We have learned more about propaganda

bot

The special counsel detailed how a Russian effort to widen divisions in American society launched in 2014 morphed into active support for the candidacy of Donald Trump.–David A. Graham, The Atlantic

The indictment filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller details how the Russian government sought to interfere in the 2016 election. This sheds light on posts seen on Tom Reed’s facebook page which may reflect Russian Propaganda. Subjects brought up include:

  • Support for a nativist immigration policy
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Second Amendment
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Abortion
  • Religious intolerance
  • Voter ID
  • Depreciate Trump’s rivals (Cruz, Rubio) and supporting Clinton’s rivals (Sanders, Stein).
  • Discourage voting
  • Promote dissension by promoting both sides of controversial issues (Second Amendment, Planned Parenthood, Abortion)

Surprisingly, White House officials were among those echoing Russian propaganda. When people echo this propaganda, they aren’t necessarily Russians or their dupes, but one might well be suspicious.

Note: I don’t believe a “constituent badge” on a facebook post is a sure sign that it was posted by a person or that the person is a constituent. Such things are easy to fake.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/mueller-roadmap/553604/

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Posted in 2016, 2018, Campaign Finances, Constituents, Political | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Infrastructure

reedtown-hall

Our Greatest Threat is our National Debt.–Rep. Tom Reed

This fake proposal  (Trump’s) will not address the serious infrastructure needs facing this country, so our potholed roads will get worse, our bridges and transit systems will become more dangerous, and our tolls will become higher. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)

 

Rep. Tom Reed/Problem Solvers President Trump Reference
We must fulfill our duty
to provide stable, long-term funding … while also encouraging innovative financing …
generate $1.5 trillion (actually, Federal funding would be cut and no new money appropriated) Problem Solvers/The Hill
Congress must also cut red tape and stop gridlock when it prevents projects from moving forward in as expedient a manner as possible … streamline the permitting process down to two years
We need a national
commitment to ensure that every American can connect to the internet, and that commitment needs to be on the
same order as our country’s commitment to rural electrification in the 1930s.
invest in rural infrastructure projects
advance workforce training.

 

 

  • Local matching funds could come from sales or property taxes or user fees.–Bart Jansen, USA Today
  • Lawmakers seem more interested in rural broadband than potholes.
  • Surprisingly, the Problem Solvers hint at support for increasing the tax on gasoline (called gas user fee), long opposed by Rep. Tom Reed.
  • Interestingly, Rural Electrification was often done by Rural Electric Cooperatives, part of “The New Deal,” disparaged by some as socialism.

http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/373357-white-house-to-propose-15-trillion-infrastructure-proposal

https://reed.house.gov/uploadedfiles/psc_infrastructure_report.pdf

http://www.thv11.com/news/nation-world/trump-unveils-15-trillion-infrastructure-plan-proposes-cuts-to-other-federal-programs/517450218

Posted in Congress, Political, Reed's Views, Trump | Tagged | Leave a comment

Can you believe it?

believe it.jpgAstounding facts:

  • Dozens of high-level Trump Administration officials still working with temporary security clearances after one year.
  • Trump campaign still under investigation for collusion and obstruction with no end in sight.
  • Secrets made public for political purposes against the advice of intelligence agencies.
  • Trump appointees Sessions, Rosenstein, and others demeaned by President Trump.
  • President Trump won’t read briefings; insists on oral reports.
  • President Trump reportedly acts on information from TV news he favors.
  • President Trump stoops to trading insults with the North Korean dictator.
  • President Trump demands appointees put loyalty before duty.
  • President Trump still tweeting recklessly.
  • President Trump accuses Democrats of disloyalty for not applauding his remarks.
  • Trump Administration cites “alternative facts.”
  • Wars in Levant, Afghanistan recklessly reinvigorated.
  • Department of Justice attacking state laws, sanctuary cities.
  • ICE officers dragging people out of their homes for deportation.
  • President Trump’s public lies reportedly over a thousand in the first year.
  • Little or no action to prevent future Russian interference in our elections.
  • FBI attacked by the Trump Administration for partisan bias.
  • President Trump involved in sex scandal.
  • Ignoring emoluments clause, President Trump and family shamelessly profiting from public office.
  • President Trump failed to release tax return as promised.
  • Republicans pass budget busting tax cuts.
  • Republicans back budget busting budget.
  • President Trump still insisting on something he can call a wall.
  • Doomsday clock moved closer to midnight.

