Dave Brat’s Ten Principles

blind10 Commitments the Next Speaker and House Leaders Should Make per Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA)

  1. Facilitate a budget that balances within 10 years and seek to enforce it through the authorizing and appropriations process.
  2. Encourage committees to advance market-driven health care reforms to replace Obamacare.
  3. Support policies that secure the border and enable interior enforcement while opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants.
  4. Urge all committees to advance agendas based on limited government, economic opportunity, and fiscal responsibility.
  5. Enforce the rule of law and separation of powers against executive (presidential) overreach.
  6. Seek reforms of the Republican Conference Rules so leadership committees better represent the American people.
  7. Adhere to the majority-of-the-majority principle for bringing legislation to the floor.
  8. Support changes to the budget process to promote fiscal responsibility, particularly regarding mandatory programs (70% of current spending).
  9. Empower committee members to choose chairs and craft reform legislation without fear of retaliation.
  10. Broaden opportunities to offer amendments and legislation on the House floor with full debate.

The majority-of-the-majority principle is the Hastert rule used by Republican Speakers to keep the GOP from disintegrating.

Balanced budget, market-driven health care, no amnesty for illegal immigrants, limited government, attacks on executive action, Hastert Rule, cut government spending–these aren’t political principles for good government, but radical policy proposals of the far right.



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Justin Amash (R-MI) on the Speaker’s role

amashIn place of genuine reforms, Republican leaders inundate the public with meaningless show votes. These bills and amendments are often poorly drafted and not intended to become law, but rather to give representatives talking points to bash the other side in the media and in our districts.–Justin Amash

With the above statement, Rep. Amash confirms what some deny but many recognize–House rules aren’t fair or democratic. Amash has more to say on the role of the Speaker; read it here: https://www.facebook.com/repjustinamash/posts/959295097443230

Posted in Congress, Political | Tagged , | 3 Comments

John Plumb on TPP

Reed’s Past Support for Unfair Trade Deal Troubling for the Southern Tier’s Businesses and Working Families

The following is a Press Release from John Plumb, candidate for Congress to represent the NY 23rd Congressional District. This Blog has  had many articles about TPP.  Here is a link to a listing of them for you to review.

Plumb4Congress_1Jamestown, NY – Today, New York’s 23rd Congressional District Candidate and fourth-generation Western New Yorker Naval Reserve Commander John Plumb released the following statement following news that negotiators reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal:

“This past weekend, negotiators reached a secret agreement over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal whose details have still largely been kept from the American public.

“Based on the little we do know about the TPP, I have grave concerns that the deal creates an unequal playing field that would harm working families and have a devastating effect on our communities.

“I am working hard to protect and grow jobs, but this deal undercuts those efforts by failing to enforce critical worker and environment standards, consumer protections and intellectual property rights, and it does little to address currency manipulation conducted by Asian countries that undercut the ability for American businesses to compete.

“In the past, trade deals like the TPP have led to jobs in the Southern Tier being shipped out of the country and a race to the bottom when it comes to wages.

“That’s why Congressman Reed’s past support for this trade deal is particularly troubling. Working families in Western New York, the Southern Tier and the Fingers Lakes region deserve better – but they can’t trust Reed to stand up for our communities and economy in Congress.”

After serving as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy, John continued a career focused on addressing some of our nation’s pressing national security challenges including serving as Principal Director of Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy at the Pentagon and most recently as Director of Defense Policy and Strategy at the National Security Council. He has continued to serve in the Navy Reserve, currently holding the rank of Commander.

In Congress, John will bring a fresh approach, combining his independent problem-solving mentality and the same fierce devotion to duty that has characterized his entire life.

Posted in 2016, Congress, Constituents, Economics, President | 5 Comments

NYS Presidential Primary Info

Mark you calendar:

The New York State Presidential Primaries will be held on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. You need topolitical_parties_1_xlarge be registered in party in order to vote in that party’s primary. If you are not presently registered, or you wish to change your party, you will need to fill out a registration form and return it to your county’s Board of Election by Friday, October 9. If you mail it, the postmark must be October 8 or earlier. You can get a form from your County’s Board of Election or download one from  the NYS Elections website.  You can not change your party after October 9 until after the Presidential election in November, 2016. You are not eligible to vote if you are in prison or on parole for a felony conviction, or if you claim the right to vote in another county or state.

Thirty-six States have scheduled their Primaries or Caucuses before New York’s. March 1 is called “Super Tuesday” when 11 states hold Primaries or Caucuses. This is not good for New York. By the time our primaries are held, there is a good chance that one of the candidates in each party would have  a large enough lead in delegates that the race would realistically be over. It is kind of like voting for President in Hawaii after the rest of the nation have had their votes reported.

Also, states have different laws regulating their primaries. Some states hold “open primaries”, which permits any voter participate in any primary. Some states hold “closed primaries”, which permits only party members participate in their party’s primary. Some states hold “semi-closed” primaries, which let’s those who are not in a party vote in the primary of their choice. New York’s Primary is a “closed primary”.   Since we see news reports about other states’ primary elections, some New York voters could be confused and think they that can vote in either party’s primary.

