Perfect time to see the fall foliage

This weekend is the beginning of the peak of fall foliage for Central New York State which includes Owego, the site of Saturday’s conference, the Coalition to Free New York.

Information about speakers is here.

You can enjoy the beauty of New York State to and from the conference and dine at one of Owego’s fine restaurants (Dutch treat–to be announced) with kindred political spirits.

Hope to see you there.

Detroit Public Schools Beg for Children

by Karen DeCoster at LRC Blog

The Detroit public school system is a festering blister getting worse each year. This year, on the heels of a teacher’s strike, the schools are begging for students, and why? For one, the district is losing students to charter schools, and thus the non-charter, public system is seeing huge drops each year in student enrollment. The other reason is truancy — the kids don’t want to go to school and so they just stop going. The district gets $7,459 for each student that it enrolls, so the loss of funding grows each year.

Tomorrow is the “official count” day wherein state bureaucrats show up to do a physical count of kids in chairs. Thus far this year, the district says it is minus an astonishing 25,000+ students, which means the Detroit public schools could lose almost $2 million in funding, which will lead to drastic cutbacks and school closings. (Though observers say that the DPS system consistently “games” its student numbers, which makes sense, because most people doubt the count that puts the DPS system down by 25,000 students.)

For the last couple of weeks, the school system has been running a massive (and embarrassing) campaign to get students in the classroom on Wednesday, September 27, no matter what it takes. These bozos have spent a fortune (a reported $500k) on public relations and marketing to make this happen. All over the local news, the radio, and the local newspapers, school officials are BEGGING parents to send their kids to a Detroit school for one day, in order to be counted. They are offering raffles, prizes, pizza and ice cream parties, laptop computers, a raffle of lunch with the rapper Yung Joc, and assorted gift certificates (for FootLocker, etc) to those parents who oblige for one day by sending their kid to be counted. In fact, the DPS is now trying to delay the official “count” day so they have more time to illegitimately fill the classrooms so they can steal more money from us via the Feds.

One press conference the other day had a school official saying, “We are proud of where we have brought the Detroit public schools in terms of the quality of education that we offer to our students.” Er, last time I checked, the graduation rate at Detroit public schools is 21% — and no, that is not a typo. It is the lowest in the nation among the largest districts.

Head of State Tax Group to Speak at Coalition

Matthew F. Guilbault, executive director of the New York State Taxpayers Union, will speak this Saturday at the Coalition to Free New York in Owego. His topic will be “Where have all the taxpayer groups gone?”

Here’s a link for information about other speakers.

Mr. Guilbault, is an attorney and was formerly with the National Federation of Independent Business-New York.

In announcing his new group, he said:

“In 2006, New York’s Tax Freedom Day comes four days later than it did in 2005, and eleven days later than it did in 2004; continuing a trend of New Yorkers having to work further into the year to pay for state and federal taxes. This is why NYSTU’s work will be important and relevant.”

Distant Replay–A Plague on Both Your Parties

A Plague On Both Your Parties

by James Ostrowski

January 3, 2002

One of the things that bothers me about conservative Republicans is that they usually seem more interested in playing power politics than advancing liberty or the welfare of the nation. Their subliminal slogan is, “Power over principle; power over you.” Most of their energy is focused on attacking liberal Democrats, distorting the truth in the process when necessary, and sloughing off responsibility for their own miserable policy failures.

Case in point: Failing to prevent the attacks of September 11th. How many times have we heard since then that this was all Bill Clinton’s fault? He shrunk the military; denuded the CIA; he wasn’t tough enough; he was distracted by his libido and his libido cover-ups. Whoa, let’s back up a little. What about that great modern conservative icon, Ronald Reagan? In a major speech on July 8, 1985, he called recent terrorist attacks on American citizens and military personnel “acts of war,” and a threat to “our way of life” and our “democracy.” He put the blame for terrorism squarely on the backs of the depraved states that allow terrorists to operate freely.

Reagan named names and promised coordinated action against those states. He made it clear that he believed that the terrorists who were murdering American citizens and attacking American installations were being trained, financed, and directly or indirectly controlled by a core group of radical and totalitarian governments, a new international version of Murder, Incorporated. He said the goal of the terrorists was to force America to withdraw from the world and abandon its friends. He compared their tactics to those of Nazi Germany and called on all “civilized” nations to rise up against them. He promised to bring the terrorists to justice.

What did Reagan do? First, he helped bin Laden get his start by funding the Mujahidin. Then, he lobbed a missile at Colonel Qaddafi that miraculously bounced off his tent, resumed orbit, headed northwest, and knocked a plane out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland. Okay, so the Gipper dropped the ball, but why didn’t his protégé George Bush, Sr. pick it up and run with it? I know. Bush, Sr., did nothing because he knew pretty boy Clinton was coming in, thought he would do nothing and then conservatives could criticize him for it, and George Bush, Jr. could get elected. Yeah, that’s it.

