Dear Tom

 envelope.jpgImitation is the sincerest form of flattery–Colton

Dear Tom,

I haven’t written recently. Writing to you has sometimes seemed fruitless. You reply with a form letter if at all. Still, it is good to hear something from you.

I am delighted that you now claim to be a bipartisan problem solver. Surely that is preferable to the partisan stalwart that we have known till now. I see you are at odds with Speaker Ryan on several issues; I hope that causes you no difficulty.

Bipartisan would surely be an improvement, but do you mean it? One might wonder.

You say you meet with others, listen to their views, and seek common ground. You have also said you listen to your constituents, hear what they say, but never change your mind. Will that be your approach to problem solving?

One problem of the day is health care. I sense that you are frustrated by the apparent failure of ultra-partisan attempts to overthrow Obamacare. Bipartisanship requires not only listening but also compromise. Are you ready to change your mind in a search for common ground? Are you ready to admit that Obamacare does effectively address many important aspects of healthcare, that it is important to the well-being of your constituents? Have you changed your strategy or merely your tactics?

Compromise must entail more than splitting the baby in two. To find an answer to the healthcare dilemma is surely hard. If an answer is found, it should be a good one. I hope you will work toward that end.






Posted in Health Care | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

It all started with a tweet


This article was written by Cath Kestler, a resident of Silver Creek, NY. It also appeared in the Olean Times Herald.

twitterIt all started with a tweet that was heard around the world which was followed by a flurry of whispers and the dominoes began to topple.  The poorly timed tweet is just another attempt by our #DistractorInChief to get our energies and thoughts towards anything but the Russian investigation which is rapidly enveloping everyone surrounding our current Administration.

The tweet in question stated: “The United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military.”  This confused our leaders at the Pentagon for this is how they first heard of the supposed new ‘ban’ of the time.  I believe it was purposefully done in this manner to show how Trump could pound on his chest to show the power he thinks he has.

According to a recent Times article the justifications Trump is using are actually myths (lies):  He is claiming that it will improve preparedness when in actuality it will leave us vulnerable; there are currently 15,000 transgendered soldiers in uniform who are 0.4% of the population serving and they are well-qualified, highly trained and very deeply committed to their service. It is supposedly the “American” thing to do; there are supposed to be no distinctions among service members—all are Americans serving.  All of these fine men and women have committed their lives to serving, and money has been invested in their training.  Ending their careers based on who they identify as is an appalling attack on our military and the values they hold, it is basically his bigotry shining through.  Supposedly it will save money.  There are absolutely ZERO facts to substantiate Trump’s claims that healthcare costs will increase to treat transgender soldiers to transition.  A 2016 Rand Corporation study projected transition related healthcare makes up only 0.005 to 0.017% of the Department of Defense budget.  In fact a vast amount more money is spent on supplying military personnel with Viagra.  The final myth is that it preserves unit cohesion.  When DADT was lifted many said it would undermine cohesion, recruitment and retention; which was proved to be dead wrong.

Many in the Pentagon fear this poorly thought out tweet will unleash a torrent of legal threats from civil liberty advocates and it sparked a huge protest at the armed services recruiting center in Times Square in Manhattan, it was a show of solidarity for those transgendered soldiers serving.

Even the Senate Armed Services Chairman, Sen. John McCain said “Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving.  There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity.”

Imagine if you were serving overseas, putting your life on the line for your country only to turn on the TV and see your Commander-in-Chief saying you are banned from serving?  During his campaign, Trump declared himself to be an ally of all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.  His actions told a whole different story once he took office—you can research it for yourself on your search engine.

Upon hearing and seeing what was transpiring back home many transgender soldiers reported having feelings exhaustion, feelings of inadequacy and returns of downright depression seeping back into their lives; this leaves all military personnel in jeopardy by giving transgendered soldiers something extra to worry about and I lay this squarely at Trump’s doorstep—he OWNS whatever happens.

Lt. Commander Blake Dremann, a Navy supply corps officer who is transgender found out his job was in danger on CNN, he says, “he will continue to serve until the military tells him to hang up his boots.”  The powers that be reported that they will not take orders by tweet and all the soldiers still have their jobs and total support.

It all boils down to this:  A transgender ban would reverse former President Obama’s policy and halts years of efforts to eliminate barriers to military service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Just remember all of our soldiers deserve our respect and support for they provide us with the freedoms we sometimes take for granted.  Always thank a veteran for their service and continue the fight here at home so they can get the proper healthcare they were not only promised, but give them their due.



Cath Kestler, resident of Silver Creek, NY

Posted in 2020, Constitution, gay rights, Trans in Military, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

What a difference!

reed_townhall1“The Problem Solvers Caucus is maybe the last hope for what we can do to break the gridlock here,” Reed stated. “As a voting bloc, we’ve now gone to Problem Solvers Caucus 2.0, where we weeded out the folks that were just talking the talk. We had some members previously who would come and maybe not even come, but back in their districts all of a sudden they were the ‘Problem Solvers Members of the Year’ in their campaigns. And I’m like, ‘Wow, I never saw you at any of the coffees.’ At the end of the day, we weeded it down to get members who want to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.”

