Lying Liar Jul Thompson

WNY Tea Party: Objectively Pro-Horse Porn

The tea party have decided to come after me. Probably because Jul Thompson is friends with the woman who is running the effort to kill Clarence schools. That’s the only explanation for bringing up 5 and 6 year old lies.

Remember: Jul Thompson is a liar. 

Have you ever known someone who leaves a wake of destruction behind them? Case in point, Alan Bedenko, liberal blogger, formerly wrote for ArtVoice, then left with Jeff Kelly and other staff to write for The Public, another liberal rag.

*Geoff Kelly. But never mind.

I sat with a friend today and shared with her my frustrations over my inability to persuade Carl Paladino’s Campaign for Governor in 2010 to answer the ridiculous charge that he was a racist, which were predicated upon emails Bedenko fabricated to “take him out” of the race against Andrew “2nd-Amendment-be-damned” Cuomo. As I attempted to provide her with some documentation to that effect, I found this little gem below, that I had never seen before. I had, at the time, shared the article from the Niagara Falls Reporter in which Bedenko had admitted to having fabricated some emails to sully the reputation of then (real) Mayor of Buffalo Steve Casey.

Let’s be 100% clear here.

I have never fabricated any emails to sully the reputation of Steve Casey, or of Byron Brown. I have never fabricated any emails to anyone, anywhere, and I have never fabricated any emails about – or from – Carl Paladino.  Anyone suggesting that I did (or that I would) is a liar. 

I don’t know the author but he is spot-on.

[I omitted here a lengthy paean to Carl Paladino, the savior and messiah of the Buffalo School system].

If I had a million dollars… I would sue the pants off of Alan Bedenko, challenge him to take a lie detector test and let him perjure himself in a court of law. Carl Paladino is one of the finest men I’ve ever known, and he, students and families of the Buffalo Public Schools and the people of New York deserve far better than being lied to by a nutcase on a liberal jihad and held hostage by the race-baiters of the School Board and the Buffalo Teachers Union. It’s a rare bird with “intestinal fortitude” that would subject himself to the outrageous and unrelenting bogus accusations of racism. We who know Carl, know that he is making an enormous sacrifice committing himself to this otherwise impossible task. He has given up his precious time, reputation and personal comfort because he cares so deeply for raising the level of achievement and providing a better future for the residents and families of the City of Buffalo.

Jul Thompson
Founder, TEA New York

Jul: Presumably Uncle Carl can provide you with the filing fee to sue me. I mean, you wouldn’t have standing to sue me, and Carl’s well past the statute of limitations to do so.

If I had fabricated those emails – you know, the racist, pornographic emails that Carl had sent and forwarded, including the one showing a horse having anal sex with a human female – why didn’t Carl go ahead and sue me back in 2010? 2011? 2012? 2013? Go ask any of Carl’s bigshot buddies whether he sent them. Ask Jamie Moses. Ask Larry Quinn. I can give you more names, if you want – names of people who might not necessarily be public figures. Email me at buffalopundit[at]gmail.com and I will give you a list of the names of people who received the pornographic and racist emails that Carl sent. Any time. 

The reason why Carl never sued me? He sent them. They’re his. Now, let’s take a look at the nonsense that Jul Thompson (the wife of Rus Thompson) has found:


Could some of the Paladino e-mails been forgeries?

This, and other questions, that the Albany press refuses to ask
by Jerry Myrle Fuller
Sunday, April 18, 2010

(Note: Most of you know that I am not a reporter by trade or training, and that my area of expertise is meteorology, so if this reads like a first-person journal entry, that is part of the reason. It seems to flow a little better that way.)

By now, most of you have heard about the e-mail leak from a liberal blog known as wnymedia.net that purports, in big letters, to be displaying the scandalous “racist and sexist e-mails” put forth by Buffalo developer and Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino. Immediately I became suspicious. The article asserted that the e-mails were real with all the authority of a Facebook chain message. So, I did some research.

Initially, this article was going to be a plain old rant about how this state seems to treat upstate politicians with a lot less respect than downstaters, pointing out the curious parallel between this and Chris Collins’s alleged “lap dance” comments that were unverifiable and blown way out of proportion, killing his proposed campaign for governor. It is no coincidence that both came from Buffalo, and it is also no coincidence that it has been decades since the state of New York has had a governor from the upstate region. However, I began to notice something: while for a few days, it appeared that Paladino’s campaign would indeed go down in flames, as would-be supporters ranging from Curtis Sliwa to Mark Williams disavowed him over the controversy, something funny happened: Paladino’s die-hard supporters rallied around him harder than ever. Paladino has a strong cult following, with passionate and outspoken supporters– something I really don’t see outside the political class for Lazio or Levy. They began to see the outrage over the e-mails as over the top. This led to wnymedia.net trying to push its rebuttal and insist that Carl Paladino was a dirty racist unfit for the office of governor of New York.

