Tacogate II: Censure Mychajliw


Republicans love to complain about what they term “political correctness,” often going so far as to assert that being empathetic or mindful of others’ feelings is destroying western civilization as we know it. 

Except, of course, when there’s some virtue signaling (another favorite right-wing trope) of their own to do. 

This week, Lloyd sent a taco truck to the Batavia Detention Center, which is a Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility, housing various non-citizens awaiting trial and/or deportation. Many people are outraged over ICE’s conduct under the Trump Administration, most notably the separation of child refugees from their parents or guardians, unlawful indefinite detention of refugees, and lax oversight leading to physical and sexual abuse of detainees, including children. It is indicative of poor management and a complete abdication of the duty the government has to protect the people in its custody.

For a country that once took pride in being a melting pot of immigrants – of being perceived as a beacon of light, justice, and freedom in a dark and unfree world, it’s been quite the harsh, self-inflicted comedown.

It is also indicative of a wildly toxic anti-immigrant, anti-refugee furor that has overtaken the American government and a wide swath of its citizenry in recent years. It is a new fascism wrapped in the flag and holding the Bible, as prophesied. 

Personally, I think it’s ok if Lloyd serves food at the Batavia facility. After all, it’s not just ICE prison guards who work there, but custodial staff, administrative staff, attorneys for the detainees, and the detainees’ families that would all be able to buy food. I also think that it’s ok if Lloyd decides never to do that again. I think it’s ok for people to not think it’s ok for Lloyd to serve prison guards, and for Lloyd to respond to them as it did – by apologizing. 

If you don’t like it, start your own taco truck empire.

Because that’s ultimately what free enterprise is about. “ICE agent” isn’t a protected class under the Civil Rights Act and its progeny, so Lloyd is wholly within its rights to choose not to ever go there again. Not long ago, I criticized a competing taco business for its ties to Sheriff Tim Howard and other Republicans. At that time, of its owner I wrote, 

Richard Hamilton, the owner of Deep South Taco, supports Sheriff Tim Howard. There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that — he is free to support whomever he wants. 

In fact, he has hosted fundraisers for Howard in the past, and intends to host another one in the near future. He even cuts Howard a deal, with a $1,600 in-kind contribution for food showing up in Howard’s campaign coffers. 

There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that — he is free to support whomever he wants. 

Hamilton is tight enough with the Howard that he became a “Reserve Deputy Sheriff”. I have no idea what that is, but there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that — he is free to support whomever he wants. 

I went on to explain my personal decision never to patronize his businesses, and I respect the decisions of people to make the same choice, or not. The same goes for Lloyd. When a company decides to make a political statement, it has to brace for a backlash from the people who disagree. That’s life. For his part, Hamilton is trying to capitalize on the anti-Lloyd brou-ha-ha by offering a 35% discount to law enforcement. I suggested some additional discounts he might consider.

Free speech is fun. 

Never one to shut up when he’s not needed; never one to not insert himself into a controversy that has nothing to do with him, Erie County’s Comptroller and perpetual candidate Stefan Mychajliw piped up. The mission statement for his office reads as follows:The Comptroller’s Office serves as the county and taxpayer’s independent fiscal watchdog, providing fiscal leadership, ensuring fiscal integrity, timely and accurate reporting, and maintaining public trust and accountability through audits, reviews, reports and investigations.

Whilst running for like four different other offices simultaneously, Mychajliw writes: 

This needs to be unpacked not only because of its factual inaccuracies and poor logic, but because it is dangerous. I have to believe – and consistency dictates – that the people who complain most loudly about the insidious nature of political correctness and cancel culture will not succumb to the things they hate most. Right?


First of all, here is the Comptroller – a petty elected bureaucrat; a bean-counter – whose duties are mostly ministerial, directing MAGA cretins to hate on two local businesses. Obviously, the tweet’s original theme had to do with Lloyd, which decided that its five food trucks and two restaurants have a relationship with local refugee and immigrant communities that it would be a betrayal for them to feed ICE guards. Just like Richard Hamilton and his toy badge, Lloyd has the right to not go back to Batavia.

Mychajliw is preening for his MAGA / Bannon followers. He’s running for Congress/Assembly/State Senate/Senate/County Executive by tearing down a beloved local restaurant that employs lots of local people and pays loads of county taxes. But in so doing, he has to invoke the name of Chik-fil-a, and the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The secret is that there was never a plan for Chik-fil-A to come to the airport. Never. It was never booked. It was never even a thing – Delaware North simply included that franchise on a list to the NFTA of potential brands that could conceivably be brought in. Stef knew this, probably, but isn’t above trying to score a virtue-signaling point for the Rus Thompson set.  

I distinctly remember people threatening to sue the NFTA, and the FAA investigating the NFTA, over its supposed refusal to consider leasing to a Chik-fil-A over religious freedom. Chik-fil-A is a fast food joint, not a church. If it wants to be treated like a church, it should become one. There is no statute requiring a public entity to cut a deal with a private business on the basis of religion, and if the NFTA rented to, e.g., Joe’s Halal Chicken Shack the MAGA red hat cadre would be apoplectic – pitchforks and all.

The reason why Mychajliw brings up Chik-fil-A to attack Delaware North and the NFTA is that it is emblematic of the “pwn the libs” ideology that is the centerpiece of Trumpism and modern conservatism. They hate that snowflake soy-latte-drinking libs won’t eat at Chik-fil-A, and to really underscore their outrage over beta lib ideological boycotts, they’ll never eat at Lloyd. I mean, the cognitive dissonance is huge.

To reiterate – Stefan Mychajliw is not a candidate for anything right now. He is a bean-counter with an almost exclusively ministerial job which he executes by calling bingo and visiting senior centers. His instagram is loaded with images of him delivering county checks to local businesses and, thusly, promoting them.Which is fine. 

But against that backdrop of looking out for the taxpayer and promoting small businesses in Erie County, why on Earth would a petty county bureaucrat knowingly take to social media to do harm to a locally-owned, job-creating, taxpaying business? It is beyond irresponsible for Mychajliw to do this to any Erie County company. It is a knowing effort to hurt the business over politics (i.e., his own version of “political correctness”), and this could hurt it and, in turn, county tax revenues. 

There should be a consequence here. There should be a palpable consequence to a bureaucrat using his bully pulpit to effectively harm a locally owned business over a political disagreement. It is political correctness run amok. Furthermore, the notion that it is some evidence of creeping totalitarianism – a taco truck’s non-discriminatory decision about with whom to do business – is so incredibly ignorant and stupid, and something Mychajliw should know better than to suggest. But alas, here we are. Totalitarianism comes from dictatorial government fiat, not from public opinion or private company decision-making.

The radical Bannonite neo-fascist Erie County Comptroller used his bully pulpit to attack an Erie County taxpaying, job-creating business for his own political gain. He put the jobs of hundreds of Erie County residents at risk, as well as the income, property, and sales taxes they pay. All over a political disagreement. It is unconscionable for an elected head of an Erie County bureaucracy to single out a taxpaying Erie County employer like this for economic harm. If he’ll do it to Lloyd, he’ll do it to any small local business to advance his own craven self-interest.

Someone on the Erie County Legislature should immediately introduce a resolution condemning the Comptroller’s wildly reckless attack on an Erie County business, and formally censuring him for knowingly doing harm to an Erie County-based company which employs Erie County residents, all of whom pay to Erie County property and sales taxes – directly or not.

Paladino’s True Colors


Over the weekend, a large group consisting of neo-nazis, Klansmen, and other “alt-right” white nationalists converged on Charlottesville, Virginia ostensibly to protest the possible removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. Lee was the general of an army fighting for a country that had betrayed and seceded from the United States to preserve the right to buy and sell black people as chattel. Query whether we should replace confederate statues with ones honoring the victims of its inhuman feudal ethos. (Note: I will not capitalize the word “nazi”. It’s not a mistake.)

As one might expect, people came to the college town to launch counter protests against the nazis. These weren’t antifa black bloc rioters smashing Starbucks’ windows because capitalism is at the root of racist fascism, and to smash one is to smash it all; but regular people who were disgusted that their town had become a magnet for nazis.

When it becomes wrong to protest nazis, then we’ll know that political correctness has, indeed, run amok. 

It all culminated when a 20 year-old nazi from Ohio adopted the means and method popularized by ISIS-inspired jihadist terrorists in France and the UK – he rammed his Dodge Charger into a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters, then backed it up and rammed over some more. The nazi motorist murdered a woman – a 32 year-old paralegal named Heather Hayer, and injured over a dozen more. The nazi who murdered her stands charged with second-degree murder. This representative of the master race hasn’t the means to afford his own lawyer, so he must rely on the state to fund one for him. The public defender’s office was conflicted out because of personal ties to other victims of the nazi’s ISIS-inspired attack. 

Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia, a school that hipster nazi Richard Spencer attended. Spencer befriended Trump adviser Stephen Miller when they both attended Duke University about a decade ago. 

In the aftermath of what had transpired in Charlottesville, the Public and I reminded Buffalonians of our own white nationalists here in our region. 

My March 14th article discussed an email that local elected school board official Carl Paladino had sent, which contained this image: 

I wrote at the time, “Carl Paladino, an elected school official, thinks murder is funny.

In the wake of the murder of Heather Hayer, who was killed by a nazi plowing his vehicle through a group of protesters, I’d be wholly unsurprised to see Paladino express his white nationalist glee at the news. 

On Monday, Carl Paladino posted something to his public Facebook page. He likely thinks it’s a funny joke and all us extreme leftists should lighten up and tolerate racist jokes like we tolerate things like immigration and multiculturalism, but in the wake of the fashy haircut hipster citronella fascists’ march ‘n murder in Charlottesville, it is unbelievably tone-deaf. 

In Michigan, Carl quips, a guy with 100 guns and 100,000 rounds of ammunition would be called, “the last white guy still living in Detroit“. Because Detroit, like the Buffalo school district Paladino oversees, is predominately African-American. That is the punch line to that part of the joke: a white guy in Detroit would need that much firepower because of all the blacks. We know this because of the use of the adjective, “white”. 

It makes sense to pause here as a reminder that white nationalist “pride” is comically weak stuff. If you’re white, it’s nothing more than an accident of birth – it’s not an achievement, or the result of any effort. If all you have to be proud of is your whiteness, maybe it’s time to accomplish something meaningful with your life. If all you have to be proud of is your whiteness, you’re not proud of anything at all. 

Carl Paladino swears up and down to all and sundry that he’s not racist – you’re racist. He controlled a majority on the Buffalo school board for two years, and his only achievement was to worsen the dysfunctional circus atmosphere there. Hey, at least he has “being white” to be proud of. He is part of a board that oversees a school district as diverse as, e.g., Detroit, and he jokes that this sort of ethnic or racial diversity is something against which white people need to arm themselves.

Carl Paladino has established time and again the myriad ways in which he disqualifies himself from – and is unfit to – oversee any school district, much less one whose kids overwhelmingly don’t look like his own. His racism, veiled thinly if at all, is something that rational, fair-minded people need to reject and shun. If anyone needs to see Paladino’s attitudes towards black Americans, it’s Mary Ellen Elia, who is now deliberating what to do with Paladino vis-a-vis the Buffalo school board. 

None of this is new. 

March 2010: Paladino’s racist and pornographic emails
October 2012: Paladino denies he’s a birther, but is birther. 
August 2014: Paladino’s homophobic reaction to a 419 scam letter
February 2015: Paladino rejects civil rights assessment of Buffalo schools. 
March 2015: Paladino threatens school board “sisterhood” with libel suit (which never came)
July 2015: Paladino demeans “damn Asians” at UB. 
July 2015: Paladino offers fake apology to “damn Asians”
July 2015: Paladino’s supporters: hey, he could have said, “damn Ukrainians”. 
July 2015: Paladino defends Joe Mascia’s n-word outburst
July 2015: Sandy Beach calls Paladino out on Joe Mascia
August 2015: Paladino digs a deeper hole on Shredd & Ragan. 
August 2016: Paladino claims Obama is Muslim. 
December 2016: Paladino wishes President Obama dead, likens the First Lady to a Zimbabwean gorilla. 

Paladino says he wants to run for governor again. His 2010 effort was torpedoed, in part, by the revelation of private racist and pornographic emails that he had sent to friends of his. Any potential future effort must be thwarted by his own public pronouncements. 

#MAGA and the New Radical Chic


A conservative friend of mine shared this opinion piece by Shelby Steele. It’s entitled, “The Exhaustion of American Liberalism”, and it appeared in the March 7th print edition of Wall Street’s own reliably conservative Murdoch broadsheet. 

The thing that attracted me to this – and prompted me to analyze it – was, naturally, the title. “Exhaustion,” in this context, has a double meaning, doesn’t it? For liberals like me, the last several months have been absolutely exhausting. Watching the country to which my parents emigrated commence a rapid spiral down a dictatorial and autocratic hole is alarming; after all, they came here to escape dictatorial autocracy. But what I think Steele means here is that liberalism is “exhausted”, as in spent – empty. 

I’m familiar with Mr. Steele, a preeminent black, conservative intellectual. He’s also a septuagenarian baby boomer, about the same age as Donald Trump. He’s been studying the dynamics of race in America and how he believes that racial “victimization” is a double-edged sword. His experience with the subject undoubtedly far surpasses mine. 

But racism isn’t some abstract concept, but a very real thing, and Steele’s article speaks more to me about a generation gap than anything else. The progressive movement of the 60s begat the self-centered “me” generation of the 70s, then the yuppies of the 80s, and can trace its lineage all the way to the reactionary nihilism of Donald Trump. So, because of human mortality and the political leanings of the younger generations, any suggestion that liberalism is “exhausted” is something that piques my interest. Let’s examine

The recent flurry of marches, demonstrations and even riots, along with the Democratic Party’s spiteful reaction to the Trump presidency, exposes what modern liberalism has become: a politics shrouded in pathos. Unlike the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, when protesters wore their Sunday best and carried themselves with heroic dignity, today’s liberal marches are marked by incoherence and downright lunacy—hats designed to evoke sexual organs, poems that scream in anger yet have no point to make, and an hysterical anti-Americanism.

Ah, the heavy hand of generational condescension. It was only too short a time ago when the generation born in the 20s denounced the kids born in the 40s as degenerate, lazy louts. Their long, unkempt hair and their rock ‘n roll were, in the 60s, emblematic of America’s decline. Now, the hippie generation are the squares, lecturing people born after the mid-60s about how their generation knew how to protest appropriately. They wore their “Sunday best” and carried themselves with “heroic dignity,” whereas you lot show up in your jeans and t-shirts and ironic pink hats. 

Do a Google image search for “60s protest” and you’ll see that it wasn’t all marches through Selma in jacket and tie, and that history didn’t end in 1964. Today’s pink pussy hat – a direct hommage to the President’s own description of his amorous tactics – is yesterday’s long hair and jeans. 

All this suggests lostness, the end of something rather than the beginning. What is ending?

So far, we’ve seen Mr. Steele set up a fake comparative, and now he’s going to brew up the bespoke conclusion it was designed to support. 

America, since the ’60s, has lived through what might be called an age of white guilt. We may still be in this age, but the Trump election suggests an exhaustion with the idea of white guilt, and with the drama of culpability, innocence and correctness in which it mires us.

White guilt is not actual guilt. Surely most whites are not assailed in the night by feelings of responsibility for America’s historical mistreatment of minorities. Moreover, all the actual guilt in the world would never be enough to support the hegemonic power that the mere pretense of guilt has exercised in American life for the last half-century.

White guilt is not angst over injustices suffered by others; it is the terror of being stigmatized with America’s old bigotries—racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. To be stigmatized as a fellow traveler with any of these bigotries is to be utterly stripped of moral authority and made into a pariah. The terror of this, of having “no name in the street” as the Bible puts it, pressures whites to act guiltily even when they feel no actual guilt. White guilt is a mock guilt, a pretense of real guilt, a shallow etiquette of empathy, pity and regret.

