Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Saturday, Nov. 6

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Independent body needed for truth

When will we declare a war on lying and misinformation?
From Facebook (now Meta) and similar social media sites to Fox and other right-wing outlets, the country has been bombarded with lies, conspiracy theories and misinformation that are difficult to correct in real-time and has divided the country.
Once people start believing these falsehoods, they spread like wildfire. We, and especially Congress, appear to be at a loss to combat this brainwashing, not unlike what the Nazis did 80 years ago.
These con artists hide behind the First Amendment, similar to people refusing to be vaccinated because of their so-called religious beliefs. But there are limits to free speech, like falsely yelling fire in a movie theatre.
Truth resides in verifiable facts. It is time that an independent commission be formed that would inform the public regularly of such untruths and provide the facts or clarification.
It would institutionalize fact checking that you can now google, but it would be publicized on an independent television station. I think it would be so effective that public figures would cringe if they were called out.
This commission could also fine these liars based on the severity of the misinformation and frequency of repeating the same untruths.
The commission would be initially funded by the federal government and be able to retain the fines that they collect. It’s not a perfect solution, but I’ve yet to hear anyone offer a workable approach to reducing, if not eliminating untruths.
Raymond Harris
Glenville

Trump doomed by lies about pandemic

Donald Trump will go to his grave insisting that the 2020 election was stolen from him. The irony of his claim is that he himself was the architect of his defeat.
Had Trump acknowledged the seriousness of COVID-19 from the start, he most likely would have won a second term. However, at the onset of the outbreak, he insisted that it was a “hoax” and not a serious problem.
Having made these initial claims, his narcissism prevented him from admitting that he had been wrong. Acknowledging fallibility is simply not in his DNA. Therefore, even as the pandemic escalated in severity, he refused to admit that the virus was a serious threat. Once his base bought into his rhetoric, he doubled down on his position. He advanced untested treatments and cures for the virus.
Moreover, he had to find a scapegoat for his failures, and thus focused on China as the “culprit.”
He eschewed masks and social distancing, implying that such actions represented “weakness.”
Instead, he encouraged large gatherings without masks and without social distancing.
In his book, “Rage,” Bob Woodard notes that Trump knew in February 2020 that COVID-19 was very deadly. Trump decided not to share his view publicly, which could have saved many lives.
Trump lost the election because he failed to protect the public from the pandemic. He refused to advocate measures to limit its spread. In the end, his hubris robbed him of a victory. Certainly this was a case of poetic justice.
Don Steiner
Schenectady

No payday for those entering illegally

A recent Wall Street Journal article stated the Biden administration was in negotiation with the ACLU to give undocumented migrants separated at the border $450,000 each in compensation.
The ACLU has filed lawsuits on behalf of those that entered illegally and were traumatized by separation; they asked for $3.4 million per person, but the administration offered the lower amount.
The government’s offer (which President Biden has since denied) would give a family of four, for example, $1.8 million, tax free, in total costing U.S. taxpayers billions.
As one GOP senator remarked, it is equivalent to giving the burglar that robbed you monetary compensation for the trauma of committing the crime. Insanity.
Negotiations are expected to quietly conclude by the end of November, settling out of court.
The $450,000 amount will undoubtedly increase. The new millionaires will continue to live here despite violating our immigration laws with impunity.
More money, tax free, than most American workers earn (and pay income on) in a lifetime. The families of our soldiers killed in action receive $100,000. Break our immigration laws? You’ve won the Biden lottery.
We’ve shown the world crime does indeed pay in the United States of America. The word will get out to those who want to get in illegally to become instant millionaires. Who can blame them?
Joanne Holland
Cohoes

America at risk with Trump still dictating

It has been a year since Joe Biden won the 2020 election. It is past time for Donald Trump to accept defeat. The American voters had enough of his lies and misdeeds. He should stop moaning and remind himself that he is a FORMER one term president. Then look for another job.
His “Make America Great Again” slogan is an affront to many Americans. America has always been a great country and will continue to be a great country despite the four-year lapse of Trump’s presidency.
Right now our democracy is in danger because the Grand Old Party has lost its grandeur by allowing Trump to dictate policy.
The Republicans permitted him to drag them down to his evil level.
If Congress had impeached him for his attempted bribery of Ukraine, perhaps there would have been no insurrection.
All of the heartache, lives lost, officers maimed for life, damage to the Capitol, lawsuits, and for them not to impeach was ludicrous. America’s democracy is a concerning situation.
Remember this in 2022.
Jane Reisenger
Schenectady

How did we get the way we are today?