“We implemented in our bylaws amendments to get a voting bloc put together when we get to a consensus position. We’ve locked arms with each other and we’ll vote together. As we learned from our friends in the Freedom Caucus — and give them the credit that’s due to them – when they vote as a bloc, they can influence this place. One of the things we’re trying to do is be an antidote to that in regards to making sure we’re governing for the American people — that we’re not having shutdowns, we’re not having debt ceiling crises, and we’re advancing the American agenda when it comes to tax reform and infrastructure.”

  • Not threatening shutdowns
  • Not raising a fuss over raising the debt ceiling
  • advancing the American agenda when it comes to tax reform and infrastructure.

If true, that would be a very different Tom Reed than the one we knew during the Obama Administration.

Reed doesn’t define the American agenda–I suspect it is the same old penny pinching agenda of the “Party of the Rich.”

Posted in Congress, Political, Reed's Views, Taxes | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Supply and demand

supply and demand
Obviously another Republican who forgot about the free market system when he went to DC. –Seen on Tom Reed’s facebook page.

I don’t understand why a healthcare bill discussion is more focused on insurance company profits than on health care for everybody. Single payer is the only thing that makes sense.–Another opinion.

An early memory of mine is of my Dad bringing the distributor cap of his prewar automobile inside on a winter morning to warm in the oven so the car would start. I don’t know why he didn’t buy an aftermarket distributor cap; perhaps they were unavailable during the war or cost more than Dad cared to pay.  As long as he could start the car somehow, a new distributor cap wasn’t a necessity, so price may have been a consideration.

After the war, Dad bought a new car. Demand exceeded supply, so dealers loaded the cars they had for sale with every available accessory to raise the price. Dad wouldn’t have paid for white sidewall tires or a spotlight if he had the choice, but he needed a new car then and paid a higher price than he liked.

Price elasticity of demand is a measure of the responsiveness, or elasticity, of the quantity demanded of a good or service to a change in its price. It is the percentage change in quantity demanded in response to a one percent change in price. The demand curve shown in the graph is elastic for higher prices–demand falls sharply with price increase–and inelastic for lower prices–demand falls little with price increase.

Health care isn’t a luxury but a necessity. Like the demand for new cars after the war, demand for medical services is likely relatively independent of price. The idea of a “free market” answer to high health care costs is partisan dogma–a myth.

“Single payer” has the advantage of eliminating the middleman–for profit insurers. However it isn’t a panacea–it relies on two forces to keep prices down:

  • Government leverage over prices.
  • Economies of scale.

These forces are not certain to be effective, but they are more promising than the “free market” myth.

Posted in Health Care | Tagged , , | 4 Comments


This letter was written by Lee Marcus from Arkport. You can read more of Lee’s writing at “Lee Marcus, writer and activist” Facebook page.

Hillary-ClintonDear Hillary,

For just over six months our country has suffered the humiliation of Donald Trump as our president. We have acquiesced under the supposition that the 2016 electoral college result was legitimate, at least until proven otherwise. For me, this has felt like a huge vehicular accident I can’t look away from, but desperately need to just stop; only, every morning I wake up and it’s still going on—the screeching tires, crashing metal, blood everywhere. I, for one, am bone tired. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about the many places in the world where I imagine I could live and try to forget.

But I’d have an awful lot to forget: my great uncle Meryll Wilcox, and my uncle John Long, both of whom died for this country. My father, Gordon Marcus, who suffered PTSD, scarred by atrocities he lived through in WWII Italy and dying at 55. My brother John, who served in Viet Nam and also died young, at age 49. So there’s that family legacy, along with the ingrained knowledge that America was once the world’s beacon, worth suffering and even dying for. I can’t just leave.

I can’t leave the farm my parents bought when I was less than a year old. There is too much history here, too much love and loss. I can’t leave my siblings, my community of neighbors and friends. I can’t leave my life as an American, I really can’t.

Still, this daily grind. This collective cringe bordering on paralysis. Watching in agony as the atrocious becomes the ordinary. We all now expect our country’s degradation to worsen each day, and it does.

So, beyond the sighing, overeating, procrastination and a host of other symptoms of depression, I work at the only discipline I can find that offers the slightest hope: community organizing. In February, I started an Indivisible group. In June I joined my county’s Democratic committee. And now I am organizing a democratic caucus for my town, the first in 35 years! This entails driving country roads, knocking on strangers’ doors, and OH MY GOSH finding closeted Democrats, who feel exactly as I do, who are also cringing and agonizing, feeling helpless to save their country from collapse.

It is hard for me to reach out to strangers in this way, and I struggle to get myself into the car. Some days I just can’t do it. But there’s gold in them there hills! So far, almost every person I have interviewed has told me s/he is the only Democrat around here. I’m so happy to show them my list, to prove that there are hundreds of us. So we’re having a party in a couple of weeks in our little town, to dispel the loneliness once and for all. And we’re having a caucus right after that; and maybe we’ll be running a few candidates for the first time in 35 years!!

