Glenn Greenwald: Concern-Troll Fraud


Insufferable leftist poster child Glenn Greenwald finds himself exalting in his role as unlikely scold for the Democratic Party – an organization to which he does not belong, located in a country in which he does not live. Greenwald is, in real life, the sort of blame-America-first-next-and-last commentators who conservatives blame all Democrats of being. 

He has published a missive to his “Intercept” website, where he nags Democrats for, basically, being upset that they lost the election, despite the fact that Hillary Clinton so far as a 2 million vote lead in the national vote tally.  The post in question bears a title that perfectly reflects Greenwald’s verbose arrogance: The Stark Contrast Between GOP’s Self-Criticism in 2012 and Democrats’ Blame-Everyone-Else Posture Now. Do you even headline, bro? 

The thesis, naturally, is right there in the title itself; Republicans critically examined the reasons why they lost the 2012 election, while Democrats blame everyone and everything under the sun. Greenwald, a prominent Putin apologist, uses as his first salvo the Democrats’ anger at Russia’s hacking, meddling, and connivance with Russian intelligence outlet Wikileaks to influence the election. He doesn’t really say it didn’t happen – he’s just hectoring the Democrats for talking about it. Because to Greenwald, privacy is of paramount importance when, e.g., the NSA is examining metadata in suspected terrorists’ communications, but something casually to be ignored when it involves the theft and publication of hundreds of thousands of private emails from and between members of a political party and campaign. 

Here’s why Greenwald is a propagandist, and not even an especially good one, at that. From his article:

This Accept-No-Responsibility, Blame-Everyone-Else posture stands in stark contrast to how the Republican National Committee reacted in 2012, after it lost the popular vote for the fifth time in six presidential elections. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called Mitt Romney’s loss “a wake-up call,” and he was scathing about his party’s failures: “There’s no one reason we lost. Our message was weak; our ground game was insufficient; we weren’t inclusive; we were behind in both data and digital; our primary and debate process needed improvement. … So, there’s no one solution: There’s a long list of them.”

The RNC’s willingness to admit its own failures led to a comprehensive 1oo-page report, issued only a few months after its 2012 defeat, that was unflinching in its self-critique. One of the report’s co-chairs, GOP strategist Sally Bradshaw, warned upon issuance of the “autopsy” that “public perception of our party is at record lows. Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the party represents and many minorities think Republicans don’t like them or don’t want them in our country.”

Check the links and check the dates. It is now November 23rd – about 2 weeks since a cataclysmic election day. Here are the salient takeaways:

1. The RNC’s navel-gazing “autopsy” came out in March 2013 – fully four (4) months after election day 2012, and two months after Inauguration Day. 

2. When Romney lost to Obama in 2012, it was as much a shock to some conservatives as Clinton’s loss was to progressives. They didn’t see it coming. The only difference is that the polling accurately predicted Romney’s loss, but Republicans convinced themselves that the polls were somehow “skewed”. In 2016, the polls were pretty accurate. The losses in the key states Clinton gave up – Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin – were razor-thin, and she is now 1.5% – over 2 million – votes ahead of Trump in the national vote. 

3. To suggest that conservatives weren’t pissed off and engaged in a rage-fueled blame-game in November 2012 is a ridiculous re-write of history. For example, 

  • Ann Coulter, November 7, 2012: Don’t Blame Romney: “Indeed, Romney is one of the best presidential candidates the Republicans have ever fielded. Blaming the candidate may be fun, but it’s delusional and won’t help us avoid making the same mistakes in the future.”
  • Daily Caller, November 7, 2012Romney blasted after loss for not campaigning as a conservative: “Republican leaders behind the epic election failure of 2012 should be replaced with leaders more in tune to the conservative base of the Republican party.”
  • Huffington Post, November 9, 2012Conservatives Struggle To Explain How Mitt Romney Lost 2012 Presidential Election: “The blame game began almost immediately, as Republicans looked to determine how a vulnerable incumbent like Obama had found a pathway to reelection.”
  • NPR, November 12, 2012: Who Gets The Blame For The Romney Loss? The Tea Party Has A Theory: “According to leaders of the Tea Party and others on the right, the reason why the GOP suffered on Nov. 6 is because Romney was too moderate.”
  • Human Events, November 12, 2012: Don’t blame social issues for Romney loss: “Republicans’ post-election loss ritual of scapegoating and finger pointing has begun, and, as is almost always the case, conservatism, and in particular values issues, is getting the bulk of the blame.”

 4. As Greenwald points out in his piece, the Republicans’ 2013 navel-gazing was a big waste of time, because four years later they nominated a bombastic gold-plated man who eschews ever recommendation contained therein about inclusivity and outreach. 

