Can no longer accept Israel actions in Gaza
As Christians went to their churches and prayed for peace and love, their vaunted ally Israel completed its devastation of the Palestinian people in Gaza. Israel's tanks, attack bombers and artillery, mostly American-made and paid for, just laid waste to most of the heavily populated Gaza strip so there aren't many targets left to hit.
Human lives are cheap on the Palestinian side, something our Christian upbringing should never let us accept. The kill ratio in this massacre is over 30-1 in favor of Israel against the Gazans and the casualty rate is a higher figure. Some 8,000 Israeli air strikes were carried out against targets in four weeks of war, killing and maiming women and children, demonstrating a violence of the likes we go back to the Old Testament to read about.
Israel says it has a right to defend itself and that it is right. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he wants an all-out war. That's not the spirit our brethren should like to hear from the pulpit. When their army kills civilians indiscriminately, Israel is surely guilty of committing war crimes, as defined by the Fourth Geneva Convention. What do we Christians think about that?
Israel says the enemy places its rocket launchers near schools, apartment buildings and mosques -- that's why it explodes bombs and shells near them. But we can see that Israel's forces have gone beyond military necessity in their slaughter. They've produced a disproportionate response to the reasons for making war, both in the extent of violence and in the blockade that has denied Palestinians food supplies and freedom of travel. Those are clear violations of the principles of international humanitarian law.
Meanwhile, Israel's warplanes have destroyed water and sewer systems and knocked out the electric power supply for 1.7 million people in Gaza. We see in the news media images of grieving families surrounding bodies of their dead, shattered houses and vehicles outside.
It should bring home to some in our congregations the sorrow and suffering that have marked the history of the Christian church. And the need for mercy and forgiveness in the quest for peace in the Middle East.
Citizens best served by electing Jill Polk
I am very much looking forward to Primary Day, Sept. 9, so that I can vote for Jill Polk for Schenectady County Family Court judge. Jill -- running for the Democratic nomination -- has unsurpassed credentials in the law, including 20 years experience in Family Court.
But, just as important, Jill is committed to our community, having worked with children and families for many years. She is a person of deep compassion and integrity; precisely the kind of judge we need on the Family Court bench.
Democrats, and all Schenectady County residents, will be well-served by electing Jill Polk to Family Court.
Don’t tolerate media bias against the GOP
The partisan bias in American media is not acceptable. It totally contradicts the purpose and meaning of a "free press."
The New Times/Associated Press and much of the mainstream media are notorious for tinkering with political news. Overall, there's an obvious partisan favoritism habit to select and/or edit stories in order to eliminate or downplay news that reflects poorly on the Democrat Party.
Conversely, stories, including gossip and rumor that embarrass alternate political parties are often embellished and overly reported. A well-informed observer would judge the general media an active component of the Democrat Party.
Further: the frequent reporting a fact from questionable news sources and the abetting of political factoids is becoming anew media norm. Honest, factual unbiased news sources are absolutely essential to maintain democracies. Its absence destroys them.
Electing representatives without the benefit of unvarnished truth can result in unqualified, incompetent representatives. possibly to the point of failure. Is the media part of the problem and its reform the solution? I would invite my fellow Americans disturbed by media bias to innovate with alternate word-fits for the PRAVDA acronym, a reminder of the Cold War and the Russian newspaper, Pravda, (The Truth) that touted the Communist Party at the expense of all others.
Repetition of the acronym may shame the media and beget restoration of a truly free press. PRAVDA: "Persecuting Republicans, Abdicating Veracity, Destructing America."
Metroplex not open to all business types
Re Aug. 17 guest column by Elmer Bertsch, "Transparency lacking in how Metroplex selects businesses for tax breaks": This experience goes a little beyond the issue of "how Metroplex selects businesses for tax breaks" but goes more to the broader issue of how Metroplex selects businesses upon which to bestow its favors.
Seven years ago, my wife and I helped our son and his partner start their business in downtown Schenectady. The biggest challenge was finding financing. Aside from the money the two partners brought to the table, they had already found some financing. However, it was not enough.
We were not unaware of the success that Metroplex had in helping new businesses get started in downtown Schenectady and the fact that a lot of this help had to do with financial assistance. Metroplex sure seemed like a good place to start. However, we had no idea how one might go about obtaining Metroplex's help, nor how Metroplex might go about bestowing its largess. So, we did the logical thing -- we called them up.
Here's how that conversation went.
Us: "We're interested in finding out how one goes about obtaining Metroplex's assistance for a startup business in downtown Schenectady.
Metroplex: "Well, what kind of business are we talking about here?"
Us: "It's a bar/restaurant."
Metroplex: "We're not interested in helping any more businesses of that type. We've done enough of that already."
End of conversation. No invitation to visit Metroplex and talk about the business and the principals or their business plan. No discussion of how one goes about "applying" to Metoplex or how Metroplex goes about deciding who might get assistance or what the criteria might be for qualifying for assistance. No offer to send materials or information describing Metroplex's role and process.
Nothing like that at all. We did press the issue somewhat, but to no avail. We did question the other end of the phone as to what we could do, how they might help, etc. This person made it clear we were wasting our time. It's not going to happen, so let's not waste any more time talking about it.
So, our experience is that the Metroplex decision-making process is someone sitting on the other end of a telephone making an arbitrary, ad hoc, off-the-cuff, seat-of-the-pants, unilateral decision.
So, I don't feel so bad now that I see that perhaps we are not alone in being treated dismissively.
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