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October 11, 2010


A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add or would like to make an empty threat, please contact me.

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October 11, 2010

Hilltown Hutus And The Lawyer From Buffalo

The corporate media fails to promote the Tea Party candidate for governor

This autumn campaign season, the fascinating thing for me is how the corporate media is flailing about desperately trying to gain control of information like it did back in the 1990s. Because of stiff competition from the internet, the local corporate content providers have been forced to vary their content by region and also by medium. Like, upstate media versus downstate media, and newspapers versus TV.

It’s really weird to see the once mighty corporate media fall apart like that. Lately all we hear from them is how these pathetic “Tea Party” dittoheads are "rising from the grassroots" and “taking over the country.” And yet, thanks to alternate information channels, the corporate shills cannot quite convince most people of this lie.

But as the foreign corporations have been losing control of information, they have tried to compensate by spending unbelievable amounts of money and time creating this so-called “Tea Party movement.” Like the notorious David Koch (pronounced “coke”,) who, according to various sources, has given about one hundred million dollars of his own money to promote the Tea Party. Do these billionaires who got rich off the taxpayers expect a return on their investment?

Sal Russo, Founder Of The Tea Party
Sal Russo, Founder Of The Tea Party

The Tea Party is the creation of the public relations firm of Russo, March and Associates. They were hired by and continue to be paid for by the national Republican Party, or more specifically a PAC controlled by the Re-pubs. The money to pay for these manipulators comes from a series of massive donations mostly from billionaires, of which David Koch and his brother have donated the largest known amount.

Right now the billionaires are lining up to give money to Republican party schemes and obstructions because the billionaires can now donate money anonymously. The was another bogus ruling by the federal courts, from a suit filed this year by a shadowy group called Citizen’s United, which was founded by a Republican Party insider named Floyd Brown. Among other things, this character Brown later became an “advisor” to former president George W. Bush, part of Bush’s circle of handlers.

Several years ago the Russo Marsh people started visiting the Hilltowns of western Albany County looking to organize. I know they made a stab at starting an organization in the City of Albany, I ran into them at booths at street fairs several years ago. But since then I’ve heard nothing about any Tea Party meetings based in Albany.

Tea Party Express" National Tour At The Corning Preserve In Albany, April 2010
Tea Party Express" National Tour At The Corning Preserve In Albany, April 2010

But up in the exurban Hilltowns the Russo March organizers have been more successful. The big Tea Party group in those parts is the Hilltown Homefront Patriots, but smaller chapters have been established in many of the smaller towns. The latest is called the Town of Rensellaerville Tea Party which, according to the Altamont Enterprise, was allegedly started by a local resident.

Russo March has put a lot of time and cash into organizing the Hilltowns, and you might wonder why. To me the answer is obvious. The corporations want an expendable strike force that can pressure and threaten the State government downhill in nearby Albany. Right now that pressure is merely scattered noise which is mostly ignored by the flatlanders but I can easily see this potential strike force being used somewhere up the road to physically intimidate loyal Americans.

If you listen to the noise, you would think that the Tea Party has all but conquered the Hilltown exurbs. You’d think that everybody who lives up there is mad as hell and ready to “burn Albany.” You’d think that it is only a matter of time before the corporate revolutionaries march into our City and destroy the government and loot our neighborhoods and rape our men.

You’d be wrong if you think that. Like I was, you’ve have been deceived. The Hilltowns are the outer edge of the suburbs of Albany, the exurbs. On the east side of the hills reside mostly suburbanite commuters, on the west side the houses are planted uncomfortably among working farms. The folks who live up there are as smart or as stupid as in any other exurb.

Downtown Renssellaerville On Sunday Afternoon 10/10/10
Downtown Renssellaerville On Sunday Afternoon 10/10/10

If you take a car ride among the Hilltowns, like The Wife and I did this past Sunday, you will notice very little public evidence of the Tea Partiers. In fact, I was struck by the lack of lawn signs for Republican or “conservative” political candidates, even though the election is scant weeks away. In the hamlet of Rensselaerville I saw plenty of lawn signs for Democrats, but not one single sign for Re-pubs.