Not only do the states have rules, each party has their own rules about their delegates. The Republican Party permits each state to decide how they allocate their delegates. New York is a statewide winner-take-all delegates state, others allocate their delegates differently. The Democratic delegates are all allocated by the proportion of votes they receive.

The Republicans and Democrats both have scheduled their National Conventions in July. The GOP will assemble in Cleveland from Monday, July 18 to Thursday, July 21; the Dems in Philadelphia the next week, Monday, July 25 to Thursday, July 28.

Then the real campaign begins!

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Rep. Reed and the Planned Parenthood Investigation

plannedparenthood2In June at his Big Flats Town Hall Meeting Rep. Tom Reed promised the crowd that he would “stand with the funding for Planned Parenthood.” (Ithaca Voice–which has a link to the audio recording of his complete quote.)

Fast-forward to  September 18, Rep. Reed  when voted to prohibit “the availability of federal funds for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any of its affiliates or clinics”.  Rep Reed informed us  that “In light of the recent appalling revelations regarding Planned Parenthood, I join the voices calling for suspension of federal funding pending a full investigation into the alleged harvesting and sale of human body parts.

The House of Representatives are holding the investigation that Reed called for. The investigation, which has been called political theater, seemed to be an one-sided attack on a popular organization  that is a vehicle for the right wing to reinforce their already formed opinions.

The Committee Leader Rep. Chaffetz showed a graph comparing how the number of abortions increased and “Cancer Screening” (Mammograms) decreased between 2006 and 2013. Looking at the graph you would see that the amount of abortions was greater than the amount of mammograms, which, if you read the numbers, you would see was not true. (Ms. Richardson, Planned Parenthood President, explains that most of their centers  do not perform the mammogram; that is done at radiological clinics after they are referred by Planned Parenthood.)

The graph of the left is the one that Rep. Chaffetz presented during the investigation. The one on the right (Honest Version) was created by Mother Jones blog, and shows the same data on a traditional graph–that is–one with a Left Axis.


Rep. Chaffetz, said “I pulled those numbers directly out of your corporate reports.” (Slide says “Source: Americans United for Life”). Which is not true unless his second job is working for Americans United for Lives. If the data is true, it is easy to see why his version  was created to pass along mis-information. Most people will look at the graph, which is shown quickly, and think that more abortions were performed as Breast Exams.

Ms. Richards, head of Planned Parenthood pointed out that the source was Americans United for Life, which is an anti-abortion organization.  Follow this link to see the 3 minute video of the interaction between Rep. Chaffetz and Ms. Richards.

If Rep. Reed was interested in un-bias Planned Parenthood investigations, he should read the Missouri investigation report that cleared Planned Parenthood of all charges. Or he could read about the investigations done in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Florida which also cleared Plant Parenthood of all wrong doing. He could have his aides read (and report) the Media Matters summary of those states’ investigations along with other court cases clearing Planned Parenthood.

It looks like we were are going to live through another Government By Crisis in December. Congress has passed a short budget extension to divert us from closing the government now. Last time, in 2013,  the our congressman joined  the Tea Party to closed our government over Obamacare.

He has stated that he wants an investigation on the selling of body parts. The House will find what the House wants to find. Reed is going to do what he thinks is best for Reed. Maybe, just maybe,  he will keep the promise he made in Big Flats in June and “stand with the funding of Planned Parenthood.” Then, maybe he won’t.

Posted in Congress, Constitution, Ethics, Health Care, Media, pro-life/pro-choice, Reed's Views, Rights | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Pope Francis’ Message

The article was submitted by Cath Kestler, OFA (Organizing For Action) Chautauqua County Director and a resident of Silver Creek.

Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards  others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation.—Pope Francis

u1_Pope-FrancisPope Francis spent a whirlwind US visit spanning six schedule packed days  arriving in Washington, DC; breaking a barrier by being the first pope ever to address Congress, onward to New York City, and wrapping up his visit in Philadelphia.

Francis hopes to bridge the realms of the disadvantaged and elite, trying to turn the attention of the mightiest nation on Earth away from ideological battles and towards a world he said desperately needs help.

The pope has come out saying that religious dialogue must be broader in scope, not simply focused on such issues as homosexuality and abortion.

While he does not consider women should be ordained as priests, Pope Francis considers women an essential part of the church.  He presents a more accepting attitude towards homosexuality and supports the funding of Planned Parenthood.

Along that line, the pope has stirred up the status quo when he announced that priests around the world will be allowed to forgive the “sin of abortion” during a “year of mercy”, which starts December 8, 2015 and ends November 11, 2016.  The pope wrote about this act of compassion stating:  “I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion.  I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision.  I know it is an existential and moral ordeal.  I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision.  What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope.”

