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Letters to the Editor for Sunday, August 4

Letters to the Editor for Sunday, August 4

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BDS ban violates right to free speech

While everyone was talking non-stop about the Muller testimony, free speech came under attack in America, not from Moscow but from Washington D.C., when HR246 passed in the House of Representatives.
The bill opposes the BDS movement and similar efforts supporters  believe seek to delegitimize Israel, even though that isn’t what BDS does at all.
All BDS seeks to do is boycott economic ties with Israel until it ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and recognize the human rights of Palestinian citizens.
Despite what many will tell you, nothing in BDS’s mission aims to delegitimize Israel or target the Jewish faith. But even if you genuinely disagree with BDS, it is a non-violent boycott movement practicing the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Don’t just take it from me. Take it from at least three federal courts, which as of May 2019 have dismissed anti-BDS laws as unconstitutional. And take it from the Supreme Court, which has repeatedly ruled boycotting as a constitutional right. This bill sets a terrifying precedent for Congress’s ability to interfere in our freedom of speech. 
The fact that it passed with such an overwhelming majority and had several Congress people that I genuinely respect vote for it shakes me to my core. Kudos to the 17 who voted against it and shame on the 398 (including Congressman Paul Tonko) who voted in favor of it. I feel certain history will not look kindly upon this resolution. 
Matt Oill
Schenectady


Why are fewer going to Saratoga track?

Something is keeping the attendance down at the Saratoga Racetrack.
Could it be the early opening of the track, or maybe too many major events going on in our area? 
Could it be everyone wants to live the American dream of a good life, nice homes, new cars, and family activities. There’s nothing wrong with this, except many people today live from paycheck to paycheck and they make good money.
There’s an old saying, “It’s not how much that’s coming in that keeps you going, it’s what you don’t spend” and it’s true.
Also, many folks don’t like what happens in the horse-racing world, as some of the horses have to be put down when they break a leg. Horses are taken care of very well in horse racing, but they do get hurt just like football players and in other sports. That’s the way it is.
The racetrack people are trying to make racing safer for the jockeys and horses. There are risks in all sports and always have been. Let’s hope improvements can be made. 
The price of admission to the track increased a few years ago. Maybe they should lower the price to draw more people in.
If it doesn’t cost much to get in, maybe more people will say, “Let’s go to the track.”
Remember, you can now bet on the races at lots of places other than at the track.
Sid Gordon
Saratoga Springs


Eric Garner’s killing violated basic rights

Regarding the recent op-ed on the killing of Eric Garner, it’s curious that Attorney General William Barr treated the case as an ordinary murder.
On the contrary, Garner was the victim of an extra-judicial summary execution, caught on video from beginning to end, carried out by an agent of the state who has a license to kill.
To treat it as an ordinary murder case is absurd and an insult. Surely other standards must apply when an agent of the state takes the life of a citizen.
This country was founded on the principle that we citizens have inalienable rights, the most important of which is the right to life.
Our cops ignore this, as do their overseers.
Our lawmakers, who are supposed to act in our interests, have done a poor job of protecting us from our own law enforcement personnel. This must change. 
With nearly a dozen civil rights acts already in place, we don’t need another one to force our police and military to respect citizens’ right to life.
U.S. attorneys must be directed, with a legislative act or executive order, to prosecute every incident of police killing, based on violation of the citizen’s right to life. 
Demand that they also use appropriate sections of the RICO act, so that associates of the killer can be prosecuted as well.
Barr should revisit the Garner case and treat it as a civil rights violation.
Otherwise, he should be fired or impeached. Justice must prevail.
Edgar T. Lynk
Niskayuna

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