Heading into the home stretch — the final pre-election financial reports

The 2017 election is just a week away. Despite a generally very quiet campaign season, the TV ads are increasing and mailboxes are filling up with those oversized political postcards.

The candidates are spending lots of money but it will not translate into much voter enthusiasm. Look for a countywide turnout of less than 20 percent, with exceptions in the Towns of Amherst, Hamburg, Tonawanda and West Seneca. Continue reading

Steve Banko reviews the Ken Burns series on the Vietnam War

Highly decorated Vietnam War veteran Steve Banko provides this commentary

Many years ago, I took it on myself to read On War, the seminal work on military strategy and philosophy written by Carl von Clausewitz. Something he wrote stayed with me, tucked away in one of those dusty recesses of my mind. Clausewitz posited that the objective of a war determines its value and it is that value that determines sacrifices to be made for it in both magnitude and duration. I thought of that while watching the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick series on the Vietnam War. Continue reading

The question of a constitutional convention; democracy in action

There are some “givens” when a citizen, elected official or journalist thinks about the government of New York State. The governing process is messed up. Special interests dominate legislation and budgets. The opportunities for average Joes or Janes to have some say in things is limited, or maybe non-existent.

The State Legislature has been labeled the most dysfunctional in the nation. Statewide elected officials and legislators have been run out of office. Many have gone to prison. Continue reading

The Bills at the bye week

Well, wasn’t it fun for the first four weeks? And then came Cincinnati.

I was recently encouraged by an old friend who asked for some Trump relief and suggested a post about the Bills. I’m obliging, Tony, but I’m not sure if this qualifies as relief.

My pre-season prognosis suggested that the Bills might finish the season with 5 wins and 11 losses as part of a tanking season designed to help draft a franchise quarterback in 2018. The 5 wins for the season total may seem a little iffy, but it might not be that far off. Continue reading

The Trump-Republican tax plan and that famous swamp

After nine months of promising to unveil their long-sought tax “reform” plan, Donald Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress are finally, sort of, revealing what they propose to do. Actually, they only released nine pages of talking points, which is an expansion of the one page of talking points that they presented last summer. There is no actual bill language or fiscal analysis attached to the latest talking points. Continue reading