For instance, that Sunday afternoon I talked to a shop owner in a hamlet on the west side of the hills. “Sure, I don’t like Cuomo, he’s not going to fix anything,” he said. “But look at the alternative Paladino, he’s going to cut taxes and eliminate government jobs. You don’t do that during a recession.” He sounded like most people I’ve been talking to about this election, which is why everyone expects Cuomo will win.

I’m not completely sure, but from what I’ve been picking up here and there it sounds like the same core group herd of Tea Partiers have been moving from meeting to meeting to make the number of attendees look large in their press releases, their numbers swelled by the curious. If that’s true, then that’s a red flag indicating that the Hilltown Homefront Patriots and all the subsidiary Tea party organizations in western Albany County are nothing but a carefully constructed facade. What a lousy return for all those millions of dollars.

The Tea Party was launched around the last Presidential election with a rally in front of the White House. During this little display, as the AP reported, one of the Russo March operatives tossed a fistful of teabags over the fence. That made me laugh. What a bunch of wimps. What a pathetic far cry from those authentic Boston Patriots of 1774 who put their bodies on the line to defy the British East India Company.

Tea Party Rally In June, 2010 At The Capitol Was Sparsely Attended, No Curious Onlookers
Tea Party Rally In June, 2010 At The Capitol Was Sparsely Attended, No Curious Onlookers

Originally the Tea partiers called themselves Teabaggers. Seriously, they did. Thanks to the internet the whole world quickly learned that this name for the “movement” chosen by Russo Marsh was the same as a longtime college frat boy prank involving alcohol and male genitalia. But not to worry. The public relations geniuses arranged a name change which was announced by the corporate media, thus a funny silly name was seamlessly replaced with a wimpy silly name.

The Tea Party public positions are a shifting grab bag that doesn’t make any sense to a logical person, such as denying the proven fact of global warming, supporting “the Second Amendment” while eliminating the rest of the Bill of Rights, totally unregulating healthcare until healthcare disappears for everyone but the very rich, and above all they want ot “get rid of “government.” And of course, “The Democrats” are all bad and “The Republicans” are not good enough for them.

Remember how during the genocide in Rwanda back in the 1990s, the Hutus were instructed by the voices in the AM radio to go kill the Tutsis? The Hutus did as they were told by the radio and thus the genocide. Today's Tea Partiers receive instructions not only from their AM radios but more effectively from images of heads on their TV sets.

Like the Hutus, the Tea Partiers listen to the boxes and do as they’re told. Admittedly this sort of blind obedience to the talking boxes is widespread and considered normal in America today, but these Tea Partiers take blind obedience to an imaginary authority to a scary level. This chronic inability to critically consider the conduit through which information passes leaves my head shaking with wonder and despair.

Booth At Tea Party Rally In Albany, June 2010
Booth At Tea Party Rally In Albany, June 2010

So what do the voices emanating from the electronic boxes want the Tea Partiers to do? Well, the Tea Party positions are a clue, note they almost exactly parallel the sorts of things that corporations want. The voices are the voices of foreign corporations who detest representative government and are rabidly opposed to the Natural Rights of individuals guaranteed under the US Constitution. Natural Rights, you see, greatly interfere with the corporate bottom line, which is their one and only god.

The Tea Partiers want to “get rid of government.” Specifically, they want to eliminate the Constitution and create a power vacuum. If “government” is eliminated, what do you suppose will rush into the vacuum and take it’s place? A thousand magical years of peace and prosperity?

Next time you are approached by a Tea Partier or some similar sort of dittohead, ask them what they think of corporations wielding political power. First they’ll try to change the subject. Then, if you insist on an answer, they’ll call you “a Liberal.” That, as we all know, is their biggest insult. They are simply not allowed to discuss with outsiders the rising corporate dictatorship which they are promoting.

What does it mean to hate “Liberals?” Our country was founded by a ragtag army of Liberals who fought and defeated the most powerful army on Earth. For more than 200 years our liberal institutions and Liberal Constitution were the envy of the world, that is, until a corporate socialist unelected president named Bush managed to make a mockery of the values that made our country strong and powerful.

Boston Liberals Defy The British East India Company, Dec. 1773
Boston Liberals Defy The British East India Company, Dec. 1773

Back in 1773 the British government wanted to rule the 13 Colonies by transferring political power to a giant corporation called the East India Company. Boston Liberals objected to corporate rule, they wished “to enjoy the natural rights of Englishmen.” So they threw boxes of corporate tea into Boston Bay and dared the British government to enforce their arbitrary corporate decrees.