Greenwald concludes, 

But as is true of anyone who wants to reverse their own failures, Democrats need to accept responsibility and blame, and stop pretending that they were just the victims of other people’s failures and bad acts. They’re not divinely entitled to support from voters, nor to an unimpeded march to victory for their preferred candidate, nor to a press that in unison turns itself into Vox or a Saturday morning MSNBC show by suppressing reporting that reflects negatively on them and instead confines itself to hagiography. In fact, this entitlement syndrome that is leading them to blame everyone but themselves should be added very near the top of the list of self-critiques they need to begin working promptly to address.

The time will come to examine what the Democrats did wrong as a party, as an apparatus, from its grassroots to its summit. That time, however, will come soon enough. We haven’t even reached Inauguration Day, and Greenwald expects Democrats – who had to run not only against Donald Trump, but against the FBI, Wikileaks, Putin, 30 years’ worth of anti-Clinton smears, and a Clinton-averse media – to just dummy up about the very real blockades they encountered and engage in a thoughtful self-examination about, e.g., how their messaging didn’t appeal to white working-class people in the rust belt, or how they didn’t adequately exploit rural and suburban grievances. 

Greenwald dumps a bulldozer’s worth of salt into a gaping wound, with false information that he’s manipulated to underscore a finger-wagging spin. About what you’d expect from this propagandist.

“Hail Trump”


Among the members of the Trump coalition are the Klan and neo-Nazis. It’s one thing to read about – or think about – the Neo-Nazi convention held this past weekend in Washington, DC, but it’s a whole other thing to actually see and hear it. Watch Nazi chieftain Richard Spencer “hail Trump, hail the people, hail victory” and question the humanity of Jewish people. 

This is 2016. 

This past weekend, Donald Trump had the time and inclination to take to Twitter in order repeatedly to denounce Saturday Night Live and the cast of Hamilton

Donald Trump has not, however, found the time or desire to denounce or reject – even mildly – the Nazis who literally hail his name. 

DiPietro Spreads Vote-by-Text Fraud


Remember when Donald Trump told his supporters to vote on November 28th? Lots of people opposing him pounced on that error, posting memes to Facebook and Twitter reminding Republicans to vote on that incorrect date. I don’t find that funny. 

I hate trickery like that, because it’s a lie, it’s unfair, and it preys on people’s ignorance. Playing by the rules is better, (which is perhaps a big reason why the Democrats are in decline.) It, therefore, follows that responsible Republicans would avoid promoting or posting false information about how and when Democrats would vote for Clinton. But in the days leading up to the election, a meme urging (more like “reminding”) Democrats to “stay home” and vote “by text” for Hillary Clinton circulated among the less responsible, more vicious corners of the right wing web. 

The meme in question was cleverly designed to look like an official missive from the Clinton campaign – it had the right font, the right color scheme, and looked at first glance to be completely legitimate to the untrained and poorly informed eye. 

As it happens, an elected, sitting Republican Assemblyman posted and shared this false meme to his then-public Facebook page. David DiPietro (A-147) is credited, in part, with getting Donald Trump involved in politics in the first place. He was one of the travelers in the ring-kissing junkets from Buffalo to try and convince Trump to challenge Cuomo in 2014. 

So, this is what this sitting Assemblyman – someone you’d expect to be a responsible adult – posted, 

Spreading this kind of misinformation and lies is unbecoming an elected official. People who act as the people’s representatives should be above petty stunts that would disenfranchise even the stupid. If you’re not in the tea party, he doesn’t represent you – he doesn’t even purport to represent you. Shame on David DiPietro, the seat-moistener who represents guns and stupidity more effectively than he represents people. 

Oh, by the way, 

Burke Proposes Ban on Conversion Therapy


On Monday, Erie County Legislator Pat Burke (LD-7) introduced a proposed ban on conversion therapy. “Conversion therapy is an abusive practice that attempts to change the sexual orientation of a minor from homosexual to heterosexual it is sick and should be against the law,” Burke said. 

Being gay isn’t a disease in need of a cure, and “conversion therapy” is little more than pseudoscientific torture. It’s been shown instead, “to lead to mental illness, drug use, homelessness, self-harm and suicide — especially in kids and teens.” Among others, the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers have condemned conversion therapy as especially harmful to minors. 

In New York, agencies have taken administrative action to protect LGBTQ youth by barring insurance coverage for conversion therapy, and making it unlawful for state-licensed mental health providers to provide conversion therapy to minors. The practice itself is not illegal, however. 

According to Snopes, Vice President-elect Mike Pence once pledged to seek federal funding for conversion therapy while in Congress. 

The allegation dates back to 2000, when Pence was running for Congress. His campaign web site at the time touted his call to add a stipulation to the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, a 1990 law providing funding for HIV/AIDS treatment for patients living with the disease lacking either the income or the necessary insurance to pay for it on their own:

“Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Although he didn’t say so outright, the position has been widely interpreted as signaling Pence’s support for “gay conversion” therapy, which seeks to “cure” patients of being attracted to members of the same sex.

