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Letters to the Editor Tuesday, Jan. 12

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Trump squandered opportunity to serve

What a shame that Donald Trump, elected to be our president in 2016 that vested him with great power to do good, used his position, great energy and good health, to divide the people and sow distrust about many of our intuitions and forward thinking policies.
He attacked our intelligence agencies for uncovering facts about Russian involvement in the 2016 election. He decimated the EPA, the agency that studied and warned us about the dangers of air pollution and climate change.
But, as always ignoring science, he canceled the requirements for better automobile gas mileage along with many other environmental regulations.
Instead, he could have organized a save and plant the trees national effort; since trees are the most efficient and least costly method of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
He could have used the early information given to him by the Chinese that the covid virus is very deadly, very infectious and spread through the air from person to person. So, he could have warned the nation about that and urged them to wear a mask when out and about. But he exhibited and preached the opposite and ignored the advice of the CDC. These actions contributed to the deaths of more than 300,000 of our citizens.
Instead of using his life’s energies to do good things, he squandered four years of his and our country’s life. What a shame — very sad.
Dr. Dale M. Brown
Niskayuna

On vaccine, Cuomo must serve all NYers

Sara Foss’s recent columns (Jan. 3 “Slow vaccine rollout cause for alarm” and Jan. 5 “Why has state’s vaccine rollout been slow?”) have been spot on. If we are dependent on vaccine distribution for a return to normalcy, we are in serious trouble.
I was fortunate enough to receive the vaccine recently from the good folks at Ellis, whose operation moved like a well-oiled machine. However, with at least 10 stations manned with personnel ready to administer shots, I don’t think I witnessed more than three others vaccinated in the 30 or so minutes I was there.
Those empty chairs can only mean that either the demand for the vaccine is low, or that we have run through those qualified in this tier of recipients. I choose to believe the latter.
If vaccine distribution is to be directed at the state level, then it is obvious that the time line would be dictated by the needs of New York City.
I would argue, however, that we would need far less time to vaccinate those front-line medical workers in Schenectady, Montgomery, Saratoga, even Albany counties than we would need in New York City.
Distribution should be determined at the county level, dependent on their demand and needs.
I encourage the governor to knock off the damn grandstanding and do what is right for New Yorkers — all New Yorkers. After all, I’m pretty sure President-elect Biden already has a job in mind for you.
Jeremy Douglas
West Charlton

Will we remember lessons of election?

Several senators and dozens of congressmen objected to the certified Electoral College vote. This is a direct attack on our constitutional electoral process.
The president and the congressional representatives have each taken the constitutional oath: “…to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Timothy Snyder’s book “On Tyranny” has 20 lessons from the 20th century. The first three lessons are:
1. Do not obey in advance. Most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then offer themselves without being asked. A citizen who adapts in this way is teaching power what it can do.
2. Defend institutions. It is institutions that help us to preserve decency. They need our help as well. Institutions do not protect themselves. So, choose an institution you care about and take its side.
3. Beware the one-party state. The parties that remade states and suppressed rivals were not omnipotent from the start. They exploited a historic moment to make political life impossible for their opponents. So, support the multi-party system and defend the rules of democratic elections.
The president and his supporters have violated their oaths and declared themselves the enemy of the will of the people and the enemy of democracy. Will we remember the lessons from the 20th century or are we doomed to re-learn them?
Paul Zawistowski
Broadalbin

Investigate questions raised during election

Although I was not old enough to vote in this past election, watching what unfolded at the beginning of November was appalling.
In short, I am deeply concerned about the integrity of our most recent election.
For more than 30 years now, Democrats have objected to every single Republican-won presidential election. Why now is this call to debate so absurd? According to the left’s history, it’s common practice. And now more than ever, we deserve to know if our fundamental right to vote is being ignored or infringed in any capacity.
The American people deserve a debate in the House of Representatives in order to call attention to the security of our election. When states like Pennsylvania decide to ignore their own election laws, we must know more. When social media companies decide to block stories of credible evidence of unusual family connections with foreign countries, we must know more. When our fellow Americans swear on a Bible that they saw irregularities, and testify before state legislatures, we must know more.
Indeed, we must know more and bring to light any and every concern of irregularities from this past election in order to preserve our most sacred right for future elections. I certainly stand by Congresswoman Stefanik’s decision to object, and I am proud we have a representative who truly cares about our democracy and our right to a free and fair election.
Meg Messitt
Wilton

