Overcoming Healthcare Challenges in NY23’s Rural Landscapes

Overcoming Healthcare Challenges in NY23's Rural Landscapes

In the rural expanses of New York’s 23rd district, individuals encounter a particular set of difficulties regarding healthcare. Commonly, it’s like playing a game with high stakes and an unfair advantage, only here lives are on the line. But like any match, this one can be turned around with strategic bets on novelty and community participation that open up fresh expectations.

To some residents living in rural NY23, the nearest clinic or hospital could be hours away. This means that going for checkups is hard and so is getting emergency services; hence people in these places have worse health outcomes than those in urban areas which are closer to such facilities. And there’s also another thing: few doctors want to work in remote places where there aren’t many patients.

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“Republicans in Congress have blocked every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.”

Did President Obama tell a whopper when he claimed that  “Republicans in Congress have blocked every serious idea to strengthen the middle class?” The NRCC says he did. 

President Obama was greeted this morning with a scathing fact check calling him out for another one of his ridiculous claims. The Washington Post took Obama to task for claiming “Republicans in Congress have blocked every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.”

“But, let’s face it, the Republicans have their own list of bills passed in the House but which have failed to progress in the Senate, which they also claim are serious and enjoy popular support. For instance, one pending bill would approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found is supported by Americans by a 3 to 1 margin. The House list, displayed on Boehner’s Web site, includes nearly 50 bills, of which only a handful have been signed by the president into law.”

Instead of getting the Democrat controlled Senate to act on the 285 House passed bills, President Obama continues to treat the presidency as a spectator sport.

If the Fundraiser-in-Chief were to stay in Washington, DC, he would notice that several of the House passed bills will help strengthen the middle class. For example, last week the Republican controlled House passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act which will create job training programs emphasizing on education and training.

The NRCC cites the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The Washington Post cites two more examples, The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) and The Farm Bill, as serious efforts not blocked by Republicans. WaPo awarded the President three Pinocchios. Was this justified?

    • The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R.803), after a compromise with the Senate, reauthorized existing law with changes; it funds job training program which might not meet the standard for a serious idea to strengthen the middle class.
    • The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) may have been a serious idea, but it isn’t a new one. The 2014 version which extends existing law passed after a compromise was reached with the Senate on revisions to existing law.
    • The Farm Bill certainly is serious, and it was blocked for years by Republicans and nearly derailed by the effort to defund SNAP.

By claiming that “Republicans in Congress have blocked every serious idea to strengthen the middle class,” President Obama left himself open to criticism. He might better have said “almost every idea.” Still I would rate his statement “mostly true.” Can we expect no more from Republicans than they not block every serious idea to strengthen the middle class? That is a very low standard; Americans deserve far more from Congress than that.

© William Hungerford – July 2014




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Reform the Court

Christ, we’ve got to be able to do better than this.— Justice Rhenquist quoted in Woodward and Armstrong, The Brethran, on President Nixon’s suggested candidates for two vacancies on the court in 1971.

Robert Reich offers three suggestions for reforming the Supreme Court:

  • A code of ethics
  • Term limits
  • Expand the Court

I believe these suggestions, if implemented, would prove ineffective.

The problem with The Supreme Court is that justices are appointed and confirmed for wrong reasons. Here is how it has worked:

  • The President selects a candidate presumed to have certain political leanings, or for other reasons unrelated to legal qualifications.
  • The president’s party in the Senate rallies in support of the candidate.
  • The Candidate promises independence and integrity.
  • Members of the Senate suspend disbelief.
  • The Candidate is confirmed.

Robert Reich’s suggestions don’t address this root problem.

A justice could be squeaky clean and still have a political bias or other faults. Justices receiving gifts and hiding them undermines public confidence in the Court, but prohibiting gifts wouldn’t make an unsatisfactory justice more responsible. Ethical and other virtues–honorable, respectable, responsible–aren’t equivalent.

Term limits might be effective in limiting the damage an unsatisfactory justice could do, but would be ineffective if an unsatisfactory one were followed by an unsatisfactory other. Term limits don’t address the root problem of the selection process and might lead to other problems, decisions might be influenced by the time remaining in a justice’s term, for example.

