What do we know now about Legislator Kim Myers?

By Michael Vass | July 22, 2016

In February 2016, Legislator Kim Myers ran the circuit of Democrat Party Committees in the New York 22nd Congressional District. The reason was to replace Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, who had flip-flopped on running in the race before finally bowing out of the race in January. Legislator Myers handily won the endorsement in March over Oneida Democrat David Gordon and Broome Democrat Joshua Riley, with several confidential sources stating that the extreme wealth of Myers being the final factor in the endorsement. Then there was silence.

Broome County Legislator Kim Myers
Silence may be the wrong term, as it implies a presence absent sound. The Myers Campaign was just absent. For 4 months as a Republican battle for the NY-22 raged, Myers just wasn’t in the NY-22. Her campaign made no statements, issued no flyers or stationary, made no public appearance, did not update a website that only had a quote and a donation button, and most certainly did not speak to the news media. Other than the comment from Brian Lenzmier on March 4, 2016 to advise that Myers would provide an interview at some indeterminate time in the future (which remains uncertain at this time), there was nothing.

But the public was informed in July on WNBF that Kim Myers, a Broome County Legislator, had been quietly raising funds, seeking to hit a goal of $2 million. She has missed that goal by $1.32 million thus far. Which raises a question of inefficiency (on this issue) that won’t be addressed in this article.

What has the public learned in 137 days of the Myers Campaign? Not much. In fact, the absence of the Democrat in the race makes Steve Wells campaign seem forthright. Only Libertarian David Pasich has had almost as little coverage in this race – though Mr. Pasich did do several interviews in February and March.

Thus far in July, Legislator Myers has confirmed the known facts about her candidacy, She is the daughter of the founder of Dick’s Sporting Goods. Because of the success of the company had once it abandoned the Southern Tier in 1994, Mrs. Myers is part of the 1%, with a net worth in the range of $70 million – a fact she keeps at arm’s length. We also already knew she was on the Vestal School Board for 18 years before being elected to the Legislator seat she currently holds (and is unclear if she intends to give up the seat, though that seems unlikely at this time).

But what is unknown about this candidate remains a mystery. Legislator Myers has never revealed her position on Common Core – which was in effect while she was President of the Vestal School Board. She has never mentioned who she supports for President – though deductive reasoning would suggest it is Hillary Clinton as Myers did not attend the Binghamton event for Sen. Bernie Sanders. How Myers feels about the FBI/Email scandal is anyone’s guess. Just as clouded is what is the platform that Legislator Kim Myers is running on.

Based on her interview with Bob Joseph of WNBF on June 30, 2016, and Bill Keeler of WIBX on July 18, 2016, this is what is clear. When asked about job creation, Myers appears to be confused – or at least has difficulty in explaining her position. When Bob Joseph asked if a Southern Tier resident could replicate the success of Dick’s Sporting Goods with $300 in the current economic environment, her delayed response was, “I’m not sure.” Not an inspiring assessment of the reality constituents are living with.

When talking with Bill Keeler on the subject of jobs, Myers referred to a business she owns but would not name it, and the importance of the Government in creating jobs. The business is of interest as the only records of a business seem to indicate the Kids Korner that was owned by her husband Tim Myers, and closed some time ago. As for the Government, though President Obama has insisted that Government creates jobs and not individuals, the failure of the Obama Stimulus refutes that. Equally, the failures of Gov. Andrew Cuomo with StartUP NY, and his Democrat-backed economic policies, have cost the State tens of millions with a net result of over 600,000 people, thousands of businesses, and $5 billion in tax revenues leaving the State. How exactly Government creates jobs as Legislator Myers believes was not clarified.

But the other major issue that Legislator Myers addressed, on WIBX, was the Second Amendment. A subject that had previously been non-existent for Myers. As the direct benefactor of a company that sells firearms – including those banned by the NY SAFE Act – it is a subject worthy of scrutiny. But the response from Legislator Myers only adds to the scattershot nature of her campaign positions.

Kim Myers states at one point in her answer to Bill Keeler that,

“I don’t agree with what seems to be an all or nothing solution to guns… I agree with the Second Amendment but I think that its a long overdue conversation about how we can have some reasonable gun legislation.”

This may be the most interesting thing Legislator Myers has allowed the public to know aboiut her campaign. She implied that she is against the unilateral Executive Orders of President Obama, and the NY SAFE Act of Gov. Cuomo. But then she almost immediately takes a page from Hillary Clinton who said on June 6, 2016, “So I believe we can have common sense gun safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment…” Which begs the question, what is reasonable or common sense?

Perhaps the biggest question is, what conversation about gun control and the 2nd Amendment has America not yet had? Without traveling back in history over 100 years, and sticking just to 2016, there has been no end of debate about the 2nd Amendment and gun control after the San Bernadino, Orlando, Dallas, and Baton Rouge shootings. If Kim Myers has anew position that has never been addressed before – or a compromise that has not been previously suggested – America is sure to be interested in what that is.

In fact, voters may wonder what Legislator Kim Myers is supporting or opposing. Thus far, in each interview she has had, she has vaguely hinted at some massive agenda. She consistently uses terms like, ‘have a conversation’ or ‘common sense solutions,” and implies that she opposes issues that the Democrat Party supports [as noted above] and potentially several Democrats themselves. Then later in those same interviews she reverses and supports those same Democrats and issues.

When asked by Bob Joseph of WNBF about what upset her so much that she decided to run for Congress, she stated in part,

“It’s not an all or nothing [legislation in Congress]. You’re supposed to compromise. you’re also supposed to serve and then go home. You’re not supposed to make this your life mission. Thomas Jefferson and President Adams, that’s what they did. You served your country and you went home. That’s some of the things that get me screaming at the TV.”

This would seem to be an attack on career politicians like Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Charles Rangel, and even Rep. Nancy Pelosi – who met with Myers in DC before she announced her intent to run and was one of the first political donors. Each has served for decades, and almost exclusively only in elected office. It’s also interesting that Myers forgot that Jefferson was a President and the founder of the original Republican Party.

But these ambiguous “issues” highlights the mystery of the Myers Campaign. What Bills facing Congress was she upset no compromise was made on? What compromise would she have suggested instead? Is she for or against term limits? And that’s just from one question Myers answered.

At every turn, as the public finally gets to see Kim Myers, they are left with more questions about who is this Democrat and what does she stand for. President Obama was elected to transform America – but was never asked what he would transform the nation into. Hillary Clinton is a chameleon who is for whatever issue is popular, especially among the Left and Far-Left. It would seem that Kim Myers is a fan of their political flexibility, without sharing their verbal dexterity, but thus far has not been held accountable to give any decisive answer.

Yet,for all the indecision and non-answers, the Myers Campaign is popular. With Democrats outside of New York State. According to FEC records on July 21, 2016, some 48% of all individual donations have come from States other than New York. 29% of these donations have come from a bundler in Massachusetts.

Actually, Kim Myers is most popular with her family and herself. Donations from the Stack and Myers family (including 2 students that donated the maximum of $5,400 each – not quite the norm found in middle-class America) come to a total of 42% of all donations to date. This includes $240,000 from a loan from Kim Myers to her campaign. Another 20% of donations have come from politicians and PAC’s.

If Myers backs the popular theme of the Left, social justice, then it will be quite interesting to hear how she justifies her individual extreme wealth and her lack of voluntary IRS payments in excess of what has been required (this failing to pay her proper share). Equally curious is why she is apparently running a campaign in Massachusetts instead of New York, if the donations are any indication of what is to come.

With a little over 100 days left in the Congressional campaign, with a war chest set to unleash a torrent of television and radio ads, and a slew of political flyers in mailboxes, the question that still lingers is what do voters know about Kim Myers? By all indications up to this moment, voters in the NY-22 may not learn that answer until after election day.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Facebook Commentary: What’s behind Dick’s Sporting Goods sudden actions?

By Michael Vass | July 19, 2016

The news broke today about Dick’s Sporting Goods (stock symbol DKS) return to New York State and the Southern Tier. But amid the big smiles and Gov. Cuomo patting himself on the back, a question seemed necessary to ask that the major media has not asked.

Here is the exact comment as found on Facebook, July 19, 2016:

“So call me a cynic, but I find it odd that Dick’s Sporting Goods is making a move to Binghamton suddenly. And it is sudden.

Dick’s abandoned the Southern Tier and NY in 1994 for lower taxes, easier regulations and a tax credit deal in PA. At the time they had 12 stores. The combination of benefits that the progressive New York would not provide led to an expansion to 47 States, joining the stock exchange, and more than 740 stores. The Stack family reaped tens of millions each (Kim Myers is now worth roughly $70 million because of this).

With every expansion, stock listing, and overall growth, NYS and especially Broome County has tried to bring back Dick’s to NY for 22 years. The State and Southern Tier got a golf tournament instead (though an important economic boon by itself).

But now, when NYS is the least business friendly State, when 600,000 residents, thousands of jobs, and over $5 billion in tax revenue have left the State, Dick’s decides its time to come back. In COMPLETELY unrelated (or so some would like us to believe) news, Kim Myers is running for Congress.

Just when Gov. Cuomo needs a boost because he spent over $50 million of taxpayer money to create 408 jobs, just when the underdog Kim Myers is trying to gain a Democrat seat in Congress in one of the few Republican strongholds in NY. After 22 years of rejecting NYS – including Gov. Cuomo and his efforts up until today.

Does NY and the Southern Tier need 450 jobs and an economic infusion of $100 million? Without question. But these kinds of actions don’t happen without reason. The only reason that has changed is a family member of Dick’s is running for federal elected office. Which makes this seem like an attempt to buy a political seat.

Maybe Dick’s was going to do this anyway. Except there was no one speaking about the deal in any political circle. It was the best kept secret in NY and the Southern Tier. In a State of leaks and massive political chatter, this was unspoken.

Also note the timing for the future. The construction and the jobs won’t actually arrive until 2018. Just in time for a re-election campaign, assuming that Kim Myers were to do the unlikely and win the congressional seat. I can’t help but look at this deal and conclude that someone is trying to buy a congressional seat.

Broome County Legislator Kim Myers
Perception is everything in politics. Gov. Cuomo looks like a hero by bringing back Dick’s to the Southern Tier. By association, Kim Myers looks like a hero because Dick’s is back and jobs are on the way – as if she was a genius to help engineer or influence this (though if that were true, why did she wait 22 years to help the Southern Tier?).

At the same time, the perception is that there is more to this deal than the big smiles of some Democrats. I could be wrong, but then the question remains, why did Dick’s wait 22 years only to act at a time when EVERY business in NYS is leaving or considering doing so?

Rating 4.33 out of 5

Commentary: The US economy according to facts

By Michael Vass | July 18, 2016

On the long ago (in terms of political news cycles) days of July 18, 2015, I wrote a Facebook post about the reality of the economy. In those days, now long since forgotten by the general public, I took a snapshot of the nation and compared it to years past based on the well documented US Debt Clock. I decided to take another look today.

Michael Vass Vasquez, November 2015
Starting with July 18, 2000, before the Internet bubble exploded and the 9/11 terrorist attack, we see that the Population was 282.3 million, the Workforce was 135.2 million, NOT in Laborforce 69.1 million. Official Unemployment stood at 5.7 million with unofficial (U-6) unemployment at 9.6 million. Poverty contained 31.9 million Americans with 17.2 million getting Food Stamps.

Financially, the national debt was a mere $5.7 trillion, or $93,357 per citizen. This included the fact that $1.99 trillion was taken in via taxes, though the Government spent $3.2 trillion and the nation’s GDP stood at $9.7 trillion, with a Debt to GDP ratio of -58.6%.

For some all these numbers are scary or confusing or just boring. To help those people I will give the overly simplified 30 second soundbite summary. The population grew 15% (41.7 million people) in 16 years. The number of unofficial unemployed (U-6 from BLS) increased by 58% (a total of 5.6 million Americans). The national debt increased 240% (a total of $13.7 trillion) with poverty increasing 47% (up 15 million Americans) and Food Stamps increasing 155% (a total of 26.6 million Americans). The overly simple answer is the nation is on the wrong track and economically falling apart. [If you want to see the conclusion without numbers skip to the 10th paragraph - Numbers don't lie - and continue to the end.]

For those that need more data and context I will continue. On July 18, 2008 – just as the recession was taking hold due to the Sub-prime mortgage crisis – the population stood at 304.5 million Americans, with a Workforce of 144.6 million and NOT in Laborforce of 80 million. Poverty at the time increased to 38.7 million Americans with 31.1 million needing Food Stamps.

The financials were also increasing, badly. The national debt grew to $10.4 trillion, or $165,655 per citizen. Government spending had increased to $5.6 trillion and the GDP was $14 trillion for a Debt/GDP ratio of 74.6%.

Given there was a recession starting with the potential of a global economic collapse. In the moment few could see how the fundamentals had fallen apart so quickly. Record tax revenues stood at $2.5 trillion, the workforce had increased 7% (9.4 million people). This positive was masking the government spending increase of 75%, the national debt increase of 82% ($4.7 trillion). The need to help so many families was linked to the Mortgage Crisis and not a bad economy based on bad policy. The nation was hurt by the Internet bubble and 9/11, and it had yet to fully recover. Government had sped up its micromanagement efforts to shore up the edges, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan obscured the landscape.

But President Obama promised to fix the problems of the Bush Administration. President Obama would resolve the growing lack of jobs, control the debt, end the wars, and bring a social justice that would equalize the nation. But his Stimulus Plan failed, at a cost of nearly a trillion dollars. The Cash for Clunkers programs failed to improve the ecosystem and created a loss for the nation, as found by the University of Delaware and University of Jacksonville.

As the 2012 presidential election moved into its final stages, the economy on July 18, 2012 showed a record of failure. The population had increased to 313 million Americans. The workforce was showing the start of a long and nearly unabated decline to 142.2 million with 87.9 million NOT in the Laborforce as 22.9 million unofficially (U-6) unemployed. The national debt grew at a staggering 52% pace ($5.4 trillion) or more than $13,000 per citizen ($179,273) in just 4 years. Poverty had increased 19.9% (46.6 million Americans) and Food Stamps increasing 52% (47.2 million), again both in just 4 years.

The excuse was that the “Great Recession” and President Bush were at fault. These 2 excuses covered all negatives and distracted from an acceleration of negative trends. The fact that economic policy had made the situation worse was immaterial. The fact that longstanding trends of recovery after recession had been broken was largely unspoken. The downgrade of US credit rating and the massive loss to the public for the takeover of GM is ignored.

Just a year ago, as I mentioned at the beginning of this commentary, I noted the continued problem. The national debt stood at $18.8 trillion (July 14, 2015) with a record $3.3 trillion in tax revenues and Government spending at $6.7 trillion. The workforce had grown to 151 million Americans as the population increased to 323.3 million Americans. Much was made of the decrease in poverty (3.4 million people or 7.3%) as Food Stamps decreased (1.1 million Americans or 2.3%). Though nothing was disclosed of the fact that the number of people receiving Government aid exceeded the total workforce by 11 million (162 million getting some form of aid) with a swelling of 95.2 million Americans NOT in the Laborforce.

Credit: St Louis Fed
But today we see the fruition of the change in American economic policy. With 323 million Americans only 151 million are in the Workforce, a decline that is only now possibly hitting a stability point though it is too soon to tell. The NOT in the Laborforce remains steady at a peak of 95 million – an 8% increase from 2012, a 19% increase from 2008, a 38% increase versus 2000.

There is still 7.3% more Americans receiving Government aid than in the total workforce. Poverty has increased by 500,000 from 2012, though Food Stamps has decreased 3.4 million over the past 3+ years. This mixed data is coupled with record national debt of $19.4 trillion or $203,162 per citizen (more than 54% increase since 2000, and increase by 23% since 2008, up 13% since 2012). All this while tax revenue remains $3.35 trillion.

Numbers don’t lie, and looking backwards in time allows a clarity that being in the moment obfuscates. The past 2 terms of the Obama Administration has failed America. In fact, virtually every major metric has accelerated dangerously. The nation is in a more financially unstable position than even most conservative pundits predicted.

Given the trends shown by the facts, something has to break. The nation cannot continue on this path. Economically, unsustainability has been reached by my understanding, and every projections only shows an increased problem. When a stagnant workforce is exceeded by those receiving Government aid while record levels of tax income is collected, which itself is 103% short of Government spending, the only descriptor is unsustainable.

I am left with the thought that in 2017, no matter the President, this will come to a head. Either because of a President that may attempt to fix the problem (most likely Trump), or a President that doubles down on the Obama Administration path (most likely Clinton), the bluff of a strong economy will be called. But once that happens, the dominoes will have to start to fall.

I will say it now, for the record. No matter the President there will be a recession before 2020. How severe, and whether it will become a full on depression (which some could debate is already underway) is the only factor that will differ based on who is elected.

Often as a stockbroker I said that there is no way to predict future outcomes based on past performance, which is true. But more often to not, if you look back far enough and analyze the facts, you can get a pretty good idea of what may happen in the future. Our past economically shows a destabilizing trend of Government supplanting business, replacing growth with subsidy, instilling dependence. That’s what I see.

There is no partisanship in the numbers that exist. A further downgrade of US credit looms large on the horizon. As economies fail, civil unrest grows. It’s not a pretty picture. But the real question is what is the path back to the light? Especially as the general public becomes more complacent, less informed, and more apathetic to voting.