I am writing to you today, because I know you have much bigger reasons than I have to be despondent. Maybe you have days when you thrash around as I do, and other days when you manage to find a glimmer of light. If I know you, you follow that glimmer. I have read your books, have watched you over the years, and I need to tell you that in spite of all you’ve sacrificed—NO, BECAUSE OF IT—you are a beacon to me. You have long represented yourself and your country with dignity, intelligence, and grace. You have played a role you never asked for (scapegoat) and been denied the one you deserved and wanted: President of the United States. People who are paying attention know that you were cheated, that we were all cheated. But none of that diminishes your stature, Mrs. Clinton. You stand with Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman as an American icon and a beacon of hope in these dark times.

I can’t thank you enough.

Lee Marcus


Posted in 2016, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 41 Comments

Another bill going nowhere

politicsWith Congress considering sweeping tax reform, H.R. 1098 is likely to die in committee. Here is the CRS summary:

New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act of 2017

This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) make permanent the new markets tax credit, (2) provide for an inflation adjustment to the limitation amount for such credit after 2016, and (3) allow an offset against the alternative minimum tax for such credit (determined with respect to qualified equity investments initially made after 2016).

Once again Rep. Tiberi and Rep. Reed seek to cut corporate taxes with new loopholes.

Tom Reed claims:

The impact of NMTC investments in rural communities has been significant. According to a recent report from the NMTC Coalition, the credit delivered a total of $11.6 billion in capital investment to more than 800 rural businesses. These NMTC investments created more than 100,000 jobs.

It isn’t clear that the correlation between the New Markets Tax Credit and new jobs is causal, but it is about politics not facts.


Posted in Reed's Views, Taxes | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Trump to Upstate NYers: Move!

President Trump, in an interview in the Wall Street Journal, claims that there are states that are increasing manufacturing jobs (Wisconsin, Iowa, and Colorado). He then said:

“You’re going to need people to work in these massive plants,” Trump said. “I’m going to start explaining to people: When you have an area that just isn’t working like upper New York state, where people are getting very badly hurt, and then you’ll have another area 500 miles away where you can’t get people, I’m going to explain, you can leave. It’s OK. Don’t worry about your house.”

Rick Gallant, one of the five announced Democratic candidates trying to unseat Rep. Reed, quickly responded to the Trump’s comment:

“We’re not abandoning Upstate New York. It’s just not an option. That sort of rhetoric is dangerous and demonstrates just how out of touch with mainstream America our President really is. Instead of tearing down the Southern Tier and Western New York, we’re going to roll up our sleeves and rebuild it. Our congressman’s silence on these remarks speaks volumes.”

Rep. Reed’s silence?

Googling articles about Trump’s moving suggestion in the Buffalo News, Syracuse, and other newspapers   I found that Rep. Chris Collins, Rep. John Katko, Rep. Claudia Tenny and other Upstate Representatives had responded to Trump’s comments. Rep. Reed had not. Checking his Facebook pages and his Twitter account, Rep. Reed has yet to defend his jobs record, nor has he agreed or disagreed with the President’s vision having us migrate west like Steinbeck’s Joad Family did in The Grapes of Wrath.

Even though Gallant responded directly to Trump’s Upstate New York put down, but the other four candidates have spoken earlier about their concerns of the NY23rd job situation:

Eddie Sundquist of Jamestown said that coming back home after college, two years of teaching and law school to practice law said he realized the area “slowly became the land that time forgot.”

“We were promised a lot of different things like the Buffalo Billion trickle down and money at the federal level from our representatives,” he said. “We never received those things. We continue to see people leave and manufacturers and jobs leave. A lot of it made me upset to see that we don’t have a representative to jump into the middle of that and help make this a better place.”–Jamestown Post Standard

Ian Golden, small business owner and another Democratic Congressional Candidate has also talked about jobs:

“My Representative will have occasional photoshoots for media exposure, spins on why tax cuts to the wealthy and deregulation of banks help business in this country, fast tracks for fossil fuel projects with little long-term economic injection, an absence of vision for how to bring living wage jobs back to our communities, connection with the issues that really matter to our farms and vineyards, or the ability to plan for the rapid changes occurring in technology.” –Golden’s website

Candidate Max Della Pia, a retired Air Force Officer from Owego, relate jobs and immigration, and that he:

“understands the necessity for migrant workers to fill vacancies given by local workers. He thinks a program needs to be established to provide that labor pool while also being fair and equitable for the workers as well.”–Ithaca Times

The fifth candidate, John Hertzler, actor and Ulysses Town Councilman, wants to bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas.

“People say the jobs aren’t coming back. In my opinion, that’s B.S. There’s a lot of people that want to do those jobs here in this country and we need to bring them back. It irritates the hell out of me when people give up and sell out. ” Ithaca Times.

I am not certain that President Trump’s view that Wisconsin, Iowa and Colorado really do have the need or desire to have thousands of New Yorkers move into their states and take their jobs. It sounds more like an empty success story that Trump likes to uses to misinform his base supporters.

It is important to respond to Trump’s claims. Fight fake news with facts.

Posted in Economics | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments