Friday, August 30, 2013

Missives From Fuckneckville (Back to School Edition)

Fuck the kids. I mean, don't fuck them, but fuck 'em.

At least that's what this contributor to The Buffalo News' Letter to the Editor page thinks.

The following love letter to poor children was submitted by Anthony Pasceri of Buffalo, NY:


The basic idea of this letter is ridiculous enough that I can afford some magnanimity with regard to the underlying racist tones. Mainly because I'm not willing to waste the requisite minutes of my life debunking the imaginary welfare queen archetypes that certainly dance like sugarplums in this fuckneck's head.

Parents are shirking their responsibilities

According to a recent letter, 86 percent of Buffalo students quality for a free or reduced lunch. Would I be wrong in assuming that they are also eligible for food stamps and other public assistance? With so many entitlement and food programs in this country, whose fault would it be if any school-aged child came to school hungry – their parents or their teacher?

How about Supper at School to go along with Breakfast in the Classroom? That way, parents can be absolved of another parental duty. This Breakfast in the Classroom debate is actually much more than another attempt to blame the Buffalo Teachers Federation for a societal ill. It brings to light the biggest problem in our country today: People having children whom they are either unable or unwilling to care for.

Anthony Pasceri


I just made my 'derp face' so hard I think my cheeks might be broken. Maybe that happened because I'm burdened by facts and I know things about stuff. Either way, my fucking cheeks hurt and I feel like I need to make the pain worthwhile.

Let's start by educating ourselves about the cost of running a household, then we'll have a look at which households qualify for this hippie program.

Since this particular missive from fuckneckville was submitted from a major metropolitan area in New York State, we'll do our best to use available numbers for that area. 

Average rent/mortgage expense per year in Buffalo, NY (2 bedrooms) $10,752

Average elecricity usage multiplied by NYS average cost.tHm per year: $2040/year

Average gas bill: $1200/year

So, $13,992 gets you a roof over your head in Western New York, but how do you get to work? 

Right, a car, have to have one of those. Unless you have a pile of cash lying around, the best way to get a car is to finance it. Let's see what the average, smart spending, Buffalonian can afford. Using the accepted 20/4/10 rule, we can find out what folks in the Queen City should be driving, but we're not going to bother since the median Buffalo household income of $30,230/yearly tells us that we can't afford a new car anyway. We'll just assume we drive a shitty rust bucket with no airbags, financed over 6 years at 12% interest. Let's say $240/month plus $100/month in insurance: $4080.

Now, lets say we live in Cheektowaga and work in Hamburg. Not that we'd want to do either, but I digress. That would be roughly 26 miles round trip every day. Let's say your used shitbox car gets 26 mpg in city traffic (it doesn't, but fuck it, right?) So that's a gallon of gas every day at $3.85/gallon working 260 days per year: $1001

So far, we've figured out that it costs the average Buffalonian $19,703.00 per year to be sheltered, employed and single.

Congratulations, single Buffalonian! You're 19k deep before you've even scarfed a cheeseburger. You don't have a girlfriend and your terrible football team has to play the Patriots in Week 1. 

Whatever, Tom Brady and the boys spanked you good and proper, but you left the bar at halftime and went to the library instead where you met the girl of your dreams. You're married now and her dad got you a job renovating dilapidated grain elevators. You're making 15 bucks an hour and hauling in 30k a year like a good average Buffalonian when your wife gets pregnant. The kid shows up nine months later and it's the best day of your life.

Over the next four years, you raise your child right and settle into a simple life. Your wife chooses to stay home with that awesome kid (or maybe you do and she takes over your job...gender roles don't really matter here) it's tough to keep food on the table and make the rent payment, but you and your spouse are responsible and you make it work. One morning, she tells you she's pregnant again. It's a great feeling.

It's about a year later and you've just had your second child. This is also the greatest day of your life. You, your wife and your two kids are a family of four living in Western New York. Money is tight so you demand a raise, your boss bumps you up ten grand a year because you've been a loyal employee.. You do the research and find out it's cheaper for your wife to stay home with the second baby than to put the kid in daycare.

So, you're making $40,000 per year. It's more than the average Buffalo household and a hell of a lot more than what you were raking in five years ago, but now you have to buy health insurance at 12k/ year and feed yourself and three other people. You have to buy diapers for the newborn and clothes for your new kindergartener. You're above average for your area and you still can't make ends meet. 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if your school aged kid could get a midday meal that wouldn't cause you budget worries? What if there was some way to ensure your child was getting proper nutrition during the school-day without causing you budget worries?.

