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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

Obama's tax plan will hurt everyone

Barack Obama says that he wants to raise taxes on businesses and individuals who make more than $250,000 a year because "they can afford it." Here's what he doesn't say: They will "afford it" by laying off employees, cutting benefits, freezing wages and passing costs on to consumers. Who will ultimately pay? The middle and working class people he claims he will help.

Yes, those businesses and individuals whose taxes are increased will be worse off, but they will probably survive. They can afford it. Their employees and consumers cannot. Obama claims he will cut taxes for the middle class, but a tax cut only helps if you have a job. Those who do keep their jobs will find themselves forced to work harder for the same or less money, as businesses will be forced to employ fewer workers. Money will have less purchasing power because everything will cost more.

Obama says he will cut taxes for the middle class. I suppose many people will see a dramatic cut in their income taxes when they find themselves unemployed.

Carrie Lueck



Liberal juggernaut will damage nation

In their rush to repudiate the Bush administration, voters are about to embrace extreme consequences, which most of them surely do not want. Electing Barack Obama and simultaneously creating a decisive Democrat majority in the House and a filibuster-proof one in the Senate will allow the most radical liberal proposals of Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Joe Biden unchecked and rapid enactment for years to come.

It means the approval of federal and Supreme Court judges who will legislate from the bench on sensitive social issues. It means enactment of Obama's concept to "spread the wealth" through a socialistic revision of our economy, which will deepen the recession and stifle economic growth. It means halting satellite missile defense, which is the sole means to abort a nuclear attack.

It will be the first time in decades in which both Congress and the White House will be able to fast track any radical liberal legislation they want. Do voters really want to create this unchecked liberal juggernaut, or is the traditional wisdom of dividing the power of Congress and White House still prudent?

Dennis Bonnette



Mainstream media pushed Obama to top

During the final presidential debate, Barack Obama unwittingly praised the Fox News Network. In a moment of honesty, he said, "I am convinced that if there were no Fox News, I might be two or three points higher in the polls. If I were watching Fox News, I wouldn't vote for me, right?" If he would have continued his moment of honesty, he would have thanked the mainstream media for what Hillary Clinton, "Saturday Night Live" and Everybody's Column writers already know. That is, without the blind, fawning bias of the mainstream media, he would not be a presidential nominee.

Those who watch Fox News and read the alternative media know that the mainstream is not being honest in reporting Obama's tax-and-spend policies, class-warfare tactics, socialist philosophy, associations, etc. They feel it is more important that we know Joe the plumber doesn't have a license and has a tax lien, rather than report Obama's connections to a convicted felon, America-hating friends, ACORN and his role in the credit crisis. If they are willing to smear "Joe" for asking a legitimate question, what will they do to guarantee that Obama's presidency -- in their minds -- is a success?

Richard Szczepaniec



How could News endorse Obama?

The News' endorsement of Barack Obama epitomizes the hallmark of his campaign, i.e., subjective charismatic rhetoric, intended to seduce those whose emotions direct their choices and to infer that anyone who sees that the emperor has no clothes is a racist.

And what about the five paragraphs regarding not having to fear Obama? At the end of the day, we don't know any more about him than we did in August. We may actually know less, considering his chameleon-like approach to both issues and associations, changing them as needed to pander to popular opinion.

Besides the Wright and Ayers scandals, there's Obama's unprecedented campaign spending after he'd agreed, as did John McCain, to use only public funding. (Isn't that called cheating?) One can't help but think that Obama would do and say whatever it takes to win the throne, and that's scary.

As for Obama's platform, you can't put food on the table or pay the bills with "hope" and "change," the only two talking points that haven't morphed during his campaign.

Finally, there's The News' stunning lack of logic in calling Sarah Palin "unqualified" while endorsing Obama, less qualified than McCain or Palin, for president and suggesting that readers do likewise. Huh?

Elizabeth A. Kolby



Why has intelligence become a liability?

