In case your pants are on fire, pose with a fire department

If man could be crossed with a cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.– MarkTwain

Rep. Langworthy (NY_23), May 20
Rep. Molinaro (NY-19), May 30
Rep. Tenney (NY-24), May 24
Rep. Williams(NY-22), May 22
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Rep. Langworthy on the debt default deal


The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.–Fourteenth Amendment

The Fiscal Responsibility Act is a historic deal for American taxpayers that will get our country back on the path to fiscal sanity.— Rep. Langworthy

As Robt. Reich observed, a deal is done, and we must support it. Hopefully Congress will pass it. The name Republicans gave the bill —The Fiscal Responsibility Act— is unlikely to encourage needed votes from Democrats or mollify disgruntled Republicans. I am glad that Rep. Langworthy promises to be a supporter, whatever his reasons.

Rep. Langworthy writes:

For the first time in our nation’s history, the federal government will be spending less this year than it did the year before. I can’t underscore what a huge win that is for taxpayers. Not only are we going to spend less this year, for the next six years the federal government will be required to limit its spending to 1% growth. 

We also negotiated key spending reforms, like imposing work requirements for able-bodied Americans under 55 and without disabilities who receive social welfare benefits. We’ve also clawed back $400 million of the CDC’s Global Health Fund that was sending money to China, rescinded funds for Bidens’ new IRS agents, and restarted student loan repayments that will save taxpayers $5 billion per month. 

While putting a stop to reckless spending, we are reaffirming our commitment to protecting seniors, veterans, and our nation’s national security. This deal will ensure full funding for veterans programs and national defense priorities while preserving Medicare and Social Security. 

With this deal, House Republicans are bringing monumental change to Washington. While President Biden dithered for 100 days, refusing to negotiate, House Republicans took action and stood firm. We never wavered in our commitment to American taxpayers who elected us to deliver change. Nearly everything we proposed as part of our debt ceiling plan made it into the final deal. If President Biden got his way, he would have raised the debt ceiling, imposed $5 trillion in new taxes, and continued his reckless spending. 

This is a significant victory for American taxpayers, and we have forced the Biden Administration to acknowledge that we need to change the trajectory of our nation’s spending.

Spending occurs six times in Rep. Langworthy’s five paragraphs. How much of what Rep. Langworthy writes is spin? You decide.

We often hear that government spending is bad, but most often legislators only object to spending for purposes they don’t like.  Some might favor restricting military spending, others veterans benefits or spending to protect the environment or voters’ rights.  Few legislators object to spending to promote themselves. Few explain that what matters isn’t the amount, but that the cause be worthwhile.

I understand Rep. Langworthy’s desire to defend the reported deal to his constituents, whom he must assume are susceptible to his claims. He exaggerates, but what matters is his support for the bill.

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Political Dynasty

From ancient dynasties to modern fortunes, family has long defined our past, present, and future.–Maya Jasanoff

I found an interesting article in the May 29, 2023 issue of The New Yorker: “The History of Nepo Babies Is the History of Humanity” by Maya Jasanoff. The author reviews a book, “The World: A Family History of Humanity” (Knopf), by Simon Sebag Montefiore.

Jasanoff writes: “The World” offers a monumental survey of dynastic rule: how to get it, how to keep it, how to squander it.

The broader subject is interesting, but I wish to focus on the United States. We have our dynasties — Adams, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Bush, Clinton — are examples. We had two Presidents named Adams, two Roosevelts, and two (and potentially three) named Bush. What were the chances of that, if everyone had an equal chance? Anyone named Kennedy still has a leg up in any election; we may see more of Joseph Patrick Kennedy III yet.

Jasanoff explains that children often follow their parents occupations; the children of doctors are twenty times as likely to go into medicine as others. Accumulated wealth is a factor as is nepotism. Joseph P. Kennedy reportedly spent lavishly to advance his son’s political career. There was a squawk when JFK nominated his brother Robert as Attorney General and a bigger squawk when Bill Clinton put Hillary in charge of health care legislation. Strangely, there was less outrage when DJT named two relatively inexperienced relatives as advisors; perhaps people had more pressing concerns.