Robert Reich offers this as a means to put more liberal justices on the Court. Again, this fails to address the root problem. At best, this would be a short-term solution. It would set a terrible precedent, destabilizing constitutional government.

The constitutional way to reform the Supreme Court is clear–the people must elect better candidates for Federal elective offices.

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On December 22, 1944 American troops were sent an ultimatum from the German forces outside of the town of Bastogne demanding “the honorable surrender” of the town within two hours. General Anthony McAuliffe’s reply was: N U T S !


The movie Proud, produced by Ally Hilfiger and filmed in Elmira and Buffalo, has a striking scene with Captain and crew repelling an attempted invasion of their ship. It was a naval Capitan and crew, not a four star Russian General, a single ship not a major military base, the invaders were two rowdies, not a heavily armed militia; yet the principle is the same–armed military units must defend their position.

Russian Colonel General Sergey Kuzovlev reportedly allowed Wagner paramilitary forces to occupy his military headquarters. What could have been his motivation?

  • Did he not think it his duty to resist?
  • Did he lack the means to resist?
  • Was he unwilling to act without orders from above?
  • Did he fear that Russian soldiers would refuse his orders?
  • Was he sympathetic to the Wagner militia?
  • Was he waiting to see what would happen?

The 2021 attack on the US Capitol was more a riot than a serious insurrection, yet there is a warning for us in the news from Russia. Our NY Representatives seem reluctant to hold public meetings. News is dominated by firearm violence. There was a plot to kidnap the Governor of Michigan, a plot to overthrow The Constitution. Militant groups here threaten armed insurrection. Are Governors, law enforcement officers and military planners ready to protect public meetings, government buildings and military bases? They should review their plans.

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Rep. Langworthy’s Fighting Words

All hat and no cattle — Texas folk saying

  1. Third-world tin-pot dictatorship
  2. Union boss
  3. Biden’s border crisis
  4. Sanctuary cities
  5. Illegal immigrants
  6. Trump-Russia hoax
  7. Outrageous news
  8. Bureaucrats
  9. Corrupt legacy media
  10. Deep state
  11. Accountability is coming
  12. Executive overreach

Unions gave us weekends. Bureaucracy is an efficient form of organization. Legacy media checks facts. The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order.

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Citing specific examples from Playboy, Vogue, and Cosmopolitan magazines, Professor Key explains the ways in which the media uses sex and violence to manipulate human action. — Google Books

Given his obvious incompetence, why do so many of us approve of President Trump? Misogyny, racism, xenophobia seem insufficient explanations. Ignorance alone can’t be enough. Could we be brainwashed?

In “Subliminal Seduction,” author Wilson Bryan Key explains how advertisers use fleeting images to influence opinion. Key claims that advertising images aren’t accidental — clouds, liquids, reflections include subtle images designed to influence the audience.

Political advertising frequently uses images, sometimes what appear to be photographs, altered to frighten or sow distrust. While doubtless effective, ordinary advertising can’t be expected to excuse or hide corruption and incompetence. Perhaps we had better take a more careful look at political advertising to discern how our opinions are manipulated.

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Dunkirk Power Plant

We care about the hardworking men and women of Chautauqua County. Unfortunately, the end result of today’s announcement will be a shuttered NRG power plant. This win for environmental extremists will leave us with a weakened economy and higher taxes. We must come together and find the commonsense solutions to meet our energy needs, use natural gas to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern crude oil and create the quality, family-sustaining jobs our region needs. — Tom Reed

  • Should NRG be allowed to walk away from their obsolete plant, or should they be required to tear it down and clean up the lake shore site?
  • Are only “environmental extremists” concerned about our planet, or should we all be concerned?
  • Lower local taxes for some at the expense of others? Is this fair?
  • Is the only “common sense solution” to burn gas?
  • Relatively few workers are needed to staff a power plant. The jobs will move elsewhere, not disappear.

Should decisions about power generation be made by experts or by politicians? For this author, the answer is clear.

