The intent of this blog is to promote human equality, human progress, human peace and justice, and optimism. To accomplish this, to encourage the discussion of ideas after identifying and discovering problems, and then creating positive solutions for "we the people," in order to provide for the "general welfare" and "domestic tranquility" of America now and its "posterity" into the future. To encourage an emphasis on separation of religion and state for all, no matter if this is for those "of faith" in a Maker / Creator (Deists, God-loving people, Christians, various people of spirituality) and atheists or agnostics.

Archive for February, 2022

My Comments: “The Battle for the Soul f the Library” (27 Feb. 2022) by Stanley Kurtz

Dear Editors:

My career has spanned some 40+ years as a librarian and library instructor, educator in two disciplines, and musician.  My career has crossed between traditional and non-traditional. My work with the U.S. Air Force was non-traditional in maintaining a very small core collection necessary for developing, with database management practices, information about software engineering literature and the R&D projects to support military efforts in maintaining, during the Cold War, radar systems training simulators, and any type of equipment in support of aviation and for any branch of the military. The career path for me also went into years as a corporate librarian for R&D, executive management, engineering, and marketing, concentrated in the training department of the corporation.  My career also kept me, practically all that time, in the academic field and in public libraries. 

I have been a member of the Special Librarians Association (SLA, both Upstate New York and Florida & Caribbean chapters), American Society for Information Science (ASIS), Edison Electric institute (EEI) Library Division, American Library Association (ALA), Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), and state organizations, such as Florida Library Association (FLA), Florida chapter of ACRL, and New York Library Association.

In this career with professional groups, I have been an elected leader of groups and attended many conferences. Add to this my organizing of conferences in Florida, including a technology conference for libraries held in Miami Beach and working with the keynote speaker, Jamie LaRue, who eventually moved on to head the FTRF.

I have experience working with public libraries and the Florida statewide advocates of public libraries, including Bernadette Storck and others in the NEFLIN, TBLC, and SEFLIN library cooperatives. 

Why do I have to explain these credentials? Because your newspaper publishes an article by Stanley Kurtz who appears to be from a conservative think tank and is critical of the very profession from where spent these many years. But all he has to do is be identified with POLITICS and POLITICAL IDEOLOGY and he is thus an “expert.”  In the Air Force, we used to say that “an expert is a drip under pressure.”  The rest of us in the professions are ignored and never get our material printed or published, especially if we worked in an academic area which does not place a requirement of “publish or perish” to appear on the shingle.  That was the academic area where I worked as a professor and library instructor for 25 years of my career.  No requirement for “publish or perish,” so I was ignored when I attempted to publish. Except for one time and it was by a publisher in a FOREIGN NATION under the BRITISH COMMONWEALTH. But not in American academics. 

In light of all of this and the goofball chosen to write about “the soul of the library,” I also must add that my reading repertoire, since I was in the 7th Grade, has been across the board in terms of political spectrum.  I read George Will as well as Paul Krugman or others.  I never felt I had to massage my ego by only reading (or viewing on political analysis television) only what made me happy. “We’ll have fun, fun, fun til our daddy takes the T-bird away.” That was NOT my mantra.  I also viewed CONSERVATIVE William F. Buckley, Jr. with his program called Firing Line.  I would read Buckley’s op-ed columns, too and had an interest in his magazine called The National Review. I ALSO had an interest in the liberal publication, The New Republic, which challenged positions taken in the Buckley magazine.

Political ideology means nothing to me. My mantra is about humanism first. I don’t consider the Civil Rights Act nor the Voting Rights Act, from the 1960s, to be pertinent for politics because they concern humanist attitudes in the way we treat one another as human beings in a democracy.  But alas, what choice do we have and LBJ was forced to force the American people to take a good long look at those two acts.  What a shameful thing to say about America. But we had to come to grips with these issues, even if many of us merely define what we stand and pledge of allegiance to a flag, while too many people are nothing but hypocrites.  “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Now we have atheists who likely prioritize more the removal of “one nation under God…” (1950s addition under President Eisenhower) than to endorse and inspire that we follow the words, “with liberty or justice for all.”  Or, such people don’t take and prioritize standing up for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Too many people are thinking on individualist terms, working to destroy. Such people do this, whether Trump, atheists, or the “woke librarians” identified by Kurtz. 

This might be a problem. The bigger problem I have with Kurtz is his stereotyping of librarians as all of us being these “liberal” or “woke” librarians. What an insult.  I have offered my credentials and must say that, should Kurtz not conclude that I am a “woke” librarian, he is a shameful and mentally deranged person who needs a lobotomy. 

Issue. Censorship. Kurtz says that too many librarians put the 1619 Project book into the library, but don’t add Peter Wood’s 1620 book.  Excuse me, Mr. Kurtz, but in your bias towards conservatism, you lump us all together as being people who don’t put books from a balanced view into a library. How insulting of the man. 

And Kurtz’s stupefying idiocy continues with the phrase, “traditional ideas of liberty.” WHAT? So being a humanist, I ignore traditional ideas of liberty because I don’t like them to be tailored to white supremacists? It is not questions of liberty, just as much as it’s not a question of politics. It is how we treat our fellow human beings. So Mr. Kurtz can go stuff his bias where the sun don’t rise.  He is insulting to good people in America. 

Take this even further. A university in Florida and a college in Michigan where conservatism prevails over liberal.  The one in Florida is a very large one, too.  Yet, those in Florida who must believe in white racist forms of “liberty” which should prevail over all, makes claims that the university in Florida has too damn many liberal professors. Really? I have spoken with graduates of that university and they speak about conservative professors who cram their ideas down their throats. 

What about conservative MIT? It has engineers who look the other way regarding global warming and claim it does not exist.  They put out fake stuff in this regard, ignoring the facts so as in the Trumparian way, they put their own spin on the issue. Meanwhile, sea levels are rising in Florida and some are fearful of the levels becoming too high. Hopefully, this never happens during our lifetime. 

But what about words in the preamble to the U.S Constitution? “Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” Posterity? Does Kurtz even realize that this is a LIBERAL, PROGRESSIVE THOUGHT about our descendants, not some asinine traditional thought about “traditional ideals of liberty.” Being the conservative and disgusting anti-humanist Kurtz demonstrates that he is.

In reading this Kurtz article, I am struck by his statements to stereotype all librarians as liberal and where he gets his proof and evidence of this? In America today, there are too many who simply speak off the cuff and never provide detailed evidence. Kurtz speaks about an ALA conference as if it is mush to not be considered.  Let me see. So, the ALA conference I once attended about 2007 was nothing but mush and no one spoke there except “liberals?” Funny, but I find the man with a mentally deranged mind in saying such a thing. I suppose that Julie Andrews speaking at an ALA conference means she is nothing but a liberal? Where is Kurtz’s damn proof of this?  Julie Andrews did not speak about politics. She spoke about her work with writing childrens’ books and working with childrens’ theatre. This is “liberal,” you damn SOB, Kurtz?  What a lousy thing to say about someone who spends her time, since losing her voice due to a surgery which went sour.  I applaud her for her performances on Broadway and in The Sound of Music. I suppose Kurtz just cannot handle the fact that Julie Andrews also appeared in Victor Victoria? What a dolt and scumbag. 

Yes, Bobby Kennedy, Jr., spoke at that conference. Big deal. A liberal with whom no liberals even pay attention to him, particularly in the Democratic Party. But he is stereotyped and smeared by Kurtz? 

Some of the others who appeared at that 207 ALA conference and I don’t recall who was there. But I KNOW they were not all liberal and there were a number of conservatives, too. Perhaps the liberals outnumbered conservatives? But when I don’t consider ideology to be important, I would not even pay attention.

In a later ALA conference, I heard a black man speak on a HUMANIST topic, describing growing up in Michigan in the late 1950s and being force to carry Mason jars in the car so they could pee while traveling. Why? Because of gas stations and other lavatory facilities where only white people were accepted. In other words, hold your pee if you have color on your skin.  So, this guy, speaking about historical accounts of Jim Crow-like attitudes among whites in America and he is a liberal? More like Kurtz and others are as shameful about all the things which happened and wishes to keep it covered over. He is being like a teacher who had sex with young girls and wished to keep it hidden and out of sight.  Such people are mentally deranged sickos.  And there are some issues for which I find this black man to be a tad on the conservative side. But he is not liberal just because he stands up for human rights.  He is called a human being.

Kurtz says, “Librarians should be politically neutral. Too many aren’t.” Maybe I could say, “Writers accepted for publication in the New York Times should be politically neutral. Too many aren’t.”  I have no proof this statement is accurate because I don’t bother to count.

Perhaps Mr. Kurtz needs to learn by reading a series of books written by the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Daniel J. Boorstin. Dr. Boorstin wrote a a series of books titled The Americans. One book had the sub-title of The Democratic Experience.  Dr. Boorstin was appointed by Republican CONSERVATIVE, Ronald Wilson Reagan.  I suppose Mr. Kurtz would consider a chapter in Boorstin’s book about how a 19th-Century Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner exposed the corruption in the life insurance industry and made changes to it. Too liberal for Mr. Kurtz because he supports corruption and one is liberal if one takes on corruption? Explain this to me because Kurtz stereotypes all librarians as “not being neutral” and as being “liberal.”  Wrong, even if he says, “too many aren’t [neutral].” 

Also added to this discussion is the reporting of a conversation with someone of the FTRF. We did have a somewhat contentious argument because I felt there needed to be a moderation of what gets published or warning notes and disclaimers, or other methods of moderating the content or else we need to consider censoring books like the one Timothy McVeigh read in order to make bombs.  The person at FTRF stood staunchly behind the position of lawyers at the ACLU and protecting books from being censored.  But that was only one example. Kurtz makes it sound like there are dozens and dozens and dozens of such examples.  Even then, the discussion did center on my suggestions as to how to tone it down when it came to consideration of censorship or not. 

Then there is the librarian in Florida who told about a local evangelical fundamentalist church which came to the library and insisted the director toss out any books which contained stories of sex or violence. The director took this group to the shelves, pulled Bible after Bible off the shelves and tossed them in a waste can.  The group shrieked in dismay!  “How can you throw out all of those Bibles!”  The library director said, “well, you asked me to throw out all books which contained stories about sex and violence, so that is where I am beginning. Now show me the other books.” The churchy folks simply departed without another word.

Furthermore, there are those who believe the Koran (Islam) should be removed. Likely Rick Santorum would like to see such a book removed. Yet, this book has no content promoting violent terrorism.  Muslims tailored to Saudi Arabia (ISIS, Taliban, and what not) mis-use documents like that the same way that many who call themselves Christians do with the Bible. Most notably, the Southern Baptists once changed the Bible to make it fit their white supremacy ideas. 

This question Kurtz poses presents many aspects about life and for all of us living together. Yes, perhaps if 1619 Project is in a library, perhaps Wood’s book, 1620 should be there. But even then, I really am opposed to having any book with hatred and promotion of white supremacist ethnic, religious, or sexual identity bigotry should be allowed in a library. The litmus test should be about humanism. Historical humanism reports on the good and the bad. I have no idea about a comparison of either 1619 Project or 1620, so I cannot comment. But if either one does not live up to the standards of humanism and a lack of hatred and bigotry, I would not choose one which is based on such content.  Does Kurtz have specific details and examples for either of these books? If so, I would thrilled to discover what the content is about.  And that is how I approached my collection development activities at a library.  I was assigned religion, philosophy, music, art, and literature areas, plus areas related to these subjects.  For some subject areas, such as philosophy, students often took an interest, so I would speak with them and consult with the philosophy professors.  Thank goodness I was never assigned the political science area of the collection!

As a retired librarian and educator, this article by Kurtz insults and irks me. Oh, well, who cares because I am not that important, right? It provides little information with proof and evidence for what Kurtz makes a claim about my profession.

Oakdale Commons, Johnson City, NY

Dear Editors:

You had a front-page story about the Oakdale Commons. It was written, if memory serves me correctly, by Chris Stone (?). The email address was included in that article. But I am damned at “rying” in an attempt to locate that email address. So much for the Gannett way of forcing digital technology down our throats by eliminating the Saturday print copy and not getting good delivery of the print copy to Newark Valley. Perhaps your newspaper has a thorn in the side prophesy and attitude, so as to taunt someone like me who speaks out against someone who speaks out about this?  How nice to treat customers on the demand side of the market in such a manner.  Oh, well. So much for conspiracy theory!  LOL!

If you wouldn’t mind, I have an add-on to my comments about the Oakdale Commons. I hope you will be pleasant enough to pass this along to that writer. PLEASE. Or maybe you all have such hatred about my attempts to seek the truth, represent humanism, not politics, and have this hatred for me. 

Here is my additional commentary.

Add-on to discussion about the Oakdale Commons (Mall).

I suggested adding a buffet style restaurant such as Golden Corral because it opens the door for a wider choice for more people. I am a diabetic and try to avoid breaded chicken such as what Chick-Fil-A has (or KFC or McDonald’s or … all fast food which is successful).

I recall in my younger years, there were more Phil’s Chicken House Restaurants in the Southern Tier. From Binghamton to Owego, there were Phil’s Chicken Houses. (In fact I worked one summer as a short order cook at the Owego restaurant).

Their rotisserie chicken was modeled after chicken non-tomato sauce, non-breading=type recipe developed by Cornell University. Firemen’s Field Days and many other events always featured this style of chicken.

The cause of the rise of obesity and diabetes in America has been attributed to the fast food proliferation and the resulting destruction of a vinegar-based, non-breaded type of chicken found here in the Southern Tier.

Today, people follow the “fad” too damn much and crave the stuff which proliferates throughout the fast food world. Meanwhile, Phil’s Chicken House has been curtailed to one restaurant in West Corners (Endicott). That is shameful, as these big businesses cater, like the media, to “what the majority want” and ignore what MIGHT be best for people, particularly for those who are intelligent enough to seek the right kinds of foods.

Individualism, from the time of the automobile, prevails. Let us have shallow fun, fun, fun til our daddy takes the T-bird away. Let us grab at the fads and trends, whether they are good for us or not.

Even with Golden Corral, they have breaded chicken and one of my favorites, breaded chicken livers (also fried). But not roasted marinated chicken on a pit in a rotisserie.

Don’t give me the BS that it is expensive to make because American ingenuity, when people want it, can overcome such costs, in one way or another. Apparently, American ingenuity is dead when we tailor everything to the majority and forget the minority of people in an overall picture of business.

So, I now endorse the idea that there be a Phil’s Chicken House buffet at the new Oakdale Mall, or Commons.

Humanism first and that is not speaking about politics one single bit. There is no politics with humanism. Then, I remain fearful of saying that I also put God and country first, because then I come under attack by atheists and others.  God help me.

P.S. YEAH!  My glucose fasting numbers this morning were 86!!!   Oh, that’s right, forget it. Nobody gives a damn anymore about fellow human beings. Gee. I should shut the hell up. 

Personal Finance & Investments

Dear Editors:

“Survive the Sell” (7 Feb. 20222).

In learning about personal finances, I was always taught, “buy low, sell high.” It works For those of us who have used this approach in investing in real estate for a primary residence and investing for the  long-term. Such work becomes very clear.  It is also clear regarding stock market, insurance, and other concerns for investing. 

When the economy goes sour, though, many people panic, as James Royal points out in item 2 in his article.  That is a big problem. I have witnessed those who panic during a downward spiral of the stock market.  They panic and believe they should get rid of the stock immediately. When they do, they miss the point about “buy low, sell high.” For during a downturn in the stock market, one sells when the prices go down. Instead, one should be “buying low.” Panic leads people in the wrong direction.  It’s too late to sell because that should have been done before the downturn. People then need to sit tight and wait for the return of the market and prices heading upward.  Of course, even in a downturn, if one happens to have stock which remain high and/or gain in price, they should sell such investments.  But there is a risk that one day the price is good and the next day it is not.

Even with real estate, it is tough to figure out when the price has gone high enough and whether or not one should sit still and wait longer.  If there are signs of the market going down, of course, sell because the price may have topped out. It is a risk as to which decision, sit still and wait or sell while the price is good. 

At this point, though, I am dismayed at the headline, “Survive the Sell.”  In so many cases right now, in the stock market, it is likely a bad idea to consider any type of “sell” at all. “Buy low, sell high.” 

Nevertheless, it is a good thing for a newspaper to bring such guidelines in personal finance to the forefront. Look forward to more informative articles on the business pages. 

Economy & Mortgage Interest Rates

Dear Editors:

Paul Krugman says the economy is doing well. There are many facts and figures which back up what he says.

Thinking about that idea that unemployment is down and the economy is doing good, I have to wonder who is fueling the fire behind the younger generations who are wet behind the ear and are complaining about a business cycle which those of us with wisdom of age have seen all the time and work to be prepared as best we can. Shit happens like inflation happens.  Period. It is a tough thing to prepare and yes, sometimes those of us in the older group find it difficult to be prepared. But we try.

Mortgage rates going up after a long hiatus of low mortgage interest rates is not a topic to be used to bemoan the economy, is it? For those of us in the older Baby Boom generation, we paid mortgage interest rates in the double digits, sometimes as high as 13%. Did anyone give one damn about that? Not on your life.

When Sleepy Ronnie in the Cabinet took measures to “reduce the mortgage rates,” his actions benefited the younger Baby Boomers born in the late 1950s. Why? Because Sleepy Ronnie in the Cabinet allowed the use of lower rates for first-time home buyers. By that time, most of us older Baby Boomers had already purchased a home so we were precluded. I tried to obtain a lower interest mortgage rate on a home in Florida in 1982 and was told no because I had already owned a home in upstate New York.  The house in Florida, at the base rate of homes in Florida, was about $20K more than the one we sold in upstate NY. People like us, purchasing a second home after leaving NY faced an increased housing value AND a very high interest rate. Was there anyone who gave one damn about this? And my salary was just about flat when compared t that I had in New York. Sure. It was my choice, right? Wrong. There was a freeze on hiring in SUNY and other education institutions.  Sure. Sure. Republicans came to power and attempted to destroy the work we were doing to improve software development productivity, reliability, and quality for the military. The terrible commander-in-chief was Sleepy Ronnie in the Cabinet.  What did we get instead? This fantasy of “star wars.”  Only a charismatic idiot who believed that the ripping down of the wall in Berlin and our troubles with the Soviet Union were over and behind us. Where was Putin at that time? A KGB agent? What are the left-wing people of East Germany and Hungary, and so forth, doing today? They are on common ground with one idea today: dictatorship, authoritarianism, autocracy. Nothing to do with ideology at all.

The Republican authorities monitored such events better between states than Republicans did to monitor whether Republicans from the north were voting twice in presidential races, once in the north and once in Florida. No wonder Florida became the one-party state, like a Putin state, as it is today.  Sorry. I diverge.

It is more than just mortgage rates. It is the huge increases in the cost of housing due to greedy and selfish ones with their house flipping. It is about corrupt developers and banks working together to price housing very high in many locations. Developers get their money and banks eventually get the homes which people cannot afford due to cost-gouging high prices.  Long-term investment on a slow pace, is gone, in favor of lovers of money and instant gratification.  During the years of high interest rates which hurt the older Baby Boomers and Neil Bush and others were subversively damaging the federal savings and loan programs created by their family’s enemy from the past, FDR. 

If someone is trying to muddy the waters of the younger ones today, by means of inconsistencies for which younger ones are not able to differentiate, then I, for one, ask that such muddying of waters stop. For those of us in the older Baby Boomers had to deal with very high interest rates after our parents had mortgage rates and lower housing prices after World War II.  It was tough on them, but imagine how much we had to withstand the financial difficulties. This added to an oil embargo which caused prices of gasoline to be at high levels, too. 

Paul Krugman is correct. The economy is doing well. It could do better with regard to mortgages and housing. But it needs more of an overhaul of the corrupt individuals involved in developing real estate and in the banking industry, overall. President Biden has already called for increased perspectives about regulating business, but he keeps getting slammed regarding any ideas he has. Or else the media never includes his ideas in discussions about elements of the economy.  This is areal problem for trying to fix the economy and all of us coming together to attempt to do it, even if we play only a small role. 

Lethal Weapon Regulation

Dear Editors:

This written communication is about three letters to your newspaper regarding guns. (1) “Stored firearms help to save lives,” “Anticipates court’s gun case ruling,” (3) “Supports firearms insurance statute [San Jose].” 

As citizen who believes in common sense and humanitarian concerns regarding firearms, I wish to comment about these letters.

The first letter is about storage safeguards for those who have firearms. This is a very important consideration. Thanks for publishing this information which came from those who are involved in these practices. 

The second letter about “court’s gun case ruling.” To the author, Bob Way, I do hope I need to purchase many “adult diapers.” In that manner, I can collect what goes into such diapers and wipe The stuff in the diapers in the faces of those who push their emotionally-based and sensationalist-based ideas for free gun and rifle purchase and use into their faces. 

The 2nd Amendment is about militias, but not intended for personal individual rights. Militias were an important to safeguard against a government which squelches freedom of speech and does not abide by the U.S. Constitution.

How about if Mr. Bob Way becomes familiar with the Preamble to the U.S> Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to
form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,
insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the
common defence, promote the general Welfare,
and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves
and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United States of America.

Comments.

1. “establish justice…”

1. establish justice…  With people like Bob Way, they think like immature ones and consider the only justice is the justice in which they approve and only for their individual rights. They forget the responsibility required in order to maintain our rights.

2. “insure domestic tranquility…”  Domestic tranquility is also defined in a false manner by immature people who are not able to take responsibility for the rights and liberties they have. Such people simply want “law and order” defined in their way only. It is the reason why there are so many incidents reported in which, for the same law and order ideas for domestic tranquility is to arrest and charge African-Americans by dredging up a wrongful charge while letting white people go or just ignoring white people entirely and looking the other way. Case in point. Possession of marijuana and making certain that a black person is checked, while a white person is not.  Such measures do not insure domestic tranquility and often encourages the use of gun violence, in the process.

3. “provide for the common defence…” The important word in this statement is “common.” Militias are designed for the “common” defense, not individual defense for individual rights.  “Common” is not meant for a small group of people, but for the overall defense of the American government and all inhabitants of the USA who are depending on domestic tranquility.

4. “promote the general welfare…” The general welfare is far from being promoted by individualist ideas regarding guns or small groups like the KKK and Jim Crow despots in Dixie.  It is not promoted by those with guns who live in fear of colored people and minorities who might one day become more of a majority.  We all need to coexist, not be subjected to unsubstantiated thoughts of conspiracies by emotional and immature folks, based on sensationalist attitudes.

5. “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”  Liberties are not defined by one minority group of white supremacists with red necks and bigotry and hatred towards others and then they form a militia on that basis.  They deny blessings and liberty to others in society by use of fear tactics and guns.

Ironically, When a government defends civil liberties and other matters, in line with the preamble to the U.S. Constitution it is not to be faced by small groups of militia with guns in the USA. Whether it is white supremacists or the black panthers, it is small groups of militia with guns and these groups do not respect the U.S Constitution with words like this in the preamble.

Hunting for deer and other animals, in my estimation is all right. WE just need to follow guidelines offered in the first letter about safeguarding weapons.  There is also no need for automatic weapons in public. Hunters have told me they so no common sense for using an automated weapon on deer because the meat would be rendered of little use. I have heard hunters say that they are more challenged by using a bow and arrow, not a rifle. It is all about common sense approaches regarding guns.

Yes, one can argue that gun permits and other laws for gun control might not work. Correct. Humans and their institutions lack perfection so one would expect there to be imperfections. A mature person with common sense would take this into consideration. 

An example of the failure of gun control is the mentally deranged guy near Rochester, several years ago, who, on a Christmas Eve, set a home on fire and began a rampage of killing firefighters and police.  The mentally deranged guy had been in prison and not allowed to own a gun. The law is a good one. But, this mentally deranged person got a neighbor to purchase the gun for him. That neighbor then became an accessory to murder.  People against gun control mention it is the person and the mental stability at fault, not the guns. In this case the gun was the fault and the law existed for the protection of those who were subjected to killing by a mentally deranged person.  With this case, I hope I can have an adult diaper and rub in the writer’s face the contents. Sad to say that one of my great-great-grandparents was from the Way family which had settled on Long Island in the 1600s.  “…liberty and justice FOR ALL,” not just liberty for the individual rights of militias which represent a small portion of the population.

Lastly, the letter from Bruce Joffe regarding liability insurance for ownership of guns is very pertinent. The topic is about the mandate in San Jose, CA, for gun owners to carry liability insurance. Sad to say that we need to resort to such practices, but it is a practical solution.

One statement by Joffe needs to be emphasized. “Responsible, law-abiding gun owners risk being seen as extreme and crazy when lawsuits [as in the case of the mandate in San Jose] are filed to oppose such necessary regulation of lethal weapons.”  This is comparable to “responsible, law-abiding” rifle owners who hunt in the wild for venison meat and are portrayed as being crazy for their opposition to automatic weapons.  Perhaps gun regulation, based on common sense of human beings, is a more appropriate terminology to describe “gun control?”

Government Reform

Dear Editors:

In agreement with Frank Haberer of Peckville, I say the IRS is an institution which needs to be overhauled by replacing the income tax (additionally, state sales and income taxes) with the value-added tax (VAT). Since a young age and reading, listening, and considering the VAT, I have been fascinated about how much better it COULD be in reducing government costs and open up spending for more teachers, nurses, and others involved with the human element, not the number-crunching of lawyers, accountants and business people (like Trump) who end up corrupt and getting away with thievery.  In those years, I learned from a CONSERVATIVE person, not fascist bigot, founder of the CONSERVATIVE magazine, National Review, and producer and host of Firing Line, William F. Buckley, Jr. His program appeared on television so as to provide viewpoints and opposing viewpoints for the audience to consider and to LEARN and GAIN WISDOM. Such media programs 50 years ago were unlike Fox, Newsmax, Breitbart, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, and other one-side biased media approaches today (even PBS) while the details provided by newspapers is being destroyed. For instance, the deliberate strategy to condense newspaper content and then claim “no one reads them,” has been working and disrupting America as time goes by. Thus, we still have a Scranton newspaper in which we can consider, discuss and challenge not only those who are writing editorials or those who write letters to the editor or the op-ed columnists who run the entire length of the political spectrum.   Thus I agree with Haberer that government needs to be reformed, not overhauled and the one issue which needs overhaul is the tax system and the IRS. 

To speak in favor of the VAT, the little island nation of Morrocco, made up of mostly wealthy and a monarchy, does NOT have an income tax. It uses the VAT as well as personal real estate taxes.  There are other reasons I support the VAT. I have written those reasons over several decades, but everyone thinks in terms of “I’m happy, so don’t upset the apple cart.” It is not the reasoning based on individual rights and happiness only of an individual. It is about recognizing what makes the community and society, with individuals acting responsibly not carelessly (as libertarians promote) to come together and promote life, liberty and happiness among all of us, not just for a few snotty immature brats only, especially those with money.  When surveys have been done, Denmark always tops the list for a society with the most happiness. The USA drops to near 20 on the list. That is due to too damn much irresponsibly immature brats with a quest ONLY for individual right. Individual rights for guns when the constitution addresses the rights of the community against a Hitler fascist-style government with censorship of people, as the meaning behind a militia.  The problem today are those nasty vicious snotty immature brats with money who spin this issue to make it LOOK like there is something wrong with government when there is often no wrong deeds in it, but the deeds emanating from big business, such as the big rifle company lobby and the NRA in trying to control the government and not to the favor of a major part of the electorate which seeks justice and “domestic tranquility.” 

The problem I have with Haberer is his false sense of problems with the United States Postal Service. The same day Haberer’s letter is printed, your newspaper had statistics which prove the TRUE problems of the USPS. Overhaul is a pretty strong word from Haberer. The facts demonstrate what is needed is reform, as proposed in a pending House of Representatives bill. Republicans are likely to work to shoot this bill down, due to those who want an “overhaul.” To me, “overhaul” means to “destroy.” Destroy is a strong word used by Trump, Rick the Prick Scott and Ron DeSantis of Florida, and Rick the Prick Santorum of Pennsylvania. 

Goddamn Haberer for stating, “no one supports the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. You insult those of us who must be the “no ones.” You asshole.  You had me in support of some of what you said, until I got to that part, you insulting ingrate.  You insult those of us who DO support that.

Want me to explain WHY we support it? Some of it is due to the fraud among Republicans in Pennsylvania and New York. Another part of it is the fraud I witnesses, as  a registered Republican, in Florida during the 40 years I lived there. 

Shall I lengthen this message just to explain? Why not.

1. Sleeping Ronnie in the Cabinet and convert former Democratic Party Mayor, Bob Martinez, along with Jebbie Bush of Miami.  The push for a lottery and gambling in Florida was made on a promise to use the money to fund public education. Martinez promised this in Florida when he was a Republican governor of Florida. it never happened.

2. Former turn-coat Democrat, now Republican, Attorney General (also of Tampa) Pam Bondi, looked the other way when it came to identifying election fraud among Republicans. 

3. Gerrymandering in Florida was designed to give a stronger voice to the turn-coat Democrats to Reupblican white supremacist rednecks of rural Florida in the inner land more power to take over the Florida state legislature for the purposes of defeating any issues favorable to the black population. Larger black populations in the urban areas of Florida, such as where I once made a home in Fort Pierce, don’t have representatives in the Florida legislature and today, DeSantis of Florida is trying to tighten the clamp even more with more voter suppression of black people, after Jebbie Bush set up a privatized jail system based on numbers of how many black people could be incarcerated in order to remove their right to vote. Profits mean, in such a Sleepy Ronnie in the Cabinet privatization effort, that these people at Wackenhut have to justify numbers in jail beds, so they attack black people.  And this merely negates efforts of those who are successful in bringing black people off the streets and teaching them how to be successful at running capitalist businesses. How about if this guy views the programs on Create TV, rather than the shallow entertainment and sensationalist news coverage elsewhere in the media?

4. Now DeSantis wishes to negate overall teaching of history and about sexual identity in the schools. In other words, he preys on the fears and emotional outbursts of people like Haberer of Peckville, rather than teaching us with an overall approach. As a recent magazine article said, what is happening is the destruction of overall instructional coverage. What the article did NOT have the balls to say was that this is the result of white supremacist bigots who live in fear that there are other groups of people in the future who will become more of a majority over white folks. I can guarantee bastard DeSantis that such will never happen for the 10% they figure are gay in the population. It will happen with those of African and Spanish decent.  Guaranteed. What will Haberer and DeSantis do then? Or do they simply want to kill off those in opposition to them, as Trump really dislikes those in opposition to him, and expect better results, as was the practice of Hitler.  Election suppression is being used so these people can do as Putin does in Russia. Putin, a fascist who comes from the depths of Soviet communism and its form of fascism, with his Russian Mafia in Florida, is helping Trump and the fascist Republicans do this. Most of these people are former Democrats, as was Reagan, Trump, Martinez, Bondi, and many others.  It is due to the fact these people are cowards, fearful of not having as much power and  bullies who use actions of viciousness and lying to gain power and control over the population. Ultimately, they will destroy anyone who supports them now and won’t give one damn about it.

5. DeSantis wants to attack voter registration people, too, in order to suppress voters.

6. DeSantis and others claim that people in Florida who only live there a few months of the year are voting in states like New York, Pennsylvania and others in the northeast AND voting in Florida.  The only time such a matter is important is during a Federal election. But try to gain a law in Congress which carefully monitors such actions on the Federal level by having a Federal registration for voting in presidential elections. If a person votes in a state election in New York and then votes in a Florida state election, what is the problem? They only vote once. My father lived six months in New York and six months in Florida. I am quite certain he voted ONLY in New York where he was a resident. He was never a resident of Florida and never got a chance to vote in local Florida elections.  Many times, he chose to vote in New York in early November and THEN head for Florida where he remained until April or so.  He lived all those months in Florida and never had a voice in local elections in that state.  I know one thing. In 2014, he would have voted in favor of Charlie Crist, not Rick the Prick Scott. Rick the Prick Scott barely won even 50% of the vote. But living in Florida with a father who would not go against the law and take marijuana for his glaucoma, would be a very law-abiding citizen in all things. 

With this being said, let me also explain what I witnessed in Florida when I was a registered Republican. A Republican strategy to maintain a one-party state, even with term limits. They found other ways to do it and now people like Haberer, the dumb jerk, does not want such things reformed, including the abolition of the Electoral College.  Nothing but snotty bratty immature brats who don’t think and wish the John Lewis Voting Rights Act is “not supported by anyone.” What a foolish brat to insult me and others who DO want this reform.  The headline for his letter says, “overhaul” government services. By not supporting the John Lewis Act, Haberer is endorsing the DESTRUCTION of democracy as the backbone of our government.

Furthermore, I witnessed, with all this supposed “fraud” and people voting two times in Florida, once in another state and once in Florida, how is it that the Republicans gained a status of a one-party state in Florida? A one-party state like Putin’s Russia or like communist China or like the former Soviet Union… one party in control of governor’s mansion legislature and the courts?

In fact, I heard more reports of braggarts who proclaimed joyously how they had voted twice for Trump and did so from Florida. They were so thrilled about doing so. I have heard of NONE who did the same thing with Joe Biden. Makes me wonder if it is the same thing in Arizona or other sunbelt states? Notice in Florida, the issue of voting twice in two different states is not plugged as much as in other sunbelt states. 

As a poll worker at a recent primary here in upstate New York, a person who voted commented about fraud, saying, “they take the names from gravestones at the cemetery and they use those names for extra votes.”  As a poll worker, I an merely state something such as, “we don’t discuss matters like that at the polling place, but why don’t you bring this to the attention of the Supervisor of Elections.” What I wish I COULD have said was this. You see, there are not Democratic Party primaries here, so I know the only people who showed up were Republicans. With this in mind, I have to wonder now about why the Republicans can maintain such a majority in this county in upstate New York?  It Republicans are the ones always winning, then it is Republicans who fraudulently take the names from gravestones. 

Overall, I think Haberer needs to check the facts before bloviating lies such as the one in his letter and published on Feb. 7. I think more people also need to call such a person on the carpet for the lies perpetuated by people who think Republicans are above the law but Democrats are not, implying that Democrats are just plain no good at all.

Professor Douglas Willet Cornwell (Retired)

Newark Valley, NY

bibsinger@gmail.com

———————————“Love your neighbor as yourself.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “The problems of the world are not that some people love in a different way. The problems are that so many people don’t know how to love at all (CGA, 1970).” A Puritan is someone in fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time. “Liberty and justice for all [not priorities on individual and selfish rights].” “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union [and overall wealth of American society]…” 
​Benjamin Franklin: “​Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are ​affected.” Stacey Abrams: “Compromise about actions, but not about values.”  Oscar Wilde: “​​​I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”  Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Benjamin Franklin: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”  Whoopi Goldberg: “To handle this COVID-19 pandemic effectively, we all need to get on the same page.”  Note: To be clear, I do not like being patronized. I do not express my disdain over what happens to my fellow humans just for my own sake and to pursue favors and handouts. I do it in order to gain R – E – S – P – E – C – T for me and for millions of other Americans of any race, ethnicity, religious belief, or sex and sexual identity who try to walk in integrity as they attempt to achieve, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  PERIOD.  One nation under God [our Creator] with liberty and justice for all.

Dear U.S. House of Representatives:

Even with other problems, such as Ukraine, impacting America today, I urge you to vote in favor of thee U.S. Postal Service Reform Act.

In light of the 75-year advanced payment for U.S. Postal Service health benefits, estimates are that it costs the taxpayers some $27B. This is outrageous and needs to stop.

Also in light of this fact, ultimately this bill would remove such an investment and save the USPS an estimated $22.6B over 10 years.

This bill would also “well serve the USPS fundamental mission, by requiring it to continue delivering mail and packages six days a week.” For a consumer, I much prefer having a private mailbox than to force us to move to an Amazon confiugations of delivery to our personal home garage and such delivery people to have a remote key to our garage, as demonstrated in Amazon commercials. Some people don’t have garages and those of us who do do not want our privacy by way of waling to a mailbox to receive mail replaced by some companies access to our garage.

Our government keeps it private because it does answer to American citizens, as you, Representative Reed, need to answer to your constituents like me. How can we expect to trust big business to do the same thing? Who represents us on the Amazon or UPS or Fedex or Emory boards? Sleeping Ronnie in the the Cabinet was stupid in saying, “government is the problem.” It may be difficult for constituents NOW to speak out, but it’s better than the prospect of losing that means of doing so, as it is in Putin’s Russia which Republicans wish to impose such fascism upon us all. Thus with Sleeping Ronnie i the Cabinet and his deregulation and privatization since that time, we the people are losing out.

With this being said, the current Postal Regulatory Commission has regular “reporting requirements” for matters such as setting rates and other issues pertinent to the American public.

Again. I urge you to pass the USPS postal reform bill and stop the crap from Trump fascists in the Republican (to which I once belonged to the Republican Party) leadership who work to destroy, not reform. Thus, we can assure the long-term survival of the U.S. Postal Service.

At the same time, since only 25% of U.S. Postal Service employees join the benefits package paid by taxpayers, perhaps you should REFORM, not DESTROY Medicare, really lousy system implemented by Bush and the Republicans and one of the reasons I left the party. This system is set up with tiers, donut holes and “pre-existing” conditions in privatized Medicare supplement plans.

What I am discussing is health conditions covered AND PAID FOR WITH PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE, while employed, but going into retirement, we suddenly have to pay through the nose with six-months of premiums and risk not getting such conditions covered during the six-month period.

Put in place a single-payer user-financed universal healthcare plan with teeth to protect that money for healthcare of the individual based on a LONG-TERM investment and DIVIDENDS gained by such a capitalist notion.

Please don’t just reform Medicare by giving handouts to those of us who are senior citizens. Such handouts are typically figured on income and revenue stream, not the profit margin in a single family budget. Imagine giving out corporate welfare based on income and revenue stream, not profits. What is good for big business is good for we the people, is it not? After all, Citizens United identifies that corporate entities are like a human entity, does it not?

This is addressing the stupidity of Mr. AWOL George Bush who proclaimed that “what is good for business is good for America.” This statement also turned me off to the Republican Party so I sought something else in this democracy. What I say about big business and Mr. AWOL Bush defending it, speaks to big tobacco which Democratic Party Governor Lawton Chiles (Florida) and former U.S. Senator, worked to bring down due to the deaths to many people and society having to pay for such healthcare. But this statement also supports American drug lords and the lousy lawyers who defend them who don’t want to legalize what are called “illicit” drugs because they know it would not be “good for their business.” So, therefore, they have money to persuade lousy Baptists and other puritanical evangelicals to continue prohibition of those drugs which are now illicit, rather than the lower-cost alternative for society of working for rehab. Examples of the crap of Mr. AWOL Bush in his statement about business.

Side Note: Single-payer universal healthcare
On the topic of single-payer healthcare for all Americans, are you aware of the comparison of costs to the Canadian system, or do you cling to the lousy stupid attitudes of a fascist Republican leadership which bows down in reverence to the puritanical crap of America, and think it’s all about socialism. I just explained how there are matters involved in this question which are about capitalist long-term investments with dividends. Instead, the fascist Republican leadership also bows down to the likes of big insurance which does not want to maintain long-term benefits with dividends because it eats at the pockets of the big CEOs at the top, not the profit margins.

Read about 19th-Century Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner who found that money paid in premiums for whole-life life policies was being fragrantly spent by the CEOs of big insurance. Then at death, families of people holding such policies were told there was no money. Read all about it, in a book written by historian and professor, Dr. Daniel J. Boorstin. Dr. Boorstin was appointed to and served as Librarian of Congress. It was one of the better things that Sleepy Ronnie in the Cabinet did back in the 1980s, back at the time I was a registered Republican.

Oakdale Commons, Johnson City, NY

RE: Oakdale Mall / Commons (23 Feb. 2022). We lived in Palm Beach County. The Palm Beach Mall was failing. New Owners put in an outlet mall. The old mall was torn down, to build the new one. Don’t know the reasons why. But the new outlet mall is fantastic. Just something I offer.

The ideas for the Oakdale Commons sound great. Someone suggested a coffee shop. We love Starbucks. But a local bistro coffee / bistro with art exhibits would also be wonderful.

As a person who has to limit his diet, due to diabetes, one establishment we really enjoyed in South Florida was Golden Corral buffet. You can pay a lower price and pick and choose the foods you want, rather than choosing from an established, pre-determined menu with combinations of foods.

Unlike Chick-Fil-A, the CEO at Starbucks is gay friendly and does not condemn same-sex marriage. Not so with Chick-Fil-A. We would never go into Chick-Fil-A. Shame on people who would go just to snub their nose at those of us who stand up for human rights and believe we don’t go “because we don’t like the food.” We never said we did not like the food. The question is about the treatment of human beings. Make the commons for the community, not just to satisfy those who want to push the LGBTQ+ back into a closet and keep us segregated.

One more thing. The idea of including health and wellness services in the commons is also wonderful. Another option similar to this is considering spaces where community college students training to be dental hygienists, dental assistants, cosmetologists, masseuses, and other vocations, could work with patients, under the supervision of instructors. They would clean teeth or do other functions in which they are being trained to do. This idea is taken from the old Sunshine Mall in Fort Pierce, FL, where Indian River State College had similar health offices just for the purposes I describe.

Best wishes to the new ownership of the Oakdale Commons!

Electoral College & the 1912 Election

Electoral College and third-party presidential candidates. Dateline 1912. Candidates for president. Democrat Woodrow Wilson, a native southerner living in New Jersey; employed at Princeton U. . Howard Taft, Republican from Ohio. Teddy Roosevelt of New York, running as a third-party candidate on the Progressive Bull Moose Party.

Teddy Roosevelt had split the Republican Party in half and walked out and formed the Progressive Bull Moose Party. He had been president a few years earlier, but had declined to run again. He was unhappy with the way Taft was as president and unhappy with the Republican Party leadership of Taft.

