Congressman Higgins Outsmarts George Washington

Written by James Ostrowski on December 27, 2005 – 12:26 am -

George Washington said:

So, likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill will, and a disposition to retaliate in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld; and it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country without odium, sometimes even with popularity, gilding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

*********

Rep. Brian Higgins [D-NY]: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Res. 575, a resolution that renews our commitment to the security of the State of Israel. Israel has long been a friend and ally to the United States. As our two nations enter the 21st century, we must continue to work together against violence and terrorism and in support of peace. A crucial part of the peace process is the emergence of a democratic Palestinian Government that denounces and combats terrorism, and respects the boundaries and sovereignty of all of its neighbors, including Israel.


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Dale Volker-ism No. 1

Written by James Ostrowski on December 26, 2005 – 10:36 pm -

“I firmly believe that the only reason Guy Velella is in prison today is because of his father. Whatever you say about Guy, I deeply admire him for that. . . . I am not going to tell you that he is perfect, but I do not believe he intentionally committed a crime.”

~~Dale Volker

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0441,robbins,57471,5.html

“Also pleading for his former colleague’s release was State Senator Dale Volker, who, as chairman of the Codes Committee, has played a key role in blocking reform of the Rockefeller drug laws, thus keeping thousands of first-time nonviolent drug offenders in prison for extended sentences.”


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Thanks Congressman!

Written by James Ostrowski on December 26, 2005 – 2:32 pm -

Congressman Reynolds voted for a bill that “Increases direct and mandatory farm program by $73.5 billion over 10 years.”

That really helps the Buffalo area.


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Congressman Higgins Secures More Funding for the Waterfront–

Written by James Ostrowski on December 26, 2005 – 12:18 pm -

–Egypt’s.

“$1.26 billion for Egypt to fund military activities”

Are these the type of “military activities” funded?

“Police Attack Voters During Last Day of Egypt Election”

By Daniel Williams

Washington Post Foreign Service

Thursday, December 8, 2005; Page A01

BADAWAY, Egypt, Dec. 7 — Police firing tear gas and rubber bullets blocked voters from reaching polling stations in several electoral districts around the country Wednesday and at least eight people were reported killed on the violent and chaotic last day of Egypt’s fiercely contested parliamentary elections.

Here in Badaway, the Nile Delta home town of one Brotherhood candidate, dozens of police officers blocked the streets and alleys leading to the lone polling station, preventing anyone from voting throughout the day. Youths occasionally rushed the cordon of black-clad and helmeted officers, who fired tear gas and rubber pellets in response.


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Free Buffalo’s Mission Statement

Written by James Ostrowski on December 26, 2005 – 11:56 am -

Greater Buffalo Needs an Independent Think Tank

By James Ostrowski

December 4, 2004

Introduction

The Greater Buffalo area has been in a free-fall since about 1960. Its political, intellectual and business leadership has proven for decades to be incapable of diagnosing the causes of our problems or doing anything constructive about them. Rather, for the most part, they have been part of the problem, putting their own interests ahead of reform and change, and presenting us with misguided reform measures that do not address the root causes of our problems.

Unless we wish to see Buffalo continue to drift towards economic oblivion, drastic changes need to be made, now. Those changes need to be formulated and presented by a new research organization or think tank that is completely independent of the present power structure. Only then will true solutions become apparent to the public.

There will be surely be support for a small, efficient organization that analyzes our current problems and presents common sense solutions in clear and plain language.

Philosophy

This think tank would not force people to wear philosophical or ideological straitjackets, but would be strongly founded in Jeffersonian ideals:

Individuals should have the maximum possible personal and economic freedom.

The current political structure needs to be reversed. Presently, we concentrate the most political power in Washington, the next most in Albany, then the Rath Building, and the least amount in our cities, towns and villages. Contrary to the original—and profoundly wise—vision of the framers and founders—we have removed political power as far away from the people as possible. This is the cause of many of our problems.

We need to replace that failed thinking with its opposite— concentrate political power first in the individual, then in the local organic community or neighborhood (South Buffalo, East Aurora, West Seneca), and in larger and more distant units only when it is absolutely clear that this is necessary.

The guiding principle is the maximum possible decentralization consistent with civilized life.

Experience shows that when we concentrate power in the hands of strangers in distant capitals, they make strange and destructive decisions that harm us but help themselves. This madness must end. Why, for example, should HUD bureaucrats in Washington dictate housing policy in the City of Buffalo? Why should education bureaucrats in Albany dictate how schools are run in Cheektowaga, a town they have never visited except for a stopover at the airport?

Economic planning is best accomplished by private actors engaging in mutually beneficial transactions in a free market. Modes of planning based on private property rights and freedom of contract are to be preferred over coercive and bureaucratic schemes.

Methods of funding the government other than by taxation should be explored and encouraged. These include: user fees, fines, filing fees, bequests and endowments, voluntary check-offs, advertising, and lotteries. Experience shows that the power to tax allows politicians to misspend funds in ways not approved of by the taxpayers they allegedly represent.

Since there is no known means of ensuring that taxes are spent wisely, alternatives to taxation must be explored. It is true that only taxes can fund today’s gargantuan budgets. However, if the size and scope of government are reduced in accordance with the principles outlined in this essay, and a predictable economic boom follows, funding government without taxes becomes more plausible.

Let’s bring government down to the community level where it can be watched and controlled. And let communities decide if they wish to join forces with other communities or secede from them. Secession is the ultimate check on big government that allows exploited communities to escape from larger governmental units that have been hijacked by corrupt political machines.

A New Model of Politics

This new model of politics is illustrated in the figures below. Figure No. 1 is the top-down, top-heavy model of highly centralized big government we suffer under today. Figure No. 2 reverses the dynamics and shows a bottom-up, bottom-heavy model for the future.

Figure No. 1 Today’s Top-Down, Top-Heavy Politics

A diagram is worth a thousand words. Figure No. 1 illustrates why so many people today feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. They are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. The upside down triangle illustrates why so many people today feel they are not in control of their lives. They feel that way because it’s true: they are not in control of their lives; the government is.

Figure No. 2 Tomorrow’s Bottom-Up, Bottom-Heavy Politics

Libertarian Populism

This new model of politics is neither left nor right, neither liberal nor conservative, neither Democratic nor Republican. It transcends such failed dichotomies by providing all persons—rich or poor—with the maximum possible opportunity to improve themselves and their communities.

A good term for this approach is libertarian populism. It is based on individual freedom but also has a strong egalitarian element. The sad truth is that a top-heavy political regime tends to favor the well-educated and well-connected elites who control it. It disadvantages the masses of poor and working class people who lack the skill or the inclination to manipulate the system.

Name

How about Free Buffalo? It’s both a noun and a verb. It’s short and sweet. And it describes the goal of the organization.

Let’s free Buffalo─from big government, political machines and special interests.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, and fundraising ideas.

[Note: Free Buffalo was later incorporated as Free New York, Inc. A Niagara County Chapter, Free Niagara, was also formed.]


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Should We Worship “Hard” Science?

Written by James Ostrowski on December 24, 2005 – 12:59 pm -

“Modern science first excludes a priori final and formal causes, then investigates nature under the reductive mode of mechanism and then turns around to claim both final and formal causes are obviously unreal, and that its mode of knowing the corporeal world takles priority over all other fiorms of human knowledge.”

~~Christoph Cardinal Schönborn

Link from Gene Callahan at LRC.

The point is, I think, that modern science, while forbidding others from using metaphysical, nontestable principles, is itself based on such a principle, i.e., that there is no true knowledge except that which can be proven by the methods of modern, “hard” science.

Prove it!


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The Economic Lessons of Bethlehem

Written by James Ostrowski on December 24, 2005 – 12:48 pm -

“In the Gospel narratives, the role of private enterprise, and the evil of government power, only begin there. Jesus used commercial examples in his parables (e.g., laborers in the vineyard, the parable of the talents) and made it clear that he had come to save even such reviled sinners as tax collectors.”

Lew Rockwell today.


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Is Militant Atheism Funny?

Written by James Ostrowski on December 24, 2005 – 12:05 am -

I saw George Carlin on Imus the other morning. He was touting his new HBO special. He promised to take us into “the abyss” of all things. Just want I want in a comedian: a replay of Sartre’s Nausea. Am I the only one who is tired of his act? George, you’re not a philosopher, you’re a stand-up comic. Try to be funny, will you.

What is it with these comedians who begin to take themselves too seriously and lose their magic touch: Lenny Bruce, Bill Mahr, and George Carlin.

Where have you gone, Rodney Dangerfield?


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Mor-on Kuwik

Written by James Ostrowski on December 23, 2005 – 11:38 pm -

Bob McCarthy does a nice job explaining the background of the Ed Kuwik golden parachute deal.

“The Erie County Water Authority has hired veteran County Legislator Edward J. Kuwik for a $93,600 job that was not advertised and for which nobody else applied. And County Executive Joel A. Giambra contends that it was traded for a political vote. ”

****

“Swiatek acknowledged the position was not posted and that nobody else was invited to apply. He said Kuwik asked about the position being vacated by the retiring David Jaros, and that he and other authority officials believed he was qualified. When asked why only a politically connected individual was considered, Swiatek replied: “Are you suggesting he should be blackballed?”

“Swiatek was also asked if he felt Kuwik was the most qualified, especially since nobody else was considered.”

*****

There’s a Groucho Marx line in there somewhere.


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Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Written by James Ostrowski on December 23, 2005 – 4:27 pm -

Saw this DVD–good action movie, funny, no risque scenes, cartoonish violence, no heavy lifting. Here’s the trailer.


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Congratulations!

Written by James Ostrowski on December 23, 2005 – 3:34 pm -

Buffalo Pundit, who headed the effort, says, “Santaland raised 1,600 for the Food Bank of WNY”


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Kuwik’s Estimated Pension After His “High Three” at the Authority

Written by James Ostrowski on December 23, 2005 – 1:14 pm -

$62.000!


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Bribery Defined

Written by James Ostrowski on December 23, 2005 – 9:59 am -

§ 200.00 Bribery in the third degree.

A person is guilty of bribery in the third degree when he confers, or
offers or agrees to confer, any benefit upon a public servant upon an
agreement or understanding that such public servant’s vote, opinion,
judgment, action, decision or exercise of discretion as a public servant
will thereby be influenced.

Bribery in the third degree is a class D felony.

§ 200.10 Bribe receiving in the third degree.

A public servant is guilty of bribe receiving in the third degree when
he solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit from another person
upon an agreement or understanding that his vote, opinion, judgment,
action, decision or exercise of discretion as a public servant will
thereby be influenced.

Bribe receiving in the third degree is a class D felony.


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Buffalo Rewards Failure–Again

Written by James Ostrowski on December 23, 2005 – 9:19 am -

WBEN has broken an important story about how Buffalo politics works for the political class.

“The controversy is swirling around Lackawanna Democrat Ed Kuwik, who is leaving the county legislature after 11 terms. He’s been appointed to a $94 thousand a year job with the Erie County Water Authority.”

Kuwik previously voted to confirm the same commissioners who just appointed him to this cushy job.

Kuwik has long been a member of the machine with no accomplishments to speak of. Now, he gets rewarded for playing the game. That’s how it works. Do what you’re told and you get to rape the taxpayer.

Sources tell me this was about Kuwik getting the “high three.” That is, to jack up his final three years of salary so that he can get a truly revolting, disgusting state pension. That’s right; this hack will get rich on the backs of elderly people on fixed incomes and young parents struggling to raise their two kids.

This makes my blood boil and makes you think of “_______ _________.” These people are pigs!

No, I’m not done. This story reminds me of rumors that the recent election of Lynn Marinelli was engineered by the Water Authority to maintain their power. Was this appointment delayed until the right people voted the right way the other day?

Let’s find out who made what promises to whom in order for the machine’s choice to get control of the Legislature’s top job.


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The Reasons for the Season

Written by James Ostrowski on December 22, 2005 – 9:44 pm -

Lew Rockwell published this great article by Paul Craig Roberts last year.

Here’s some excerpts:

The decorations and gifts of Christmas are one of our connections to a Christian culture that has held Western civilization together for 2,000 years.

In our culture the individual counts. This permits an individual person to put his or her foot down, to take a stand on principle, to become a reformer and to take on injustice.

All Americans have a huge stake in Christianity. Whether or not we are individually believers in Christ, we are beneficiaries of the moral doctrine that has curbed power and protected the weak. Power is the horse ridden by evil. In the 20th century the horse was ridden hard. One hundred million people were exterminated by National Socialists in Germany and by Soviet and Chinese communists simply because they were members of a race or class that had been demonized by intellectuals and political authority.

Christianity’s emphasis on the worth of the individual makes such power as Lenin claimed unthinkable. Be we religious or be we not, our celebration of Christ’s birthday celebrates a religion that made us masters of our souls and of our political life on Earth. Such a religion as this is worth holding on to even by atheists.


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