The NYS school lunch program is as follows:

Meal Categories Eligibility
Free meals Income up to 130% of poverty ($28,665 for a family of 4 annually)
Reduced Price ($.25) paid by family Income up to 185% of poverty ($40,793 for a family of 4 annually)
Full price* paid by family Income over 185% of poverty ($40,793 for a family of 4 annually)

So Mr. Pasceri, fuck you and the dinosaur you rode in on. The average Buffalo family of four is hovering just above the poverty line. Wages remain stagnant while that same poverty line creeps ever higher and your execrable letter to the editor does absolutely nothing to solve either of those problems.

So fuck you, and fuck The Buffalo News doubly and sideways for allowing this trash to make the print version of a major metro American Newspaper.

 ...and welcome back to school, kids. Make sure to learn things, and eat a healthy lunch.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Missives From Fuckneckville

I think this may become a series. I even tried to come up with a name for it.

'The I'm With Stupid Review'

'Letters From the Twilight Zone'

'Things More Useless Than Non-Alcoholic Beer'

'Hashtag #IJustLostIQ'

'Twits: Why You Might Be One'

and my personal favorite:

'Herp, Derp, Type'

Whatever, It'll come to me.

Today, though, I offer you an opportunity to purse your lips over your morning coffee and think, silently of course, "What the fuck is this shit?"

Grab your coffee now and read this indecipherable assgasm sent to the Batavia Daily News from former elected official and current loveable curmudgeon, John Sackett.

Are you a real Christian or a social Christian? Do you believe in your family’s heritage? Do you know your family’s heritage? What made your ancestors come to America? Does your church post the Ten Commandments? If not, why not? Do you know the Ten Commandments? Why not? Do you read the Bible by yourself? If not, why? Yes, heritage and knowledge of the Bible is still important today in this age of progressiveness and so-called enlightenment.

Our ancestors worked hard, took no food, took no clothing, took no heat, took no housing — unless the Church provided help when really needed! It was called pride! What do we have today? More people on food stamps than are working! Let’s hear that again — more people taking food stamps than are working/employed! Is this our America? How have we allowed this to happen? Have we been negligent of our duties as free Americans? Why have we allowed this to happen? Has our country changed before our eyes? Why? It is because we have forgotten our heritage? Have we forgotten our pride? Have we forgotten how to guide ourselves? Will we allow the government to control our lives? Free people don’t depend on the government!

Do you let television dominate your free time? Why? Do you allow our elected representatives to do things contrary to what you believe? Why? Are you working more but enjoying life less? Why?
I raise these questions because many of us, myself included, have been chasing the dollar instead of considering our lifestyle, instead of considering our families and not considering our country’s future!
In reality — are you a real Christian or a social Christian? What do you think-believe?

John L. Sackett Jr.

Let's just take a journey through Mr. Sackett's letter (even though we think he may be the victim of some kind of malignant brain parasite.)

Are you a real Christian or a social Christian?

Neither, actually. Are these the only options? Could I be a Jew, or some sort of Viking priest? I'm unsure about the ground rules here, but let's continue.

Do you believe in your family’s heritage?

I most certainly do, sir. As a matter of fact, I I have to, right? Am I a figment of my own imagination? Hell, if I had known that, I would have cooked up something a lot more awesome than this. I'm an underwear model, no wait, I'm a dildo wait, I'm Batman. 

Yeah, I'm Batman.

Do you know your family’s heritage?

Yes, sir. My parents were killed during a robbery gone bad when I was just a boy. I was left as the sole heir to an enormous fortune, but I always felt the need to protect the weak and fight injustice...

What made your ancestors come to America?

Probably a boat with some sails. BatSails.

Does your church post the Ten Commandments?

Absolutely.  In fact I attend the Church of the Ten Commandments.

The First Commandment is: Thou shalt wash and wax the Batmobile every Saturday...unless it's raining.

There used to only be nine commandments, but Superman started showing up and insisted on implementing the Tenth which states: Thou shalt not bang fat chicks. 

Superman is kind of a dick, but we let him hang out because he always brings blueberry muffins.

If not, why not?

We do, man, get off my cape. Damn.

 Do you know the Ten Commandments?