Improve rights by fixing election laws

The various news reports about the ethical behavior and code of conduct by state governments’ board of elections indicates there is a need to improve our voting laws.
Candidates and elected officials for executive and legislative positions of municipal, state and federal governments need to equally adhere to Rules of Professional Conduct as elected/appointed judicial positions.
Granted behavior of various political parties know their usual behavior will violate proper conduct assigned to elections commissioners and to court officers. Therefore, to sustain equal protection and common defense of our democratic voting system a definition of integrity for all candidates and officials is required.
Improvement of existing definitions established through the state Commission on Judicial Conduct for elected/appointed judges needs to be a beginning model for candidates to executive and legislative offices within our federal, state and municipal governments.
Our democratic voting system requires agreement among candidates and elected officials to know and understand legal definitions of ethical integrity and enhancing reasonable good faith against fraudulent behavior.
We need to protect our voting rights with improved election laws.
Michael McGlynn
Watervliet

Stefanik bears stink of pro-Trump crowd

Some of the stink of the pro-Trump extremists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in order to prevent the certification of the election deserves to rub off on Elise Stefanik.
She has cynically amplified false claims of electoral irregularities in order to stoke her Trumpist base, and she continued to do so even after the House of Representatives had to be evacuated and was occupied by people animated by the falsehoods that she has been stoking.
Her-mealy mouthed denunciations of the violence aside, by objecting to the certification of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes just hours after the Capitol had been overrun by extremists who parroted the same objections, she has clearly demonstrated that she values her own political interests over the nation’s interest.
I don’t think, at this point, she’s capable of shame, and I’m not confident that she’ll pay any political price for it. But when the history books are written about this period, she’ll be a small and sad footnote to this disgraceful episode.
Andrew Morris
Schenectady

 

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14 Comments

Robert F. Jewell

Meg,
Your stance for Stephanik reveals just how belligerent and toxic republicans have become!
Even after all of the criminal behavior of your peers..pooping on Congress floors, peeing on walls… YOU want to be associated with this as well as Elise and all other deranged uninformed recalcitrant Trumpers.
Elise Stephanik is supported by those who would commit treason against the United States Government.
Your either for democratically decided elections or not!

YOU DON’T GET TO DECIDE THE RESULTS!
YOU MUST ACCEPT THE RESULTS!!

Your opining and giving support to an elected insurrectionist is what is going to continue to degrade our country and MORALS!

TRUMP MUST BE IMPRISONED FOR INTENTIONALLY INCITING AN INSURRECTION BY HIS MOB!!

STEPHANIK CLINGS TO HER IMMORAL AND CRIMINAL “OPINIONS” about the election of Biden.

Stephanik like her now scared congressional peers has DOUBLED DOWN on her stance….just like Trump does!!

Stephanik will be an ember of danger and hate later on if we do not get her to find her CONSCIENCE, in that tangled web of lying, and either RESIGN or RECANT her stance!!

Most humans have a short memory. Some do not….the REPUBLICANS among us are secretly endorsing and FUNDING more possible insurrections!!!

Republicans shows one face to reality..
another to each other.

Republicans say nothing that proves they care about people over MONEY!

They would not help us except till their Slop Hog Companies sucked up stimulus money!!

There is a saying..Once bitten twice Shy!!

The REPUBLICANS peed, pooped, smashed, looted, attacked, maimed, KILLED!!!

Do you still want to “GET ALONG!” or is it time to….OPERATE!!!….

FRED BARNEY

“Your either for democratically decided elections or not!” You have assumed what is being contested. While this approach impresses the faithful it will not satisfy those whose point of view are not being considered.

To make a substantial argument you might try to explain why the George Floyd riots were found to be acceptable by Democrats.

Some say pirates on the high seas are very unhappy with the international laws that prevent them from boarding and commandeering ships. “The faithful” maintain they shouldn’t. By your logic we need to consider their opinion.