Here’s an unbelievable story.
Some 3.5 billion years ago, self-replicating molecules came into being on the planet Earth. Very quickly these molecules developed a defense against predation and the natural dangers of their environment. A bubble of fat molecules to house them served this purpose and they became a cell, a house for genetic material.
Then about a billion years ago, something earth-changing happened: Critters made up of more than one cell appeared, an event so unlikely that it was 2.5 billion years in the making.
Multi-cell animals came into being about 550 million years ago. But these multi-cell houses had exactly the same purpose; to facilitate the replication of the genetic material within.
Over the last billion years, species branched and branched again and the multi-cell houses for genes became more and more sophisticated due to natural selection.
Cells differentiated into organs and other structures, but each separate adaptive structure facilitates, in some way, the survival and propagation of the genetic material that directed its construction.
There is now even one species, where each individual is composed of some 30 trillion cells (some of which occasionally function as a brain), that imagines that its unique purpose is to house a ghost.
Just kidding folks. God made everything 6,000 years ago.
Bill MacTiernan
Schenectady

State needs standard policies for voting

There has been much discussion about voting rights in New York.
Our legislators struggle to provide a multitude of options for voters to participate in major elections.
Voting for preliminary elections in New York state occurs on the fourth Tuesday of June. General elections take place on the first Tuesday of the first full week in November.
So what’s with school tax and school board elections?
Why are they held at different times during the year and why are they usually held in a different place (usually at the school) than the prescribed polling places for the other elections? This ensures that the taxes are approved by those who benefit the most by school tax increases.
This act discriminates against senior citizens by making them show up for additional votes at different dates during the year.
Further, if a school tax is declined, then a school board schedules yet another obscure date aside from the primary or general elections. This disregards a senior’s ability to show up or to react to a second election.
Our legislators struggle to modify voting procedures for preliminary and general elections to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to vote. Not the case with school taxes.
The procedures for voting on these issues are ignored. This discriminates against the general population because there is no standard procedure to place a vote causing great confusion and poor turn out.
It’s time to align voting rights across the board in New York state.
Mark F. Bohne
Broadalbin

 

Fear mongers are winning climate war

For the third or fourth time in my life, the environmental fear mongers are claiming this decade is the last chance we have to save planet earth. This, like the rest, will pass and time will march on.
The world’s leaders are all meeting in Scotland, having all flown in on private or charter flights, spewing millions of tons of the dreaded carbon so they can threaten or force the world’s population to buy in on their hysteria.
The world’s largest polluter, China, is boycotting this farce. India, the second largest polluter, is non-committal to doing anything to arrest their growing pollution problem. If the United States could lower its pollution to zero, without China and India doing anything, it would make little difference.
When Biden took office, the United States was energy independent; however, with the stroke of a pen, Biden is now pleading with OPEC to increase output to offset the curbs he has put on our domestic oil production. Consider this: are any of the nations of OPEC as conscientious regarding the environment as the United States? No.
We are suffering under the highest oil prices in seven years so Biden can keep the big donors, the environmentalists. Do you miss President Trump yet? I do!
Dave Edwards
Halfmoon

Sustainable food is good for us, planet

As we plan for Thanksgiving, we want to find the best sustainable food for our families, friends and planet.
Order ahead from local farms for free-range poultry, grass fed beef, venison and rabbit. Their sustainable practices mean quality nutrition and humanely raised animals.
Also, as our winter cravings ramp up, remember that meat isn’t the only answer.
Since cattle are the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, look to fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains to fill up those hearty cravings.
What local foods can we find as temperatures drop? As winter approaches, look at spruceeats.com or localharvest.org for extensive lists of upstate New York seasonal foods sources. Embracing the local choices means tantalizing our taste buds while also caring for the planet.
Caroline Brooks
Glenville

