"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Friday, February 13, 2009

Show Me The $

I must have missed this, but our new state Senator—in an effort to boost trade between North Country farmers and the largely nomadic peoples of Mongolia—spent seven days in 2005 on an official tour that across China from Beijing to Tongliao.

The trip, which included Darrel Aubertine and just two other state lawmakers (from Maine and Pennsylvania) was sponsored by the Council on State Governments, a Lower Manhattan-based think tank that regularly hosts fact-finding trips (junkets?) to destinations around the globe.

Reported by Syracuse Post-Standard state government reporter Delen Goldberg, who discovered a letter that Aubertine wrote to protest a proposed $500,000 budget cut that would eliminate state funding for CSG.

Darrel seems to be constantly reminding us of the need for cuts and “difficult choices” in a state budget that Gov. Paterson says is out of balance by as much as $13 billion.

So while we are considering cutting funds for our schools, nursing homes, non profit agencies and local hospitals, why should CSG—which seems to exist only to provide junkets to well-wired lawmakers—be spared?

Aubertine's letter, which appears below, speaks of the importance of protecting 300 jobs at CSG's headquarters near Wall Street.

He makes no mention of his China trip, and – even though he signed the letter as the chairman of the Agriculture Committee—doesn't mention farms or his Northern NY district.

For the average Joe, such a trip would cost anywhere from $10,000-$20,000, depending on the season. And Sen. Aubertine insists he paid the entire cost all by himself.

It was the public's business so is it too much to ask for some proof? How much did the trip cost? Who paid for it? How was he selected to go? And what benefit did the trip to hardworking farmers and constituents in Northern NY?



Anonymous said...

Instead of that 500K for the think tank, How about restoring the $455,000 cuts to County Fairs in NY---money that pays the kids for their awards....
Get your priorities straight Darrell!

Anonymous said...

Dumb, just dumb.

Anonymous said...

Memo to staff:

No money for classrooms, teachers, nurses and seniors? Higher taxes for soda, bowling and haircuts? Well, those are tough choices we need to make for the good of the state.

But cutting funds I can use to hire my family and get VIP travel to China -- no way!

-- D.A.

Anonymous said...

The trip was so that Darrell could help the Chinese farmers learn the difference between hay and straw. Oh wait!!! They taught him the difference. Just not in time for his campaign commercial.

Anonymous said...

Great to see Darrel is fighting for jobs -- in New York City!

How much milk did he sell to the Chinese on this trip?

Anonymous said...

I googled Photos of Mongolia and saw a windmill....its got to have something to do with the lucrative Aubertine windmill deal....

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the Cargill commercial with the Nebraska farmer and the Japanese pal who benefits from his special corn.
Is Darrell gonna do a spot for Cargill?

Anonymous said...

New Development:
Darrell was in Mongolia to protest private exploitation of the Amur River. http://www.mongoliarivers.com/
It seems a little Mongolian boy wrote him that the river he and his grandfather fished is now controlled by Capitalist developers.
Darrell couldn't stand for that!

Anonymous said...

Delan Goldberg and the Rogers family (owners of Syracuse Newspapers) need to watch out now!
Surely their personal lives will be tossed, their political affilitations vetted (and exagerated) and their paper will be labled a rag....ala Thompson, Caravan and th Valley News....

JD said...

Man you guys are mean.Everyone needs to just get away once in a while.

Earthbob said...

Here is our friendly, local neighborhood newspapers thoughts related to this topic:


Anonymous said...


Gorman missed the point, which is during tough budget times and "difficult choices" Aubertine wants to protect funding for an organization that sponsors his junkets instead of a program such as a county fair that sponsors youth.

Anonymous said...

Corn is fed to pigs. Pigs = Pork.
Not a hard equation.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for being mean--about mentioning the Mongolian River and all.....I mean, Darrell certainly wouldn't use a families personal property (taxes paid on for 200 years)against them would he?
Certainly not!

Canceling my WDT said...

Gorman's either started to drink Darrel's Kool-Aid or completely lost his mind!

Darrel's out there bracing us all for painful budget cuts -- and blaming the GOP for having to make the choices -- while fighting --SECRETLY (I didn't see a story in the WDT about it, or a press release from Drew) to protect fundding for a pet progtam that JUST HAPPENS to pay his way to Mongolia.

Bob says, "Nope, no story there."

Sheeeeeesh -- Give me a break!

Dan Francis said...

I have to confess and I usually stay pretty close to this stuff, but I don't remember or recall his visit to China?

Can anyone dig up coverage on it from 2005? I can't (but still looking).

~ dmf

Dan Francis said...

Ooops - I found these references:

Aubertine's Visit to China in 2005


HERE More China Visit

and .pdf HERE, too More Aubertine to China

Anonymous said...

Dan, these are all from th same source -- CSG.

I also cannot find anything in the WDT, notwithstanding Bob Gorman's insistence that the paper covered it.

Plus, I think we'd remember if our assemblyman was chosen to be part of an international trade effort.

That's not run-of-the-mill, dog-bites-man kinda stuff.

Sure looks like a secret trip to me...

Anonymous said...

Oh it was a big secret PIV. RWiley is always posting pics of China. Go get them PIV.

Anonymous said...

"I also cannot find anything in the WDT"

So,I guess that the WDT being a Republican rag does not always write about the good things that the Senator does But those of us in the know do. That is why you all got your butt kicked in 2008.

Anonymous said...

Face it...you guys screwed up. Bring on the next shot at the Senator.

Anonymous said...

The Watertown Times cannot be depended upon to present information on issues like this. On spending issues especially, they take no position of substance on much of anything. Their reporters are in bed with most of the leaders they are supposted to honestly report on. What we get is the fluff pieces that result.

Why would any of us pay for this? More and more people are figuring out that it just doesn't make sense.

Anonymous said...

How the hell can you jackasses attack the Senator for what he has done if you don't even know what he has done?

Anonymous said...

Like we don't know who paid for the trip! How much it cost!

Darrel says he paid, so we should drop it at that?

He also said he repaid the state for hiring his sister, but thn we find out he made his sister pay the tab. What a guy!

But if you lemmings want to just go along with whatever you're told, just make sure you know the depth of the water before you dive in.

LiberalLaugh said...

PIV I think you are eating Peking Crow.

BaaaWHA hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

Anonymous said...

Paid for it himself? Anyone who knos anything about these kind of trips knows you don't pay your own way -- that's why they're called JUNKETS!!!!

Anonymous said...

Between the Lines: From top to bottom, the left argues with little substance and much hypocrisy

Ronald L. Caravan 02-14-2009

(Fulton Valley News)
As the debate rages as furiously as ever in the public square over politics, public policy, and governance, there is one aspect of the debate that is as thoroughly consistent as it is thoroughly disturbing. That is, the more left-leaning a person’s politics the more it seems the arguments are void of substance and laced with hypocrisy.

You can depend on it, from top to bottom—exemplified this week at the top by leftist President Barack Obama in nationally televised remarks about his political opposition, and at the bottom by a five-sentence statement sent semi-anonymously to this newspaper by a more local leftist who took considerable exception to the content of this column last Saturday.

Check out leftist propaganda at any level in between and you’ll find the same unintelligent, insulting nonsense—there’s no end of it on the internet these days. But never mind that for the moment; let’s just examine in some detail the top and bottom examples we experienced just in the past few days.

At the top, we saw quite a bit of the new president this week as he virtually stepped back onto the campaign trail to promote the so-called “stimulus package” that was moving gingerly through Congress as the week began. In one nationally televised interview, ABC’s Terry Moran noted about the stimulus legislation, “Not a single Republican vote in the House on your first major piece of legislation.…What happened in Washington?”

Mr. Obama replied in part, “I think that they made a decision that they want to continue the same fights that we’ve been having over the last decade. The American people, on the other hand, realize that we want something different; hence, the results of the election.”

He added, “I think it’s pretty clear that the American people would like to see a different way of doing business.”

As he did throughout the election campaign, Mr. Obama continues to demonstrate what a master he is at getting maximum mileage out of maximum superficiality. Notice that in responding to Mr. Moran’s observation that the stimulus bill received no support from House Republicans, Mr. Obama completely sidestepped the legitimate differences between his public-policy convictions and theirs—the real substance of the debate—and instead invoked negative and meaningless characterizations about the opposition’s manner.

Suggesting that they want to “continue the same fights” without acknowledging what the fight is really about is pure political posturing. An honest and forthright summary of the debate would be for the president to acknowledge that House Republicans are committed to the governing philosophy that the federal government should not be so deeply involved in the private-sector economy, whereas he and congressional Democrats believe that the federal government must get more involved, at least under the present circumstances.

Suggesting that “the American people would like to see a different way of doing business” without specifying the nature of the difference is disingenuous of the president, not to mention inaccurate where the “stimulus package” is concerned (polls last week indicated that a majority of Americans did not favor the size and scope of the legislation and its mind-boggling spending).

Beyond the president’s empty political posturing, the hypocrisy of his remarks was remarkable. Accusing House Republicans of wanting to “continue the same fights” takes quite some audacity after how partisan, uncivil, and unmerciful congressional Democrats behaved throughout the years of the Bush administration (regularly vilifying members of the administration, congressional Republicans, and especially the president’s judicial nominees while denying them confirmation in pretty much unconstitutional fashion in the U.S. Senate).

Later in the ABC interview, the president remarked, “People shouldn’t underestimate the value of civility.” Any Democrat in Washington who believes that should have been preaching it to his own party any time between 2001 and 2008.

As for the bottom-feeding example of argument-void-of-substance from the more local and vocal left, this little tid-bit was sent to the newspaper after last week’s installment of this column covered in some detail (substance) how newly elected State Senator Darrel Aubertine used the Lee Memorial Hospital situation with questionable integrity in his campaign last year:

“The A.L. Lee situation was ignored by Republican James Wright who abandoned his constituency and left us without representation in a slick move to try to place Will Barclay who also ignored the situation. The bottom line is that Senator Aubertine won two elections and defeated his Republican opponents in a Republican district. You got beat by a Democrat. Get over it! Get used to it!” The message, sent via e-mail, is attributed to RWiley, who appears to be the “brains” behind the leftist “blog” jeffersonleaningeft.blogspot.com (a blogger evidently based in Jefferson county whose web content is as extreme, vitriolic, and hateful, as one typically finds these things).

First, let’s clear up one thing—I didn’t get beat by anyone; I’m not a registered Republican (last I checked), and I don’t even reside in this congressional district. This column, in any event, is not and has never been about partisan politics; it is about governing philosophy, in life as well as politics. That is why it is so easy to deal in substance—there is no concern whatsoever over which party or which politician is offended by something printed here because the content is factual and based on truth, irrespective of the undocumented and small-minded assertions to the contrary posted here and there. (Any time, by the way, it was discovered that a commentary was based on factual error, that was quickly corrected; it has happened once or twice in 14-plus years.)

So what do you suppose our left-leaning Jeffersonian refers to in his criticisms of Mr. Wright and Mr. Barclay? No facts offered here, just general (and quite serious) accusations. To this individual (who does not even divulge his own name), “the bottom line” is that a Democrat won the election. Most well-adjusted, reasonable adults would more likely believe that the bottom line is something considerably more substantial, such as how the individual won (in part with campaign improprieties?), or what he specifically contributes to the governance of this state in consort with his legislative colleagues in Albany.

In the political dialogue today, such as it is, the bottom line is that those on the political left—from the new president right on down to an insignificant blogger who doesn’t even sign his name—have little or no credibility because they have failed to earn it the only way one can (or should)—with the substance of facts and truth rather than superficiality and name calling.

Anonymous said...

Who is that 10:31 person? Can PIV send us all an email when he or she posts? I wouldn't want to miss one.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"Who is that 10:31 person? Can PIV send us all an email when he or she posts? I wouldn't want to miss one.

Thank you.

You are welcome. PIV

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