STATEMENT: Today, my family and I were threatened at our home in Corning.
The cowards used a dead animal and a brick with a family member’s name on it to try to intimidate us. We assure everyone such threats only energize us to stand stronger.
We thank the local police and federal authorities, who are already investigating this disgusting attack against my family.
Across the country, politics has taken a disturbing turn.
We have to overcome this. I know that we can. We are all Americans first. What unites us is far greater than our political differences
I replied as follows:
Politically, I am no friend of Congressman Reed’s. As an honorary co-chair of Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in New York, Reed is one of Trump’s most important supporters in the state, and Donald Trump is an existential threat to our democracy. I discuss this in great length in a series of five articles.
Having established myself as an opponent of Reed’s I would like to state the following in the off chance that the culprit who did this despicable act reads this post:
I have no idea who you are or what your political ideology is. It is easy to assume you are an angry leftist, but there have been incidents where those on the right—or more likely, those who are off the traditional political spectrum of left vs right—have imitated leftists while perpetrating acts of vandalism/violence in order to stir up animosity against the left. Those who doubt this should research the Boogaloo Boys and the Milwaukee Umbrella Man. Here is a good place to start.
Whatever your ideology, threatening Tom Reed and his family like this is completely unacceptable and I hope you are caught. Threats of violence like this should not be tolerated.
And if you, the perpetrator of this vile act, are on the left, then let me add this: I can understand your anger at Congressman Reed. I have been a critic of his for years and he has banned me from posting on his other Facebook Page—the one which he uses to polish his image and campaign for office. I guess he doesn’t like my criticism. C’est la vie. I also know that nothing I can say will convince you that your actions are morally reprehensible. You undoubtedly see Trump as a threat to our democracy, a force that has unleashed intolerance in its many varied forms, and through his failure to take climate change seriously, a threat to our civilization. No doubt in your mind you feel like you were justified because Tom Reed is the local face of that threat. Well--don’t go there. It is wrong and dangerous, and just as we don’t want Trump supporters threatening violence against politicians on the left, so too we should not threaten politicians on the right. But since I am unlikely to change your mind about the morality of your assault, let me ask you one question.
WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING???? Donald Trump LOVES to paint those on the left, especially those who support Black Lives Matter, as brutes tearing apart our civilization. Donald Trump is ITCHING to send the National Guard into places like Ithaca so he can rally his base by demonizing the left. The only thing Trump has going for him is fear and he is using fear of the left, just as he has used fear of Muslims and fear of marauding caravans of immigrants, to mobilize his base. He is counting on the irrational fear of rioting mobs to cause you to forget how incompetently he has handled the pandemic. (Pop quiz: How many people have died from left-wing rioters? Now, how many have died unnecessarily as a result of Trump downplaying the virus?)
And now, thanks to your stupid act, you have turned Tom Reed into a martyr. The right-wing blogosphere will be abuzz over this. And the backlash is likely to help both Tom Reed’s and Donald Trump’s re-election campaigns.
All of the above was directed to one person. What follows is advice for the protesters on the left in general: Let the Trumpers and the Law And Order crowd have their rally in peace. It is both unfortunate and perplexing that supporting Trump is seen as synonymous as supporting law and order. After all, Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor with 30 years’ experience, has made a strong case that Donald Trump is guilty of at least manslaughter, and probably 2nd degree murder for the way he lied to us about the danger posed by the Corona virus. I encourage you to watch Kirschner’s video if you doubt the validity of his argument.
Why people who profess to be for law and order want to give a Get-out-of-jail free card to someone who is likely responsible for tens of thousands of counts of second-degree murder is beyond me. It is a puzzlement. I thought they wanted to be tough on crime. Go figure.
But I digress. My point is, further clashes with the Back-the-Police pro-Trump crowd, especially now, are likely to backfire. Don’t give Trump the excuse to send in the National Guard—or even worse, his faceless, badgeless, goon squad whose anonymity makes them immune from being held accountable for their actions. Do not give Trump the opportunity to turn Ithaca into another Portland. . . especially before the election. Now is the time to use your brains and stand down.
