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Principles, perspective, perception and politics

Election time causes political thoughts and actions to be thrust into the faces of the citizen and an expectation that they will take the propaganda that “political experts” try to feed potential voters. The type of rhetoric that infuses the news, commercials and mail gives credence to the thought that “some people will believe anything you tell them.”

The political ads and the biased news can be very creative in denigrating a person who is running for political office. A good example is the scandal that involves Brett Kavanaugh as he is going through the process of being confirmed to be a Supreme Court Justice Of The United States. He is a man of outstanding credentials and character.

However, the liberal leftists in the political arena are determined to raise issues that could be very embarrassing and stop the confirmation. This is panic at the extreme. They try to dig up any sort of rumor or allegation that could be shameful or even illegal.

In the Kavanaugh case, suddenly a woman enters the scene with an allegation that about 35 years ago, at a school kids party, she got drunk and was groped by a male who she identified as Brett Kavanaugh, who was 17. This sudden surge in her memory forgot the name of the party and when it was held, but she “remembers” that he pushed her on a bed and groped her.

Interesting how the leftists can find people from decades ago who can suddenly remember unpleasant actions by a highly placed person. Many people will go to extremes to get their fifteen minutes of fame, especially if it gets a lot of publicity and controversy. Anything of a sexual event is bound to do that, especially in this “me too” environment.

Granted, that sexual abuse of any kind is unacceptable, should be taken seriously, and if true, be prosecuted. Nobody should have to endure any humiliating and emotionally damaging event of that nature. However, for those who make up stories that can damage an innocent person should also face severe penalties for slander or libel.

As this column is written, the facts have not been tested and a hearing or trial is necessary to determine the accuracy of the charges. However, the liberal leftists try to get an accusation to be every bit as effective as a trial and conviction.

This technique has been used in several other political events and it seems the conservatives are the ones who are the targets. Perspectives and perceptions abound in these political techniques where one side attempts to destroy the credibility and qualifications of the person they wish to destroy. Many times the techniques work.

Another example of the effect of lack of principles is the way the rhetoric is going in the New York State race for governor between Andrew Cuomo and Marc Molinaro. If anyone should be investigated for improper behavior it should be Cuomo. In eight years, he has damaged the state in multiple ways. Corruption is just one issue.

For example, the citizens of this state are the highest taxed people in the nation and in the fourth quarter of 2016, the state was ranked 46th with just 0.4 percent growth while the GDP rate stuck under one percent.

That may be one of the reasons that the state is losing population (along with tax revenue) faster than any other state. According to recent data, in 2017 alone, 190,000 residents booked out of the state bringing the total up to about a million.

That could mean the potential loss of a congressional district after the next census.

Perhaps that is why Cuomo would like open borders and a sanctuary state to pad the numbers. Along with the financial debacles, every person in the state has a $3,000 debt for the deficit caused by poor management and a projected deficit for next year of upwards of nine billion dollars. More taxes? Probably!

New York also, under the Cuomo administration, has been called the most corrupt state in the nation. Considering that our nation includes, Louisiana, Illinois, New Jersey and Maryland, this is a real negative. To be fair, California is also known for corruption and poor management. Regardless of the actual placement in that group, it is shameful to be there.

The Republican candidate, Marc Molinaro has been working at a financial disadvantage considering that Cuomo started with a campaign war chest of more than $30 million and spent about $20 million in his primary with Cynthia Nixon. She lost, but did better than expected, and is still in the race on the Working Families Party line.

Molinaro has a solid, practical and doable platform. No pie it the sky promises and he backs up his platform with logic and reason. In a state that has a heavily Democrat overlay of registered voters, he can convince the public that he has enough support to win.

The reason is logical because there are people in other parties and the big supply of the independents who are not registered with any party gives him the numbers. With four other candidates on minor party lines, a majority isn’t necessary to win. The victor needs only a plurality and that makes an upset very possible.

The campaign will get dirty. The liberals are experts in mudslinging and false statements. Perhaps with all the focus on national politics during the past two years and the exposure to dirty tricks and false accusations, the people are getting educated enough to vote for the best candidate and not for a particular party.

Principles, perspective, perception and pragmatism might be able to defeat party politics. We hope so.

There is no equal justice under the law

The Constitution says there is equal justice under the law. It should be, but it isn’t, and it is easy to make a case for it. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a solution for it. Due process is mentioned in the Bill Of Rights and again in an amendment. It sounds good and would be if it was followed.

The recent attacks by the Dark Side in Washington DC and the SAFE Act in New York are perfect examples of the discrepancy of the process used in legal practices. In both places (and other places in the country) an accusation or report is as good as a conviction for losing rights.

An example of the SAFE Act is that a person can lose four constitutional and civil rights on a false report by a medical facility or certain personnel. 0ne loss is the right to keep and bear arms. A false report goes to the Department of Mental Health, they report that a person was an involuntary admission to the hospital, or some person puts on the report that in their opinion the patient is a danger to himself or others. When that false notification is given to the State Police, the person is trapped.

They are trapped because almost immediately, if they have a pistol permit, the County Clerk is notified to suspend the permit. There is no due process so the person involved has no opportunity to dispute the claim. The person is also reported to the FBI and is put on the NICS report which is used to do background checks to purchase firearms. Being on that list prohibits the person from owning a gun.

If a person does not have a pistol permit, they don’t know that they are on the list unless they try to purchase a gun. It can also be a problem if they are arrested and the police discover they are on the list. The person might be arrested for a misdemeanor hunting violation and then find out he is guilty of a federal felony.

The state does not inform the person that they have been put on the list. Ignorance of the law is no excuse and they can be charged from a state misdemeanor to a federal charge of “illegal possession of a firearm.”

There has not been a publicized case where this has happened yet, but with a governor in New York who hates guns and honest gun owners, it could happen.

Wnen a person finds out he or she is on the list, it is almost impossible to get off. Many have tried and few have been successful. The state obviously has no interest in correcting their mistake and refuses to amend the law to prevent this from happening. Andrew Cuomo loves any way possible to confiscate guns.

On that note, the Mueller investigations regarding President Donald Trump and the accusation of Russian Collusion in the presidential election is another good example. The investigation has been going on for almost two years but has yet to show any collusion. However, two people involved have been convicted of crimes. The crimes were related to income tax laws and had nothing significant to do with the collusion charges.

That is where the selective enforcement problem comes in. The investigation showed corruption by FBI members involved, and also that the FISA report was fraudulent. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party were involved in the dossier which they used as an important part of the process. Little attention has been given to those issues.

When side issues like breaking tax law becomes an issue, some are saying that is a way the government will put pressure on minor players to get more substantial evidence against those higher in the food chain. Some reports claim the investigators are even threatening the families of the people involved. A Russian KGB official once said: “Show me the law and I will show you the person.”

Many Russians went to Siberia with that tool. If you look at any law library, it takes a long, high wall to make a bookcase large enough to hold all the law books. Ask a lawyer or even a judge about a law, and it is quite possible that they can’t answer that beyond, “I’ll have to check on that.” Judges have staff to research laws. Lawyers have paralegals and computers to determine what a law says and means. The poor citizen gets nailed because “Ignorance of the law is not excuse.”

So, equal protection under the law is trumped by position and financial means. The wealthy and powerful get more justice than the working stiff because they can hire better lawyers and go through a lengthy process and higher courts. A lawyer once told his audience. “I will defend you to your last dollar.” It was said as a joke, but there was a lot of truth in the humor.

