operated by pro-charter “Families for Excellent Schools“, (Jim Walton gave another $500,000), and $450,000 to “New Yorkers for Independent Action“, based out of a Ballston Spa law office. 

Sure, Amber Small enjoys support from the state’s teacher’s union, which is a political committee funded with contributions from member teachers. But Jacobs is enjoying big-money funding from Park Street billionaires. “Campaign for a Fair New York” received $825,000 from Thomas McInerney of Bluff Point Associates of Westport, CT, $300,000 from Robert Niehaus of GCP Capital Partners, and $300,000 from Richard Cashin of One Equity Partners, and $500,000 from Russell Carson. So much money from such a small number of Manhattan and Connecticut-based private equity and hedge fund sources to influence upstate elections. Chris Jacobs – hedge fund Green. 

New York’s Fair Share : The Poor Don’t Count!

Jacobs’ third platform plank is that he’ll ensure that the 60th Senate District will get its “fair share” from Albany – that New York City tax revenues are properly redistributed in Erie County. Politifact determined that Jacobs’ claim – “[a]fter how hard you work and how much you pay in taxes, New York City ends up getting the money…I think it’s time we have someone in Albany that’s making sure our region gets our fair share.” – was false.  Erie County attracts much more state money for roads, bridges, economic development, education, and social services than it pays into the system. 

Not satisfied to leave well enough alone, in an astonishingly tone-deaf column in the Buffalo News, Jacobs claimed that public aid for our poorest and most vulnerable residents simply doesn’t count – literally. Entitled, “WNY’s ‘Fair Share’ is Support that Builds a Community”, he categorically rejects the notion that spending on medical care, food, and shelter for poor people helps to “build a community”. After describing how Erie County drivers pay tens of millions of dollars in taxes and fees to Albany, which gets “dumped into the state’s general fund”, Jacobs adds, 

As PolitiFact outlines, much of the money we get from Albany is dedicated to poverty maintenance programs. I don’t count those within our “fair share,” and you shouldn’t either. Albany and its New York City-centric policies have crushed our regional economy. As a result, thousands of businesses closed, families relocated for jobs elsewhere and young people fled the moment they finished school. Our local property tax base was devastated, leaving our area disproportionately poor and dependent on state assistance.

This is simply untrue and horrifically elitist historical revisionism. Ensuring that the poor aren’t hungry, sick, or living in squalor is not a “poverty maintenance program” – to denigrate this so is, frankly, disgusting. We will always have poor people in this country – it’s a fact of life in any country. But ensuring that they are treated with dignity and care was not what brought western New York’s economy down from its post-WW2 peak. Any suggestion that the poor caused our downfall is offensive, oversimplistic, and untrue.

Our region was heavily dependent on industries that no longer exist today as they did then. The working classes did not ship steel jobs to China, or wiper blade assembly plants to Mexico. There are myriad reasons for western New York’s decline, and they have more to do with political mismanagement – paid for and promoted by our local elites – than by working people who lived here building and making things in long-shuttered factories. These are the same elites who decided that, e.g., Main Place Mall was a great idea, or that moving UB to an Amherst swamp would be swell, or that closing off Main Street would revitalize downtown. Blaming the poor for the effects of a global economy is craven. America’s post-industrial shift from a blue-collar town into a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy has been slow and acutely painful in cities like Buffalo (and also in similarly situated rust belt cities). To blame the poorest and most powerless for western New York’s long decline is to insult our intelligence. They need more support – not insults or novel “stab in the back” theorems. 

Now, our residents shoulder some of the highest property tax rates in the nation, and the most burdensome cost on local governments and school districts is unfunded mandates from the state. Albany policies have not only diminished our prosperity, but increased our spending. This is never accounted for in the ledger.

Despite comments to the contrary, the status of the Niagara Power Project as a local asset was confirmed by the State Legislature in 2012 with the creation of the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board and the setting aside of economic development funds specifically for Western New York. Other “state assets,” such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, are not held to the same criteria, and revenues stay there. Why is Niagara different?

A Democratic Congressman, Brian Higgins, was instrumental in the local redistribution of NYPA wealth. Before he intervened, it was all squandered in Albany. Jacobs equates NYPA with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; the energy that Niagara Falls generates can be transported by wire to points throughout the state. The services of the PANYNJ, (airports, tunnels, shipping, buses, trains, etc.) are location-specific. As recently as 2011, the PANYNJ found itself in a financial crisis – something NYPA never experienced. People have called for the abolition of the Port Authority for all the standard reasons why independent authorities are little pockets of inefficiency and corruption, but NYPA is different from PANYNJ because they do different things. 

Getting our fair share is about infrastructure, education funding and economic development – state support that builds a community, doesn’t tear it down. It’s funding, and it’s policy. In fact, much of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s rhetoric around the need for the Buffalo Billion revolved around this “fair share” principle, and Albany’s ignoring of Buffalo for decades. Given the positive attention that program has gotten us, I think it’s safe to say we’re happy he didn’t just look at the ledger and say, “Nope, no problem here.”

What Jacobs is saying here is that “getting our fair share” doesn’t count when it means feeding and caring for our the poor; instead, “getting our fair share” is all about roads, and doling out billions of dollars for politicians and developers and businessmen to cut deals so that they can, e.g., avoid paying taxes and fees in exchange for creating jobs, and then whining when anyone tries to hold them to that promise. Ultimately, downstate subsidizes upstate, and I fail to see how providing care for our poor doesn’t count. 

Chris Jacobs’ central argument is that our “fair share” is about redistributing tax revenues to pay for things that matter to upper middle-class white people throughout New York State. 

Jacobs’ Attacks on Amber Small

Someone at the State Republican Committee discovered that linking a generic Democratic candidate with New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio might pay dividends. I can’t imagine that a lot of people in Buffalo are concerned about De Blasio, if they even know who he is. Nevertheless, the Jacobs campaign and organizations supporting him are spending big bucks on TV and direct mail pieces trying to link Small with De Blasio, or to Albany corruption.

These links don’t exist. 

First of all, Jacobs is as much a beneficiary of downstate money as anyone, so he can’t go after Small for taking it too – at least, not with a straight face. Secondly, there simply exists no link between Small and De Blasio – none whatsoever. They’ve never even met. What Jacobs and the Republicans have done, however, is essentially to defame Small and the campaign consultancy firm she retained, Millennial Strategies. Millennial never did any work for De Blasio, but did do some campaign work for a union that was questioned as part of an investigation into De Blasio’s fundraising activities. Millennial did nothing wrong, and is not a target of any investigation. 

But the literature from the NY GOP shows a horribly Photoshopped picture of a woman covering her mouth, and Small’s head is superimposed. It says Small was, “CAUGHT!” – “sending tens of thousands of dollars to a political consulting firm under state and federal investigation for a campaign finance scam”.  There is no investigation, there is no scam, and “sending tens of thousands of dollars” means “hired”. “The firm Small hired is under investigation for their [sic] role in the campaign finance scandal where New York City Mayor Bil de Blasio funneled contributions to upstate State Senate races to try to seize control of our [sic] state government.” It then goes on to parrot this story about Erie County Democrats paying a Brooklyn consultancy firm. 

To call this tenuous is a dramatic understatement.

