Explain it to me, Tom

new clothesThis article, by Lee Marcus, is published here with permission of the author.


Children’s literature has a parable for our times in The Emperor’s New Clothes, by Hans Christian Andersen. It goes like this: the emperor engages two clever but lazy weavers for a new suit of clothes. The weavers promise His Majesty a suit that will be invisible to anyone who is stupid, incompetent, or unfit for his position. They make sure that word gets out about it. When at last the emperor parades his new suit before his subjects, not one of them dares to admit that he or she sees no suit. Who wants to be called stupid? In the end, it is a child who cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”

I remember as a child thinking how implausible this was. How does anyone deny what she sees with her own eyes?

Well, children’s stories are meant to be fantastic, so no harm done. But later in my childhood I began to hear stories from World War II. Something called a “holocaust,” involving another “emperor,” who decided to murder millions of his own people. He began by belittling those people. Calling them names. Accusing them of hating their country, of being selfish, of doing harm. He loved to regale the public with rhetoric invoking hyper-patriotism and hatred against minorities, especially Jews. Then when he felt he had sweeping acceptance, he began his murderous campaign, and the people looked the other way.

As a young person I was incredulous! How could the German people have allowed Adolph Hitler to murder millions of people in their name? It just wasn’t feasible. “Never again,” exclaimed survivors and horrified bystanders the world over. But for some, that sentiment morphed into something more comfortable: “It can’t happen here.” I believed it myself. The holocaust was so horrific, the German people so … what’s the word … gullible? Anyway, it obviously, certainly, unquestionably CAN’T HAPPEN HERE.

Except now, I think it can happen here. Over the weekend of July 13-14, we all suffered a tweet storm in which the president attacked four freshman congresswomen of color with the perennial racist trope “go back where you came from.” (All four are American citizens, three of them born here.)

A few days later we watched coverage of the president stirring up a crowd in Greenville, NC. He woefully misrepresented the speeches, the policies, and the motivations of all four of the women, singling out Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for the worst of it. The crowd loved it. They ended up chanting, “Send her back!”

This president is deliberately tearing at the fabric of our nearly-all-immigrant nation. In an article entitled, “Trump Goes All In On Racism” (July 15, 2019), Atlantic writer David Graham decries Trump’s “…willingness and eagerness to place racism at the center of his political platform in a run for reelection to the presidency.” The article led with this: “The president’s tweets are an invitation to a racial conflict that pits citizen against citizen, under the calculation that racism itself is a winning political strategy.”

Congress voted to censure the president for his racist remarks, but our local representative, Tom Reed, voted against the resolution.”Having developed a relationship with the president,” he said, “interacting with him firsthand, I am confident in telling you that I do not believe he is a racist.” (Buffalo Evening News, 7/16/19)

So I have a question for Congressperson Reed. What is a racist? Not, apparently, someone who tells people of color, “Go back where you came from.”

Mr. Reed, tell us then. What is a racist? And once you get that formula worked out, I’d like to see you tell it to the experts, in person. Tell it to an audience of African Americans, Native Americans, Latino Americans. Go down to the “camps” at our southern border and explain to the refugees sleeping on concrete floors that our president is not a racist. Say it in the mirror, if you can keep a straight face. And, while you’re at it, explain it to your God.

-Lee Marcus



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Love it or leave it

love it.pngDuring the Vietnam war, we were often urged to love it or leave it. If you didn’t have a flag pin in your lapel, if you had long hair, were a university student or graduate, or were suspected of voting for Democrats, you might be called a communist and told to move to the Soviet Union. I had hoped those days were gone.

I remember my boss at the time saying, while looking at me, that if any antiwar protester lay down in front of his car, he wouldn’t stop. I remember two women in the Northern Plains who were not long ago harassed for speaking Spanish at an interstate rest area.

I remember that my Grandparents were immigrants, that my spouse is a naturalized citizen. Few of us are native Americans.

Now President Trump has resurrected “love it or leave it;” shame on him.

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Push back

PelosiIn Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain wrote about a black lawyer from the free state of Illinois, well dressed and riding a horse. Pa Finn was outraged; how could a black man have a horse when he didn’t?

Did President Obama, a careful, competent President raise the same feelings of outrage in some of us? Did a black man as President make the election of a white supremacist possible, even inevitable?

What about a President who is a woman, would her administration, however well run, be followed inevitably by a misogynist?


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Three manufacturing bills

servile artsWe are proud to be a constant advocate for U.S. manufacturing in the halls of Congress, and the bills introduced will help give our local manufacturers fair access to resources they need to boost jobs. — Rep. Reed

Tom Reed often advocates for manufacturing, posing as knowledgeable even though he has no known education or experience with manufacturing. What he does know about it, he may have learned from lobbyists.

The Ripon Advance reports:

Rep. Reed on May 22 introduced H.R. 2900 with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) to create the role of U.S. Chief Manufacturing Officer, who would be responsible for coordinating and reviewing federal manufacturing-related policies across all agencies and developing a National Manufacturing Strategy.

On May 9, Rep. Reed cosponsored H.R. 2631 with U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) to designate and support manufacturing communities, which would vie for grants from the proposed Manufacturing Community Support Program.

And in April, Rep. Reed cosponsored H.R. 2397 with U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) to reauthorize the Manufacturing USA program, which creates public-private partnerships that work to secure U.S. manufacturing via innovation, education and collaboration.



