Claim Should Be Backed With Evidence

Assemblyman Hawley,

I noted this press release from your office, posted in the May 18, 2016 pages of “The Batavian”:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today bashed Downstate members of the Assembly’s Social Services Committee for blocking legislation to curb the bloating and rampant abuse of New York’s welfare programs. The bill, A.3960, authored by Hawley, would place a 90-day residency requirement on individuals applying for social services benefits in the state.

“New York is quickly becoming the nationwide safe haven for those looking to live off of our state’s taxpayers,” Hawley said. “Nearly a third of our state’s budget, over $50 billion, is spent on Medicaid alone, and we spent more on Medicaid in 2014 than Texas and Florida combined.

“It is for these reasons that people are moving into our state and immediately applying for social services, which places an added burden on taxpayers and perpetuates rampant abuse that people are sick and tired of. By enacting a 90-day residency requirement, we can assure individuals are moving here permanently, will pay taxes for an extended period of time, and contribute to society instead of taking free handouts from the government.”

I have just one question: what is your evidence that “New York is quickly becoming the nationwide safe haven for those looking to live off of our state’s taxpayers”?

I presume you have a detailed study that backs up this assertion. Please cite your source.

Thank you,

James Renfrew
Holley, NY

Social Democracy is Here to Stay

This letter is in response to Dave Joksimovic (“Socialism is ‘legal plunder”, April 21, 2016, Orleans Hub). He apparently is concerned because Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in Orleans County during the April 19th NYS Democratic Primary for President.

Mr. Joksimovic tries to make the point that Bernie is all about “socialism”. He then goes on to object to having to pay taxes as “a penalty for being a productive citizen”, and encourages citizens NOT to vote.

In my job as case manager for the Orleans County Mental Health Department, Social Services and Probation, I worked with young people and their families. When I saw a teen dig his/her heels in and say, “I’m not going to do that because someone in authority said I had to”, I knew we had a problem of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

As you can imagine, frustration raged on the part of the parents and child or teacher and child. But there were various methods to get the participants to come to mutual beneficial terms. The most effective was to enable the young person to see the REASON behind certain demands or rules of authority. So, even though compliance wasn’t “voluntary”, they eventually became “willing” to comply, and learned to see the “greater good” for everyone in cooperating. In most cases, the family ran smoother and school grades usually improved.

Mr. Joksimovic’s frame of reference seems to fit the above scenario. Let’s review what he calls “socialism”. Our taxes fund law enforcement, drinking water purification, waste treatment, clean air, safe food, safe plane travel, good schools, highway and bridge construction, health care, and social security. These are the essential services our Representative Democracy has created; what Mr. Joksimovic refers to as “mob rule”.

He calls Social Democracy a failure citing two examples, Venezuela and Greece. I was taught in school that Greece was the cradle of our civilization. Yet, 643,000 citizens go bankrupt in the U.S. every year because of medical expenses.

Regardless, here is a more complete list of countries where Social Democracy is working and its citizens don’t go bankrupt from health problems; where children don’t go hungry; where workers are paid a living wage and the economies are flourishing: Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Mr. Joksimovic implies that liberty is scary for our citizens and tyranny is less so. How little has been learned from the lessons of history?

Don’t let the tea party, anti-tax, New York Revolution types fool you. There is a lot of money to be made privatizing social programs I mentioned above. That is their aim. Not only would the rich not have to pay taxes (profits tucked away offshore), but also they will be able to charge We, The People, for using them.

Yes, Mr. Joksomovic, Democracy can be a messy business, and we don’t always agree. I remember President Reagan raising taxes eleven times. I remember when G. W. Bush wiped out the 1.5 trillion dollar Clinton surplus in two years and the national debt hit $10 trillion on his watch. I just don’t remember any conservatives and/or Republicans scream about that.

It is appalling to suggest to our citizens not to vote, as Mr. Joksomovic has done. That has to be the most blatant oppositional thinking of all. Even if we cannot agree on a Presidential candidate, there are Congressional and Senate races, New York State Senator and Supreme Court Justice, and Assemblyman races. On the County level, there are District Attorney and Coroner elections. And don’t forget your town elections (Carlton and Gaines Town Clerk and Murray Town Justice).

As citizens of the United States, of New York State, of Orleans County, and of one of our townships, we have a right and civic obligation to vote. So many laid down their lives both at home and abroad for we take for granted today. Don’t let fear mongering over “socialism” keep you from voicing your opinion on Election Day.

Thank you for your attention,

Al Capurso

Thoughts on the Republican Presidential Race

When it came to bullying Ted Cruz out of the race for the republican nomination, the Senator’s personal appearance was strangely absent from “Mr. Trump’s” gameplan. After all, ridiculing personal appearance worked so well with “Little Marco” (The Donald evidently forgot that having large ears didn’t disqualify Abraham Lincoln) and Carly Fiorina (“Look at that face. . .”).

But, to deal with Cruz’s “impertinence,” The Donald was able to get some surprising help. Bullying Cruz was, well, complicated. Cruz is used to having people dislike his convictions and officious manner. But Trump found effective allies among those who dislike Cruz more than they dislike him. Some of them were actually from the republican establishment.

Former House Speaker John Boehner subjectively dubbed Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh,” among other things. Then Lindsey Graham jokingly opined that anyone who killed Cruz on the floor of the Senate would never be convicted should any trial be conducted by the Senate. These two establishment heavyweights piled on the same week that The Donald suggested Senator Cruz’s father may have had some nefarious connection to the Kennedy assassination. His prestigious source was a “National Enquirer” photograph purportedly picturing Cruz’s father in a photo with Lee Harvey Oswald.

On top of all these questionable representations, Cruz made the mistake of crossing an Indiana street to engage some of The Donald’s supporters in conversation. That didn’t work out too well, as the faithful had a good time finishing the Senator’s sentences and answering one of his rhetorical questions with a “birtherism” related to Senator Cruz being a Canadian.
And then Cruz lost big to Trump in Indiana, and the Senator bailed on the whole idea—for this year.

Meanwhile, the apparent republican standard bearer’s list of potential running mates dwindles daily. One has to assume that those who say they won’t support The Donald are off the list of potential vice presidents!

Remember, the Presidency is serious business. One must play to win even it means putting aside whatever dignity one may have. Of course The Donald dismisses anyone who takes exception to anything he says or does. That eliminates a great many people. So what if House Speaker Paul Ryan (“He’ll pay a heavy price” if he doesn’t support me), Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, the Bush family, and a long list of others aren’t buying what The Donald is selling?

There is always Sarah Palin. I hear former would-be apprentice Omarossa Manigault would consider the offer. A republican friend of mine suggested some guy named Guzman? True believers such as Katrina Pierson, Jeffrey Lord, and Scottie Nell Hughes are possibilities.

To me, there is one obvious choice to improve The Donald’s favorability among the legions put off by the bullying belittler. Yes, Gary Busey is still available.

Gary Kent
Albion, NY