“Conversion therapy” involves, among other things, electrocuting kids to train their behavior, like dogs, to fear and avoid homosexual thoughts and behavior. As recently as this year, the Republican Party platform contained this

We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.

Legislator Burke’s proposed law is, therefore, named the 

Prevention of
Neglect and

Elections Have Consequences: Kakocracy


A few things to consider, as we slowly come to the realization that Donald Trump’s impending kakocracy has nothing to do whatsoever with inclusion or a “coming together” or lifting up the working or middle classes. What is emerging instead is an extremist regime founded on white male rage, victimhood, and resentment. It’s more like: 


Riots & Crybabies

It’s been a long time since, “Sore Loserman”, but a shorter time since this eruption of crybabyism (H/T Edmund Cardoni, Hallwalls Executive Director):


In Portland, Oregon, demonstrations devolved into riots from about Wednesday – Saturday after election day. No one was killed, mostly protesters found themselves wounded, and there was limited destruction of property. The media ridiculed the protesters for not having voted, or being registered to vote; the news equivalent of “haha, dicks”. Obviously, no one condones property damage or violence, but there isn’t some widespread nationwide riot panic – it was one city for a limited time. The remainder of the anti-Trump demonstrations have been peaceful. 

On my social media, Trump backers have denounced the demonstrators as “crybabies”, and the rioters as criminals before then conflating all the demonstrators as rioters (paid for, of course, by George Soros, the Clinton Foundation, the DNC, or a combination of those plus maybe the Bilderbergs). 

But a lot of things that, to my mind, are worse than an isolated riot, they haven’t bothered to address or condemn. Over the past week and a half, I’ve shared these stories on my personal timeline, most of them with something along the lines of a sarcastic, “but some kid in Portland broke a window, though”. 

This one, from an apparently idiotic former Congressman, kicked everything off with some grade-A cognitive dissonance. 


November 10: Racist pro-Trump graffiti in a Minnesota High School

November 14: West Virginia local IDA chief refers to Michelle Obama as an “ape in heels”, Mayor approves. Both ultimately fired

November 14: Actress Emmy Rossum victim of anti-Semitic harassment on Twitter by Trump supporters. 

Many Trump supporters were circulating a letter from a politically correct Republican seat-moistener in Albany, demanding answers as to why a SUNY Albany professor cancelled classes on the day after Election Day. Yet, not a lot of sharing of the article detailing how a bunch of posters went up around UB decrying, “anti-white propaganda” and linking to a white supremacist neo-Nazi website. Of course, as it turns out, the professor at SUNY Albany never cancelled classes and the whole thing was a lie. 

November 15th: African-American veteran denied free “Veterans’ Day” meal at Chilis because some random Trump supporter told the manager he wasn’t a real veteran, despite having his discharge papers on his person. 

November 14th: Maryland church banner advertising Spanish services defaced with, “Trump Nation, Whites Only”

November 16th: Tennessee public official’s Facebook under scrutiny; “One featured a picture of President Obama next to a man in a Ku Klux Klan mask and said ‘The KKK is more American than the illegal president.’ Another post, according to the Memphis Flyer, is about the Obama family claiming they had been discriminated against because they’re black. According to the newspaper, Barber commented, ‘Arrest convict hang and confiscate all assets.'”

November 16th: Man in pickup with Confederate Flag and Trump sticker menaces and attacks Black motorists

November 17th: Gay Florida man attacked by man yelling, “my President says we can kill all you faggots now!

November 16th: Denver woman’s vehicle defaced with graffiti reading, “Fag Die He/She” “Tranny Die” and a Swastika, and some paean to Trump. 

November 17th: California woman wearing headscarf due to a medical condition attacked as, “Hijab wearing bitch” by people who broke her car’s rear window. The note went on to say, “This is our nation, now get the F— out.”

Say it with me: but some kid broke a window in Portland. 


In the meantime, Donald Trump is besties with someone who declares that the Sandy Hook massacre of 1st graders is a hoax

Donald Trump has named Senator Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General

While serving as a United States prosecutor in Alabama, Mr. Sessions was nominated in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan for a federal judgeship. But his nomination was rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee because of racially charged comments and actions. At that time, he was one of two judicial nominees whose selections were halted by the panel in nearly 50 years.

“In testimony before the committee, former colleagues said that Mr. Sessions had referred to the N.A.A.C.P., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.” An African-American federal prosecutor then, Thomas H. Figures, said Mr. Sessions had referred to him as “boy” and testified that Mr. Sessions said the Ku Klux Klan was fine “until I found out they smoked pot.” Mr. Sessions dismissed that remark as a joke.”