I can’t see that far ahead, nor can anyone I am aware of. But I will say that without pain there is no gain, as the saying goes. We cannot, and should not, try to minimize the problem to feel better about it. Nor can we continue to be distracted by symptoms and consequences because we don’t like the prospect of looking directly at the root problem.

This is a snapshot of America’s economic health – and we are not healthy. Any other conclusion, in my opinion, is a lie. But people like lies that feel good – or at least better than reality.

Sincerely,

Michael Vasquez
President – M V Consulting, Inc.

Rating 4.00 out of 5

How safe is world after Iran Nuclear Deal?

By Michael Vass | July 14, 2016

Secretary of State John Kerry is taking a victory lap on July 14, 2016, on the anniversary of the controversial Iran Nuclear Deal. That Deal contained provisions to provide $150 billion in funds previously frozen in international banks to Iran in exchange for a reduction in older centrifuges, the closing of a nuclear weapons development site, and the potential for delayed inspections of other possibly suspect development sites. The Deal was widely opposed by Republicans and Israel (the only stable US ally in the Middle East), and strongly supported by the Obama Administration – including Hillary Clinton in her position as Secretary of State at the time negotiations started.

Irannuke2
One of the biggest questions against the Iran Nuclear Deal was what Iran might do with the massive cash inflow. It was admitted by Secretary Kerry, on January 21, 2016 in an interview with CNBC, that

“I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists.”

Just 6 months after disclosing that the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other terror groups will benefit directly from the Iran Nuclear Deal, Secretary Kerry is boasting. He stated,

“As of today, one year later, a program that so many people said will not work, a program that people said is absolutely doomed to see cheating and being broken and will make the world more dangerous, has in fact made the world safer, lived up to its expectations and thus far produced an ability to a create peaceful nuclear program with Iran”

Such a declaration of blanket success seems to ignore realities that are far less positive for the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton’s attempt to win the 2016 presidential race. One such reality comes from CIA Director John Brennan, a general supporter of the Obama Administration and controversial international policies – such as his statements today on waterboarding. It was September 2015 when Director Breenan pointed out a “mile-wide” loophole in the Iran Nuclear Deal,

“Kerry and crew left a loophole a mile wide when they effectively allowed Iran to conduct all the illicit work it wants outside of Iran, in countries like North Korea or perhaps Sudan.”

In fact it was the White House itself that strongly discouraged Iran from continuing to fund Hezbollah – an internationally recognized terrorist organization. On June 28, 2016, the White House noted “the most serious and most severe sanctions” because of the funding of terror. Hezbollah for its part seemed unfazed, with its leader Hassan Nasrallah stating,

“We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

This seems to confirm that the world is not safer than a year ago. A conclusion supported by Marines being sent to the US Embassy in South Sudan, and the State Department chartering 2 free flights for US citizens out of Juba and the region. Even Democrat Rep. Brad Sherman has noted that a questionable deal between Boeing and Iran will fuel terrorism. That deal had been blocked by the US until the Iran Nuclear Deal lifted the sanctions. Rep. Sherman, an opponent of the nuclear deal, is seeking to have the Obama Administration prevent the Boeing deal once again.

Given the reality as stated by Secretary Kerry, questionable deals, glaring security and intelligence omissions, and the direct admissions of at least one terror group, the claim that the world is safer is a hard pill to swallow. It would seem, based on these realities, that the claims of success by Secretary Kerry may be far more politically motivated – as the timing lands squarely as Hillary Clinton’s public image has become even more tarnished. The recent inaction by the FBI and Department of Justice have resulted in a polling backlash for Hillary Clinton.

It may be more accurate to state that the anniversary of the Iran Nuclear Deal has resulted in positive confirmation of Iran funding terror, the potential of future terror attacks via airplanes, and a definitive lack of intelligence oversight that is being actively obscured for a partisan political gain. It’s not a happy headline or news story, it won’t win an election for a disliked Democrat, but the facts appear to support it as reality.

Rating 4.00 out of 5

How does the FBI and Hillary’s email scandal affect NY-22 race?

By Michael Vass | July 8, 2016

There are many issues that face any potential member of Congress. Issues like ISIS, job creation, and gun control often fill headlines but are far from the full scope of the range of topics handled. The recent resolution of the email scandal faced by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is one example. For voters in the New York 22nd Congressional District, how the potential candidates would address this issue could be of critical concern.

On July 5, 2016, the nation was rocked with the news that FBI Director Comey would not pursue charges against Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The announcement was even more controversial since the press conference included 15 minutes of detailed citations of how Hillary Clinton violated Secrecy laws and regulations. On July 7, 2016, in speaking to a Congressional Committee, Director Comey further confirmed that many statements made by Hillary Clinton on the manner that emails were deleted and provided to the Government contradicted facts found by the FBI investigation.

While the Department of Justice, under Attorney General Loretta Lynch, has closed the case faced by Clinton, this may not be over. The DoJ has re-opened investigation of Clinton aides on their handling of classified information, after extreme public backlash. Based on testimony given by Clinton to the Benghazi Commission about her emails, potential perjury charges could also be in play. As highlighted by Rep. Trey Gowdy in his questioning of Director Comey,

“Rep. Gowdy: Secretary Clinton said that she never sent or received any classified information over her private email, was that true?

Director Comey: Our Investigation found that there was classified information sent.”

The question being debated by Republicans, Independents, and Democrats is why there is an apparent disconnect in enforcement of the law for political elites and the general public. Such a dichotomy of law could not only violate the rule of law, it could potentially break the social contract all laws are based upon. Thus, the upcoming November elections take on a new importance.

The Republican and Democrat NY-22 candidates
No matter which presidential candidate wins, they will need to work with Congress. No matter who wins, at least aspects of this decision by the FBI and DoJ will be readdressed. Thus how the Representative for the NY-22 will stand on this issue could affect the District and nation for decades to come.

Claudia Tenney, the Republican candidate and former Assemblywoman known for her 2012 attempt to remove Sheldon Silver – the former NY State Assembly Speaker who was convicted of corruption charges in 2015 – immediately reached out to the public on this issue. The Tenney Campaign issued a press release on July 5, 2016 which stated in part,

“We are a nation of laws, not men… This is exactly the type of double standard that destroys public trust in government officials, and reinforces the fact that politicians in both parties are out for themselves, not us… Anyone else would have been prosecuted under laws designed to punish gross negligence in the handling of classified information.”

The Democrat in the race, Legislator Kim Myers, has been silent on her position. Since entering the race in February 2016, the Myers Campaign has been virtually unseen by the public as they actively sought $2 million in campaign donations they state are needed to run an effective general election race. According to FEC filings a total of $310,000 has been raised, with $200,000 currently in cash, without any self-funding from Legislator Myers (a multimillionaire worth some $70 million).

The Rome Sentinel attempted to get a response from the Myers campaign on July 5th, as the news was breaking. The Myers campaign has failed to respond as of this article. Binghamton Political Buzz has actively been seeking an interview and responses to answers about issues affecting the NY-22 race for more than 130 days without response. On July 7th, we again requested a response to the following questions that have never been answered:

1) There appears to be no official statement from the campaign on whether Legislator Myers supports Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, or any other candidate for President. Whom does Legislator Myers support?

2) Given the announcements this week by FBI Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch, what response does Legislator Myers have in reference to the email scandal?

3) If Legislator Myers were in Congress at this time, how would she react to the email scandal?

4) What would Legislator Myers say to her supporters who question why no charges were filed though FBI Director Comey directly stated to Congress, under oath, multiple violations and misrepresentations made by Hillary Clinton?

5) If Congressional Republicans pursue charges of perjury (or similar charges) for Hillary Clinton’s misrepresentations of fact to a Congressional Committee under oath, would Legislator Myers support this action? If not, why?

The importance of answers to these, and similar, questions is acknowledged by various news media. The continued silence by the Myers Campaign could signify a lack of organization, a lack of knowledge about the subject, or even a desire to obscure facts from the public record much like Hillary Clinton. No decisive conclusion can be made until the Myers Campaign responds, if ever.

If and when the Myers Campaign responds, to any news media, it will be covered here as voters need to be informed to make educated decisions on the congressional race. If the response is to Binghamton Political Buzz, the response will be provided as per our standard, verbatim as received.

The Clinton email scandal is far from over. In fact, the decision by Director Comey, especially in the manner in which the decision was shared with the public, has raised more questions than existed before. The ramifications will affect transparency in government, likely lead to new legislation to prevent this from happening again, and potentially several trials – all of which will in some way be connected to Congress in 2017. Who is elected in the NY-22 could well shape the results.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Facebook Commentary: Steve Wells dodges constituent questions

By Michael Vass | June 23, 2016

On June 22, 2016, candidate Steve Wells appeared in a live chat format sponsored by Syracuse.com. Scheduled to start at noon, some 16 people checked into the website to ask questions of the NY-22 Republican candidate. Most were disappointed, as Steve Wells ignored and avoided the majority of questions asked of him.

Of the 41 questions that were asked (not including at least 4 questions that the moderator Mark Weiner deleted that we observed) only 15 received some form of answer, most were repeat questions from the same individual. The nature of the questions answered can be summed up in the following quoted question:

“Hgf123
Mr. Wells, is it true that you are actually a world skeet champion? If so, wow that’s impressive!”

The result was that virtually all substantive questions, including 7 by Michael Vasquez, went unanswered. The following is the exact quote of what was reported on the event on June 22, 2016 in realtime while the event was ongoing:

“So to be fair, after waiting an hour and being skipped until I started posting on Facebook, Mr. Wells answered my first question
“Mr. Wells, you consistently state you have an “A” rating with the NRA, but that is factually incorrect as you have an “Aq” rating as the NRA website shows – along with endorsement of Claudia Tenney. Can you explain why you continue to misstate this in advertisements and debates?”

SteveWells 2 minutes ago
@MVass The reason the NRA gives out the endorsement of Aq is because I am not a politician, unlike my opponents, I have not run for office before. I have the highest rating someone who has not held political office can get from the NRA. I might point out to you that Assemblywoman Tenney did not achieve an A+, which is the highest rating from the NRA that an elected official can receive.

My response –
“MVass 1 minute ago
@SteveWells @MVass That does not answer the question I asked. You do not have an “A” rating. Isn’t this misleading.

Facebook post comment: Michael Vasquez – Since the event is over, and Mr. Wells never replied back (though he is welcome to as he has my number and email) I am left with the thought that Mr. Wells is ok with misleading the public on facts he knows to be untrue. There is your hopeful congressman for you”

Thus we concluded, and provide for the public how candidate Steve Wells approaches his constituents. Whether that is the proper way to address concerns or not, is up to voters on June 28, 2016.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

What do the polls in NY-22 Republican race mean?

By Michael Vass | June 23, 2016

Originally written at the Binghamton Political Buzz, by Michael “Vass” Vasquez on June 21, 2016.

Polls are not elections. Just a snapshot at a given moment of the views of a group of people at any given moment. There is no question that the majority of people place a great deal of weight behind any poll. Thus for many pundits, one of the most predictive tools is what polls are saying, especially if there is a trend. Given that outlook, what does this say about the NY 22nd congressional primary on June 28, 2016?

NY-22 congressional primary candidates

Initially there was just the poll from the Claudia Tenney campaign. That poll, in April 2016, showed a landslide victory for Tenney, leading 48% to just 13% for George Phillips and 9% for Steve Wells. This poll was done before the negative ads of the Grow the Economy SuperPAC began to flood mailboxes and airwaves.

The impact of mud-slinging ads in elections is historic. According to Wesleyan Media Project, negative ads in elections have grown from 29% in 2000 to just over 65% in 2012. That trend shows no sign of faltering. In fact, if Grow the Economy (GtE) SuperPAC is any example, the Presidential race is sure to be almost singularly negative. Suffice to say that the GtE’s $580,000 anyone-but-Tenney attack ads have been effective. According to a June 14, 2016 poll, Claudia Tenney was at 32%, Steve Wells at 31%, and George Phillips remained at 13%. Though part of the cost for such results has been the fact that 20% blame Steve Wells for the negativity in the race.

But then Claudia Tenney was endorsed by the NRA. A coveted endorsement, as all 3 candidates had insisted they were the best defender of the 2nd Amendment. With that endorsement, in the face of the massive GtE mud-slinging, Citizen’s United conducted its own poll.

This is the most recent poll released on June 21, 2016. That poll showed Claudia Tenney at 38%, Steve Wells at 26%, and George Phillips continues to trail with just 11%. But it was taken just mere days after the June 14th poll, and a day after the NRA endorsement. Could polls shift so quickly? Unlikely in this race. Then what is the answer in the difference?

The difference in the polls are in part who was asked, and how they were reached. Some polls focused on people without cell phones, others included Democrats and Independents. But neither the difference in the poll numbers, nor who the data was compiled from are as important as the trend being shown. That trend survives all criteria and negative ads.

Since before the NY-22 race began in earnest, Claudia Tenney was identified as the candidate to beat. It was in November 2015 that Daily Kos singled out Tenney as the candidate Democrats had to fear.

“Tenney only lost the 2014 primary to Hanna by 7 points, and Tenney could do better if the groups that sat the last primary out come to her aide.”

Also, name recognition is vital in elections. It’s why Steve Wells led the candidates in getting out his ads first. He was the first to advertise on Facebook, and sent some 5 mailings across the district at a cost of around $25,000 for his first 48 days in the race. This compares to the $1,863 of advertisements and mailings for George Phillips in his first 99 days campaigning. For Claudia Tenney the cost since November 2015 was $1,699. In fact, according to the FEC records, Steve Wells has outspent his opponents combined, by double, to gain name recognition to the extent he has it.

Yet, at no point in the primary race has Tenney not been considered the favorite. A fact proven by GtE’s desperate and expensive attack-only approach. Further proven by the news media coverage. It is further amplified by the fact that Tenney holds, according to the most recent poll, a mere 11% unknown. Steve Wells comes in next with almost triple the numbers at 29%, George Phillips leads the candidates with the highest unknown at a massive 52%. Voters generally know who is in the race, even if they haven’t decided how to vote. In fact, according to the Liberty Opinion Research poll, voters polled are sure of the results

“Who do you expect to win the congressional primary regardless of who you intend to vote for?

Claudia Tenney 30%

Steven Wells 24%

George Phillips 8%

Not Sure 38%”

When our analysis of the Presidential race is added to the trend of the polling data we see a bigger trend emerge. As reflected nationally, for Republicans in New York State, the establishment candidate loses to the political outsider. Donald Trump beat Sen. Cruz and Gov. Kasich combined. Claudia Tenney in April, and again in June (according to the latest poll), beats Steve Wells and George Phillips combined.

Does that mean the Claudia Tenney will win the NY-22 primary? Not necessarily. Trends in polls are not always how voters vote. Negative ads do affect voters – which is why they have gained popularity – but they also hurt the candidate that uses them. Candidate performances in debates can sway voters on critical issues, like the Time Warner Cable News debate on the Trans Pacific Partnership question. Finally, last minute endorsements, like the NRA, can shift critical groups of voters in a single announcement.

The only clear statements that can be made is that all polls thus far confirm the view at the start of this congressional race. Claudia Tenney is the frontrunner. Voters know her name. Plus, it takes a ton of money to fight those 2 facts.

Ultimately it is up to voters, not pundits nor negative ads or polls, to decide if those are reasons to take Claudia Tenney, or potentially one of her opponents, to the general election with Democrat Kim Myers in November.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

From President to SCOTUS to Congress, 2nd Amendment connects all

By Michael Vass | June 23, 2016

Published at the Binghamton Political Buzz, by Michael “Vass” Vasquez on June 20, 2016.

As the nation continues to react to the Orlando shooting, the Supreme Court and Congress are equally taking action over the 2nd Amendment and gun restriction. While most eyes in the nation are focused on the latest interactions of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, with a few fixated on congressional primary races, actions are on-going that may well define rights in the nation for decades to come. Yet, all of these factors are connected, interdependent, and potentially a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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It was May 2016, when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that the Right to bear arms mandates the right to buy and sell firearms. In essence, the decision states that the State cannot act in a way to prevent a core Right from being exercised. For many, this signaled some of the strongest protections to the 2nd Amendment since the Supreme Court decision of District of Columbia v. Heller. But then in June 2016, the same Court ruled that the right to conceal carry was something that States could restrict. The two cases demonstrate part of the confusion when discussion of the 2nd Amendment is brought up.

The question, which seems destined to be presented to the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in the near-term, is how far does the 2nd Amendment go in protecting the constitutional Rights of Americans? This question takes many forms, the most present of which is the thought of gun bans or “assault weapons” bans currently being proposed in the wake of the Orlando, Florida shooting and watchlists to deny gun ownership. As has consistently happened after each publicized mass shooting, emotional need to feel safe has driven calls to restrict certain types of firearms and increased means to deny ownership, creating a battlefield over the 2nd Amendment.

But this debate is beyond just the Supreme Court. Due to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, the Court currently is helmed by 8 Justices. The Heller decision was a close 5-4 decision with Justice Scalia being a major factor. It is a fair argument that without his presence the Court is divided, and thus the next President will nominate the deciding vote in the Supreme Court. That new Justice will therefore decide the direction of the nation in regard to gun control and the 2nd Amendment potentially for decades to come. Until that time, SCOTUS appears to be unwilling to address the question, as the rejection of consideration of a gun control law in Connecticut on June 20, 2016 seems to indicate.

Yet, even as the weight of the future of firearms and constitutional Rights presses on the presidential candidates, Congress is also on the move. Pressed to action by the President’s call on June 14, 2016, for “assault weapons” bans renewed interest in terror watchlists has led to HR 1076 being considered again. The Bill, that is supported by just 3 Republicans (2 of which are from New York) and 114 Democrats (16 of which added their voices after the Orlando shooting), has “moderates” such as Rep. Richard Hanna interested. But the Republicans planning to replace Rep. Hanna do not share his interest.

The NRA endorsed candidate Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who has led the charge to repeal the NY SAFE Act gun restriction legislation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, stated in part,

“Our rights and the need to protect ourselves must be our focus, not exploiting the tragedy by calling for more gun control. Unfortunately, the usual anti-gun politicians want to diminish the right of self-protection guaranteed under the Second Amendment.”

George Phillips, a teacher seeking his first election win in his third attempt at a congressional seat, added his concerns on the issue,

“The terror watchlist is very imprecise and has over 1 million names on it. The overwhelming majority of people on this list are not actual terrorists, and can’t be denied constitutional rights due to vague information that landed them on the list.”

Steve Wells, a business owner and political donor to Gov. Cuomo, also had comment on this proposed Bill,

“This is the reason given around the world by oppressive regimes to deny their people basic freedom.”

But more in line with Rep. Hanna, the only Democrat seeking to replace him, Broome County Legislator Kim Myers, stated that,

“We need common sense solutions to solve the gun violence problem, not gridlock.”

Of course the core question that is foremost is who is placed on terrorist watchlists? Based on news reports Facebook posts and Tweets – which could not be used to investigate the San Bernadino and Orlando terrorist shooters – could be enough. Or someone could write in concerns to a government agency. Or you could just be part of a category of people targeted by the government, such as the Homeland Security emphasis on Christian veterans who support the 2nd Amendment via social media. In fact just knowing such a person of interest, even on social media only, could be justification of being placed on the watchlists. Obviously these no-fly, terror, and other watchlists are secret, and there is no credible confirmed known number of Americans that may be on a watchlist at this time, though members of Congress and DHS have been on such lists in the past.

With claims of over 1 million Americans on some form of watchlist, and the push to deny those on such secret lists access to firearms, the likelihood of a a lawsuit reaching the Supreme Court is high. Bringing the discussion full circle. From the Presidential, to congressional, and even in multiple States, the issue of what the Second Amendment guarantees and allows – and who should be restricted as well as how – continues to be an emotional issue for some. In 2017 and beyond, the nation may see defining rulings based on who is elected to Congress, the laws those members create, and whom the newly-elected President picks to evaluate the constitutionality of those laws.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Exclusive: Libertarian Rich Purtell on NY 52nd State Senate run

By Michael Vass | June 23, 2016

Published on June 18, 2016 at the Binghamton Political Buzz, by Michael “Vass” Vasquez.

It was nearly a year ago that the New York State political map was thrown for a loop. A special election for the New York 52nd State Senate seat would be needed, as Tom Libous would lose his trial, and with it his decades old position. In the furor that ensued, Gov. Cuomo selected the Democrat candidate – Barbara Fiala. Republicans would sift through a host of candidates, picking what seemed at the time to be an unlikely choice in then-Undersheriff Fred Akshar. But the 2 parties would not be alone in striving to compete for the race. The Libertarian Party would also seek to enter a candidate, Rich Purtell.

Mr. Purtell and the Libertarian Party would miss the opportunity to join the ballot due to the shortened timeframe to gain petitions. This would leave just the Democrat and Republican to duke it out, with a landslide victory going to Fred Akshar. But with that victory came the understanding that a year later, State Senator Akshar would have to face challengers and secure another victory from voters to sustain his elected office. In 2016, the Libertarian Party is once again on the move, with more time for the same candidate.

We spoke with Rich Purtell [see video] in our studio in Binghamton, NY on June 17, 2016. This exclusive 30 minute conversation covered who is Rich Purtell – a Southern Tier lifelong resident who mechanical engineer. We also delved into his history in politics and why he is seeking the 52nd State Senate seat.

“I just felt like what the State really needs is someone with business experience. And that’s what I have, and why I felt I should try and get into the race last year. Similar attitude to why I am running this year too.”

The need to provide the public with a choice is not the only thing driving Mr. Purtell. Issues like property tax hikes, growth in medicaid and unfunded mandate costs, Common Core and fraud/corruption are top on his list of problems that need to be resolved. But less well publicized issues like health provider taxes are equally in his crosshairs.

“It’s like a money laundering scheme, where New York and other State charge the health care providers a tax… They [States] take that money and give it back to the health care provider and then get a 50% match on the federal funds, so it’s like a money laundering scheme. It’s a shame. It’s very corrupt.”

 While Mr. Purtell might sound like a Republican as he discussed his displeasure with Obamacare (which he finds unsustainable) and efforts by Democrats to transition to a single-payer system, as well as his support of the 2nd Amendment in opposition of the NY SAFE Act, he departs from that Party with is adherence to the principle of choice. As Mr. Purtell states,

“That’s a Libertarian concept. Choice originates from individuals. If it’s some other process that’s not individual choice then you are starting drift away from Libertarian philosophy. When the choice is made by someone other than yourself, people are choosing for you, you’re loosing freedom you’re losing liberty.”

Of course no current interview could fail to include a discussion of the Orlando shooting and it’s impact on the 2nd Amendment. Mr. Purtell, a former Marine, believes that police and the military should be restrained from automatic weapons in the same manner as citizens have been since 1986. At the same time he believes in the permit-less conceal carry efforts found in many States across the nation. Specifically in reference to the renewed gun ban efforts after the Orlando shooting,

“Try to set the emotions aside and let’s look at the 10 States that have constitutional carry… the presence of firearms also helps to retard crimes like rape and theft and violent crimes and so on… The States with constitutional carry have low crime rates, they don’t have mass shootings… where do we see mass shootings? In gun free zones.”

From this hot button issue the exclusive discussion transitioned to the subject of heroin, which gained significant national attention in 2015. Like many Libertarians Mr. Purtell advocates for the legalization of usage of drugs. His view as he described, is to look at heroin addition as a health problem and enforce laws on those that sell and distribute drugs – with the noted exception of marijuana. Also, the big picture of legal drug abuse such as opioids must be addressed. Other options to address pain management is needed beyond prescription drugs, as Mr. Purtell stated in an expansion to his comments provided to us in September 2015.

The key for voters considering the Libertarian Party in the NY 52nd State Senate race, may well be summed up by these thoughts from Mr. Purtell to voters,

“I’m going to err on the side of giving people more choice. If the option is more government or more power to the people, I’m almost always going to…I want more power to the people. It’s pretty much universal on every issue.”

For voters interested, the petition period to allow the Libertarian Party, and Rich Purtell, onto the November ballot begins on July 12, 2016.

** Note – Binghamton Political Buzz does not advocate nor endorse any candidate or Party in any election. We believe that all candidates voices should be heard, and strive to allow voters the opportunity to hear those voices. We believe that providing information on candidates/elected officials and their platforms is a benefit for voters and their decisions. **

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Commentary: Kuntzman’s deception is the problem

By Michael Vass | June 21, 2016

For those that share their thoughts in blogs and news media, a certain reality exists. There is always someone who disagrees with what you present, often to an extreme. It’s the price of being bold enough to speak out.

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I recall my first experience getting some harsh feedback from an article in 2006. The article I was writing condemned the killing of abortion clinic doctors. There was a “preacher” who took offense to this. So much so that he threatened my life. (I wish I saved the comments from Blogspot when I created my own website to show how crazy he got.)

Now I could have searched for a safe space, rolled up in a ball, and whined to my friends about the experience. Or whatever was the Progressive equivalent of that in 2006. Instead I stood my ground, defended my position, and went on to the next article. It’s what commentators, news media, and public figures do. Until now.

Gersh Kuntzman of NY Daily News
Gersh Kuntzman writes for the NY Daily News. He recently wrote about firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He describes the experience for his readers,

“The recoil bruised my shoulder, which can happen if you don’t know what you’re doing. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary form of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.”

To the suspect surprise of Kuntzman, gun owners found his experience to be laughable. To be honest I was one of them. I first fired the military version, a M-16, at Parris Island in 1986. I accidentally bumped into people on the NYC subway harder than the recoil, never got disoriented, barely noticed the gunpowder smell. As a boy of the Bronx I recall firecrackers louder than the rifle firing, and as far as I am aware have never experienced a moment of PTSD in my life. Thus I took to Facebook after 15 seconds of a search on Youtube to post an video of a 7 yr old firing the AR-15 with smiles and ease. I also added the following comment:

“This 7 year old badass is more of a man than Gersh Kuntzman of the NY Daily News”

It would seem I was not alone in my assessment of Mr. Kuntzman. Yet it was the fact that the readership for Mr. Kuntzman went viral because he was labeled a “Beta Male” and “pansy” that caused the Daily News writer to issue a follow-up article. You might think he would have doubled down on his theme that an AR-15 is too dangerous, and he did to an extent. But what he really focused on was how gun owners were bad people because they mocked his delicate frame.

His apparent goal was to use the fact that he was being called out for blatantly exaggerating the experience of firing a .223 rifle to sensationalize his personal view and political agenda. He admitted that his target were non-gun owners. People that don’t know that there is no difference between an AR-15 or a Ruger Mini-14, or just about ANY .223 semi-automatic rifle in the world,

“To reiterate, the goal of the story was simply to share with readers my experience of firing an AR-15, which very few of them have done.”

But since untold numbers highlighted the fact that 7 yr old girls were more hearty and capable than he was, he had to find a different way to justify his over-the-top dramatization. So, in classic modern Progressive tactics, he changed the discussion to emotions and blamed his critics of sexist bullying. He even made sure to fill 2/3 of his response article with selected comments he received to push home how damaged he was. One would imagine that he experienced another bout of his so-called “temporary PTSD” – something I am sure he has no concept of (otherwise he would never have used the term).

Now the discussion became about harsh words like “pansy”, and gender identity. Buzzwords for Liberals to silence any opposing thought. Since Mr. Kuntzman’s position is indefensible, rather than just move on, he chose to try to silence any voice grounded in reality, as proven by hundreds of Youtube videos and millions with first-hand real-world knowledge.

Personally, I think Kuntzman is a drama queen of the worst order. He, in my opinion based on my real world experience, wrote a piece of fan fiction for the Left, to try to give support for the calls of gun bans based on emotional deception. His description is so blatantly disjointed from reality, his effort to try to give credibility to gun restrictions so obvious, that his plea to call his detractors bullies makes sense. It’s what his target audience would expect.

As a political commentator, I’m fine with his translucent effort to justify anti-2nd Amendment thought. What annoys me is that he is doing so dishonestly. Exaggerations and attacks meant to silence free thought are the exact opposite of what political commentary is about. That is what Kuntzman wrote, political commentary. Because I believe the dead could fire an AR-15 with less negative effects than what Mr. Kuntzman described.

There is no form of communication of ideas that is without critique. Sometimes that critique is harsh. But if the message being conveyed is honest and clear, it deserves to be respected. Conversely, if the message is deceptive and manipulative (other than intentionally so in a mystery or drama) it deserves the mud its dragged through on the way to the trash bin. The freedom of speech works both ways.

If Mr. Kuntzman wants to honestly try to show how an AR-15 is somehow deadlier than any other .223 semi-automatic rifle, and therefore should be banned, more power to him. But, since he was incapable of doing this, descending to verbal trickery and silencing critique fails to give any credibility to his position. In fact it removes any such credibility except for the most gullible and fanatical true-believers.

Sincerely

Michael “Vass” Vasquez
President – M V Consulting, Inc

Rating 3.00 out of 5