So, I looked into wnymedia.net– specifically Alan Bedenko, the man who portrays himself as “buffalopundit–” to see who this guy was. To put it bluntly, he’s an ambulance chaser (i.e., an auto injury attorney) who joined the Democratic Party in 2003. Having sporadically read his commentary, he’s always been fairly strongly liberal. This was relatively mundane information, but then I stumbled on a little item from the Niagara Falls Reporter (a local alternative tabloid in the Niagara Falls area) that had something eerily familiar. The article dates to February 2009 and stems from an unrelated e-mail feud between Sam Hoyt and Buffalo City Hall (my emphasis added):

Well, let’s get one thing clear. The author admits that he’s no reporter, and boy is he right. I defend people against whom lawsuits have been brought. I am not an “ambulance chaser”, and haven’t done plaintiff’s personal injury work since 2001.

Big catfight in Buffalo last week between amateur bloggers Alan Bedenko of Buffalo Pundit and Glenn Gramigna of New WNY Politics, precipitated by the self-important Bedenko’s decision to publish what he even said was a series of fraudulent e-mails purporting to have been sent between some top aides to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown last summer. Clearly, the e-mails were meant to slander and defame the people at Buffalo City Hall. Why Bedenko, who is an attorney in real life, chose to publish them is anyone’s guess. Enter Gramigna, who openly speculated that — since Bedenko was the only one to publish the lurid e-mails — perhaps Bedenko in fact had been their author. Actually, the theory makes a lot of sense. The e-mails were shopped to various news outlets last summer, and my impression was that they were created in response to the publication by the Niagara Falls Reporter of another series of e-mails between the married state Rep. Sam Hoyt and a young and comely Albany intern he was carrying on with. The Hoyt camp openly accused Brown’s first deputy mayor, Steve Casey, of being behind the leaking of the Hoyt e-mails — which were genuine — and Casey, perhaps coincidentally, figures prominently in the admittedly fraudulent e-mails published by Bedenko. Also perhaps coincidentally, Bedenko was a strong supporter of Hoyt during the last election cycle, has been a consistent critic of the Brown administration and was, after all, the only one to publish the garbage. Anyway, he phoned Gramigna “in a rage” and, being a lawyer, claimed his rival to be guilty of defamation. For his part, Gramigna is every bit the clueless lump comedians make fun of when discussing bloggers, and immediately posted a retraction. One question remains: Who did write the slanderous and potentially damaging e-mails Gramigna ascribed to Bedenko? Bedenko vehemently denies he wrote them, of course, but who knows?

Glenn Gramigna was being paid by one Syaed Ali, who is widely rumored to have been the author of the emails in question, and had no proof other than “open speculation” that I wrote the emails, because I published them. Makes perfect sense, right? It’s logic for idiots!

Alan Bedenko has a history of questionable e-mail “leaks” that pre-dates the Paladino e-mail flap. As I understood it, reporters are supposed to check the reliability of their sources before quoting their allegations as fact– something that did not appear to happen when these e-mails were leaked and subsequently went viral. Considering that I’m pretty sure wnymedia.net isn’t on most of the Albany press members’ must-read lists (their articles rarely show up on the major blogs), I’d venture to say there was also some shopping going around with the Paladino story as well.

What “history of questionable e-mail “leaks”? The Syaed Ali stuff? Hell, you can go right here and read all about that, from that time. Here is the article I wrote about Gramigna immediately after he published his “speculation”, and I expressly threatened to sue him. From that article:

UPDATED: Gramigna has retracted what he wrote, and what his source told him. That’s appreciated, but still horseshit.

Apart from this morning, when I called him in a rage, I can honestly say that I’ve never exchanged a single word with Gramigna, despite having helped him promote his dreck-laden site when he started it. His business model is: get local politicians to buy ads, print positive crap about them and negative crap about their opponents. Look for an alternative to completely decimate that business model, coming soon.

If I had written the offending emails – which I didn’t – I would have reprinted them last summer, when they were originally sent. They are alleged to have been sent by Mr. Gramigna’s newest advertising client, Syaed Ali. But I didn’t print them last summer. Indeed, I alluded to them a couple of times only in an off-handed manner. I had theories as to who might have been sending them, but someone in law enforcement somehow landed on Mr. Ali, and he alleges that he was subsequently placed into custody and that his belongings have been confiscated. I’ve gone on record saying that, if what Ali said is true, it’s a grave injustice.

Furthermore, if I had sent them, I wouldn’t have pimped them to mainstream media – I would have posted them on my site contemporaneously so that the TV and other reporters would give me linkage and credit.

But I didn’t write them, I wouldn’t have written them, I have nothing to gain from writing them, and never in my wildest dreams would ever conceive of writing something like that about anyone, much less an elected official.

For Gramigna, acting apparently as a conduit for the flailing Ali, to even suggestthat I was behind those emails is a disgrace – and a defamatory one, at that.