Donald Trump has named retired General Michael Flynn to be his National Security Advisor. Former Secretary of State says Flynn has been “right wing nutty” since being forced out of the Defense Intelligence Agency over his “abusive and chaotic management style.” 

General Flynn, for instance, has said that Shariah, or Islamic law, is spreading in the United States (it is not). His dubious assertions are so common that when he ran the Defense Intelligence Agency, subordinates came up with a name for the phenomenon: They called them “Flynn facts.”

…The Flynn Intel Group, a consulting firm he founded after he was fired by President Obama as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has hazy business ties to Middle Eastern countries and has appeared to lobby for the Turkish government. General Flynn also took a paid speaking engagement last year with Russia Today, a television network funded by the Kremlin, and attended the network’s lavish anniversary party in Moscow, where he sat at Mr. Putin’s elbow.

Literally. Here’s a picture of Flynn and erstwhile Green Party candidate and spoiler/anti-vaxxer/Putin stooge Jill Stein lunching with Vladimir Putin and his top oligarchs in Moscow, celebrating 10 years of Putin’s own personal international network of propaganda channels.  

Trump has also retained the services of white nationalist Breitbart editor Stephen Bannon, who decried the number of “Asians” running Silicon Valley companies, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is for all intents and purposes a political cipher. 

In another example of, “it’s 2016”, George Takei, of Star Trek fame is a survivor of the WW2-era Japanese-American internment camps. He is forced in this day and age to explain why it is again that registration and internment of people in the United States is a bad idea and unconstitutional

Meanwhile, Trump holds a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister and his daughter, who holds no official post or position and helps run his businesses, is present. The polite New York Times says this, “raises questions”, but they’re pretty critical questions not dissimilar to issues surrounding, e.g., unsecured in-home email servers. 

Anyone present for such a conversation between two heads of state should, at a minimum, have security clearance, Ms. Whelan said, and should also be an expert in Japanese affairs. “Meeting of two heads of state is never an informal occurrence,” Ms. Whelan said. “Even a casual mention or a nod of agreement or an assertion left unchallenged can be interpreted in different ways.”

Also, while many argue over whether the cast of Hamilton was rude or kind to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who stands ready to assume the office once occupied by thin-skinned murderer Aaron Burr, Trump stands to personally profit from diplomats seeking to ingratiate themselves to him by staying at his hotels. Trump settled the class-action fraud lawsuits and the one brought by Attorney General Schneiderman by agreeing to pay $25 million. Fraud – imagine if Hillary Clinton was similarly situated. We still have no tax returns from Donald Trump – no transparency. He has not divested himself from his holdings in any meaningful way, and the conflicts of interest are myriad, serious, and un-addressed. We have the beginnings of a Putinesque kleptocracy previously unfathomed in the US. 

I don’t see anything being made “great” so far. Only very serious problems. 

The Original German


Everyone’s eyes are on some metaphorical chimney atop Trump Tower, trying to discern whether the smoke has turned white, signalling that decisions have been made about filling various cabinet posts. It is suggested that Trump may tap Kris Kobach to be his Attorney General. Kobach is the Kansas Secretary of State whose recent life has been dedicated to making a misery out of immigrants’ lives

He is, at a minimum, Trump’s immigrant harassment czar. 

To implement Trump’s call for “extreme vetting” of some Muslim immigrants, Kobach said the immigration policy group could recommend the reinstatement of a national registry of immigrants and visitors who enter the United States on visas from countries where extremist organizations are active.

Kobach helped design the program, known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, while serving in Republican President George W. Bush’s Department of Justice after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by al Qaeda militants.

Under NSEERS, people from countries deemed “higher risk” were required to undergo interrogations and fingerprinting on entering the United States. Some non-citizen male U.S. residents over the age of 16 from countries with active militant threats were required to register in person at government offices and periodically check in.

NSEERS was abandoned in 2011 after it was deemed redundant by the Department of Homeland Security and criticized by civil rights groups for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim- majority nations.

So, we’re going to build a billion-dollar wall that can be scaled, and re-instate an onerous, expensive, redundant Muslim harassment program. A program that found and prosecuted exactly zero – null set – goose egg – terrorists

Consider the case of Imad Daou, a 31-year-old Lebanese national who came to the United States lawfully in June 2003, traveling abroad for the first time. He enrolled in graduate studies at Texas A&M International University, specializing in information systems. Daou was a top student and became engaged to a Mexican-American MBA classmate. Returning from a visit to Mexico to see his fiancée’s family, Daou was detained for two months and subsequently deported for his failure to register under NSEERS.

A lawful visa holder went to Mexico for vacation and forgot to register with the Gestapo. Kobach was the author of a law in Arizona that empowered police to demand immigration papers from people whom they suspected to be undocumented aliens. Pulled over for going 35 in a 30? Show me your papers, if you’re brown and have an accent. As you might imagine, it overwhelmingly affected Hispanics. 