A Google search of Millennial Strategies and De Blasio reveals nothing about any “scam” or “investigation”. Millennial was accused of working simultaneously for campaigns and the PACs that supported them, but produced evidence that they had erected a wall to ensure compliance with prohibitions on coordination. There is no there there, and to smear Small with this is incredibly false. 

On another tack, Republicans hit Small for attending a fundraiser that incumbent Marc Panepinto hosted with Tim Kennedy. If anyone thinks that Small and Panepinto are on good terms, remember that Small announced her candidacy – and her intent to primary Panepinto – before he decided to withdraw under a cloud of controversy. If anything, Panepinto had to be drawn kicking and screaming into co-hosting a fundraiser for a Democrat looking to succeed him after only one term. 

Jacobs’ Money to Bush

Geoff Kelly wrote about this in “Anatomy of a Smear“, but I don’t think it should be so quickly dismissed. 

Jacobs’ girlfriend, Martina Rehorik, was his campaign volunteer in 2011, and they began dating during that effort. Rehorik was rewarded in mid-December 2011 with a job at the Clerk’s office as a document clerk earning $26,000 per year. She was able to start two weeks before Jacobs was sworn in as Clerk. By January 11, 2012 – less than a month later – Jacobs promoted Rehorik to be his “Special Assistant”, earning almost $38,000 per year. As of July 8, 2013, Rehorik was also running Jacobs’ pen donation program, and by the time she left the State’s employ in February 2014, Rehorik was in a position at the Clerk’s office earning a over $40,000 per year.

As Geoff pointed out, someone in Rochester filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission, alleging that Jacobs funneled funds through Rehorik to the Jeb Bush for President campaign, thus bypassing maximum campaign contribution limits.  On June 29, 2015, Jacobs maxed out to Jeb at $2,700, and on May 28th had given $250 to Jeb’s “Right to Rise” PAC. On July 15, 2015, Rehorik also maxed out at $2,700 to Jeb. 

Rehorik’s only prior contributions were a $25.00 donation to the Marilla Republican Campaign Committee in October 2011, and a $100 donation to Walter for Erie County  in July of 2015. The $2,700 donation seems wildly out of line with her prior giving and reported salary level. Check out the occupations: 

Geoff wrote, 

The biggest problem with the story, which I pointed out to a Democratic elected official who conveyed it to me a few weeks ago, is this: The address attached to Rehorik’s donation is the same as Jacobs’s on Saybrook Place in Buffalo. They were living together. No one was trying to hide anything. If a married couple gave $2,700 each to a candidate, would anyone worry about who earned the money? Or from whose bank account the donations were drawn? Why shouldn’t an unmarried couple, living together, do the same?

The addresses don’t match. I redacted Jacobs’ because it’s his home address, but not Rehorik’s, which is given as a P.O. Box. As for marital status, sure it doesn’t matter, but if the Queen had testicles, she’d be the King. If a married couple gave $2,700 each to a candidate, no one would bat an eye, because it’s legal and allowed. It’s only since 2013 that married gay couples can combine their contributions. Note that Rehorik also lists her employment as “County Clerk”, working for “Erie County”, but she had left that office over a year earlier. What gives? This isn’t just some nothing about a cohabitating couple who should just be treated as married because reasons. 

Rehorik is, individually, perfectly free to contribute the max to any candidate she wishes, and anyone bringing up her immigration status is playing xenophobic games. But there is a legitimate question here of whether she donated her own money, or Jacobs’ money – the former is allowed, but the latter is not. Change the law if you don’t like it, but this smacks of illegality. 

What also galls me is that Republicans are quick to jump all over, say, Mark Poloncarz’s brother’s job at the Water Authority and the Board of Elections, yet when confronted with almost an identical level of apparent nepotistically fueled patronage, everyone just dummies up. It doesn’t work that way. 

Chris Jacobs got his girlfriend a job at the Clerk’s office, and promoted her at least twice. Unmarried, and using different addresses, they both maxed out to Jeb Bush’s campaign, although it’s highly doubtful it was her money. 

Unclean Hands

Chris Jacobs may very well make a very capable State Senator, and he’s certainly a nice and personable guy, but he is neither untouchable nor beyond reproach. Hey, guess what? Amber Small would also make a very capable State Senator, and is a very nice and personable woman. The difference here is that Jacobs and his hedge fund charter school allies have mercilessly and falsely attacked Small, and tried to make her out to be some sort of corrupt career politician when she’s just an average Buffalonian working hard to make a positive difference in her community, and she’s never held public office before.

During the primary, Jacobs and his allies accused Small of illegally using her non-profit’s offices for political purposes. That was a contemptible lie – her campaign bought an ad in the Parkside Tour of Homes program. All this garbage about Bill De Blasio is a similar lie.

Above all, however, Amber believes that all people matter – whether they’re poor and on assistance, or wealthy property developers. She doesn’t draw the line  

The Trump Collapse


Donald Trump debated a caricature of Hillary Clinton that he and the alt-right Breitbart bubble have concocted for themselves. The big headline of the debate? 

That’s really all that needs to be said, and make no mistake – this has no factual parallel with 2000, or any other election in US history. Al Gore wasn’t waltzing around the country 4 weeks before election day, being coy about whether he’d respect and accept the legitimacy of the electoral process. Indeed, Al Gore graciously accepted the results of that election after the mandated Florida recount was litigated.

There is no election fraud that exists in this country with any statistical importance, but especially not to the point where an election could possibly be stolen. It would be logistically impossible for the Democrats – or any group – to do across states. Elections are taken care of by local election boards made up of honest Democrats and Republicans who oversee the process throughout the country. The process is subject to inspection and monitoring by volunteers from any campaign, and there are safeguards in place to prevent such a thing from happening. Our country has had problem-free, fair elections for over 200 years, and nothing about that has changed, except for the identity of one candidate whose campaign is collapsing. Here is a set of Tweets that a prominent Republican election law firm posted the other day

The Buffalo News today calls on the Republican Party to disavow the Trump campaign. What a joke; the time for that passed many many months ago. Racist defamation of immigrants last July was enough for anyone to disavow that campaign, but instead they propelled him to the nomination. 

I want to highlight another reason why they should have disavowed him a long time: here’s Trump’s answer on Aleppo: 

Well, Aleppo is a disaster. It’s a humanitarian nightmare. But it has fallen from any standpoint. I mean, what do you need, a signed document? Take a look at Aleppo. It is so sad when you see what’s happened. And a lot of this is because of Hillary Clinton. Because what has happened is by fighting Assad, who turned out to be a lot tougher than she thought, and now she is going to say, “Oh, he loves Assad.” He’s just much tougher and much smarter than her and Obama. And everyone thought he was gone two years ago, three years ago. He aligned with Russia. He now also aligned with Iran, who we made very powerful. We gave them $150 billion back. We give them $1.7 billion in cash. I mean cash, bundles of cash as big as this stage. We gave them $1.7 billion.

Now they have aligned, he has aligned with Russia and with Iran. They don’t want ISIS. But they have other things because we’re backing, we’re backing rebels. We don’t know who the rebels are. We’re giving them lots of money, lots of everything. We don’t know who the rebels are. And when and if, and it’s not going to happen because you have Russia and you have Iran now. But if they ever did overthrow Assad, you might end up as bad as Assad is, and he is a bad guy.

