Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend
 

June 29-July 13, 2005

Issue #78

  .....Buffalo's Best Fiend
   

Independence Day
3rd Party Politics for Fun & Profit

 
BAD ART!
Pataki Leads Carge Against the Talentless
by Matt Taibbi
 
Last Best Chance
Dragging our Feet on Nuclear Terror
by Alex Zaitchik
 

Welcome to My Nightmare
Eminent Domain Ruling Leads to Gigantism in B-List Actors

by Ian Murphy

 

Say it Ain't Soda
Revoking the Bottle Deposit is an Asinine Idea

by Christofurious Riordan

 

Reid's United States of Europe
Book Review
by Paul Fallon

 

Just Kill Me
Recruiters are Dying to Talk to Your Kids
by Matt Taibbi

 
Faux-tures

Litigious Idol
Help choose Barnes' new Cellino!

 

Dear Donny
Romantic Advice from the Secretary of Defense

 

Sports

The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime

Cover Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Page 3
 
Beast-O-Scopes
Kino Korner - Movies
[sic] - Your Letters
 
The BEAST Blog

 

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Independence Day
3rd Party Politics for Fun and Profit

Over the last few election cycles, the Independence Party of New York State has shown that when it comes to getting an extra party endorsement on the ballot, ethical and ideological considerations take a backseat to “political reality” for many that seek elected office. As our local political system implodes, its nice to know that there’s a new group of “revolutionaries” setting up tollbooths on our community’s road to recovery.

The Independence Party has been a three ring circus ever since it sprouted from the ashes of Ross Perot’s Reform Party, capitalizing on the cynicism many Americans harbor over the pay-to-play two party system that dominates American politics. Many voters, disgusted with the two party system, unwittingly registered with the Independence Party as they considered themselves “Independent.”

The New York Independence Party came to prominence with Tom Golisano’s 2002 gubernatorial bid. “As to whether [Golisano will] have an effect on politics in New York State over the next number of years, I’m pretty doubtful,” David Epstein, associate professor of political science at Columbia University, told reporters from the Columbia School of Journalism at the time of Golisano’s failed bid. “He’s not building an identifiable coalition behind him for particular policy changes.”

What Epstein and others could not grasp at the time was what the amorphous New York State Independence Party would become. Although he failed to unseat Pataki, the Golisano campaign may have unknowingly facilitated the same sort of “infiltrate and destroy” takeover of the Independence Party that sunk Perot’s Reform party. In fact, those who opposed his IP endorsement and sided with Pataki are now in charge of the party.

“Independent” commies

Along with Marxist-psychotherapist mentor Fred Newman, Lenora Fulani controls the New York City Independence Party. Fulani and Newman used to pal around with Libyan leader Col. Muammar Khadafy, back when it was radically chic to do so. They have long been outspoken Marxists, and have embraced the violent overthrow of capitalist governments. The duo became a magnet for criticism in several areas, not the least of which was the field of psychology, for Newman’s self-invented field of “Social Therapy,” which asserts that certain psychological troubles can be ameliorated through a program of Marxist indoctrination and activism. Essentially, Newman runs a cult, and recruits “patients” to work for his party and many front organizations.

Since the ‘70s, Newman and Fulani have aligned themselves with a dizzying array of fringe candidates, including Lyndon LaRouche, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Ralph Nader, Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan. Obviously, as time has passed, their Marxist ideology has taken a backseat to their political opportunism.

Not surprisingly, Fulani and Newman got their start in party politics on the extreme fringe. First, Newman started the Centers for Change, which was briefly allied, and even more briefly merged, with LaRouche’s NCLC, where Newman learned how to lead a cult following. Newman soon split with LaRouche and formed the violent revolutionary International Workers Party. The IWP went underground in ‘77, but apparently exists to this day, according to ex-members, as the core of a number of front organizations. Newman then founded the New Alliance Party, still pro-socialist but with a broader liberal issue-based platform.

Newman and Fulani have used all sorts of tricks to gain money and power during their careers. One tactic was to name organizations similarly to already famous ones, like the Rainbow Alliance, formed in 1985 as a transparent attempt to divert funds intended for Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition. Another tactic which has worked extremely well for them has been to infiltrate other third parties and take them over—this is how they managed to get Fulani on the ballot in every state in 1988, and also how they have managed to take over the Independence Party in New York.

Power over principle

In 1989, Fulani wrote that Jews “had to sell their souls to acquire Israel and are required to do the dirtiest work of capitalism” and currently “function as mass murderers of people of color.” For these remarks, and her more recent refusal to retract them, she has been widely condemned by NYC politicians.

This naturally created problems for Jewish candidates, such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Chuck Schumer and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who have felt compelled to seek the Independence Party’s nod. Of the three politicians, Bloomberg seems to be in the deepest water after his administration funneled millions in grant money into not-forprofits run by Fulani in exchange for the IP endorsement.

“With Lenora Fulani, I don’t agree with her despicable comments,” Mr. Bloomberg told the New York Times. “But you know, you walk away from every party where one person in it said something that you violently disagree with…you wouldn’t be a member of any party.”

Bloomberg has a good reason to play ball with the IP: He won his last mayoral race by less votes than he picked up on the Independence line.

The Times also noted the growing influence Newman and Fulani have over the Independence Party statewide. Indeed, if one looks behind the controversy these two have managed to create, a picture of cynical opportunism comes into focus. Lenin famously noted that capitalists would sell the very rope used to execute them. His political party, the Bolsheviks, were a minority party that managed to seize control of the larger movement for change. The New Alliance Party has, on a much smaller scale, managed a similar feat. By taking over the Independence Party and its valuable third slot on the ballot, Fulani and Newman are in a position to make or break tight races.

Lucrative locals

The counterpart of the Newman/Fulani team in Western New York appears to consist of Independent Party Chairman Anthony Orsini and his main men, Joe Illuzzi and Tom Pecoraro. Unlike yesteryear’s Marxist- Leninist Party, the Independence Party does not seem to be stuck on issues of ideological purity; instead its core belief seems to be something like, ‘if the system is broke, milk it for all it’s worth.’

Maybe that’s why the new Illuzzi/Pecoraro publication, PoliticsWNY, looks like a sort of trade publication for career politicians. The premise they put forward is simple: Why shouldn’t these politicos have a place to go to admire each other’s glossy photo spreads and press release/campaign lit? And why shouldn’t we, the public, be able to pick up this free mag and see who has the best haircut?

Here’s why: The politicos instinctively fear that this supposedly independent publication is not truly free of its founders’ connections with Independence Party Boss Anthony Orsini. Orsini has farmed out Independence Party publication work to cronies in the past, and was roundly criticized for it.

When Buffalo News political writer Bob McCarthy raised questions about these “journalistic” efforts, Illuzzi called the News and McCarthy “disingenuous” and “irrelevant.”

Put simply, the pay-to-play strategy works. What this means is that candidates must pay homage to yet another tribal chieftain in their quest for elected office, further insulating our electoral process from prospective leaders from the lower financial depths.

When The Beast ran a short item lampooning Illuzzi, he threatened to destroy publisher Paul Fallon’s legal career by having him disciplined by an ethical review board. All told, a dozen judicial candidates have advertised with Illuzzi & Co. Of course, that wouldn’t have anything to do with that extra line on the ballot. That would be out of order!

Does Illuzzi really have that kind of pull in the legal community? If so, how does a semiliterate hack acquire that kind of influence? Presumably, the same way a militant Marxist cult leader gets the wealthiest Mayor in New York City history to grovel before her jackboots: not by promoting a specific ideology or party platform, but by selling the party line.

Compromised Crusader

Just this past Monday, the New York Post reported that Spitzer is investigating charges of abuse at the “All Stars Project,” one of Fulani’s non-profits that Mayor Bloomberg has seen fit to bestow his constituents’ money upon:

“I witnessed emotional and verbal abuse of teenagers who were brought to New York under the auspices of being ‘program leaders,’ ” Hardy wrote to Spitzer in the complaint against Fulani and her group. “They were put up in a flop house, verbally intimidated and abused by Lenora Fulani and worked from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. They also panhandled on the streets to earn money for the trip. ”

The charges were leveled weeks ago, but Spitzer has dragged his feet, even pretending not to have received the accuser’s letter until City Confidential proved he had. Now Spitzer is giving at least the appearance of action, despite his own desire for Fulani’s endorsement. Apparently, the price of political decay in New York State just keeps getting higher.

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