So now Bill Clinton is dictator of the United States. Strike that, he’s president in a constitutional system with a supreme legislative branch controlled by, you guessed it, Republicans. Here are the talking points to the Republican troops about the Clinton-era: (1) the Republicans were totally responsible for anything good that happened to the economy; (2) the Republicans were not responsible for anything bad that happened with terrorism (even though we controlled oversight and the purse strings).

Of course, everybody “knows” Clinton did nothing to stop terrorism. Not quite. According to an exhaustive analysis in the New York Times on Sunday, he did quite a bit. Yes, there was the usual bureaucratic bumbling, and there were missed opportunities, but the Clinton Administration made numerous efforts over many years to thwart bin Laden and Al Qaeda:

The CIA created a virtual station to track bin Laden.
American diplomats pressed Sudan to expel bin Laden.
State Dept. circulated a dossier that accused bin Laden of financing radical Islamic causes around the world.
NSA eavesdropped on telephone lines used by Al Qaeda and broke up one Al Qaeda unit as a result.
Ordered cruise missile strike on Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan.
The United States disrupted other Al Qaeda cells, and got several Al Qaeda members prosecuted in Egypt.
President Clinton approved the use of lethal covert force against bin Laden and a dozen of his top lieutenants.
Four times Clinton authorized the CIA to kill or capture bin Laden.
The C.I.A. stationed submarines in the Indian Ocean to track bin Laden’s movements in preparation for a cruise missile attack.
The White House asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop plans for a commando raid to capture or kill bin Laden. The Pentagon balked.
Clinton administration tried to choke off Al Qaeda’s financial network by threatening states and banks with sanctions if they dealt with the terrorist group.
In 1999 and 2000, some $255 million of Taliban-controlled assets was blocked in United States accounts.
Arrested Ahmed Ressam when he tried to enter the United States in Port Angeles, Wash., on Dec. 14, 1999. Ressam had 130 pounds of bomb-making chemicals.
In March 2000, the FBI, started a series of anti-terrorism seminars with agents who headed the bureau’s 56 field offices, encouraging them to hire more Arabic translators and develop better sources of information.
The FBI asked for money for a computer system that would allow various field offices to share and analyze information collected by agents–the Republican Congress initially said no.
In September 2000, an unarmed, unmanned spy plane flew over Afghanistan searching for bin Laden.
In October 2000, the administration unsuccessfully tried to kill bin Laden.
Currently, we are led to believe that the Republicans, prior to September 11th, knew that Clinton’s efforts were too little and too timid, and that the country was at imminent risk of a disastrous terrorist attack as a result, and that, given half a chance, they would take quick, decisive and aggressive action. Therefore, on January 20, 2001, right after the swearing-in ceremony was over, Team Bush did – nothing! Well, not exactly nothing. Condoleezza Rice did meet with Sandy Berger who warned her about bin Laden. Also, Bush retained George Tenet, Clinton’s CIA man.

According to the Times, “until Sept. 11, the people at the top levels of the Bush administration may, if anything, have been less preoccupied by terrorism than the Clinton aides.” The Bushies apparently did little in response to intelligence indicating that “Al Qaeda was planning to attack an American target in late June or perhaps over the July 4 holiday.” The Bush Administration was drafting plans for dealing with terrorism, but somehow, even though, we are led to believe, any idiot could have instantly seen the flaws in Clinton’s approach, those plans had not even been presented to Bush for review by September 11!

So let’s cut the bull, Republicans. Take a deep breath and some truth serum and repeat after me: “On terrorism, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats and Republicans are the two factions of the one-party state that rules America. Both factions are to blame for pointlessly stirring up foreign enemies to hate America, then failing to marshal federal military and intelligence resources to protect Americans on September 11th. Nostra culpa!”

Distant Replay–Flip-Flopping for Power

Flip-Flopping for Power

by James Ostrowski

September 10, 2004

Rudy Giuliani is back – with all the old arrogance, conceit, prickliness, and ambition for power. Couldn’t he have just retired into the sunset with all those profits he made off 9/11?

When 9/11 hit, Giuliani was a scandal-ridden, washed-up, former rogue prosecutor, soon to be ex-mayor with nowhere to go politically. Then, on the way to his anti-terrorism headquarters in the World Trade Center – that’s right, the World Trade Center – he got trapped in a building after the first tower collapsed. Later, many of his firemen died due to outmoded radios. His police helicopters were ordered away from the scene, apparently due to bureaucratic infighting. A sorry performance by any standard.

Later that day, with heroic rescuers still anonymous, the nation needed a hero and Giuliani was handy with Bush on the run. He does deserve credit for this role, but as Giuliani no doubt reminded many a defendant at sentencing time, the good you do does not erase the bad.