As for indictments, that brings us back to Governor Andrew Cuomo who is the most powerful person in New York. He wants to be considered as a presidential candidate in 2020 and is running for reelection. He is extremely wealthy and powerful. However he has some baggage relating to corruption that has scores of people saying: “Don’t elect. Indict!”

There are many stories and convictions of people close to him that bring up the subject of an indictment and a thorough investigation of these proven acts of corruption. Much sworn testimony brings up good reasons with names like Silver, Skelos, Kaloyeros, Ciminelli, Percoco and even three legislators to give enough credence to start an investigation.

As more evidence comes out, there should be a surge of complaints from the populace to demand that an investigation be given the same attention for corruption with Cuomo as they gave for collusion by President Trump. Be assured that the liberal left protects its own and this could be an uphill battle.

Cuomo is wrong. America is great.

People have to be careful what they say and to whom they say it. This is particularly true when it comes to politicians and speeches. President Donald Trump keeps raising eyebrows and getting unflattering media comments for some of his speeches and Tweets. It seems to be part of the game.

Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made a huge gaff when he tried to denigrate a Trump slogan of “Make America Great Again.” Cuomo made the comment that America was never great and that started the commentary about how America is great, was great, and will continue to be great. At least that is the comment shared by patriotic Americans.

The Cuomo statement is really backfiring at Cuomo and it is ammunition for the big guns in the conservative movement making Cuomo the perfect target for shots that don’t have to be cheap. It is difficult to find anything that is perfect and that includes countries and governments, but America is still growing and getting better in spite of the liberal criticisms.

What makes America great is the people who have created the republic and those who keep trying to improve it. When the Declaration of Independence was written it was done to separate the colony from a monarchy and it focused on freedom. The government was created in a manner that there would be no rulers. It created a government that would be one of laws, not men.

The Constitution was a written document that affirmed certain rights were created by God and not subject to the whims of rulers. These rights focused on individual freedoms and so enumerated in the Bill of Rights. However, there was a big error that was not corrected because of political compromise to get the Constitution passed. It still allowed the abomination of slavery.

Even with the declaration that “all men are created equal” was written, it was perverted and slavery lasted for almost another century. It took the efforts of a great President, Abraham Lincoln, and a Civil War to make all people free. Even then, it took another century to improve on the levels of that freedom. The war didn’t solve the problem, but it did open the door so there could be a solution.

That is a factor that makes America great. It has the means and the will to improve and the freedoms are what helped to create the Industrial Revolution. Some may call it capitalism, but what it did was to take away the practice in the old country of nobility and serfs. Here, a person could start a business that could morph into an industry and create wealth and a better life for those who had the intelligence and ambition to work and to create new ways and products.

During the growth of the country, injustices were inflicted on the Native Americans. Bluntly, the government stole the land, broke treaties and created reservations that would contain the Indians. They lived in poverty and under very poor conditions. It still is not rectified, but it seems that some are making a good living building and running casinos and is an example of how they can catch up on the American Dream.

That brings up another issue involving Governor Cuomo. He has created another war with the tribes. They are not supposed to be taxed, but he disagrees with that and has even allowed competition by building state run casinos. That isn’t working very well for him, either.

However, while there is the process and history for improving America, there are also some built in handicaps which we refer to as corruption. Now, corruption has been a part of civilization since it started. There seems to be a human failing known as greed and it sometimes takes over the personality of those who are focused on power. As this column has mentioned several times, politics is not about good government. It is all about power and money.

That statement is difficult to argue against. Truth can be very inconvenient to the overly ambitious politicians. Fortunately, there are still some people who run for office and are elected who are honest and do the right thing. In this state, we can call them a minority just by looking at Albany.

Sure, we make progress. America has been a leader in helping other countries survive because of our actions, like military intervention where necessary. There were a couple of instances where intervention wasn’t a good idea but we have helped countries ravaged by natural disasters and wars. America has been a champion of trying to help others.

We still keep trying to do that, but even there the problem of corruption raises its ugly head. It is seen from local governments to the federal level. The more money available, the more corruption, and New York is an example of the art of “pay for play.” An Assembly Speaker and a Senate Majority Leader have been convicted for corrupt practices and still have not spent a day in prison.

This brings us back to Governor Cuomo who has amassed a campaign fund of more than thirty million dollars. That brings a focus to links between state contracts and donations to his war chest. This has been going on all during his tenure. He once initiated the Moreland Commission which he said was to fight corruption in Albany, but ended it under suspicious conditions.

Now, because of the gubernatorial election looming large, the issues are being brought up, but it would seem that the major media does not give it the attention it deserves. Andrew Cuomo is definitely a liberal’s liberal and most of the media in the state is controlled by liberals, so the issue is not given the attention it deserves.

This column will be focusing on corruption and go beyond the disdain Governor Cuomo thinks about the greatness of America. We will make the effort to bring attention to the inequities of focus on why New York is the highest taxed state in the nation and has more government controls on everyday life than most.

Stay tuned for more news about why Governor Cuomo thinks America isn’t so great and what the people will have to do to correct his mistake. It is called election and our right to vote. The power belongs to the people, but they have to use it.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely

There should be no doubt by now that Governor Andrew Cuomo has an attitude somewhere between disdain and hatred for the honest, law abiding gun owners in New York. His ramming through his infamous SAFE Act is a good example of how anxious he is to confiscate guns from everyone he can by any means he can.

The SAFE Act is a Second Amendment disaster that had to be enacted by using the “message of necessity” procedure that is supposed to be used only for laws that need to be passed immediately for a logical reason. Not so when it comes to gun legislation, according to Cuomo. By doing it this way he avoided any unwelcome commentary from law enforcement, mental health professionals, local governments, and of course, the citizens.

As it was passed, one of the biggest and dumbest of the provisions was the issue of magazine capacity. It started out that nobody could possess a magazine that would hold more than seven cartridges. That presented a big problem because most of the semi-automatic handguns used ten rounds as a minimum and those came with the purchase of the gun.

Later, it was amended to allow ten round magazines but there was a limit of seven rounds that could be loaded in it. One activist when speaking of this law provision would show two magazines that would hold nine rounds. He explained that he had seven rounds in each one and he was a honest, law abiding citizen. However, if he switched a round from one magazine and loaded it in the other one, he became a felon with a penalty equal or greater than that of some domestic abuse laws.

Eventually, a Federal Judge nullified that provision, but during that time, the dumb legislators found out that they didn’t exempt law enforce officers from that restriction and most carried guns that had a fifteen or more rounds capacity. Under the original provisions, the officers were technically guilty of a felony as they carried their duty guns. That also suddenly was stricken from the law. However, a local man was convicted of three felonies because he had three magazines that held more than ten rounds.

He is a veteran who served two tours in the Middle East, is a single father with a disabled child and never has been in trouble with the law. He was found guilty of three felonies and was placed on probation. He can never own a firearm again, can’t vote, and has a huge handicap when it comes to seeking employment. It is still a mystery how this reduces “gun violence.”

On that subject, one only has to view the nightly news to realize that “gun violence” is still a huge problem and Buffalo is a perfect example of why. The homicide by criminals using guns is a regular event showing the real reason for the failure of the SAFE Act. CRIMINALS DON’T OBEY LAWS. Think about how Cuomo has recently released felons who can now vote.

But Cuomo doesn’t end the unfairness of the laws there. The extended background checks have effectively prohibited the Amish from buying a gun. The NICS check is necessary to purchase one and they need a photo ID to buy one. The Amish don’t have a photo ID because of religious reasons, but Cuomo doesn’t care. Strangely, it is extremely rare to see any crimes of violence in the Amish community.

