Bob McCarthy: Collins’ Dutiful Stenographer.


There is no bigger Buffalo fluffer of right-wing power and talking points than the Buffalo News’ Bob McCarthy. He published three articles Sunday – one on fascist wino Steve Bannon and two concerning the Christopher Collins crime syndicate. Here, here, and here

Honestly, the beauty of Twitter is its forced brevity. 

Let’s deal first with the insane Cameron Collins wedding article. It’s not newsworthy. In the wake of the mass murder of Pittsburgh synagogue congregants and the attempted bombing assassinations of prominent Democratic Trump critics, no one really gives a shit from a rat’s ass about the lifestyles of the rich and famous and how “[t]he congressman said last week that his son’s wedding to fiancée Lauren Zarsky remains on despite the charges surrounding the two families. ‘They’re two peas in a pod,’ he said.”

That’s nice.

But no one cares how two rich kids in New Jersey are getting on. The editors at the News must realize that this article is an embarrassment, because you literally can’t find it if you search for it. The only way it appears is if you click on McCarthy’s name on another article, and it pops up in his roster of pieces. It is garbage, and they know it. 

Next, never come between Bob McCarthy and a fascist in a private jet. We already heard this joke when Trump came to town in 2014, and McCarthy got to fly along. Back then, McCarthy penned a love note – no, a sex note – to Trump’s private 757. Any semblance of objective journalism was sucked through the turbofans of that aircraft. Likewise, here, the Republicans recruited their dutiful scribe to accompany Squadrista Steve Bannon in a “luxury SUV” from an Elma fire hall back to Prime Aviation, from where Bannon flew to Teterboro in a private jet. 

A guy in Washington for whom Bannon used to work now calls him “Sloppy Steve.” And it appeared President Trump’s former top strategist had not encountered a razor for a while. But his expensive Barbour field coat indicated he wasn’t worried about getting through the weekend.

Ha ha get it “a guy in Washington for whom Bannon once worked” that’s the PRESIDENT he’s referring to LOL HA HA. Someday Bob might be able to get one of Bannon’s Barbour coats if he quits the News and finds his calling – spitting out Republican press releases and talking points from the cushy office of a PR firm. 

Bannon sat next to a reporter in the rear of an SUV limo, and asked where he worked. “The Buffalo News,” came the reply.

“Ha! The opposition party,” Bannon said, half-sneering, half-smiling.

For the next half hour, a mastermind of Trump’s improbable rise to the White House held court. He likes to talk – about his “economic nationalist” theories, and about Trump, even if the pair are no longer confidants.

Imagine a serious journalist being recruited to interview a noted right-wing demagogue, and being insulted before the car even left the driveway. But he writes the expected puff piece anyway! 

“Man, he knows China,” Bannon said. “He knew chapter and verse in 2010 about China. I can’t have that conversation with five guys in Washington. They wouldn’t understand what he was talking about.”

This is hero-worship propaganda. We know from mere observation that what Trump doesn’t know could fill the Pacific Ocean. There is no follow-up, or request for examples or detail. Mere transcription of Bannon’s nonsense. 

The talk of the SUV turned to 2012, when Trump was thinking about running for governor. Bannon grunted a laugh. He didn’t say it, but the grunt basically said: “Yeah. As if that was going to happen.”

2014, but whatever. Bannon “grunted a laugh”, and McCarthy interpreted that grunt as representing eight entire words. There’s no evidence that McCarthy asked him what that grunted laugh was supposed to represent, or that Bannon was asked any sort of follow-up. Just a grunt and the fucking fascist-whisperer just gets it

He delved into a stream of consciousness description of the economic nationalism in which Trump puts “America first.”

“The world is a series of commercial relationships, trade deals and capital markets in an American security guarantee,” he said. “Which now costs us $1 trillion a year and has the deplorables’ kids in Hindu Kush walking patrol, in the South China Sea on ships, and on the 38th parallel in Army divisions.”

Amazing. Evidently, only the “deplorables’ kids” are fighting, so McCarthy lets Bannon get away with literally turning military service into a partisan event. Right wing propagandists like Bannon would call that “virtue signaling”. 

Bannon still talks about the strategies that elected Trump in 2016 ‑ including the art of the deal.

“He told Theresa May to overshoot your target on deals … and get it done in six months,” he said of her Brexit negotiations. “The last thing he said to her was ‘be prepared to litigate.’ Trump always uses litigation as a weapon. Maybe that’s why two years later she’s got no deal.”

Without getting into a long tangent on the abject failure of Brexit, as it turns out the EU doesn’t need the UK. but the UK seems to have issues with market access, travel, pensioners’ homes, and the Irish border. The UK has no plan and has merely lurched from one unworkable deal to another, while the EU has been exquisitely patient. Theresa May triggered Article 50 before a negotiation plan had been set, and one of our closest allies is about to crash out of a customs union in a way that may prove disastrous.  

Even Trump’s personal 757 ‑ the one that cost $100 million, has gold faucets and makes Air Force One look like a crop duster – was part of the plan. Rolling into an airport hangar to greet the faithful, he said, it looked just like Air Force One.

Bannon came to Western New York to get out the Republican vote. That means he was campaigning for Rep. Chris Collins, suddenly in trouble while under federal indictment. Bannon knows the importance of his GOP retaining the House of Representatives; that impeachment is sure to follow should the Democrats win.

Bob misses that 757. His crush. Maybe McCarthy could have mentioned that Bannon is running a dark money PAC that is funding all of his 1st class travel to keep the Congress red? Nah, too much work. No one brought it up, so it couldn’t be transcribed. 

“Trump is an athlete; a scratch golfer,” he said about the president’s current campaign tour. “And he’s a closer, This is classic commit to the shot. Take dead aim.

“On the Democratic side what do you have? Hillary and Bill Clinton are wandering around on some speaking tour, lining their pockets trying to present herself for 2020,” he added. “Corey Booker and Kamala Harris are in Iowa, prepping their 2020 run, and you’ve got Pocahontas putting out her DNA test.”

“Trump is an athlete.” He isn’t. Trump is a “closer.” He isn’t. He calls a sitting Senator “Pocahontas” as a slur, and McCarthy just writes it the fuck down

Lastly, we turn to Bob McCarthy’s hero saga for Chris Collins. He hasn’t been this giddy since he cribbed Illuzzi scoops or took a call from a temporary relevant Ralph Lorigo or Steve Pigeon. 

McCarthy dutifully writes down the things Collins tells him about changing his mind and running for re-election. Despite the fact that Collins is under arrest and under federal fraud indictments, he didn’t re-join the race to avoid discovery and depositions, but because litigation over his replacement on the ballot wasn’t a slam dunk. 

“Any thought I did this to protect myself is nonsense,” he added.

Well, nice of Collins to say it and nice of Bob to write that down. The fact is, Collins doesn’t get out of bed unless there’s some personal political gain to be had. 

But he insists that he will be acquitted at trial, that he can remain effective even while facing felony charges, and that his re-election assumes crucial importance as Democrats pose a real threat to assuming control of the House of Representatives.

“That means every seat matters,” he said, adding he aims to “protect the seat, protect our majority, protect the president.”

And he pledged to serve a full term, despite speculation he might win re-election and then resign, allowing the GOP to name a less controversial Republican who would run in a special election in deep-red NY27.

“I’m really putting in the effort to run and then not serve?” he asked. “Are you kidding?”

House Speaker Ryan has stripped indicted Christopher Collins of all committee memberships. If re-elected he will be uniquely ineffective and an absolute pariah. He is radioactive, and he knows it. I mean, Collins hasn’t bothered to update his Congressional website, but he’s not on the roster of those committees anymore. That failure to remove those committee seats seems to be a story, by itself. He is deliberately misleading his constituents and voters. 

McCarthy says, 

After he resigned assignments to key committees like Energy and Commerce, he insists he can still do the job.

No, he was removed from those assignments, and still lists them on his website. How hard is it to check this stuff? How hard is it to check the guy’s own website? This is a lie, and Bob just writes it down

“I’m going to be in Congress,” he said. “I’m not going to miss any votes. I will meet with constituents, different organizations will come into my office. My job will be the same as ever.”

He won’t meet with constituents. That’s a thing he never does, unless they pay or they give him a nice photo-op. 

He said he will still “follow” House committees, and hopes to regain his assignments after the election.

“I would make the pitch that I was re-elected in an open environment and would like to be back on the committee,” he said. “It may or may not work out.”

It shouldn’t, in a competent meritocracy. LOL. 

Now Collins seems to have resuscitated his well-documented competitive spirit; the same drive that made him a successful businessman and one of the wealthiest members of Congress. He did not debate McMurray, but is criss-crossing the district at Republican-friendly stops, driving home the point that the loss of his seat could spell the difference between Republican or Democratic control of the House.

I hope to God that McMurray can Poloncarz Collins and we have a re-do of 2011. Note that Collins goes unannounced to Republican-friendly stops, so he can avoid literally any tough question. McMurray will go anywhere and talk to anyone. Who is the real “representative”? 

After representing the district for six years, he said he knows it remains deeply Republican and intensely loyal to Trump. He points to the tax cut, new farm bill (which attracted no Democratic votes), improved relations with North Korea, and two new conservative justices on the Supreme Court. Trump has delivered all he promised, Collins says.

Yes, if there’s two things a Wyoming County farmer cares about, it’s geopolitics and tax cuts for billionaires. 

“All that crashes and burns if Nancy Pelosi takes over,” he said.

Yes, and then the middle class gets a voice. This is something Collins simply won’t tolerate. 

He expresses pride in congressional accomplishments such as his Firefighters Cancer Registration Act, which established a national database for firefighters seeking help to battle diseases incurred on the job. His television ads, meanwhile, zero in on McMurray, painting him as “to the left of Bernie Sanders, liberal, radical, socialist.”

Attacks on McMurray might ring a bit more true if this coward had the courage to engage in a proper debate. Instead, he hurls ad hominem attacks from afar, and either through a twenty-something paid surrogate, or through a mustachioed stenographer. 

He points to an “F” rating for McMurray by the National Rifle Association, and claims his opponent is open to impeaching Trump and opposed to tax cuts. He links him at every opportunity with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who he said remains unpopular in the district.

Christopher Collins is legally barred from owning firearms. 

“You put that all together, and he’s opposed to everything that Trump stands for,” he said. “And this is a Trump district. He’s 180 degrees out of sync with NY-27.”

“My goal,” he added, “is to keep this seat Republican.”

And Bob McCarthy’s goal is to dutifully transcribe, unchallenged and unprobed, the propaganda from right-wing bad actors. Seriously, with all of the talent that’s left the News in recent months, why are we still stuck with this guy writing this sort of nonsense? It is shameful. 

Republican Insta-Hypocrisy


1. 501c3/c4 Restrictions

Mike Nolan is just a “selfless first responder” at the Jamison Road Fire Hall. They’ve suffered “threats” and “harrassment” because they hosted noted neo-fascist Steve Bannon at their firehall. 

There were no threats, except “threats” not to rent out the firehall. There were hardly any protests, and what there were were completely peaceful. One of the protesters was right-wing MAGA-hat wearing Reform Party candidate for NY-27, Larry Piezga. 

Mike Nolan is a Republican hack – Elma town councilman and COO of New York State’s OTB-owned Batavia Downs Gaming, which is where all of the thirsty af boys and girls who wanted to take Chris Collins’ place on the ballot met a couple of months ago. He’s a state employee; one of those right-wing socialists. 

With this phone call to some obscure right-wing radio show in Michigan, Nolan was expressly partisan while purporting to speak on behalf of the fire hall, bringing its non-profit status into massive question. To hear Nolan tell it, this wasn’t just some content-neutral rental of a fire hall – this was a deliberately partisan event that the fire hall organized. Who knows if that’s true, or whether he was authorized to speak to the radio show on the fire hall’s behalf, but a 501c3 tax-exempt organization is banned from engaging in partisan politics. I have to assume that the leadership of the fire hall would not be so irresponsible or stupid to threaten their 501c3 status. Here is what the IRS’s website says: 

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. 

Certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances.  For example, certain voter education activities (including presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. In addition, other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not be prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan manner.

On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.