How can this be the new normal?

Readers, please add more astounding facts to the list.

Posted in Trump | 4 Comments

Three more bad bills

headacheRep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) writes about three bad bills considered and passed by the House this week:

Note: the three boldface bill titles are tounge-in-cheek.

The End to Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 772, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act. This legislation amends nutritional disclosure requirements mandated under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Under that law, restaurants with 20 or more locations must disclose how many calories are in their menu items. H.R. 772 delays this requirement and gives restaurants more flexibility in how they comply with it. If an establishment primarily receives orders from customers online or over the phone, the legislation exempts them from posting calorie counts in their facility. Instead, they only have to make the information available online.

Lose the Freedom to Make a Fair Mortgage Choice Act

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 1153, the Mortgage Choice Act. With this legislation, House Republicans are once again attempting to weaken the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Under Dodd-Frank mortgage lenders are required to assess whether a borrower has the ability to pay back the loans they are requesting. This is called the “ability to repay” rule. That rule also caps points and fees on mortgage add-on products such as title insurance and escrow fees, limiting them to no more than 3% of the amount being borrowed. H.R. 1153 would lift the cap on title companies and other service providers that are affiliated with the mortgage lender, taking us back to the crisis days when countless homebuyers fell victim to high fees generated through steering and collusion. This bill is a giant step backwards for homebuyers.

The Let’s Incentivize Banks to Take on More Debt Act

On Thursday the House considered H.R. 4771, the Small Bank Holding Company Relief Act. This legislation directs the Federal Reserve Board to raise the small bank holding company threshold from $1 billion to $3 billion. This is the amount of debt a bank is allowed to take on. The threshold was just increased from $500 million to $1 billion in 2014 and there has not been enough time to fully assess the impact of that change on the industry. Tripling the threshold to $3 billion will lead to banks taking on more debt. It could also lead to more bank consolidation, with smaller community banks being taken over by larger institutions because now they can carry more debt.

While we may have been distracted by the budget debate, Republicans voted overwhelmingly for all three of these bills, all of which may reflect indiscriminate animosity to regulations.

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2018/roll056.xml

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2018/roll064.xml

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2018/roll066.xml

 

 

 

Posted in Congress, Political, Reed's Views | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

NY-23 Democratic Candidate Poll

 

A group of engaged and concerned Citizens of the NY-23rd Congressional District has created a poll about the seven democratic candidates trying to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for the November election. The poll is not associated with any particular candidate.

When you follow the link at the bottom of this article you see statements the candidates have provided for this poll. There will also be  links to each candidate’s campaign website. I have also provided links to handouts each candidate provided at the Issue-Focused Forum held in Geneva on January 23.

You are asked to rank the top three candidates you feel will be the strongest candidates to represent our district.  The results of the poll will be given to each candidate, and will be made public. This information should help people decide who to support in the Democratic Primary election on June 26. The poll ends at 11:59 pm on Thursday, February  8. Feel free to pass information to others.

Links to the Candidates’s Hand Outs from the Issue-Focused Forum:

Don’t forget that you have opportunities to help the ultimate candidate by donating to the  Act Blue–Reed Free 23! The funds collected will be placed in an escrow account which will be given directly to the winner of the June 26 primary.

You can also donate to  the “Your NY-23 PAC” which will promote information about Rep. Reed’s voting record during the campaign. Follow this link to more information about this project.

Follow this link to get to the poll.  Remember it closes at 11:59 on Thursday Night, February 8!

 

 

 

 

Posted in 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is there a “golden mean” between extremes in politics?

 

magna carta

Magna Carta: King John  recognized the rights or noblemen and ordinary Englishmen. It established the principle that no one, including the king or a lawmaker, is above the law. 

One might … conjecture that there is a limiting situation of some sort, a “boundary” with all convergent series on one side, all divergent series on the other side–at least as far as series with monotonic coefficients are concerned. This notion of “boundary” is of course quite vague. The point … is this: No matter how we make this notion precise, the conjecture is false.–“Principles of Mathematical Analysis,” Walter Rudin, 1964

 

The unfortunate government shutdown is further proof that the extremes on both sides of the aisle continue to focus on their own self interests and not the needs of the American people. I am deeply disappointed these extremists, who are refusing to compromise, have prevailed.–Rep. Tom Reed, Jan 20, 2018, facebook

Is there a “golden mean” between extremes in politics?

Is there a point between extremes that somehow defines what is right and reasonable in political discourse. Tom Reed seems to believe there is, and that his political views and the compromise position of the “problem solvers” defines it. However:

  • There is no continuum of political belief.
  • Left and right, conservative and liberal, are not well defined.
  • Compromise between contrary interests doesn’t necessarily reflect wisdom nor result in justice.

Was the Magna Carta, by which King John ceded power to the barons liberal or conservative? I think liberal–it started a progressive trend away from absolute monarchy. On the other hand, at least initially, it recognized the existing balance of power between the monarch and the barons–the ruling class. Was it liberal in that it recognized change or conservative in that it presumed to codify the status quo?

What about the Constitution? Overall it seems liberal: it established a republic rather than a monarchy, which some favored. It was much more conservative in its original form than it is today. The amendment process, which facilitates change without revolution,  is a very liberal notion. Are the First, Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Amendments liberal and the Second and Tenth conservative? Perhaps that depends on how they are interpreted by the courts.

Consider the recent tax bill; is it liberal or conservative?

  • Is it liberal to favor tax cuts for workers regardless of how distributed or funded?
  • Is it conservative to increase deficit spending?
  • Is it conservative to support change in favor of the rich?
  • Is it conservative to predict cutting tax rates will increase revenue?

In my opinion, this “reform” is neither liberal or conservative but reckless and opportunistic.

No matter how we try to make the notion precise, there is no halfway between right and wrong.

 

 

Posted in Constitution, Political, Reed's Views, Taxes | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Do we read only headlines?

headlines.jpg

It doesn’t make headlines, but the most important job we have is helping our constituents and small businesses…Rep. Tom Reed

 

Do we read beyond the headlines? President Trump may not. Tom Reed may not and suppose we don’t either. Tom recently posted articles on facebook with these headlines:

  • Great news for hardworking Americans: “U.S. Adds 200,000 Jobs; Wages Rise by Most Since Recession
  • Tax bill beginning to deliver bigger paychecks to workers

Tom may not have read beyond the headlines, but his constituents did. Here is a sample of what they found:

  • The U-6, or underemployment rate, rose to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent; measure includes part-time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want a job but aren’t actively looking
  • People working part-time for economic reasons rose by 74,000 to 4.99 million in January, though months aren’t directly comparable
  • Julia Ketchum, a secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week.
  • Todd Anderson of Texas and his fiance, who are both educators, got an extra $200 in their paychecks combined to cover the costs of a second baby on its way.
  • Tom Reed: did you read the article? Are we jumping up and down for an extra $100 or $78? And what happens to social security, Medicare, and Medicaid when these programs are targeted to make up the difference for the big tax cuts for your rich donors?
  • “He said it’s not enough to feel like a windfall or change his spending habits, but is a pleasant change. Yet, he thinks the tax overhaul wasn’t really about him or other workers, but more about corporations and the wealthy. “I think the people this bill made the most difference for are the ones who needed it least,” he said.”
  • “Wayne Love, who works in managed care in Spring Hill, Florida, got an extra $200 in his paycheck last week, which he said will help offset a $300 increase in the cost of his health insurance.”
  • Did you read the article, Tom? In the examples cited the increases are pathetically small. $78 dollars a year? For this we are giving billions to you and your cronies who will then slash Medicare and Social Security? This is outrageous highway robbery, taking from the working folk to give to the obscenely wealthy.

Did Tom or the staff member who posted it read beyond the headline? Does Tom know that his constituents may read what he posts? What do readers think?

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-02/u-s-added-200-000-jobs-in-january-wages-rise-most-since-2009

https://www.apnews.com/8821fda1e08b4416a51baa5504b33b44

Posted in Reed's Views, Taxes, Trump | 7 Comments