Conservative “Logic” At It’s Worst

Just when I thought the political discourse of this election year could not get any more absurd, Mr. Paul Lauricalla Jr. spews utter nonsense and historically inaccurate statements (OrleansHub, March 22, 2016). First he blames “Liberals and Progressives” for the rise in popularity of that racist, hateful, bullying, no class sexist, Donald Trump. The fact that Fox “news” and other extremist right wing propaganda machines have dumbed down and lied to the redneck minority in this country seems to have escaped Mr. Lauricella Jr. How many times did you hear on conservative news channels that President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim, not of this country? Some actually believe it. Those are the folks coming out for Trump and all his outrageousness.

I won’t bother rebutting this guy point for point. I have faith that most readers can see through the conservative tripe in his letter, but I will take him to task for the following: He said “Everything that is wrong with this country is directly related to liberal and progressive policy over the last 100 years”. Since I am a student of history, I am very curious as to which policies Mr. Lauricella thinks tanked our country. Was it the creation of the National Parks System by President Teddy Roosevelt that preserved this nation’s natural beauty from commercial exploitation? Was it the creation of the Social Security Act during the FDR years that still allows millions of retired citizens the ability of living in dignity? Was it the creation of Medicare that pays 80% of seniors medical expenses? Was it the creation of the Food Stamp Program that subsidizes working Americans in low wage jobs so they can feed their children? How about clean water and clean air legislation that ensures that chemical companies don’t poison us in their quest for profits? Was it the Equal Rights Legislation of the John F. Kennedy years? Was it the six times we landed on the moon and other fantastic space exploration efforts of NASA? Informed people grow tired of conservative scapegoating and narrow-minded thinking.

In his haste to bash President Obama, Mr. Lauricella fails to mention what had brought our country to the brink of economic ruin. The tax breaks for the rich and the failed “trickle-down” economic policies of Reagan and the Bush’s, further exacerbated by the two wars that W. Bush didn’t pay for. He also failed to mention how President Obama has grown the national economy with consistent growth in private sector jobs, and Obama’s saving of the American Automotive Industry. This great land is hardly “in ruin”.

President Obama has waged an effective war against terrorism by ordering the raid that killed bin Laden and the systematic elimination of other terrorist leaders. The list is impressive.

The current reality is that the Democrats have two excellent candidates running for President, and the Republicans have zilch. Anyone can see the panic within the Republican establishment. The irony is; it was the Republican Party, with their 7 years of obstructing President Obama that has brought us to this point. There are several Republican Congressional Representatives up for reelection and many of them will lose, thank God. And Mr. Lauricella’s reference to “Moderate (Liberal) Republicans” just shows how extreme he is. What he is saying is ‘everybody should believe, and act as he approves; anything else is wrong. Fortunately, extremism is not the mainstream in the USA.

Mr. Lauricella Jr. talks glowingly about the need to follow the Constitution the way our founders intended, but fails to mention the Republican outrageous opposition to Mr. Obama’s nomination of any Supreme Court Judicial replacement of deceased Justice Scalia.

A college professor of mine 40 years ago said that in American society there exists enough people to allow a rise to power of someone of the ilk of Adolph Hitler. It was a scary thought when I heard it, and even more so now. For Mr. Lauricalla to proclaim “no more progressives in any party. No more Democrats elected to anything” runs contrary to the political diversity that has lifted this democracy to one of the best places in the world to live.

Thanks to all for their attention,

Al Capurso

Hillary: The Money Machine

Hillary Clinton has a great chance of becoming the next President of the United States. As a former First Lady, former Senator, and former Secretary of State I can say without a doubt that she is more than qualified to become Commander in Chief. But does that truly make her the best candidate for the position? Does she truly represent We The People?

My opinion is a resounding: NO.

Take out the fact that I am a Bernie supporter. I am simply analyzing the facts of her past and comparing them to where she is now politically and ideologically.

The biggest issue that I have always had with politics is the amount of influence money and special interest groups have on our politicians. Politicians that We The People have elected to represent us, not the special interest campaign contributors and lobbyists. For the Hillary Clinton voters that believe she will truly represent the people, you are surely mistaken.

Over the course of the Clinton political history, the Clinton’s have raised over $3 billion: $2 billion raised for the Clinton foundation; $1 billion for the political arena; $150 million for speaking fees to big banks and corporations. I emphasize on the $150 million in speaking fees.

The speeches that Hillary and Bill have taken place in were at a some of the banks that contributed the financial crisis of 2008. Hillary alone made $2.9 million in speeches to Wall Street Banks/Groups/Hedge Funds from 2013 to 2015. Yet, Hillary claims that no one has taken on Wall Street harder and more effectively than she has and she will continue that even when she becomes President.