The upshot of all of this is that immigrants – illegal and otherwise – overwhelmingly contribute more to society than they drain from it. This isn’t so much about economics or the law, as much as it is about racism. After all, it’s not targeting, say, Irish seasonal workers who overstay their visas. 

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that Trump surrogate Carl Higbie went on Fox News to defend all of President-elect Trump’s plans to harass Muslims, cited the WW2-era rounding up, deportation, and internment of Japanese Americans in massive concentration camps. Higbie is the spokesman for a Trump-supporting PAC, “Great America”, which apparently thinks America was “great” when it violated the rights of hundreds of thousands of honest, hardworking Americans whose only crime was to be ethnically Japanese. When newly minted conservative bogeyman Megyn Kelly challenged Higbie, he said, 

Look, the president needs to protect America first, and if that means having people that are not protected under our Constitution have some kind of registry, so we can understand, until we can identify the true threat and where it’s coming from, I support it.

People who are present on American soil enjoy all of the protections of the Constitution, including the right to due process. When Higbie says we targeted Japanese immigrants or Iranians in the past, he ignores that those targeted nationalities – not a religion. You could have Muslims in America of every conceivable color, ethnicity, and nationality, and frankly if they start going to mosques to register Muslims, all of us should go and register. Everyone. 

Maybe Mssrs. Trump, Higbie, and Kobach could extend their Muslim registry and harassment plans to their logical conclusion and require anyone who professes a particular faith to sew, say, a green crescent into all of their garments so the authorities can more easily identify them. Because if we’re talking about violating the Constitution and registering or interning people due to their faith, we’ve seen this story before. 

One Swamp Drains, Another One Fills


If you think that the appointment of everyman hero Reince Priebus to be Trump’s Chief of Staff is “draining the swamp”, you’re hilariously misinformed. 

If you think that the appointment of Stephen Bannon to any position in the White House is anything short of fundamentally alarming, you’re on the same side as the Nazis and the Klan

If you are wringing your hands over people protesting the election of Donald Trump, but had no similar reaction to the people who protested President Obama as part of the “tea party”, you’re a hypocrite. 

If you are hyper-concerned about an anarchist in Portland, Oregon breaking a window, but don’t have much to say about overtly racist acts intimidation and vandalism, I don’t think your priorities are correct. 

The new Republican majority threatens to privatize and ruin Medicare and Social Security. As many as 20 million people face the imminent loss of health insurance. Planned Parenthood, which provides free cancer screenings, contraception, and other healthcare services to women regardless of ability to pay is under assault. Our closest allies are afraid while our most pressing international threat is emboldened. We are poised to spend trillions more on an already massive military-industrial complex. Trump’s tax plan will not only bring about massive deficits, ultimately expanding public debt, but is designed most specifically to aid the superwealthy literally on the backs of, among others, middle class single parents

While there are some positive things that Trump is considering – trust busting perhaps, infrastructure modernization and spending – on balance it’s a huge leap backwards.

If you think that Carl Paladino belongs anywhere near the West Wing of the White House, you’re out of your mind. 

If you think for a minute that Donald Trump believes Obergefell v. Hodges to be settled law, you’re delusional. 

If you think that Obergefell is settled law, but Roe v. Wade isn’t, you don’t understand the law or the Supreme Court. 

If you think that Donald Trump can locate a potential SCOTUS nominee who would uphold Obergefell but overturn Roe, LOL. 

If you think that Russian meddling in the 2016 election was ok because it helped your guy, you’re not as patriotic as you think. 

More LOLs. Amazing what a week can do. 

If you think that Wikileaks is anything more than a front group for Russian intelligence, you’re not paying close enough attention. 

If you think Trump won in a “landslide”, you should look up what the term means and glance at the popular vote tally from a credible source

If you think it’s scandalous that professors gave students a day off after an election that was called at 2:30 AM, but don’t have much of anything to say about on-campus neo-Nazi recruitment efforts, you’re tacitly supporting the latter. 

If you think that it was ok for Trump to spend 8 years falsely accusing President Obama of being a Kenyan usurper unqualified to be President, you don’t really respect the office of the Presidency. . 

If you think that it was ok for people to protest and label President Obama a communist, a socialist as bad as Hitler and Lenin, a foreigner, someone who intended to destroy America, to depict him as a monkey – or, perhaps, to depict him and his wife as a pimp and ho – but it is beyond the pale and despicable for people to protest Donald Trump, you’re a hypocrite. 

If you think it was appropriate for Van Jones to resign his position as an environmental advisor to President Obama because of things he had once said, but that the outrage over Trump’s appointment of current white nationalist Stephen Bannon is ridiculous, you hold people to different standards depending on which team you’re on. 

