Catch 22

catch 22.jpg

In Joseph Heller’s novel, everything that sounds good has a catch that means it is too good to be true, at least for you. Politics is like that; here are some examples:

 

 

  • The President can be impeached, but only after committing a “high crime”–too late to prevent it.
  • The President can be removed under the Twenty-fifth Amendment if disabled, but only if the entire cabinet appointed by the President agrees.
  • The Constitution should be taken literally, but “a well organized militia” can be ignored.
  • The Constitution should be taken literally, but “corporations are persons under the law.”
  • The Constitution should be taken literally, but corporate funded campaign advertising is “speech.”
  • The First Amendment guarantees “Freedom of the Press,” but the NY Times had better shut up.
  • Civil rights are important, but not if your rights conflict with someone’s religious views.
  • Separation of Church and State is important, but it’s ok for taxpayers to pay for religious education.
  • States’ rights are important, but should be overridden when fracking is at issue.
  • You can have “access” to health care, but you can’t afford it.
  • You can have a tax cut, if the rich and super rich get a bigger one.
  • You can have a tax cut, with an offsetting cut to SS and Medicare benefits.
  • Social Security and Medicare can be saved, only if benefits are cut.
  • Women’s health care is important, but not if Planned Parenthood is the provider.
  • Environmental protection is important, but not if protection affects profits.
  • Conflict of interest rules apply, but not if you are very rich.
  • Nepotism is wrong, but not if you are President.

I think I could go on; perhaps readers will suggest more.

 

Posted in Congress, Political, President | Tagged | 2 Comments

Tom Reed’s 1Q 2017 Contributions

reed manchester     Tom’s top 1Q 2017 contributors of $5000 are listed below. These are the largest amounts reported. With one exception, the smallest contribution reported was $250.

“Contributor’s Name “,”Contributor’s Address “,”Employer/Occupation “, “Date “,”Amount ($) “,”Aggregate ($)”,”Limits”

“USAA Employee PAC”,
“601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 225 Washington,DC,03/10/17,5000,5000,

“Exelon PAC”,
“101 Constitution Ave NW Washington, DC,03/28/17,5000,5000

“Prosperity Action Committee”,”320 1st St SE
Washington, DC, 03/31/17,5000,5000,

“Solar Energy Industries Association PAC”,”600 14th St NW Ste 400
Washington, DC 200052013″,,,,,03/21/17,5000,5000,

“Caterpillar PAC (CATPAC)”,”1425 K St NW Ste 400
Washington, DC 200053685″,,,,,03/28/17,5000,5000,

“NACSPAC”,”1600 Duke Street
Alexandria, Virginia 223143466″,,,,,03/28/17,5000,5000,

“Grant Thornton PAC”,”1250 Connecticut Ave NW Ste 400
Washington, DC 200362660″,,,,,03/31/17,5000,5000,

“Amgen PAC”,”601 13th Street NW Floor 12
Washington, DC 200053819″,,,,,03/31/17,5000,5000,

“Anheuser Busch Companies Inc. PAC”,”1401 I Street NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 200056549″,,,,,03/31/17,5000,10000,

“Raytheon PAC”,”1100 Wilson Boulevard Suite 1500
Arlington, Virginia 222093900″,,,,,03/20/17,5000,5000,

“Aetna Inc. PAC”,”20 F Street NW Suite 350
Washington, DC 200016706″,,,,,03/31/17,5000,5000,

“Verizon Comm. Inc PAC”,”1300 1 St. NW Suite 400 West
Washington, DC 20005″,,,,,03/28/17,5000,5000,

“AT&T Federal PAC”,”1133 21st Street NW Suite 900
Washington, DC 200363333″,,,,,03/28/17,5000,5000,

“Abbott Laboratories Better Gov’t Fund”,”1399 New York Avenue NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 200054732″,,,,,03/31/17,5000,5000,

“Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers”,”701 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 200042608″,,,,,02/28/17,5000,5000,

“John Deere PAC”,”1 John Deere Place
Moline, Illinois 612658010″,,,,,03/28/17,5000,5000,