H.R. 2397 — To amend the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act to make changes to the implementation of the network for manufacturing innovation, and for other purposes.

Manufacturing USA was an Obama Administration initiative. If public/private partnerships are desirable, reauthorization would be justified.


H.R. 2631 –To improve the competitiveness of United States manufacturing by designating and supporting manufacturing communities.

It isn’t clear to me what H.R. 2631 would add to existing programs. Does it require the Dept. of Commerce to designate more “manufacturing communities?” GovTrack gives this bill a 2% chance of becoming law.

Tom Reed claims H.R. 2631, Make It In America Manufacturing Communities Act,

  • Designates “manufacturing communities” for preference in grant awards. The Finger Lakes Region was awarded this designation during a Department of Commerce pilot program and awarded $2.6 million in grants.
  • One success story this bill would continue is a 2016 grant to High Tech Rochester, Inc. We estimate this grant will create 100 new startup businesses and 1,000 new jobs by 2021
  • The Finger Lakes received 5 awards totaling $8.8 million and anticipated another $30 million but the program stopped getting agency support.

What “agency” stopped support and why, Tom doesn’t say.



H. R. 2900 — To establish the United States Chief Manufacturing Officer in the Executive Office of the President with the responsibility of developing a National Manufacturing Strategy to revitalize the manufacturing sector, spur economic growth, and expand United States competitiveness, and for other purposes.

A Chief Manufacturing Officer might have a role in government.

  1. Is it good to create a shadow government in the White House, or is this the responsibility of the Dept. of Commerce?
  2. A Chief Manufacturing Officer would be of no use to President Trump, who infamously doesn’t value the advice of experts.
  3. Is an act of Congress needed, or could a future president who wanted advice add such an officer to the staff?


It will be interesting to see if any of these bills passes the House.

U.S. manufacturing growth requires congressional action, says Reed



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Tom Reed’s 2018 Financial Disclosure

mr-moneybags-blankReports are due May 15 of the following year. The House has 30 days more to post them. It isn’t clear why they wait till the last minute.

Tom’s 2018 report is little different than previous years. Tom’s businesses are very profitable. For example, R&R Resource Recovery, valued at no more than $250,000, produced an income of at least $50,000, which is at least a 20% profit.



2015 2016 2017 2018
Corning Inc. IRA <$15,000 <$15,000 <$15,000 <$15,000
CenturyLink IRA (Level 3 Communications) <$15,000 <$15,000 <$15,000 <$15,000
M&T Bank accounts <$100,000 <$100,000 <$100,000 <$50,000
Mineral Rights None None None None
R&R Properties <$250,000 <$250,000 <$250,000 <$250,000
R&R Resource Recovery  <$250,000 <$250,000 <$250,000 <$250,000
Twin Tiers Medical Billing <$15,000 <$50,000


  1. Tom failed to note that Level 3 Communications merged with CenturyLink.
  2. Tom identifies Mrs. Reed’s salary as income, but gives no amount.
  3. Mineral rights are said to have no value until developed.
  4. Level 3 Communications, now CenturyLink, is an internet service provider.
  5. The trip for Tom and Jean Reed cost the Ripon Society more than $11,000. Reportedly, lobbyists fund these trips to “gain access” to members of Congress.
  6. Tom and family visited the Czech Republic in August 2015 at the expense of the Ripon Society and Franklin Center.
  7. Tom and family visited London, England in November 2016 at the expense of the Ripon Society and Franklin Center.
  8. Tom and family visited Berlin, Germany in August 2017 at the expense of the Ripon Society and Franklin Center.
  9. Tom and family visited Paris, France in November 2018 at the expense of the Ripon Society and Franklin Center.





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Discarded talking points


Anyone abusing their power to spy on a campaign in America must be held accountable.–Rep Tom Reed, May 17, 2019

No one is above the law.–Rep Tom Reed, May 17, 2019

What sort of people have we become?

  • Honesty
  • Constitution
  • Patriotism
  • Sovereignty
  • Law and order
  • Family values
  • Compassion


Robert Mueller’s report found no wrong-doing???; the Emoluments Clause???; investigating Trump unpatriotic???; Regime change redux???; President not subject to our laws???; Separating families???; Children held in detention???

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Liberty U. commencement address

Pitts.jpgLeonard Pitts, Jr. discusses VP Pence’s commencement address

… when Pence warned the graduates about being derided for their beliefs, he obviously had neither the poor nor the outcast in mind. So, as everyone who heard him surely understood, what he was tacitly telling them is that they should expect to be condemned for being hostile toward the LGBTQ community and blaming it on God. That’s what faith devolves to for so many these days: a requirement to oppose gay rights.

How was Mike Pence wrong?

A nation where the stranger is demonized and the poor exploited, a nation where justice is obstructed in plain sight and public lies hammer public confidence in public institutions, a nation of nonstop emergency and commonplace crisis, a nation that has retreated from the high ground of ennobling ideals and sacred creeds, is a nation with far more to worry about than whether men have sex with men.

And a nation facing all those challenges would seem to be a nation where there is plenty of work for the faithful – indeed, for all people of conscience – to do. Such a nation stands in dire need of the energy and inventiveness of the rising generation. This critical juncture is a time for all hands on deck. This is not a time for some of us to hunker in foxholes.

It’s too bad the vice president didn’t say something like that to the graduates. He would have been right to do so.

Another thing that isn’t right in my opinion is for a Government official to use his position to promote specific religious beliefs.


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