I have my disagreements with the Brown administration – I don’t like their secrecy, I don’t like their sense of entitlement, I don’t like their Machiavellian machinations to try and upset ECDC and its endorsed candidates, and I don’t necessarily think that they do the best job for Buffalo. That doesn’t mean I would ever stoop so low as to spread vicious, defamatory rumors about him or his officials.

I am not trying to claim that the entire thing is an absolute hoax. Paladino himself has acknowledged that at least some of the e-mails in question were in fact authentic. Many of them, knowing Paladino’s public persona and admitted racial insensitivity, aren’t even all that surprising. However, there is the question that if Paladino in fact did not author some of these alleged e-mails, why did he not come out and deny them? The best answer that I can give is that Michael Caputo didn’t even try to do so. Caputo, after the e-mail controversy broke, stated repeatedly that “We’re not sure about the authenticity of the emails, and we don’t care. I’m not even going to comment on the emails. It’s not something I care to look at.” He has characterized the leak as a “liberal Democrat blog smear” and has declined to delve into the details.

Carl is a fucking lawyer. It doesn’t matter what Caputo did or didn’t say. Carl had two and a half years to go ahead and sue the shit out of me. I’m just a middle-class lawyer/blogger and he’s a multimillionaire. Why didn’t he just sue me if it was false?

There could be lots of reasons. The biggest is that they’re provably genuine. Next would be that bringing that lawsuit would have opened up Carl’s own reputation to scrutiny. He knows better than to subject his reputation to the discovery process. Lots of reasons.

As for Syaed Ali, the idea that I wrote emails accusing Byron Brown of being gay is so palpably riduculous and false that Gramigna himself retracted the allegation. Mike Hudson didn’t because Mike Hudson knows how to write a story without crossing over the lines of libel, and didn’t directly accuse me of anything.

Jul Thompson is a liar. 

Paladino: New Year, New Lies

Carl Paladino _ Flickr - Photo Sharing! - Google Chrome 2015-01-06 13.49.18Carl Paladino loves to send emails. In fact, outside of WNY, that’s sort of what he’s famous for. Anyone who was on the email list for his gubernatorial run gets these, but this one is special.

From: Carl Paladino

Sent: Monday, January 05, 2015 9:10 AM

Subject: FW: ACTION ALERT To FIRE John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

We’re off to the races, with everyone’s favorite cranky uncle Carl forwarding other people’s emails. But here, he adds his own two cents.

John Boehner is an establishment boy who was conditioned to think that you go along to get along. He’s a pro at the Washington 2 step. He was a complete bust on Benghazi never ostracizing Obama for the stand down order, the IRS, (the criminality of which just vanished in the night), the disaster of Obamacare, etc., etc., etc.

The Republican effort to turn Benghazi into a scandal is notable because it has been an utter and repeated failure. When efforts to blame the Obama Administration for lying to the public about what caused the attacks went nowhere, they pivoted to accusing the government of ordering troops to “stand down”.  That is the lie that Paladino is parroting in this email, and it’s an especially repugnant one.

The Republican-led House Armed Services Committee expressly considered and rejected the notion that any “stand down” order was issued.  Paladino is lying.

Ingrained in that carefully crafted lie is a central theme that Obama is the “other” – not “American”.  That he is so foreign in name, visage, heritage, birth, and religion that it is believable that he would have done anything short of personally ordering or directing the terrorist attack on the compound that killed four American diplomats. This endlessly repeated “Obama let Benghazi happen” lie has its roots in xenophobia and racism. It’s not surprising, then, that Paladino – who famously forwarded emails depicting the Obamas as a 70’s-era pimp and whore, Africans as apes, and an image containing the n-word – believes that the President would deliberately put American diplomats in harm’s way.

As for the IRS “scandal”, its “criminality vanished” because there never was any to begin with.

It’s time for real leadership. Send the establishment gang-led by Boehner and McConnell- packing. That is what the American people want. Grow a set balls. How could any representative of the people give any respect to a President who ordered his military to stand down and leave American soldiers on the battlefield.

All of that is [sic], by the way. I’m hard-pressed to remember an incident where Boehner or McConnell gave a whole lot of respect to Obama in the first place, but again – Paladino thinks that these two Republican Congressional leaders aren’t extreme enough.

Incidentally, the 246 Congressional Republicans held their vote for Speaker of the House on Tuesday. John Boehner won 216 – 25. Another Paladino / tea party victory.

How can any American family allow their child, father, or husband to put his or her life at risk and feel comfortable with the military leadership.

You know, the Commander in Chief is a black man. First one, ever.

Wake Washington up. If it is to be Jeb Bush and business as usual, forget about 2016.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. If Jeb Bush is the nominee, forget it.

The American people want the lying and scheming Obama politically destroyed.

When was that? In 2008, or 2012? The irony of Paladino – in this missive – accusing anyone of being a liar is fantastic.

They want the likes of Gruber and the liberal elitist crowd to be gone from the landscape.

Gruber is the MIT economics professor who said something stupid about how Obamacare (Romneycare) was passed thanks to the stupidity of the American voter. In what way does Paladino want MIT professors whom he hates, or with whom he disagrees, “gone from the landscape”? Which landscape? “Gone” how? He was never an elected official. He’s not on any landscape, except MIT’s.

They want a strong military, respect from the rest of the world and a domestic policy that encourages achievement and is fair to all. They want leadership they can be proud of.

Our military is the most expensive thing in the federal budget. We throw money at it like there’s no tomorrow. What, exactly, does Paladino think is so weak about it? The fact that it’s been mired in two Asian land wars in the last 14 years? What part of the domestic policy discourages achievement or is unfair? Obama is well-admired domestically, and our country is respected by some, and disrespected by others, same as it’s ever been.

One thing is for sure – Americans do want “leadership they can be proud of.”

That’s why, since 2011, the title of Governor of the state of New York has been held by Andrew Cuomo.

New Yorkers know a disgrace when we see one.

The League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara Would Like Everyone To Stop Lying, Please

Serious Congress Candidate

Former Higgins challenger and tea party activist Mike Madigan wrote an article for some website, claiming that the “League of Women Voters’ Mission [was] Subjugated to [Congressman Brian] Higgins’ Desires“.  The idea is that incumbent congressman Brian Higgins is so fearful of “debating” Kathy “infected poors” Weppner, that he somehow strong-armed the League into not scheduling a “debate” between the two candidates. 

Firstly, the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara doesn’t do “debates”.  What it does is host candidate forums, which it calls “meetings”.  They’re not meant to be a way for candidates to debate each other, rather an opportunity for candidates to answer questions about relevant issues posed to them by people in the audience.  In years past, the organizers circulate index cards so audience members can write questions down for the moderator to ask.  

Recently, the League has stopped doing congressional forums altogether. There was never a forum scheduled for the NY-27 race between Chris Collins and Jim O’Donnell, nor was one ever set up for the NY-26 race between Higgins and Weppner. 

Weppner partisans have accused Higgins of not wanting to debate Weppner – some went so far on the radio to call Higgins a “sissy”.  Higgins, for his part, has debated his challenger in every available race, and this year is no exception.  There will be a debate at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute later this month, so the Higgins-sissy meme is ridiculous. 

Madigan made wild, flailing claims about Higgins being unwilling to “stand up to a strong female opponent”, and that unnamed “political observers” (read: Madigan) think that this informs Higgins’ “fear of a debate”.  With Weppner’s campaign teetering between non-entity and joke, suggestions of Higgins being a-feared of Weppner is absurd. The notion that he would somehow force the League to not only cancel the candidate meeting for NY-26, but also the one for NY-27 is likewise a complete fiction. 

Madigan suggested that the League was “playing defense” for Brian Higgins, suggesting that it’s trying to placate him as part of some fantastical quid-pro-quo, which would be hilarious if it wasn’t defamatory. So, I called the League and on Friday got a call back from Mary Ann. She was audibly upset over the phone about the Madigan article, and gave this prepared statement: 

The writer of the article in the Buffalo Chronicle didn’t check facts with the League.  The article contains inaccuracies.  We will respond to the article soon.  Thank you for your interest.

Incidentally, I asked the woman at the League with whom I spoke whether it was true that the reason why there is no forum for NY-27 is the same reason why one was never scheduled for NY-26.  She replied that the reason was the same. 

UPDATE: Late Friday, the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara posted this as a comment to Madigan’s written leavings: 

Congressional candidates were not invited to the forum that was scheduled in Amherst and noted on the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara website. Amherst is located in the 26th congressional district. We have limited volunteers and resources. However, both Congressional candidates have responded to the League’s Online Voters Guide powered by Vote411. We encourage people to go to http://www.lwvbn.org. and read the responses of both candidates to the questions we posed.

The League’s printed 2014 Voters’ Guide will be available in public libraries and throughout Erie and Niagara County early next week. It will have the responses to the first question for each county and state office as well as pro and con arguments for the three New York State ballot proposals on this year’s ballot.

Collins Demagogues Social Security

This letter to the Buffalo News bears special attention. Thanks to Bruce Kennedy of Orchard Park for taking the time to write it. It highlights the rhetorical nonsense and outright lies that Chris Collins utters without apology, accountability, or irony. 

If I am looking for misinformation or half-truths, there are radio personalities and television networks I can tune into. I expect more from my elected congressman.

Rep. Chris Collins, on a radio program recently, was making the case that we have to cut Social Security benefits in order to lower the federal deficit. This is a talking point that is repeated over and over again as a political scare tactic. The only problem is that it is untrue.