How I loved elections decades ago, when it wasn't "elitist" to clarify issues, when reason and logic weren't obstacles to learning the truth, and personal attacks meant one was bankrupt of ideas. I remember when values were genuine, not a gimmicky slogan, and the notion that if not "our brother's keeper," we were, at least, our brother's concern. We took for granted government's role in protecting its citizens from foreign, environmental and economic harm, not cozying up to the corrupt and politically connected.

Regardless of our minority status, there was no denying my family's displeasure at any hint of ethnic, racial or gender bias, and we learned there were consequences to disobeying law and invading privacy.

What is so obvious to many is that the cynical incompetents who have abused political power in Washington for eight years, and those condoning more of the same, haven't approached those standards. The blameless and faultless are experts at evading responsibility, then outrageously demonizing opposition. This economic crisis will see all of us and our children sacrifice to satisfy our foreign debt and domestic ineptness. For us, it's time to begin anew. Let's vote for badly needed change on Nov. 4.

Leonard Gross

East Amherst


Obama is just what our country needs

I am writing in regard to the editorial: "Obama for president." I stopped when I came to: "he does not seek to be elected by making us afraid."

In all that has been printed and spoken during this campaign, I can recall no other expression that better defines the magic and substance of the Obama candidacy. The News has written a line that is poetic, precise, yet all encompassing. It has captured the very essence of why the world waits in breathless anticipation. Well done!

Andy Graham



It's disturbing to see such bigotry, hatred

The presidential election has proven to be a true test of character. I have spoken to many individuals about the election, never once asking who the individual is going to vote for. I am disturbed more than anything by a shameful indicator of the thinking of many Americans. Persons who are otherwise sweet, compassionate and intelligent will say, "I refuse to vote for a black man." I heard this once again today and I realize that our nation faces a crisis greater than any other; the prevalence of bigotry and hatred in our so-called advanced society.

We are faced with the worst economic downturn in more than half a century and we are engaged in a pre-emptive war that will end up costing taxpayers in excess of a trillion dollars.

Why must we cling to the "race card" when deciding who will lead our country out of what time may reveal as among the worst eight years in this nation's history? It truly is sad that such thinking exists to this day. What a shame that so many people would continue to support the destruction of our society rather than vote for a person of color. I'm ashamed that these individuals call themselves Americans.

Paul Mezhir

Niagara Falls


Obama is best choice on a number of levels

Conservatives, swallow hard. Barack Obama is the best choice for you, too. As the inevitability of Obama's election sinks in, it's important to look beyond the short-term political horizon. The next four years are a small price to pay for a win that will forever change the external face of America. It is the master stroke that completes the picture of the melting pot. Repudiating the Bush administration will show the globe that Americans are not warmongers. We may make mistakes with the raw power at our disposal, but we oust those who don't fix their mistakes.

Near term, we begin to repair our image as global citizens. Long term, we change the face of opportunity in our own country. Gone forever will be the excuse that the highest achievement is impossible if one is not a member of the majority. That will inspire many more to engage in society and rise to their potential. And as long as your conservative mantra is "country first" instead of "my kind first," you have to celebrate diversity as what made America great. We're taking it to a new level. What could be better?

Bob Anderson



We've heard enough from preservationists

The proposal to dismantle St. Gerard Church and reassemble it for worship in Georgia is an interesting opportunity to consider. I am tired of the same individuals thinking they are the last word on historic preservation. Their claim that the proposal is analogous to cultural plundering is absolutely ridiculous. Historic bridges are commonly relocated and reused for pedestrian purposes when they can no longer carry the heavier loads for which they were originally designed.

These same preservationists were the ones who wanted to save the Aud. This kind of thinking cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure the Aud while not in use and millions more to eventually raze it.

The preservationists admonished the diocese to "work a bit harder" to find an alternative, while they themselves have no ideas and no suggestions on how to pay for a less "disturbing" option even if they could come up with one. The St. Gerard proposal may ultimately not be feasible, but why not see it through as a unique opportunity to preserve just one of the 18 closed city churches before it is truly lost forever? In the words of Pope John Paul II, "to live is to change."

