Republicans are not voice of people

What is bigger than the national debt? Republican deception, distortion and fear mongering. Earnings of working people have been flat for years. Republicans want businesses to be competitive but not our workers, who can only dream of the American dream.

The cream of the profits now rise to the top. What has trickled down? Unemployment, lower housing values, debt and massive spending to rescue the rich.

Schools are failing because the American hope has faded for the 20 percent of kids in the stricken underclass whose families struggle with less than 3.5 percent of the national income. The 20 percent at the top took home half of it. The richest 1 percent have more money than the bottom 90 percent.

The Republican mentality on the Supreme Court sponsored free spending ("speech") so corporations can take over the political process. Republicans resisted even revealing who pays for what.

They are not conservatives. Theirs is a radical effort to preserve privilege and to confine government to that task only. They easily talk of cutting Social Security while pushing the military industrial complex, prisons (we lead the world in using prisons) and cutting economic safety nets.

They resisted extending unemployment benefits, are against unions and raising minimum wages, reacted against curtailing tax breaks for exporting jobs and are against enacting new incentives to bring jobs home.

Essentially, the Republicans have been installing an American aristocracy. They are not the voice of the people; they are the apologists for institutionalized inequality.

America now has a bigger gulf between "us and them" than the other industrial nations. This is toxic to health. Studies show that health, social stability, community morale and even life expectancy suffer under our inhumane distribution of wealth.

Fair-minded folks should vote Democratic.

William Masters


NYSEG should bring back Power Partners

NYSEG has in the past offered a program called Power Partners, designed to help eligible income customers reduce the cost of their monthly NYSEG bill by reducing the cost of their basic service charge.

If you were eligible for HEAP, then you qualified for Power Partners. NYSEG has done away with this much-needed help that our income-eligible families and seniors desperately need!

It will, however, offer its new Energy Assistance Program (which is the same as the old one with a different name) if, and only if ... your HEAP check goes to your NYSEG account, instead of your oil, propane or wood company!

HEAP is a federally funded program that helps supplement the cost of heating our homes during our cold winters. Not all of us heat with electric or natural gas, so how can NYSEG expect us to designate our HEAP checks to go to them?

Not only does NYSEG get huge tax breaks (which become our tax burden), but now it is trying to take our help from the federal government! On top of that, it is raising its rates!

What greed. Shame on you, NYSEG!

I will not sit back quietly and accept this, and NYSEG customers shouldn't, either. Write to your senator, congressman, newspaper and anyone else who might be able to help!

Jodie Eckberg


Far right's hatred prevents equality

The United States has taken bold steps toward ensuring equality for all citizens, with major court decisions advancing the rights of LGBTQ Americans. The repeal of Proposition 8, "Don't ask don't tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act being deemed unconstitutional, and most recently, the reinstatement of Maj. Margaret Witt to her position as a flight nurse in the Air Force are signs of a country fulfilling its inherent promise of equality and justice for all.

It is unfortunate that our elected officials do not have the courage to blaze a trail toward fulfilling this promise. Many of our elected officials are mired in their stereotypes and fears over things that are outside of their normal thought paradigms. Equality is sacrificed, resulting from the bigotry, prejudice and inequality that ensue from one's fear of that which is different. Future advances will be brought forward from the nation's courts, which do what is right, instead of what is politically expedient at the moment.

I am also saddened that there are those who fear the LGBTQ community. Recent letters to the editor are examples of the damage fear and narrow-minded thought patterns wreak on our society. Hate, ignorance and intolerance are their mantra; a mantra that is destructive to not only the social fabric of our society but to the heart of our democracy and for what our Constitution stands. We cannot allow hate of another person to be the institutionalized norm; a norm that the far right wishes to have spread across the country like a rampant disease.

Their hate is the disease and it cannot prevail. It shall not prevail.

Jim Koury


We should focus on renewable energy

In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which took about five months to cap and damaged ecosystems and economies alike, you might think that the public would be skeptical about hydrofracking.

Unfortunately, you would be wrong. At the Sept. 13, EPA meeting in Binghamton, hundreds of protesters showed up for each side of the issue, and lawn signs across the region espousing slogans like "Pass Gas" and "No Drill, No Spill" show just how polarized the debate has become.

Hydraulic fracturing, as most already know, involves accessing hard-to-reach natural gas pockets by injecting dangerous chemicals into the ground. Unfortunately, these chemicals can leak toward the surface, where they could contaminate drinking water (in Pennsylvania, one family was able to light their tap water on fire with a match). There are likely to be countless other environmental and health effects that are unknown as of yet.

I do not want to villainize supporters of fracking who no doubt truly believe that natural gas will lead to our independence from Middle Eastern oil, and subsequently any involvement in that region. But we cannot allow ourselves to be deluded; we will never be truly energy independent until we do not have to worry about disasters like oil spills or chemicals in our drinking water, and that means using renewable sources, not other fossil fuels. Replacing oil with natural gas will not remove the threat; it will just transform it from an international one into a local one.

Erik Heidenreich


Heidenreich is a senior at Franklin Central School. Heidenreich and other students have written letters to the editor as part of Stephen DiCarlo's Participation in Government class.

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