Citizens must take back control of U.S.
Re June 25 article, “Congress passes divisive trade bill”:
“Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow and the money power will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.” — Abe Lincoln, first Republican president, Nov. 21, 1864.
With fast-track trade agreement approval, the Republican-controlled Congress hopped into bed with Democratic President Obama, with whom they can’t even agree on the shape of the planet.
The mostly secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, primarily written by and for global corporations, sets up corporate tribunals that allow big corporations to, say, sue our school district for buying local farmers real food rather than BigAg’s processed crap, or sue our town for banning fracking to protect our drinking water.
These trade deals, like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) passed during the Clinton years, prioritize global corporate rights over living people and communities.
Meanwhile, the third arm of our (supposed) government, the Supremes, have declare these huge corporations to be citizens that can buy elections with unlimited money. It’s like a recent science fiction movie I saw where corporate robots rule the world.
The good part of that story is that real people, true conservatives and true progressives banded together, told the true people-over-profits story and overcame the robots. Perhaps we can too.
Court overstepped its bounds on ACA
It is a long-established and legitimate judicial policy to interpret laws to enable the clear intentions of their drafters. Doing so is not considered judicial activism, but judicial pragmatism, insofar as it circumvents the oft-nonsensical alternative of strict interpretation.
When appellate courts interpret inartfully written laws as their purposes dictate those courts fulfill their responsibility. A responsibility that has been born out as worthwhile as but one element of a system as perfect as is, at least historically, possible. However, in the recently decided (June 26) Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court dropped the ball.
The issue, of course, was whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would extend or withhold federal subsidies to those not enrolled in state created health care exchanges. This law’s legislative history clearly indicated an intention to warn the states that such subsidies would be granted only to those so enrolled.
It was written in that manner in an obvious attempt to pressure, if not to coerce, the states to create their own exchanges lest their citizens be disenfranchised. It is that simple. Therefore and as it was, it was not inartfully composed, which it might appear to have been at first blush, but artfully written to create a fait accompli for the states.
For the Supreme Court to construe otherwise and then to change the law’s clear intention, it overstepped its mandate as judicial interpreter of law and entered, instead, into the legislative role. That action violated the separation of powers established by the Constitution, whereby each governmental branch is to provide a check and a balance of public enactment vis-à-vis the other two.
It goes without saying that the public good is the paramount objective of government. If the public is better served with a continuation of the ACA, the legislative branch will not act to repeal it in the future. But, if the duly elected legislators and, perhaps, a newly elected executive, those two branches of our government answerable to the electorate in a democracy and responsible for the creation and implementation of laws, feel otherwise, this untoward action of the third branch and its unfortunate precedent might be obviated yet.
In the final analysis, we can only hope the Constitution’s prescriptions will prevail to our common benefits and we will all enjoy our communal mandates to a government of, by and for the people.
Thomas W. Hefferon
Safer roads demand better driving habits
Lately, I have noticed that many local drivers have forgotten some of the basic rules of driving. The cellphone users and texters are a fairly new nuisance. But it seems that many people, both young and old, have lost the ability to operate their motor vehicles in a safe and courteous manner.
I have composed a list of the three most irritating bad driving habits that I see on a daily basis.
1) Failure to correctly use their directional. Recently as I exited Route 890 at Campbell Road, I counted nine vehicles out of 10 that failed to signal as they exited the highway. In addition, hardly anyone uses a directional when changing lanes or signaling a move. What do they think those levers are for?
2) People driving with the handicap parking permits hanging from the rear view mirror. At the bottom of every permit is a warning stating that the permit must be removed from the rear view mirror when driving. It only takes a second and it removes a major obstruction and distraction to the driver. The permits are for handicap parking, not driving. Local police could make a small fortune for municipalities by enforcing this rule.
3) Last on my list is the proper use of headlights. State law requires that headlights must be on after dusk and when it is raining. This law is rather loosely adhered to and rarely enforced. The result has been numerous accidents where people haven’t seen the noncompliant car.
These problems are not unique to any specific age group. A little thought before operating your car and maybe a brush-up course on defensive driving can go a long way toward making both our highways and drivers a little safer.
Inmate ‘trophy’ photo a disservice to police
I have no sympathy for the convict who escaped from prison in upstate New York — with help from within — and cost the taxpayers of New York state millions of dollars in search efforts.
But as much as I respect the New York State Police, The Daily Gazette should never have printed the “dead deer trophy photo” on the front page of the June 29 Gazette. The escaped convict got what he deserved, but the New York State Police deserve better than the photo you published.
Convict, yes. Animal? Who knows?
Glenn P. Salamone
Legalization requires more responsibility
Let’s say that it became legal for me to play the Ave Maria, with all of Schubert’s intensely beautiful orchestration, using only an amplified turkey call and my armpits.
Let us add the lyrical ardor of Walter Scott’s iconic poetry warbled by two overzealous teens in perfect Klingon. Now, if you will indulge me, let us pretend that this is sung outside the bedroom window of each one of you patient readers. This sums up my feelings toward the recent increased use of the newly legalized fireworks.
Now, I am not a man who feels strongly regarding the illegality of fireworks and enjoy the displays that are professionally managed at different events and times of year. However, in recent weeks, I have seen none of the beautiful visuals but have been ceaselessly subjected to explosions of varying intensities throughout the night, almost every night.
As has often been said regarding any number of similar circumstances: Just because something is legal does not mean that people should feel the need to prove that they can do it. This reminds me of being in The Netherlands and walking through Amsterdam with local friends.
As we passed dozens of slumped-over bodies in various states of defilement, I asked if legalized marijuana was a big problem with Dutch youth around the country or just Amsterdam. They laughed at me and pointed out that none of the slumped bodies were Dutch, but American, British and a variety of other countries. These fools came to Holland, where marijuana is legal, and obliterated themselves past the point of enjoying the privilege.
I link these issues together because of the mindset that allows for the abuse of a legalized, or under consideration of being legalized, activity. Aside from the issue of sleeping children, people needing to get up in the morning for work; along with the risk of injury, there is also the very real occurrence of post traumatic stress disorder among the veterans of various wars past and present.
There are people who have witnessed shootings of friends and family. There is also the very American arrogance of creating what sounds like mortars and automatic-weapon fire throughout the night, while millions of people around the globe deal with those sounds in a very real way on a nightly basis.
So, congratulations on the legal permission to use fireworks. Now, please use them in a way that says that making them legal was a wise decision.
James Cimino Jr.
Categories: Letters to the Editor