Pause here to remember that all politicians love usually to pander uncontrollably and shamelessly to seniors. During the two Hochul races against Corwin and later against Collins, the Republicans had their support for the Paul Ryan budget hung around their necks to shame them, like the kids whose parents make them stand on the corner with a cardboard sign reading, “I lied”. The issue at the time was Medicare, the wildly popular and efficient single-payer plan for senior citizens.

The Republicans were pushing a plan whereby people under the age of, say, 55, would receive fewer and weaker Medicare benefits when they reach the appropriate age, while current seniors’ plans would be unchanged. This two-tier proposal was especially egregious when you remember that Medicare isn’t some government handout, but a plan that you pay into your entire working life. You’re not some welfare bum, but a customer, in “run things like a business” parlance. 

The Social Security Program is totally financed by a designated tax (FICA). The program does not add a penny to the federal debt and it never has. Social Security in fact is prohibited by law from spending any more money than it has in its trust fund.

Also, it is a social insurance program, not an entitlement, as he referred to it. I assume Collins has subscribed to the theory that if you shade the truth about an issue enough times, people begin to think it has to be the truth. It is a representative’s job to inform the public, not to misinform. When you misinform on important issues, it is a disservice to your constituents.

Collins, of course, is a hyper-partisan borderline tea party public sector millionaire, as he called it. Collins is the least bipartisan rep from New York. He is the 2nd least productive rep from New York. He was for the disastrous shutdown before he was against it. He’s here denigrating Social Security as just another welfare handout that the government just can’t afford anymore, and that he and his nihilist Republican colleagues need desperately to “reform” through abolition and privatization. 

Problem is, there’s no one to credibly run against this congressional trainwreck. However, the new district boundaries help to expand the list of potential candidates. Collins will be largely self-funded, and supported by corporate interests and big right-wing PACs. His opponent would need name recognition, an ability to self-fund, a positive public image, and an way to challenge the myriad Collins lies and anti-regular-person positions and policies.

Know anyone? Tick tock.

Ignore the Smears, and Help UNICEF

In order to make this point: 

Blonder Paladino Donald Trump accused UNICEF’s CEO of basically ripping off the charity.  

UNICEF USA’s CEO, Caryl M. Stern, responded: 

 

And UNICEF itself wrote,

 

In fact, regardless of what Ms. Stern drives, UNICEF took in $455 million in the fiscal year that ended in June 2011. Just under $447 million of that went to fund its programs. Administrative expenses totaled $12 million, and fundraising expenses came to $29 million.  Ms. Stern’s compensation amounts to $454,000 per year – a tremendous amount of money, but not unheard-of for someone managing an operation such as this, based in New York. It represents 0.10% of UNICEF’s annual expenses.

Trump is apparently referencing something that Snopes has already debunked as false; charges that Stern earns over a million dollars per year and has a Rolls-Royce at her disposal

The United States Fund for UNICEF was founded in 1947 to support the work of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) by raising funds for its programs and increasing awareness of the challenges facing the world’s children. The oldest of 37 national committees for UNICEF worldwide, we are part of a global effort to save, protect and improve children’s lives. Every moment of every day, UNICEF is on the ground providing lifesaving help for children in need. We provide families with clean water and sanitation, we vaccinate against childhood illness, and we help protect children against malaria. We provide nourishment to fight malnutrition, and we care for children affected by AIDS. We protect children from abuse, and we give them an education. We are here to make sure that all children lead a healthy, humane, and dignified life.

I don’t know why a craven and mean-spirited wealthy person in the public eye would choose to lie about UNICEF in an effort to do it harm, but you can do something about it. Donate to UNICEF and support its programs, such as providing kids with clean water, an education, health care, AIDS medication, food, vaccinations, and other programs.  

 

Romney’s American Value: Lying

One of the reasons a local birther cited for choosing Mitt Romney over Barack Obama is that Romney is an American who holds American values with other Americans in America and has America’s best American interests at American heart. 

One of those American values must also involve lying

For instance, American Mitt Romney hopped on a Bloomberg story indicating that Jeep would return to the Chinese market. Jeep doesn’t make cars in China, and not a single car made in the People’s Republic of China is sold in the United States at this time.  That didn’t stop the Romney campaign from saying – with a straight face – that Obama is an outsourcer because Jeep will start building its cars in ChinaThe report was that Jeep would resume exporting American-made Jeeps to China. From Chrysler: 

There are times when the reading of a newswire report generates storms originated by a biased or predisposed approach.

On Oct. 22, 2012, at 11:10 a.m. ET, the Bloomberg News report “Fiat Says Jeep® Output May Return to China as Demand Rises” stated “Chrysler currently builds all Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. Manley (President and CEO of the Jeep brand) referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.”

Despite clear and accurate reporting, the take has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. workforce. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.

Let’s set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation. A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.

That didn’t stop the American Romney campaign from completely making something up out of whole cloth. On the American stump, Romney began saying that Jeep was going to start building cars in China. When Chrysler and the media pointed out that this was false,  American Romney doubled down on the lie and made an ad about it. It’s a lie. It’s false. Mitt Romney’s American or Mormon or whatever values allow him to just blatantly make stuff up

It’s so bad that it’s now actually become a thing. The Obama campaign is pouncing, Americanly 

Hochul vs. Corwin 2.0

The only thing missing so far is a kid dressed like Fonzie shoving a camera in an old man’s face. 

Issue: Medicare, Paul Ryan, and what noted Marxist philosopher Newt Gingrich called “right-wing social engineering”

The Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski wrote Monday about how Chris Collins refuses to comment on the Ryan Budget, which would fundamentally transform Medicare from the popular single-payer system seniors enjoy – and future seniors pay into throughout their work history – into an expensive voucher-based privatized program.  

Of course he’s keeping mum. This issue did tremendous harm to his neighbor, Jane Corwin’s, campaign in 2011. 

At the heart of the Republicans’ Medicare Privatization Syndrome Because is to replace a reasonably efficient government bureaucracy with a 97% approval rating from users, and replace it with the fragmented, fundamentally broken, redundant, private (oft for-profit) bureaucracy to take money from the patients through premiums, and nickel-and-dime the physicians on payouts, and futz with what is and isn’t covered. Ungrateful looters & moochers

Mitt Romney has now selected the architect of that unfair and likely unconstitutional Medicare voucherization plan to be his running mate, and the fallout is spilling over into the hotly contested NY-27 race. 

Incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul released this Monday morning: 

“Try as he might, Chris Collins cannot run from the fact that he said a budget that ends Medicare as we know it and forces seniors to pay more for their healthcare to fund tax cuts for his millionaire friends ‘doesn’t go far enough,’” said campaign manager Frank Thomas. “Voters deserve to know how much further Chris Collins would go when he already supports decimating Medicare so he can give tax breaks to the rich. How can voters be expected to trust a candidate who will not be candid about his position on an issue that will crush seniors and the middle class.”

Collins told the Batavia Daily News that the Ryan Budget “doesn’t go far enough.” According to the Batavia Daily News, “Collins said he favors the Tea Party push to reduce the federal government. He praised Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, for ‘starting the conversation’ about reducing entitlement programs. But Collins said Ryan doesn’t go far enough. Ryan believes the budget could be balanced in 30 years, Collins said it needs to be done in 10 years. To delay it longer isn’t fair to young Americans who will have to foot the bill.” [Batavia Daily News, 5/9/12]

Collins said his stance on the Ryan Budget is similar to Jane Corwin’s. In March 2012, Collins has admitted that his position does not differ significantly from Jane Corwin’s position. Corwin supported the Ryan Budget, which “would essentially end Medicare.”  [Buffalo News,3/25/12; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]

But now Collins refuses to even answer questions on the Ryan budget.  According to the Buffalo News,

Asked in a weekend telephone interview for his reaction to Ryan’s selection, Collins, the former Erie County executive, would not – even when asked again and again – endorse or even comment on Ryan’s budget, which would partly remake Medicare into a voucher program for future seniors while drastically cutting most domestic spending. [Buffalo News, 8/13/2012]

Republican Chris Collins released this, in response: 

“What we are seeing is a desperate public sector millionaire employ every scare tactic under the sun to distract from the issue that matters most to voters – fixing this economy. Of course, with her record of massive tax increases and job killing regulations, it’s no wonder Kathy Hochul wants to talk about anything other than her failed plan to fix the economy. 

With her whole-hearted embrace of ObamaCare, Kathy Hochul has jeopardized the future of Medicare for current seniors. More incredibly, she turned her backs on the seniors she promised to protect when she voted to cut their Medicare and Medicare Advantage by $700 billion. 

The only way we will solve our budget problems is by adopting pro-growth, pro-small business policies that cut our debt, protect Medicare from going bankrupt, and let small businesses thrive. Kathy Hochul’s plan is to cling to ObamaCare, gut $700 billion from Medicare and watch our economy go down the drain. That’s not a leader – that’s a politician. Our region simply deserves better.”

A few quick observations: 1. Hochul’s release is more effective because it takes Collins’ own words and uses them against him. 2. Anyone else find it odd that Collins, of all people, is using “millionaire” as a pejorative against Kathy Hochul? I thought that was “class warfare” or something. 3. Collins’ statement is so much unsupported pablum about tax & spend liberals. 4. Collins is particularly vulnerable when it comes to being consistent and transparent. Whereas he merely spouts off talking points recycled from his last re-election campaign, Hochul provided hyperlinks to the things Collins has said in the past, and merely hoists him by the petard he so carefully constructed. 

From Zremski’s piece, Collins says

All I’m saying is that I’ll never support cuts to Medicare for current seniors or anyone close to retirement age, including Medicare Advantage, which my opponent has actually voted to cut.

But if you’re not “close to retirement age”, yet you’ve been paying into Medicare through your FICA for years and years, relying on the promise of hassle-free Medicare coverage when you retire, you can go pound salt. 