But you may very well end up with worse than Assad. If she did nothing, we’d be in much better shape. And this is what has caused the great migration where she has taken in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who probably in many cases, not probably, who are definitely in many cases ISIS-aligned. And we now have them in our country and wait until you see this is going to be the great Trojan horse.

And wait until you see what happens in the coming years. Lots of luck, Hillary. Thanks a lot for doing a great job.

Incoherent nonsense. Here is Hillary Clinton’s answer to a question about Mosul: 

Well, I am encouraged that there is an effort led by the Iraqi army, supported by Kurdish forces, and also given the help and advice from the number of special forces and other Americans on the ground. But I will not support putting American soldiers into Iraq as an occupying force. I don’t think that is in our interest, and I don’t think that would be smart to do. In fact, Chris, I think that would be a big red flag waving for ISIS to reconstitute itself.

The goal here is to take back Mosul. It’s going to be a hard fight. I’ve got no illusions about that. And then continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqa, which is the ISIS headquarters.

I am hopeful that the hard work that American military advisers have done will pay off and that we will see a real — a really successful military operation. But we know we’ve got lots of work to do. Syria will remain a hotbed of terrorism as long as the civil war, aided and abetted by the Iranians and the Russians, continue.

So I have said, look, we need to keep our eye on ISIS. That’s why I want to have an intelligence surge that protects us here at home, why we have to go after them from the air, on the ground, online, why we have to make sure here at home we don’t let terrorists buy weapons. If you’re too dangerous to fly, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun.

And I’m going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria not only to help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to, frankly, gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians so that perhaps we can have the kind of serious negotiation necessary to bring the conflict to an end and go forward on a political track.

A reasonable response from any American presidential candidate. Here’s what Trump said: 

Let me tell you, Mosul is so sad. We had Mosul. But when she left, when she took everybody out, we lost Mosul. Now we’re fighting again to get Mosul. The problem with Mosul and what they wanted to do is they wanted to get the leaders of ISIS who they felt were in Mosul.

About three months ago, I started reading that they want to get the leaders and they’re going to attack Mosul. Whatever happened to the element of surprise, OK? We announce we’re going after Mosul. I have been reading about going after Mosul now for about — how long is it, Hillary, three months? These people have all left. They’ve all left.

The element of surprise. Douglas MacArthur, George Patton spinning in their graves when they see the stupidity of our country. So we’re now fighting for Mosul, that we had. All she had to do was stay there, and now we’re going in to get it.

But you know who the big winner in Mosul is going to be after we eventually get it? And the only reason they did it is because she’s running for the office of president and they want to look tough. They want to look good. He violated the red line in the sand, and he made so many mistakes, made all the mistakes. That’s why we have the great migration. But she wanted to look good for the election. So they’re going in.

But who’s going to get Mosul, really? We’ll take Mosul eventually. But the way — if you look at what’s happening, much tougher than they thought. Much, much tougher. Much more dangerous. Going to be more deaths that they thought.

But the leaders that we wanted to get are all gone because they’re smart. They say, what do we need this for? So Mosul is going to be a wonderful thing. And Iran should write us a letter of thank you, just like the really stupid — the stupidest deal of all time, a deal that’s going to give Iran absolutely nuclear weapons. Iran should write us yet another letter saying thank you very much, because Iran, as I said many years ago, Iran is taking over Iraq, something they’ve wanted to do forever, but we’ve made it so easy for them.

So we’re now going to take Mosul. And do you know who’s going to be the beneficiary? Iran. Oh, yeah, they’re making — I mean, they are outsmarting — look, you’re not there, you might be involved in that decision. But you were there when you took everybody out of Mosul and out of Iraq. You shouldn’t have been in Iraq, but you did vote for it. You shouldn’t have been in Iraq, but once you were in Iraq, you should have never left the way.

Wag the dog! We lost Mosul when we turned over sovereignty and security to Iraq! Iran! Here’s a guy who never served a day in the military due to heel spurs questioning the military strategy of actual generals. What “element of surprise”? No one would have noticed a massive build-up of troops and weaponry on the approaches to a major Iraqi city under occupation? This incomprehensible word salad makes Sarah Palin seem like Jonathan Swift by comparison. 

There was Trump refusing to acknowledge the opinion of America’s own intelligence agencies, which is chilling: 

TRUMP: Putin from everything I see has no respect for this person.

CLINTON: Well, that’s because he would rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet. You’re the puppet.

CLINTON: It is pretty clear you won’t admit the Russians have engaged in cyber attacks against the United States of manager. That you encouraged espionage against our people. That you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do. And that you continue to get help from him because he has a very clear favorite in this race. So I think that this is such an unprecedented situation. We’ve never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election. We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the kremlin. And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing. And I think it is time —

TRUMP: She has no idea whether it is Russia, China or anybody else.

CLINTON: I am not quoting myself. I am quoting 17, 17 — do you doubt?

TRUMP: Our country has no idea.

CLINTON: He would rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us. I find that just absolutely –

TRUMP: She doesn’t like Putin because Putin has outsmarted her at every step of the way. Excuse me. Putin has outsmarted her in Syria.

This is the key exchange, however: 

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, I want to ask you about one last question in this topic. You have been warning at rallies recently that this election is rigged and that Hillary Clinton is in the process of trying to steal it from you.

Your running mate, Governor Pence, pledged on Sunday that he and you — his words — “will absolutely accept the result of this election.” Today your daughter, Ivanka, said the same thing. I want to ask you here on the stage tonight: Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely — sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?

TRUMP: I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I’ll look at it at the time.

What I’ve seen — what I’ve seen is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt, and the pile-on is so amazing. The New York Times actually wrote an article about it, but they don’t even care. It’s so dishonest. And they’ve poisoned the mind of the voters.

But unfortunately for them, I think the voters are seeing through it. I think they’re going to see through it. We’ll find out on November 8th. But I think they’re going to see through it.

WALLACE: But, sir, there’s…

TRUMP: If you look — excuse me, Chris — if you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people that are registered to vote — millions, this isn’t coming from me — this is coming from Pew Report and other places — millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote.

So let me just give you one other thing. So I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people — tell you one other thing. She shouldn’t be allowed to run. It’s crooked — she’s — she’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run.

And just in that respect, I say it’s rigged, because she should never…


TRUMP: Chris, she should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with e-mails and so many other things.

WALLACE: But, sir, there is a tradition in this country — in fact, one of the prides of this country — is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you’re necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?

TRUMP: What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. OK?

CLINTON: Well, Chris, let me respond to that, because that’s horrifying. You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him.

That is horrifying indeed. 

As much as we hear about how the media is somehow colluding with the Clinton campaign to promote her and take Trump out, Trump’s rise was driven wholly by free media. He is a media construct. He loved them when he was coming up, but now that his racist, ignorant, uninformed, amateur-hour shtick leaves him quite evidently unqualified for any elected office, anywhere, he claims the process is “rigged”. 

Towards the end of the debate, Trump interrupted Clinton while she was speaking, leaned into the microphone and said she was a “nasty woman”: 

Well, Chris, I am on record as saying that we need to put more money into the Social Security Trust Fund. That’s part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it. But what we want to do is to replenish the Social Security Trust Fund…

TRUMP: Such a nasty woman.

CLINTON: … by making sure that we have sufficient resources, and that will come from either raising the cap and/or finding other ways to get more money into it. I will not cut benefits. I want to enhance benefits for low-income workers and for women who have been disadvantaged by the current Social Security system.