Recent experience suggests that the generational accumulation of wealth is a threat to our democracy as well as the willingness of those in power to bend the rules to keep it.

Jasanoff concludes:

There’s an obvious tension between the ideal of democracy, in which citizens enjoy equal standing regardless of family status, and the reality that the family persists as a prime mediator of social, cultural, and financial opportunities.

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Ron DeSantis

The tired dogmas of the past are inadequate for a vibrant future — we must look forward, not backwards.–Ron DeSantis

Tired dogmas?

Ron DeSantis is a candidate for President. He explains his views on his web page.

Our country is going in the wrong direction.  We see it with our eyes and we feel it in our bones.

  • Our southern border has collapsed and drugs are pouring into our country, killing tens of thousands of our fellow Americans
  • Our cities are being hollowed out by spiking crime — the result of weak, ideologically-driven policies
  • Our federal government is making it harder for the average family to make ends meet and to attain and maintain a middle class lifestyle
  • Our president lacks vigor, flounders in the face of our nation’s challenges, and takes his cues from the woke mob 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Ron DeSantis’ announcement is a litany of complaints. I find few specific policy suggestions; he would build a wall; he tells us what we see and feel; better we should see and feel for ourselves.

  • Laws and walls have never stopped drug users.
  • Florida has more crime than NYS, and three times NYS’s gun death rate (CDC data)
  • By weak, ideologically-driven policies, he must mean policies not reflecting his far-right ideology.
  • DeSantis’ ideology may be so-called Christian Nationalism and doesn’t reflect justice for all.
  • Yes, it is harder to maintain a middle class lifestyle, primarily due to Republican belief in social Darwinism and a laissez-faire economy.
  • What DeSantis calls “the woke mob” are those of us, perhaps a majority, who favor a kind, truthful, inclusive national policy.

What tired dogmas of the past Ron DeSantis finds inadequate for the future, one can only imagine. Presumably, he doesn’t have any Republican dogmas in mind, pricing hard-working Americans out of a good standard of living through inflationary borrow, print and spend policies, for example.

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Tim Scott

Tim Scott was raised in North Charleston, South Carolina in a poor, single-parent household by his mama, Frances Scott. Despite the challenging circumstances Frances faced raising her boys on her own, she instilled in each of them what it meant to find dignity in work, and the power that faith in God can have on your life.

I was actually in there (on Jan 6th), so I know exactly how historic it was. But what I will say is simply this, that the future that America is focusing on is what I’m gonna provide, I’m gonna continue to talk about those conservative principles that move this country forward with the best path for all of us.–Tim Scott

Tim Scott is a candidate for President. He explains his views on his web page.

Border security is national security. If we want to prevent deadly drugs like fentanyl from infiltrating our communities, we need to stop the illegal immigrants who bring them across our borders. The cartels won’t stop pumping drugs and violence into American communities until we stop them, either with a strong border wall or by military force. Biden’s failure to address the crisis at our southern border has turned every county in America into a border county.

I have lived the truth that education is the closest thing to magic in America. But today, the far left has us retreating away from excellence in our schools. Extreme liberals are letting Big Labor bosses trap millions of kids in failing systems. They’re replacing education with indoctrination.

Under Joe Biden, we have become a nation in retreat. Retreating from religious liberty and the worship of God himself. I will preserve one nation, Under God, indivisible — where we honor our Creator and respect every innocent life.

Conservatism is the home of common sense. The radical Left has tried its best to remove faith, patriotism, and religious liberty from our society, but we won’t back down. It’s time for new conservative leadership to bring Americans together with faith: Faith in God, faith in each other, and faith in America.

Security starts on our borders, but it doesn’t end there. The Chinese Communist Party’s goal is not just to surpass us. It is to beat us. As President, I will rebuild a military so lethal and powerful that our adversaries will fear us and our allies will respect us.

In Biden’s America, crime is on the rise and law enforcement is in retreat. The far left is ending cash bail. They’re demonizing, demoralizing, and de-funding the police. I grew up in neighborhoods alongside people who ended up incarcerated or in a cemetery. We needed more public safety, not less!