This is all nonsense. 

“White guilt” is being used here as a shield with which to excuse racism. Mid-19th century emancipation wasn’t the end of black America’s journey to freedom, but the beginning. It wasn’t until 100 years later – a mere 50 years ago – that our government codified the rights of minorities generally, and black Americans especially. The years immediately leading up to that legislation were tumultous, and that it took so long to do the right thing is a national dishonor. 

Conventional wisdom now informs us that Trump’s surprising victory was due in large part to the “white working class” and their “economic insecurity”. It explains the populist reaction to Wall Street bailouts, free trade deals, and even Brexit in the UK. But this is all too simplistic – there are as many reasons why a vote was cast for Trump as there were votes cast. I believe that part of the general pro-Trump equation has to do with what Steele is describing here, but I’d put it all a different way. It’s not about people being exhausted with “mock” white guilt – it’s a reaction to the expansion of civil liberties and the social changes that have taken place with such recent celerity, driven by the younger generations whom Steele mocks as undeserving pussy-hat wearers. 

The generation gap is nothing new, and we’re much more 1968 than 1963. We have our endless, rudderless wars. We have our LBJ and Nixon all wrapped up in one neat package. We also have acceptance of – and the expansion of – civil rights for LGBTQ Americans, and we have a recent, robust rejection of Confederate iconography. 

Steele characterizes “white guilt” as a “terror of being stigmatized” as a bigot. Just this week, I appropriately and accurately referred to septuagenarian Carl Paladino as exactly that – a bigot. As a private citizen, you can be the racist, homophobic xenophobe you want to be and no one can stop you. As a public official, however, bigotry becomes a public issue. As someone who is charged with representing a diverse constituency, it becomes relevant. But when you strip away the fancy talk, Steele is saying that bigots are tired of being called out on it. Once a bigot is branded as such, he becomes a “pariah”, but Steele’s solution isn’t to end bigotry, but for people to just sort of ignore it and shut up about it. 

It is also the heart and soul of contemporary liberalism. This liberalism is the politics given to us by white guilt, and it shares white guilt’s central corruption. It is not real liberalism, in the classic sense. It is a mock liberalism. Freedom is not its raison d’être; moral authority is.

When America became stigmatized in the ’60s as racist, sexist and militaristic, it wanted moral authority above all else. Subsequently the American left reconstituted itself as the keeper of America’s moral legitimacy. (Conservatism, focused on freedom and wealth, had little moral clout.) From that followed today’s markers of white guilt—political correctness, identity politics, environmental orthodoxy, the diversity cult and so on.

I think there is definitely a crisis in the American left in Trump’s America, we won’t find solutions from those who casually excuse people’s worst instincts and prejudices. Elderly Baby Boomers are not the future; Millenials, and to a lesser extent Generation X, are. It is the younger generations that are driving the social changes that Steele denounces as “mock liberalism”.

Unlike Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millenials don’t generally get hired right out of college and enjoy a job for life. The concept of “freedom” is one that means different things to different people, and to people of different ages. 

There is “freedom from” and “freedom to”; negative liberty and positive liberty. We’ve always struggled politically to balance the two, as we grant Americans wider freedom to possess arms, and freedom from hunger and illness. As Boomers enjoy their single-payer Medicare, Millenials striving in the gig economy struggle to afford or obtain quality, affordable health insurance of any sort. As Boomers collect their Social Security benefits, Gen-Xers wonder whether the grand American bargain is going to still be around for them and their kids. Will the Boomers in Congress pull the Medicare rug out and privatize it? Will Social Security be strengthened or weakened? I enjoy the freedom to travel, to speak, to pray (or not), and myriad other freedoms we take for granted daily. I’d also like the freedom from usurious banks, predatory health insurers, and being taxed to keep Afghanistan safe. 

Steele is arguing for the rights of Americans freely to express their bigotry without shame, and freedom from any consequences – public or private – that might derive therefrom. America didn’t “become stigmatized” in the 60s as “racist, sexist, and militaristic”. It had long been all of those things. It still is. That’s part of what makes America as a multicultural political experiment so interesting. The anti-Italian bigotry of the early 20th century is different how, exactly, from the anti-Muslim bigotry of today? Conservatives denounce the notion of equal pay for equal work today, just as they killed the Equal Rights Amendment almost forty years ago. “Political correctness” is a concept that now exists only in conservative thought, to justify and defend the notion that it’s ok for people to treat other people horribly on the basis of their color, gender, religion, background, etc. Steele’s denunciation of “political correctness” and “environmental orthodoxy” and the “diversity cult” underscore his thesis that it’s not the bigotry that’s the problem, it’s that some people won’t put up with it any longer. 

This was the circumstance in which innocence of America’s bigotries and dissociation from the American past became a currency of hardcore political power. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, good liberals both, pursued power by offering their candidacies as opportunities for Americans to document their innocence of the nation’s past. “I had to vote for Obama,” a rock-ribbed Republican said to me. “I couldn’t tell my grandson that I didn’t vote for the first black president.”

This anecdote proves nothing. There’s no data underlying this conclusion that people only voted for President Obama because he is black. The substance of Obama’s candidacy was about as traditionally American as it gets, and his platform was not dissimilar from that of any Democratic candidate since (interestingly enough) the mid-60s. The fact of the 2008 global financial meltdown made the Presidential choice that year rather stark – do you vote for the panicky Senator whose running mate is woefully unprepared, or for the cool, calm, and collected guy who exudes competence? If you voted for Obama based solely on his race, that’s pretty ignorant. 

For this man liberalism was a moral vaccine that immunized him against stigmatization. For Mr. Obama it was raw political power in the real world, enough to lift him—unknown and untested—into the presidency. But for Mrs. Clinton, liberalism was not enough. The white guilt that lifted Mr. Obama did not carry her into office—even though her opponent was soundly stigmatized as an iconic racist and sexist.

For a lot of women, Mrs. Clinton’s loss served to remind them that women still had a long way to go before they’ll truly be considered men’s equals. Mr. Trump wasn’t just “soundly stigmatized as an iconic racist and sexist”, he was factually proven to be both, yet won anyway. The pussy grabbing tape was proof of his sexism, and his entire political career was founded on the racist fiction that President Obama didn’t just not feel American, but that he was actually foreign-born and unqualified to govern – evidence be damned. 

Perhaps the Obama presidency was the culmination of the age of white guilt, so that this guiltiness has entered its denouement. There are so many public moments now in which liberalism’s old weapon of stigmatization shoots blanks— Elizabeth Warren in the Senate reading a 30-year-old letter by Coretta Scott King, hoping to stop Jeff Sessions’s appointment as attorney general. There it was with deadly predictability: a white liberal stealing moral authority from a black heroine in order to stigmatize a white male as racist. When Ms. Warren was finally told to sit, there was real mortification behind her glaring eyes.

Yet when Senator Warren’s male colleagues read from the same text, they were not told to sit down and shut up. Note that Mr. Steele doesn’t address the substance of Mrs. King’s letter and testimony about Attorney General Sessions – merely the identities of the people involved. White liberal. Black heroine. White male. Who’s playing in the deep end of identity politics, now? 

This liberalism evolved within a society shamed by its past. But that shame has weakened now. Our new conservative president rolls his eyes when he is called a racist, and we all—liberal and conservative alike—know that he isn’t one. The jig is up. Bigotry exists, but it is far down on the list of problems that minorities now face. I grew up black in segregated America, where it was hard to find an open door. It’s harder now for young blacks to find a closed one.

Especially the door to the jailhouse

This is the reality that made Ms. Warren’s attack on Mr. Sessions so tiresome. And it is what caused so many Democrats at President Trump’s address to Congress to look a little mortified, defiantly proud but dark with doubt. The sight of them was a profound moment in American political history.