But what Donald is proposing with these massive tax cuts will result in a $20 trillion additional national debt. That will have dire consequences for Social Security and Medicare.

Red meat for the Breitbart bubble, and within minutes, a Clinton supporter registered the domain which redirects to Clinton’s website. 

Two things: 1. SNL is going to be lit this weekend; and 2. You built this, Erie County GOP. You own this, Nick, Carl, and Chris. Good job. Nice work. 

Paladino Can’t Sue School Board Members


Buffalo activists held a demonstration Wednesday night demanding that Carl Paladino be removed from the Buffalo School Board as a result of his defense of Donald Trump’s sexual assault admissions. Paladino defended himself to Time Warner Cable News

I do not sanction sexual abuse. I do not sanction rape,” said Paladino.

Paladino says he enjoys his job on the board and has no plans to step down.

“People will not like, necessarily, what I have to say, but I’m a person who is trying to get my arms around a totally dysfunctional school district which is not performing,” Paladino said.

Aw, that’s nice. Let’s read on. 

Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold and members Sharon Belton Cottman, Theresa Harris-Tigg, and Hope Jay released a statement asking Paladino to acknowledge that words matter, and students are watching.

“We should be the models of behavior as outlined in the district’s code of conduct that we expect of and require of our students,” Nevergold said during Wednesday’s meeting.

Paladino says he never supported the context of what Trump said, but reiterated that that kind of language was commonly used when bragging about sexual prowess.

“I warned you about that and I warned you about bringing it up, so I’m gonna end up suing you for defamation, in addition to the others who brought this thing,” Paladino said to Nevergold following her remarks. 

Get this? Other members of the school board asked Carl Paladino to behave like a responsible adult, and he threatens to sue them, “for defamation”. 

Here’s the thing, Carl. You’re a lawyer, after all. You should know that Nevergold, Cottman, Harris-Tigg, and Jay are all immune from any lawsuit you might want to bring against them for defamation within the context of a board meeting. It’s black-letter law and any such lawsuit would be wholly frivolous. The board members enjoy absolute legislative immunity. Stepien v. Schaubert, et al, 424 Fed. Appx. 46, (2d Cir. 2011) citing Lombardo v. Stoke, 18 N.Y.2d 394, 400 (1966); Allan & Allan Arts Ltd. v. Rosenblum, 615 N.Y. S.2d 410, 412 (2d Dep’t 1994). 

So, go for it, I guess. 

Chris Collins: He-Man Culture Warrior


To paraphrase a line from Hamilton, well, you’re never gon’ be secret’ry now. 

The local axis of Donald Trump sycophant/enablers stands steadfastly by its man. Nick Langworthy, Chris Collins, Carl Paladino have no problem with anything that Trump has said or done. Muslims, Mexicans, Immigrants, women, Miss Teen USA contestants, Apprentice sound guys, Miss Universe winners, Gold Star Parents, a native-born federal judge of Mexican descentfallen soldiers, veterans with PTSD – there seems literally not to exist a person or group that Donald Trump won’t demean and degrade, and there exists a concomitant bottomless pit of resulting delight from his core supporters. 

To Trump’s cult, degradation and insult are added value, not a flaw. 

You can’t be surprised, though. Langworthy doesn’t react because no one in the local press corps asks him to. Collins? On October 12th, he’s reportedly doubling down on his support of Trump, despite saying on October 8th that Trump’s admission of sexual assault was, “frankly unacceptable”. Well, clearly it’s acceptable, after all. I would guess that the difference in Collins’ attitude and tone has to do with admonitions from the Trump campaign and its perimeter guards like Carl Paladino, who just a year ago quite literally went out of his way to defend a guy caught on tape calling the Mayor of the City of Buffalo and other local African-American politicians, “nigger”. 

What we’re left with, America, is a situation where the guy who boasted to Billy Bush about how he makes unwanted sexual advances and assaults on women still finds support for his Presidential bid, while Billy Bush is fired from NBC for laughing at them. 

At the Tire Fire 2nd Presidential Debate last Sunday, Anderson Cooper asked Trump whether he had actually committed the sex assault he bragged about. Trump denied it. That prompted more of his victims to finally come out and tell their stories. A former Miss Teen USA Kamie Crawford tweetstormed a disturbing story about Trump’s racist attitude towards Black people. Two separate women, Rachel Crooks and Jessica Leeds, went to the New York Times, explaining in detail how Trump groped them. Mindy McGillivray told the Palm Beach Post that Trump grabbed her buttocks while she was working as a photographer’s assistant at Mar-a-Lago. Other Miss Teen USA contestants, including Tasha Dixon, told the press how Trump would barge into the dressing room while girls as young as fifteen were naked, according to former contestant Mariah Billado. Indeed, Trump boasted of this inappropriate dressing room conduct to Howard Stern. People Magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff wrote that, “We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.” The next morning, Trump arranged for Stoynoff to have a massage in a fully booked facility, and skulked around, lying in wait. She passed on the massage. Finally, to turn the creep factor up a bit, a 46 year-old Trump commented about how he would be dating a passing 10 year-old girl in 10 years

The timing? These women are coming forward because Trump lied in response to a direct question about whether he had engaged in this sort of sexually aggressive, assaultive, indecent, and improper conduct. He denied it, and they’re going to tell their stories. 

So, after being appropriately admonished, Trump’s first congressional backer – the guy who wants to be Secretary of Commerce – is today quite adamant about his continued support for Trump. Let’s start with this startling admission: 

Collins said he has not had talks with the Trump campaign in the wake of The Washington Post story that exposed that 2005 video where Trump spoke crudely about women.

But when asked, Collins went on CNN and the Fox Business Network to defend the candidate after the video surfaced.

Collins did so even though he’s never seen the full video that caused the controversy. Instead, he said he’s heard snippets of it and read full accounts of it in the news media.

Asked why he had not seen the full video, Collins said: “Because I’d rather watch ‘American Pickers,’ ” a reality show on the History Channel that documents the travels of two antique collectors.

That’s Collins’ favorite show, but as for the controversial Trump video, Collins said: “I had no reason to see it.”

He never saw the tape he was defending. Never heard it. Went on TV, and talks to Jerry Zremski from the Buffalo News about how he continues to support Donald Trump even after the release of a tape he knows nothing about. 

The litmus test for finding fault with Trump’s comments is merely, “decency”. So, setting that aside, Collins has daughters, a wife. If someone talked of them this way, would he feel differently? “I did try and fuck her. She was married…I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look…Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Zremski continues,

Collins was combative, dismissing Trump’s comments in the video as mere words and, like Trump, contrasting them to the actual sexual indiscretions that resulted in the impeachment of Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Got that? Bill Clinton is a womanizer, therefore two wrongs make a right. 


“I was concerned” upon hearing about the video, the Clarence congressman said in a phone interview. “They were inappropriate words, to say the least, and I’ve said that. I needed to hear Donald Trump apologize, and he did.”

The relevant text of Trump’s apology: “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.” I think the Howard Stern tapes reveal these words to exactly reflect who he is. I think his vitriol towards any woman who criticizes him – Rosie O’Donnell, Alicia Machado, Megyn Kelly – reveals exactly who he is.  