And finally, a word for the pro-Trump crowd. Please reconsider your support of Trump. I know I am as unlikely to convince you to change your vote as I am to persuade the terrorist who committed this crime against Tom Reed that he or she is wrong. But I want to give it a shot. Please go to this article and follow the links at the bottom to my essay describing Trump’s threats to our democracy.
I have also put together a compilation of resources and videos by Republicans, former, Republicans, and conservatives who are going to hold their noses and vote for Biden because they realize the threat Trump poses to our democracy. My compilation includes two former chairmen of the Republican National Committee and three former officials from Trump’s Department of Homeland Security.
I know it is late in the game to change your minds. And I know I have written a lot. But I want to thank you for any time you put in to read and consider what I have written.
Oh, and once again to the terrorist who did this—screw you.
And to Congressman Reed—I am glad you are safe and I hope you stay safe.
Tom Reed has not been shy about using the threat against him as a tool to tie his opponent, Tracy Mitrano, to the worst kind of extremism. If I didn't know better, I'd say the brick has become Reed's new best friend. He used it to start his October 27 debate with Mitrano which you can find here. Watch from 4:07 - 6:09. Pay attention to the following statement where Reed hammers Mitrano for blaming him for the brick left by his house. Then compare it to Mitrano's actual statement, which Reed did not read during the debate, and determine if Reed's characterization of Mitrano's statement was a fair one.
Tracy, when you issued a statement after that occurred you blamed us for that situation. You blamed me for that situation. And here is your statement that you issued on it.
Now read Mitrano's statement. Emphasis has been added.
This is a shocking report. I fully understand the impact of being attacked by strangers for your politics. And while I’m sympathetic, I must point out that Tom Reed has done a great deal to create the political environment he so deplores. The harsh visuals in his attack ads, the inflammatory language he uses to describe me, all contribute to an escalation of hostility that too often leads to incidents like the ones he reports today—or worse.
Politics is about persuasion, not intimidation. I condemn this kind of action and hope the authorities swiftly bring the perpetrator(s) to justice. But I also call on Tom Reed to take down his attack ads and behave in a manner suitable for a member of Congress as Election Day approaches.
Now, let's look at this attempt by Reed to portray Mitrano as a criminal sympathizer.
Tracy, you represent the extremism of the Democratic Party. You support Andrew Cuomo's dangerous bail reform that let criminals like the one that likely threw this brick out onto our streets and our communities. I want to unite people and use a brick to build bridges.
There are several assumptions behind this claim. First, we don't know who threw the brick or what their motive was. It was probably intended to intimidate Tom Reed because of his politics, but we don't know that. The brick had his daughter's name on it, not his. For all we know she could have had a falling out with someone who held a grudge against her. Second, if this was for political reasons then this could very well have been the perpetrator's first crime that arose during exceptionally hyper-partisan times. It seems that in Congressman Reed's mind, only one type of person could have left the brick by his house--a hardened criminal who was a menace to society. It could have just as easily arisen as the warped and misguided response from someone who was alarmed by Reed's support for a President who posed the biggest threat to American democracy since World War II. In short, there is zero evidence that the perpetrator would have been in jail but for the bail reform enacted earlier this year. I am sure Mitrano and Reed could have had a separate debate on the merits of bail reform, but rather than debate the advantages and disadvantages of reform, Reed went for the easy smear based solely on speculation. (Incidentally, Mitrano is on record as saying the bail reform the recent bail reform was passed too hastily and needs revisions.)
Tom Reed tries to give a flag to Ithaca's Mayor Svante Myrick
Reed led a rally on the Commons on October 29 and then walked with other rally attendees to City Hall to present an American Flag that had been flown over the capitol to the Mayor of Ithaca, Svante Myrick. You can skip to 23:36 of this video if you want to see Reed give a short speech while waiting to be allowed in to City Hall. Reed was greeted by angry protesters, but the Mayor did not come down to greet Reed nor was Reed allowed to enter City Hall. I will let you decide whether Myrick was right to snub Reed or not. The short version is that Reed wanted to appear jointly with Myrick in order to promote unity and cooperation between Republicans and Democrats while the Mayor saw no value in Reed's empty symbolic gestures at a time when Congress has done nothing to help out the city in its desperate time of need during the pandemic. Rather than copy and paste here, I invite you to go to the original sources on Facebook and read them yourself:
Myrick posted his response to Reed explaining why he wouldn't meet with him. This was posted shortly before Reed marched to City Hall to present the flag.
After Myrick learned that Reed had tried to enter City Hall, he posted this notice that due to COVID protocols, no one could enter City Hall without an appointment. Reed responded a few minutes later saying that he was disappointed that Myrick wasn't "standing up to extremism and calling for unity."
Reed's positioning himself as the voice of reason in opposition to a mayor who will not stand up to extremism and call for unity rings hollow in light of Reed's support of Donald Trump, the most extreme and divisive President since the Civil War. Unfortunately, he has never seriously called out Trump for his inflammatory rhetoric. I responded to Reed's Facebook by posting the following.
Congressman Reed, first I appreciate your coming to Ithaca and listening to the protesters. It does take some bravery to do that, and I must acknowledge that.
Unfortunately, you might not want to hear the rest of what I am about to say. Your flag stunt shows that you LOVE the FORM of patriotism, but I am afraid you are weak on its substance.
Around 14:50 the pro-Reed, pro-Trump crowd chants, “Stand up for freedom. Stand up for democracy!”
I am glad You and your backers SAY you want to support our democracy. A true patriot, a strong patriot, a smart patriot, would be fighting against any threat to our democracy. Unfortunately, as I show in the following five-part series, Donald Trump is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime, and I am an old geezer who remembers the Nixon era.
The five avenues of Trump’s attack on our democracy that I discuss are as follows:
1) Trump has politicized the Justice Department to help his friends and attack his enemies.
2) Trump has attacked our courts and judicial system.
3) Trump has attacked the free press and made it more dangerous for reporters to cover him.
4) Trump is a stochiastic terrorist who has endangered the life of Michigan's Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and others.
5) Trump has refused to commit himself to the peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election
You have made much of the fact that someone threw a brick at [your] house with the name of your daughter attached and left a dead animal nearby. This was terrorism, pure and simple. I condemn it and I hope whoever did this is caught and punished. But the terrible threat to you should not blind us to the fact that Donald Trump IS a stochiastic terrorist who is endangering the life of Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer. I discuss Trump’s threat against Whitmer here.
Unfortunately, this is not Trump’s only incident of stochiastic terrorism. There was another such incident today. Miles Taylor was the Chief of Staff of Trump’s Department of Homeland Security early in his Presidency. Yesterday we learned that he was the author of the famous Anonymous op-ed in 2018 warning the country of how dangerous Trump was and declaring that he was part of a resistance movement within the White House that was trying to constrain Trump’s worst impulses. He is now speaking out against Trump forcefully, as you can see in this video.
Trump has responded to news that Taylor was Anonymous by saying, “I think Google should fire him very quickly, because bad things are going to happen to him. But think of what he does to our government. Right? It’s like a terrible, treasonous, horrible thing that you can do this and you can get away with it.” You can watch him say this in the following video
Trump has practically accused Taylor of treason. And what do we do with traitors? We put them in jail for a long, long time—or we execute them. By making this statement, Trump practically invited his supporters to make death threats against Taylor. Trump has millions of followers and some may be rabid enough to do against Taylor what the Wolverine Watchmen terrorist group tried to do to Michigan’s Governor Whitmer.
You have every justification to be angry and denounce the threat directed against you. But if you do not denounce Trump's stochiastic terrorism then all your dulcet sounding pleas for respect and cooperation between Democrats and Republicans are nothing more than hollow bleatings that dissipate into the vast nothingness of space.