Now – about that $700 billion claim. Collins has been using that for weeks – you should follow his aide Michael Kracker on Twitter, and watch him do battle with Hochul’s campaign manager, Frank Thomas. This claim comes up a lot. 

The claim is that Obamacare rips $700 billion out of Medicare – that it’s a cut, that it steals from Medicare to fund Obamacare, etc. The claim is clumsy, palpably and provably false, and worse – assumes you’re stupid and will accept it as truth. 

Does Obamacare cut $700 billion from Medicare? No. Obamacare saves $700 billion in waste while enhancing and improving seniors’ access to healthcare.  This savings extends Medicare’s solvency by a full eight years. 

A Redditor independently examined the claim and reached the same conclusion – that Chris Collins and other Republicans are criticizing Democrats for saving $700 billion from a socialistic, redistributive, government-run single-payer health care system. 

CBO breaks out the $716 billion that Reibus refers to:

  • Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) = $517 billion
  • Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) = $247 billion
  • * Medicare Part D (offset) = ($48 billion)
 = $716 billion 

To make a little more sense of this, I also referred to CBO’s Analysis of the Major Health Care Legislation Enacted in March 2010 – start at page 24 which basically bulleted the reasons, as follows:

  • Changes to Payment Rates in Medicare: “Permanent reductions in the annual updates to Medicare’s payment rates for most services in the fee-for-service sector (other than physicians’ services) and the new mechanism for setting payment rates in the Medicare Advantage Program will reduce Medicare outlays by $507 billion during the 2012-2021 period” I found this very confusing, so I referred to Politifact which states: “The biggest portion of that savings…will come from reducing annual increases in payments to medical providers….The healthcare law does not cut $500 billion from Medicare. It just reduces future growth.” So in essence, it aims to curtail Medicare spending, not outlays to recipients. Ironic how the GOP is attacking Obama for an initiative to save money.

  • Disproportionate Share Hospitals: CBO states that “Both Medicare and Medicaid provide additional payments to hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of low income patients. PPACA…modified the formulas use to calculate such payments under Medicare. Projected to reduce direct spending by $57 billion over the 2012-2021 period.” The Urban Institute explains that ” the loss of federal disproportionate share hospital payments and potentially high uncompensated care costs borne by state and local governments on behalf of the uninsured will also motivate states to expand Medicaid under the ACA. On balance, states would experience net budget gains from implementing the Medicaid expansion.” So they are basically phasing out a federal program (disproportionate share hospitals) to expand another (Medicaid) and States would have a net budget gain!

  • Thus far we have accounted for $650 billion of the $716 billion and NONE of these “steal money from Medicare.” They simply attempt to save money, reprogram funding.

As for the remaining $65 billion, CBO says “many of those provisions will reduce spending, whereas others will increase it. The provisions that will reduce spending make a variety of changes to prior law, including establishing a mechanism to reduce the growth rate of Medicare spending if projected growth exceeds a given target, initiating a number of programs intended to modify the health care delivery system, and adjusting payments for prescription drugs in Medicaid….PPACA and the Reconciliation Act include numerous provisions intended to identify opportunities and create incentives for providers to make changes to the health care delivery system that will reduce costs and improve the quality of care.”

So, there you have it. Chris Collins and the Republicans are lying to you about Obamacare, about how it affects Medicare, and about myriad other things. Collins isn’t talking about the Ryan budget and how it effects Medicare because he saw what it did to Jane Corwin. Instead, he’s trying to pivot the debate (by the way, has he agreed to any debates? Will he be releasing any tax information at all?) to lies about how Obamacare is stealing money from Medicare. Are we going to re-litigate the Corwin vs. Hochul debacle of  May 2011? Looks like it, and even with a re-worked district geography and demographic, it’s still got a lot of seniors who don’t appreciate being lied to, and don’t like that Collins supports the partial privatization, decimation, and increased user cost the right wing is proposing for Medicare. 

Komen Fights More than just Cancer

As the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation steps deeper and deeper into a steaming pile of its own bullsh*t, consider that all of this is a very calculated political move. What this is is a grave betrayal of Komen’s mission statement:

OUR PROMISE: To save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.

Planned Parenthood is under attack from the right because it has the audacity to provide clinical medical services exclusively to women. Most of Planned Parenthood’s mission has to do with reproductive health and services, and yes, 3% of what they do involves abortion services. Because it performs legal, safe abortions in a clinical setting, and because the Republican platform prefers that abortions be done like they were in the old days – by quacks with hangers in alleyways, or abroad – Planned Parenthood must be destroyed.

But Komen and its former funding of PP had nothing whatsoever to do with abortions or even contraception. That’s how we know this is not principled, but political. How is Komen empowering people or saving lives if it de-funds breast exam and mammography services at Planned Parenthood?  The Angry Black Lady sums it up nicely: 

In a press release today, Planned Parenthood announced that The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation will no longer provide Planned Parenthood the more than half million dollars in grant funds which Planned Parenthood uses to provide breast health education, screenings, and referrals for mammograms.

Turns out that Komen’s new Vice-President of Public Policy, Karen Handel, is a Forced Birther, and even ran for governor of Georgia on a platform of defunding Planned Parenthood.  Thus, it seems that Komen for the Cure, the purpose of which is to help women, has been taken hostage by Karen Handel and her right-wing Forced Birth views which undermine women and women’s reproductive choices.  In her own words, “Since I am pro-life [anti-choice] I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.”

The mission of Planned Parenthood? Lady, what are you talking about? Themission of Planned Parenthood is to provide health services, including breast cancer screening and education to primarily poor women who otherwise cannot not afford such services.  That is 90% of what Planned Parenthood does. The “mission” of Planned Parenthood aligns with the “mission” of Komen for the Cure — or, at least, it did.  Abortion comprises approximately 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides.

Furthermore, just as the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion services, I presume that the Komen grant money previously provided to Planned Parenthood is used specifically for breast-health, and not for abortion.

This is part of the Republican effort to do to Planned Parenthood what they did to ACORN – destroy any foundation that exists to help the poor obtain some sort of services or rights. Exactly correct. When Komen isn’t busy pimping out the color pink, advocating against legislation to provide free breast and cervical cancer screening, and trademarking, then aggressively litigating any use of the term “for the cure”, it’s plotting to disassociate itself from Planned Parenthood for nakedly political reasons.

Komen’s official line on the reason for cutting off funds to Planned Parenthood was a newly-instituted rule that declared that the organization was not to give funds to organizations under investigation at the local, state, or federal level. According to Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic, former employees of Komen told him that the rule was, in fact, designed to single out Planned Parenthood.

If the new policy is to de-fund organizations that are under some form of investigation, then we ought to all eagerly await the imminent withdrawal of Komen’s $7.5 million for the health clinic at Penn State – an institution that is under administrative investigation arising out of charges of child rape. Komen’s new Vice President in charge of Public Policy is right-wing anti-Planned Parenthood activist Karen Handel, who re-tweeted (then quickly deleted) this:

The backlash has been swift and pointed. People are abandoning Komen in droves, and Planned Parenthood has already more than made up the lost funding through donations. 

There are thousands of national, regional, and local anti-cancer charities out there, but there’s only one Planned Parenthood. If you divest your women’s health organization from providing cancer screening for the poor and the underprivileged, you risk painting yourself unnecessarily into a political corner.  Komen may now become a sweetheart of the right-wing, but it will have long ago stopped fulfilling its mission. 

Komen isn’t so much a charity as it is a business, and it’s now firmly positioned itself as a business that’s right-wing-friendly and a footsoldier in the culture war. Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate based on race, political affiliation, or voting history. That’s why Komen politicizing itself so blatantly is so shockingly sad and unnecessary. 

Rom-nomi-nee

After yesterday’s New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney is all but guaranteed to be the Republican presidential nominee.

The parallels to 1996 here are hard to ignore; a somewhat weakened chief executive, reeling from bad poll numbers and movement conservatives in the ascendency, a deeply flawed Republican nominee, and a short Texan with a loud, unconventional, populist platform running a likely third party bid, siphoning off conservative votes.

It looks good for President Obama, who has his own problems with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. (Yes, this puts the lie to the whole notion of Obama’s “radical socialism” – a charge none of the Republican candidates would dare repeat to his face).

Gingrich and Santorum went nowhere in New Hampshire, for various reasons. Gingrich is too broken a human, and Santorum is out in left field on social issues. Huntsman’s best chance was in New Hampshire, and he blew it – he’s done. Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum’s last chance is South Carolina; if they can’t convince Bible-belt social conservatives to come out for them over Paul or Romney, it’s over. The analysis from Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight was, as always, most informative.

In his second out of 50 likely victory speeches, Romney assailed President Obama for “apologizing” for America. This is, of course, patently false, and a lie that will come back to haunt Romney. Was Obama apologizing for America when he ordered that Osama bin Laden be shot through the head? Was he apologizing for America when he refused to aid North Africa’s dictators against popular uprising? Was he apologizing for America when he passed the Affordable Care Act, with the promise of affordable health insurance for all? Here’s a list of Obama’s accomplishments, wherein he apologized for no one.

The “apologizing for America” crack is popular with ignorants and cretins, and is code for “socialist“, “Kenyan/Indonesian”, “where’s the birth certificate”, and “black guy”. Romney, whose religious views are sometimes fodder for mocking and dismissal, especially from the evangelicals he so needs, is treading on thin ice. Criticizing Obama for his policies is one thing, but this “apologizing” crack is a racist, xenophobic dog whistle.

Romney also made the choice quite clear – do you vote for the President who wants to create jobs, or the candidate who likes to fire people?