Bannon’s appearance was specifically billed as a Republican get out the vote effort for the midterm elections. Not general “everyone should vote”, but that Republicans should vote. It is very possible that this is a breach – evidenced by Mike Nolan’s own reckless words on a radio show he probably thought no one would hear – of the 501c3 status of that fire department. I don’t know why Mr. Nolan would give up the real rationale behind the Jamison Road Volunteer Fire Department expressly hosting a Republican-only GOTV rally, but he has genuinely put the group’s non-profit status at risk. Maybe next time, get your story straight with the board and management and stick instead to running racinos. 

By the way, not one local candidate – not even alt-right frotteur David DiPietro – showed up to speak at Steve Bannon’s Dummkopf Nuremberg rally. Putative event organizer Michael Caputo told me on Facebook that no candidates could speak because of the not-for-profit status of Bannon’s 501c4 social welfare organization. Oh? 

Bannon’s 501c4 is the opaquely funded group that enabled Bannon to fly private from Teterboro so he could avoid bumping into any real Americans. This whole thing calls into question who paid for the fire hall. Chances are an individual could have rented the hall and invited Bannon, and then the candidates could have appeared without prohibition, and Bannon’s PAC could have just funded his travel. Maybe there was a reason that was not done and why Bannon’s social welfare organization PAC paid for it instead. Maybe it was because Larry Piezga or a few 50 year-old female placard holders so petrified these candidates that they stayed away. Obviously, Collins was never going to come, because an event where he knows press will be there is his kryptonite. Who knows why DiPietro didn’t show, except he had a table there handing out lit and signs, so if you can do that, you bet he could have spoken. 

But it’s all spin and BS – here’s what Caputo told Bob McCarthy on Tuesday: “[candidates] are welcome to come but nobody is required to come,” he said. “We haven’t heard from anybody, but we didn’t ask anyone to RSVP either. And people are coming to hear Steve Bannon, not the local candidates.” I don’t see anything there about 501c4 or 501c3 restrictions on candidates appearing. There must be an innocent explanation as to why he omitted that fact, because Bob McCarthy is nothing if not a dutiful stenographer. 

2. Steve Bannon: Lifestyles of the Rich and Ruddy

The former Hollywood executive and former Goldman Sachs executive has a few choice words for the “elites”. 



That’s a WorldWide Jet Bombardier/Canadair CL60. It must be the working man’s private jet. Perhaps the populist’s jet. It’s an import – made in Canada. Just like any steelworker or coal miner, Bannon flew direct from Teterboro Airport to Buffalo’s Prior Aviation facility in just under an hour. It’s quite convenient to have a multi-million dollar private jet at your disposal when you’re an anti-elitist working man. How much does a round-trip cost on that jet from Teterboro to Buffalo? 

Gosh, that’s a bargain that would make any fiscal conservative blush. Why spend time with the riff-raff flying commercial when you can plunk down $17k and go in style! 

Teterboro is only 18 miles from Newark International Airport. United flew from Newark to Buffalo at 2pm, arriving at 3. A return flight was available departing at 8:44pm. It had to circle for a while before landing due to weather in Newark, but nothing a working-class American can’t handle. The cost to travel round-trip on United between Newark and Buffalo is about $240if you fly economy, like most volunteer firefighters do. If you go first class, it’s about $500 round-trip.  

If you fly United, you won’t get this nice bottle of Grgich Hills Chardonnay, or a plane all to yourself: 

But you’ll save literally $17,000 of someone else’s money. Here, specifically, it’s paid for by Bannon’s PAC, “Citizens of the American Republic“, which says on its website is a “non-profit tax-exempt advocacy organization under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions or gifts to COAR are not tax deductible for IRS purposes. Not paid for at taxpayer expense.” Not paid for at taxpayer expense, but because its income is not taxed, we all subsidize its operations. It’s dark money – Bannon doesn’t have to disclose who funds his billionaire lifestyle. 

3. WBEN Self-Own

From the guy who runs the station: 

Yes, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions about these sorts of news events! That was posted around 12:30 on Wednesday, the day the news hit about the attempted assassination of several prominent Trump opponents. 

