Political Observations

Dear Editor:

What follows is not intended to “hold together” particularly well.

According to the President’s accountant (speaking to the President), “. . . this tax bill is gonna kill you”, or so the President said. Though it is unlikely to hurt the President, as long as his tax returns remain secret, he can make whatever assertions he likes with impunity. Or am I missing something? One thing I do not get—considering its potentially disruptive impact on the economy—is why any tax “reform” effort would include such wide-ranging alterations in the existing code.

I missed whatever Daniel Del Plato had to say that prompted Gerard Morrisey’s November 16th letter. As I recall, the Constitution provides for impeachment in cases of “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors”. It also includes “giving aid and comfort” to the enemies of the United States in its definition of what constitutes treason.

It is unclear to me where the State of Denial is located, but those who live there may benefit from considering why the Russians wanted so badly for a certain enigmatic businessman to become President of Russia’s adversary, the United States of America.

While “we” are going off, what is with “our” fascination for brutal autocrats such as Philippine “President” Dutarte?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony this week gives a glimpse into why President Trump is unhappy with him. At the same time, it has to have disappointed some Democrats who were hoping to be handed a “smoking gun”. I watched Ohio Representative Jim Jordan put on a truly theatrical attempt to get the Attorney General to agree to support appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton’s role in the Uranium 1 deal. Sessions twice dismissed his entreaty with undisguised disdain (blew him off). Those who understand the importance of maintaining confidence in our institutions and Constitutional system had to be encouraged by Sessions’ refusal to use his position to play political games. As for the “I don’t recalls”, I do not find that so surprising.

With regard to Judge Roy Moore, I predict Alabama voters will refuse to elect the apparently reformed and forgiven woman(teen)izer who either is a great liar or is suffering some serious memory loss.

Ken Burns series on The Vietnam “Conflict” is must see viewing for anyone who didn’t end up there. The fact that I had a close friend die there made it extremely difficult for me to listen to, watch, and process. It aired on PBS Channel 21 last weekend.

Sincerely yours,
Gary Kent
Albion, NY

The Wind Turbine Siren Song

Dear Editor:

Orleans County residents—including those who live in Yates—should be thankful that Jim Simon and John Riggi have shown such unselfish commitment to promoting the best interests of the residents of their town. They are doing their best to educate their neighbors regarding the Siren song of wind energy development in a County as richly endowed with lush wildlife habitat as ours. I recall when researchers from the Nature Conservancy described migrating warblers “dripping from the trees” in Lakeside Park just a few years ago. Bernie Daniels, the President of the North American Bluebird Society, told me about a month ago that the only place he had ever seen a gallinule (such as the one found on our road and sent to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology a few months ago) was in Costa Rica! He asked me to affirm three times in a half hour conversation where I lived (on the Atlantic Flyway)!

Some will fault any democrat for taking issue with the Governor by opposing wind energy development in Orleans. But, as someone who is tired of seeing the County’s assets frittered away by those in power locally, I am unequivocally opposed to clearing hardwood woodlots for the purpose of siting wind turbines. Having gone through this when, as I recall, Jack Gilman was Kendall Town Supervisor, I have concluded that is inevitably what will too often happen due to wind turbine setback requirements.

As Dr. Richard Perez from S.U.N.Y. Albany told us last summer, the future is in energy generated by increasingly more efficient solar panels. According to Dr. Perez, the Chinese get it, even if many here do not. In the not too distant future, wind turbines will be regarded as the energy equivalent of dinosaurs better suited to moonscape environments than one that is as rich as that of a County such as Orleans.

But, make no mistake. For some, the “joke” will be on the vast majority of Orleans residents. Sound familiar?

Quite sincerely yours,
Gary Kent, Town of Albion

Random Observations

Dear Editor:

What follows are some random observations. The reader is certainly free to take exception to any—or all—of them.

A bowling acquaintance observed a few weeks ago that, “They (politicians) are all the same”. His experience is not mine, and he is entitled to his opinion. To me, the view he expressed provides cover for abdicating one’s citizenship responsibility. If one reasons that, “They are all the same”, a “citizen” is absolved from determining who is best for the job. We have a rationale for tuning out. Nonetheless, people with a great deal of credibility have said “tuning out” is not an option in a republic.

Consider how similar such excuses are to dismissing any reporting that challenges your thinking as “fake” news. If difficult to comprehend devastation in Puerto Rico was actually the product of cherry-picked aerial photos and “fake” news, we can dismiss it as just that–“fake news”.

Please understand this. Some people actually do think of themselves as above the law. Revealing tax returns is for lesser beings. Paying contractors who did millions of dollars worth of work for you in Atlantic City is for “losers”. Groping women—according to one prominent “business” man–is apparently not a problem when you have attained sufficient stature.

Take this to the bank: history will portray John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Bob Corker as leaders who displayed exceptional courage.

As I recall, it was Kansas Republican Senator Bob Dole who nagged Bill Clinton to address Bosnian genocide. That WW II veteran’s commitment to the inconvenient truth led to the Dayton Accords and the war crimes tribunal at The Hague that brought Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic to justice. Perhaps Dole was delusional, but he didn’t think the fact that the perps were ostensibly “Christians” and the victims were Muslims mattered.

The October 29th “60 Minutes” segment on master forger Adolfo Kaminsky’s Herculean efforts to save thousands of Jews from Nazi death camps was—to me—inspirational.

A recent letter to the editor bestowed a new title on me. I guess what it said was flattering, though probably undeserved. My problem isn’t with my former student and retired State Trooper. Joe Sidonio—to me—is a stronger candidate.

County Legislature candidates Ken DeRoller, Fred Miller, and John DeFillips have no opponents, but are worthy of public support in my view. Once again, I firmly believe Al Capurso deserves our votes as well.

For those who missed their “opportunity” to cut cabbage Sunday morning in the rain and balmy 40 degree weather, don’t worry. Some shorter people who didn’t have to bend over too far got it done in spite of the mud and somewhat less than ideal conditions. (I have seen worse.) If you haven’t enjoyed the cabbage harvest experience, you do not know what you are missing. Those who think sauerkraut comes from a store might benefit from checking with those who have depended on border area farm labor for at least five decades that I can personally attest to.

My close childhood buddy, George Fischer, tripped a booby trap in Vietnam and arrived home in Holley “closed casket”. Not only did George not care whether our Kendall Cubs center fielder was Black, he didn’t care whether those who had his back in Vietnam were Puerto Rican.

When most people of my ancient vintage heard “Fats” Domino perform, we really didn’t give a rat’s ass what color he was.

After listening to third generation bee keeper and outstanding former student Jim Doan’s presentation to the Orleans Bluebird Society, our non-profit has decided not to spray any of the white dogwoods we planted in the Village of Albion with a product containing imadicloprid.

Finally, those in a persistent state of denial might want to read Connie Schultz’ column in the 10/30 Batavia Daily News.

Sincerely yours,
Gary Kent
Albion, NY