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Feedback 4/06 

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Sanders is once in a lifetime

Never in recent history have we had a real chance to elect a “third party” candidate. In these days of endless gridlock, we need a leader who has the potential to cross the aisle. Granted, Bernie leans decidedly Democratic, but he has a long history of being an independent, and he votes his conscience.

Conversely, Clinton has chosen to wrap herself completely in the protective cloak of the Democratic Party and the party line. And Clinton is deeply disliked by the Republicans. So, how will she be more able than Sanders to get things done?

The Occupy movement made it abundantly clear that the root of this mess is campaign financing. But the Democratic Party and Clinton have been slow to understand that campaign finance is the that.

I have been getting Democratic Party surveys in the mail for the last two years, asking me to rank key issues by importance. Campaign finance reform was never even provided as a choice until recently. Even so, and unlike Sanders, Clinton has made the decision to fund raise as per usual, and now has lost the means to fight for the middle class. She now has favors to return. And so, the dysfunction will continue if Clinton is elected.

Conversely, Bernie simply refused to play. He has enacted campaign finance reform by just doing it. This is an example of “getting things done."

Neither party is working for the people lately. They work for the perpetuation of their insular world. Recent case-in-point is the Republican Party’s refusal to consider a new Supreme Court justice. Case-in-point is the decision of the Democratic Party to try to squeeze Bernie out and to weaken his campaign by co-opting his platform. Case-in-point is the lost art of our politicians to compromise for the good of the country. Rank-and- file Republicans and Democrats see this clearly and are finally really mad.

Bernie Sanders knows what time it really is. At this unique point in American history, he has grabbed hold of a shooting star. He is already in mid-flight and his aspirations for the middle class are propelling him.

We must not be afraid of losing. We must grab on hard and ride this star in together. And then the difficult work of the “Revolution” will begin. The Framers gave us a Republic. We all must work to keep it.


Clinton's survival depends on a rigged system

If we all agree that our system is rigged in favor of the 1 percent, and it’s hard to imagine how any of us cannot see this, then the only way this will change is to have someone leading the charge who is NOT in the hip pocket of the big banks and corporations.

It is foolhardy to think that someone (Clinton) whose survival is dependent upon the Big Banks and Super Pacs will be motivated to work for systemic, revolutionary change; it is counter to their political survival.

We don’t know what would happen if we elected someone like Bernie, how he would garner Congressional support, but he has the necessary belief that the system MUST change.


Sanders lacks experience in world dealings

As Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq sink further into chaos, as ISIS terrorists attack targets in Europe, as the international refugee problem grows both between Mexico and the US and between the Middle East/Africa and Europe, as China’s economic troubles and the fluctuating price of oil negatively impact America’s financial well-being, as the lunatic leadership of North Korea is lobbing missiles and conducting nuclear tests, it's indeed comforting to know that in its endorsement of a Democratic candidate in the 2016 New York primary, CITY Newspaper was so unconcerned about these international headaches as to relegate them to non-issues.

It’s indeed good news for the junior senator (and ersatz Democrat) from Vermont, and his local supporters, that CITY apparently decided that it would be in poor taste to allude to his total lack of experience in such areas.


Clintons support profiteers, aggression

John Gray, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics, no liberal institution, is the author of 26 books. In Lapham's Quarterly, spring 2016, his article "The Anomaly of Barbarism," states that "As in Iraq and Libya, regime change in Syria would inexorably produce collapse, with ISIS being a beneficiary of resulting anarchy...To invade a country, dismantle its institutions, create a failed state, exit from the ensuing chaos, and then return with unending bombing campaigns is imbecility of an order that has few parallels. To persist in this behavior after so many catastrophes betrays something other than mere imbecility, however extreme. Behavior of this kind looks more like an extreme version of cognitive dissonance--an attempt to expel disastrous facts from the mind. In an obsessive effort to remake the world according to an idealized image of their own societies, Western leaders have renounced a sense of reality."

I think the Clintons are among the leaders referred to. They certainly advocate all that he criticizes.

We add to the criticism of the Clintons for their role in setting back the movement for Medicare for all. In 1993-94, they organized the meetings with insurance, pharmaceutical, and other executives in the for-profit health business, while pointedly excluding the Physicians for a National Health Program, nurses associations, and other advocates of Medicare for all.

They got results all right: maintenance of a for-profit system that benefits executives and shareholders while Americans pay twice what other countries pay and rank 37th in health outcomes. Just what the profiteers wanted.


A Clinton win would lead to paralysis

In your “regretful” endorsement of Hillary Clinton (Feedback, April 6), you listed many of her “negatives” – her vote for the Iraq war and for trade agreements, her endorsement of the death penalty, her militaristic instincts, and her ties to the financial industry.

You did not mention, however, the inevitable Congressional obstructionism that will come with a Clinton presidency. Nor did you mention the taxpayer cost of the inevitable investigations which will ensue with her presidency.

The Republicans do not like Barack Obama. But the Republicans really do not like the Clintons!

Here is a list of a few Clinton investigations: Travelgate (when the Clintons fired the entire White House travel office); Whitewater; Filegate (the Clintons were investigated for improperly requesting and receiving FBI background reports on other officials); Chinagate (the Justice Department investigated Clinton campaign fund-raising abuses and cover-ups regarding efforts by China to influence US politics); Pardongate (Bill Clinton pardoned billionaire Marc Rich, who funneled millions into Democratic campaigns, including Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign. Bill also pardoned felons who paid his brother-in-law Hugh Rodham's large legal fees.)

Then there's the Benghazi investigations and the e-mail investigation. But even before that, there was Cattlegate (Hillary Clinton's first-ever $1,000 trade in cattle futures netted her a $100,000 gain).

The New York Times called the Clinton Foundation “mired in conflicts of interest.” So a Clinton presidency would result in every large donation to the Clinton Foundation raising suspicions and leading to nonstop investigations.

Americans do not need four more years of obstructionism.We do not need the high price of relentless investigations. (The Whitewater investigation alone cost taxpayers $70 million.)

We need a leader without scandals, who has never been tempted by the corrupting influence of power or money; one with integrity and a history of fighting for social and economic justice. We need Bernie Sanders as our next president.


Memo to Bill Reilich

Get up from your desk. Put away the microphone. Take the short drive over to Irondequoit and see for yourself: I-Square is up and running, doing OK, making friends, and doing what the Nolans said it would do. They did everything right with I-Square that Scott Congel did wrong with Medley Centre: original proposal, negotiation, public input encouraged at every step, clarity, execution, and an on-time opening.

Incidentally, who finally slammed a lid on the Congel caper? Adam Bello, with his constituents' blessings and to their relief.

And where was the wrath of Reilich during all that mess? Strangely silent. Hmmm, maybe Congel's a Republican?

So, Bill, go have a look. Then go back to Greece, and stay there. Quietly, please.


Monarchs have another enemy

I read Jeremy Moule's "Zoo, state partner on butterfly conversation" (News, March 16) with interest. It noted that "scientists blame habitat loss and pesticide use" for the drastic decline in the monarch population.

There is another factor: black swallow-wort, milkweed's evil cousin. Rochester has a bad infestation.

The weed got its name because the seed pods develop in the shape of a shallow "V," which resembles a swallow's tail. It's not just an obnoxious, invasive weed, but it's also poisonous to monarch caterpillars. Swallow-wort is used as a host plant by monarch butterflies, some lay their eggs on it, but the caterpillars invariably die after hatching as the swallow-wort is toxic to them.

Black swallow-wort is extremely hardy and prolific. It grows in poor soil, in the ground underneath evergreens, below hedges, and anyplace it can take root. One way to fight the weeds is by destroying the rhizomes with herbicides, but the chemicals can harm good insects and other life forms, so the more ecological alternative is to rip the plants out. This at least prevents them from reproducing. But the rhizomes swiftly send out replacement shoots, so the process has to be repeated.

Black swallow-wort seeds have silken parachutes. But unlike the tall, stately milkweed with its long, distinctively paddle-shaped leaves, black swallow-wort grows as a sort of vine, topped with a tendril. Its height can reach 6 feet.

Swallow-wort and milkweed both produce tiny whitish-pink star-shaped flowers, but while milkweed flowers are clustered into a pompom the size of a golf ball or larger, swallow-wort flower clusters are wimpy looking. Milkweed pods look a bit like elongated lemons. Swallow-wort pods are narrow and thin, like pointed string beans.

Once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to identify young swallow-wort seedlings a few inches high, or even less.

Highland Park has a stupendous infestation. Along South Goodman from Gregory Hill Road to Pinetum Drive, there are a few genuine milkweeds holding steady amid the infestation.

Other swallow-wort infestations I've seen are along the slopes of the pond/skating rink adjacent to School 12 on South Avenue, the woods on the corner of Highland Parkway and South Clinton, the stretch of hilly ground between 1285 South Clinton and Highland Avenue across from Far View Hills Road, Persimmon Park, the patch of woods on Lac De Ville Boulevard, Elmwood bordering McQuaid High's playing field, and the stretch of woods along Elmwood across from Eastland Avenue and Brighton Memorial Library.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension publishes an informative leaflet, "Garden Villains: invasive plant and tree species/Monroe County area," which features color photos of 12 especially egregious weeds, shrubs, and trees, including a good photo of black swallow-wort and its seed pods on the cover.


Rude patrons spoiled Geva show

At the opening night of Geva's production of Eugene O'Neill's "A Moon for the Misbegotten" as the lights go down in the theater before act one, the women behind me talk loudly. Lights on the stage come on, they're still talking. I turn and glare at them. A little while later, a cell phone goes off.

At the beginning of act two, more people are talking and the actors have to speak over them. Then in a critical moment of the play: James Tyrone is attempting to convince Josie that what he wants from her is chaste motherly love and to confess to her how he wound up such a self-hating drunk, right then a man at center stage about 12 rows back grabs his partner's arm and says in a loud, deep voice, "I've never seen such stupid bullshit!" It's the most sensitive part of the play.

OK, maybe you don't care for an O'Neill play. Maybe you didn't even want to come, but your partner insisted. Maybe you were hoping for — who knows? — an Agatha Christie mystery. But keep your mouth shut. If you have to leave, leave as unobtrusively as possible, say during the intermission, not in the middle of the final act.

The spell had been broken. I knew I was not in the play's setting; I was in Rochester.

Rochester owes that wonderful cast an apology.


Rochester can't copy suburbs

Why do people keep on thinking that a city like Rochester should compete with the suburbs on the suburbs' own terms when it comes to convenient, flexible parking, etc.? The city will invariably fail at this sort of competition.

In trying to compete like this, the city pretty much destroyed itself. It's time to move away from this sort of thinking.


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