Moreover, Collins noted that Trump said he never actually touched a woman the way he described in the video. “He didn’t do it,” Collins said. “He said he didn’t do it. But we do know that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted women.”

What? The woman against whom Trump made these advances has been identified as Nancy O’Dell of Access Hollywood. But again: if it’s bad when Bill Clinton does it, doesn’t it follow that it’s bad when Donald Trump does it? (And he’s very much alleged to have done it – not just to adults, but to juveniles.) After bringing up Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky, Collins makes the failed connection to Hillary Clinton: 

“Bill Clinton preyed on women for decades with her (Hillary Clinton), frankly, acting as his enabler,” said Collins, dubbing the Democratic nominee “a phony feminist.”

That was just part of a tirade Collins launched against Hillary Clinton – about her role as secretary of state during the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and a host of other instances throughout her career.

“She’s had 30 years of abject failure in every job she’s held,” Collins said. “The country can’t survive four years of Hillary Clinton as president.”

That’s what they said about the first four years of Obama. 

And the second four. 

It’s a lie.

It’s just propaganda uttered by another Washington insider career politician. Collins just wants the cabinet post he’ll never, ever get. Here’s the pitch: 

Trump is the “change agent” Washington needs to bring back jobs, to secure America’s borders and to get tough on Russia, Collins said.

Challenged about Trump’s praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Collins dismissed the question as “a liberal bullshit line,” and threatened to hang up.

At the Commander-in-Chief Forum in September

I’ve already said [Putin] is very much of a leader. The man has very strong control over his country. You can say, “Oh, isn’t that a terrible thing,” I mean, the man has very strong control over his country. Now it’s a very different system, and I don’t happen to like the system, but certainly in that system he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.

At various other times

[Putin is] “doing a great job” in “rebuilding Russia,”and “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin.” After Putin called Trump a “talented person” last year, he returned the favor: “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”

It may be a “liberal bullshit line”, but it’s also one that apparently concerns the cadres at the National Review

Here are some more examples of Chris Collins’ Presidential candidate heaping praise on a neo-fascist authoritarian dictator

  • October 2007: “I mean this guy has done—whether you like him or don’t like him—he’s doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period.”
  • June 2013: “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow—if so, will he become my new best friend?”
  • March 2014: “I believe Putin will continue to re-build the Russian Empire. He has zero respect for Obama or the U.S.!” Also: “Putin has become a big hero in Russia with an all time high popularity. Obama, on the other hand, has fallen to his lowest ever numbers. SAD”
  • May 2014: “I was in Russia, I was in Moscow recently and I spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer, and we had a tremendous success.”
  • October 2015: (Re: the downing of MH17), “They say it wasn’t them,” he says. “It may have been their weapon, but they didn’t use it, they didn’t fire it, they even said the other side fired it to blame them. I mean to be honest with you, you’ll probably never know for sure.”
  • December 2015: “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader. Unlike what we have in this country.”
  • July 2016: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he says during a news conference. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Finally, as to the criticism that Donald Trump insulted the Gold Star Khan family, Collins reveals,

It makes my skin crawl when I hear people say that Donald Trump insulted a Gold Star family, that he’s best friends with Vladimir Putin,” Collins said, referring to the family of the late Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq.

Well, then it must make his skin crawl a lot. Here’s what Sen. John McCain said about the Khans in response to Donald Trump’s unhinged, insane defamation of them:

“It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party,” McCain said. “While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us. Lastly, I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation — and he will never be forgotten.”

And Senator Lindsey Graham

This is going to a place where we’ve never gone before, to push back against the families of the fallen. There used to be some things that were sacred in American politics — that you don’t do — like criticizing the parents of a fallen soldier even if they criticize you.”

Because Donald Trump said this about the Khans

“Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s scriptwriters write it?” Trump said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard.”


Mr. Trump told Mr. Stephanopoulos that Mr. Khan seemed like a “nice guy” and that he wished him “the best of luck.” But, he added, “If you look at his wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me.”


I’d like to hear his wife say something.

The fact remains that Chris Collins and Donald Trump would implement a complete ban – a religious test – on Muslims entering the United States. It’s not going to be a “virtual wall”, and Trump isn’t discussing a “rhetorical deportation” of 12 million people. All of this white identity and race hatred is something that might play well in some pockets of western New York, but is nevertheless wholly unbecoming of a representative who is sworn to serve all the people – not just the white Christians. Maybe Collins sleeps better at night by kidding himself about what he’s promoting. 

Chris Collins is just another bullshit artist culture warrior, deflecting people’s attention from his horrific record as County Executive and his worthless, achievement-free time moistening a seat in the House. Here’s something else Collins wants: a ban on all abortion, even when the life of the mother is at risk, or where the pregnancy is the result of the kind of rape that his candidate Donald Trump stands accused. Collins’ opponent, Democrat Diana Kastenbaum, characterizes this as Chris Collins’ “war on women”. 

Kastenbaum, by contrast, had this to say about Trump’s boasts of sexual assault, 

I am sickened by the comments that have been made by Donald Trump regarding women. They have also been reinforced by his surrogates who continue to defend him and his misogynistic old boys’ club. Even my opponent, Rep. Chris Collins (R), stands by his man.

There is a particular type of ugliness when women are made fun of, degraded and dismissed. However, we shouldn’t be surprised because we’ve seen it before throughout Donald Trump’s campaign. What is most disturbing though is the merry band of men and women who support him and echo his words. Some may not say it out loud, but their very support of him speaks volumes.

He crossed the line years ago when he accused President Obama of not being a U.S. citizen. He crossed the line when he called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. He crossed the line when he mocked a disabled reporter. He crossed the line when he said John McCain was not a hero and that POWs were not heroes because they allowed themselves to be captured. He crossed the line when he disparaged a Gold Star family. And yet, his defenders tried to tell us how we misinterpreted or misread his statements. We waited patiently for the press and media to question him, call him out on his bigotry and prejudices, but the lies kept coming and his surrogates kept getting their sound bites.

Now the attack is on all women – our daughters, our mothers, our grandmothers. Finally people are getting angry and saying they have crossed the line for the last time. But have they? Mr. Collins has not. In spite of the now growing list of Republicans saying they cannot support a President who says such things, Mr. Collins has said “there is no change in my support of Mr. Trump as our nominee”.

This latest degradation of women should offend everyone, even Chris Collins, and it is amongst a long list of abusive behavior. I am a Mom who has a daughter. My instinct is to immediately try and shield her from these horrible comments, just as my Mother would have done for me and my grandmother before her. I ask myself, “who brought this man up?” Who raises these people to hate women so?

Mr. Trump and Mr. Collins, women are 51% of the population and we vote. We are married to men who respect their wives, their mothers, their daughters and they vote. We have sons and daughters whom we have brought up to be fair, open, non-prejudiced, wonderful human beings who want a better world without bullies, bigots and misogynists and they vote too.

The time has come for all the voters in NY27 to take a long, hard and unbiased look at the candidates and when you cast your vote I hope you take into consideration the kind of country you want to leave to your children. It has to be about issues, but it must also be about a person’s character as well. We should all keep in mind the words of Billy Graham, “when wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.”

It’s not exactly a war on just women. It’s a war on decency. I guess there’s not much more to expect from guys like Chris Collins, who casually demand a “lap dance” from prominent businesswomen. Trump and his cult have crossed too many “lines” to count, and all of it – in the aggregate – would have destroyed a thousand campaigns. 

