GOP divided on Cuba

cuba“It is a lifeline for the Castro regime that will allow them to become more profitable … and allow them to become a more permanent fixture. The embargo is leverage, these sanctions are leverage.”–Sen. Marco Rubio

“The 50-year embargo with Cuba just hasn’t worked. “If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn’t seem to be working and probably it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship.“–Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Marco Rubio criticized Sen. Rand Paul last Thursday night for his support for the Obama administration’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba. “Like many people that have been opining, he has no idea what he’s talking about,” Rubio reportedly said on Fox News.” “Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas to Tehran to Pyongyang to see that they can take advantage of President Obama’s naivete during his final two years in office,” Mr Rubio reportedly said. Rubio’s views amount to a new domino theory.

Senator Lindsey Graham reportedly said he would be among those trying to pass legislation to undercut funding for policy changes, including setting up an embassy. Rubio threatened to block the appointment of an ambassador.

But libertarian Justin Amash (R-MI) wrote:

The power of free expression, free movement, and free markets is much more likely to advance Cuba toward freedom than the failed policy of isolation. An isolationist foreign policy that blocks trade and restricts travel between our country and Cuba hasn’t made our neighbor free or democratic. And the United States’ half-century embargo hasn’t brought down the Castro regime.

I support the announced shift from isolationism to a more pragmatic engagement with Cuba. The Cuban people have the right to govern themselves and deserve to live in a country that is ruled by law, not the whim of a dictator. We can more readily help Cubans establish liberty through policies that open dialogue, travel, and trade.

Cuba policy is yet another issue on which Republicans are badly divided. As yet, I have not seen that Rep. Reed has expressed an opinion.

© William Hungerford – December 2014

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What Tom Reed disliked in the budget

policiesThere are many victories in this proposal. It moves the ball forward in that it continues us on a path of reducing the budget deficit and authorizes less spending in FY 2015 than the agreed upon cap in the Murray-Ryan Budget Control Act. The package is far from perfect and I do not agree with everything in it, but it cuts spending, advances a number of energy policies, contains no new spending for Obamacare, and protects and creates jobs by including my Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act. On balance it is a victory for taxpayers.–Rep. Tom Reed

So what are the flaws in the bill that Tom says he dislikes?

  • While Reed was supportive of the measure’s balance, he would have liked to have seen spending levels even lower.
  • The bill does nothing to address the lack of funding for federal highway repairs and construction.
  • Reed was also hoping to see more “flexibility” to allow states or local agencies to make changes to social welfare programs.
  • As for political contributions, he said while he doesn’t support waiving the limits, he is happy that taxpayers are no longer funding political conventions.

Calling for lower spending without saying what he would cut leaves Tom’s constituents wondering what he means. What sort of flexibility he would give states is also a mystery.

© William Hungerford – December 2014

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Fracking ban–extreme liberal agenda or what?

EPAregulations“I am extremely disappointed in today’s announcement from Governor Cuomo which bans hydraulic fracturing. This move effectively blocks the development of natural gas and oil resources in New York State. This is devastating news for the Southern Tier economy and its residents who are struggling every day. This decision makes it even more difficult to replace the good jobs that have already left due to New York’s unfriendly business climate. Once again Albany shows that it wants to enact an extreme liberal agenda rather than care about  individual property rights and job opportunities. I care about Southern Tier residents and will fight for them every day. Simply put this extreme liberal agenda is not right and not fair for our future.”–Rep. Tom Reed

  • This move may block hydraulic fracking in NYS, but certainly doesn’t block the development of oil and gas resources by other means.
  • It certainly isn’t devastating news for the many citizens who desire clean air and water.
  • That NYS is unfriendly to business is a frequent claim by those who seek profits with little regard for public health and safety.
  • Fewer jobs would need to be replaced if the GOP had done more to prevent the 2008 crash or to promote economic recovery.
  • Extreme liberal agenda? I think not. Preserving and protecting our natural environment is a conservative position.
  • Putting property rights first isn’t fair at all to citizens who deserve and desire an unspoiled environment.

I’m sure Tom is disappointed, but I am elated. Now if we can only make this decision stick. Tom says he favors state’s rights, but in this case he would likely be only too willing to override them. As he says, he will fight every day for us for fracking.

© William Hungerford – December 2014


Posted in Congress, Economics, Environmental, fracking, Hydrofracking/Gas& Oil Industry, Political, Reed's Views | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Conservative to Reed: Why did we vote for you?