Phillip M. Galbo



A positive solution to a difficult problem

St. Gerard's was my parish from baptism until marriage in 1951. I read with interest and nostalgia about the proposal to move it to Georgia. As a child I did not appreciate the church building, but grew to value its uniqueness and indeed agree with my childhood Pastor Monsignor William Schreck, who was so proud of the church and often told us it was modeled after St. Paul's Outside the Walls, a major basilica in Rome.

The proposal from a parish in the Archdiocese of Atlanta seems like a positive solution to a difficult problem. Buffalo has so many beautiful churches that cannot be utilized as they once were. Many were built by immigrants who devoted themselves to building a worship space. It saddens me to realize that many more closed, but cherished, churches will fall into disrepair. Hopefully, this plan for St. Gerard's will go forward and others will benefit, once again using this building as a worship space for another Catholic community. Green space and a marker at the church site is an excellent idea, thus preserving its memory for future generations.

Joan Schwartz Uschold



Georgia parishioners would cherish church

I just wanted to let the people of Buffalo and especially all of the members of St. Gerard Church know that, as a parishioner of Mary Our Queen in Norcross, Ga., I can maybe in a small way understand the pain and sorrow of closing the church that you were baptized in, made your first holy communion in, married in and where members of your families were buried from.

I want to assure people that if St. Gerard's is moved here, we will love and cherish it just as much as all of you did. It will continue to be a holy place of worship and we will pray for all of you who sacrificed so much over the years to keep St. Gerard's your home.

Patricia Di Rito

Norcross, Ga.


ESL teachers can't speak every language

I read with special interest the Oct. 19 News article about Nicole Marrero, a young Puerto Rican girl with a limited knowledge of English going to school in Buffalo. The article states that her English as a Second Language teacher does not speak Nicole's native language, Spanish.

I am an ESL teacher and my students speak more than 20 languages. It would be virtually impossible for me to be able to speak to all of them in their native tongues. It is not the responsibility of ESL teachers to speak the students' languages. If that were the case, we'd all have fancy high-paying jobs at the United Nations!

The job of an ESL teacher is to teach English to students of all languages -- Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, Urdu, Dari, Swahili, the list is endless.

Lydia Langer



Some immigrants lack desire to learn English

Regarding the young Puerto Rican girl who has been here for six years and can't speak English, I say baloney!

I grew up on the East Side of Buffalo during the 1950s and '60s and we had many young families come from Poland. The children attended the same classes I did and they learned English quickly. It was sink or swim. Whether they came in September or January, they took the same exams I did in June, in English, and they passed. Of course by this time, they spoke and understood English well enough to pass on to the next grade.

This summer, I was called to jury duty. The Russian young lady sitting next to me, who had just become a citizen, was ready, willing and able to serve and spoke to me in English. The Puerto Rican lady sitting in front of me was excused because she didn't speak or understand English.

Come to find out, she has been in this country for 20 years and works with my cousin, who tells me she does just fine in English, working in a factory around machinery.

My question is, if people from Europe can learn English in one school year, why can't Hispanics learn after six or 20 years? Once again, baloney!

Paul Noreck



Nice to see big crowd at UB literary event

I would like to add another view on a prior letter writer's comments regarding The News' coverage of Kahled Hosseini's recent presentation, which I attended at UB's Alumni Arena. I agree that The News used a misleading headline regarding the author's comments on the Taliban.

But I also think that The News missed a golden opportunity to bring "good news" to its readers. Anyone who was present at the event, and tried to find a parking place near the arena, can attest to the size of the crowd in attendance. The author himself observed that it was the largest audience he had ever appeared before in his career. In a time when sell-out crowds at the Bills and Sabres games are old news, it would have been fitting to give credit to the UB students and the community at large who packed the venue for a literary event.

David Hall

East Amherst

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