Another violation of common sense in the law is that a person can have all guns confiscated by a report. Many people have found out that a false report that goes through the Office Of Mental Health is enough to cause the confiscation. If a person has a pistol permit, once the report reaches the State Police, the County Clerk is notified and the pistol permit is suspended and all guns, even rifles and shotguns must be surrendered or are confiscated. A report is as good as a conviction since no due process is involved. The gun owner loses four constitutional and civil rights immediately.

It takes money and time to regain the pistol permit and guns. The pistols can be returned immediately, but in order to get the confiscated long guns from the police, the owner must obtain an Article 78 and a lawyer to get them release. The process can easily be more costly than what the guns are worth. This amounts to legalized theft of a person’s property, but Cuomo approves of that.

Now, he is trying to destroy the National Rifle Association, by “urging” insurance companies and financial institutions to refuse any legal transactions by the country’s oldest civil rights organization. This is in keeping with Andrew Cuomo’s vow that “extreme conservatives have no place in New York.” These people are described by him as those who are pro-life and pro-gun among other conservative values.

According to a recent report, in April, state regulators told insurers and banks they oversee to look at the relationships with gun rights groups. They were warned of “reputational risks” in their “dealings” with the NRA.

The NRA is suing the Cuomo administration accusing them of running a campaign of ‘’selective prosecution of backroom exhortations and public threats.” This is an example of the old saying of “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Cuomo is being accused of corruption because of his involvement with the “pay for play” convictions of people close to him and donations to his election war chest. Both issues are mentioned in this campaign by his opponents.

These issues can be very negative to upstate voters who resent a politician who shows such disdain for first and second amendment issues. Those who care will cast ballots and this will determine the laws made in the next four years. If you can’t change the laws, change the lawmakers.

Should marijuana be legal in New York?

The questions come up about legalizing marijuana in New York and like many laws it has advocates and detractors. There are many who believe the benefits of medical marijuana and have stated that they have merit. It has shown to be helpful for easing pain and can aid in treating illnesses involving seizures. That is a truly positive approach.

If opiates can be used as treatment for pain, why not the use of marijuana? Medical experts claim that it is not as addictive as prescription pain pills and has fewer side effects and other disadvantages. That could be a big plus.

However, there is the question, often brought up by those in law enforcement, who believe that pot can be an entry drug for the opiates which cause thousands of deaths a year. Also, many experts say that the smoking of weed is as harmful as tobacco which causes lung and associated diseases.

There is a question about addiction as well and the controversy goes on. Tobacco and alcohol are legal and they are addictive, so why not make marijuana legal as well? Many politicians are on board for passing a law to make it legal. They quote the economic benefits to the state because it can generate money in sales and other taxes. That is a huge Albany motive.

It appears that Governor Cuomo is giving serious consideration to making it legal. After all, Canada has legalized it for recreational purposes, so why discriminate against New Yorkers who want to smoke a joint to relax and forget about reality for a little while?

Like any argument with at least two sides, this one has several. For one thing, it does affect the thinking process and those who use it to excess, like with drunkards and alcohol, it can have severe consequences. The big question that pops to the front is what effect can it have if a person is high on the drug and decides to drive his car. We really don’t need more impaired drivers on our highways.

Many deaths are caused by drivers distracted by using cell phones because it takes their minds off the need to be constantly alert when on the road. The chemicals in alcohol and drugs also cause major distractions and negative impacts on judgements and reflexes. Having the use of additional mind altering drugs can cause hundreds of more vehicle deaths. Is it worth the risk?

It probably would be an excellent idea to do complete studies on the states that have legalized pot and sell it with the government restrictions and ability to increase the tax flow. Do positive economic advantages overcome the negative results of drug legalization?

Looking past the economic advantages for government spending because of increased revenue, it should also consider the financial costs of the potential down side. First question would be to determine if it really leads to the use of opiates and other illegal drugs. Does the buzz of pot prime the desire to try something stronger?

Is it addictive in itself or lead to other drug addictions. Treatment for any addiction like alcohol or currently illegal drugs is a big drain on society. The current answer is “education and treatment.” Both can be expensive and obviously has limits on effectiveness. How many people go into rehab and then go back to the habit? It would appear that the success rate is relatively low.

Can we afford the cost of property damage and medical bills caused by the impaired driver’s desire for a little chemical “recreation?” Those in favor of the legalization can claim that only a small percentage of drinkers and drug users will cause the problems. How many of the negatives ae we willing to accept?

Perhaps the argument could be to make higher penalties for those who break the law. Would it be enough discouragement to cause more people to drive sober? For example, if a person gets a felony DWI, he is unable to purchase or own a firearm for the rest of his life even if a gun was not involved with the arrest.

Usually after a period of time, the privilege of driving and owning a car can be reinstated. How about increasing the penalty of a felony DWI or DUI to cause the person to never be able to get a driver’s license to own a vehicle?

Doesn’t that make more sense?

Speaking of drugs and guns, nobody has any objections to criminals who sell, make or use illegal drugs becoming felons and losing Second Amendment rights. Criminals don’t deserve to be gun owners.

However when a person goes through a background check, the form 4473 asks “Are you an unlawful user or addicted to marijuana or other…( illegal drug)?’’

At the end of the end of the question it states. “The use and possession of marijuana remains unlawful under federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medical or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”

Medical marijuana users in New York may not legally purchase or possess firearms. It is highly possible if a person goes to Canada, smokes a joint, is stopped at the border and charged with using marijuana, they can have their guns confiscated and never be able to own one again under the federal law.

This would make governor Cuomo very happy to have yet another reason to confiscate a citizen’s guns. We could expect him to be happy to sign that law. It would be a pleasure for him to be “tough on gun laws.” It might even be a campaign promise.

The problem with America is liberal leftists

America is heading for deep trouble and it is because of the actions and philosophy of the liberal leftists and socialists. Actually, socialism is high on the agenda of the left and is getting big pushes from the major media and many colleges and universities.

The state of New York seems to be one of the test markets for this movement and because of it, falls in the top three categories having the reputation of the highest of tax burdens, political corruption and bureaucracies.

New York is a leader in corruption which is now getting the publicity it deserves regarding the pay for play activity in Albany. While Washington has the accusation of being a swamp, the state’s capital can be likened to a sewer. The way it is being governed with its “three men in a room” is what is creating the stink of deliberate corruption.

At the head of the problems and the leader of the leftists is Governor Andrew Cuomo. He passes obnoxious and unpopular bills literally in the middle of the night with a “message of necessity.” It is a pet bill of his to deny constitutional rights to honest, law abiding gun owners.

The way he did this would make logical people believe that he no longer views himself as an elected official, but rather fancies himself to be a king. He loves to act as if his word is law, and the SAFE Act gives credence to that opinion.

The liberal media will denigrate President Donald Trump because of a Tweet made or a sentence in one of his speeches that does not come under their definition of “politically correct.” The comparison gives credence to the complaint by conservatives that the liberal media and politicians are more than willing to use a double standard in reporting and speaking.

Just look at the history of the Muller investigations. It is another good example of the differences regarding the left and the right. It is obvious that the commission started out with bias and a double standard regarding corruption. Hillary got a pass with her destruction of her emails. The left didn’t make an issue out of that event, but had it involved Donald Trump they would have called for criminal penalties.

