Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Monday, Aug. 30

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Bush blew chance to prevent Afghan crisis

As you watch the thousands of Afghanis crushed in the Kabul airport in a desperate attempt to escape the Taliban, you might remember 20 years ago when this horrible war could have been ended, a war that has taken the lives of at least 2,500 Americans and a quarter of a million Afghanis and has cost us an estimated $2 trillion.
In 2001, the Taliban were weakened and running scared. That November, according to Alissa J. Rubin, a New York Times writer who was there, Taliban leaders, including Mullah Oman, were sending messengers to Hamid Karzai and others in the Afghan government. They were willing to deal. All they wanted was amnesty for their fighters. Rubin’s article appeared in the Aug. 23 Times.
But George W. Bush and his hawk Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld wouldn’t listen. They wanted revenge. They wanted Mullah Oman captured or, preferably, dead. “We don’t negotiate surrender,” Rumsfeld said.
The Bush administration and Congress were confident that the Taliban would just go away.
Instead, it’s we who are going away, our tails between our legs, leaving behind in mortal danger many of those who aided us. Leaving Afghan women and girls to suffer under the medieval culture of the Taliban. Leaving billions of dollars of sophisticated American military equipment. Leaving the country a chaotic mess.
And leaving thousands of American parents and children and spouses with only memories of their loved ones. Way to go, Dubya. Good job, Don.
Richard W. Lewis, Jr.
Glenville

Vaccine skeptics have good reasons

I’m responding to Ottavio LoPiccolo’s Aug. 19 letter (“Stop being selfish; Get covid vaccine”) wherein he describes vaccine skeptics as arrogant, selfish, ignorant, lacking common sense and compassion, and irresponsible.
He says we don’t trust science and doctors, and think the pandemic is man made to wipe out the older population and make money.
That’s quite a list of charges and often untrue.
Some of us look at the disaster that took place when the first polio vaccine was issued and would prefer the covid vaccine be thoroughly tested before taking it.
The reason given for bypassing established protocols is the need to save lives, at any cost. Then why is it that American citizens terminally ill with cancer must go to Mexico and Europe to get alternative therapies and drugs while U.S. testing protocols delay the use of those therapies here? Don’t cancer patients’ lives matter?
Forced certification of the vaccines as safe without undergoing standard testing protocols shouldn’t be reassuring to any rational, intelligent individual.
Finally, don’t prattle on about the “science.” If no one ever questioned accepted “settled science,” we’d still believe the Earth was flat and that Blacks were intellectually and morally inferior to Caucasians.
Timothy J. O’Neill
Glenville

 

Is Saratoga a superspreader site?

Just wondering – has anyone else considered that the Saratoga racetrack and the night life in Saratoga might be a super spreader for the coronavirus?
I read negative remarks about motorcycle rallies and other large gatherings, but we’re pretty “guilty” right here in the Capital District. And we wonder why infection numbers are rising?
Ethel Robinson
Schoharie

 

 

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

30 Comments

Joseph Vendetti

Mr Lewis:

There have been blunder after blunder in that part of the world starting with Ronald Reagans administration but actions supported by US Senate and US Congress, continuing thru Bush I, Clinton, Bush 2, Obama, Trump and now Biden. Republicans and Democrats have failed us, but our young men and women and civilians in harms ways. It will continue.

Mr O’Neil –

Wrong, false, on all counts. Covid science and testing goes back to trials run in 2011. The delivery mechanisms date back decades as safe. The vaccines (Pfizer is FDA approved) are safe, effective at keeping people out of ICU. Get the vaccine, wear a mask.

Dear Ethel

I’ve thought this 100x – gazette ran an article in May saying vaccines would be checked, masks would be worn by unvaccinated at Saratoga. Not once did I see that happen – so you are probably right that it was a super spreader event(s).