Eventually, though, Giuliani’s hat size expanded and he tried to stay on as Mayor even after his term was set to expire. Geez, what a gargantuan ego. Alas, Rudy, we hardly missed you.

Next, Giuliani profiteered off 9/11 with a book, lectures and a politically-connected security firm. “Don’t have your anti-terrorist command center inside the leading terrorist target on earth. That’ll be $50,000.”

Then, he pops up at the Republican Infomercial the other night. There is an “I” in team, according to Giuliani, whose remarks were seasoned with the “I”-word.

Giuliani offered a spirited defense of one of our worst presidents, a president who has failed in foreign policy, the economy and civil liberties, but done well in all other aspects of his administration such as having lunch with the Belizean Ambassador and reading to school children.

He excuses Bush for 9/11 by explaining that he had only been president for eight months. He fails to mention that Bush had been repeatedly warned about bin Laden. Giuliani dissertates about how terrorism had obviously been mishandled for many years but fails to explain why Bush and his team did nothing about this obvious policy lapse for eight months. He also fails to mention that his former boss Ronald Reagan promised action against terrorism but funded the Mujahedeen.

Giuliani accuses John Kerry of flip-flopping, giving sparse examples. Here’s Giuliani’s record: voted for McGovern (1972); worked for Ronald Reagan (1981–1989); ran as a Liberal for Mayor of New York City (1989, 1993, 1997); endorsed Mario Cuomo (1994); now endorses George W. Bush. His whole career has been one long series of flip-flops for power.

One thing Giuliani doesn’t flip-flop about is Israel, to which he repeatedly panders in his speech. After all, Israel is America’s most reliable ally in the Middle East. I can’t for the life of me figure out why an “ally” with one of the top two armies in the world, and a mere 500 miles away, has contributed no troops to the Iraq War. In any event, it takes great courage for a New York politician to be mindlessly pro-Israel.

He is right about one thing: “The hatred and anger in the Middle East arises from the lack of accountable governments.” Two governments with superior military machines have been able to impose their wills on Middle East peoples who never voted in favor of such domination: the United States and Israel.

Giuliani boasts of Bush’s war on global “terrorism.” The problem is, neither Giuliani nor any other neocon is against terrorism; they are only against “terrorism.” That is, they are not against the systematic use of aggressive force or violence to achieve political ends; they are merely against the use of such force by the private sector or by governments they don’t like. The leaders of democratic governments, no matter how many innocent people they kill, maim or torture, can never be called terrorists, by definition. “Isn’t that special?”

The “terrorism” that Giuliani complains of is often inspired by the terrorism that Giuliani, lawyer that he is, defines out of existence by word games. However, not even the most brilliant lawyer by verbal gymnastics can define out of existence the real consequences of such blindness, hypocrisy, arrogance and self-destructiveness, as Giuliani himself found out on 9/11 when he was trapped in that building on Barclay Street.

So Rudy – take your 9/11 millions and run – as far away from us as you can.

Rockwell on the War

Big News: The War Failed

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

What is really puzzling here is the intellectual failure of the conservatives and libertarians who have cheered for this war from the beginning. Why do these people, who otherwise understand the failure of government in all aspects of domestic politics, believe that the government has a Midas touch in dealing with foreign affairs? Here we have a serious and dramatic example of cognitive dissonance.

It’s as if a person who is terrified of drinking poison in the morning mistakes it for an aperitif in the evening.

What a poor example these people set for the left! If conservatives and libertarians are not willing to apply their anti-government logic consistently against war, how can they be surprised that the left is not willing to apply its antiwar logic domestically? Combine the two schools of inconsistency and you have the makings of the ever-growing welfare-warfare state.

So you want to know the future? It’s not as hard as it seems. Expect every government program to fail to achieve its stated aims – domestic and foreign – and you will hit the mark every time.

Excellent Article by Beebe

On water pollution in area rivers.

Here’s a link to all the separate pieces.

Here’s my take. Government tends to underinvest in capital while overinvesting in current expenses such as wages and benefits. That’s the nature of government and the only solution is to make it smaller and more decentralized so that citizens have more feedback into what government does.

So this problem of raw sewage flowing is not an accident!

Second, it is monstrous that our fearless leaders wish to throw tens of millions of dollars around on corporate welfare and “member items” when we have raw sewage flowing.

Third, it’s a revelation that raw sewage will be flowing into the new Erie Canal slip.

That’s one big [P] OOPS!!!!

Time to Go Statewide

Free Buffalo always knew that we must go statewide to change NY.

The first step is next Saturday at the Coalition to Free New York conference in Owego.

The agenda is here.

More about the speakers is here.

We hope to form chapters of Free New York throughout the state on that day.

Please spread the word.

Unlike other think tanks, most of which accomplish very little, we have no fat cats or deep pockets.

We are truly a populist, working class movement. Without your support, we will fail.

Then, who will free New York?