Literally the next morning on WBEN’s air: 

‘Why won’t Democrats stop terrorizing their heroes’ is pretty fucking depraved, even from Don “Sandy Beach” Pesola. 

Republicans have become indistinguishable from Infowars conspiracy nonsense – the fringe is now the mainstream. They’re accusing Democrats of perpetrating some sort of hoax for two reasons: 1. They don’t really care; they would cheer the assassination of people like Hillary Clinton and George Soros. They would celebrate mass murder at CNN or the bombing to bits of Debbie Wasserman Schultz; and 2. That’s how they think. The entire ethos; the fundamental ideology of Trumpism is to ‘pwn the libs’. So, when some horrifying news hits and it may be politically damaging, the Infowars party assumes its enemies – whom they would be happy to see dead, by the way – are acting how they would.

Weird how deliberate lying, eliminationist rhetoric, and a decade’s worth of nihilistic policy turns a political party into a sarcastic death cult. 

…But If You Can’t, Opt Instead for Mockery


Under no circumstances should we give Michael Caputo and David DiPietro and Chris Collins what they want – a big angry mob that’s just a more diverse and inclusive version of the 2009-era Tea Party rallies. To that end, I agree wholeheartedly with what Aaron Lowinger recommend in his column – leave the rote chants and the angry righteousness (never mind the trash talk) at home. 

As Aaron pointed out my tweet last night, 

But I know people are going to want to protest the likes of ruddy multi-shirted fascist Steve Bannon coming here to stump for alt-right absentee Assemblyman DiPietro and Chris Collins (R-Innate Immunotherapeutics  & Cell Block C).

So, if you’re going to do it, don’t get angry – mock them. Think Mel Brooks. 

Think “Springtime for Hitler”. Brooks says

“You have to bring him down with ridicule, because if you stand on a soapbox and you match him with rhetoric, you’re just as bad as he is, but if you can make people laugh at him, then you’re one up on him,” he tells Wallace. “It’s been one of my lifelong jobs – to make the world laugh at Adolf Hitler.”

Bannon isn’t funny – he’s a white nationalist proto-fascist propagandist. He was drummed out of the White House and wanted to start an alt-right anti-immigrant uprising in Europe, but was basically drummed the fuck out. That’s funny

Bannon isn’t funny – he’s a horror. He’s a guy who embodies the central tenet of white nationalism, which is to use the accident of race as a substitute for talent, merit, and hard work. Guys like Bannon and his ilk are fundamentally pathetic, perennial failures. The whole thing is boiled down to, “I’m white – the only reason why my life is a failure is because of the [insert historically marginalized group here].” In 1938, Nazis put “Jews” in that preceding bracket. In 2018 America, these people wear red hats, claim not to be racist, and then blame women, black people, immigrants, etc. for their own Unglück

I would take 100,000 immigrants over one Steve Bannon. Mock the shit out of him. Out of them. Think Sacha Baron Cohen. Here’s an example. 

There will be morons at this Bannon pity party who will want to provoke counter-protesters into violence. They’re pathetic. Make fun of them. Mock them. 

Listen, Aaron is right – don’t go. Don’t give them what they want. But if you’re going to go, I’m not clever enought to figure out the best ways to mock these proud boys, but let us know your ideas at #MockBannon. Don’t be an angry mob. Be a comedy flash mob. 

In NY-27, We Have A Race


Nate McMurray has momentum and is in a statistical tie with Chris Collins. Collins, on the other hand, has seen his support effectively collapse, and there are new questions about possible illegality. 

According to a Siena/Spectrum poll, incumbent indicted Congressman Chris Collins holds a barely-there three-point lead over challenger, Democrat Nate McMurray. This is well within the poll’s +/- 4.7% margin of error. This thing is a dead heat as Chris Collins’ political career of corruption, arrogance, and criminality all catch up with him. The electorate that voted for him in the past seemingly did so grudgingly, and they have largely abandoned him at the first inkling of proper legal peril.  

This all jibes with Nate McMurray’s internal poll, which he announced last week, showing a dead heat. 

This is what 10 years’ worth of using elected office as one’s personal peerage amounts to for Collins – if you are sent to Washington to represent people, your refusal to meet with or put yourself out there and listen to people is fundamentally disqualifying. This was a R+11 district that is now a tied toss-up. 