Dark with doubt about the anti-democratic autocrat temporarily occupying the Oval Office. As President Trump heaps praise on Phillipine murderer Rodrigo Duterte, calls North Korean concentration camp operator Kim Jong Un a “smart cookie”, and praises Vladimir Putin’s leadership, Americans are left wondering how it is that “economic insecurity” justifies all this ethical rot. America isn’t just a place, it’s an idea. Its promise of opportunity and liberty have attracted people from around the world for centuries. It’s not, however, some conservative rebuke against “political correctness” that gives people pause. It’s the erosion of the very concept of America. You don’t “make America great again” by excusing bigotry, playing footsie with dictators, and rejecting science and knowledge. You want to have playtime in your new America that no longer has to “apologize” for being horrible to minorities or women or gay people? That’s fine, I guess, but for an elderly Boomer to declare the end of “liberalism” – or its “exhaustion” – when the younger generations stand overwhelmingly at odds against you, beware of whom you label an “anachronism”. 

Today’s liberalism is an anachronism. It has no understanding, really, of what poverty is and how it has to be overcome. It has no grip whatever on what American exceptionalism is and what it means at home and especially abroad. Instead it remains defined by an America of 1965—an America newly opening itself to its sins, an America of genuine goodwill, yet lacking in self-knowledge.

Declaring without proof that today’s liberals don’t know “what poverty is” is the anachronism. How condescending – it’s like the Fox News alerts that shame the poor as not really poor because they own TVs and microwaves. In what way do liberals have “no grip” on “what American exceptionalism is” or what it means? It’s Trump – not “liberals” – who is systematically defunding and weakening our diplomatic corps – the front lines around the world of the very idea of “America”. Liberalism today isn’t simply defined by a static 1965. It’s also informed by a President who bullshat his way into a disastrous quagmire in Iraq. Today’s liberals are the ones screaming bloody murder at how Reaganomics and its ceaseless hangover have utterly destroyed the American middle class, and brought about intense concentration of wealth. Today’s liberals aren’t just content to not be bigots, but also believe that programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid need to be strengthened, not weakened. Most of us think Obamacare didn’t go far enough, and we’ll be damned if we let the conservatives on the Hill erode what little progress we’ve made towards universal health coverage. 

This liberalism came into being not as an ideology but as an identity. It offered Americans moral esteem against the specter of American shame. This made for a liberalism devoted to the idea of American shamefulness. Without an ugly America to loathe, there is no automatic esteem to receive. Thus liberalism’s unrelenting current of anti-Americanism.

Steele’s projection of liberalism as an “anti-American” identity is a decades-old trope that was rendered impotent in the 90s. It isn’t the mid-60s anymore, but it’s not the mid-80s, either. This isn’t a thoughtful exposition on the state of liberalism in Trump’s America – it’s a blunt caricature ripped from the pages of any random issue of the New York Post from when Mayor Koch was running the city. 

Let’s stipulate that, given our history, this liberalism is understandable. But American liberalism never acknowledged that it was about white esteem rather than minority accomplishment. Four thousand shootings in Chicago last year, and the mayor announces that his will be a sanctuary city. This is moral esteem over reality; the self-congratulation of idealism. Liberalism is exhausted because it has become a corruption.

Four thousand shootings in Chicago count for more than an anti-liberal totem for conservatives to hoist when they want to feel morally superior. It’s a problem that isn’t solved by, e.g., more guns or the abolition of social programs. What, precisely, is the anti-liberal solution to Chicago’s shootings? Surely by now President Trump or one of the members of his parade of idiots and nepotists could have solved it? And what does “sanctuary city” have to do with it? “Sanctuary city” means the city won’t abide an unfunded mandate that its police forces do ICE‘s job for it. “Sanctuary city” means that the police won’t arrest an undocumented immigrant who reports a crime. What does Chicago’s status as a “sanctuary city” have to do with “four thousand shootings” at all? It’s a non-sequitur. 

Steele’s piece tries inelegantly to do in a short column what Tom Wolfe did so brilliantly in Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak-Catchers. Social commentary about white guilt has been done better, earlier. That’s what Steele is talking about, after all: the time of the rich coastal elites and their radical chic moral superiority is over! 

The problem is that Steele’s analysis – such as it is – is the real anachronism here. He’s still fighting the battles of the late 60s and early 70s, and sees contemporary politics through that lens. Ironically enough, he is a part of the coastal elite – working at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, which is limited both in its middle-classhood and economic anxiety. 

Liberalism isn’t over. Hell, the Bernie Sanders rally at UB in 2016 had a much bigger turnout with much less promotion or fanfare than Trump’s circus at the KeyBank Center. The idea that government has a role in the economy – and can solve problems – didn’t go away. The concept of “don’t be a complete prick to people different from you” isn’t dead or “exhausted” in any sense of the term. On the contrary, while there exists now a backlash against, perhaps, Obama and same-sex marriage and whatever other bogeyman you can conjure, know that it’s only temporary, and the future lives in liberty and democracy, rather than dictatorship and hatred. The future is with the youth, and they don’t wish President Obama dead or characterize Michelle Obama as a male gorilla

But for now, the radical chic is to excuse bigotry and to otherwise “Make America Great Again”. 

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. 

Heir-Head Skittle Analogy


Last weekend, a New Jersey man planted myriad bombs throughout the tri-state area, intending to kill innocent passers-by.  A couple of the bombs went off, and although no one was killed, dozens were injured on 23rd between 6th and 7th. This New Jersey man, Ahmad Rahami, was born in Afghanistan in 1988 and came to the United States with his family in 2000; when he was 12 years old. His father opened up a fast food stand in Elizabeth, which ran into some flak with neighbors and there was activity within the city council and in the courts over its operation. Rahami was a naturalized American citizen.

In the aftermath of an act of terrorism perpetrated by an Afghani-American, the Republican presidential nominee’s son Tweeted this: 

The image “says it all”, how? Not only is this facile Skittles analogy all wrong, it’s right out of Julius Streicher’s Der Stürmer

That’s the cover of Der Giftpilz, or the “Poisonous Mushroom“. This children’s book taught German kids in the 30s and 40s that, “just as it is often hard to tell a toadstool from an edible mushroom, so too it is often very hard to recognize the Jew as a swindler and criminal”. Streicher was tried and hanged at Nuremburg. 

But aside from the clear regurgitation of some of the most insidious Nazi racial propaganda, how are Skittles like people; from what war or conflagration are these Skittles seeking refuge? What “politically correct” agenda was being served? If the bombings were the thing that prompted Trump to Tweet this, what does Syria have to do with Rahami? What the hell logic is going on here in this heir-head’s mind? 

By all accounts, Rahami was a grade-A scumbag before he tried to maim and kill people with shrapnel propelled by homemade bombs. He allegedly beat and stabbed his own sister. He traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years, and may have been radicalized while on one of those trips – he spent a year in Pakistan. But he lived with his mom and dad and had a job at the family business. What he attempted to do in New York and New Jersey is abhorrent, and he deserves fully to be prosecuted. 

But how does this sick act by one perverse asshole lead to the conclusion that accepting Syrian refugees is our misfortune? The immigrant story – indeed, the refugee story – is not tragedy for the United States, but a triumph. It’s not for nothing Rahami’s father could open up a fast food business in New Jersey and make some sort of living in a new world. It’s not for nothing the manhunt for Rahami ended when the Sikh owner of a bar called “Merdie’s Tavern” called the cops. It’s not for nothing that it was an American Cypriot refugee who took the picture of Skittles that Trump, Jr. Tweeted

I’ve already written that Trumpism is not dissimilar from fascism. From its very creation, the Trump campaign has been founded on the notion of white resentment – against Mexicans, against Muslims, against any minority group who can reasonably be scapegoated. The world is changing in many ways – socially and economically. Not only aren’t the coal mines coming back, but neither are steel mills. By the way, gay people can get married to a same-sex partner, to boot. For many people, this is all too much. America is gone. Obama and Hillary have taken it away. The liberals and Nancy Pelosi must be stopped. 