If you think it was ok to view the stolen private emails of DNC staffers and John Podesta, but don’t demand to see the official emails of former Indiana Governor Mike Pence, LOL

A few things I’d like to add here. First of all, if you’re going around yelling that Trump isn’t your President, stop. He’s your President whether you like it or not, and this sort of thing is tea party asshole behavior of the highest form. What you’re trying to express is your outrage over the election of a buffoon who, in large part, appealed to people’s worst prejudices and instincts. I agree with you on that point. But just as Obama was the tea party’s President, Trump is yours. And mine. And we have to be mindful of what happens. We have to keep a close eye on what he proposes and what he does. But above all, we have to do what we can to promote the values and ideas which we believe are better than Trump’s. This is how you can best express that “not my President” thing – work to ensure that Republicans control fewer state houses, fewer Congressional seats, fewer Senate seats, fewer state legislatures, and vacate the White House. 

It was announced this week that Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27), who was the first Republican congressman to endorse the President-elect, will keep his seat and merely act as congressional liaison to the Trump transition team. What a shame, two more years of being unrepresented in Congress by an attention-seeking demagogue narcissist. After all, Collins has that seat for life, if he wants it. Ah, but on that point, Collins’ deputy Chief of Staff, Michael Kracker responded, “It also helps when you represent the interests of your district and work hard. But that doesn’t fit your narrative.” 

OK, but my point is that he doesn’t necessarily represent “the interests” of the district. Not all of them, anyway. To my knowledge, Collins – who has been in Congress since 2012 – has not held a single open and public town hall meeting. Hell, even Chris Lee held bullshit “telephone town hall” meetings, but Collins can’t be bothered to go out and listen to constituents who might confront him or differ with him on some issue in any way, in any forum, via any medium. Well, maybe once. This is a guy who is as establishment GOP as they come, playing a make-believe outsider. “I’m not a career politician”, he enjoys repeating, but he’s now been in elected office for 10 years, with only a brief interruption. 

Kracker’s response was, “2012: 72% 2016: 68% I think our constituents are happy with their representation.” Well, I guess about 2/3 of them are. Do the other 1/3 not count? Is he the Congressman only of the 2/3 who support him? Anyway, this didn’t answer my question about when the next (or last) town hall meeting was. Or when the next “Congress on your Corner” is being held. No one answered these questions, either:

Here’s a topic: House Speaker Paul Ryan’s most favoritest nocturnal emission has to do with the privatization of Social Security and the voucherization of Medicare, essentially leaving beneficiaries with poorer service and higher costs. It’s been voted on in the House no fewer than five (5) times, most recently in 2015. Chris Collins of Clarence voted in favor of effectively abolishing the foundation of America’s entitlements for the elderly; this is already his stated goal. For the record, Brian Higgins (NY-26) voted against this. 

Do you figure all of those economically insecure people who voted for Trump in order to “drain the swamp” wanted a millionaire to take away their Medicare and Social Security? 

So, who’s up for planning a few Congressional town hall meetings? If we’re all about anti-establishment populism now, let’s have some fun with it.

President Trump


It’ll be okay. 

If you’re white and speak English without an accent. 

And preferably male. 

So, let’s look on the bright side this Wednesday morning: 

On the bright side, Chris Collins will no longer be representing NY-27. He’s angling for a cabinet post. Look for a possible special election there. 

On the bright side, Erie County went 50-45 for Clinton. Suck on that, Carl Paladino. You couldn’t even deliver Erie County or Buffalo

On the bright side, Erie County Democrats won both judicial seats (although not a win overall), re-took A-143, and A-146 is in extra innings. John Flynn will be the next DA. Locally, party chairman Zellner mopped the floor with his Republican counterpart, Nick Langworthy. 

On the bright side, the national Democratic party will undergo an epic shake-up. There’s an opening for Bernie’s “revolution” here, if it wants it. 

But all the bright points notwithstanding, a Donald Trump presidency is not attributable to any one thing. It can’t be blamed on just racism, just Wikileaks, just Clinton’s own unlikeability, just “economic insecurity”, just a “whitelash”, just Obamacare, or any one thing. It is thanks to all of those things, and many others that we haven’t even begun to unpack. If nothing else, we see how elections turn out when the Supreme Court effectively emasculates the Voting Rights Act. 

How about that Supreme Court, eh? Just think of what a conservative court—Trump may have the opportunity to select as many as four Justices—can do to rights we’ve taken for granted for years. Remember: Trump’s base is all about taking the “country back”. Query from whom. 

I am exquisitely worried, however, for our immigrants, our Muslims, our migrant workers, our women, our minorities, our children, our women, and our LGBT community. I am fearful that we will undo a lot of progress that’s been made on equality and human rights. If we’re making America “great again”, how far back are we looking, exactly? What role will our most powerless, most vulnerable minorities play in Trump’s America? How will the promised withdrawal from the world – the rejection of “globalism” – affect our economy? Our military? 