“Action Committee for Rural Electrificat”,”4301 Wilson Boulevard Suite 1
Arlington, Virginia 222031867″,,,,,02/27/17,5000,5000,

“Constellation Brands Inc., PAC”,”207 High Point Drive Bldg. 100
Victor, New York 145641061″,,,,,03/31/17,5000,5000,

“UBS Americas Inc PAC”,”1501 K Street NW Suite 1100
Washington, DC 200051410″,,,,,03/13/17,5000,5000,

“Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers”,”701 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 200042608″,,,,,03/09/17,5000,10000,

“Nucor Corporation PAC”,”801 17th St NW Suite 201
Washington, DC 200063921″,,,,,03/31/17,5000,5000,

“Owens-illinois Inc Employees Good Citiz”,”1 Michael Owens Way
Perrysburg, Ohio 435512999″,,,,,03/31/17,5000,5000,

“Anheuser Busch Companies Inc. PAC”,”1401 I Street NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 200056549″,,,,,03/31/17,5000,10000,

The above “people” want Tom to remember them. No wonder (ATT, Verizon) Tom voted against internet privacy.

How about these?

“Carmine Priore, III”,”2524 Cooper Way
Wellington, Florida 334143412″,”NextEra / Engineer “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“Tom Broad”,”4009 Faraday Way
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 334186058″,”NextEra / VP “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“John Ketchum”,”450 Savoie Dr
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 334101606″,”Nextera Energy / CFO “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“James R Robo”,”15100 Palmwood Rd
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 334101026″,”Nextera Energy / Chairman & CEO “,,,,03/03/17,2500,2500,

“Mark Hickson”,”2474 Indian Rd N
North Palm Beach, Florida 33408″,”Nextera Energy / Exec VP Corp Development “,,,,03/08/17,1000,1000,

“William Yeager”,”5415 SW Wilbur Ave
Palm City, Florida 349908363″,”Nextera Energy / Exec VP Engineering “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“Alex Rubio”,”3436 S Caroline Dr
Jupiter, Florida 334588249″,”Nextera Energy / Executive “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“Eric Gleason”,”12329 Channel Dr
North Palm Beach, Florida 334082520″,”NextEra Energy / Executive “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“Eric Silagy”,”134 Grand Palm Way
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 334184630″,”Nextera Energy / Executive “,,,,03/16/17,1000,1000,

“Mr. John DiDonato”,”5558 High Flyer Rd N
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 334187715″,”Nextera Energy / Executive “,,,,03/10/17,1000,1000,

“Kate Stengle”,”155 Segovia Way
Jupiter, Florida 334582725″,”Nextera Energy / Internal Audit “,,,,03/10/17,1000,1000,

“Miguel Arechabala”,”861 SW Bay Pointe Cir
Palm City, Florida 349901757″,”Nextera Energy / Operations “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“Armando Pimentel”,”8608 SE Merritt Way
Jupiter, Florida 334581000″,”Nextera Energy / President & CEO “,,,,03/10/17,1000,1000,

“Matthew S. Handel”,”146 Santiago Dr
Jupiter, Florida 334582721″,”Nextera Energy / Project Developer “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“William Scott Seeley”,”5970 Indian Creek Dr Apt PH 1
Miami Beach, Florida 331402288″,”Nextera Energy / Secretary & VP Compliance “,,,,03/10/17,1000,1000,

“Lawrence Silverstein”,”700 Universe Blvd.
Juno Beach, Florida 334082657″,”Nextera Energy / SVP “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“Michael O’Sullivan”,”700 Universe Blvd.
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 334082657″,”Nextera Energy / Svp “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“Paul Cutler”,”19842 Wilkinson Leas Rd
Jupiter, Florida 334692178″,”Nextera Energy / Treasurer “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“Francis Wiley”,”3000 N Ocean Dr Unit 12-A
Riviera Beach, Florida 334043268″,”Nextera Energy / VP “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“John J. Coneys”,”700 Universe Blvd. CTX/JB
Juno Beach, Florida 334082657″,”Nextera Energy / VP & Chief Tax Officer “,,,,03/06/17,1000,1000,

“Kathy Beilhart”,”103 N River Dr E
Jupiter, Florida 334583767″,”NextEra Energy / VP Finance “,,,,03/03/17,1000,1000,

“Christopher T Chapel”,”801 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 220
Washington, DC 200042679″,”Nextera Energy / VP Govt Affairs “,,,,03/07/17,1000,1000,

These add up to $23,500. No wonder Tom claims to be Mr. Wind, Mr. Solar, and joined the climate change caucus.

https://www.nexteraenergyresources.com/home/index.shtml

http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/forms/C00464032/1157622/sa/ALL

Posted in Campaign Finances | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Militarism

twitterWe have the greatest military in the world…We have given them total authorization…If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really with what’s happened over the last eight years, you’ll see there’s a tremendous difference. Tremendous difference.–President Donald Trump

Yes, I see a tremendous difference, but nothing to celebrate: War was not the answer in Korea or Vietnam. It wasn’t the answer in Afghanistan or Iraq. It isn’t the answer today in Afghanistan, Korea or Syria.

  • Korea: War in Korea had reached a stalemate. President Eisenhower insisted on a ceasefire which ended the killing. During more than 50 years of relative peace, South Korea at least has prospered.
  • Vietnam: Recall the “domino theory?” We had to fight and win in Vietnam or the whole of SE Asia would be “lost.” We abandoned the war, peace and prosperity followed. The “domino theory” was bunk.
  • Afghanistan: The Russians tried to tame Afghanistan by establishing a proxy government there; they failed. GWB thought he could win cheap by supporting a faction known as the “Northern Alliance;” that led to years of inconclusive war there. President Obama then worked to reduce US involvement in Afghanistan. Can a return to active participation in war there be wise?
  • Iraq: We fought in Iraq; one unsatisfactory government was replaced with another. Conflict continues there.
  • Syria: The Obama Administration resisted pressure to intervene in the Syrian Civil war other than to give limited support to those battling ISIS. The political situation in Syria is complex. Our goal ought to be to seek a ceasefire and political settlement in Syria, not to widen the war there.
  • Korea again:  What good could possibly come from war in Korea even if it caused the rapid collapse of the North Korean government? What would be the cost? What is our exit strategy? What might the Koreans do to thwart our plans?

Nuclear weapons are a threat to life on Earth. There is nothing extraordinary about Korea or Iran that sets them clearly apart from India, Pakistan, Israel, Britain, France, Russia, China, or the USA. Rather than threaten war, we should work for peace and the elimination of these weapons in every country.

Donald Trump is like Sleeping Beauty–waking up after 50 years in dreamland, knowing nothing, with no experience in government, he assiduously sets out to retry mistakes of the past. He needs good advice, but instead relies on his equally naive children.

“Total authorization” is militarism–there is good reason for civilian control of the military. Senior military officers surely know that guns and bombs are no cure for terrorism and insurgency. Civilian officials in the Trump Administration ought to recognize that as well.

 

Posted in Congress, Defense, Political, President, Terrorism, Trump, War | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Election Results

vote_image                I thought to check if NY-23 election results corresponded to voter registration. Considering only Republicans and Democrats, I made this table.

Candidate Votes (thousands) Party Registration (thousands)
Democratic 106 130
Republican 137 153

As expected, party registration corresponded to vote totals: Tom Reed got about 30% more votes than John Plumb; there are about 18% more registered Republicans than Democrats. A chi squared test showed only a 20% chance that the vote didn’t reflect registration.

Then I thought to include minor parties; was I surprised!

Candidate Votes (thousands) Party Registration (thousands)
Democratic 106 130
Republican 137 153
Conservative 16 8
Working Families 12 2
Independence 7 22
Reform 1 0

Votes for minor parties failed to reflect voter registration. Far more voters voted for John Plumb on the Working Families line than expected; far more voters preferred to vote for Tom Reed on the Conservative or Reform party lines than expected. Many Independence Party voters seem not to have agreed with the party’s decision to back Tom Reed.