Richard W. Lewis, Jr. I agree with you, I have never been a Bush fan it’s constant wars with that family. But fast forward to today where we have a fumbling president that doesn’t have the mental capacity to drive a car let alone run operations in Afghanistan or maybe it’s his aids that are running operations in Afghanistan. Tomorrow we will be leaving and in doing so we will be stranding 250 American citizens or more plus thousands of Afghani Partners, I don’t want to hear the same old lefty story that this was Trumps deal. Trump is not president Biden is president, Biden made the decisions pertaining to this evacuation and the removal of our troops, the deal that Trump had is not the deal that Biden is following so stop with the blaming Trump and blame President Biden who has blood on his hands. And will commit the ultimate sin of leaving our people behind.

FRED BARNEY

With respect to taking the Covid vaccine it is a question of playing the odds. By not taking it you are subjecting your self to the possibility of being a Covid statistic. If you chose to take it you are subjecting yourself to unforeseen adverse vaccine consequences. By looking at the number of deaths from making both choices an informed bet can be made.

Drunk driving is illegal because that action puts the community at risk. I think the same legal principle should be applied to those who claim the right to mix with populous while being unvaccinated.

RAYMOND HARRIS

Fred, you conveniently forget that one unvaccinated person could spread the virus to other family members, friends and the general public. That’s why it is called a pandemic. I really tried to be civil this time to educate you. Hope it worked.

Bill Nechamen

About 90% of current Covid hospitalizations are among people who are not vaccinated. 195 million Americans have received at last one vaccine dose. The rate of complications from vaccinations is extremely low. Yes you have to compare relative risks. And when you do, the answer is quite clear.

And the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of getting the vaccine. It’s not even close. 216 million COVID cases worldwide, with 4.5 million deaths. That’s a death rate of 2%. 3.1 billion people worldwide with at least one dose of the vaccine, and only a handful of deaths (3 in the U.S. directly linked to the vaccine from myocarditis). There would have to be 62 million deaths from the vaccine to even make that a close decision. So in short, it’s a loser’s bet to not get vaccinated.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Yeah Matt, but I don’t want to become magnetic, or be tracked by an invisible microchip that smaller than an atom that the government hasn’t admitted to having been invented. Plus what if I turn into werewolf 10 years after getting vaccinated. Duh, One of the possible long term effects. – Stop listening to dumb scientists, “fake news” and go with good old social media factual kind of stuff!

FRED BARNEY

Lou making fun of people is for children not adults. In the case of children this fault is to be corrected – adults do not do it!

FRED BARNEY

Those that you have called fools are those that you have not shared your insights with.

Since the universe is infinite and an individuals mental capacity is finite each individual’s ignorance is boundless. Thus all of us in our own way are fools.

LOUIS RESTIFO

“Lou making fun of people is for children not adults.” Is “your boy” trump the exception. Never once did you ever Criticize him for constantly making fun of people. Perhaps you should look up the definition of “hypocrite.”

LOUIS RESTIFO

What does reading the Gazette have to do with trump making fun of people? PLEASE ANSWER THE QUESTION FRED. You NEVER criticize him for making fun of people. In your narrow minded view was he the exception? If so why? Again I say look up the word hypocrite!

FRED BARNEY

Why direct my criticism of Trump to a place that he will not view it?

LOUIS RESTIFO

“making fun of people is for children not adults.” Talk to us about trump and making fun of people. You never have and will not. Look up Hypocrite!

“Why direct my criticism of Trump to a place that he will not view it?” You’ve got plenty of criticism for Biden. I guess you think he reads the Daily Gazette. Look up hypocrisy.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Furthermore, it’s totally unacceptable for children to make fun of people. Its NOT “for children”. Their minds are young and being molded for their futures. Any respectful, responsible adult should know this, right Fred? But apparently you don’t!

FRED BARNEY

“In the case of children this fault is to be corrected – adults do not do it!”

Try reading the material that you chose to comment on!

LOUIS RESTIFO

Sorry about the length of the following, but the read speaks volumes.
I copied pasted the entire article.

“Biden escalates his efforts to puncture the Fox News bubble.”
“The network’s Peter Doocy gave the president an opportunity to make a broader point.”

“In a sense, Peter Doocy’s arrival in the White House press briefing room has been to his employer’s detriment. It used to be that Fox News could spend days condemning Democratic presidents for not responding to whatever controversy its hosts had been tumbling around in their rhetorical rock polishers. Now, though, there’s Doocy, who is regularly selected by White House press secretary Jen Psaki to ask questions probably in part so that the familiar process can be beheaded early. Her exchanges with Doocy drop into the political conversation like bang snaps, crackling with life for an instant before being forgotten, the gotcha almost always redirected to the junkyard.
That’s at least in part because the questions often reflect a network or right-wing consensus that hasn’t been exposed to any significant scrutiny. Little grains of ice snowball into scandals, with Sean Hannity, Dan Bongino and whoever else packing on more and more — and then they get removed from the cooler and placed on the sidewalk. It often doesn’t take long for it to melt.
At other times, the inflection of Doocy’s question itself gets at the point. As was the case Thursday evening, when President Biden called on Doocy after brief remarks about the suicide bombing outside the airport in Kabul.
“Let me take the one question,” Biden said, “from the most interesting guy that I know in the press.”
This was not really meant as a compliment.
“Mr. President, there had not been a U.S. service member killed in combat in Afghanistan since February of 2020,” Doocy said. “You set a deadline. You pulled troops out. You sent troops back in. And now 12 Marines are dead. You said the buck stops with you. Do you bear any responsibility for the way that things have unfolded in the last two weeks?”
When Donald Trump was asked a similar question in March 2020 about the failure of coronavirus testing, he answered like Donald Trump: “No, I don’t take responsibility at all, because we were given a — a set of circumstances, and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time.” Rejection of the idea that he deserved blame and a pivot to his predecessor.
Biden’s been doing this longer, so he accepted blame — and then pivoted to his predecessor.
“I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that’s happened of late,” Biden said. “But here’s the deal: You know — I wish you’d one day say these things — you know as well as I do that the former president made a deal with the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1. In return, the commitment was made — and that was a year before — in return, he was given a commitment that the Taliban would continue to attack others, but would not attack any American forces.”
This is a fair description. A deal struck between the U.S. government and the Taliban in February 2020 included the trade-off outlined by Biden.
At that point, though, Biden went in a different direction: He challenged Doocy to admit that he knew that his own framing of the question was unsound.
“Remember that? I’m being serious,” Biden said to Doocy.
Doocy tried to interject that Trump was no longer the president, but Biden kept at it.
“Now wait a minute,” he said. “I’m asking you a question. Is that — is that accurate, to the best of your knowledge?”
“I know what you’re talking about,” Doocy conceded, before then trying to get Biden to opine on why Americans might be frustrated with the situation in the country. Biden, after resting his head on his hands in apparent frustration, replied that Americans “have an issue that people are likely to get hurt” as they had that day.
He then returned to the prior point: that U.S. forces had avoided attack thanks to the deal made by Trump that had included a withdrawal pledge. This was the case, he said, “whether my friend will acknowledge it” or not — his friend being Doocy.
Fundamentally, that was the Biden’s point. Doocy and his network often don’t provide or consider the context that would subject their theories to heat from the outset. As New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait pointed out Thursday, Fox viewers often aren’t really tuning in to the network’s offerings for a considered debate on the news of the day. What keeps them engaged and watching is the diaspora of voices and range of volumes fuming at the day’s outrage.
For all of the right’s focus on Biden’s mental acuity, he’s sufficiently adept at the sort of exchange seen Thursday to be able to put Doocy on the defensive. Not that this friction between Fox News and a Democratic White House is newly emergent. Biden’s willingness to engage offensively with Doocy echoes the disparagement and criticisms that were a frequent feature of Barack Obama’s administration.
What’s different now are the stakes. Fox News is powerful, capturing an audience of millions of viewers a night. It shifted during the Trump administration in part out of an effort to retain the attention of Trump’s more fervent supporters. In 2013, Fox News’s prime-time lineup flowed from Greta Van Susteren to Bill O’Reilly to Megyn Kelly to what was then its populist anchor, Hannity. Now, the channel is hosting a rotating slot of right-wing personalities in the 7 p.m. hour, before handing things over to Tucker Carlson, Hannity and Laura Ingraham. If those names aren’t intimately familiar to you, trust me when I say it’s a significant move away from the center.
The network (and Carlson in particular) remains a lodestone for much of the often-self-contained conversation on the political right. In November, after it became obvious that Biden had won the election, I pointed out that with Trump vanquished, Biden’s main opponent — misinformation from the right — remained potent. (Right-wing misinformation, driven by Trump, then spent months claiming that no such vanquishing had occurred.) Biden and his team clearly recognize this threat, as evidenced by their willingness to engage with Doocy.
There’s an overly neat analogy that could be drawn here about the White House entertaining a representative of a hostile power, but it’s not entirely wrong. Doocy gives the White House a way into the often-sealed discourse on the right, a way to draw those snowballs into the sunlight. Psaki and Biden are confident in their ability to handle Doocy’s questions and eager to reframe them. It’s a bit like doing an interview with a local television station in rural Texas: You’re pretty much guaranteed airtime that you wouldn’t otherwise get.
Not that it seems to be having much effect.”


Doocy asked a fair question because Biden was responsible for those troops being killed. Biden did not follow Trump’s plan, Trump was not going to close Bagram Airbase until the end, Trump was not pulling troops out until our people and assets were out. Biden lied, Americans died.

William Marincic

Psaki and Biden are confident in their ability to handle Doocy’s questions and eager to reframe them. It’s a bit like doing an interview with a local television station in rural Texas: You’re pretty much guaranteed airtime that you wouldn’t otherwise get.
Not that it seems to be having much effect.”

Is that like Jake Tapper shouting questions and wrestling a microphone from an intern and having his press credentials suspended by the White House? It seems like liberals on CNN and the MSM like to be the news rather than report the news. Real journalism is mostly dead.

William Marincic

Oh yeah, I almost forgot…. Those pesky facts…

James and Kathryn Murdoch together donated more than $1 million to Joe Biden’s campaign in June. Murdoch, the son of Fox News mogul Rupert Murdoch, and his wife each gave $615,000 to a campaign committee that Democrat presidential nominee Biden and the Democratic Party share.

Taliban fighters took the Afghan capital city of Kabul faster than anyone anticipated earlier this month – including the Taliban – but according to a Washington Post report, the U.S. had an opportunity to hold the city only to willingly turn it over.

The failure of Biden and his team is even worse than we know, we could have kept Kabul and no Americans would have died. Impeach this fool.

Florida2015

Joseph,
Your answer to Mr Lewis is in the middle of all political rantings about Afghanistan and is RIGHT on. In my life time Korea was the last time we had the slightest justification to send in our Military. If someone has another example please speak up. Bush 2 wanted to be “war time president” to help get reelected. Congress has shunned its duty since they authorized the Iraq invasion. Obama didn’t have the congress behind him or the will to fight it in his second term when he could have.
FG wanted out of Afghanistan to help get re elected (thank god that didn’t work ) but it was the right thing to do finally . One of the few thing American from both parties agreed on. Biden will pay a political price because of our military causalities, but I think a small one for finally doing it.
I said previously no war for either side ends with a story book ending. Messy and ugly for both sides.

RAYMOND HARRIS

As Louis said, excuse this long opinion piece in the NYT which is very well written:

“Republican politics have become oppositional politics: Deny the science, demean the media, own the libs. Conservatives are less defined by what they are for than by what they are against.

Donald Trump put this concept on steroids because it was beneficial to him as a strategy. He framed himself as the antithesis of Barack Obama. He was against immigrants and Muslims. He was against cultural conciliation. He was against the rapidly approaching future of America, one in which white people would lose not only their numerical advantage but also their societal primacy.

Furthermore, very few facts helped Trump, so he waged war against facts themselves. He denied, diminished and dismissed them.

And as a result, at the peak of their intransigence and callousness, his party catastrophically mishandled the pandemic. They refused to follow the science or act with caution. And, because of their reflexive opposition to the facts, untold numbers of people who didn’t have to die did.

The relationship between leader and followers in the religion of resistance was cyclical: Trump reflected the base, and they reflected him. The base began to have certain expectations from their politicians, expectations they made clear: The base must not only be followed, but also affirmed. The mob is the master.

I say peak, but there have been multiple peaks in the G.O.P.’s utter disregard for public safety — even the safety of their own supporters. It isn’t a single mountain but a range. The death dealing of Covid amounts to the Appalachians of ignorance.

Perhaps no politician has taken the reins from Trump with more vigor — and disastrous effects — than Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a man who thinks he could be the next Republican president. But to supplant the last leader of his party, he has to out-Trump Trump.

To accomplish this meteoric rise, he needed to do two things. First, become the darling of the Trump freedom fighters, fighting for the right to get sick and die. And second, he has to be the opposite of the establishment, in this case Joe Biden and his administration. If Biden swerves left, DeSantis must swerve right, even if the hospitals in his state are overrun and the funeral parlors reach capacity.

It hasn’t necessarily been easy for DeSantis to bait Biden. As The New York Times reported in March, Biden’s top advisers said they saw “no benefits in waging a culture war against Republican governors while they are fighting to contain the pandemic.”

But as the Delta variant became more of a threat and people like DeSantis became more entrenched, waging war against mask mandates in their states, Biden had no choice but to engage more directly. (Luckily, a Florida judge rejected DeSantis’s mask ban on Friday.)

Enticing Biden into open battle is what DeSantis wants and needs. It takes attention off the unbelievable tragedy playing out in his state, a tragedy in which he is complicit.

As The Times reported on Wednesday: “More people in Florida are catching the coronavirus, being hospitalized and dying of Covid-19 now than at any previous point in the pandemic.” The Times continued, “This week, 227 virus deaths were being reported each day in Florida, on average, as of Tuesday, a record for the state and by far the most in the United States right now.”

The citizens of Florida do not even support DeSantis’s politically calculated pandemic positions. A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found that “six in 10 Floridians support requiring masks in schools,” and “61 percent say recent rise in Covid-19 cases in Florida was preventable.”

But there are two things more important to DeSantis than those numbers. First, a different Quinnipiac poll found that regardless of how few Floridians approve of his performance, his approval rating is still higher than Biden’s in the state.

Second, DeSantis is playing to an electorate beyond the panhandle. As long as he is still mentioned in the same breath as Biden, even if the coverage is negative, he is playing well among Republicans. As long as he is fighting Washington and Democrats and experts, it doesn’t matter to entrenched Republicans that he’s not fighting the plague.

Some bodies must be sacrificed to appease the gods of partisan resistance.

To keep the spotlight, DeSantis is employing many of the same tricks as Trump: fighting with the media about coverage, deflecting blame onto Biden and convincing his followers that folding to facts is the same as forfeiting freedoms.

As DeSantis said in early August, “We can either have a free society, or we can have a biomedical security state.” He continued, “And I can tell you: Florida, we’re a free state. People are going to be free to choose to make their own decisions.”

Yes, Florida, DeSantis is allowing you to choose death so that he can have a greater political life.”

Florida2015

Just one small story of what is playing out in local schools because of DeathSantis.

In case you missed it:Schools set to surpass last YEAR’S COVID-19 cases in first three weeks of this school year. Sarasota School System

Moms For Liberty, a national organization that was originally co-founded by Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler, has a Sarasota chapter that has been the center of mask resistance in schools. (Ziegler is no longer officially affiliated with the organization, although she supports the cause.) Ziegler husband is Republican leader of local party.
Children were supposed to walk into school without a mask but have one ready in case an administrator said they needed it to get in the building. Kids would keep their masks on until 10 a.m., and then they were supposed to all take them off and tell teachers they would not comply.

“I want an education; my parents told me I don’t have to wear that. You’re not my parents,” the organization’s statement encouraged students to say. “No, I don’t have to leave, and I’m not doing anything wrong.”

The district’s plan called for students who do not wear masks to be sent home.

The guidance from Moms For Liberty tells parents to be in no rush to pick up their child, if their school calls and says they need to be picked up for not wearing a mask.

Now this is a great lesson to teach your kids. Can you imagine the kids as they get older, maybe in the military, new job for just a few things.

Guess we don’t teach to respect and follow rules made for everybody’s safety and well being anymore.

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