I’ll pass along another anecdote about what kind of world Donald Trump is enabling – breathing new life into racial animus and white supremacy. Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year – began at sundown on October 2nd. After services, Diana Kastenbaum exited Temple Emanu-El on Bank Street in Batavia before her husband and daughter to get in the car, and she heard unusually loud male voices coming from a house on the street. As the Kastenbaums pulled into the street, they heard someone shout “Heil Hitler” at them.  Shocked, they drove to the corner and decided to come back down the street again.  As their car approached the house from where the epithet came, there were two or three men sitting on a darkened porch.  Someone on that porch shouted, “Heil Hitler” at the Kastenbaums two more times, very loudly. They stopped in front of the house and rolled down the window and Kastenbaum’s husband, Hiram Kasten, said, “what’s up with that?”  The anti-Semites on the porch immediately backed down and said, “we didn’t mean anything by it”.  Kasten then said, “why don’t you come out here to the street and let’s talk about that”.  They said again, “we didn’t mean anything by it”.  Kasten yelled at them that it was against the law and anti-Semitic.  They did not say anything else and the family drove home. 

People like the Batavia porch nazis that Kastenbaum’s family had to endure after New Year’s services have become emboldened by Donald Trump and his appeals to white resentment, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and race hate. It’s called the “Trump Effect” and it’s polluting the country. 

It’s producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported.

Other students have been emboldened by the divisive, often juvenile rhetoric in the campaign. Teachers have noted an increase in bullying, harassment and intimidation of students whose races, religions or nationalities have been the verbal targets of candidates on the campaign trail.

Carl Paladino can defend misogyny, sexual assault, and racism yet still be elected to a school board in western New York. Chris Collins can pretty much do whatever he wants and be Congressman for life. Let’s at least try and make a dent on the latter. Contribute to Diana Kastenbaum, a CEO running for the NY-27 seat. Like most of us, she has the common sense to know right-wing apologia for sexual assault, racism, and abject contempt for everything America stands for. Freedom, opportunity, and a new nation of immigrants striving together to do the right thing even in difficult times.

Trump’s Moral Bankruptcy


This isn’t a bankruptcy he can discharge with other people’s money. 

At long last, a line appears to have been crossed with Donald Trump’s own boastful admission about his propensity to engage in sexual predation and unwanted advances towards women. On top of that, CNN revealed some excerpts of Trump interviews with Howard Stern that likely made for great radio, but the content of which is wholly unbecoming a serious political candidate. Every indication is that there is more – much more and possibly much worse – to come. 

The Trump campaign’s response is to claim that this was all “locker room” banter, and to try and pivot to Bill Clinton’s own history of sexual predation. The key difference is that Bill’s sexual predilections were litigated ad nauseum throughout the 1990s; Trump’s have never been relevant to a national political audience until now. To most, Hillary Clinton was one of the victims of Bill Clinton’s womanizing – not an enabler or proximate cause. Right-wing provocateurs claim now that she was somehow worse than her husband; that she viciously dealt with Clinton’s accusers in some poorly sourced and mostly false ways. 

This is the Breitbart wing of the Republican Party having its day in the light. The problem is, that light isn’t coming from the sun. 

For years, the extreme right wing – call them the tea party or whatever – have lamented that the Republican presidential candidate behaved presidentially; they slammed John McCain and Mitt Romney for not behaving more like they. The tea party came into existence in the wake of President Obama’s election as the global economy was in freefall. Things like the stimulus, cash for clunkers, and Obamacare signaled for this constituency that Obama wasn’t a real American, but instead a “globalist” or “socialist” Manchurian candidate hell-bent on destroying this country. Now, they’re literally claiming that Hillary Clinton is a “demon” – literally a supernatural being from hell, because such a thing apparently exists – and that, if elected, she intends to destroy the world. At the debate on Sunday, Donald Trump – the Republican presidential nominee – called Hillary Clinton “the devil” and said she has, “tremendous hate in her heart“. 

That is the foundation of the slimy pit, the mud and mire, occupied by right-wing talk radio, Drudge, Breitbart, World Net Daily, and all the other myriad outlets and commentators who push conspiracy theories about, e.g., Agenda 21, FEMA camps, 9/11 trutherism, and President Obama’s birth certificate. Before the internet, these people occupied the political fringes, relying on pamphlets and short wave radio to spread conspiratorial lies. In the waning days of the Reagan Administration, Rush Limbaugh breathed new life into this world, and when Bill Clinton was elected, it grew like a weed. It saw the advent of the militia movement and conspiracy theories galore; the Clinton “body count” and how anyone with a (D) after their name was coming for everyone’s guns. Fox News, ultimately, mainstreamed the fringe. 

The right-wing tea party extremist fringe used to be something the Republican Party could control. Not anymore. Apologists for this new phenomenon like to say that this is a reactionary jettisoning of the Washington (and other) elites. Not so much. This isn’t about regular folks taking their country back – that was what Bernie Sanders‘ movement was about. Trump’s may be anti-elite, but that’s masks an ugly movement founded on hatred – of immigrants and minorities, and based on fear of pretty much everything. Real leaders would take people’s economic insecurities and channel them into positive change; demagogues direct them towards rage. 

Late last week, audio emerged of Donald Trump talking to Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush, discussing his technique and prowess with respect to committing sexual assault. From the New York Times

Unknown: She used to be great. She’s still very beautiful.

Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.

Unknown: Whoa.

Trump: I did try and fuck her. She was married.

Unknown: That’s huge news.

Trump: No, no, Nancy. No, this was [unintelligible] — and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.

She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture —

I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.

Billy Bush: Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit. In the purple.

Trump: Whoa! Whoa!

Bush: Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!


Trump: Look at you, you are a pussy.


Trump: All right, you and I will walk out.


Trump: Maybe it’s a different one.

Bush: It better not be the publicist. No, it’s, it’s her, it’s —

Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Bush: Whatever you want.

Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

Bush: Uh, yeah, those legs, all I can see is the legs.

Trump: Oh, it looks good.

Bush: Come on shorty.

Trump: Ooh, nice legs, huh?

Bush: Oof, get out of the way, honey. Oh, that’s good legs. Go ahead.

This exchange resulted in days’ worth of chaos for the Trump campaign, even compelling the candidate to release a middle-of-the-night non-apology apology explaining that his “locker room talk” wasn’t as bad as whatever Bill Clinton had done. 

At Sunday’s debate, Trump seemed more prepared than at his first outing, but he wasn’t prepared meaningfully to address issues brought up by the undecided voters asking questions. He came instead prepared to humiliate Hillary Clinton and re-litigate 20 and 30 year-old accusations against Bill Clinton. This was the Breitbart gambit – the Roger Stone moment of the campaign; the primal WorldNetDaily style reintroduction to 90s Clinton bashing, and I have no doubt that it pleased Trump’s base of support. The same people who dismiss admissions of sexual assault as mere banter, and stand by while their candidate defames Mexicans, Muslims, war heros, Gold Star parents, African-Americans, immigrants, women, etc. 

As Republican leaders and candidates distanced themselves from Trump over the weekend, the defiant candidate and his cult found themselves like a cornered animal, lashing out in whatever way conceivable with whatever was at hand. 