On top of that, the immigrants. The refugees. They’re coming for your jobs; your children; your lives; your women

They’re here. And I’ve been saying. This is going to be like the Trojan horse. We’re letting tens of thousands of people flow into this country and they are bringing in, in many cases, this is cancer from within. This is something that’s going to be so tough and you know they stay together, so nobody really knows who it is, what’s happening. They are plotting. They keep plotting, and this has been going on for so long and everybody knows it and the good law enforcement, we have such great people. That’s the best thing we have going is that we have great law enforcement. They know about it.

Trump says, “Cancer from within”. Like this Nazi Russian-language propaganda from 1943 branding Jews as “people of contagion”. 

‘They are plotting; they keep plotting”, says Trump. Like this 1942 cartoon accusing Jews of a “conspiracy against Europe”? 

But racial animus isn’t enough – Trump also has to attack our fundamental principles. The bomber was shot; we have a duty to provide him with medical care, and even if you think he doesn’t deserve it, it keeps him alive to face justice.

But the bad part: Now we will give him amazing hospitalization,” Trump continued. “He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world. He will be given a fully modern and updated hospital room. And he’ll probably even have room service knowing the way our country is.”

We have a constitutional duty to provide him with legal defense if he can’t afford his own lawyer. Again: it’s not our race hate, but our Constitution that makes America great

“On top of all of that, he will be represented by an outstanding lawyer,” Trump added. “And his punishment will not be what it once would have been. What a sad situation. We must have speedy but fair trials and we must deliver a just and very harsh punishment to these people.”

The Constitutional guarantee of a right to counsel doesn’t just protect people whom you think are guilty, but all people who stand accused of a crime. “His punishment will not be what it once would have been” – what, exactly, does that mean? Guillotine? Hanging? Is that what will make “America Great Again?” 

Stoking the fires of racial and class resentment isn’t going to turn back the clock to a happier time, when it was “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”; when women and minorities knew their place, and, ironically, trade unions succeeded in the working class into the middle class. Railing against “political correctness” so that white millionaires can feel more comfortable using racial epithets, isn’t going to lead to any great regression, either. 

Within the Trump campaign, all of the hallmarks of a fascist movement are there; authoritarianism; scapegoating of immigrants and minorities for real and perceived social and economic ills; disregard for the Constitution and rule of law; spouting lies and falsehoods with impunity; “stab in the back” mythology; “take our country back” jingoism; appeals to class warfare, here inciting the working class to blame the pointy-headed liberal elites for their own economic misfortunes in a changing economy, etc. Mussolini blamed the socialists. Hitler blamed the Jews. Fascism was a perverse reaction to Marxist collectivism; while Marx emphasized class over the individual, fascism holds that national and/or racial identity take precedence over the individual. Toil for the good of the proletariat; toil for the victory of the Volk. 

Trump (so far) has blamed the Mexicans and Muslims – especially the Syrian refugees. But they haven’t done anything. Their only crimes are that they’re not like Trump. From Vox, 

A report released last week by the Cato Institute measured the risk to Americans posed by refugees. The report found that an American’s chances of being killed by a refugee in a terrorist attack in any given year are 1 in 3.64 billion. America’s murder rate — at 4.5 per 100,000 capita — is about 163,800 times higher.

Therefore, math being a thing, if three Skittles are deadly terrorists, you’d need a bowl of 11 billion Skittles to match the statistical likelihood of harm. Aren’t Republicans better than this? Shouldn’t they be

At this point, the only difference between Naziism and Trumpism is that Hitler believed that all the Skittles were poison. 

Paladino: Obama is a Muslim


Within the cache of emails my colleagues and I revealed at WNYMedia.net in 2010 was one from tea party Assemblyman David DiPietro. It claimed that President Obama was a Muslim.

The Buffalo News’ Sandra Tan caught up with him and he was wishy-washy about whether he thought the President was Muslim. (He was in agreement before he was in alleged disagreement). First, DiPietro told Tan, 

“Barack Obama is a Muslim,” said DiPietro, former East Aurora mayor. “I don’t like the president. I think he’s a Muslim. I think he’s a foreigner to our nation. I oppose every principle he stands for.”

DiPietro called Tan back. 

He later said he spoke in the heat of the moment and apologized if he sounded offensive.

“He says he’s a Christian,” DiPietro said, referring to Obama. “Until that’s proven otherwise, I’ll take him at his word. I’m not going to question anyone’s religion. Your faith is your faith. I don’t question anyone’s faith. I just would like honesty with all his policies.”

Dishonest and unprincipled. Prejudiced. 

Not that there would be anything wrong with being Muslim. It’s just that Obama isn’t, and part of the reason why Caucasian Obama haters use the Muslim faith as a smear is because they are (a) Islamophobes; and (b) Obamaphobes. It’s a way for them to confirm for themselves what they already believe – that President Obama isn’t one of us. He isn’t a real American. Some think he is on a Muslim/Communist mission to destroy America. All of it is rooted in deep racism. 

For these types of tea party right-wing bigots, saying bigoted stuff is evidence of their opposition to “political correctness”; being anti-PC is the new PC for this crowd, and they use it as a way to justify their racial or religious animus.  

So, we turn to Carl Paladino, local coward and tea party bigot who is Donald Trump’s campaign co-chair in New York, a former and possibly future failed candidate for governor, and local embarrassment. It was Paladino to whom DiPietro sent that “Heeza Muzzlim” email. The New York Observer quoted Paladino in a story Thursday night, in which he laid bare his misguided belief that the President isn’t a real Christian or American. 

Speaking over the phone for an unrelated story, Carl Paladino—the 2010 GOP candidate for governor of New York—abruptly changed subjects and assailed the sitting president and his policies. The Buffalo-based real estate developer and Tea Party activist maintained that Obama, a practicing Christian, has sought to mislead the public about his religious affiliation, but that the citizenry has not fallen for his falsehoods.

Get that? The Observer – owned by Ivanka Trump’s husband – was speaking with Paladino about something completely different, and he spontaneously pivoted to this Obama-as-Muslim-foreigner fantasy. 

“In the mind of the average American, there is no doubt he is a Muslim,” Paladino said. “He is not a Christian.”

Sure, for Paladino, for whom being a “Christian” means forwarding hardcore pornography, including video of a horse having anal sex with a human woman, and having a whole second side family. Obama is not, indeed, that kind of “Christian”. 

By way of proof, Paladino seemed to argue Obama has taken a pro-Muslim approach in conducting American affairs abroad.

“Look at what he’s done with Iran, what he’s done with the Sunni-Shia thing over in Iraq and Iran, and with ISIS,” the Republican said.

Wait a minute. What has Obama done with “the Sunni-Shia thing over in Iraq and Iran”? What is that supposed to even mean? What the fuck is this doddering old racist talking about? The US has been raining bombs on ISIS for over a year, and ISIS’ territory in Syria and Iraq has shrunken significantly. As for Iran, whether you agree with Obama’s outreach to that country or not, his diplomatic initiatives there prove he’s a Muslim about as much as his diplomacy with Singapore make him a Southeast Asian. It’s just ignorant. 

Contrary to Paladino’s assertions, the average American does not seem to believe there is “no doubt” the president is a Muslim: polls indicate only 18 to 29 percent of the populace identify him as an adherent of the world’s second-largest religion. However, surveys suggest a full two-thirds of Trump supporters believe the president has hidden his true allegiances to the Quran and the holy city of Mecca.

So, there is quite a disconnect between real America, and what people like Paladino would call “real America”. The Observer piece goes on to outline Trump’s long and storied history with birther fanaticism, and Paladino’s email issues

The thing that so desperately perplexes old racists like Carl is that President Obama is a one-family man, happily married to the same, one woman his adult life, and with two strong, intelligent young daughters – with only his wife. President Obama actually lives those Christian values to which Paladino pays only lip service. Meanwhile, Paladino supports a guy who is on wife #3 and has five kids with different women. Divorce, suffice it to say, isn’t exactly smiled upon in most Christian sects

There’s nothing wrong with people being divorced or having families like Trump. But people who choose to use “Christian values” as a sword but don’t actually live up to them in their own lives, or are selective about their application, are rotten hypocrites.