It’s easy for upper-middle class, educated white males to say everything will be ok. The powerful in this country need to make sure it’s ok for everyone

But as we witness an electoral cataclysm that few people predicted, a vote is not a “message” to be sent; it is a tool to be used. If you don’t get your way in a primary, you use your vote not to send a negative “message” to the establishment, but as a tool to maintain the progress that has been made, and to affect the change you want from within. We failed at that very basic level. 

Not any of us is some special snowflake who can just drop out of the process when our preferred candidate is unsuccessful in a primary. We do not get to demand ideological purity—we don’t get a bespoke candidate who matches each of our viewpoints and beliefs. After all, there’s no such thing. If you believed in the progressive values of Bernie Sanders and rejected Hillary Clinton, I don’t know what to tell you. But, in my opinion, doing so was a betrayal to the most vulnerable members of the Democratic coalition. Sure, the people who actually voted for Trump will own whatever happens under his tenure, but so do you. 

As we “reject political correctness”, as Republican commentator Carl Calabrese said on Channel 2 last night, this means that it’s acceptable now to bully the powerless. To demean the other. To be cruel. 

November 8, 2016


I began blogging in September 2003 to promote the local effort of Democratic Presidential candidate General Wesley Clark. At the time, I was still a registered Republican. I was always a moderate Republican – I had moved here from Massachusetts, and I think Bill Weld made a Great governor. In 2000, I had campaigned for John McCain. The beginning of the end of my time as a Republican came during a debate in 1999 when the candidates were asked,

What political philosopher or thinker…do you most identify with and why?

Frontrunner George W. Bush picked Jesus, and almost the entire chorus line followed suit, except one. John McCain responded that Teddy Roosevelt had inspired him, and went on to discuss trust busting and environmental conservation. Along the way, I switched my party affiliation, because Jesus was a lot of things, but not a political philosopher. I rejected this overt pandering to one subset of the Republican base. 

I always paid attention to politics, and considered it to be the only sport I watched. I blogged about the elections of 2004, 2008, and 2012 and found them to be fun if not infuriating. My writing took me through, to Artvoice, and now here at the Public. But my writing hasn’t come as easily this year, mostly because there is nothing fun going on. None of this has been like years past, and that’s not a good thing. It’s not that the rhetoric has been uglier or more contentious than in other years – political fisticuffs are myriad and frequent. It’s not that we have two ostensibly unlikeable candidates – a lot of people like their choices quite a bit. 

Commentators and the media have talked a lot this year about divides – class, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and geography have all come up. None of that, too, is necessarily new. But this year, the Republican Party and its nominee have made the final transformation into a party of racial identity – white nationalism – based on prejudice and lies. This didn’t happen in a vacuum. This is the net result of an effort that has taken many years, as the American right has transformed its every day into a parallel universe filled with people spouting things that are not true, hateful, or both. One need not go much further than to remind oneself that the Republican nominee is the man who most loudly doubted that America’s first African-American President could be qualified for the office because of his obvious foreign-ness. The only example you need is to remind yourself that the Republican Party nominated a guy whose biggest foray into politics was the racist birther lie, then kicked off his campaign by demeaning and defaming Mexicans, refugees, Muslims, and whatever other group caught his short attention. 

This is all a very roundabout way of saying that politics is broken, America is broken, the media are broken, and the election of 2016 makes me hate not just our politics, but our political process itself. It’s not fun anymore. 

Our country asks little of us by way of patriotism or participation. There’s no draft – just a registration. We have our rote pageants and proclamations. Our country has weathered slavery, civil war, corruption, the depression, World Wars, impeachments, and scandals. We can weather a lot, so while I don’t know whether the victory of the Republican nominee would pose this country some existential threat, here are a couple of things to consider: 

1. The Republican Party is dead; self-inflicted. Suicide by extremism. In a country that has long been governed through compromise and moderation, the Republican Party has finally rejected essentially every inch of hard-fought social progress that has been made since the 1960s. It rejects the Civil Rights act and what it stands for. It seeks to weaken public education, to spend trillions on militarist adventures while starving funding for food, shelter, and housing for our most vulnerable. It rejects immigration in general, and refugees in particular – refugees whether they be economic or political. It rejects integration and the separation of church and state. It demeans women and considers LGBT Americans to be mental defectives. This list could go on ad infinitum. Now, the Republicans in Washington effectively refuse to do their jobs, and have spent the last twelve years trying to thwart the President’s agenda, and to undo the practical effects of a couple of elections. It famously underwent some sort of post-mortem after the 2012 election that was supposed to inform its transition into the 21st century, then ignored it. 