Locally, Trumpist Congressman Chris Collins had nothing whatsoever to say for about 24 hours after the sexual assault tape came to light. Trump’s first congressional endorser told the Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski that Trump’s remarks were, “frankly unacceptable,” but added: “There is no change in my support of Mr. Trump as our nominee because he remains the only candidate who will bring our jobs back, secure our borders and stand up to our enemies.”

But Trump’s remarks weren’t merely “frankly unacceptable”; they were an admission of a crime. How does a sitting Congressman face female constituents after expressing continued support for someone who cavalierly admitted to assaulting women without their consent and “grab[bing] ’em by the pussy”? This isn’t some one-off “locker room banter”, but evidence of a pattern of behavior

Earlier this year, the New York Times interviewed dozens of women who’ve worked with Donald Trump. Temple Taggart, a former Miss Utah who was 21 when she met Trump in 1997, described Trump behaving exactly as he boasts in the recording.

“He kissed me directly on the lips. I thought, ‘Oh my God, gross.’ He was married to Marla Maples at the time. I think there were a few other girls that he kissed on the mouth. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s inappropriate.’”


“That’s exactly what Trump did to me,” [CNN anchor Erin] Burnett said, quoting her friend. “Trump took Tic Tacs, suggested that I take them also. He then leaned in … catching me off guard and kissed me almost on the lips. I was really freaked out.”

In 1997, Jill Harth sued Donald Trump for sexual harassment, claiming he attacked her and groped her without her consent. In a deposition, Trump’s first wife, Ivana, accused him of rape during the marriage. An anonymous woman recently sued Trump, accusing him of tying her up and raping her when she was just 14 years old. 

Trump’s response to all of this is to say that Bill Clinton is bad, too? Despite all this, Chris Collins supports Trump for President.

Not to be outdone, local alt-right degenerate Carl Paladino went on TV with Chuck Todd and, appearing as what can only be described as a sedated, scheming right-wing Teddy Ruxpin, spouted rote recitations of far-out conspiracy theories. FBI Director Comey suppressed evidence! Benghazi was part of an arms deal Hillary cut to aid ISIS! This man is not a serious person and frankly has no business overseeing the education of Buffalo schoolchildren. 

It redefines insanity. Trump may be unqualified, but Paladino is just nuts. Inexplicably, he’s loving this. Finally! A candidate not afraid to be hyperaggressive! 

PALADINO: (laugh)  You know, it is not a big deal to me.

TODD: Why? He talked about unwanted sexual advances.

PALADINO: Chuck, Chuck, listen for just a moment what matters to me and the middle class of America what matters to me is what Hillary has done to America. The negatives of Hillary. The unindicted felon who, under subpoena, erased tapes, gave Gennifer Flowers $800,000, who we know found out was complicit with Obama in starting the Iranian/ISIS thing, who we know know Benghazi has something to do with her shipping weapons over to the ISIS people. This untruthful government has got to stop and that is a lot more important than listening to Trump talk about women 15, 10, 11 years ago.

TODD: You just talked about Benghazi was about a secret arms deal. You are trying to mainstream a whole bunch of speculation and innuendo, none of which are factually correct here. 

PALADINO: You guys missed it. Do you really feel James Comey did a great job for the American people and maintained the integrity of the FBI?

TODD: So let me ask you this, do you assume that because he didn’t bring charges he did a bad job? Why don’t you assume that he didn’t bring charges because he didn’t find enough evidence?

PALADINO: Oh, oh, he gave Mills a walk. He gave Heather Sandstone a walk…

TODD: is it possible he didn’t have evidence to bring charges?

PALADINO: He destroyed the evidence. Part of the agreement was that he wouldn’t look at evidence was January 15th…

TODD: You are accusing the FBI director of destroying evidence?

PALADINO: The man should resign. The man is a parasite on the American people. He has destroyed the integrity of one of the greatest institutions. 

TODD: I will let you go. I know you are full of passion. But you can’t just do this, throw this out there.

PALADINO: The press is out of control….

TODD:  I will let it go there….

TODD: You are accusing the FBI director of destroying evidence?

PALADINO: The man should resign. The man is a parasite on the American people. He has destroyed the integrity of one of the greatest institutions.

TODD: I will let you go. I know you are full of passion. But you can’t just do this, throw this out there.

PALADINO: The press is out of control….

TODD: I will let it go there….

Carl Paladino doesn’t think sexual assault is a big deal probably because it doesn’t even come close to the equine stuff he’s into. He also thinks that Infowars is news. To the Washington Post, Paladino reacted to Trump’s proclivity for sexual assault thusly

Carl Paladino, Trump’s New York state co-chairman, a former gubernatorial candidate who had his own scandals over sexism and racism, said Trump’s “gutter talk” was something “all men do, at least all normal men.” 

The only people concerned with this are Hillary people right now and the treacherous ones in the Republican Party,” Paladino said. “The people in America look at this and say it’s another day in the life of Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter to them.”

Get that – Carl Paladino says that “normal men” – query what, precisely, he means with that adjective – boast about unwanted sexual advances against female strangers. Remember that Paladino is an elected official in a school district overseeing, among other things, issues relating to inappropriate sexual misconduct. As of right now, an online petition demanding Paladino’s removal from the school board has over 1,600 signatures. Channel 4 got a hold of this faux moralist

“I think I was probably misstating when I said that all men do that. I meant to say a great deal of men do that. I think it’s very unfortunate, unfortunate that it happened. I think Donald Trump apologized. I think in 99 percent of the cases, it’s exaggerated.”

The petition also references the proposed gender identity policy in Buffalo schools. It would allow a transgender student to use the restroom and locker room that corresponds with their gender identity. Paladino has spoken out against the policy.

“I don’t think that the notice of parents is adequate. I don’t think we should expose the sensitive and gentle minds of children at young ages. ..that’s what they’re upset with. they have another agenda here,” Paladino said.

The “sensitive and gentle minds of children” are ill-served by degenerate rape apologist Carl Paladino. 

But back to Sunday’s debate – seriously, leave it to these morons to once again transform Hillary Clinton into a sympathetic figure. Trump says that if more audio of him being misogynist or racist come out, he’ll hit Bill Clinton even harder. Trump, it should be noted, lied repeatedly throughout the debate. He is a liar and a huckster trying to argue that Hillary Clinton is dishonest. He is an admitted sexual assailant whose best defense is that Bill did it, too. Trump is a guy who doesn’t pay taxes that pay to make “America great”, makes our allies nervous and our enemies excited. This is bizarro world stuff. 

The debate itself was a contrast in tone and demeanor. On the one hand, you had an intelligent and informed woman answering questions from the audience and responding to challenges from the moderators and the predator with whom she shared the stage; and on the other hand, you had an uninformed man whose only play was to try and humiliate his opponent, and accuse her of being a criminal or worse. 

Much has been made of Trump’s pledge to throw Hillary Clinton in prison should he become President. Rightly so. It is the stuff of banana republics. It is not strong, broad-shouldered American strength, but politically weak dictatorial threats. It’s no surprise Trump so admires Vladimir Putin; they’d be birds of a feather if Trump had even a fraction of Putin’s experience playing this game. Donald Trump is the guy who literally kicked off his campaign by tweeting a picture of Waffen SS with an American flag overlay. One of his first pronouncements was that he would ban birthright citizenship. This campaign is founded on race hate. 