NO mainstream Democrats found the riots acceptable, OK? None.
Probably not OK, but that’s the truth and I dare you to present evidence otherwise. Most Democrats supported peaceful protests though, which always started out peacefully. How they became destructive riots is a subject for further investigation as there were documented cases where right-wing elements instigated trouble. Bad trouble. And it got people like you to believe there was a criminal element, or some affiliation with the antifa movement. They are not the same.

FRED BARNEY

If the republicans are shown to be wrong then the Democrats are in a much better position to provide effective government.

“NO mainstream Democrats found the riots acceptable, OK? None.” I missed your negative public expression at the George Floyd riots

WILLIAM NECHAMEN

Meg: I’ll excuse your mistakes because you’re young and apparently have not yet learned to think critically and independently.

You state that for more than 30 years, Democrats have objected to every Republican – won Presidential election. 30 years ago was 1990. Since then, there have been three Republican presidential election victories: 2000, 2004 and 2016. In 2000, which was the closest election in history (500 votes decided Florida which was a deciding state), some members of the House raised objections. However, then Vice President Al Gore, who was the losing candidate, gaveled them all down in the Senate because there was not a single concurring Senator. However there was concerns about Florida’s election processes, and the objection led to a commission that charged that there was voter disenfranchisement in Florida.

In 2004, Ohio was the deciding state for Bush. There were concerns that in Black areas of Columbus, voters waited in line for hours, while in suburban areas, voters zipped in and out. A single Democratic House member, along with Senator Barbara Boxer objected to the Ohio delegation. The objection quickly failed. However investigations later found that 5,000 to 15,000 voters may have been turned away from the polls in Columbus. So the purpose of the objection was to shine a light on possible voter disenfranchisement.

After the 2016 election, similarly, some Democratic House members raised objections. However there was not a concurring Senator and then Vice President Biden gaveled down each of the objections.

You use a common propaganda approach of equating three instances in which there were some objections that rapidly failed into a broad statement of “Every Republican led victory in over 30 years.” If you go back longer, after the 1968 election, there was an objection joined by both some Democrats AND Republicans to object to a faithless elector in North Carolina who delivered a vote for George Wallace even though Nixon has a plurality in the state. They wanted to award the vote to Nixon and use it as an example of a need to reform the Electoral College system. Wallace had hoped to prevent a majority electoral votes in order to broker a deal for his electors in exchange for maintaining Southern segregationist laws. Historically, this is similar to what happened in 1872, when competing electors from some Southern states resulted in a deal in Congress to name Rutherford Hayes as President in return for ending post Civil War reconstruction in the south.

You suggest that the fundamental right to vote may have been infringed or ignored. Note that the three cases in the past 30 years that I recounted had to do with concerns about voter disenfranchise. Meanwhile the Republican objections this year are ABOUT disenfranchisement. They want to throw out hundreds of thousands of votes in areas that voted heavily for Biden. Over fifty court cases have ruled against Trump and his backers, including findings by Republican and even Trump appointed judges.

This was a difficult election due to Covid and a growing distrust of accurate information, sowed by the current outgoing Administration. States, including New York, adjusted election procedures to make them safer. The Pennsylvania changes, making mail in voting easier, were passed by the state’s Republican legislature. It turns out that when you make it easier to vote, more people vote. Republicans know that they only way they can win many elections is by making it harder to vote.

FRED BARNEY

You began your comment by being insulting. The fact of the matter is that we can do with fewer examples of bad taste.

Meg made the suggestion that conclusions should follow investigation. In this she is sound ground.

I suggest that what is of importance is the behavior of individuals today not those of 1876.

WILLIAM NECHAMEN

I wasn’t being insulting. Condescending, perhaps! And history lessons are important. It was the 1876 election that led to the legislation that still determines how the electoral votes are counted. There has been much written since the election on how that law could be interpreted.

There have been investigations. There have been over 50 court cases, none of which went Trump’s way, except for one that did not actually change any votes. Bill Barr of all people said that there was no evidence of voter fraud that could have change a state’s vote.