State must approve the Clean Future Act

It is very good news that state Department of Environmental conservation denied permits for two natural gas plants, as reported in The Daily Gazette on Oct. 28 (“State denies permits for power plants in NYC, Hudson Valley.”)
It is great that the EnCon commissioner, Basil Steggos, comments on that action: “We must shift to a renewable future.”
However, it worries me that these decisions came close to going the wrong way.
It seems we need a stronger framework to be able to make the tough choices that will be required. Any continued reliance on natural gas poses awful risks: methane is 25 times stronger than CO2 in trapping in the atmosphere in the long term (and 80 times stronger in the 20-year short term).
And we are obviously unable to avoid significant methane leaks. New York state is the fourth largest gas-consuming state in the nation.
Despite all our good hopes and intentions to manage the crisis, we must take solid steps now.
A good way to do that is to pass the “Clean Future Act,” (S5939A and A6761A), which would prohibit the development of any major electric-generating facilities that would be powered in whole or in part by any fossil fuels.
Since Gov. Hochul agrees that climate change is “the greatest challenge of our time,” we really need her to do whatever is needed to get the Clean Future Act passed in this legislative session.
Don Porter
Schenectady

Vote for those who will build opportunity

It is incredible to watch a party that claims to be for the lower and working-class push forward on plans that will disproportionately affect the people at the bottom of the economic ladder.
By blowing trillions of dollars into the economy, Democrats like Paul Tonko are driving inflation to record levels. We have already seen the empty shelves in supermarkets and the record-high gas prices, but come the winter we can expect to see a 50% or more rise in the cost of heating. For the people Democrats claim to represent, this will have a devastating impact on their standard of living. Thankfully, in 2022 we will have an opportunity to send a clear message to Democrats and their allies in Big Business: Enough is enough. We need to vote in candidates like Liz Joy, who will work for every American’s economic freedom and institute policies that build opportunity, not dependency.
Joe Biden and Paul Tonko want to take us back to the 1970s when they started in politics. Instead, let’s look forward to a brighter and stronger economy.
Mary Lynch
Ravena

 

 

Online letters

Commenters to online letters who fail to follow rules against name-calling, profanity, threats, libel or other inappropriate language will have their comments removed and their commenting privileges withdrawn.

To report inappropriate online comments, email Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney at [email protected]

 

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

28 Comments
Florida2015 November 6, 2021
| |

Here is a Republican with no future in 2024.
Nikki Haley: leaders should release tax returns and prove mental competency

Florida2015 November 6, 2021
| |

William Aiken, Yes I aware we have had more deaths in 21 than 20. As to blame if you can figure out to get 60-65 million eligible for the vaccine to take it you could help lower the death count. WE HAVE A VACCINE. Want to blame Biden for that I have no answer, go ahead and blame away.
My guess is if we have another surge there will be more deaths, especially among the un vaccinated. A few more Red states keep passing no mandates for anything and it will continue to rise. Here in Florida thanks to the Governors policies we have had more deaths in 21 than 20 AFTER the vaccine become available and he isn’t done yet. Same in Texas, oh and they are Republican governed states. DeathSantis touts anti body drugs and sites to get them but not the vaccine??? The covid daily totals are reported most every night on PBS if you care to watch William. Think on CNN during the late afternoon shows also. You have to change channels to find these things out.

ChuckD November 6, 2021
| |

Thanks for your words, as always Ray.
I’m not sure I’m on board with your solution, but high praise for offering one. I just don’t think it’s practical to expect to have an independent anything, that will be recognized and respected as such by most.
I still think the purveyors of these platforms are the ones who should be held responsible. The way they do this is not to read every post, that’s clearly not sustainable, but to classify users based on followers and/or views, likes whatever. The greater your audience (an easy enough metric to find), the higher your classification, and the more scrutiny your posts get, and the greater pressure to keep it honest. Social media platforms would need to agree to this and an acceptable standards for punishment, etc.
We’re still grappling with the power of the internet and our government has been predictably slow and behind the curve in holding these companies’ feet to the fire (“It’s a series of tubes!!”). But to think hundreds of millions of users can be policed is never going to work. Limit the scrutiny to most potent, the most viewed ones and make the platforms themselves do it to keep their corporate privileges.