2. My vote for Hillary Clinton is not begrudging, but enthusiastic. I cannot wait to vote for Hillary Clinton for President. Put another way, I am not just voting against her opponent, I am voting for her. Her entire life has been devoted to public service and helping the least fortunate. To me, the most revealing thing that the Wikileaks theft showed was that Hillary Clinton in private is as compassionate as she says she is in public. That is significant to me. Obviously, there was no conspiracy to steal and reveal Trump’s emails, but we know about Trump’s private communications how he talks about – and what he does to – women whom he finds attractive. Literally almost everything you think you know about how corrupt Hillary Clinton is, has been a lie. The caricature of her that has been built by the right-wing and media is a falsity. No one has been investigated more, and literally nothing has come from any of it. She is fundamentally as ethical and honest as any politician. Consider this: only one candidate this year would speak right to you in this way: 

What I’m trying to convey is that this year the Republican nominee has sucked all of the fun and joy out of our political system. I am now even more strongly convinced that we need to fundamentally change the way we select our President. At a bare minimum, we should adopt a process that takes a matter of weeks, not years. We should adopt a process that doesn’t merely relegate a small handful of states to November relevancy. I don’t know what this all should look like, but the system – the process – is broken, like our politics, our media, and the ways in which we obtain and analyze information. 24 hour cable news helped to break America, by relying now on shows where paid shills scream at each other – this is not a valid substitute for information, nor is the emphasis on the horse race as opposed to actual policy proposals. In other countries – the ones where general elections take 6 weeks – the parties put out a manifesto, laying out their proposed program. While our parties lay out a platform at their conventions, no one pays attention and they mean nothing. With all that said, I enthusiastically endorse,


Downballot, here are the races that I’ve paid attention to, and my preferences in each: 


You like Collins because he’s a business owner? So is Diana Kastenbaum. The reasons why I oppose the incumbent are many and varied, but this year he has especially disgraced himself – and us – by so willingly and vocally supporting the Republican Presidential nominee, indeed paving the way for others in Congress to do the same. Diana will work on behalf of the region’s most vulnerable, including our veterans and women. She would be a welcome change for the 27th, where the incumbent deserves to be rebuked, rather than rewarded. 


WNY will vote for WNY’s Congressman because he’s great, and everything he does for his constituents in particular – and our region in general – is great. You know it, I know it. 


The Republicans think Flynn is vulnerable, and a lot of Democrats are wringing their hands, worrying that the race is tight. It, however, bears mentioning that the Republican candidate for D.A. has never handled – much less tried – a civilian criminal prosecution, nor one in New York State. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy or a bad lawyer, but it means he’s less qualified to be D.A. Flynn all the way


Monica is exceedingly bright, an extremely hard worker, and very smart. She will go to Albany and work to restore ethics and accountability to that cesspool while doing right by her constituents. The 143th deserves an ethical representative in the Assembly – Monica is that person. This is an easy pick, because Monica’s experience as a legal thinker and an educator will serve her – and the region – exceptionally well. 


Amber has devoted the last several years to improving her neighborhood, and she wants to do the same thing now in Albany. Not only might her election flip the Senate to the Democrats on a macro level, but she will bring a breath of fresh air to a stagnant Albany sewer. Her opponent, while a nice guy, has been a political insider now for over a decade. We don’t need more Pataki appointees in the Senate, but frankly we need more females in any form of elected office. She is smart and reform-oriented, while her opponent is just another perennial candidate looking out for the wealthy local elites. 


Finally, if you live in the town of Clarence, you must vote for Tim Tryjankowski for town council. Our town government has been a one-party dictatorship for too long. There is zero accountability, except insofar as there isn’t some form of backstabbing within the local Republican committee. And there’s definitely plenty of that. It’s high time there was someone there to ensure that the viewpoints of all Clarence residents had a voice, and Tim is that person. An educator and scientist at UB, Tim is smart, hard-working, and honest. He’s well-liked in town, and will do an excellent job. 

Please be sure to vote, and look up your polling place here. If you have problems voting, call your local board of elections or party committee and seek immediate guidance. 

The foregoing endorsements are mine and mine alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Public, its owners, editors, writers, etc. Have a great November 9th. We’ll all deserve it. 

Flaherty’s Grapes


With assistance from allies of Pigeon
pursuing a straightforward mission, 
and fulfilling a plan, 
Michael Flaherty ran,
but then failed to retain his position

So Michael took one on the chin, 
his defeat undertaken by Flynn, 
then he left mouths agape, 
with the sourest of grapes, 
by endorsing Joe Treanor to win

With a goal set to stamp out corruption, 
several people denounced this eruption
“He can’t back that horse!”
DAs can’t endorse!”
This handbook should end that discussion

He ignored what this left in its wake, 
And with a little more muck left to rake, 
He sent out a note,
and in it he wrote, 
Because it was the right stance to take.”

So, his campaign now decidedly dead, 
Got a bonehead idea in his head, 
so he opens his gob,
maybe forfeits his job,
And burns all his bridges instead.


1 2