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Term Limits for Congress

He went of to Congress and served a spellFixin’ up the government and laws as well.Took over Washington, I heard tell,

And patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell.

The Ballad of Davy Crockett, words by Thomas Blackburn

Term limits for Congress require an amendment to The Constitution. Two letters in two days have come to me urging term limits for members of Congress. This is a terrible idea–we can vote bad apples out now, if we have the will. With term limits, inexperienced members would have no goal but to get rich quick. Remember John Boehner’s complaint about newly elected members? Term limits would make lunacy the new normal.

Nikki Haley, Honorary Chair of “Stand for America” writes: “You know it’s too late to stop the damage done by the decades Pelosi, Waters, Schiff, and others have spent in office. But it’s not too late to stop this new class of radicals (Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib) from inflicting several more decades of damage.”

Specifically Haley’s letter claims Rep. Ocasio-Cortez seeks to push socialist policies such as Medicare for all and a green new deal on an unwilling country. She blames Rep. Omar for statements she finds offensive. She attacks Rep. Tlaib for naming Israel as a racist state.

Haley suggests that term limits will force these representatives, elected by the voters in their districts, out of office. Of course she asks for money.

Senator Cruz, writing on behalf of “US Term Limits,” assures readers that voters want ordinary Americans, who will only serve for a short time, to take office, solve our problems, and then go home. Cruz also asks for money.

Businesses recognize that experience is valuable. Experienced workers are rewarded with higher than starting wages. The same is true for Congress–experience is valuable, members doing a good job need to be retained.

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Trump, Cruz, Reed, TPP & Fast Tracking

Donald Trump held a rally in Rochester on Sunday, April 10. I watched the broadcast.

His tone was classic Trump and the crowd was a bit less rowdy than some. The content  was not much different than others rallies, but I took note when I heard:

 “We are going to get it straighten out folks. TPP, now listen to this, the Trade Pact that is  a disaster. It will be worst for you,  for upstate New York, New England,  the entire country. It will be worst than NAFA. It will be the worst. Ted Cruz is totally in favor of it. Now, think about it. (The crowd starts to chant) Lyin’ Ted, Lyin’ Ted”

I was surprised to hear that Sen. Cruz supported the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

I fact-check Trump’s claim and found out:

  • Sen. Ted Cruz co-authored (with Rep. Raul Ryan) an OP-Ed in the Wall Street Journal (4/21/15) supporting the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). That would give the Congress the right to “Fast Track” the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). With TPA Congress would give up the its right to amend or filibuster TPP. It also would require only a simple majority to pass TPP, instead of a two-thirds super majority vote.
  • The Senate approved the fast track bill by voice vote, meaning that we  do not know how Cruz, or any senator, voted.
  • After the House passed their fast tracking bill (HR2146)  the Senate and the House needed to resolve the differences between the approved bills. Sen. Cruz voted AGAINST resolving the difference, but the bill was approved , 60-38.

Trump and others, believe that supporting the Fast Track bill meant that you support the Trans Pacific Partnership.

But wait…didn’t our representative, and Trump’s Leadership Team Co-Chair, Tom Reed also supported the Fast Tracking bill?

Reed didn’t write an OP-ED about Fast Tracking, but he posted two Press Releases which supported it.

“This smart bipartisan proposal ensures New York manufacturers get fair access to international markets to continue to make it here and sell it there. Additionally, it will provide crucial new markets for New York’s farmers, allowing them higher value exportable products to new consumers. I care about the well-being of the families of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes and know that TPA will provide jobs and opportunity to our area.”

“Every day TPA is not passed is another lost opportunity for American workers and businesses. Other nations are filling the void. America should lead the way, not be left behind.”

Not only was Reed enthusiastic about how Fast Tracking would help workers, businesses and district’s families, he voted for it TWICE:

  • once when the House approved it (May 17) and
  • once when the House approved resolving the differences in the House and Senate’s bills (June 18)

If you attended any of Tom Reed’s Town Hall Meetings in the first 10 months of 2015 you would have heard the benefits of Fast Tracking and how the TPP would open the world markets to goods from our region.