Carl Paladino’s dream candidate is going to lose. If Carl chooses to run for governor again, he’s going to lose – bigger than in 2010. Carl Paladino is so inept he’s lost his majority on the school board. His animus for President Obama is hilarious given how well his companies seem to be doing. He reveals himself – again – to be little more than a hypocritical bigot who gives Buffalo and WNY a bad name. 

UPDATE: This, from Niagara Falls residents Rus and Jul Thompson’s ignorant Facebook circle-jerk (read more WNY’s political couple most likely to be found in /r/trashy here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.) 

There’s only one conclusion that can be drawn from such persuasive rhetoric and flawless logic. The Thompsons and Paladino are all Muslims. 

Matthew Jurado Arrested for North Tonawanda Arson


Jurado’s publicly accessible Facebook page is replete with racist Confederate imagery. He is accused of starting a fire in the home of Kenneth Walker, an African-American firefighter from North Tonawanda, who reported being the victim of written racist threats earlier this week

Jurado denies delivering the threat, but claims to know who did. He lashed out at Walker supposedly because Jurado lost his position as a firefighter in June for failure to complete required training. Walker works with a different fire company, so query under what the hell racist logic Jurado was operating. 

While the News article mentions the firefighter-related images on Jurado’s Facebook, it omits the many appearances of the racist slavery treason flag, used nowadays by people who, with an ironic dash of racist political correctness, prefer the euphemism, “heritage”. 

This offers some insight into Mr. Jurado’s thought process and mindset; why he might target literally the only African-American firefighter in town. Mr. Jurado is, in court, innocent until proven guilty. He admitted to the police, however, that he set the fire. I wonder why. 

Trump Surrogate: Chris Collins


My Congressman, Chris Collins, has endorsed Donald Trump. Since then, he has become more of an embarrassment than ever before. This weekend, he wrote an un-comical op/ed for that liberal stalwart, the New York Times

Americans are angry. I hear it from the former factory workers who lost their jobs to other countries because of bad trade deals, the veterans who wait months to see a doctor at a Veterans Affairs hospital and the small-business owners who are struggling to stay afloat because of the Affordable Care Act’s crippling regulations. The professional politicians they trusted and supported have repeatedly sold out our country in favor of special interests and the status quo. Finally, millions of Americans are saying, “Enough is enough.”

The VA is understaffed and underfunded by the Republican Congress. (Can’t have big government). More Americans have quality, real health insurance than at any time in history; not dying is a “special interest”. Manufacturing? Collins should know as well as anyone that it’s been automating or shifting overseas for generations. 

Are people angry about, e.g., Chris Collins’ company failing to pay its workers a contracted-for prevailing wage? Are they angry about Chris Collins’ company manufacturing its bike balancing gizmo in China? Hypocritical doesn’t begin to describe that first paragraph. 

I see the failures of career politicians in the experiences of the hardworking men and women in Western New York whom I represent in Congress. The safe manufacturer SentrySafe, which once employed hundreds in the Rochester area, will close its doors this June and shift much of its operation to Mexico. That means the loss of good-paying jobs because our state and national leaders do not know how to encourage businesses to stay and grow in the United States.

When given the chance, Chris Collins – a man who has been in politics for almost two decades – manufactured his bike balance thing in China. Not in western New York.

America cannot afford another professional politician residing in the White House. We need a leader who has faced tough real-life situations before, and won. As Republicans prepare to vote in the New York primary on Tuesday, I hope they will send a resounding message that they believe Donald J. Trump is that type of leader.

Over the past several decades, Mr. Trump has built a family business into a network of highly successful enterprises. One of the many reasons Americans are rallying behind him is his record of success and commitment to taking the lessons he’s learned to the White House. When he talks about being a president who would create jobs, win negotiations and stand up to enemies, people believe him because he has done it before.

To fix the mistakes made by President Obama, our next president needs to speak frankly about the problems that exist, explain how he or she will correct them and have the fortitude to take necessary actions, no matter how unpopular they would be with Washington elites.

Get that? You can fix bad policies and systemic failures by “speak[ing] frankly”. He will build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. He will drop nuclear bombs on “ISIS”, without regard for innocent civilians who are vaporized. He will commit torture, abrogate the Geneva Conventions, and murder terrorists’ innocent relatives (but likely not, by example, the parents of Timothy McVeigh, who slaughtered 168 innocent men, women, and children). Chris Collins endorses all of it. 

Yes, being a blunt-spoken political outsider gets a nominee only so far. But Mr. Trump continues to win because his message and his ideas for fixing America are resonating with voters. He is committed to securing our borders, taking back the manufacturing jobs that have been stolen from the middle class by Mexico and China, and standing up to enemies threatening our way of life. These are things people in my district care about. His demand that foreign countries stop cheating on international trade is especially welcome in Western New York, a region devastated by the North American Free Trade Agreement and other poorly negotiated trade deals.

“Red China Chris” Collins is a political insider who has done nothing to abrogate or challenge bad trade deals. On the contrary, he outsourced his own product to China, because he could and because it was cheaper than employing western New Yorkers to do it. 

Even some of his supporters don’t agree with everything he says. I believe his plan to deport the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States is unfeasible, and his proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering our country will not end radical Islamic terrorism.

“Avoidable humanitarian crisis of Biblical proportions” can now be euphemised into “unfeasible”. Make no mistake – the rounding up, detention, and deportation of 11 million men, women, and children will be nothing more than contemporary concentration camps. They’ll be Dachau and Omarska for the 21st Century. Banning Muslims – even American Muslims – from entry or re-entry isn’t just something to avoid because it won’t work, but because it’s fundamentally illegal, unconstitutional, stupid, and ignorant. Trumpisti are quick to say it would be “temporary”, but that’s not true; something “temporary” has an expiration date. The proper word is, “indefinite”. Chris Collins endorses all of it, despite his weak and mealy-mouthed protestations. 

However, there is something to be said for a candidate who is willing to put forward proposals to protect our nation, rather than skirt uncomfortable issues — as President Obama and Hillary Clinton all too often do. His lack of political correctness shows that he is independent and understands the things people care about. Unlike career politicians who take policy positions based on their fear of losing elections or angering deep-pocketed special interests, Mr. Trump is accountable to no one but the voters.

Hey, my candidate might say horrible, wretched, and unworkable things, but gosh he’s willing to say them! Also, “political correctness” has become Republican shorthand for, “let’s treat people like garbage again”. 

Republicans recognize that the remaining Republican candidates have all advanced conservative solutions to the problems our nation is facing, as evidenced by the record voter turnout we have seen. But while Senator Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich both have strong visions, neither possesses Mr. Trump’s proven negotiating skills or ability to enact real change.

Donald Trump’s negotiating skills must explain why his name is still up on junk-bond-financed, twice-bankrupted Trump Taj Mahal, the 13th best hotel in Atlantic City, according to Tripadvisor. 

I know firsthand how important Mr. Trump’s private-sector know-how is to improving the way government operates. I spent my career buying and rebuilding distressed companies, which created and saved hundreds of middle-class jobs. I put that experience to use in 2007 when I ran for executive of Erie County, a region that had been devastated by losses in manufacturing jobs.

In office, I made the necessary tough choices and turned a nearly bankrupt, debt-ridden county into one with a surplus. I believe Donald Trump will achieve the same results for America.

Shorter Chris Collins: Trump needs the assistance of an imposed control board to lead. 

Americans have a chance to set our country back on course and restore the possibility of the American dream for our children and grandchildren. For too long the political class has denied everyday Americans a real voice in government. This election, voters are finding a leader who is listening to them over the clamor of Washington special interests, and voters are speaking loud and clear. They want a leader like Mr. Trump; a chief executive, not a chief politician.

Here’s a news flash for Red China Chris: you are a member of the political class, and you never schedule or attend events where you might have to deign to hear from people who don’t agree with you and buy into your Spaulding Lake shtick. Your policies were so horrible for western New York’s middle class that you were ejected from county office after one unnecessarily turbulent term. You are an embarrassment to your constituents, to your town, and to yourself. 

Contemporary Misogyny and LGBT-phobia


In the Brave New World Donald Trump has developed around himself, it is “political correctness” that led to his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski standing accused of misdemeanor battery.

In the regressive dystopia of North Carolina, hatred of LGBT people and suspiciously eyeing the notion of “civil rights” remains in vogue. 

Far be it from me to defend an ultra-conservative refugee from the Breitbart nihilistic fabrication consortium, but when a man intentionally puts his hands on a woman against her will, and leaves a mark, that’s a battery. This is what happened to reporter Michelle Fields, and none of it has anything to do with political correctness. 

More to the point, there didn’t need to be a mark. There just had to be an intentional unwanted touching, however slight. Corey Lewandowski is not a law enforcement or Secret Service agent or in any other capacity that would lend him immunity from a battery charge. 

Fields’ story has never changed. She claimed Lewandowski grabbed her very hard and almost lost her balance. She made the error of attempting to ask a Presidential candidate a question as he moved through a ballroom where he had just pretended like Trump Steaks and Trump Magazine still existed.  Luckily, he didn’t attempt to argue that Trump Shuttle was still around. 

What we learned is that Trump values his “brand” so much, he’ll affix his name to any old tasteless tack. Like his campaign effort. 

But the way Trump and Lewandowski have reacted is right out of the domestic abusers’ playbook. 

When in doubt, just blame the victim and suggest she’s lying. 

But alas, Fields’ audio recorded caught the whole thing, and her instantaneous, contemporaneous reaction was quite amazing. Lawyers call it an “excited utterance”. 

Holy shit, I can’t believe he just did that. That was so hard. Was that Corey? You should have felt how hard he just grabbed me. 

Fields detailed what happened in a story at Breitbart, and at first the website called on Lewandowski to apologize, highlighting how he and Trump were accusing Fields of making it all up. But the outfit was too afraid of Trump to stand by its reporter, and like a petulant little army of amateur Jim Garrisons analyzing myriad Zapruder films, began questioning her story immediately. Seriously, consider the idea of a putative “news” outlet trusting its reporter enough to hire her, but not enough to back her up when she says someone from a campaign put his hands on her. Fields and her colleague Ben Shapiro left Breitbart on March 14th over this, and some more people quit a few days later

From the Times

Ms. Fields said she was trying to ask Mr. Trump a question about affirmative action when Mr. Lewandowski grabbed her and nearly knocked her off her feet. She posted on Twitter a picture of finger-shaped bruises on her arm.

Mr. Lewandowski denied touching her, but Ms. Fields pressed charges three days later. The investigating officer, Detective Marc Bujnowski, took statements from her and from a Washington Post reporter, Ben Terris, who was a witness.

Security video footage from the Trump golf club “parallels what Fields had told me,” the detective wrote: Mr. Lewandowski “grabbed Fields left arm with his right hand, causing her to turn and step back.”

Indeed, the new security-camera images show Mr. Lewandowski reaching for and then grabbing Ms. Fields’s arm, tugging at her clothing as he pulls her, then walking ahead of her as she reacts, close behind Mr. Trump. The entire episode takes less than four seconds.

The abuser is being prosecuted. Police – who have no axe to grind – interviewed witnesses and reviewed audio and video tape to determine that probable cause exists to charge Lewandowski. Whom are you going to believe? Donald Trump and his paid staffer, or your lying eyes and ears? 

Astonishingly, macho hero Trump is now claiming that Fields – a 100 lb woman with Trump campaign press credentials – posed a threat to him because she was holding a pen, which may have been a “little bomb”.  I shit you not. 

Turning to North Carolina, its legislature bulldozed a law onto the books that would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people, mostly over bathrooms. Lawmakers had to ask for five minutes to read its text. Under pressure from businesses and professional and amateur sporting associations, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is playing defense.

This law basically nullifies any policy made by any municipal entity that would allow transgendered people to use the bathroom or locker room of the gender with which they identify. While private businesses can do whatever they want – including discriminating against LGBT patrons – state facilities require that a person use the bathroom or locker room that corresponds with what it says on his birth certificate. 

50 years ago, the South was the epicenter of denying black people equal rights. Today, the South is the epicenter of denying rights to LGBT Americans. How far we’ve come. 

This wild intrusion into people’s privacy would seem to require a bathroom police to check people’s birth certificates. Will this be via checkpoint or random enforcement? Will North Carolinians and visitors be required to have their birth certificates on their person when they use a bathroom stall? Where will the checkpoints be set up? 

Think of it this way: 81 year-old Renee Richards, who made headlines in – and has lived as a woman since – the mid-70s, might be forced to use the men’s room at a North Carolina highway rest stop. McCrory says people who undergo sex change operations can get their birth certificates changed, but all this underscores that North Carolina will need to set up some sort of Birth Certificate Police infrastructure – a Toilet Stasi – to ensure compliance. 

When a transgender person is using a bathroom stall – any bathroom stall – whose rights or privacy are under assault? 

In other words, the only way to respect people’s difference is through discriminatory legislation. North Carolina’s Attorney General calls the law an embarrassment and won’t defend it in court. Here is what Governor McCrory said: 

We have not taken away any rights that currently existed in any city in North Carolina — from Raleigh, to Durham, to Chapel Hill, to Charlotte. Every city and every corporation has the exact same discrimination policy this week as they had two weeks ago. There’s a very well-coordinated campaign — a national campaign — which is distorting the truth — which is frankly smearing our state in an inaccurate way — which I’m working to correct… We have not changed one policy of any business in North Carolina or one policy of any employment status of any city government or county government in North Carolina.

Except that’s not at all true. The state has now overridden any NC municipal government that offered anti-discrimination protection stronger than the state’s own, including laws in Charlotte, Asheville, Boone, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Bessemer City, Durham, High Point, and Winston-Salem – and several counties. The UNC system can no longer enforce its own LGBT anti-discrimination policy, and these schools are now expressly prohibited from accommodating transgender students, faculty, alumni, and parents. 

The governor explained

“We are too much politically correct. This political correctness in our nation has taken over common sense, and the common sense is not to have a government regulation telling a business who they allow in what restroom, or locker room, or shower facility. I’m going to let them decide.”

“We’re throwing away basic etiquette,” he claimed. “I wonder if your daughter or son was showering and all of a sudden a man walks into the locker room and says, ‘This is what I am.’ Would you want that for your child?”

Of course, Charlotte’s law, like LGBT protections in cities and states across the country, would have done nothing to allow for any inappropriate or illegal behavior in restrooms. By calling transgender women “men” and suggesting that they are somehow a threat to children, the governor is relying on ignorance and fear to support his position.

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo barred any and all non-essential travel to North Carolina on the state’s dime. Governor McCrory shot back

Syracuse is playing the Final Four in Houston where voters overwhelmingly rejected a bathroom ordinance that was also rejected by the state of North Carolina. Is Governor Cuomo going to ask the Syracuse team to boycott the game in Houston? It’s total hypocrisy and demagoguery if the governor does not, considering he also visited Cuba, a communist country with a deplorable record of human rights violations.

Syracuse is a private institution. Cuba may be a communist country, but unlike North Carolina, it is opening up – not going backwards. Also, non-essential state-funded travel to Cuba is also not permitted. 

Finally, odious Representative Chris Collins, who endorsed for President the guy who said this: 

and recommended that women who undergo abortions – which he would outlaw – be “punished”,  posted this to Facebook: 

Someone ask this depraved opportunist what the state policy is for non-essential state travel to Cuba. Hint: it’s not allowed. This whole “Cuba” thing is not only the dumbest argument, ever, but it’s completely outside this clown’s jurisdiction. He should stick to stealing other people’s patents and manufacturing shit in Communist China.

Incidentally, Cuomo’s trip to Cuba brought a lung cancer vaccine to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. By throwing shade at Cuomo for that trip, Collins proves himself to be objectively pro-lung cancer. 

It wouldn’t be the first time

The healthcare reforms Collins said he would push would be tort reform and open up competition in insurance by allowing policies across state lines.

Collins also argued that modern healthcare is expensive for a reason.

“People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things,” Collins said.

Do better, America. We didn’t spend 240 years building our country to let it be so shoddily treated by misogynists, homophobes, and craven, despicable nouveau-career politicians. 

Beware the Nitwit

What better way to celebrate the Christmas season than to assail an idiotic thing that soon-to-be Trump ’16 NYS chair Carl Paladino sent around to his flock, and a ridiculous letter to the editor of the Buffalo News?

Carl and Marx

I tried to hunt down the opening quote, but the only place it shows up is on conservative blogs and sites re-printing this very post.

That quote I underlined in red for Marx: there’s no evidence that Marx ever wrote or said any such thing. At best, it appears to be a juvenile paraphrasing of Ronald Reagan’s, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction”. Karl Marx said a lot of things, but not too many on the subject of “freedom”. Indeed, when he did touch on “freedom”, it was within the context of class struggle and the relative freedoms of the proletariat vs. the bourgeoisie. If one looks back to the crises of capitalism that bookeneded the 1920s and, which exists in our post-2008 crash world today, we see that Marx warned of growing concentration of wealth at the very top of the social classes, and that this would lead to proletarian anger and revolt. To a certain degree, that explains the appeal of Trump and Sanders in a country that doesn’t go in for coups d’etat.

So, Carl Paladino kicks off his regurgitation of an email forward with a quote that Marx never said or wrote, but why bother checking?

The story goes on to explain how you can attract wild pigs by throwing free food at them, and then gradually pen them in while they’re busy feeding. This is a handy way to set up your anti-Obama analogy, and also to denigrate the poor and blame them for their own misery by likening them to wild animals. The email ends,

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening in America. The government keeps pushing us toward Communism/Socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tax exemptions, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare entitlements, medicine, drugs, etc., while we continually lose our freedoms, just a little at a time.

One should always remember two truths:

There is no such thing as a free lunch, and you can never hire someone to provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.

If you see that all of this wonderful government “help” is a problem confronting the future of democracy in America, you might want to share this with your friends.

If you think the free ride is essential to your way of life, then you will probably not share this.

BUT, God help us all when the gate slams shut!

Quote for today: “The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are now outnumbered.”

So, let’s say you’re dying and in hospice, and it’s covered by Medicare. That’s you being a wild pig losing your freedom.

Perhaps you’re a cancer patient on a subsidized health insurance plan under Obamacare. You receiving chemotherapy covered by your health insurance, as opposed to million-dollar bills and medical bankruptcy: that’s you getting penned in with your free lunch.

If you’re a poor black kid who has the misfortune of being a student in the shoddily run school system over which Mr. Paladino presides, your education, your subsidized lunch, your Medicaid – that’s you losing your freedom. Freedom, I assume, to be uneducated and hungry.

If you’ve engaged in “estate planning” to sell off your elderly parent’s belongings to qualify her for Medicaid, in order that the state will cover a $50,000/month nursing home bill – you’re just a wild hog, too.

Did you notice the line about “tax exemptions”? I guess that makes Carl a wild pig, too, for every project he builds that gets an IDA grant, or pays a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT)  instead of straight-up property and school taxes.

Paladino, however, modified that “quote for today” at the end in order to mimic a common right-wing radio trope:

You can pick at that all day – from the clumsy use of pronouns to the idea that some people vote in order to maintain their free ride through life. In a way, that might explain Mr. Paladino’s own political theater. This is a guy who wages childish verbal wars with alleged “RINOs”, but he’s all too happy to donate money to Democrats when there’s a freebie or benefit in it for him.

The KISS Dentist on Transgenders

Cheektowaga’s Eric Schroeder is better-known as the “KISS” Dentist on Harlem Road. He has strong opinions about what a school board a few towns away is up to:

The parents of the Hamburg School District should be outraged. For the School Board to take one minute to determine a “transgender” policy shows the lack of consideration to the rest of the students, parents and staff.

No, they shouldn’t be outraged at all. As a matter of fact, the parents in Hamburg should be relieved that their school board has the reading comprehension and critical thinking skills to see that the state Education Department’s gender identity policy protects not only the transgender and gender non-conforming students, but all students. You can read more about it at this post.

Children today are already horribly oversexualized, and allowing mixed sexes in bathrooms and locker rooms is just plain wrong. In any grade, there is no reason to let girls into boys locker rooms or boys into girls locker rooms. If this were done in any other public institutions, it wouldn’t stand. How does this stand in our public schools?

This gets back to one of the points I made in my earlier post: the people equating transgender and gender non-conforming kids to simple cross-dressers have it all wrong. Kids don’t just get to decide one day that they’re going to use a different bathroom or locker room. Hell, for all Dr. Schroeder knows, there might be a transgender male using the locker room at his gym as we speak.

Whether kids today are any more or less “horribly oversexualized” than any prior generation is, I suppose, up for debate. But if you equate bathrooms or locker rooms with sex, maybe you’re the one who needs to get right in the head.

This kind of sexual exposure is in line with endangering the welfare of a child and violates parents’ rights and responsibilities to their children. If I were a parent in Hamburg or any other district that put forth such nonsense, there would be the start of a class action lawsuit for endangering the welfare of my child.

“Endangering the welfare of a child” is a crime, not grounds for a civil action, much less a class action. If our dentist friend had bothered to read the text of the policy as it relates to locker rooms, he’d have found this: “[t]he district will allow a transgender or GNC (gender non-conforming) student to use the restroom and locker room that corresponds to the student’s consistently expressed gender identity at school. Any student requesting increased privacy or other accommodations when using bathrooms or locker rooms will be provided with a safe and adequate alternative, but they will not be required to use that alternative.” Did you see that text I highlighted there? ANY student. So, if a Hamburg student or parent has a problem with this, they can request an alternative.

Catering to one or a small group of people is bad enough. Now School Board members are listening to young children, full of confusion and raging hormones, rather than their own reason and the parents who pay school taxes.

You know, the fact that you pay school taxes doesn’t give you some license to override or decide every policy you don’t like. In this case, the Cheektowaga dentist does not pay Hamburg school taxes, as far as I can tell. Also, this isn’t up to the school board to implement; the board makes the policy, the administration carries it out. It’s up to the principals and teachers to figure out how best to implement the policy and make whatever accommodations are necessary in order to guarantee the comfort of “any student”. What the dentist would like to say, but doesn’t have the stones to, is that he thinks transgender is all bullshit. I don’t really understand why more people don’t just come right out and say that, rather than dancing around a lot of weasel-words worse than any lawyer could muster. After all, these are the same characters who think political correctness is leading to the destruction of western civilization.

I’d like so see my tax dollars go to educating the kids of today about our rich and exceptional history, the great things we have sacrificed and done for other countries and the world. Shifting the thought process to something as ridiculous as “transgenderism” in such young children is a disservice to all and needs to come to an end.

This guy made it through dental school? This is a policy to deal with an issue that already exists. It has nothing to do with the school curriculum; a curriculum that is replete with courses and credits dedicated to American exceptionalism.

In doing annual battle against anti-school crusaders in my own town, I see these sorts of semi-informed arguments all the time.  I see the elevation of tax payment to a level surpassing that of student, teacher, parent, or average citizen. I see the appeals based on misinformation. I see the vacant wishes that the school curricula would teach something already being taught whilst anti-tax sentiment cuts things like music and extracurricular activities.

No other government is required to submit its budget to annual scrutiny and plebiscite like this. Only schools. And here, where schools are being asked to carry out the law and ensure fair and equitable treatment for all students while balancing that against the needs and rights of a microscopically small minority, complete strangers take to the pages of the Buffalo News and excrete words that promote division, hatred, and discrimination.

It’s the Christmas season – the holiday season, really, if you think that Jews, Muslims, and people who celebrate Kwanzaa count. I would hope that cour community could do a better job of celebrating peace on Earth and goodwill to all people than by transmitting nonsense such as that reproduced above.

1 2 3