One possible explanation is that Republicans and Democrats alike are unhappy with their party. Even though they haven’t registered with a minor party, they prefer to vote for their preferred candidate on a minor party line.

https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/enrollment/congress/congress_nov16.pdf

https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/elections/2016/General/2016Congress.pdf

Posted in 2017, Congress, Political | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Taxes

reed_townhall1

Tom Reed attacking “entitlements.”

What I’m willing to discuss is the way we change Medicaid to get costs under control.–Tom Reed

I care about creating a more fair tax code that encourages job creation and builds a business climate that helps our communities thrive.–Tom Reed

 

What is important to know about taxes:

  • Who pays?
  • How much revenue is required?
  • How much revenue results?

Tom Reed advocates simple, fair, and competitive, which answers none of the important questions and leaves one wondering what he means.

Simple refers to income tax forms; Tom would make them shorter by modifying the current system of deductions and exemptions. This would have consequences. For example, if the student loan deduction were eliminated, those paying off student loans might pay more. It is important not to be beguiled by this:

  • We the people have poor lobbyists.
  • Time and money individuals spend filling taxes is inconsequential compared to what is owed.
  • The current system was created by Congress–pretty much the same people who now offer to reform it.

Can we trust Tom Reed to reform tax law?

What Tom means by “fair” is less clear; it probably refers to “who pays?” Taxes may be:

  • regressive
  • flat
  • progressive

Taxes currently are slightly progressive–marginal tax rates increase with income. Fair is subjective; some argue that flatter is fairer. Whether “fair” or not, the less progressive the taxes, the more benefit for the rich and super rich.

“Competitive” may refer to business taxes reflecting the idea that domestic businesses would be more competitive in overseas markets if free of taxes. I believe this concern is overblown–taxes don’t add to the “cost of sales,” but reduce the profits accrued by owners or shareholders. Tom Reed might like his bill collecting business to pay less in taxes, but his individual taxes would rise accordingly unless he has found a way to avoid paying them.

Tom often promotes the idea that taxes (and regulations) hurt small businesses. This idea is dubious; Tom never offers evidence in support of it. If a business is profitable, it remains profitable after taxes are paid on a portion of the profits.

We often hear the argument that corporate taxes are unnecessary because the cost is passed on to consumers. This isn’t necessarily so–only net earnings are taxed. If market conditions allow it, the impact of taxes might be passed on to consumers. However, the business might as well accept a hit on profits passed on to owners, shareholders or retained in the business. One desirable consequences of corporate taxes is that businesses are encouraged to invest earnings in the business rather than taking profits.

So what about revenue? Tom Reed is known to dislike taxes, to dislike deficit spending and debt, and to dislike spending for certain purposes particularly those which he labels “entitlements.” So whatever tax reform Tom might favor is likely to reduce taxes for some (most likely the wealthy), reduce spending for entitlements, and possibly shrink the anticipated deficit.

“Reform” like “fair” is subjective. What might seem like reform to Tom might seem like a giant step backwards to others. When discussing reform, one needs to ask:

  • Who pays?
  • How much revenue is required?
  • How much revenue results?
  • What government programs would be cut to match available revenue?

Be suspicious of reform when the goal of reform is undefined.

 

 

Posted in Constituents, Economics, Reed's Views, Taxes, Trump | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Reed in Ovid: Climate Control, Planned Parenthood & the National Debt

Dr. David L. Dresser, former Supervisor of the Town of Ovid, had an Opt-Ed in Sunday’s Finger Lake Times that is worth sharing.

He attended Rep. Reed’s March 11 Town Hall Meeting in Ovid, and was able to ask him two questions, and had a third question that he wasn’t able to ask.  His first questions was:

Given the effects of climate change–sea level rise, floods, droughts, violent weather, mudslides, forest fires, air pollution, species execution, human migration, failed states, and so forth–do you agree that Congress should take significant steps immediately to decrease the use of fossil fuels? His answer was, “No.” He supports the development of all energy sources.

His second question:

Given the passage of the Hyde Amendment, no abortions are now paid for by government funds, and given the fact that Planned Parenthood actually prevents abortions by providing access to birth control do you support the the defunding of Planned Parenthood as proposed by the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act? ” His answer was “Yes.” He would rather rely on other organizations to provide information regarding contraception.

The question Dr. Dresser didn’t ask:

“The interest o the national debt is the fastest growing part of the federal government spending; as a fiscal conservative do you consider that acceptable?

Dr. Dresser tells us that he does not find the National Debt acceptable, and points out:

  • federal budget is already more that $5 trillion out of balance
  • Trump plans to increase the budget by raising the military spending by 10% nd building the Mexican Wall
  • our military spending that of the next higher that next seven countries combine

Dresser, like all real Problem Solvers has suggestions that Congress could do to start to solve those problems.  For the Climate questions Congress should:

  •  INVEST in solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy infrastructure at a pace equally putting man on the moon. That would create hundred of thousand skilled and unskilled jobs
  • INCREASE funding for Planned Parenthood promote family planning in foreign countries–decreasing the world’s birth rate–and preserving the planet’s nature resources
  • BALANCE the federal budget in 2017-18 (or atlas significantly decrease the  the revenue -expenditure gap.  (Now for my favorite sentence in the article)–>“If Democratic president Bill Clinton could balance the federal budget, surely conservative Republican businessman like Donald Trump should be able to do so.”

Tom’s two answers were not surprising. He and his cronies use the Coal Industry and Planned Parenthood to galvanize the voting base. Reed supports all possible energy sources, but hand picks which health organizations we can use.  There should be no debate about what his answer would be on the national debt question. He moans about where the debt is going, but let’s see him stand up against Trump’s  proposed budget.

Posted in Town Hall Meeting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Syrian use of chemical weapons revisited

levant

In 2013, Syrian atrocities provoked President Obama to threaten the use of force to destroy chemical weapons. Obama asked Congress to approve the limited use of force. Rep. Tom Reed held “listening sessions.” He opposed President Obama’s request. He said he favored diplomacy without threats. The crisis was resolved when agreement was reached with Russia and Syria which provided for the verified destruction of the prohibited weapons. Congress never voted on “The Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Government of Syria to Respond to Use of Chemical Weapons.”

Now in April, 2017 the question has come up again. Evidently chemical weapons still exist in Syria. Were the Russians fooled by the Syrian government, or did Russia conspire with Syria to conceal prohibited weapons? What now?

President Trump has expressed outrage. Will he undertake some action on his own authority or ask Congress for approval as President Obama did? What position will Rep. Reed take this time?

  • Hold “listening sessions.”
  • Oppose any threat or use of force.
  • Support President Trump without reservation whatever he does.
  • Keep his head down.

The situation is even more difficult in 2017 than in 2013 because of direct Russian intervention in the Syrian Civil war.

The following articles may be of current interest:

https://reed.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/reed-letter-white-house-calls-president-address-nation-syria

https://reed.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/congressman-tom-reed-takes-local-voices-syria-washington

https://newny23rd.com/2013/09/01/rep-reed-to-hold-listening-sessions-on-syria/

https://newny23rd.com/2013/09/02/lets-avoid-partisan-rancor-in-debating-the-resonse-to-syrias-poison-gas-attack/

https://newny23rd.com/2013/09/02/rep-reed-please-look-at-all-aspects-of-the-syrian-crisis-carefully/

https://newny23rd.com/2013/09/03/tom-listened-today-in-big-flats/

https://newny23rd.com/2013/09/04/geneva-listening-session-on-syria/

https://newny23rd.com/2013/09/08/reed-backs-house-defeat-of-syria-authorization/

https://newny23rd.com/2013/09/09/reed-should-support-president-obama-on-syria/

https://newny23rd.com/2013/09/17/reed-was-wrong-on-syria/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_the_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_the_Government_of_Syria_to_Respond_to_Use_of_Chemical_Weapons

Posted in Trump, War | Tagged , | 4 Comments