I am living proof that America is the land of opportunity, not a land of oppression. The circumstances may be different, the details may change, but every one of us is here because of an American journey where there were obstacles that became opportunities.

Scott is a personable candidate, but his divisive political views, long on generalities and short on specifics, are straight from the far-right Republican playbook.

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China leads the world in battery technology

Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says “it can’t be done. — Eleanor Roosevelt, 1960

Agnes Chang and Keith Bradsher, in a May 16, 2023 article in The New York Times, discuss battery technology. They write:

Despite billions in Western investment, China is so far ahead — mining rare minerals, training engineers and building huge factories — that the rest of the world may take decades to catch up.

Circa 1970, I started a job as an engineer working with Numerical Controls for machine tools. Numerical Control was invented by John Parsons in Michigan and Jay Forester at MIT in the 1940s. The Air Force invested heavily in development. By 1970, American Companies (Allen Bradley, Bendix, General Electric)1 dominated the world market. Ten years later they were well on their way out of business–Japan, particularly Fanuc, Ltd., had taken over the market.

I worked in a former automotive plant in Detroit. It was a small division of a large corporation. The corporate executives lacked vision. Plant managers rotated in and out. There was little investment, no long-term plan. We had to show a short-term profit. With a few capable engineers; we carried on as best we could.

Our Japanese competitors invested heavily in factories and equipment. Their chief had a doctorate in engineering. They laid long term plans to dominate the market. Their managers and engineers knew the business in detail. Their engineers were well educated, their practices first-rate. Success wasn’t guaranteed or taken for granted–they worked hard to achieve it.

The American Automotive companies, once called the big three, had a similar experience. These American companies were complacent, focused on short-term profits. Japanese, German, and other foreign makers ate their lunch.

From mines to refineries and factories, China began investing in battery technology decades ago. China acted with foresight, which led to their success. If we can’t compete with Chinese technology and give up trying, that will put America last.

After the shock of Sputnik, we didn’t give up. Determined not to be outdone, we invested in NASA, went to work and pulled ahead. With vision and determination we can do that again.

  1. Siemens, the German company, was an important player in the world market..
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Rep. Langworthy speaks

The medium is the message.–Marshall McLuhan

Politicians embrace facebook because it is an effective means of mass communication, a one-way street from their propaganda mills into our minds.

Posted on facebook:

  1. We are one step closer to ensuring con-man George Santos is gone from Congress for good. May 17, (They voted not to expel him.)
  2. The clock is ticking on a debt limit deal & Biden & the Senate need to start treating it with the seriousness it deserves. May 17
  3. We need to stop these handouts (renewable energy incentives) that are fueling reckless spending and inflation. May 17
  4. This gets worse & worse by the day….Another thread is revealed in the web of Biden family corruption. May 17
  5. New York was a breeding ground for the Defund the Police movement and the results have been deadly. May 16
  6. We cannot overstate the seriousness of what occurred inside the highest levels of our nation’s law enforcement system. May 16, (re. the Durham Report)
  7. Crime & lawlessness have gripped our nation’s capital thanks to the radical left policies that embolden criminals and handcuff our police. May 16
  8. I joined One America News Network to discuss our House Oversight committee work into the corrupt web of the Biden family’s business dealings with foreign nations. May 16
  9. Hunter Biden and his relatives traded profitably off the Biden name with transactions that suggest the main family business is influence peddling. May 16
  10. Homeless American veterans who selflessly served our country are being booted out on the streets to make room for citizens of other nations who broke our laws to come here. May 16

In only two days, a smoke screen of divisive distraction from important issues of the day.

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The Far Right Case for Default

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.–Fourteenth Amendment

In an opinion article in The New York Times, Michael W. McConnell, a senior fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institution, argues that the Fourth Amendment can’t be used to prevent default, in case of no timely action to raise the debt ceiling.

He claims:

  • Default is permissible, whatever the consequences, because the debt would remain valid, even if not serviced as required.
  • Bond’s issued in excess of the debt limit not otherwise authorized by Congress would be invalid.

McConnell’s argument depends on the meaning of validity. After the Civil war, validity meant that lenders would be repaid. It probably means that today. It isn’t clear if valid means lenders must be repaid on time.