Rep. Tom Reed’s second town hall meeting on Saturday, December 12 was in Stanley, Town of Seneca (Ontario County). A relatively small crowd, about 20 to 25, came to listen/talk to our congressman.

We had the regular routine of the Pledge of Allegiance, introductions, announcing that this was his 150th town hall meeting, and a short summary of events in Washington (including telling us how proud he is that his manufacturing bill –which is not part of the budget but was put into the bill in the cover of night–will be signed into law soon).  The meeting was running like most of Reed’s rural meetings until…

The tone of the meeting changed when a retired (conservative) physician, who I have encountered before at Rep. Reed’s meetings, spoke:

“I am discouraged by your vote on this Omnibus. The voters in America has overwhelming spoke several weeks ago to stop Obama and his agenda. There is no other clear message with such a republican landslide. Yet you voted in your vote in effect to fund Obamacare, you funded amnesty,  you voted to give money to big foreign banks, you voted to crush financially any tea party opposition to republicans. The only way this vote passed was to have Obama lobby enough democrats enthusiastically that it was in their favor. So the vote passed with democratically help. Why did we vote for you? What is the difference in your position and what the democrats would have done? I think this completely votes in the favor of the main stream establishment Washington and completely stamps—stumps— on the American people.”

Reed: “Let’s take it one issue at a time. So the vote you say didn’t didn’t defund—or didn’t attack amnesty—immigration. You are referring to the Executive Order.

Doctor: Where was the defunding mechanism to defund Obama from carrying out the executive order?

Reed: The Executive Order doesn’t go into affect until June of next year. So it has been delayed to the middle of 2015. So my thought process on this was: OK, if we could isolate the issue of Homeland Security, which we did, and take the Immigration issue in a Republican Senate and a Republican House so strategy speaking we would put ourselves in a better position to take on this Executive Order that hasn’t take effect as of yet.

And that is one of my concerns. I am glad that we did the Town Hall today. Because we have heard a tremendous amount of rhetoric that has come out of some of our colleagues down in Washington about how this is the worst thing ever that past the house. There is nothing in here, we caved and everything else. There are some solid wins here…that we took territory that we have been working two or three years for, and put it in the legislation. Once that’s in now we can go to the next session which is the next nine months and February for the immigration issue and fight on that ground to claw more back.

That’s sometimes I get concerned that some members are not being supportive or are out there trying to fan those flames are losing sight that this not a one vote turn the ship around ninety degree turn. This is a long term, incremental reclamation of territory in Washington, DC. And so by my vote, I was trying to demonstrate areas that we could gain more victory, solidify what we have, because if we don’t work on what we have we could lose it all, so this is part of a longer term strategy.

Reed definitely knew his crowd. (I was probably the only non-republican or non-conservative in the audience.) He was saying what he wanted the crowd to hear–1) they have a plan to change the role of the government and 2) if the Tea Party doesn’t join with the moderates their plan won’t work.

Reed: The other issue?

Doctor: Money for Big Foreign Banks.

Reed: Where did that come from?

Doctor: That came with the derivatives clause and the FIDC bailout money and there are big foreign banks that will get that money.

Reed:Now just so we’re clear. That was a key component of Dodd-Frank. Dodd-Frank is what we just clawed back in this bill. I have not been very supportive of Dodd-Frank big government take over that it represents.  You are not going to be able to repeal Dodd Frank right now. This is a small piece that we can claw back. If this reform doesn’t happen, then our farmers who are using this vehicle to be getting the money to get their products to market lose the ability to get that cost effectively. The reform puts more cost of the agricultural community.”

I doubt that the Doctor was satisfied with Reed’s response. There is a big difference snake oilworrying about Big Foreign Banks taking risks that American Tax Payers would be responsible for (Again!) and farmers getting their crops to market. It would seem that there would be a better way to help the farmers.

Other topics brought up:

Fair Tax– A member of the audience brought it up. Reed let him talk about it– he defined it as a National Sales Tax would replace all other individual taxes. Reed responded that there will be hearings on the Fair Tax.

Obamacare–A (republican) pharmacist is against Obamacare because the pharmaceutical companies are seeing a lower profit margin on their prescriptions, so they are enticing doctors to write more prescriptions. She would rather have a Single Payer system.

Social Security–Reed’s same old song and dance, but with updated Charts.

One audience member asked if the Federal Gas Tax (18¢ per gallon) is in a dedicated fund to maintain highway infrastructure. Reed said that it is.

Reed reported that the  increase to Campaign Funding is to fund the Democrat and Republicans Conventions, which used to be tax supported.

The President of the Yates County SCOPE spoke against the UN Small Arms Treaty (that has not been ratified by the Senate yet, and probably won’t be) that limits sale of small arms to warring countries. Somehow that infringed on his Second Amendment rights.

Reed proudly announced the budget bill has lower the EPA funding and number of staff. A victory for Small Government.

Before Rep. Reed left, he told us that he was heading to Seneca Falls to run in their “It’s A Wonderful Life” Celebration 5K race.

Posted in 2016, Constituents, Constitution, Data, Economics, EPA, Farm Bill, Reed's Views | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Tom Reed explains his CRomnibus vote

cromnibus 2014This is the time for us to unite, not divide, because we are on the right path.–Tom Reed

Tom Reed explains his vote giving, as usual, only one side of the story. Further what he approves, is petty, mean spirited, undesirable. As for number 4 below, the deficit is shrinking as expected as the economy recovers more than for any other reason. Reed might as well take credit for the sun shining.

  1. It includes no funding for the executive order on immigration that I will continue to strongly oppose.
  2. It eliminates funding for the Common Core education standards, significantly curtailing their implementation. 
  3. It provides no new funding for the Affordable Care Act and eliminated funding for the ‘risk corridor’ subsidy that the law relies on to reimburse insurance companies and further cuts funding to the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
  4. It reduces the deficit to its lowest level since I took office by reigning in federal spending. 
  5. It prohibits funding for the UN Small Arms treaty, protecting our Second Amendment rights.
  6. It rolls back overreach in the EPA by reducing their bureaucracies funding and staff to its lowest level in five years and prevents the implementation of burdensome new navigable water standards that would allow the EPA to regulate drainage ditches and farm ponds as navigable waters at significant cost to taxpayers and land owners.
  7. It reduces funding for the IRS, reduces their ability to implement the Affordable Care Act and sends a message that targeting of political groups by any branch of our federal government will not be tolerated.

Tom doesn’t mention funding for war, which would seem to deserve debate. He doesn’t mention Dodd-Frank and crony capitalism. He doesn’t mention funding for high speed rail even though he had his picture taken examining rail cars being assembled at CAF in Elmira. His words imply he opposes justice for the undocumented, high standards for education, affordable health care, regulation of the international weapons trade, protection of the environment, and effective administration of income tax law.

I agree that funding the government is necessary and desirable, but this wasn’t the way to do it. Passing a budget loaded with controversial, undesirable measures without time for debate or amendment is no way to unite Americans.

© William Hungerford – December 2014


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Mark Shields on Presidential nominations

nominationsWill GOP voters, with no clear favorite and no designated successor, choose with their hearts or their heads? Will Democrats be able to settle and fall in love with the overwhelming front-runner?–Mark Shields

Mark Shields, in a column in the local Gannett papers today, argues that Republicans often take turns running for President.  The runner-up in the last election is likely to be the nominee in the next.  Shields writes:

Reagan, who was runner-up to Gerald Ford in 1976, became the 1980 nominee; George H.W. Bush, runner-up to Reagan in 1980, was nominated in 1988; Dole, runner-up to Bush in ’88, won the next open nomination, in ’96. Plausible nominee-in-waiting George W. Bush in 2000 made it “his turn.” And McCain, who finished second in 2000, went on to win the nomination in 2008, when Romney, the eventual 2012 standard-bearer, finished second to the senator from Arizona.

But this time, as there is no clear Republican favorite, a second rule may take precedence– nominate someone named Bush; it worked twice.

Shields goes on to observe that Democrats often reject the front-runner for a beloved, lesser-known favorite. This should bode well for Elizabeth Warren, but maybe not for the chance that a Democrat will prevail.

© William Hungerford – December 2014

Posted in 2016, Political, President | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

High and low standards

high standardsBut just as they did in Philadelphia when they were writing the Constitution, sooner or later, you’ve got to compromise. You’ve got to start making the compromises that arrive at a consensus and move the country forward.–Colin Powell

Teachers, knowing that small classes are good for students, have sometimes negotiated for contracts with high standards for class size. However, holding out for small classes costs them needed wage increases. Thus, when school districts have low standards for class size, classes may grow until there is no more room for growth.

At work the lunchroom fridge will become more and more in need of attention until someone with high standards is offended and takes on the job. If no one cares, low standards prevail, and the situation can become quite rotten.

Political parties may compromise. If one party to the agreement is public spirited and the other is not, when the party with high standards can’t stand it any longer, some bad ideas will be accepted in trade for good ones. However in politics, a bad compromise is often preferable to deadlock.

© William Hungerford – December 2014

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