Florida2015 November 6, 2021
| |

FRED BARNEY, At least with the new infrastructure bill you will have better roads and safer bridges to get there.
Unfortunately Fred since we are still and will be for awhile dealing what Trump did not do in regard to the virus, and will be with us and should now be called the TV infection (Trumpvirus).

Ray, Spot on suggestion only problem is those that would need this source the most would never, listen read or watch it. Fake news you know. How many times do letters and posts appear here, be fact checked, links posted, correct information posted, few days or at most weeks later same misinformation and lies show up again from the same people.
From Louis I believe will always be the case in this country.
Only what they want to hear, only what they want to see, only the way they want it to be, nothing else matters. Nothing.

FRED BARNEY November 6, 2021
| |

Trump is last year’s story. This years story is about Americans having enough money for gas so that they can get to and from the food pantry.

Doug Hampton November 6, 2021
| |

Great Job Ray. You not only pointed out a great disruption but you took that next step in offering a real solution. You should be proud.

Excellent letter about Trump and his constant denial of the Corona Virus and how that likely lost the election for him. I have mentioned that here a few times and our resident right wingers continue to deny even that! This letter was thorough and drove home what most analysts believe. Trump shot himself in the foot!

William Marincic November 6, 2021
| |

Raymond Harris, yeah let’s have the truth police. My question is don’t we have them already? Facebook, Twitter, MSM, and all of the rest of social media will only allow the democrats talking points, they are the water carriers of the DNC. We have news anchors on TV complaining about the loss in Virginia and ways the democrats can do better. Is that honest news reporting when they obviously have a bias? What happened to just reporting the news and letting people form their own opinions?

Yakcracker November 6, 2021
| |

Mr Harris, everything you said is true, however, you forgot to include CNN, NPR, and any other far left “news” outlet. Why do liberals/progressives/dems refuse to see the bias and lying unless it is issuing from the right and the evil republicans? This is not sensible. The left is absolutely guilty of everything you accuse the right of. CNN has been caught in more lies than even FOX “news”, and that is a fact. Don’t you remember ‘If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor’ or the even more hilarious ‘the Affordable Care Act will save every American 2000 dollars or more a year’. This is only two examples out of thousands of the left lying through their teeth to the American public. Why is that OK and anything a republican says not OK? I am a right leaning republican but I will not defend the party like you crazies defend the left. When the republicans lie, and they do it all the time, I don’t deny it. I go vote against them, not that it makes any difference.

LOUIS RESTIFO November 6, 2021
| |

Great letter Ray, but we must understand that the virtues of what Superman lived by…Truth, justice and the American way mean nothing to the new alt-right political movement.

Joseph Vendetti November 6, 2021
| |

Mary

I’m luke warm on our president but I will make my mind up by 2024 if I think he deserves another 4 years. As far as Paul Tonko who has been a career politician and I haven’t really seen one thing I like, but Liz Joy??? She was re-sharing 911 conspiracy theories on face book and the Pentagon. What we need is a write in campaign or to reject the parties and demand better.

Joseph Vendetti November 6, 2021
| |

Dave:

While I don’t agree with President Biden on that particular energy policy piece I do agree that we need to be part of the Paris Accord.

Biden or any other candidate at that level isn’t beholden to one group of Environmental donors. Frankly in the 2020 election there was some $3 billion in donations from “dark” sources. Left wing on the Democratic side and right wing on the Republican side.

And no we aren’t missing Trump – he has harmed our democracy, he has harmed our image and weakened us as a people (by pitting us against one another).

Joseph Vendetti November 6, 2021
| |

Don:

I’ll agree with about 99% of your letter. Trump narcissistic- check. Trump idiot check. Trump did more bad then good with his rhetoric check. But I have seen data that shows spikes on the covid virus haven’t been ever witnessed before in nature. I think China is the greatest threat to the American way of life politically, militarily and environmentally.

Joseph Vendetti November 6, 2021
| |

Ray:

Excellent letter today!! Not only do you point out something important but you offer a solution. Great job.