McConnell says the President must negotiate with Congress. This isn’t in the spirit of The Constitution which makes Congress solely responsible for making laws and the President responsible for executing them. The Constitution is silent on the possibility of inconsistent laws or laws that can’t be executed.

McConnell implicitly disparages debt by favoring limits over solutions which don’t limit spending. He doesn’t say if recent appropriations supersede the debt limit law, which is an argument for disregarding it. Nor does he mention the claim that observing the debt limit would require the President to break other laws.

McConnell’s overall argument depends on cherry picking–putting forth reasons in support of his opinion and disregarding the opinions of those who disagree. On one point most do agree–the best outcome is for Congress to vote to raise the debt limit.

McConnell predicts disregarding the debt limit based on the Fourteenth Amendment would have consequences as dire as default. On this he may be right, which is one reason other outcomes are preferable.

McConnell is a professor and the director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit from 2002 to 2009.

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Rep Langworthy on the economy

Certainly labor, number one concern, every employer, every sector of the economy that I’ve talked to. Keeping workers is hard. There are perhaps people that don’t really want to work, and I’m sorry, but we can’t be all things all people. Just because you don’t want to work doesn’t mean you don’t have to work.–Rep. Langworthy

Rep. Nicholas Langworthy (R-NY) held an unannounced meeting with small business owners in Elmira on Monday, May 6. Reportedly, Rep. Langworthy said:

I think we’re definitely on the cusp of a downturn. I mean, you have the heightened interest rates, the labor crisis, inflation, it has stagnated this economy to the point where we are likely on the cusp or in a recession. We don’t know quite yet. It certainly feels that way. People are a little more cautious with their spending. They’re not making those big, discretionary purchases, and they’re concerned about their bottom line and providing for their families. We have a lot of jobs. That’s the only difference. Right now, we have a lot of jobs if you need a job, you can find a job. We need more people to want to go find a job. That’s one of our biggest crises here, is employers tell me every day they can’t get enough workers. We need to incentivize that, we need to as Americans have this tough conversation. It’s time to go back to work.

I think that what we need to do as Americans have these conversations in our own households and in our communities and I use the bully pulpit of this office to have that conversation. We need to have a strong America. We need a strong workforce. We need to, you know, treasure and honor, not just leisure time. But you know the fact that people you know have a job, they make a living, and they provide for their families and that is a an incredibly honorable thing that we need to celebrate. It’s certainly you know, the time-honored traditions that this country is founded on. You know, self-determination, that you could be whatever you want to be, nothing is pre-ordained for you, and those opportunities exist, and I see those opportunities every day when I travel across this district. We have amazing workforce. We have great people. We have great educational institutions. We just have to get it all working in the same direction. We have our obstacles here in the southern tier, but our best days can be ahead of us.

At a time of record employment, negative Nicholas, with his part-time, high paid job, blames us for not wanting to work. He predicts economic decline, but doesn’t mention his party’s plan for sabotage.

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The House operates like a 17th century pirate crew

Seventeenth century pirate crews were nominally democratic much like today’s House. They had norms and rules. The Captain held office at the pleasure of the crew. As in Treasure Island, the Captain could be given “the black spot,” a demand for an election. In the House, the equivalent is a motion to “vacate the chair.”

Pirate captains maintained their position by showing competence and by creating a fearsome reputation. Blackbeard, very successful at piracy, was able to participate in colonial American society, while keeping his leadership position as captian with a reputation for ruthlessness. With his reputation, Blackbeard was often able to win without a fight.

When a potential prize was sighted, the crew voted on how to act–to attack or not. But once a fight started, of necessity the Capitan gave the orders and was obeyed.

Today Speaker McCarthy’s problem is that his caucus is rebellious. He gained his position by granting concessions, which weakened his reputation. He evidently isn’t much feared; he can’t give G. Santos the boot for fear of losing even one vote. In the battle over the debt ceiling, he can’t expect to be obeyed, making his stated intention to avoid default difficult at least.

Does the Speaker have a plan B? He has publicly rejected several potential solutions. He has little room to maneuver left. Rather than winning without fighting, or winning in a fight, he stands to lose the battle.

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