Two things which held back Roosevelt and his third-party effort to win. (1) An attempt on TR’s life by an anarchist which today is nothing but a libertarian. In other words, libertarian / anarchists only believe in individual rights and don’t care about the lives of others. (2) The Electoral College.

TR was giving a speech when someone tried to gun him down. He felt it but continue his speech. He was a tough guy. They took him off to tend to his injury only to find he had an eye lens case in his chest pocket and it helped block the bullet. He was hospitalized for some time, but his hospitalization caused him to stop his whistle-stop train campaigning across the nation. This was problem for him as he attempted to win the election.

The second thing which stopped TR’s campaign to win the presidency was the existence of the Electoral College. For had there been no Electoral College and there had been, on the day the Electoral College would have met, a runoff election between the top two winners, Wilson and Roosevelt, would have happened instead. There are historical analysts who believe, had this happened, Roosevelt, the third-party candidate would have won in 1912. Mere speculation, but very possible it could have happened.

Susan Collins is a Republican more like TR than Howard Taft. Yet, all she want to do is not think about this situation and merely put a Band-Aid on a wound which is caused by the Electoral College and hope that it will solve the problem Reform, in the eyes of Susan Collins. It won’t solve the problem because it IS the problem and needs to be abolished.

I can say something like calling this woman a bitch. Or I can use the comedic words of Dan Akroyd of SNL when he would often be doing the “news” on SNL and turn to Jane Curtin and say, “Jane, you ignorant slut.” Perhaps these words would be more appropriate for this particular situation?

Local Control of Media & Supply-side Economics

As a kid growing up in this rural area of upstate New York, we could drive and pick up local radio stations from Binghamton, Cortland, Ithaca, Owego, and other areas. It did not matter whether the stations were AM or FM. The exception might have been with WENE as they reduced their power at night. So, with AM radio, we could pick up WKBW out of Buffalo, WABC our of New York City, or WQXR (classical music) out of New York City. We could even received Wheeling, West Virginia AM late at night. Try to do any of this today.

What do we get today? Driving to Owego, NY, on NYS 38 and encounter the “mountains” (hills”) north of Owego and few of the stations come in. When I once drove to a job at IBM Federal Systems Division (today, Lockheed Martin), I never ever remember losing a local station by the hills to the east of NYS 38. Today, we do.

We had a large antenna at the top of our home (2 stories plus a large attic). With this antenna, we could pick up Binghamton AND Syracuse television stations. That was VHF. We could put up a special UHF antenna to pick up additional (besides VHF 12) Binghamton channels and Elmira channels. Try to do that today and I am told it is near impossible. So we are stuck with only one source. Spectrum “cable” TV and Internet. We experience buffering and often a connection with Spectrum which reminds me of the wait we had for a 1950s vacuum tube television to power up.

Due to the hills here, we were one of the first areas, along with those in the hills of Pennsylvania, to get wired for cable television. Now we were able to receive clearer pictures, particularly on the local UHF channels, but also with ABC channel 9 (VHF) out of Syracuse. What a thrill that was!

But we had a choice. Either use cable television or use, possibly upgrade, our own antennas. Here we are in the 21st Century and, due to the FCC, we don’t have choices. How much money rolls into the FCC from the big corporate conglomerates, in order to give us this centralized supply-side economics? Your guess is as good as mine.

In those years, the FCC utilized the Fairness Doctrine of the late 1940s bipartisan effort, to moderate what was on the air. The idea, too, was to not allow one ownership in a local area of ALL the media. Boy, has that changed today. This idea was a smart idea so that one company did not own it all. The ownership was spread around to others. Seems to me that Gannett owned one of the local Binghamton stations (today Fox 40, which was once WINR Television and broadcasting the NBC network). Today, Seem to remember that the rules changed and WINR had to be sold. The result was NBC WiCZ 40 and WINR Radio. All done to spread the ownership around, rather than allowing big centrally controlled supply-side economics companies to own an entire market, as what is allowed today.

OK. So, the power of local television and radio broadcasts is reduced. Got ya! Yes, so we can have the all thumbs approach to more mobile phones, the bandwidth for local television and radio had to be reduced. All thumbs and access to nothing but Internet, fake and false news. Destruction of local news outlets, whether newspapers with local INFORMATION (not just news) in detail. Plus, the loss of local television and radio by numerous owners who could vary what the public received in news and entertainment.

Oh, sure. Now we have channel 12, but also MeTV. We have My 8 (whatever that is). All these additional ones are on top of CBS, NBC, ABC. It’s nice because the PBS television can add extra channels for kids, create TV, and perhaps others.

But try to receive this myriad of stations and channels here in “country bumpkin” land of rural Tioga County. There might just be a clearer line, with less hills, to Elmira, Ithaca, and Syracuse. Yet, the distance and the weaker channels preclude us from receiving such. And the FCC says Spectrum cannot put the additional channels out for us to receive. Tough rules based on what the supply-side economics corporations want from the top of their “divine right” stools.”

How many other rural areas face this obstacle in America? I don’t remember rural areas being treated like chopped liver (or stools of shit) in those years gone by, just because we had a less dense population.

All thanks to the Internet and mobile phones. I can recall that Spectrum in Florida denied us mobile phones three times. Three times we mentioned we needed the phones delivered to us in South Florida. Three times, we received acknowledgement that, “oh, yeah, we understand you have not yet moved to Melbourne, so w will send to your South Florida address.” That in a state where people are so mobile.

Never happened. By the third strike, one got rather angry at being treated in such a lousy manner. And here we are. In upstate New York with Spectrum and no other choices for Internet.

Mobile phones and Internet are more important than local television, radio, and newspapers. How perverted will America get, beyond just what I have described? It is disgusting.

And all the digital technology has moved outside the USA, while President Biden and the Democrats would like to do something about such a situation, from infrastructure to regulatory concerns. And what do Republicans do? Sabotage President Biden and the Democrats.

I just have to say all this because it disgusts me with regard to local control we once had when IBM was here in the Southern Tier. Now, it all flies out the window.

And we live happily ever after.

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