But, true to their code, the liberals pursued the Muller investigation with biased staff, lies, accusations and questionable FISA documents. . The investigation has not shown any collusion between Donald Trump and Russian hacking of emails and other data. The reporting of the involvement of a couple of FBI management people is now drawing attention where it belongs—with corrupt individuals within an honorable division of government.

The details of the exposure of the mistakes of this investigation are proving to be very damaging to the Obama administration as it has been shown that much of the hacking of government data by Russian operatives was done during the Obama administration. However, the liberal media seems to believe that it isn’t worth their time to dig into it.

Back to the “test market” in New York! At one time, Andrew Cuomo put together the Moreland Commission to “root out corruption.” Not much value came out of it and when it looked like the AG was getting close to the head of the dragon who could be the major influence in corrupt practices, the governor disbanded it. In politics, timing is a huge consideration when making decisions.

This is an important year for the citizens in New York. Two major seats are up for election. They are for governor and senator. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is the senator and doesn’t seem to have much competition in this race. Her opponent is running a very low key campaign. A future column will address this.

However, it is worth mentioning that Senator Gillibrand has been very vocal about her anti-life stance on abortion and that she will do whatever she can to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Of The United States. He is the most highly qualified, but not to her standards. She deserves input from her constituents.

The other person, Governor Andrew Cuomo has a viable opponent in Marc Molinaro who is a candidate making his run on a platform almost opposite to the practices of Cuomo.

Molinaro is campaigning on a platform of lower taxes to give the working public a break and debt reduction instead of debt increases with more borrowing. He proposes having a state auditor to review state contracts to eliminate the sweetheart deals and the pay for play practices currently used, and makes the government more transparent in its lawmaking and enforcement policies. The scandal of the Buffalo Billions is just one example of the corruption,

In a recent interview he expressed his problems with the SAFE Act where honest law abiding gun owners can lose their Second Amendment rights on accusations and false reports. Many NY gun owners suffered the loss of four constitutional and civil rights because of the current provisions and have no hope under the present administration to get relief from the injustice. Also. it did nothing to curb the criminal misuse of firearms.

Molinaro is now traversing the state to inform the citizens that there is hope for this state to keep it from being a socialist haven with sanctuary cities. It is rumored that Cuomo wants to make NY a Sanctuary State and inviting illegal immigrants (actually invaders) to partake in benefits paid for by taxpayers. The pardoning of more than 20,000 criminals and giving them the fight to vote is another disagreement by this challenger.

It will be an interesting year for politics and almost a decision of good versus evil when it comes to government.

Hopefully, the citizens will be motivated to break the chains of corruption and choose to improve the quality of legislators who are chartered to represent, not rule them. Go for it.

The people are the problem

The problem with New York and its corrupt government which accounts for high taxes, limited freedoms and oppressive laws and regulations is not exclusively because of dishonest or incompetent politicians. It is because the majority of the citizens are dumb.

What an insult! Unfortunately, it is true and the statement is based on the truth that the majority of citizens don’t get involved in the political process and they won’t vote in elections. This allows the corrupt politicians to get elected and reelected. It is somewhere between difficult and impossible to recall an election year where a majority of the registered voters bothered to go to the polls to vote.

That is the tip of the iceberg because we have credible data only on the people who are registered to vote. We have to guess on how many people are eligible to vote but refuse to register. Those are the really stupid ones. They live in a country that was organized and chartered to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. This is a great theory, but unfortunately, not practiced as it should.

A song writer once commented that “The best reason for not doing anything is ‘I don’t want to’.” There are other reasons for not doing certain things and they are called laws and requirements. However, most of them are negotiated. In any society, laws and regulations are necessary to maintain safety and order.

We need traffic rules to be able to drive safely and orderly. How much damage could be done without speed limits in populated areas or stop signs or signals at busy intersections? Yet, some people refuse to obey them and often the violations can result in damages and even deaths. Some lawyers make a career and a good living getting people “the money they deserve” as a result of these accidents.

The Constitution gives us certain unalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The government can affirm those rights, modify them and in some extreme cases, deny them. It is supposed to be done in a described and acceptable manner that is approved by the people. That last part has been under attack for centuries.

Certain actions that were agreed upon in the Constitution have been attacked and changed. At one time the Constitution was amended to prohibit the making, selling and using alcoholic beverages. The people ratified the amendment and it proved to be a huge mistake. Later, it was repealed because of the disasters it caused. The Constitution was fine before the i8th Amendment and it took a lot of bad results of the law to get it changed.

The original concept of the new country and new method of governing was based on individual freedoms and consent of the people. We were given the right to choose people to represent us and remove them if they didn’t do the job in a correct and beneficial manner.

As the country began, those who were qualified were elected by the people and took the job as “doing their duty.” They left their farms or businesses to find ways to improve the lives of those they represented. After a few terms, they went back to their occupations and new people were elected to do the job.

Along the way, some found out that politics actually could be their occupation and became professionals in the craft. Politics became a way of life for many and they discovered that the job could be profitable and give them power that they never had before. They liked it. They changed their attitude from being a representative to that of a ruler.

They decided that they, and people who thought like they did, could force those who elected them to conform to the political objectives of those who held the power of their majority in the legislature. The Congress and Senate are the ones who make these decisions. The President can lead, but as far as legislation goes, he can approve a law or veto it if he doesn’t like it.

A majority of the Congress can override a veto by a super majority and the Supreme Court can determine whether the law is constitutional. If it isn’t, the law is removed by the court decision. A different Court later on can overturn previous decisions. This is usually very controversial and not a common practice.

The point is that the laws and government are a result of the people in power and should come as a result of the consent of the people. All politics is local and most of our representatives are tuned into the wishes of their constituents. However, with an apathetic attitude of the citizens, a minority can call the shots.

Think of it in this fashion. In a “normal” election, a forty percent or lower turnout is considered the norm. By simple math, this means that twenty-one percent of the people in the district can determine the outcome of who wins. In elections where there are more than two candidates, a plurality will do nicely.

That is where the power of a political party comes into play. They can have a minority of the voters, but if they mobilize their faithful members, they can win the election over the apathetic opposition. And, participation of the people on an issue can overcome the power of the party. People don’t have to vote on their party line if they don’t like the candidate or the major issues the candidate supports.

Future columns will expand on these concepts and as far as the New York elections this year are concerned, the people have an outstanding opportunity to make significant changes in the governing of New York.

It will depend on motivating the apathetic to actually register and vote. Then, to make issues a priority over “party loyalty.” We get the government we deserve. The people can’t change the laws, but they can change the lawmakers and this year is the year to prove it can be done. The state you save can be your own.

Independence Day to remember our freedoms

Independence Day is a day to celebrate the birth of a country that had its start to create a new form of government based on the rule of law, not the whims of dictators or royalty. It was a great idea and still is, but there are people in our country that disagree. Those who call themselves “progressive” are actually giving another name to “socialism.”

Our founding fathers and the patriots who fought and suffered to break away from the bonds of royalty of the British Empire would have a tough time recognizing the pattern of movement away from the concepts of their efforts. The major focus of their type of government was individual freedoms. They wrote a constitution to guarantee certain unalienable rights as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

They placed in the documents of freedom the fact that the rights were endowed by out Creator and not given by men. The document was written to assure that the limits were placed on the government and the leaders to be unable to destroy or infringe on their rights. However, during the course of history, politicians have “adjusted” or eroded those rights contrary to the wishes of our Founding Fathers.

The Constitution starts with the guarantee of free speech, free press and freedom of religion, but some members of our society have a problem with that. They have warped the concept of religion and have changed aspects of it to be “freedom from religion.” They have forced removal of doors or signs showing the Ten Commandments in some public buildings and won’t allow prayers to be said at some public functions.