Soon after John Plumb announced that he intended to run for congress in the NY 23rd Congressional District in July 2015,  he declared that he was opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership. Plumb  feels that “The TPP is no substitute for a comprehensive economic strategy. It took Rep. Reed until November to finally decide that he would (or should) not approve TPP.

In Donald Trump’s mind Senator Cruz, by writing the OP-ED supporting Fast Tracking and then changing his mind and voted against it, somehow makes him “Totally in favor of it (TPP)”.  But Reed, by voting for Fast Tracking TWICE,  then changing his mind on supporting TPP, is qualified  to be a Co-Chair of Trump’s Leadership Team.

I don’t understand the logic in  Trumpland.


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Rep. Capuano on this weeks work in the Capitol.

Rep. Capuano (D-MA) writes:

Insurance Industry Regulation

On Wednesday (Dec 7, 2016) the House considered H.R. 5143, the Transparent Insurance Standards Act of 2016. This legislation, like last week’s Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act of 2016 is yet another attempt to weaken the Dodd Frank Financial Regulatory Reform Act. H.R. 5143 targets reforms implemented for the insurance industry. You may recall that during the financial crisis in 2008, the insurance company American International Group (AIG) practically fell apart. This was a key factor in the economic crisis that ensued. The Dodd Frank Act increased oversight of the insurance industry by establishing a framework to identify insurance industry risks. It created the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) to coordinate some of this activity and develop appropriate policies relative to international insurance matters. The FIO is also responsible for working with state insurance regulators so their views are taken into account, particularly when it comes to international insurance policies. H.R. 5143 weakens the Dodd Frank Act by essentially requiring that the Treasury Department have support from all state and territory insurance commissioners when entering into international insurance agreements. This is simply an impossible standard to meet, weakening the authority of the Treasury Department and the FIO.  The Administration has stated that this legislation will be vetoed.

H.R. 5143 passed 239/170. Rep. Reed voted AYE.

Continuing Resolution

Yesterday the House considered the Fiscal Year 2017 Continuing Resolution (CR) which funds the federal government through April 28, 2017. At that time, a third extension will be necessary for the rest of the fiscal year. This simply delays important spending decisions and makes it difficult for federal agencies to engage in long term planning.

Because the CR extends last year’s budget, it doesn’t include funding provided through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST) which passed earlier this year. This includes money to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) on commuter railroads as well as funds for highways and transit projects. The legislation contains a waiver for General James Mattis, President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense. A waiver is necessary because Defense Secretaries must be out of the military for seven years and this is not the case with General Mattis. The waiver clears the way for the Senate to consider this nomination. A continuing resolution is not the appropriate vehicle for such a serious matter. It was done only once before in our history, when President Truman asked General George C. Marshall, who had already served as Secretary of State, to take over the Department of Defense in the early days of the Korean War. General Mattis may well be a good choice, but there should have been a debate about an issue that affects civilian control over the military.

The legislation passed 326/96. Rep. Reed voted AYE.


Water Infrastructure

Yesterday the House considered S. 612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. This is a compromise version of the reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). S. 612 supports water resources development projects under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers. This legislation contains a provision I’ve advanced that increases the federal share of deeper dredging projects from 50 to 75%. This applies to the Boston Harbor dredging work already authorized, reducing local cost by at least $14 million.

Unfortunately the legislation contained several troubling provisions, including dozens of pages added at the last minute directing water use in Southern California. This will have an environmental as well as economic impact, placing fisheries at risk and endangering fishery jobs. S. 612 also exempts “forest management” projects from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which will allow thousands of acres of National Forest to be cut down. This bill even approves funds for a development project in Texas so that a waterfront park and sports fields can be built. The bill passed by the House ensured that funds in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be used specifically for dredging projects. S. 612 doesn’t address this issue at all so that money can’t be accessed.

S. 612 passed 360/61. Rep. Reed voted AYE.


Tom Reed seldom explains his votes. Most likely, he votes as the party whip suggests.

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