America needs to make some changes
I think I could write about stories in the June 24 paper in depth, but space is limited so in brief.
The president’s immigration policy was voted down. We have 16 million children in this country that go hungry; we have many citizens already without jobs. If any immigrant turns out to be a possible terrorist, they will not be deported? Where do the jobs come from? Who will support them? While our country was based on immigration, it is a different world.
The Republicans are fighting the fact that possibly-known terrorists can still purchase a gun? We are not saying you can’t buy a gun if you are not on that list. I wonder if the Republicans would think differently if one of their relatives were shot and killed in Florida.
If many doctors can accept Medicare and Medicaid, maybe we should start to have agencies that will give indigent people fair and just representation from lawyers.
Think about it.
Vincent F. Carelli
Separate facts from opinions on issues
This is in response to the June 24 letter in the Gazette, “Where is the outrage over breastaurant?” I agree with the writer that the picture in The Gazette was inappropriate. However, this is an opinion, and some facts need to be interjected into this issue.
Freedom of the press allows newspapers to print and say whatever they want. I do not consider the picture of a scantily clad woman to be newsworthy, but apparently the newspaper did.
The town of Niskayuna supervisor does not own Mansion Square and he cannot dictate to the owners what businesses should rent space. Unless it is an illegal enterprise, he has no say in the matter. As a resident of the town, I am unaware of any major outcry from the constituents. A few letters in the newspaper does not represent a majority of town residents.
I agree that end-of-life issues are important. As a doctoral intern in the sate Senate, I was very involved in the hospice legislation. However, some of the issues can be controversial. As a public institution, the town must discern if a topic will offend some of the residents. We live in a pluralistic society, and some individuals may not agree with our personal opinions, such a right of someone to end their own life.
The town supervisor cannot be accused of being “gutless” when he has no control over an issue or when he has to make a decision if he determines the topic is too controversial. The “buck” stops at his desk. If he makes an error in judgement, he alone suffers the consequences.
In the end, we all have our opinions, but we should keep in mind that opinions are only opinions and facts are facts.
Voting does make a difference in our lives
All eligible voters need to register. It is well known that more than 50 million citizens in the United States are eligible to vote, but do not bother to register. Virtually every citizen in the United States over the age of 18 is eligible to register to vote.
During the past month, I have participated in several voter registration events and have been disheartened by adults who have a lack of interest in the political process and no desire to register to vote.
The myriad reasons for not registering include the general consensus that “my one vote does not matter" or that "the system is broken.” Many others seem unaware that while they have chosen to opt-out of the process, avoiding politics is not possible. The lack of understanding of how politics impacts their daily lives is very alarming.
During the events, I provided concrete explanations such as that elected officials make decisions about which streets get paved, which sidewalks get repaired and how schools are funded. Still, many eligible voters did not seem fazed that political decisions will be made for them if they choose not to participate in the process.
Voting serves an essential function in the United States. By registering to vote and then casting your ballot in a local, state or national election, you’re helping to shape the place in which you live. Your vote is your chance to help determine how business is conducted in your own community. If you participate, you can help to improve the system. By voting, you gain the power to make your elected officials listen and respond to you. They may not always do what you want, but they have to listen to your opinions.
When you vote, you become someone important. By voting, your “one vote” will be loud enough to be heard by everyone. Please register to vote and then use the valuable right you have as an American and so many take for granted.
Foss goes astray on BDS understanding
In her June 9 column [“Cuomo’s boycott directive is off base”], Sara Foss approaches the subject of Cuomo’s anti-BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] directive in her typically thoughtful way. Yet, in failing to understand the nature of the BDS movement and in arguing that Cuomo’s directive is a possible infringement on constitutional guarantees of free speech, she goes astray.
Foss acknowledges that “some contend the BDS movement is anti-Semitic.” In fact this is no mere contention. The BDS movement’s origins lie in a forum held at the 2001 U.N. World Conference against racism, in Durban, South Africa. The Durban conference, rather ironically, descended into such a swamp of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda that the United States walked out. BDS was cooked up very specifically as a means to weaken the Israeli economy so that the country itself would be unable to survive.
As to her concern that the directive may violate the First Amendment, the constitutional scholar and Northwestern University law professor Eugene Kontorovich has written (Tablet magazine, July 13, 2015), regarding other states’ anti-BDS laws, that “such concerns are entirely misplaced.” Anti-boycott laws “do not bar any BDS activity and [do] not otherwise violate the First Amendment... They simply limit a state’s business relationships with companies that discriminatorily limit their own business relations...
Proponents of boycotting Israel are free to call for such boycotts, encourage others to join them, and participate in them ...” But “the First Amendment allows states to place conditions on doing business with [these boycotters].”
Foss writes about the BDS movement’s claim of “success” in driving the Israeli SodaStream company to shut its West Bank factory. Yet, this factory gave hundreds of Palestinians good jobs and fostered positive Jewish-Palestinian relationships. As noted in US News (March 1, 2016), “The layoffs of hundreds of workers following the closure of Israeli company SodaStream’s West Bank factory has even some Palestinians questioning the wisdom of the anti-Israel boycott movement.”
Cuomo’s motivations for issuing the anti-BDS directive may indeed be political. The more important point is that he has taken a stand against an insidious form of anti-Semitism in which New York’s citizens should in no way participate.
Jessica Hornik Evans