The term “Merry Christmas” has been criticized and changed to “Happy Holidays” and the holiest of the Cristian celebrations has been eroded into a commercial buying frenzy. God has been replaced by the Almighty Dollar. School children have been prohibited from mentioning the holiday in their classrooms and criticized for saying “Merry Christmas” to their friends.

The “politically correct” people will fight to have THEIR right to any type of free speech they choose, but if speech conflicts with their definition of politically correct, there can be consequences varying from criticism to loss of jobs or businesses. We still are confused about who determines what is “politically correct” but the liberal left media and politicians seem to be at the forefront or the movement.

It is probably just a coincidence, but it is difficult to recall any mass murders in schools before the saying of prayers was banned in the classrooms or religious education being allowed during school hours. Just one thought of many on the subject. It is strange to see the differences of how religion is treated, even in the courtrooms.

People will swear on the Bible or affirm that they will tell the truth in a courtroom. How long will it be before the Bible will be forbidden as part of the process? Perjury is the same for either and it would help the progressives to further erode the role of religion in THEIR society.

A baker was fined because he would not decorate a wedding cake for a same sex wedding because it was a violation of his religious beliefs. Recently, that was overturned by SCOTUS. However, it still lingers on when a person has to be concerned that his or her religious beliefs can come in conflict with the liberal version of what public policy should be.

The Declaration of Independence was flawed when it stated that “all men are created equal” because it did not ban slavery. That was a huge issue and was a compromise to make the 13 colonies a union of 13 states. The Supreme Court with the Dred Scott Decision and Fugitive Slave Act stated that slavery was not unconstitutional and it took a Civil War to right that wrong. However, it brought out the 13th Amendment and freedom reigned. Many brave men lost their lives in gaining that freedom as was done in the Revolutionary War.

The Second Amendment has been assaulted since that war. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” was an inconvenience to the liberals of that time and gun control was introduced. The real purpose was to keep the newly freed slaves from defending themselves against the KKK and night riders who still viewed African Americans as inferior and not deserving of means of self-defense.

The term “infringed” is obviously very subjective and has been a constant issue in the courts for more than a century. The New York Sullivan Act and the SAFE Act are two examples of how the leftist liberals twist facts and enlist corrupt politicians to destroy constitutional rights for the citizens. The amendment was placed in the Constitution as the Second Amendment to protect the people from being subjected to an oppressive government. The Founding Fathers considered that to be very important.

The Constitution is a written contract and is being challenged by the liberal left to conform to their socialistic beliefs. They want to expand the government’s power at the expense of the individual freedoms of the citizens. As they erode the freedoms with laws that give more power to the bureaucrats and reduce the freedoms of the individuals, it is a decided attempt to move the government from a republic to socialism.

Independence Day is a day to reflect and remember the origin of our country and the brave patriots who fought and died in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, two World Wars and several conflicts that were listed as efforts to “save democracy” in foreign lands. The sacrifices were great.

We will watch parades with soldiers marching and carrying the American Flag, which many of the liberal left go out of their way to disrespect. They can do this because of “freedom of speech.” They use the amendment to spit on the Constitution and the memory of those patriots who lost their limbs, health and lives to fight for freedom, here and abroad. May this country come to its senses and spend the day with respect and a promise of maintaining the concept of freedom as it was originally intended.

You can, but will you?

The political news is always interesting, even the fake news. Sometimes that is more interesting than the real news. The political writers and especially columnists can be very creative. The spin doctors can make a boring situation or even a non-situation more fun to read.

This column is definitely written by a right wing person who has, upon occasion, accused of being to the right of Attila the Hun. Attila was famous for conquering lands and nations, but he was not noted for his prose. Perhaps that was taken into consideration.

We have to admit that this column has always been critical of the liberal leftist point of view. At least for most of their points! As a citizen of New York and a dedicated voter, it is easy to find politicians, laws and procedures worthy of discussion.

Being a resident of a state that has been nationally known for its corrupt government and practices, finding issues to write about is not a difficult task. The dealings in Albany, which affects everyone in the state provides a wealth of subjects and issues as material for the column.

Right now, the corruption issue is a subject that is hitting the headlines. Conservatives are gleeful as they read about the Cuomo involvement with the Buffalo Billions and the accusations about the “pay for play” necessities in order to get state contracts.

It is amazing to read about how campaign contributions to Governor Andrew Cuomo are connected to lucrative state contracts for construction or “services.” It would appear that the size of the contract has a real effect on the size of the campaign contribution. Maybe the law of supply and demand applies to politics, too.

While the recognized news services provide information, it can be tempered and focused depending on the makeup of the editorial boards of newspapers and the program directors of electronic media.

Most of them favor the liberals and their agenda. We can usually find a balance with social media as the people who are interested in politics will voice their opinions on Facebook or websites. That is the source of real grass roots attitudes for those who are involved in the process,

The politicians in New York have a big advantage with the apathy of the citizens. It is seldom that more than forty percent of eligible voters will vote. This allows the corrupt politicians to have a reelection rate of more than ninety percent. Gerrymandering works.

That is the power of party politics and many will agree that in New York the majority of the politicians focus on strengthening the party rather than considering the welfare of the people. If two-thirds of the people won’t vote, why bother with them? The most powerful motivation for most humans is “what’s in it for me?” Politicians are no exception.

Until the people have a shift in attitude and are willing to get involved in the political process, the status quo will continue and the people are the losers. They are willing to sacrifice their freedoms and even their resources rather than become involved. Because of that, the professional politicians do very well with the current system.

This column has given the definitions of politicians and statesmen. When making decisions on issues, a statesman looks forward to the next generation. A politician looks forward only to the next election. We have too few statesmen and too many politicians.

A future column will show the math on how the November elections may turn out. A lot will depend on the primaries and who the survivors will be.

Politicians hate primaries because it eats up their war chest of money and in some of the gerrymandered districts the primary IS the general election. Also, the opposition usually digs up dirt and negative events involving the opponent. Some districts won’t have a contest. The minority party won’t waste money or can’t find a sacrificial lamb to go on the ballot.

The summer months will be filled with fund raising events which get more expensive every election cycle. For candidates who used to hold events for $25 to get more people involved in the campaign the costs have doubled, or more. It is now common to find events charging $100 and a bargain of two people for $175.

Then, there are the ones that separate the sheep from the goats with the cheap tickets charging $250 with “special” categories going up to a grand. The more powerful the position, the more expensive the ticket!

Of course, those who can afford to spend a thousand bucks or more can generally expect to have more access to the candidate if that candidate is the winner. The statement that politics is all about power and money is never challenged. It is the truth.

This should be a challenging campaign time. The parties are going whole hog to get control nationally of the congress and senate. The state power brokers want to shift the Senate to Democrat so they can take complete control of the state.

There will be a lot of “dirty politics” (so what else is new?) in the races because of the vulnerability of Andrew Cuomo this year. This column is geared to attack the dirty politics techniques and to get the readers (hopefully) to get involved with dollars and votes.

This is the best year we have had, as voters, to make changes. There is a lot of difference in having the ability to make the change and the willingness to do it. What is your choice?

Change laws or change lawmakers

There are too many people being killed by evil or deranged people. That is the simple and most logical premise. The killers use guns, knives, bombs, vehicles, blunt instruments (like baseball bats) and bare hands. Two things are common in homicides. There is only one degree of dead, regardless of method and that is takes a person to commit the murder.