The pope continued his pattern of deep engagement late last year into early 2015, both political and environmental conflicts around the world.  He spoke out against global abuses and the misuse of political and economic power, he lamented the disappearances and suspected murders of 43 students in Mexico; the dangers and losses of life caused by immigration; financial mismanagement within the church itself; and sexual abuse.  His decision to crackdown on church corruption caused him to receive death threats.  Pope Francis brought together Presidents Raul Castro, of Cuba and President Barack Obama, of the United States, in a historic meeting that precipitated significant foreign policy changes and the resumed relations with the country that have been absent for years.

Pope Francis showed himself to be progressive on several scientific issues, he supports the Big Bang theory and evolution.  He stated, “The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it.”  He also said that evolution “is not inconsistent with the notion of creation.”

In June 2015, Pope Francis released a 184-page encyclical, a type of papal message, warning of the dangers of climate change.  He wrote: “If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems with serious consequences for all of us.”

During the pope’s first ever historic visit to the US, he dove into some thorny political debates, thus urging the world’s wealthiest nation to welcome immigrants, do more to address climate change, and to end homelessness. Though the pope is at ease speaking Spanish, he gave his speech to a joint session of Congress using heavily-accented English, which he practiced many times before his speech.

In an acutely polarized Congress, it was unclear if lawmakers’ minds were changed by Francis’ words in Washington or at the United Nations, where he condemned the “boundless thirst” for wealth and power. Before his arrival, Francis denied he was a “lefty” despite his criticisms of the excesses of capitalism that is apparent here.  His speeches gave both Democrats and Republicans fodder to support the intense partisan battles that elucidates modern Washington, DC.

In the days that led up to the pope’s arrival, the Senate brought up another vote to defund Planned Parenthood, but was blocked by the Democrats; knowing beforehand the pope’s stance of forgiveness to those that have had an abortion. Pope Francis’ message was loud and clear, while he praised President Obama for his actions on reducing air pollution while urging Congress and other world leaders at the UN to do more for climate change.

During his Congressional address Francis issued silent moral challenge in the complex heroes he held up to those in attendance: Abraham Lincoln; the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk who condemned war and advocated interfaith cooperation; and Dorothy Day, founder of the pacifist Catholic Worker Movement that helped and advocated for the homeless.

After enjoining Congress to work for the common good of the people, he went to lunch with the homeless and said here was “no moral justification” for their plight, after turning down an opportunity to dine on Capitol Hill.

I look forward to see how the pope’s words effect the way business transpires in Congress and the Senate due to the fact that Christianity is brought up at every turn and actually used as an excuse to vote “Yay” or “Nay”.

I have been accused of pushing my views upon those faith based people; my column is and always have been written from a liberal progressive perspective point of view.

Posted in Ethics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Social Security Activist to Run For Congress (NY24)

Syracuse University Professor Eric Kingson has announced that he is seeking to be the Eric-Kingson-135x203democratic party nomination for the 24th Congressional District.

You  might not recognize Kingson’s name. Besides his day job of being a Professor of Social Work, he and Nancy Altman has co-authored the Social Security Works!, a book that explains “Why Social Security isn’t going broke and how expanding it will help us all”.  A New You Journal of Books review of the Social Security Works! states, “The authors are successful in debunking a number of misconceptions regarding Social Security.” They also started the  non-profit organization of the same name. It’s website and Facebook page gives us more information about the organization’s mission and a wealth of updated Social Security information. They are great sources for researchers.

The NY 24 Congressional District includes Cayuga, Onondaga, Wayne Counties, and the Western part of Oswego County. It has been called the Nation’s top swing district since the party representing it has switched  four times in the last four elections. Note that the Democrats won in 2008 and 2012—both presidential election years.

The District is presently being represented by former prosecutor Rep. John Kutko. Realizing how politically unstable  the 24th is, Katko has voted with his fellow republicans only 83% of the time. In February Katko voted  AGAINST  a bill that would defund Obamacare. He justified his decision by saying, “I want to repeal Obamacare, but I also want to keep my promise. If and when a replacement is ready, my vote will be to repeal Obamacare.”

Social Security will be a focal issue in the 2016 campaigns. Candidate Kingson, a respected voice in the expand Social Security movement will join Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Democrat Senators, Congressmen and other candidates to debunk the GOP’s efforts to weaken Social Security including to privatize Social Security and moving the retirement age to 70. Win or Lose, his message will be heard.

Our congressman, Rep. Reed is also involved with changing Social Security. He has moved to weaken it. During his 2016 Campaign against John Plumb, Reed will be defending his amendment to the House Rules that forces the Disability Fund to cut benefits by 20% next fall. Other changes to SSDI are being discussed by the GOP lead House Ways and Means Committee, including requiring non-catostropic disabled (not yet defined) to return to work. Rep. Reed considers the Social Security Disability a “failed federal program“. Remember: Programs are not saved by having their funds reduced.

Although Mr. Kingson is running in the NY 24th Congressional District race, he will have a positive affect in our district. It is great to see an “academic” take the next step to complete the change he has been promoting.








Posted in 2016, Constituents, Economics, Social Security | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment