'What’s become of us?' and more

Letters to the editor September 17 to 23

Posted 9/16/20

Letters to the editor September 17 to 23

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'What’s become of us?' and more

Letters to the editor September 17 to 23


Metzger champions households

Talk, talk, talk. We’re accustomed to politicians who deliver the rhetorical flourishes during the elections campaigns—witness the strident, ominous verbiage we’re hearing from the GOP candidate for NY State Senate District 42—but we’re surprised and pleased when our elected officials bring to office a long record of achievements and expertise in a field... and then work to act on their knowledge and promises.

Prior to her election in 2018, Sen. Jen Metzger (D-Rosendale) was well-known as a founder of Citizens for Local Power, which successfully fought utility companies to keep electric rates fair for customers. Since becoming a senator, she has continued to advocate for the interests of private citizens over the utilities’ profits. In the wake of tropical storm Isaias, she has urged Central Hudson to reimburse customers for losses suffered during power shutoffs.

Most significant have been her efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. She co-sponsored and passed senate bill S8113A that forbids utilities and municipalities from shutting off gas, electric, water and phone services through March 31, 2021 and lets customers set up deferred payment plans without financial penalties.

Consistency, integrity. We can trust that Metzger’s oversight of public utilities and defense of the public good will persist.

Tom Denton
Highland, NY

What’s become of us?

How did we get to a point where a 17-year-old boy can sling a loaded assault rifle over his shoulder, travel to a city in another state and wade into a group of protestors ready to do battle? Kyle Rittenhouse was just such a boy. Like a moth to a flame, he went to Kenosha, Wisconsin. There he shot and killed one unarmed protestor and paused to tell someone on his cell phone “I’ve just killed someone.” Then turned his weapon on the two young men who were trying to disarm him.

Kyle may have pulled the trigger on the AR-15 style weapon that killed two people and wounded another, but he’s not the only one to blame for what happened. Four years of efforts to sow division and hatred are now bearing poisonous fruit. Hate crimes in America are on the rise, murder is through the roof and one dopey kid from Illinois became convinced that it was his patriotic duty to slaughter fellow Americans.

Authoritarian types have long understood that inciting unrest can be used to seize unchecked power. Hitler was a master. He sent his thugs into the street to provoke riots that he then blamed on far-left terrorists and Jews. He then used the fear and chaos he himself had created to justify dismantling Germany’s legal system and crushing its democratic institutions. These steps were necessary, he said, to restore “law and order.”

Elizabeth Neumann, a former high official in Trump’s Department of Homeland Security and a lifelong Republican, has identified a deeply disturbing pattern in America today. She says there’s ample evidence that the violence in our cities is being fueled by right-wing extremists who are responding to the president’s inflammatory rhetoric. In an interview on NPR, Neumann said, “If you look at people who have been arrested... it is from these right-wing movements.” And Trump, she says, is doing nothing to restore order; instead, he’s “throwing fuel on the fire.”

Bruce Ferguson
Callicoon Center, NY

GADFLY: Public since the pony express

Only in America would the United States Postal Service (USPS) be the target. UPS, FedEx, Staples and Amazon  are getting help from Congress. In 2006, a law was passed that required the USPS to fund retiree health benefits 75 years into the future. No other government agency nor any private corporation puts up with such political monkey business—not UPS, FedEx and especially not Amazon. Indeed, were it not for paying benefits 75 years ahead, the Postal Service would be self-sustaining.

But all these private delivery companies are not after taking over mail delivery and selling postage stamps. Every post office is located in the center of town and in a valuable piece of real estate. Imagine Amazon owning the building and being paid by McDonald’s for putting up the Golden Arches on one side. It would be privatization in spades.

In addition to stealing the property, the corporation could eliminate union jobs, raise postal rates for rural areas and rewrite the history of the USPS, not even mentioning the pony express and stagecoaches. It is a classic case of alternate facts written in White House tweets.

This is the latest entry of Mort Malkin’s blog, “Gadfly,” available at www.riverreporter.com/gadfly.

Mort Malkin
Milanville, PA

Running green with your head in the clouds

Steven Greenfield is undoubtedly knowledgeable about global warming and up-to-date on policies to offset it. No doubt he is passionate about the hits the environment has been taking while most humans pay little attention. I’m certain that he can make arguments on how close the Democrats and Republicans are on particular philosophical positions, and not only about the environment.

He is running, on the Green Party line against Democrat Antonio Delgado in the NY 19th Congressional District. It is inconceivable that he is ignorant of the sometimes surprising effect third-party candidates have on U.S. elections. He knows who Ralph Nader and Jill Stein are.

Why does he run? Perhaps his education in economics did not include a study of the admonition to know thyself. Mr. Greenfield’s ideals are wrapped around his ego, and his sense of moral rectitude comes at the cost of the sacrifice he asks the rest of us to make, i.e., the risk of electing a Republican. Antonio Delgado is the better candidate and the better man and Greenfield should join the Democratic party if he wants to make a difference that might do some good.

Roy Tedoff
Fremont, NY

The president’s problem

The president has a problem: He wants badly to be reelected.

On August 27, the US reported 45,561 new cases and 1,124 deaths from the coronavirus (NYTimes, 8/28/2020). On that same day, South Dakota with 900,000 residents had 162 deaths. On that day, our Canadian neighbors with almost 38 million people registered their daily toll at eight deaths. As I write, the Canadians are planning to broadly open their schools and colleges.

But back here in the U.S,. the president is taking none of the responsibility for the death and misery of COVID-19. On the contrary, he wants full credit for what he claims is his extraordinary handling of this plague. But as we close in on 200,000 deaths with more than six million cases, his name and fame will most certainly dwell in infamy. Of course, he claims his leadership has been “perfect” and that all of the American death and misery is just not his fault (it never is). Don’t look for any future presidential actions against COVID-19; he now rarely even mentions the plague, always seemingly hoping that it will somehow vanish. Instead, he turns the spotlight on Joe Biden and rages of the disaster that awaits us all if Biden-Harris win. I wonder what kind of disaster can be worse than this President’s tenure in the White House? Tens of millions are unemployed, and except for tech giants and the one percent, the economy is in shambles. Millions have been stricken with illness and also lost their health care and, finally, there are the dead and their traumatized families.

I imagine that the President still wonders if he can manage to do it anyway: fool the American people a second time. So, I ask all of you who read this letter, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

Please vote for Biden-Harris in November.

John Pace
Honesdale, PA


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