I do think, though, that a new Voting Rights Act needs to be written and passed, and it should apply to ALL states, not just to southern states. All legal voters should have an opportunity to vote without waiting in line for hours due to a lack of polling stations. Early voting and mail in voting should become the norm, with appropriate precautions. When it is more convenient to vote, more people vote.
Secure ballot boxes should be available throughout election districts. For example, Harris County, which contains Houston, Texas has a population of 4.7 million people and an area over three times larger than New York City and had ONE ballot drop off box. That is one way to disenfranchise voters.

An election was held. It went surprisingly smoothly and fairly. Trump lost.

FRED BARNEY

“Meg: I’ll excuse your mistakes because you’re young and apparently have not yet learned to think critically and independently.”

You chose to try to make a point by being insulting and you ignore the fact that condescending behavior is insulting. You went on to make a point about how electoral votes are counted when election vote tallies are not in dispute while ignoring why the Democr5ats have chosen to avoid embarrassing the Republicans by demonstrating them to be in error

WILLIAM NECHAMEN

Election vote tallies are NOT in dispute! Here’s how it went. Trump: It was a fraud. Trump supporters: It’s a fraud! Stop the Count! Trump minions in Congress: My constituents tell me it’s a fraud! We have to block the final tally! There was no fraud. It was a free and fair election. Trump lost. And a bit of historical background is warranted to show the difference between registering a protest and trying to overturn an election, as well as pointing to the chaos in 1876 that led to the way we have certified votes ever since.

Meg sounds like a smart girl. She wrote a nice essay. But it was not an example of critical thinking. When I was 17, I also saw the world in black and white. I was absolutely certain of my convictions. I hope Meg will mature, learn to think more critically and put her mind to good use.

Ms. Messitt, thank you for writing. I have a daughter attempting her first year in college who just finally got to do something she’s wanted to do for a long time. She voted. I hope you register and vote too, and understand why it’s patriotic and our obligation to.

She and I enjoy very open, healthy lines of communication and I, having been involved in the internet since long before there was a world wide web, know well the profound influence of social media. The beauty of the internet is that the scope of information you can absorb is overwhelming, but that’s also the danger. It’s very easy to limit your scope of information, to follow those you most agree with. And then there’s misinformation.

The text of your letter has all the hallmarks of “influencers” with flawed, but passionate, opinions of our elections and politics, and little of your own critical thinking. Yes, “(t)he American people deserve a debate in the House of Representatives in order to call attention to the security of our election”. No question about it, and having survived the 2000 elections and the “hanging chad” debacle, and how some tried to use it to swing the results their way, I’ve been very vocal about how we need to provide for the world the example of how we secure our votes.

Those same elements would like to again drum up half-baked controversies to throw shade on the results (and in some futile attempt to flip it their way).
But in this case, 2020, each state has responded to the concerns and verified and certified their results, by officials from both parties. In some cases the Supreme Court was petitioned and they responded.

That’s it. That’s how we do things in this country. We don’t get to keep coming up with other “reasons” to prolong the decision. The decisions, the many decisions, have ALL established the same thing. You really should take those examples you cite (without attribution) and find out exactly what you think is wrong with the way they were resolved not simply because you feel it was wrong. Because they were resolved. Then you may have something to debate, or maybe you’ll see why they were resolved the way they were. Critical thinking.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Several here have responded to you at length and I’ve gone on longer than I wanted to. But I’m highlighting this last thing in hopes you see it too, and strongly consider:
You’ve no doubt seen the imagery and read the reports of what happened on 1/6/20 in Washington. You really should ask yourself if those who violently tore into the heart of our Democracy as they did, if that’s the side you want to be on?
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POLLY WINDELS

Ah poor Meg. She’s only voted once and has never worked at an actual election. She doesn’t know about the states which automatically mail out a ballot to every registered voter. She doesn’t understand that many states, including New York, adjusted their election laws to accommodate those who do not wish to congregate in public just to cast their votes. Why I’ll et that she doesn’t even know that Saratoga County doesn’t even start counting absentee votes until well after the election in order to allow receipt of military votes. She’s still young and obviously easily led by sinister forces. Meg, break free. Work at the polls next election. Learn exactly what is legal and what is not. You will be less embarrassed next time you write.

William Marincic

Meg, why bother. This paper and the people allowed to express their liberal opinion will attack you and belittle you because you don’t think like them. They should read George Orwell 1984 and Animal Farm. They fit the role of oppressive government well.

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