Well, I definitely know the tenth. Supes is always calling Aquaman a chubby chaser because of that one time with the orca...but she was cool, you know? Superman is a total dick.

Do you read the Bible by yourself?

Shit yeah, then I share my favorite verses on Facebook...they're fucking hilarious. Total lulz factory. Matter of fact, that's how I meet chicks from I get crazy ass from that site. I'm all like, 'I'm Batman.' and they're all like, 'I'll only blow you if you love Jesus.' Then I pull out the old BataWang and it's on like Donkey Kong.

Our ancestors worked hard, took no food, took no clothing, took no heat, took no housing — unless the Church provided help when really needed! It was called pride! What do we have today?

Bullshit, BatShit. I'm richer than the Pope but I'm pretty sure a neighbor or two dropped off a loaf of non-church sanctioned bread at one of my ancestors' houses at some point in history, and if they didn't, fuck them. That's some un-neighborly shit right there. As a matter of fact, if your ancestors didn't let my ancestors borrow a cup of sugar I'm dis-inviting you from my bounce house slumber party. This means you, Superman. Asshole.

What do we have today? More people on food stamps than are working! Let’s hear that again — more people taking food stamps than are working/employed!

For this to be true, over 90% of Americans would be on food stamps. You stupid motherfucker.

Have we been negligent of our duties as free Americans? 

Uh, no. The other night I watched Miley Cyrus dry fuck a middle aged man then I went out and fought crime. What else do you want from me? Free Healthcare? 

Has our country changed before our eyes? Why? It is because we have forgotten our heritage?

Are you talking about smallpox? Yeah that was a shitty thing to do the the Native Americans, we should remember that. Or maybe you're talking about slavery? That was shitty too. Definitely remember that.  I don't know, maybe you need to clarify that whole 'heritage' thing. Even Superman thinks your ancestors were dicks...

Have we forgotten our pride?

Uh, no, I'm fucking Batman. The Third Commandment is: Thou shalt remember that I am Batman.

Have we forgotten how to guide ourselves?

I have GPS, bro.

Will we allow the government to control our lives? Free people don’t depend on the government!

Right, tell me about it brother! Fucking Mayor McCheese tried to stiff me out of some McNuggets last week and I took that punk out to the woodshed. Tell me I can't have a 15-piece?! I'll kick you in your Mayor McNutsack. 

Do you let television dominate your free time?

Only until Breaking Bad is finished.

Do you allow our elected representatives to do things contrary to what you believe?

Damn, no! I'll be donating heavily to the Hamburglar come next election cycle. 

Are you working more but enjoying life less? Why?

Yes, because I'm Batman.

I raise these questions because many of us, myself included, have been chasing the dollar instead of considering our lifestyle, instead of considering our families and not considering our country’s future!

My lifestyle is awesome. I wear a cape and kick ass...and I told you about those chicks from Christian Mingle, right?

What do you think-believe?

I think I'm going to call this series: 'Missives From Fuckneckville'.

I believe I'll subtitle it: 'Herp, Derp, Type'.




Saturday, August 17, 2013

Homeless Vet At The Bus Station

I don't remember his name. I'm not certain he ever told me what it was. Years later when I really started to think about him and and a hundred thousand other men just like him, I felt shame. I thought if I could just remember what he called himself, or if I knew for sure I'd cared enough back then to ask, the whole encounter wouldn't live in my head as a metaphor for the false empathy and all too real apathy that defines so many of us.

On an August afternoon in 2000 I bought Mr. Nobody a cheeseburger at the Buffalo bus station.

I was there because I'd just left my in-processing screening for the Air Force a few streets over. I had spent the day  moving from one station to another, hearing tests, drug tests, tests where they groped your balls and tests where some un-funny asshole joked about the guy who just groped your balls.

"Lift this weight. Strip down to your underwear. Put your hands together and touch the floor, I need to check your spine. How many times did you say you smoked marijuana? Sign this. Go wait in that room over there, we'll call your name when it's your turn. Let's talk about what kind of job the Air Force needs you to do."

At the end of the day, those of us who were entering into delayed enlistment took the oath.

"Raise your right hand and repeat after me. I (state your name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

"Here's your bus ticket, see you in a couple months."

It was thirteen months before a handful of hyper-religious shitheads attacked America. Kids my age were joining so they could go to college, or because they couldn't get into one. They were too poor or too dumb. I was there because I'd had enough of college. When I was there, I never went to class. I drank cheap beer every day and I spent most of my productive time sampling from a suitcase filled with my roommate's seemingly endless supply of hard drugs. So I dropped out and went to work. That wasn't doing it for me either, so strolled into the Air Force recruiter's office and signed myself up.

I joined the Air Force because I was a bored middle-class kid.

That's how I found myself standing outside the Buffalo bus station on an August afternoon listening un-ironically to Rage Against the Machine on my Sony Discman, smoking cigarettes and trying to kill the hour before I could get on a bus and go home.

"You got another one of those?" It was Mr. Nobody.

I looked over and saw an older black man in a wheelchair. Red knit hat, stringy gray beard, faded and thick green jacket, frayed gray and red blanket over his lap hiding legs that ended at the knees. Another man stood behind him with his hands on the wheelchair's handles. The second man wasn't in much better shape, but at least he was standing. Everything is relative, I suppose.

"Yeah," I said, pulling out my pack of Newports, "here."

"You got one for my friend too?"

"Sure, whatever."

I handed a second cigarette to the man behind the chair and leaned against the wall.

"Where you goin', man?"

"Home," I replied. "I just joined the Air Force."

"Ha!" He let out a barking laugh and let it dwindle down to a chuckle. "Motherfuckin' Air Force. You gonna fly them fighter planes?" He stuck his hands out like he was driving a car and made an engine noise with gunfire punctuation. "VRRRrrrRRRrrrrRRRRR...... chchchchchch.... vRRRrrrRRRrrrrRRRRR fuckin' Air Force. Yeah!" He laughed again.

I smiled with him. "Nah, no flying for me. I don't know what my job's gonna be."

"Probably a good thing, man. Fuckin' fighter planes get shot down, crash. I was in the Army, man. Yeah."

"What did you do in the Army?"

"It was Vietnam. I did what every motherfucker in the Army did, man."

I grunted in response and looked down at the empty place where his shins and feet should have been. It was a reflex. I looked away immediately.

I finished my cigarette and turned toward the bus station door, I wanted to get away. Then I heard his voice again.

"Hey, Air Force, you got a dollar maybe?"

"Yeah, maybe," I said. "Depends on what you need it for, I guess."

"Gotta eat, man."

"How about I buy you a cheeseburger instead?" Self-righteous, nineteen year-old me didn't want to give the man money for booze or drugs. Self-righteous, hypocritical, nineteen year-old me.

I walked into the bus station and ordered a couple cheeseburgers, fries and drinks from the short order lunch counter. I felt like I was saving the world. VRRRrrrRRRrrrrRRRRR...... chchchchchch.... vRRRrrrRRRrrrrRRRRR. Modern Christ and Air Force enlistee saving boozehound bums one shitty lunch at a time. Yeah!

I took the bag of food back outside and handed it to Mr. Nobody. He took a burger and a cardboard container of soggy fries and gave the rest to his friend.

"So," I asked, "you live around here?"

"Ha!" That barking laugh again. "Yeah, man, I live around here." He forked a thumb over his shoulder. "I live around there too." He made a circling motion with the hand holding the burger. "I live all around, man. Ha!"

"Well," I replied, "at least it's warm right now." That, to this day and despite heavy competition, remains the stupidest fucking thing that has ever come out of my mouth.

We sat there on the corner of N. Division and Ellicott and made small talk while he and his friend ate. At one point I heard a noise like a dwindling faucet and looked down to see that he'd pissed himself right there in his wheelchair. The urine was dripping steadily from his blanket and puddling on the sidewalk. I pretended not to notice.

Eventually I made my excuses and left to finish waiting for my bus inside the station. The bus came. I got on and rode the thing back home. Just a bored middle-class kid.

I wish I had remembered his name, or even asked for it. There are thousands of Mr. Nobody's in hundreds of cities and towns all over America.

Homeless veterans.

Mr. Nobody was a nineteen year-old kid once, he was a soldier. Somewhere along the way he lost his legs and sometime after that he acquired a blanket to piss into after eating a free cheeseburger and sucking down a soda from a bus station lunch counter.

Kids take the oath every day. They fight the wars of the rich and powerful and we forget about them when they come home. We think of the casualties of war as flag-draped coffins and weeping widows. We put yellow ribbon bumper stickers on our cars because  WE SUPPORT THE TROOPS byChristbyJovebyAmerica.

That is, until the troops actually need our support. Then the flagsucking, warhawk bastards walk away.

VRRRrrrRRRrrrrRRRRR...... chchchchchch.... vRRRrrrRRRrrrrRRRRR... Fuckin' America. Yeah!

Hey, Senator, you got a dollar, maybe?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Genesee County Legal Politics (and things, to wit: Criminal Charges)

So, the LeRoy Town Supervisor, Steve Barbeau. found himself in bracelets this weekend following a physical altercation with a LeRoy property developer who also happens to be said Supervisor's neghbor.

According to The Batavian, LeRoy Town Supervisor Steve Barbeau initiated a physical altercation with neighbor and local property developer Pete McQuillen over a dispute about some tree branches and where they happened to land.

Barbeau allegedly attacked McQuillen because "Barbeau was upset because a tree on McQuillen's property fell and Barbeau believed a portion of the tree came down onto his property."

Barbeau was arrested by LeRoy police and charged with Second Degree Harassment which, under New York Penal code happens when:

A person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when, with
intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person:
  1. He or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such other
person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same; or
  2. He or she follows a person in or about a public place or places; or
  3. He or she engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts
which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no
legitimate purpose.
  Subdivisions two and three of this section shall not apply to
activities regulated by the national labor relations act, as amended,
the railway labor act, as amended, or the federal employment labor
management act, as amended.

Barbeau by his own admission in the following quote from The Batavian committed the violation:

"It was quite heated," Barbeau said. "He got heated right back. I pushed him with my hands open on his chest and he fell to the ground."

This quote tells you a couple different thing. First, when Barbeau says that 'It was quite heated,' he is referring either to himself or his opinion of the entire situation since he modifies that statement immediately with the following, 'He got heated right back.' The statement tells us unequivocally that McQuillen responded in a way that mirrored Barbeau's 'heated' actions until those actions became physical in nature. There is also a reasonable understanding that, at this point, Barbeau was on McQuillen's property and, by Barbeau's own admission, initiating physical contact.

I take no issue with the police response or with the charges levied against Mr. Barbeau for his admitted actions except for this:

In Genesee County, NY, alleged crimes rising to the bare minimum level for charging under the statute have been previously charged under the current District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, particularly when they involve political figures to wit NY v. Charvella in which a political activist was charged with Misdemeanor Aggravated Harassment under NY Penal code 240 for placing a phone call in which the defendant stated to an elected official's answering machine: 'Thank you for reading my blog.'

NY v. Charvella was later dismissed by a Town Justice in that same county.

The District Attorney in that county later stated after being accused by the defendant in the case as well as educated commentors outside of the case as making political decisions rather than legal ones that his ""political affiliation is always irrelevant. I don’t look at anybody’s politics when I get involved in a case, neither the victims nor the defendants nor the witnesses nor anybody else."

If the Genesee County DA was in any way serious when he made that statement he should, based on his history of charging crimes clarified in the the very weakest letter of the law, upgrade this charge to Assault in the Second Degree (a misdemeanor) which states:

 A person is guilty of assault in the second degree when:
    1.  With intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, he
  causes such injury to such person or to a third person;

Or, at the very minimum, Menacing in the Third Degree which states:

A person is guilty of menacing in the third degree when, by physical
menace, he or she intentionally places or attempts to place another
person in fear of death, imminent serious physical injury or physical

The Genesee County DA should also reserve, and exercise , the right to upgrade this crime based on any injuries Mr. McQuillen may have sustained during the altercation.

The justice system only works when it is used in a manner that is equal for all under its purview. Whether that person is the accuser or the accused should not matter. Consistency must be the watchword. Consistency from case to case.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day In America

It's Election Day in America and policy is an internet meme. I know this because I made more than a few of them myself.

What will Medicare be?

Who feels more deeply the plight of the middle class?

Who loves Christ the King?

Who will represent whiteblackmuslimlatinoasian America?

Why do less than half of us even care enough to fill in a sheet, pull a lever or punch, too softly, a hanging chad?

Maybe it's because Mr. Smith can never go to Washington.

Maybe it's because our politicians send pictures of their stiff cocks to Twitter followers or are so ashamed to admit they're gay that they troll Craigslist for transsexual boytoys.

Maybe it's because no matter who becomes the President, there will always be football on Sunday (rightafterchurchamenpraiseGodandtheDallasCowboyshallelujah!)

Maybe it's because we're a nation of homeless veterans and impoverished children and no one here seems to give one tinylittlemarginal fuck about it anymore.

Maybe it's because our education system is out of money and terrible and our health-care system is drowning in money and even worse.

Show me a candidate who will spend a trillion dollars on feeding the poor and homeless.

Show me a candidate who will tell the naysayers to go fuck themselves when he does it.  

Show me the man or woman who will stop the wars to pay for better schools and bridges and clean energy and healthcare that won't bankrupt families.


Show me a candidate who will stop forcing eighteen year old American children to kill eighteen year old Afghan and Pakistani children.

Show me a way to a better world and I will show you a reason for more than less than half of us to care again. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chris Collins Thinks Substance Is For Suckers

Submitted for your skepticism.

That's an email sent by Chris Collins to supporters just a few days after GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney chose Medicare hatchet-man Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. It's not surprising that Collins would attempt to find an attack avenue using Medicare as an issue in the NY27 race since the Ryan budget plan of 2011 received most of the credit for Congresswoman Kathy Hochul's easy victory in last year's special election in a heavily Republican district.

Collins refused to take any position whatsoever on Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare, but that didn't stop him from attempting to turn the issue into a ham-fisted attack on Kathy Hochul. As usual, Collins' latest release is so full of misdirection, fantasy and outright lies that we'll need to break it down point by point.

"Typical Kathy...

She's at it again.  After voting to cut $700 billion from Medicare and Medicare Advantage, Kathy Hochul is back to scaring seniors with half-truths, lies and distortions." 

No one is going to accuse the Collins campaign of having a sense of irony. The cuts Collins is discussing here have zero effect on benefits to seniors. They are aimed at disbursements to providers and the Medicare bureaucracy. The real fun fact about this attack is that the Ryan plan for Medicare contains the same 700 billion in cuts. Collins knows this and even told the Batavia Daily News that the Ryan plan doesn't go far enough with its cuts.

2: The second portion of the Collins email is a donation ask. This is typical for a campaign email from any candidate, a simple link to a donation page that says their opponent is killing puppies and if you want to help stop such disgusting behavior you need to send five or ten or twenty-five dollars right now.

That’s right - she’s the only candidate in this race who voted to cut Medicare - by $700 billion.
That’s the kind of hypocrisy typical politicians like Kathy are known for.  They say one thing at home, but do another in Washington. 
 Kathy Hochul is the only candidate in this race who has ever voted for any bill. She's a Congresswoman, that's sort of what they do. We've already addressed the $700 billion myth, so let's just move on.


We have serious problems ahead of us.  As a result of Barack Obama and Kathy Hochul’s reckless policies of massive debts, skyrocketing taxes and economic failure, our country is at a tipping point.  
Their failed policies have jeopardized the very programs they claim to protect - like Medicare.

There is nothing true about this statement. Taxes are at a 30 year low. Allow me to repeat that: Taxes are at a 30 year low. This cannot be denied. Collins, much like Mitt Romney is attempting to run against a fictional opponent rather than the one standing right in front of him. 


But even worse, their failed policies have jeopardized the the future of our children and grandchildren.
We need to get serious about cutting our spending, reducing the debt and fixing our economy.  To do that, we need serious leaders who will tell us the truth, and not use scare tactics like Kathy Hochul. 

Right, Collins for the kids. What does that statement even mean? Nothing, nothing at all. I'll let you decide who's using the 'scare tactic' here.


We deserve a real debate about the solutions to address these problems.  But with typical politicians like Kathy Hochul who campaign based on distortions and half truths, we won’t have that debate. That’s why we need a change. 
This little gem is the crowning achievement in this communication from Candidate Collins. A fundraising email full of distortions and half truths sent out at the direction of a candidate that refuses to have an public opinion about the issue being discussed is finished off by accusing Congresswoman Hochul of engaging in the same behavior without providing a single example of her doing so.

Chris Collins continues to be a willfully ignorant and purposefully non-substantive candidate. He uses poorly thought out e-mails and press releases to define a platform that doesn't appear to have any planks.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Taxation Misrepresentation The NY-27 Way

Last night in Washington D.C, members of the House of Representatives voted on two separate tax relief extension bills.

First up was H.R. 15, the version introduced by House Democrats. The highlights of this bill were extensions to tax cuts for the middle class through December 2013, a 5% increase in the capital gains tax that would have moved the current rate on self-replicating wealth from 15-20%, a reset of the tax rate on income over $250,000, and extensions of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. Local representatives Kathy Hochul, Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter all voted in favor of the bill which was eventually defeated by House Republicans.

After defeating H.R. 15, House Republicans introduced their own, much shorter, tax bill, H.R. 8. It is shorter because it is simply a continuation of what we're doing now with some minor adjustments to specific amounts. Hochul, Higgins and Slaughter all voted against this bill, but it passed the House 256-171. It will not pass in the Senate.

Now that the background is done, let's look at how the votes on these bills are being used as campaign fodder in the NY-27 Congressional race.

Republican candidate Chris Collins wasted no time before making outrageous and barely factual statements about Kathy Hochul's votes. His statement also included a poorly constructed populist narrative that would only be construed as sincere if you didn't know anything at all about Collins.

First, the substance. In his statement, Collins accuses Hochul of voting 'against extending the Child Tax Credit and the Marriage Penalty Tax Relief which were included in the package passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today.' This, while not exactly a lie, fails to address the fact that Hochul voted for extending the Child Tax Credit in the Democratic version of the tax relief bill. This signifies that she is not opposed to the Child Tax Credit, but instead to the extension of tax breaks for millionaires. Marriage Penalty Tax relief is a misnomer at best. There was never a tax penalty for being married, only a lack of incentive to file jointly if spouses had significantly disparate incomes. Hochul supports what is essentially a return to the Clinton-era tax structure, with some extended benefits for the working class. Collins is apparently demanding that she support the status quo, which is an unbelievably dense position since the only thing we can all seem to agree about is that our economy sucks and things are terrible.

Collins then goes on to say that 'Official records show that Kathy Hochul may be one of Congress’ more wealthy members, having disclosed assets that total between $1 million and $2.3 million. In addition, Hochul and her husband, an Obama political appointee, together jointly earn over $325,000 annually, placing them in the top 1.5% of earners in the United States.' I'm not sure I've ever seen a more ironic statement from a candidate, so let's break this down.

Collins seems to be donning his populist costume here, but it doesn't fit very well. This attack on Hochul probably needs to be fisked sentence by sentence so let's drag our Bull-Shit-O-Meter up from the basement and get to work:

Sentence 1:  'Official records show that Kathy Hochul may be one of Congress’ more wealthy members, having disclosed assets that total between $1 million and $2.3 million.'
On a bullshit scale of 1-10, this statement ranks a 9.5. The only reason it wasn't a perfect 10 was because there actually is a financial disclosure document that details Hochul's assets. The rest of this sentence is nonsense. Although 2012 comparisons including liabilities were not readily available, using the best information at my disposal, it took me about ten seconds to learn that the 'official records' referenced by Collins when compared to other members of Congress actually show that Hochul is most likely in the bottom third of House members when it comes to wealth.

Sentence 2: In addition, Hochul and her husband, an Obama political appointee, together jointly earn over $325,000 annually, placing them in the top 1.5% of earners in the United States.
When I applied my Bull-Shit-O-Meter to this statement, something strange happened. The needle swung back and forth between 0 and 10, metronome style. I was confused until I realized what the problem was: I had the wrong tool. I opened my drawer and there, nestled between the Sarcastoguage and the Snarktimeter, lay my Irony-ometer. It was just what I needed and when I applied the tool to this statement, it promptly exploded.

As it turns out, the numbers used in Collins' attack on wealth are correct, but the sentiment is not. Collins seems to want you to believe that he is both Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham. There is no sincerity whatsoever in the Collins position on this issue, in fact, it assumes that you, the voter are a misinformed, zombie, coma patient...but I digress.

The Collins statement goes on to accuse Kathy Hochul of working for the government. We'll have to assume (since we are all morons) that Mr. Collins actually loathes the idea of being a Congressman and that he's just doing it because Jesus told him he had to...or something...

After that, Collins prints a list of generally bullshit talking points that were prepared by his party's majority on the Ways and Means Committee.

I feel like I'm going to be doing a lot of these little pieces on the nonsense coming out of the Collins camp between now and November, and I'm not going to let Congresswoman Hochul slide either. I absolutely detest inanity and obfuscation in political campaigns.

The Siren call of bullshit, smirking accusations seems to be too much for Collins. He simply can't help himself. He and many members of his party think their wobbly platform is enough to win as long as they can get their rabid base foaming at the mouth and the under-informed centrists to believe the nonsense.

Sadly enough, they may be right.