Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Saturday, July 31


U.S. needs more diplomacy, not force

After reading the column titled “PRO: We need to beef up our military — and then some,” I felt the need to respond despite the article being a tad old.
The author argues that the United States needs to bolster military defenses. However, I argue that the United States does not need to do so.
The U.S.’s 2015 discretionary spending shows that 54% of federal spending went towards the military.
Contrary to popular belief, increasing the military is not the only way to improve national security. In fact, solely relying on the military to improve national security is actually more detrimental than it is productive.
This is especially important to consider, since direct military action has shown to destabilize governments and cause the very issues that the United States is concerned about.
Instead we should be allocating resources and funding to increase foreign aid. Many people believe that the United States spends most of its money on foreign aid, when in reality, less than 1% of federal spending went towards foreign aid in 2015.
Furthermore, foreign aid decreases the need for military spending by facilitating worldwide economic growth, which only helps the United States in the long run.
By providing foreign aid, the influence of terrorist groups is mitigated as countries become more stable and people have greater access to education, and basic needs.
It is important that the United States shift away from brute military strength and focus on development and diplomacy.
Farah Katadeen


Vaccinated will have more freedoms

Thank you for your title of Linda Peterson’s July 25 letter, “Many reasons to get your covid vaccination.”
Yes, there are indeed many reasons to get your COVID-19 (Coronavirus-19) vaccination.
Of the people whom the vaccine protects from covid, 99.96%, those who believe that it does have a good and easy reason: The vaccine protects them from covid.
But there are also good reasons for the rest to get the vaccine.
The vaccine gives one liberty.
“You’re now free to move about the country.”
As the seven-day average of new cases continues to rise, travel and public place restrictions will return. This time around, those restrictions will be easier on the vaccinated.
Being vaccinated gives one “favor with all the people.” (Acts 2:47) People are more comfortable with vaccinated people.
Being vaccinated makes those around you safer, in terms of mental as well as physical health.
Fear is not good for one’s mental health.
What about that missing 0.04%?
You mean like that fellow who laid hands on and healed in the name of Jesus two people from covid before the vaccines came out? Me?
These people are the spiritual descendants of Jesus and His Jesus believers, who, while not vaccinated, laid hands on lepers and healed them.
These people get vaccinated for the liberty and favor they need to work for Jesus.
Joel Nelson


Learn the difference between socialisms

The Sunday July 18 Gazette had a letter from Domenico DiCaprio (“Cubans stage revolt against socialism”) decrying Bernie Sanders and other “socialists” for being silent on the recent protests in Cuba.
He goes on to say the Biden administration blamed the protests on covid. But the main claim of his letter is that the “far-left” want socialism like Cuba.
The fact is that on July 12, Bernie condemned the Cuban government for the lack of democracy and opposition rights. He also called for an end to the 55-year U.S. embargo, which is the main cause of their economic woes.
Biden also supported the Cuban people whose protests were against the communist rule, lack of food and medicine, and poor response to the covid pandemic.
I think Mr. DiCaprio and many other Americans need to understand the difference between totalitarian socialist regimes (Cuba, Venezuela, China), and countries with socialist programs such as those taken for granted in American life – Social Security, Medicare, our infrastructure, child-labor laws, energy subsidies, etc.
These programs work for the greater good. Countries like Canada, Denmark, the UK and Switzerland have even more socialist programs that are popular and have improved their citizens’ lives. \
In yearly surveys of the happiest countries, socialist-heavy locales dominate.
I have a good deal of familiarity with Denmark, as my job took me there for work stints.
They have a saying: “few with too much; fewer still with too little.”
In the United States I’m afraid, it’s many with too little; many with far too much.
Wayne Virkler