As we all know, the British government did indeed send their redcoated soldiers to enforce corporate rule. They did this because the exact same elite aristocrats who owned the East India Company were also running the British government. Sound familiar?

The plain historical fact is that the American Revolution began as violent defiance to a rising corporate dictatorship and only later became a war of nationalism. This has been written out of the standard narrative of the Liberal Revolution of 1776. The corporate elite are counting on our ignorance of these facts, and on the ignorance of their Tea Partiers.

Carl Paladino
Carl Paladino

I’d like you to meet Carl Paladino, the Tea Party candidate for Governor of New York. Not the unreal media creature which was snubbed by aristocratic Republicans and later shot down by internet videos, but the more realistic big shot from Buffalo. You might find him surprisingly familiar.

For instance did you know that Paladino has been a corporate lawyer for the past 38 years? That explains his eyes. This “populist outsider” turns out to be just another lawyer who wants to join all the other lawyers who run State government.

I’ll bet you missed that detail. More famously, he is also a developer. Back in the 1980s he made his personal fortune by erecting Rite Aid “drugstores,” some 160 of them mostly in suburbs and in blighted City neighborhoods. He reportedly still owns 80 of those Right Aid buildings. Bet you missed that detail, too.

In the 1990s he somehow managed to create a close personal relationship with the then Democratic Mayor of Buffalo, Anthony M. Masiello. Paladino very smartly snapped up neglected and often empty downtown Buffalo buildings and nearby vacant lots for next to nothing prices. By the close of the 20th Century he was known as “the government landlord,” raking in vast amounts of federal and State development and revitalization money while collecting rents on his buildings and parking lots.

Democrat Masiello retired in 1995 and Paladino could not get along with Buffalo’s current Mayor Byron W. Brown, the City’s first black Mayor and also a Democrat, whom Paladino declared would “soon be frolicking in a prison shower.” So still filled with feral ambition at age 64 and also with what the NY Times calls “bottomless rage,” he cast around for new opportunities now that his relationship with Buffalo City Hall had soured. He switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican and decided to try out politics.

Carl Paladino In Bufalo Last Month
Carl Paladino In Bufalo Last Month

But there was no way that a big important guy like him would run for something trivial like City Council or Mayor. I mean, Paladino is senior partner of the Buffalo law firm of Paladino, Cavan and Quinlivan which handles corporate law and real estate. He started his very successful Elicott Development Corp. in the mid 1970s when he acquired his first downtown Buffalo landmark building from his father in law’s will.

No, this committed corporate socialist developer wants a position worthy of his acquired status. He wants to be Governor of New York State. And according to the corporate media he wants to run our State the same way he runs the Elicott Corporation. He wants to be our CEO and have access to our State taxpayer money.

Some of Paladino’s ideas for New York have been repeated ad nauseum, such as his plan to round up poor people and incarcerate them “voluntarily” in underused State prisons and forcibly teach “these people” personal hygiene, because, as Paladino stated, “they never learned.”

Other than a few startlingly honest threats against poor people his positions are the same old tired Republican agenda designed to create poverty. For instance he wants to “cut income tax by ten percent,” which by now most of us understand to mean that he wants shift more of the tax burden from rich people like him to middle class people like me. And don’t forget that he’s a rabid anti-choicer, 20th century style.

Yet it can’t be denied that Paladino’s candidacy has somehow fractured the usual set of manufactured divisions and apparent political alliances. Right now many of these fractures have been caused by the the string of stupid comments that have fallen naturally from this arrogant CEO’s mouth. This just shows how fragile are these illusions if one rich loudmouth can send them reeling.

For example, I hear that Jews hate his guts because of his thoughtless statements. And Black people detest him, apparently for a lot more than his mouth. This is the first time I’ve seen Jews and Blacks agree on anything in the last 40 years.

Jewish Leaders Condemn Carl Paladino, NYC Sept. 19, 2010
Jewish Leaders Condemn Carl Paladino, NYC Sept. 19, 2010

And check this out. The Republican leadership of NY State has told the rank and file to stay away from Paladino and his Tea Party backers. “Our candidates” said a senior Re-pub legislator, “are being told to say that they can work with Paladino... but that they should also say that they can work with Andrew Cuomo as well,” the Democratic candidate for Governor. This according to a downstate newspaper.

Throughout August and September the Capital District outlets for the corporate media were going all out to paint a picture of Palidino as a wise and steady public citizen who was surging ahead in the polls. It made me sick to see the same bullcrap pro-Paladino front page newspaper headlines every single day for weeks before and after the Primary in September.

Jewish Leaders Condemn Carl Paladino, NYC Sept. 19, 2010
A Downstate Newspaper After The September Primary

But most people around these parts are not aware that the downstate corporate newspapers have been utterly trashing Paladino all summer long! While the upstate corporate hacks were telling us lies about Paladino’s magnificence and inevitability, the downstate hacks were going all out to discredit him. In fact, they were all supporting Democrat Andrew Cuomo, which does not make Mr. Cuomo look good. At least, not to me.

But then, all of a sudden, the Albany area newspapers went negative on Paladino. No longer was he “surging ahead in the polls,” but now “Anger is not enough for Paladino” grumped a front page Hearst Times Union headline on October 9. What the hell happened, and why?

I’ve been told that back in September the Hearst Times Union actually printed an editorial condemning Paladino. This is just one more example how that rag plays games, quietly saying “no” exactly once on the editorial page while screaming “yes!” every day on the front page. And the front page cheerleading headlines have been reinforced by the local TV “news” networks, most of which are going all out for Paladino without letup.

Another Cuomo Named Andrew
Another Cuomo Named Andrew

Recently I walked into the Stewart’s on New Scotland Avenue near St. Peter’s to buy a Gazette and was forced to stand in line and watch a big screen TV blaring Time Warner “News” (called “YNN.”) The whole time I watched several idiotic mannequins tag team chatter and cheer lead about how Paladino is catching up in the polls ahead of Democrat Andrew Cuomo and will soon surpass him. This was easily five minutes worth of their half hour news cycle, they were still going at it when I finally escaped with my paper..

By the way, the big story that day was a polling firm that declared that Paladino was catching up to Mr. Cuomo and would soon surpass him. But this was another lying Quinnipiac Poll, which has a long history of being bought. And that poll turned out to be unique. The very next day both the Gazette and the Hearst Rag were somehow compelled to admit on their front pages that this poll and thus this story were bogus.

I haven’t heard if “YNN” has admitted their “error.” But the other day I walked into that same Stewarts and noted that Time Warner was still cheerleading Paladino with the same apparent enthusiasm. So I guess the TV owners are still automatically supporting the Re-pub, no matter who the candidate.

Tea Party Propaganda
Tea Party Propaganda

But come October we all got to see the now famous YouTube video of Paladino arguing with Rupert Murdoch’s columnist Fred Dicker. This confrontation was a serious bad move by Paladino because for some reason beyond my own understanding these local corporate dead tree content providers greatly admire that jerk Dicker. (Or maybe they defer to Murdoch.)

We know Republican New York City Mayor and born aristocrat Michael Bloomberg has sniffed derision at Paladino and endorsed Mr. Cuomo for Governor. But the Post is not controlled by Bloomberg, it is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the anti-American foreigner. I seriously doubt the local managers of the Post would dare defy the will of their owner. Apparently Murdoch has opposed Paladino from the start, or at the very least he is ambivalent on the gubernatorial election.

As for Bloomberg, the suave proper billionaire has in recent years made a serious bid to become The Establishment inside the New York State Radical Re-pub Party. The last thing the Mayor wants is some upstart billionaire from West Bumpbutt to spoil his plans to take over The Party. (This despite Paladino’s specious claim, via the NY Times, that he is not quite a billionaire.)

Hilltown Historical Marker From 1932 Remembers A Real People's Revolution
Hilltown Historical Marker From 1932 Remembers
A Real People's Revolution

It’s not remotely likely that Paladino will win this election, except perhaps if Andrew Cuomo is caught having an affair with Michael Bloomberg. Indeed, the Tea Party Republican famously aired a 3 minute TV ad in which he accused Mr. Cuomo of sleeping around. “His prowess is legendary,” said Paladino in the ad. Sounds like a compliment to me.

Perhaps Paladino is going down in flames this particular election. But please consider that now everyone knows his name. This notoriety coupled with the short memories of TV watchers can translate into a new political career. If Paladino thinks he can learn to handle the media, look for a smoother, more standard Gop-like Paladino running for something in the next election cycle.

In the final analysis, Carl Paladino is just another backroom pol on the make. More importantly, he is just one more hardcore corporate socialist Republican. It’s pretty clear the only real difference between Paladino and the other Republicans is that the Re-pub Party elites haven’t accepted him as one of their own. Yet.

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If you are having difficulties posting a comment, please email Daniel Van Riper. We are experimenting with our spam filters, and we do not want to exclude any legitimate commenters, just spammers!

Posted by:GH
Posted on:10/17/2010
I'm going to print this piece out and give it to some of my like minded fellow passengers on the 57X tomorrow morning.

Posted by:Roger Green
Posted on:10/19/2010
Seriously, Cuomo's run an uninspiring campaign. If he were running against someone who wasn't a crazy man - designated as one months ago, BTW -
carl_paladino_is_out_of_his_ne.html - I think Cuomo would be in trouble.

Murdoch is, above all, a pragmatist. I think he saw that Paladino was a loose cannon and wanted to back the right horse.

Posted by:Soundpolitic
Posted on:10/22/2010
Very glad to see somebody put these facts together so well. This post made me pine for my home back in Berne. Being stuck in the Latham suburbs is just awful. So's the Tea Party up in the Hills, and your assessment of their "power" up there is 100% correct.

It's the same few crazy people who have been heavily coached by Republican party operatives. They are a bunch of ideologues who have none of their own ideas. I was at their first meeting earlier this year, and I challenged them at the end: What are you going to do when your guys win? How do you expect to govern when you refuse to consider opposing viewpoints and make compromises with the other side of the aisle?

Never seen so many blank stares in my life.

What these guys are trying to do is tap into anti-incumbent and anit-Democratic/Republican party sentiment. Same thing I did when I declared my write-in campaign for Berne Supervisor last year. Except I went around and talked WITH people at their doors instead of talking AT people. Got me 13% in the biggest precinct. Maybe I was the "Tea Party" guy, but my candidacy ultimately ended up taking more votes away from the Republican candidate, and the Democratic candidate won with 60%, which is about where he should have been based on the enrollment numbers.

Nope. The Tea Party isn't taking over the hilltowns. The Helderbergs are as Democratic a stronghold as the rest of the County and the Tea Party will only split the vote between the Republicans and move some conservative DINOs into their ranks. The Hilltowns are actually quite progressive compared to other rural communities.

So thanks for posting this. And one more thing: when those Tea Party fools start to invoke the Anti-Rent Wars and Tin Horns and Calico, that's your first clue that they have no clue.

Posted by:SomeGuy
Posted on:10/23/2010
Hilltown folks are very conservative democrats -- they aren't republicans due to the legacy of the Albany machine and the complete vacuum that is the republican party today.

Posted by:Luke
Posted on:10/23/2010
Your articles are too long. Getting through this whole thing requires a greater commitment than I'm prepared to make at this time. But none of the Tea Party groups I know of that are actually active were organized by any national organizations. They were spontaneous grassroots groups and still are. The TP people I know scoff at the Tea Party Express and were able to recognize immediately that it's not the real Tea Party, but an attempt to coopt what is a grassroots movement.

Posted by:Dan Van Riper
Posted on:10/24/2010

I would guess by your diction and choice of words that you are a "Tea Partier" and a loyal Dittohead from way back. Too bad you don't have enough attention span to read this article. I'd love to hear what you Teabaggers have to say in response.

Posted by:Luke
Posted on:10/25/2010
The "Teabagger" stuff can stop already. It's a perverted and juvenile reference that I find disgusting.

Posted by:Hal Strom
Posted on:10/27/2010
"This article is too long for my limited attention span. I'd rather just skim through it and react without reading it. It's much easier and less taxing on my pea-sized brain."

Whether the "Tea Party Express" is a legitimate representation of the original ideals of the "Tea Party" movement or not, it's the faction that's built up the most steam and is gathering the most attention at the moment. The names are now synonymous for better or for worse. Sort of like how the crap they serve at Olive Garden is considered authentic "Italian Food" by 90% of the population.

If anything is perverted and juvenile it's this "Tea Party" nonsense being accepted as a legitimate political movement.

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