I don’t think that’s due solely to the felony indictment for insider trading. I believe that even Republicans tolerate Collins rather than genuinely like or support him. He pulled some support for his relentlessly deep-throated defense of President Trump on cable news shows, but that was only able to take him so far. Collins lives in a stratosphere wholly different from practically every other western New Yorker, and nowhere is that more evident than in this particular rural, economically modest district. 

Even now, in the middle of the campaign of his life, Collins sneaks around the district, showing up to sparsely attended, Republicans-only events to take some awkward pictures with his few supporters. Meanwhile, Nate McMurray is all over the district, drawing bigger and bigger, enthusiastic crowds who want to hear someone talk about issues that matter to them. McMurray is on the air now in this TV-friendly district, and his ads are positive and patriotic while Collins’ are relentlessly negative and hateful, like their paymaster. 

Independents are breaking to McMurray, as are people in Erie County generally. McMurray has some catching up to do, and rumor has it that he will be added this week to the “Red to Blue” list through the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which will help considerably with crucial fundraising McMurray needs. 

Tellingly, last night when Spectrum News’ Ryan Whalen called around to the campaigns to tell them about the poll and solicit a comment, Collins refused. 

Speaking of fundraising, if you take a look at Chris Collins’ latest disclosure, it’s pathetic and might show evidence of illegality. 

In the wake of his indictment, Chris Collins’ campaign raised a mere $32,000. Of that, only $6,210 came from actual humans – the rest came from special interests looking to buy influence. Of that $6,200 from real people, only $2,325 came from anywhere near the district. The rest is from deep-pocketed out-of-staters. The Collins campaign has absolutely zero credibility, zero momentum, and nothing much to tout, which explains its relentlessly negative campaign to destroy McMurray. 

But this item was especially interesting in Collins’ disclosure: 

Why is Chris Collins flying private jets and billing that to his campaign? That’s generally illegal in a House race. 

According to the Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski’s reporting

Collins took [the private jet] from New York to Buffalo on Aug. 8 to meet with the media after his indictment, said Collins campaign spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre.

You may remember that August 8th was the date of Collins’ indictment, and he famously held a big press conference at the Avant. As I described it at the time, 

Collins held a “press conference” at the Avant Wednesday night. He kept the media waiting 90 minutes past the scheduled start time. He and his wife came out to the podium, and Collins engaged in languorous autofellatio about what a great businessman he is, and how he wants to abolish multiple sclerosis. He insisted that he’s innocent, will defend himself vigorously, but will not take any questions at this “press conference”. Instead, he’s going to stay in Congress, run for re-election, and not respond to one question about these charges outside of court, ever. 

He kept the press waiting longer than it takes to fly from JFK, Newark, or LaGuardia to Buffalo. There are 24 scheduled non-stop flights from the three New York area airports today on JetBlue, United (CommutAir), and Delta (Republic and Endeavor Air). Chances are it was similar on August 8th. But that’s not how indicted Congressmen roll. They fly private and pay a fortune for the privilege to which they feel entitled. 

Why fly like us plebes when this is within reach? 

Nate McMurray is on the stump throughout NY-27 talking to real people about their questions, concerns, problems, and hopes. He will meet with anyone and you don’t have to pay him in advance for the privilege. He’ll listen to people and has empathy for the issues they bring him. On the issues, he’s a smart, knowledgeable, and wholly un-extreme. Every time a Collins ad runs, it ends with “take Nate McMurray at his word”, and the electorate is doing just that. Collins’ ads are so hilariously negative (or, in one instance, racist), that they’re probably backfiring. While McMurray is offering a positive and patriotic message, Collins’ media blitz makes him seem like the grumpy old troll who lives under a bridge to avoid the cameras, lights, and people. He’ll keep hitting and a McMurray who ignores the ads and offers instead a positive and hopeful image, protecting people’s farms and businesses and ensuring that everyone has health coverage. 

Right now is when Nate McMurray needs your help – write postcards, make calls, canvass, or donate. Or any combination of those. Sure, the district might overwhelmingly support the President, but do we really need an accused criminal representing us in Congress? Naters gonna Nate

Chris Collins and Steve Pigeon: Corrupt Partners


It wasn’t too long ago that Christopher Collins and Steve Pigeon were co-conspirators in a perfectly legal, albeit scummy, scheme to transform a Democratic majority in the Erie County Legislature into a shaky “reform coalition” controlled by Republicans to do Collins’s bidding. Who can forget how a small handful of nominal Democrats conspired with Pigeon throughout 2009 to hand the legislature over to Collins. Everyone got something out of the deal except for the people of Erie County, who were shafted, as was routine. In the end, as with many Pigeon-orchestrated hijinks, the effort crumbled into failure. Collins lost his re-election bid in 2011, but the damage that Pigeon, his money, and his cohorts could do to good Democratic candidates continues even today, despite 2013’s “WNY Progressive Caucus” (a.k.a. AwfulPAC) blowing up in their faces and resulting in Pigeon’s recent conviction for felony bribery, Frank Max’s conviction for election law violations, and the pending prosecutions of Kristy Mazurek and David Pfaff. 

But memories are short and convenient, and the villains of January 2010 have largely not been drummed out of local politics. This is a testament, I supposed, to that whole “city of good neighbors” thing. You can back your enemy for short-term tactical political gain, and you will still be tolerated within Democratic ranks later on. 

Steve Pigeon’s rogue political machine was a cancer on the Erie County Democratic Committee. Like any cancer, people tried valiantly to halt its spread, to attack and counter-attack, to do as little damage to healthy tissue as possible while killing the cancer. Getting rid of Pigeon as chair was just excising the tumor—the margins weren’t clear, and the battles continued. Unlike most cancers, however, we know exactly what fed and enabled Pigeonism: electoral fusion. Without the ability routinely to screw over Democratic HQ through malignant wheeling and dealing with the execrable “Independence Party” (which is neither independent nor, really, a party) or the so-called “Conservative” Party, Pigeonism couldn’t have existed.

As with most cancers, Pigeonism brought good days and bad days; but the prosecutions over 2013’s WNY Progressive Caucus seemed a miracle cure. The cancer got sloppy and an exciting trial of a new drug called “Enforce Existing Rules and Laws” showed promise. The cancer is now in remission, but there is no known cure. Steve Pigeon may be a convicted felon, and he may be disbarred for it, but there is nothing stopping him from re-infecting our political organism. Even this primary cycle, aberrant cells of breakaway Dems mounted failed attempts to play the same old game, but it doesn’t work anymore; not like it used to. Not remotely

Preetsmas carries on, and we must remain vigilant against the cancer returning. 

Pigeon’s co-conspirator from 2010, Christopher Collins, also finds himself facing criminal charges. He stands accused of various types of fraud and is out and campaigning on $500,000 bail; evidently, he’s a moderate flight risk. After suspending his campaign and pledging to step aside, Collins—ever looking out for himself over the good of his constituents—flip-flopped and decided to stay in the race. So far, “campaigning” means throwing up racist, lying TV ads and showing up to events where he is guaranteed a friendly, placid audience. Christopher Collins can’t really debate anyone in any meaningful way. After all, he is under arrest and subject to a Miranda warning—everything he says can be used against him in a court of law. 

But there is one constant that has helped to accelerate the growth of the cancer on our body politic represented by Pigeon and Collins, and it is beautifully embodied by this Buffalo News article. Written by dutiful longtime Pigeon stenographer Bob McCarthy, it seems simply to regurgitate a Collins campaign press release announcing a new television ad that will attack Democratic, un-arrested challenger Nate McMurray for supporting Medicare for all

“Nate’s push for European-style health care shows how radically out of touch he is with the 27th District,” said campaign spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre. “His plan raises spending by $32.6 trillion, doubles taxes for every American, and jeopardizes care for our seniors while severely raising their taxes. Voters should take Nate McMurray at his word – at least until he deletes this video.”