Merger must ensure a full range of care

News of a planned merger between Ellis Hospital and Trinity Health has me deeply concerned about the access to quality healthcare in our region.
One only has to do a few seconds of searching on the internet to find stories about the many women denied needed health care due to Trinity’s religious tenets.
The Michigan ACLU tallied just some of these instances in its report “Health Care Denied.”
Pregnant women in severe medical distress have been repeatedly denied care at Catholic-run hospitals because their fetus still had a heartbeat even when the denial of care put the women at risk of life-threatening infections, severe pain and hemorrhaging.
Women have also been denied wanted or medically necessary tubal ligations and have sometimes not been informed that the hospital they plan to give birth at won’t perform sterilizations until it’s too late for them to go elsewhere.
Many women in the region go to Bellevue Women’s Center, run by Ellis, for their reproductive health care. More than 2,500 births take place there each year.
Any merger between Ellis and Trinity must carve out protections so that women in our region, no matter their economic status, can continue to receive a full range of healthcare — the healthcare we and our doctors decide we need, not just the health care options one church thinks we’re entitled to.
Gillian Scott

Protesters were only ones being disruptive

Please permit me a minor objection to your July 21 story (“Council meeting becomes shouting match”) on a recent event in Saratoga Springs. I was there and can attest there was plenty of shouting, but it was no match.
The shouting was entirely on one side, that of the Black Lives Matter protesters, who screamed, hollered and shouted at the council members, who either sat silently or tried futilely to speak calmly to them.
Likewise, out in the hallway, after the protesters had been peacefully escorted from the meeting room, those protesters did not “continue to yell back and forth with police officers.”
There was no “back and forth” about it. The officers either stood silently, or in one case, that of the lieutenant who appeared to be in charge, endeavored to speak calmly and courteously but got only angry shouts in return.
This is not really such a minor matter. It’s indicative of the approach taken by these increasingly raucous and disruptive protesters.
They block traffic downtown, harangue and harass cops and bystanders alike with indiscriminate accusations of racism, and then present themselves as victims when a few of them, very rarely, get arrested.
Carl Strock
Saratoga Springs

Let students interpret history on their own

“If Thomas Jefferson owned slaves,” a student once asked me, “how could he write all men are created equal and entitled to liberty?”
The answer is Jefferson didn’t consider African-Americans “men,” at least in the sense that they were intellectually and culturally equal to Whites. (Most, if not all, of the other White men who signed the Declaration of Independence couldn’t stomach the idea of racial equality either.)
But the issue facing social studies teachers is this: How is it possible to answer that student’s question without bringing up the subject of racism and its impact on American society?
I appreciate conservatives’ desire to instill in students a deep respect for the accomplishments of the Founding Fathers and for our nation’s past.
But we can’t ignore facts like these: 12 of the first 18 presidents owned slaves, including Ulysses S. Grant.
Even the Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln never thought the Black man equal to the White. And Woodrow Wilson, whose achievements rank him among America’s top presidents, was an ardent racist.
I say let the American historical record speak for itself – blemishes and all – but let students judge for themselves whether the United States is an “inherently racist society.” No educator has the right to teach that interpretation as historical fact, but it would be equally wrong for states to forbid a class discussion of the issue.
American history is sometimes comforting and sometimes disturbing, but students must learn to draw their own conclusions. Anything less is indoctrination.
Fred Como
Burnt Hills



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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion



“Merger must ensure a full range of care”

Give the past perhaps some concern for the pensions of those effected by the proposed merger would be appropriate. But alas we are too busy dealing with the root causes of immigration to show concern for those next to us.

Wayne Virkler I don’t believe Social Security is the greater good, Social Security won’t be there for me when I retire 30 years from now. I’ve been paying into Social Security for almost 20 years and I will get nothing in return. Even if I got something in return after 50 years of paying into Social Security it’ll be minimal to what I could have with just my investments. Luckily for me I won’t need to depend on Social Security but many others will have paid in way more than they will ever see.

Joseph Vendetti

Mr. Virkler:

I heard this opening remark from a pretty liberal radio host recently “ if you want to teach your children about the socialism we have in the US – Pay your daughter Mary $10 to clean the bathroom then when she is done giver her $3 and her brother Bob who is laying on his bed listening to his air pods the other $7”

So that is a very drastic case – no one in the US pays 70% income tax…..yet. But about 71% of every taxed dollar does now go to an entitlement program.

I think conservatives, liberals, independents all agree – we need socialistic type programs in the US. We will always have handicapable individuals, the despondent, others in transition, we will always needs and want Social Security, Medicare, and programs to fill gaps. We have tolls, we have surcharges, we have taxes & fees that are supposed to cover roads, bridges, education.

Why a person like Donald Trump was elected President was because you had 75 million people (roughly) that were sick and tired of going to work day in and day out and paying into a system were over 67 million individuals were not working. Not because they couldn’t work, but because programs have made it like a $33 per hour job – not to work. Further, if an adult male, who happens to be the biological father of one of your children moves into your fully paid gov’t paid for home or apartment- you start getting penalized and lose dollars. So I say if we want another President like Donald Trump – keep pushing further and further left – “free” tuition, “free” healthcare and you will see an uprising like what is happening in Cuba.

Finally – if you or the Canadians, or the UK or anyone else in Europe thought the programs for medical treatment were so good in those particular countries- they wouldn’t be flocking here in droves to get treatment when they have issues.

-I think one of the talking points you’re trying to recite includes debt servicing as part of that 71% stat.

– You can continue to wave that “socialist” term around knowing it’s a false hot-button point for the lesser educated righties, and feeds into the “free-loader” fears, but “social safety net” would be more appropriate. Any country that wants to be considered a “First World” country provides a safety net. Ours is one of the weakest, and poorly thought out. Countries that report the happiest citizens are the ones with the strongest safety net. Happy citizens make for a productive, more ordered society. Not a utopia, but more happy than us. And yes, it needs to be paid for, one way or another.

**a side note here to wonder why the Republicans refuse to boost funding for the IRS so they can properly do their job and enforce tax law.

-You consistently have a clear image of who you’re targeting for abuses of the system when we know abuse of the social safety net transcends the spectrum of demographics. Small Town, USA harbors abusers just as Inner City, USA. But one is a different color than the other, predominantly.

– The previous President was elected due to a perfect storm of idiocy. Your statement is a gross oversimplification. There certainly is a populist, anti-establishment sentiment running through not just our country but across the globe. But in our case we also had a “leader” willing to (or entrapped to) enlist one or more foreign powers to heavily influence that populace through a sophisticated social media campaign to drum up a cloud of heightened suspicion for our political system. That subversive campaign was trialed on the European community in the form of Brexit and proved successful. This isn’t conspiracy theory “Deep State”, David Icke nonsense. This is real and documented and for which criminal prosecution is ongoing.
Add in a Democratic Party that had become the personification of Fat and Happy who felt all they had to do was ignore Trump because of their condescension of him and his supporters. A sentiment that continues to plague the Dems and could well be their undoing in the coming years. The jury’s still out on whether they’re willing to reach out in a substantial way to anyone not on the East or Wet Coasts.

-“Finally” you will be hard-pressed to provide numbers supporting the very popular, but false talking point that foreigners ‘are flocking to America for our superior health care’ (with the implication that our private system is superior to their “socialist” system).
That is simply not true. You can certainly find plenty of anecdotes of foreigners kvetching about the problems with their system, but as we both know, anecdotes and “feelings” wouldn’t hold up in a court of law as evidence.

70,000 TO 100,000 People come to the U.S. for medical care each year even though our prices are the highest in the world. Around 150,000 go to other countries for medical care because of cost, most of them are for dental and cosmetic surgery. So as usual Chuck you are wrong, people come here for superior treatment and go elsewhere for cost.

Joseph Vendetti


I wasn’t inferring welfare and generational chains are restricted to cities or races, its across all lines, races and rural and urban.

What is at issue is 67,000,000 on a program that was designed as a safety net and is a way of life instead of just help. How can’t you see that is an impossible to sustain with 125-128 million working Americans paying for themselves and their families with after tax dollars and paying for 1/2 of another family thru taxes and fees. Eventually the workers being taxed will realize there is no particular benefit to work, as more people fall off that side of the equation and more need funds, the taxes continue to rise to fund the system(s).

Secondly, There is no myth in foreigners seeking medical treatments here. I have a wife and daughter as nurses. I have a canadian estimator that was diagnosed with stage 3 thyroid cancer and was stuck in a queue for 6 months in Canada if he had waited there he was dead. We paid for him to come to a hospital in CA – he had surgery, radiation and chemotherapy & is cancer free still today. In NZ our JV president had a daughter with rare form of brain cancer – at 3 they were going to stick her on palliative care, he chose to go to sloan kettering and she is 14 years old and cancer free. So there is no myth!! A one payer system run by the gov’t (any gov’t) is crap!! If you need a heart stent you can get it repaired in UK, CA, Europe or NZ model unless its over 90%. Stents in the US are placed at 35-40% blockage or less if symptoms are sever.

“Freel tuition, “Free” healthcare, and “free” drinks – you get watered down inferior product.

Roughly half the users of this forum seem to believe that debate and argument means they can just blurt out whatever they’re thinking and feel no need to base it on reality. No one’s asking you to build an actual court case but do you think no one will fact-check you? Do you feel you can simply reframe the point being argued to meet your anger needs, and then fight with that? I posted an interesting article recently showing how this seems to be the basis of the “Sins of the Leftists”. Here’s a good example of it:

Since you’re not being honest in your response to my rebuttal, I have no reason to believe your “67,000,000” number, or what it applies to. Added to your earlier “71% of every tax dollar” number which I could track down, and pointed out to you that that included debt servicing costs. So you’re wrong that it was for “an entitlement program”.

I clearly said our collection of programs was not perfect. I clearly responded to your “flocking to the US” and pointed out there can easily be anecdotal evidence, but anecdotes don’t make a trend, or a flock. You responded with anecdotes. Ever spent any time in a court? They’re the gold standard for trying to make a point. And by the way, many more Americans go abroad for medical treatment that they can afford. There’s a whole industry built up for it: Medical Tourism.

Lastly, I can talk about cardiac stents as I’ve accumulated a handful over the years and it is most certainly NOT true that stents are placed “at 35-40% blockage or less if symptoms are sever(sic)”. More like 70% blockage minimum being typical (according to the Mayo Clinic, anyway) and in my case more like >90% blockage.
Look it up, ffs.


A huge segment of the Republican Party has become the party of ignorance, stupidity, naivety and gullibility. Their lack of understanding and believing in science certainly confirms that. – Thank you Republicans for pushing the envelope on climate change and Covid. Ironically, their hard line push for their “right of choice” kneecaps my right to choose living a healthy life in a more stable climate.

Thank you once again, Mr. Strock, for keeping it real. Saratoga certainly stepped into it recently, but we still need to rely on civil discourse first to expect to accomplish anything.

Thank you Mr. Virkler for your points addressing one of the righties’ fear factors. If the Republicans have managed any success, it’s mastering the art of public relations and marketing. Just as another great marketer, WC Fields did before.

With Republican leadership like this, who needs Jews with space lasers? Count on the Uber Republican to hide behind DeSantis’ skirt at Shangri-Lago when NY moves to extradite him.

Seems to me EVERY Republican voter ought to be asking themself if this really is the party they want leading this country.
If’n you’re not, “Jack, you dead!”

Florida sets a record with 21,683 new COVID-19 cases reported Saturday, the CDC says

Saturday, the state of Florida reported more new COVID-19 cases to the Centers for Disease Control than any previous day in the coronavirus pandemic: 21,683.

That’s a 12.1% jump over the previous record, Jan. 7’s 19,334 cases during the worst month of the pandemic. Daily case counts routinely surpassed 10,000 as the pandemic peaked a second time. In the succeeding months, daily case counts returned to 2,000 and 8,000.

Florida, which represents about 6.5% of the U.S. population, accounts for about 21.4% of the country’s new cases, based on the data the state is reporting to the CDC.

Florida also reported 108 deaths Saturday, eight days after reporting 148 deaths. Before this most recent surge, you have to go back to March 26 to find a higher single-day death count (159).

DeSantis’ order: State may withhold funds if school districts make students wear masks

School districts in Broward and Gadsden counties have announced plans to again mandate mask wearing to control the spread of the more contagious coronavirus delta variant.

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to stop them, as well as any others that might follow their lead.

(Source: Miami Herald)

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