Governor Cuomo focuses on the gun with his approach to reducing homicides, be it degrees of murder or manslaughter. He uses the mass murders in schools as his reason for his hatred of guns and his desire to disarm good citizens who are not violent or deranged. Using simple math, if you take the number of gun owners in the state and the number of those who misuse gun ownership, the good people outnumber the criminals and crazies by a ratio of 99.75 to .25 percent.

If we could only have that kind of percentage for honest politicians to the crooks and scammers In government… However, it is obvious that the focus is not on getting a more honest and ethical group of representatives in the legislative and executive bodies. Corruption can be very lucrative if you don’t get caught, and for some who do get caught, a good lawyer can make the problem go away.

Rather than do more to encourage honesty in government, the status quo seems to be favored by a majority of legislators and executives. Even those who are not corrupt, don’t want to upset the “we always did it that way” philosophy that seems to run amuck in the Albany legislative chambers,

Andrew Cuomo is starting to feel some pressure about corruption and is being linked with those who have been convicted or under indictment. In this election year, this could prove to be a real negative in his campaign. This may be why he is so determined to create a smoke screen of more gun laws to draw attention against a real vote loser like having friends or colleagues being indicted for bribery or other illegal actions.

People tend to believe the old saying of “birds of a feather, flock together.” Sometimes the stink goes away in the minor cases, but if the reporting starts putting links together, it can cause a huge drop in support and cause political upsets.

So, to gain support from the liberal majority in New York, Cuomo endorses and enacts liberal legislation. He has even supported extensions of the abortion laws and has made the comment that people who are pro -gun and pro-life don’ belong as citizens of New York. He suggests that they leave the state. He doesn’t want them in HIS state.
Seems he is getting his wish. People have been going to other states because of the laws and high taxes. Perhaps that is why the governor encourages illegal immigration and wants to turn New York into a sanctuary state. Loss of population creates a loss of congressmen and power in Washington.

Cuomo made a law called the SAFE Act which changed the rules for gun ownership in New York. It was passed as a “message of necessity” because it is the only way he could get it passed. It also exposed some corruption in the assembly and the senate. Two of the “three men in a room” were convicted of corruption. A fish rots from the head down. Maybe it takes a while for people to realize just how much of the head has rotted.

The SAFE Act made some rifles illegal because of featured that gave it a “military” look. The rifle had to be registered with the state or the person would be charged with “illegal possession of a firearm.” This registration was not popular and compliance was a lot less than the governor expected. This means that many honest gun owners are felons (who have not been caught). Now they are former honest gun owners just by a stroke of the Cuomo pen,

Having a magazine holding more than ten rounds is also a felony which carries a greater penalty than some degrees of child abuse or adultery. Recently a person who had three magazines in his automobile was stopped for a traffic violation and the magazines discovered. He is a veteran with two tours of duty in the Middle East and has a disabled son. He was found guilty of three felonies which prevents him from voting.

However our governor released more than twenty thousand felons who were serving part of their sentences on probation and they have the right to vote. Go figure!

Cuomo had a bill that passed the assembly that makes it possible for teachers to report a student who the teacher considered to be a danger to himself of others to a judge to get an order for the confiscation of any guns in the student’s household. It is a Red Flag bill.

Logic would demand that if the teacher was convinced regarding a potential danger the student displayed, it would more sensible to require the student to have an evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist to determine if the student really was a danger. Then, a report to the police would be in order. The police already have the authority to confiscate weapons they believe to be a danger in those circumstances.

That does not satisfy Governor Cuomo and he wants any excuse to confiscate firearms and this is a door opener for additional restrictions to encourage more people make an accusation that would cause confiscation. The opportunity for abuse is immense. A neighbor’s grudge might be enough for him to make an accusation as revenge for some disagreement. That is already being done in some domestic incidents.

Gun violence is a misnomer. The term should be the “criminal misuse (or abuse) of firearms.” The only thing necessary to make a gun, edged weapon, baseball bat, etc. a weapon is the person holding it. The reason why the SAFE Act and other gun laws don’t work is because criminals and deranged people don’t obey laws.

Stupid politicians make stupid laws. If the good citizens in the state want the laws changed and can’t get the politicians to do so, they will have to change the politicians in office. This is an election year. CHOOSE WISELY.

Letter to the editor

It is obvious that Governor Andrew Cuomo hates guns and gun owners. He rammed through the SAFE Act with a Message of Necessity in order to get it passed without any input from law enforcement, mental health experts and citizens. It was filled with flaws and allows the confiscation of guns without due process by false reports and opinions of unqualified persons.
Now, he wants to add teachers to the list of people who have the power to have guns confiscated. If they have an opinion that a student presents a danger of being violent, they can contact a judge who can order the guns confiscated form the student’s home. The logical procedure would be to have the student evaluated by a mental health professional before any action is taken against the family.
The SAFE Act should be repealed and school safety should be implemented by having a school resource professional who is armed and ready to protect the occupants. The politicians and bureaucrats have armed guards in their buildings. Why do they think their lives are more valuable and worth protecting than school children?
The solution is solved by focusing on people who are prone to violence not on creative ways to confiscate guns.

Sincerely,

Budd Schroeder
Chairman Emeritus, SCOPE

What is the cause of “gun violence”

Another horrific school shooting brings up the call for more gun control, but the latest one did not involve an “assault weapon.” This must disappoint the anti-gun crowd, because it takes away the “demon” they wish to ban as a solution to ending “gun violence.”

It is obvious that when an evil person decides to commit a horrendous crime, they will find a way to do it. While some of the mass murders have involved semiautomatic rifles, many others have not. We remember one of the most devastating weapons that may have set a record for causing deaths in an instant was a rented truck filled with ammonium nitrate fertilizer and fuel oil.

It was responsible for the loss of more lives than any firearm and also took down a major part of a building. It took a while to find the perpetrator of the crime. He was caught, found guilty and sentenced to death. Nobody had suggested a banning of any of the products that was used to cause these deaths. It was strictly a matter of dealing with the murderer.

Another mass murderer used a Molotov Cocktail to cause the death of almost a hundred people in New York City many years ago. Again, the killer was the blame and paid the penalty.

Recently, in Canada, a deranged person rented a truck killing and wounded many people just by running them over. Canada has strict gun laws and it didn’t mean a thing to this murderer. This was carefully planned and executed.

The Boston Marathon killers made a bomb out of a pressure cooker and caused death, maiming and general destruction. Common household products can be used to cause death and destruction. How tough is it to construct a pipe bomb, or poison a punch bowl at a party?

On a daily basis, we read about the use of vehicle bombs and suicide bombers that wreak havoc and panic with great efficiency. Yet, the media and anti-gun politicians believe that banning a certain type of gun will prevent mass murders in America. Obviously, they are wrong.

If there were no guns, bombs, edged weapons, etc. it might be more difficult to commit these horrendous crimes, but what would laws do to prevent the vehicle crimes? If a person is crazy or evil, there will be a method found and used to carry out the crime. It is worth to note that the FBI statistics show that more people are killed by blunt force trauma and edged weapons than are murdered by the use of rifles of all kinds.

The fact that the last few mass murders happened in schools and churches, shows that the killers look for soft targets. The “gun free zones” have been the ideal killing fields for the deranged and evil criminals. They choose a venue where they have virtually no chance of being stopped by an armed person. They take advantage of the opportunity to prove the adage of “criminals don’t obey laws.”