Let’s operate under a few assumptions, all of which give accused criminal Christopher Collins the undeserved benefit of the doubt. We start with the premise that the status quo, as it relates to American healthcare and insurance, is inadequate or unacceptable. Collins has spent years deriding Obamacare as a “socialist” failure, so he bears a substantial burden of proof to offer up an alternative. Not just any alternative—but specifically an improvement upon not just Obamacare’s status quo, but the pre-Obamacare years, as well. The goal is ostensibly to maximize how many are covered, the type of coverage, protection for pre-existing condition coverage, and lower cost. The pre-Obamacare system left too many people uninsured. President Obama cobbled together a Frankenstein compromise to maximize coverage within the context of the American private health insurance system, and expansion of Medicaid. 

Here is a post from June detailing Collins’ relentless attacks on Obamacare and how he helped make everything even worse

Although Obamacare was by no means a perfect solution, it has succeeded in expanding coverage, increasing the number of people insured, and guaranteeing a minimum standard of what “health insurance” should include. Despite all of this—despite it being a national roll-out of Romneycare, a single-payer alternative thought up by the ultra-conservative American Enterprise Institute think-tank—Republicans accused Obama of being a Kenyan socialist and Obamacare was an un-American socialist government takeover of healthcare. 

So, let us assume for a moment that Republican attacks on President Obama and his signature health insurance scheme were somehow grounded in reality or even remotely sincere. Obamacare was passed into law in 2010. The Republicans had eight years to devise some sort of cheaper, better alternative. When they gained control of both houses of Congress and the White House, however, they couldn’t do it. All of their anti-Obamacare “repeal and replace” bluster was revealed to be little more than lies when they failed to actually do what they said they would do. For his part, Christopher Collins proudly went on TV and told his constituents that he hadn’t even bothered to read the bill for which he voted.

That video is, itself, disqualifying for re-election. Collins doesn’t care about you or your mommy or your daddy or your grandma or your farm or your business. He serves masters higher than his constituency—his political party and his relentless greed and ambition. 

In recent years, the idea of expanding Medicare—the hugely popular single-payer health insurance plan for senior citizens—to all Americans has grown in popularity. It has become a viable and politically tenable alternative concept. As it stands now, Americans’ loudest and most sincere criticisms of private health insurance in the era of Obamacare is that it is too expensive, and deductibles are untenable and unaffordable. Medicare for all alleviates both concerns. So, Christopher Collins and his shills—experts at using ruthlessness as a cut-rate replacement for talent—deride Medicare as “radically out of touch” with people in the district. Go tell it to seniors. Go tell it to common ratepayers who devote thousands every year to cover healthcare costs and get little out of it. Tell it to people who can’t afford their medication. Tell it to people who fundraise for chemotherapy treatment through coin jars at convenience store check-outs. For the best and richest country in the world, we operate our healthcare like a tropical kleptocracy. Christopher Collins has no work ethic—he’s not trying to devise a reasonable alternative health insurance scheme. Christopher Collins has no ideas—he’s just a coward too afraid to even show up to debate his opponent on this or any other issue. Christopher Collins talks a big game when his high-priced DC swamp media gurus get a hold of him, but he trembles at the idea of a debate or being challenged. 

Who cares what Christopher Collins says? I don’t get life tips from guys at Rikers, either. 

Collins has no ideas, can’t be bothered to defend the few he purports to have in a public forum, and is just an empty vessel—an abject failure as a “representative” whose political survival is wholly dependent only on his party affiliation. When Bob McCarthy regurgitates a Collins press release, and then calls the McMurray campaign for comment, that is the laziest form of “journalism” available. Like Collins’s excuse for representation, it is a poor excuse for fact-finding. When Collins and his shills attack Nate McMurray for wanting to expand Medicare, why isn’t McCarthy asking them simple questions: What system do you prefer? What system do you propose? What changes would you make to McMurray’s plan? What changes would you make to ensure that health insurance and healthcare are comprehensive and affordable? 

Sure, McMurray supports the expansion of Medicare to all Americans. No American should be faced with an illness and not have the means or opportunity to seek and obtain necessary medical treatment. McMurrayCare might indeed be a reduction in health insurance bureaucracy into one simple plan. (Ask doctors what they would prefer.) So, what is CollinsCare, except free access to a mason jar to use at cash registers to pay for your kid’s leukemia treatment?