How exactly will Clinton take on Wall Street when Wall Street is funding her campaign? Not to mention corporations like Time Warner and Comcast which also contribute to her campaign and as a results their “child companies”, CNN and NBC have such a bias to her in the media that they refuse to hold her accountable for her political changes throughout the years. Watch the Democratic debates and Town Halls if you don’t believe me. But that is a topic of discussion for another opinion piece.

But back to the matter at hand, how will Clinton take on Wall Street? How will she get private contributors out of politics and move the country to a public finance system? How will Clinton tell Wall Street and other special interest groups that she has taken money from that “I’m going to regulate you to my fullest extent of my power. No more of the fraudulent investing practices that led us into the first Recession of 2008.” She won’t. She owes her Presidency to those contributors.

If you honestly believe that Clinton is going to be fighting for the interest of the people as a whole and not her corporate campaign contributors you are sadly mistaken. You don’t take $2.9 million and say you’re against the interests of Wall Street and Corporate America. She claims that Wall Street can’t rule over Main Street yet she is still taking their money with open arms.

That is the difference between Clinton and Sanders in this primary. Clinton has received 950,000 contributions. A great amount of contributions from Banks, Hedge Funds, and Corporations. Sanders has received 3 million contributions from Unions and everyday people like ourselves. Sanders has made it clear that he does not want Wall Street’s money or the money from corporations in his campaign. Sanders presidential campaign is a campaign funded by the people, for the people.

We need a President that has the interest of the people at heart, and I do not see that with Hillary Clinton.

Michael Aina

Donald Trump and Respect for the Press

From what I recall, Thomas Jefferson once said, “If I had to choose between a government without newspapers and newspapers without a government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.”

Much has been said about how the media has favored Donald Trump with free coverage, estimated to be worth as much as $1.6 billion. One expert estimates Trump has received 23 x as much coverage as Bernie Sanders.

Why does he command so much attention? Just one of the reasons is that he has a lot of money. Reasonable, or not, that gives him credibility. More relevant to the media’s fascination with all things Trump is that he is a sensational character. One never knows what he is going to say next. The news people treat him as a curiosity, though he is clearly more than that. Wacky comments from prominent people sell regardless of how ridiculous they are.

But Trump’s curious ability to draw coverage and enthrall the adoring disenchanted is not my focus here.

As Jefferson was suggesting, a vigorous free press is vital to a democracy. We might as well not have a republican form of government without the news media. Was it not Jefferson who included free speech in Amendment 1?

Though tearing down the institutions of government has become the calling card of the right, especially in the past seven years, it has become an obsession with “Citizen Trump.” He has made it his mission to cast doubt on everyone from the foreign policy makers to the generals advising the President.

One of the more troubling aspects of Trump’s candidacy is his apparent determination to ridicule and delegitimize the press. In his efforts to undermine respect for the media, he has frequently berated them collectively and individually, even suggesting the libel laws may need changing to permit candidates to sue the press when the coverage doesn’t suit them.

Imagine the damage he does as he gives credence to popular distrust of the media. “These are bad people, folks.”

Trump’s ire isn’t confined to the “liberal” media. It isn’t reserved for Fox News. He seems to be an equal opportunity disparager. Though some may think that is encouraging, to me it is rife with troubling implications. Separating fact from fiction is hard when you refuse to listen to anyone.

For democracy to work, people must be informed. Once the media is thoroughly discredited, those who come to distrust it have another reason to ignore a vital part of citizenship. While people who live in a dictatorship have an excuse to be uninformed, being an ignorant participant in the democratic process can eventually destroy a republican form of government.

Candidate Trump’s followers will make a huge mistake if they allow his unfair comments about Fox’s Megyn Kelly and CNN’s Katie Tur, among many others, left and right generally, to be an excuse for going into the November election seriously underinformed.

Sincerely yours,
Gary Kent, Albion

Supreme Court

Mitch McConnell is back at it.  The Senate Majority Leader who once vowed to do what was necessary to make Obama a one term President is once again putting politics ahead of the Country.  He has said Obama—whom he calls a “lame duck”– would be wasting his time to nominate a replacement for Antonin Scalia.  Never mind that Scalia himself was a strict constructionist and the Constitution clearly states that the President shall nominate federal judges.  Never mind that Obama won’t be a “lame duck” until after the November election.  Forget that the President was elected. Get over the fact that several key issues are before the Court this year.

Has McConnell ever heard the expression, “The “devil” you know is better than the devil you don’t know?”  Obama’s Supreme Court appointees have been pretty solid.  Would a Trump, Sanders or Clinton nominee necessarily be as friendly to McConnell’s political sensitivities?

After briefly changing their modus operandi once Paul Ryan became Speaker, the republican leadership is back to playing politics.  They already forgot that 2016 is an election year for the entire House and a third of the Senate. Obstruction has reared its head after a fleeting absence. A President whose annual budgets have added 60% less to the national debt in the last few years is being called someone who doesn’t care about the national debt!

If I were advising the President I would argue that he should appoint someone such as Utah Senator Orrin Hatch to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.  Filling the seat with someone such as Hatch, an acknowledged conservative who is widely respected on the right, would preserve the high court’s balance. Maintaining an existing balance may go against custom, but we are in unusual times. That balance is quite possibly more important now than it has been in a hundred years.

On such an evenly divided Court, unpredictable Chief Justice Roberts would still have the deciding vote.  Obama would guarantee himself a place in history as someone who cared more about the Country than partisan politics.  The far right would have a tough time spinning such a move. Mitch McConnell wouldn’t know what to do and the Senate Judiciary committee would be forced to consider the nomination.

The only downside I can think of is that Obama’s base would have trouble understanding the value of a Court with ideological balance and feel betrayed.  Fortunately a second term President doesn’t have to be that concerned about the heat of the moment.

Gary Kent, Albion

Message to Congressman Collins

Congressman Collins:
Republicans love to wave the Constitution in the faces of their opponents, as if their opponents are dead-set upon ripping it into tiny pieces. But now the roles are reversed, and this time the Republicans are trying to pretend that the Constitution doesn’t apply to themselves. “Surely, the Founding Fathers never intended for a sitting president to nominate someone to the supreme court in the fourth year of their term” seems to be the Republican logic. The only problem is that there is not a word of that in the Constitution! Here’s what the Constitution says: “Elect a president every four years; the president nominates people to fill vacant seat on the Supreme Court”. It’s that simple. President Obama has a Constitutional right and duty to nominate a qualified candidate and the Senate is under every obligation to act on that nomination. Refusing to receive a name, refusing to meet with the nominee, refusing to convene the Senate Judiciary Committee, is nothing less than a coup d’etat and a serious violation of the Constitution. Congressman, please tell me what part of the Constitution justifies the stance of your party leadership, or please tell me on what grounds you are willing to defy the Constitution.

James R. Renfrew, Clarendon

Opinion Articles

This page provides a forum for members of the Democratic Party in Orleans County to express their individual opinions on a wide range of topics. These opinion articles do not necessarily reflect the views of any Democratic group. Submissions can be emailed to, we just ask you to be civil, watch your language, and avoid personal attacks.

Romney’s Remarks

It is my view that every choice we make matters.  That conviction carries over into our civic responsibilities.

In 1960, I watched the Nixon-Kennedy debate on television as a teenager. When I went to school the next day, I was dumbfounded that anyone thought Kennedy had won the debate.  In my mind, it wasn’t even close in terms of their mastery of foreign affairs in particular.

In 1995 I changed my registration to republican in order to vote in the republican primary in 1996. The democrats would not be having a meaningful primary, if they had one at all. My feeling was that republican Bob Dole was clearly a stronger candidate than Pat Buchanan.  I admired Dole’s strong stance on the genocide going on in Bosnia and his prodding of Clinton to act.  Importantly, Buchanan had little objectivity on the Middle East.

Whoever won the primary might become the next President.

In 2000, I donated to John McCain and worked at one of his rallies with a republican friend even though I intended to vote for Gore—and did.  To me, McCain was head and shoulders above George W. Bush.

In any election, I believe we have an interest, regardless of party, in having the two most capable candidates in the November election.  The fact is that, depending on turnout and other factors, either of them could become President of The United States.  Think of my interest in the person the republicans run as a hedge against what is likely my more desired outcome. We should want both parties to run their most capable candidate.

My interest in the nominating process this year is similarly motivated. Anything is possible in an election.

For this reason, I took keen interest in the surprisingly powerful and comprehensive statement made by Mitt Romney today.  It was surprising because he is such a nice guy.  I can only imagine the soul-searching it took for him to say what he said. I believe Romney’s motivation was largely one of patriotism.  It is echoed in the statements made by numerous other republicans nationally and locally. None of my republican friends is enthused about how things are going within their party.

Equally surprising was how tepid and dismissive Donald Trump’s response to Romney’s virtual A-Z indictment of him was.  I can only surmise that he said so little because he hoped to minimize the attention his comments might attract to those of Romney.

Gary Kent, Albion