A criminal tried to commit a school invasion recently in Chicago, but the school had an armed resource officer who stopped the killer before he could do any damage. The disaster in Texas may have had the same result if they had had a trained and armed person in that school. The Texas school children paid a big penalty because their school did not have that kind of protection.

Some people say that it would be too expensive to place protectors in the schools. However, isn’t it strange that buildings that have politicians and bureaucracies don’t have a problem with expenses of that nature to protect them? What makes the life of politicians and bureaucrats more valuable than the lives of students? This is a good question to ask the politicians who are running for office this year.

The question of should school teachers be armed comes up and from a practical viewpoint, the answer is complex. Having a gun doesn’t make a person a savior any more than having a guitar or accordion makes a person a musician.

To be competent, a person needs extensive training and the proper attitude in order to react effectively when a life or death emergency occurs. Just having a gun is no guarantee it will stop a mass murder, but there is virtually no chance of stopping a killer without a viable, effective means of immediate self-defense.

When it comes to solutions to reduce the “gun violence” the anti-gun media and politicians rely on slogans and rhetoric. If the public believes what they say, that can be enough to warp minds or get votes. However, it doesn’t save lives.

What saves lives are actions and effective programs to properly address the problem. The focus should be on the type of people who commit the crimes and to find a way to interact and define motives. Schools should check for the “red flags” that may come up in a person’s actions prior to their committing the crimes. Perhaps teachers should be taught to look for these signs or have a psychologist give seminars on this subject. It would be a positive approach.

The old saying “If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what you got.” Is a truism. Society has changed and attitudes have changed. Movies and video games promoting violence have affected thinking. Young people don’t look at murder, mayhem and violence as something to be avoided. They look at those actions as entertainment. Seeing gore and death on the big and small screens takes the horror out of the actions in reality. Some people live in a fantasy world of their own making. They can be dangerous.

Evil started with the second generation of mankind and it is a constant problem in society. Some blame the problems on children not having enough proper discipline and learning respect as they grow. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. It all starts in the home. What values are parents teaching their children? The schools are no substitute for good parenting. Perhaps the sociologists could come up with a proper answer.

Society needs a working over. What is going on now, isn’t working. We need to regroup and rethink how to create better attitudes and values. Obviously this is a tough job and it has to start with better parenting.

What is fair in the justice system?

It is an old saying that our system of justice isn’t perfect, but it is better than any other. Some have said that there are different levels of justice and that “equal protection under the law” is not a reality. There are many opinions on both sides of the arguments.

We have often said that politics is all about power and money and it would be easy to place the same accusation about the current system of justice. This columnist is not a lawyer, so the commentary is strictly an opinion based on observation and evidence.

The laws in the United States are complex and there are many of them. The law libraries are filled with volumes of laws and decisions of trials to determine what is possible to accuse and how to defend against those charges. The more complex the laws, the more opportunities for abuse!

The average person has no idea of what most of the laws are and how they are enforced, but in spite of the fact that lawyers, and even judges, need to research laws in many cases, for the average Joe, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

A Russian member of the KGB was once quoted as saying; “show me the person, and I will find a law to convict him.” That seems to hold true even in America. We are watching how the complexities of the laws and the creative ways that power brokers use them, and that would confirm what the Russian said.

Going back to the level of perception of the laws, there is much controversy on enforcement of the laws. For decades, African Americans have claimed discrimination when it comes to law enforcement and how it appears to have a different standard involving them.

They talk about the arrests for “driving while black” and being stopped when they haven’t committed any violations, at least no violations, from their perspective. They claim that sentences for black people are more severe than for Caucasians convicted for the same crimes.

The laws also seem to favor the rich because they can hire the best lawyers. The case of O. J. Simpson would give credence to that opinion. Money is a big advantage when accused of a crime.

We are watching how the law can be used as a weapon when it comes to the bureaucrats and political operatives when they are on a quest to destroy President Donald Trump. What started as an investigation regarding collusion in the last election has turned into what many are now calling a “witch hunt.”

The laws are being used as a punishment without a crime. A local political operative has been vocal about how this has destroyed his life and his family. He has not been charged with any crime, but has been brought before the authorities as a witness for the “witch hunt.”

Anyone in that position should not agree to the questioning without hiring the services of a good attorney. However, the gentleman has gone broke with legal fees to the tune of about $125,000 without figuring time lost from work and transportation costs to DC to appear before the panel.

He has managed to get some support from citizens in “Go Fund Me” to recoup some of his losses, but many don’t have that kind of support for their losses.

When the bureaucracy or government calls for a witness or arrests a person accused of a crime, they are allowed to lie to extract information. Their lies are perfectly legal, but if the accused or witness lies to them, there can be charges of perjury which are difficult to deny or defend.

The odds greatly favor the government and it seems that every year, the legislators keep adding more laws that give the government more authority and takes more freedoms away from the citizens.

The issue of money is truly important when discussing the disparity of “equality” when it comes to legal proceedings. In New York, corruption cases draw special attention. Perhaps it is because in Albany, many consider it to be “business as usual” and the politicians have to really foul up before getting caught.

A couple of years ago two of the most powerful men in Albany, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos were tried and convicted for corruption. They were sentenced to jail terms, but a decision involving a Virginia politician made it possible for the convicted criminals to have a new trial.

A decision made by a judge in another state was enough for a team of sharp lawyers to delay the prison sentence. Hopefully, for the citizens of the state, the accused will be reconvicted and the sentence carried out. Even if serving time, the politicians will still receive their generous pensions. When politicians make laws, they really know how to take care of themselves.

So, in the last couple of years the citizens have seen the abuses of the system and that an accusation can have as much punishment, at least financially, as a conviction. It takes years to get a federal case heard which makes a mockery of “justice delayed is justice denied.”

However, during the delays, he lawyers are still getting “billable hours” and the accused are trying to figure out how to pay them. If you don’t have the money to pay, you don’t get the necessary representation.

That is where the slogan of “we have the best laws that money can buy’ is said. The better the lawyer, the better the chance of winning! The less fortunate, without large resources, usually have to settle for a plea deal or face a maximum punishment.

Like in government, money doesn’t just talk. It yells! Unless the voters start screaming for better government and if the laws are not changed, they have to change the lawmakers. This is a good year and opportunity to do that. More ideas to follow.

A federal court is hearing testimony this week about bribes for gun permits in New York City

A massive gun licensing scandal in New York City, now the subject of a Manhattan federal court trial, could easily be an indictment against so-called “discretionary issue” laws that allow authorities to decide who does or doesn’t get to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, which is supposed to be protected from such corruption by the Constitution.

According to the New York Daily News, what happened in the New York Police Department’s license division amounted to “greenbacks and goodies from Former Assistant Brooklyn District Attorney John Chambers and other gun expediters, to speed up the permitting process.”

Chambers is the first of seven people accused of bribing New York cops in order to smooth the process for getting a gun permit in The Big Apple, according to the New York Post. Gun rights activists have long complained that it takes an inordinate amount of time and expense to get a gun permit in the city.

Ironically, this trial has opened coincidental to the introduction of a national “purchaser licensing” gun control measure by outgoing Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, an anti-gun Democrat.

Published accounts so far have quoted former NYPD Sgt. David Villaneuva, a former supervisor in the License Division, who has testified that he accepted “greenbacks and goodies” from Chambers, a former assistant Brooklyn district attorney, and other so-called “gun expediters.” The purpose was allegedly to speed up the process for the privileged, to get or retain gun permits that can take many months for average citizens to obtain, provided their applications are approved.

These courtroom revelations could ultimately provide ample arguments for dismantling such “discretionary issue” systems, replacing them with the kinds of “shall issue” laws now in effect in dozens of states where police and sheriff’s departments are required to issue licenses or permits to any qualified citizen who applies.

Instead, New York is clinging to what many believe is a discriminatory system, by only changing some of the ways it does business, along with changing the License Division staff.

The scandal erupted last year, nine years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a handgun ban in Washington, D.C., affirming that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.

It depends on your point of view

Another crazy person has made the news. As this column is being written, the killer has not been caught. He is the suspect in the murder of four people in a Waffle House in Tennessee. The reports so far state that he was naked except for a green jacket. He also carried an AR 15 type rifle.

There was a brave person in the restaurant with outstanding courage, who disarmed the shooter, but the killer got away leaving the rifle behind. The police reported that he was still at large and they determined that he had returned to his home to get a pair of pants and possibly two more guns, a rifle and handgun.

If that is accurate, he is armed and dangerous and it may end up with others being killed. It is unlikely that he will still be at large by the time this column is printed.

Predictably, there will be more media focused on the fact that he used an “assault weapon” rather than a more obvious condition for his horrific actions, a mental problem. It is easier to blame the gun and demand more gun laws than it is to focus on mental conditions and come up with a solution addressing that problem.

He bought his rifle in Illinois which has a state license to possess firearms and he had to pass the NICS check to obtain his guns. Details are sketchy regarding an investigation by the FBI for a violation of some sort, but his Illinois firearms possession card was revoked and he most likely was placed on the NICS list as being unable to buy a gun.

Law enforcement in Illinois returned the guns to his father who later gave them to him. That pretty much is what is available now.

Now, this columnist’s predictions for the reporting! The mass media prompted by the anti-gun special interests will focus on the use of the “assault weapon” and will probably look to create more anti-gun rallies and a negative focus. They haven’t figured out yet that criminals and crazy people don’t obey laws.

It is far less likely they will focus on laws that will put violent criminals in prison and create more mental health facilities for testing and treating, to make any reasonable and sensible progress to reduce all violence.

However, it would appear from the media reports, opinion reporting and activist organizations, they will focus strictly on banning the “assault rifles” and “strengthening background checks.” That is much easier and more interesting that finding ways to check people for mental problems and providing treatment.

Those on both sides of the gun issue will agree that criminals and mentally disturbed people should not have access to or to possess guns. That is a no brainer. It is easy to call for a ban on a product than to find a solution to straighten out a disturbed mind.

The vast majority of people with mental and emotional issues are not violent. Some say that they are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of violence.

However, it is easier and more politically correct to call for banning guns. There are more than 22,000 gun control laws. How well have they worked? Hard to say, because most of them are not reasonably enforced and criminals ignore them anyway.

Using the “logic” that the anti-gun groups use to “save lives” brings up some interesting comparison to other problems in our society. We have strict laws against drunken driving and alcohol is present in other crimes like domestic violence. Here is a suggestion to cut down on the “alcohol violence” problem and could save more lives than more gun control.

Most people drink responsibly and don’t have an “alcohol problem.” It is like most gun owners don’t use their firearms in a dangerous or criminal manner. The government could pass a law that anyone who wishes to drink has to get an Alcohol Consumption License.

In order to get that license you have to apply to a local Alcohol Board and fill out a form that will be followed by a background check and the clearance by a judge, magistrate or law enforcement. If given, that person may buy alcoholic beverages, possess and consume them. If you don’t have the license, you are legally prohibited from any of those activities.

If, at a party, you give alcohol to a person who doesn’t have a license you will be guilty of a violation. If that person is arrested for any alcohol violation, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. If the person gets a DWI, you could lose your permit.. That should put an end to irresponsible drinking, shouldn’t it?

Then to make it easier to enforce, the government could ban whiskey. We know that it is so much easier to get drunk on whiskey than beer and wine because whiskey has a much higher alcohol content. You know, like large capacity gun magazines hold more ammunition which makes them more dangerous. (So they say.)

Nobody NEEDS whiskey. Only those who want to get drunk will drink it, Right? Think of all the lives that will save with a simple law like that. And, if it saves just one life, if is worth it. At least that is what the anti-gun lobby thinks about gun laws.

Of course as a conservative, this columnist would not want to government to be able to do that. Why should the responsible drinkers be denied the product that they don’t abuse because of the actions of drunks?

Responsible gun owners feel the same way. They should not be denied a product that they don’t abuse because of the actions of criminals and crazies. Look at the numbers. More people are killed by drunks than by people with guns.

It is hard to remember any deaths caused by drunk drivers and having the liberals focus on the alcohol. Maybe it is because a majority in the anti-gun side of the argument likes drinking and don’t see the deaths and misery caused by irresponsible drinkers as a problem. All a matter of perception and perspective!

Letter to the editor

The article regarding the SAFE Act and gun confiscation on arrests for domestic violence left a big gap in the problems associated with the new law. It is correct that the Lautenberg Law is a federal law and prohibits possession of a firearm for anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence. It is even enforced if the conviction is discovered before the law was passed. The Ex Post Facto provisions are not germane to this law.

However, the SAFE act has enacted provisions that allows for abuse of the process. Since the SAFE Act was passed, anyone who has been accused of being involuntarily admitted to a hospital or had a social worker or certain medical professionals report that in their opinion, the person was a danger to themselves or others, the person is put in a process that makes them lose their right to possess firearms. They don’t get due process or confirmation by a qualified mental health professional to confirm the accuracy of the report.

The report, even if inaccurate, is reported to the FBI and the person is put on the federal NICS list and is denied the right to purchase or own any firearm. The damage is done and if those who have been cleared by a judge that the report was false or inaccurate, the state does not contact the FBI to correct the mistake.

Once the name in on the list, it is almost impossible to get off. It takes time and money for a lawyer to attempt to do so. The state will do NOTHING to correct their error. It is strictly up the victim of the false report. A false report of domestic violence can have the same disastrous result. A vindictive person with a false order of protection can do harm to a person who committed no crime. Without severe penalties for making false statements, this law can harm many innocent people while doing nothing to reduce “gun violence.”

Budd Schroeder
Chairman Emeritus SCOPE

School Shootings and the Second Amendment

First let me say that no one in their right mind feels anything but horror and sadness at the terrible tragedies when a sick individual commits multiple shootings. Our hearts go out to the victims and families of such evil.

Putting a sign up saying this school is a gun free zone is not an answer. Using emotional theater by parading the victims and their families crying for strict gun control is also not an answer.

Years ago many schools had shooting ranges. It was not uncommon to see children walking in the halls of many schools with their rifles to get to the rifle club practice — yet there were no mass shootings.

The media talking heads will denigrate the Second Amendment in this debate. In truth the Second Amendment does not give us the right to own firearms; it affirms that we have a right to have arms and explicitly stops the government from infringing on our owning firearms.

United States v. Cruikshank (1875), the Court ruled that “[t]he right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendment means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government.

How do we as a nation keep our children safe while not giving up the Right to Keep and Bear Arms? There are many suggestions. They span everything from banning guns to armed guards and allowing teachers to legally carry their handgun. At GOANY we do not favor any type of gun ban or restriction. Looking at other countries that have strict gun control we see mass shootings happening. Just remember the shootings in France. Not only fully automatic rifles but grenades were used.

The 10 ton elephant in the room is that no amount of gun control will stop bad people from getting their hands on guns, explosives, knives and other things they can use to kill. A gallon of gas can fuel your car for 20 or 30 miles of driving or used to burn down a house. It is not the object but the person and their intent.