Last December, in the wake of Trump’s Muslim ban announcement, I wrote that his campaign was nothing more than a hate group. In July 2015, I wrote, “Trump is one of about 15 Republican Presidential hopefuls, and he not only threatens the viability of his own brand, but the Republican brand in general. The more nonsense that comes out of his unfiltered mouth, and the more he beats up on the most vulnerable and powerless in our society, and the more he demeans his fellow candidates, you’d not be crazy to think that he might actually be a liberal plant setting up the GOP for self-immolation. Enjoy the ride, Republicans, but remember that whatever Trump’s doing, he’s only in it for Trump.”

For us in western New York, we hold an especial responsibility here, because the Trump ascendancy was largely spawned by our local ultra-right politicians, consultants, and media. Trump skulked behind Clinton like a predator, interrupted her, and otherwise fed the Breitbart beast that makes up his base. He had to reassure them that he was still in this fight, and that he would fight as dirty as necessary. The problem for Donald Trump is that he can’t win with just his base, and polls are showing a precipitous drop in his support right now. Sure, this could all change on a dime, but the trend right now looks very bad for him. That’s why he’s irresponsibily claiming that the polls are “rigged” and that if he loses, it’s due to voter “fraud”. Because, in his mind, he can’t lose fair and square – it has to be a fix. That’s dangerous talk that’s, frankly, un-American. 

Donald Trump is not running for President of the United States. He’s running for dictator of some other country – one without long-standing functioning institutions of state and the rule of law. 

If he loses, after so many years of the hard right demanding that their candidates talk and act like Trump, what will they say next? The only thing happening here is the hastening of the dismantling from within of the Republican Party. 

Racist Letter Proves Councilman Ulysees WIngo’s Point


For the past several weeks, City of Buffalo Councilmember Ulysees Wingo has raised his fist in protest during the rote recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of council sessions. Wingo instead recites a prayer to himself. He began doing this after seeing the video of the homicide of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed African-American man with his hands up, who was shot by a Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer because of aggravated car breakdown while Black

“That could have been me,” Wingo said. “Enough is enough. I’m tired. This country is tired. My people are tired. When is it going to stop? And it needs to stop now!”

Wingo, 36, said later that the Pledge of Allegiance phrase “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” does not reflect the reality for many African-American citizens whom he said routinely face discrimination, racism and segregation in big and small ways.

“Clearly, the flag doesn’t mean the same thing to all people,” he said. “This is in response to every black person who has died without a weapon in their hand.”

It does seem quite astonishing that, for instance, the guy accused of setting off bombs in Manhattan can be subdued and arrested rather than killed, but Black men selling loose cigarettes on the street or for a traffic violation or being homeless or having car trouble end up shot dead, or arrested for sitting on their mom’s porch

This being a free country, Wingo is perfectly within his rights to substitute whatever he wants for recitation of the pledge to the flag. You don’t have to like it, and you don’t have to agree with it. But it’s pure, unadulterated political speech and anyone who believes in the ideals that flag represents – the “Republic for which it stands – should – must – support Wingo’s right to protest. 

On Thursday, Wingo posted an image of a letter he received from someone purporting to be a Buffalo Police Officer. It repeatedly calls Wingo a “nigger”. Wingo wrote this caption, 

I didn’t read your letter– and I won’t. But I’ll have my very resourceful and loving residents of Buffalo read this letter for me. My staff DID inform me that you are law enforcement. You, SIR, are the reason I won’t stop protesting. If my fist in the air offends you, then YOU readily need to take an immediate introspective analysis of your life.

Now, to my black, brown, and white WNY family who acknowledges the need for me to keep going… JOIN ME in council chambers on October 18th at 2:00pm and show this —- how Buffalo will lead the nation in showing unity and solidarity. There’s definitely a lot of work to be done! Let’s get this work!!! 

Here is the letter: 

Cowardly white supremacy in full effect. Racist. Councilman Wingo’s point proven. This person purports to be a cop and walks drives around a town with a large minority population with an attitude like this against the people he’s sworn to protect. Buffalo hasn’t had any police shootings like the ones in other cities, so it wasn’t about you, buddy. Put your fragile white identity away. He even said that it’s not about you. Maybe pay attention. 

As Mr. Wingo says, “there’s definitely a lot of work to be done”. 

Chris Collins Trips on Trump Taxes


When Trump fanboy Chris Collins is challenged by a journalist, he loses his cool. Brianna Kielar pressed Collins on Trump’s taxes. While Collins wanted to talk about how Putin fanboy Trump would be tough on Putin or about all the fresh misogynist energy and new white supremacist blood Trump brings to our polity, Kielar wanted to push back on Collins’ suggestion that only she – and no one else – cared about what was in Trump’s tax returns.

A CNN poll reveals that 73% of the electorate cares. So, Collins and Trump are way out of touch. 

This is really something to watch. Collins quite clearly isn’t up to the pretty light challenge. Some might remember that Collins, too, refuses to release his tax returns, preferring instead to “show” whatever he chose to the Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski and Bob McCarthy. Transparency is anathema to Collins, who is too good to be bothered by the notion of an informed electorate. He thinks that his “competitors” would get sensitive information if he released his tax returns, but that never stopped other businessmen running for office from revealing their returns. This is what Collins said about his taxes and his refusal to release them, and it reveals everything you need to know about his attitude towards voters

“My federal return is probably 25 pages long,” Collins added. “It’s too much for the public to absorb.”

While the electorate in NY-27 may be made up, in Collins’ mind, primarily of innumerate hicks like the Tops store manager who’s “not paying federal taxes”, that’s why we have journalists, who can use tax accountants to help parse the information in tax returns to determine whether our elected officials have any conflicts of interests, and whether they pay any federal income taxes at all. 

On the issue of Trump’s tax avoidance, sure, no one pays more than they are legally required to pay, but that’s not the point. The point here is that this is a person who manipulates what amounts to a bespoke code for billionaire tax avoidance while dumb schmucks like you and I pay until it hurts. Remember: when Clinton confronted him with the probability that he didn’t pay any federal income taxes, he – uninvited – blurted that this made him “smart”. What it makes him is a freeloader. Not only is he such a piss-poor businessman that he lost a billion dollars in the casino industry and real estate during a growing economy with rising real estate values, but his completely absent business “acumen” allowed him to be worse than any “taker” Trump and his ilk have been denigrating for their low incomes and lack of federal tax exposure – the 47% Mitt Romney so casually denigrated in 2012

Donald Trump is awful, yes. His manipulation of the tax code, by the way, doesn’t make him a “genius”, as his surrogates would have you believe. If anything, the genius is his accountant. The issue is that Donald Trump die-hards have their decision already baked in. Ditto the Clinton Democrats. As always, these contests come down to undecided voters in swing states. When a Donald Trump – awful as he is – is revealed to be a guy who not only didn’t pay taxes, but thinks that the reason you and I do is that we’re stupid, that won’t play well where and with whom it matters.

Collins subscribes to the whole maker/taker class warfare. Literally. Chris Collins reckons a supermarket store manager is so privileged that she doesn’t pay federal income tax. That is an actual thing that an actual federal representative said to a TV reporter on the record, on the air. 

Go check out Diana Kastenbaum, the Democrat running in NY-27. She’s a businesswoman from Batavia who doesn’t treat the electorate as subjects or idiots.