Tuesday, September 30, 2008
But I - like many other Americans - have moved beyond the level of skeptic. I - like many other Americans - have gotten to the point where I don't believe anything politicians say. Anything.
If congress says something is black, I have a good reason to believe that it's white. If the president says something is up, I can reasonably assume that it's down.
And the reason for this general mistrust ... the move from being a skeptic to a cynic ... is that the level of blatant lies to come out of Washington these past several years exceeds anything that could be considered reasonable.
Fact of the matter is that government works for us. It is a tool of the people by which to perform certain functions that people can't be expected to perform on their own. Because government is supposedly "of the people, for the people, and by the people," many American citizens expect to be told the truth by their government.
And while it's not popular with many folks, I understand why government lies to us sometimes. Occasionally, it's just easier to lie when setting out to achieve a common goal. Sometimes the truth creates bedlam, a state in which working towards any accomplishment becomes almost impossible.
An example: At the scene of a crime, a police officer will tell you "there's nothing to see here," in an effort to clear the scene, making their job of solving the crime easier. Yeah, it's a lie, but it expedites matters.
Unfortunately, many of the lies we've been told over the past few years haven't been this garden variety white lie. They've been dirty black lies, not told for the sake of making our lives better or easier, but told for nefarious reasons, some of which we won't know for decades ... if we ever know at all.
Complicating matters even further is the fact that a certain percentage of the population wants to believe the lie ... and even helps to propagate it. This could be that they just want to believe their government ... or maybe it's partisan ... or maybe they have something to gain from the lie.
Many have even gone so far as to explain away the lies by method of defining lies to the n'th degree. I hear often, "it's not a lie unless you know it to be untrue."
This strategy is often used to defend the "weapons of mass destruction" claim in Iraq, the principle reason we invaded a sovereign nation. It turned out to be untrue, but as long as we didn't KNOW it was untrue to begin with, then it's not a lie, they say.
The problem with this definition, is that a statement such as, "There's a million dollars worth of gold buried at the foot of the Statue of Liberty," wouldn't be construed a lie ... even though I just made it up. It COULD be true. I don't know that it's NOT true. Therefore, it's not a lie by their definition.
But to me, it's a lie. I want to believe that there's a million dollars worth of gold buried at the Statue of Liberty, but as much as I want to believe it, that doesn't make it true. It's still a lie.
I've gotten so used to hearing lies from the government, whether it's about Social Security going bankrupt ... or being greeted as liberators ... or any other number of things, that I just don't believe anything they say.
So when I started hearing last week that the federal government felt that if we didn't pony up $700 billion for some invesment bankers, the whole country could collapse economically, my first thought surely wasn't, "well if the government says it's true, it must be." Instead my first thought was, "if those bastards think they're going to rob from the poor to give to the rich, they've got another thing coming."
Look, I'm no economist. But as far as know, neither is President Bush, Vice President Cheney, or any member of Congress, for that matter. Henry Paulson is, of course. He's also a former Wall Street CEO. This bailout would make a lot of his friends very happy (and lots of money). Just like the war on Iraq made Vice President Dick Cheney's buddies at Halliburton very happy (and lots of money) and the same worldwide boondoggle has made George W Bush's friends in the oil industry very happy (and lots of money).
A friend of mine often tells me, when things don't make sense, look at who's making cents.
In the case of this "bailout," the people making cents would be investment bankers ... many of whom are friends of the political system.
It's reverse Robin Hood and they're hoping that if they lie to you and tell you that it's in your own good, you'll not only believe it ... but demand it.
Don't believe the hype.
Monday, September 29, 2008
See, their kids are entering an old abandoned building and might get hurt. And they think someone should do something about it.
Here's an idea. It might sound really strange, but how about these parents tell their kids NOT to go into the old abandoned building?
But ... no! It's much easier to ask the city to build an an impervious force shield to prevent their juvenile delinquents from getting a boo boo.
And we wonder what's wrong with society.
Click here for the details.
One of the big talking points is that the GOP was willing to support the "bailout," but Speaker Nancy Pelosi poisoned the vote when she gave a partisan speech just five minutes before the vote.
So let me see if I can get this straight, House Republicans liked this plan and thought it would help stave off economic Armageddon, but changed their vote at the last minute to spite Nancy Pelosi?
Another interesting tidbit, Jake Tappers blog at ABC indicates that he got an email right after the vote that said:
Unfortunately, it doesn't specifically claim it was from the McCain camp. Was this a prediction that Schmidt had made that didn't come to fruition? Or was this another instance of the McCain camp declaring victory on an event that hadn't yet happened?
"What Senator McCain was able to do was to help bring all of the parties to the table, including the House Republicans, whose votes were needed to pass this"--McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt
For that matter, what does it say that McCain couldn't get the House Republicans to vote for the bill?
For the record, Congressmen Higgins, Slaughter and Reynolds all voted for the "bailout."
One other side note: I read on a blog earlier that this is A LOT different from 1929 ... cause we can drink this time around.
Below is the email from Michael Moore that I was reading from this morning on Dialog.
Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.
No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.
"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.
"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.
"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."
Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.
The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.
And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.
Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?
It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.
This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!
I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:
1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.
2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).
3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.
When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!
P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Church of the Good Shepherd, 96 Jewett Parkway.
Prince of Peace Christian Church, 190 Albany St.
Primera United Methodist Church, 62 Virginia St.
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 450 Abbott Road.
True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 E. Ferry St.
St. John Baptist Church, 184 Goodell St.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 256 Riverside Ave.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
What? You forgot? I guess I can understand why. I mean, he is, basically hiding.
But I just found this web page that lists congressmen based on how well they stick up for the middle class. It says he's at 50 percent for the year. And he's gotten F's on the previous four years they graded.
Yup, that's the Tom Reynolds I remember ... stickin' it to the middle class.
And he's endorsed Chris Lee. I wonder if Lee thought about declining that endorsement? Doubt it. From what I can tell, Lee aspires to be just like Reynolds. He's got the same campaign staff. And he doesn't return my calls. Just. Like. Reynolds.
If I were advising the Dems, I'd tell them to make sure to link Lee to Reynolds just like Obama is linking McCain to Bush. After all, no one really believes that Reynolds isn't running so he can spend time with his family. It's cause he was afraid of getting his ass kicked.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Family values, my ass.
According to The NATIONAL ENQUIRER, three members of the man’s family, including one by sworn affidavit, have claimed that Palin engaged in an affair with husband Todd’s former business partner, Brad Hanson.
Hanson owned a snowmobile dealership with Palin’s husband Todd, who terminated the partnership after he heard stories about the alleged romp in 1996. This was around the time that Palin was mayor of Wasilla.
“Sarah was elected mayor of Wasilla, Brad became a city council member in the nearby town of Palmer, and they started an affair,” says Jim Burdett, who was described by the Enquirer as a “Hanson family insider.”
“Todd found out about the affair and was so mad he broke up their partnership at the snowmobile dealership.”
McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham tells CNN the McCain campaign is proposing to the Presidential Debate Commission and the Obama camp that if there's no bailout deal by Friday, the first presidential debate should take the place of the VP debate, currently scheduled for next Thursday, October 2 in St. Louis.Hmm. Could this really simply be an effort to allow Sarah Palin a little longer to cram for her debate?
I'm expecting this to blow up on McCain, but found it interesting to see The Buffalo Bean on his Facebook status earlier call this a "brilliant move" by McCain. "Brilliant move." Not a "good idea."
In this scenario, the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin would be rescheduled for a date yet to be determined, and take place in Oxford, Mississippi, currently slated to be the site of the first presidential faceoff this Friday.
Graham says the McCain camp is well aware of the position of the Obama campaign and the debate commission that the debate should go on as planned — but both he and another senior McCain adviser insist the Republican nominee will not go to the debate Friday if there's no deal on the bailout.
Is this an acknowledgement from WNY's most prolific GOP blogger that McCain needed to ditch out on this debate? Or just an acknowledgement that it was a ploy?
Are you shittin' me? Um no.
Mr. McCain made the call after spending more than an hour preparing for Friday’s debate at the Morgan Library and Museum — which, by coincidence, is where J. Pierpont Morgan bailed the country out of the great financial panic of 1907 by locking the leading bankers of the day in his library and forcing them to come up with a rescue plan. Mr. McCain also cancelled a planned appearance on “Late Night With David Letterman.” He made the statement about returning to Washington to a small pool of reporters at his hotel in midtown Manhattan in front of a blue curtain and two American flags, reading from a Teleprompter. He took no questions.Is this just his way of getting out of a debate he's not prepared for? Is he trying to do this to make Obama look cold (knowing that he wouldn't also suspend his campaign?) Really. I have no friggin' clue on this.
Anyone want to tackle this for me?
From Business First:
Niagara County residents carry the heaviest property-tax burden in America, according to a new report from the Tax Foundation.You may recall two years ago, the Niagara County Legislature took issue with this fact, saying that it didn't count the fact that the county has a good bond rating. I'm serious.
The typical Niagara County household pays $2,802 in property taxes each year, which equals 2.92 percent of the value of the typical home in the county, $95,800. That’s triple the national rate of 0.95 percent.
The Tax Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., compared home values and property-tax rates in all 788 U.S. counties with populations of $65,000 or more. Its report was based on newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The seven counties with the heaviest property-tax burdens are all in New York, including three in Western New York. Joining Niagara County from this region in the top seven are No. 3 Chautauqua County and No. 7 Erie County.
Gov. David Paterson has appointed Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi to head up a commission to rework the state’s formula on property taxes.
Suozzi’s panel has made recommendations in a preliminary report that is due to be finalized by Dec. 1. State lawmakers have also introduced measures to provide relief to property owners who pay some of the highest taxes in the country. However, there are differences in the legislation proposed in the state Senate and Assembly.
A series of statewide hearings are scheduled to address the matter. The Buffalo session is set for Oct. 30. Other stops are for Albany, Oct. 2; Yonkers, Oct. 22; Rochester, Nov. 5; and Syracuse, Nov. 12.
The following are the 10 U.S. counties where taxpayers carry the heaviest tax loads. Each county is followed by its median property tax, median home value and the percentage of home value spent in annual taxes by the typical homeowner:
• 1. Niagara County, N.Y., $2,802 in annual taxes, $95,800 in home value, 2.92% tax load
• 2. Monroe County, N.Y., $3,629 in annual taxes, $128,500 in home value, 2.82% tax load
• 3. Chautauqua County, N.Y., $2,184 in annual taxes, $79,300 in home value, 2.75% tax load
• 4. Wayne County, N.Y., $2,690 in annual taxes, $102,000 in home value, 2.64% tax load
• 5. Oswego County, N.Y., $2,189 in annual taxes, $85,500 in home value, 2.56% tax load
• 6. Onondaga County, N.Y., $3,056 in annual taxes, $120,000 in home value, 2.55% tax load
• 7. Erie County, N.Y., $2,822 in annual taxes, $112,000 in home value, 2.52% tax load
• 8. Fort Bend County, Texas, $4,229 in annual taxes, $168,800 in home value, 2.51% tax load
• 9. Steuben County, N.Y., $2,039 in annual taxes, $82,500 in home value, 2.47% tax load
• 10. Camden County, N.J., $5,311 in annual taxes, $223,400 in home value, 2.38% tax load
I'll be interested in seeing how Niagara County's new Public Information Office reacts to this.
Edit: Gerald Plante, senior economic advisor to the Tax Foundation will be my guest tomorrow morning at 11:15 a.m. on Dialog (WLVL) to discuss this.
Here is a great story for you. If this doesn't make your day, nothing will.
There is a little boy named Derek Andrews who lives in Clarence NY. He is presently 7 years old and will turn 8 in October. Derek has a muscle disorder and doctors told his parents that Derek would never be able to run or play sports. Apparently, however, no one ever told Derek.
He plays hockey at the Amherst Pepsi Center, baseball and soccer in Clarence, and participates in gymnastics. Maybe the word 'plays' is a bit misleading. Derek was on the baseball league all-star team, the ice hockey select team and was the leading scorer on his soccer team! All despite that condition that continues to weaken the muscles in his body.
To make the story even more heartwarming, after winning a local bank's essay contest (who in the world writes essays at 7 ), Derek used his prize money to put on a magic show at Children's Hospital, help organize a book drive for a Buffalo school and buy supplies for elephants at The Buffalo Zoo.
Derek's uncle says that Derek has been nominated for 'Sports Kid of the Year' by Sports Illustrated for Kids and is now a top 10 finalist. I can't think of any more deserving kid than this boy. To help Derek achieve that honor, all you have to do is vote for him at the following web site http://sikids.com/sportskid/. It literally takes 15 seconds to do. You are allowed to vote as often as you wish.
PLEASE SEND THIS ALONG TO ANYONE ON YOUR EMAIL LIST. Most of us have a set group we send emails to. Send this one along. It is your chance to feel good about yourself and to help a little boy who has more heart than most people today will ever need or know.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
A Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies poll of 400 likely voters shows that Alice Kryzan holds a 10-point lead over Republican candidate for Congress Chris Lee with 39 percent to 29 percent and 32 percent undecided. The poll, which was commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and EMILY's List, was conducted September 15-17 with a 4.9 percent margin of error. Attached is a polling memo from pollster Cornell Belcher.
"This poll shows that just 42 days before Election Day, Alice Kryzan is in good position to win," said Carrie James, regional press secretary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "With a weakened economy, Chris Lee's record of moving jobs to China just doesn't sell in Western New York. Alice Kryzan has the independence and integrity to represent Western New York in Congress and this poll shows a clear path to victory."
A 10 point lead has got to be nice for Kryzan. But 32 percent undecided in a Republican district has got to be a concern for her. Of course, she would only need slightly more than a third of the undecideds to win.
Of course, there's the fact that there's still more than a month before the election.
And ... never underestimate the Democratic Party's ability to screw things up.
The following petition for writ of mandamus is denied.Unfortunately, that's all I've got right now. There is no further word from the court nor the Barr campaign.
For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, Barr was seeking to have Barack Obama and John McCain removed from the ballot in Texas because they filed their nomination forms after the Texas deadline.
Click here for more on the potential ramifications.
News, notes and necessities
items of interest the week of Sept. 22, 2008
an occasional update from me, Scott Leffler
News: This will be a quickie this week, cause there isn't a WHOLE LOT going on.
Try, try again: Former GOP Chairman Bob Davis is slated for Thursday on Reason. Fingers crossed.
.Mayor time: Lockport Mayor Mike Tucker on Dialog this Friday.
Notes: Bills Win! ... the web poll. Looks like most think the Bills are going to the playoffs. I agree.
New poll at scottleffler.com ... Facebook or MySpace?
WLVL should be streaming online ... within the next week or so.
That's it. Told you it was a short one.
I sent this to you because I thought you might appreciate it. If I was wrong, please just respond and ask to be taken off the mailing list. I'll take care of it. If this was forwarded to you and you'd like to receive future updates, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the list. I'll make that happen.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Everyone seems to love the new jerseys.
Everyone seems to love the fact that Darcy Regier got a contract extension.
Everyone seemed to love the street hockey tournament.
People seemed to love the autograph session with almost every Sabre there is. Note: the longest lines were for Miller and Afinogenov. (So although he had a bad year last year, the crowd still loves Max). Second note: I missed out on most of the autographs cause I was in the press conference, but my wife and kids got about a dozen each and said all the players were great (but their favorite was Stafford, who signed their shirts).
And personally, I loved the press conference in the afternoon. This guy, however, seemed to think that it was out of line to ask political questions.
I asked two questions at the press conference, one about Responsible New York ... and a second about the shared ownership deal. Golisano answered the first and Regier answered the second.
BTW, I ordered a blank jersey from Dave and Adams Card World on Sheridan. They said it'd be in on Dec. 2nd.
Oh, and here's a link to some more of the photos I took.
The morning started with a hockey tournament with over 60 teams, including a team for US&J Managing Editor Tim Marren. No word yet on how they did, but I'm sure he'll let you know on his blog.
At 10 a.m. there was a scrimmage between a Gold Sabres team and a Blue Sabres team. It was pretty high flying and fun to watch.
Following the game, the unveiled the new jerseys. They're pretty cool, although I think the stripes are a bit too wide. Didn't prevent me from pre-ordering one, though. (They're supposed to be in in early December.)
And following the unveiling, was the press conference. It was the first I've been to in what I hope are a series of many. Despite my newness to the scene, I wasn't afraid to ask questions.
Of Tom Golisano: "On Responsible New York, are you at all concerned that your foray into politics will damage your image as owner of the Sabres?"
The owner responded (I'm paraphrasing here - for the full answer check the Sabres website for the press conference audio): I knew I was going to take a hit, but I felt it was worth it do try to fix our state.
Golisano seemed to light up when the press steered the questions into the political realm.
More on this whole thing later.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Also, US&J Managing Editor Tim Marren will be my guest on Dialog this morning on Hometown 1340 WLVL at 11 a.m.
That leaves the race as follows: Chris Lee (R), Alice Kryzan (D), Jon Powers (WFP), and Anthony L. Fumerelle (I).
Justice Richard M. Platkin of Albany disagreed with Davis’ contention that his petition to form a minor party line called Save Jobs and Farms should have been accepted even though he failed to file a certificate of acceptance on time, as required by state election law.
Davis argued that the state Board of Elections should have provided him an opportunity to submit the late application anyway and that the board acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in not allowing him to file.
The judge ruled otherwise.
“The court concludes that this case is governed by myriad authorities holding that the failure to timely file a certificate of acceptance is a fatal defect that cannot be cured or excused,” Platkin wrote.Davis said he would consider endorsing Democratic nominee Alice Kryzan if she would carry his anti-free trade banner, but he didn't think she "got it."