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Needed checks and balances are no longer in place

The election of President Bush and both houses of Congress going Republican means that all branches of government are under his control. No longer are the checks and balances available to correct the mistakes of this man of limited ability and perverse perspective.

He will be making the judiciary in his image, which means the perpetration of his right-wing agenda: Roe v. Wade will be reversed, the separation of church and state required by the First Amendment will be breached and the requirements of due process will be violated, as they have been these last four years.

The arbitrary power of the executive will be enlarged. Bush will continue to ignore the opinion of humankind to disastrous results. His election, despite all the wrongs and injuries he committed, and now the assumption of unitary power, makes me feel alienated from my own country. I tremble as to what this man can do now without any opposition forces.

Peter T. Ruszczyk


Americans have put a divider, not a healer, in Oval Office

Woe unto you America. Woe unto you and me. For the people have chosen to return to Washington the lesser of the candidates. What a shame the man who won can't govern at the level he is capable of campaigning at. He's a dynamo on the stump, with the drive of a demon and the focus and energy of a zealot. Unfortunately, he based his successful campaign not on what he would do, but on denigrating and destroying his opponent.

If this is the best man our system is capable of producing to lead the United States, woe unto all of us. For we have put a divider in the Oval Office, not a healer. Prepare yourselves for four more years of lies, deceits, stonewalling and financial deficits beyond your wildest dreams.

George Poe


Bush started the war, so let him finish it

President Bush started the Iraq war. I guess his supporters want him to finish it. I hope they keep track of the body count.

Michael Giallombardo


The president's 'values' are hard to comprehend

I have been finding myself working extraordinarily hard to reconcile the "values" movement that has returned our chief commander to a second term with the wanton slaughter that is unfolding under his watch, day by day, in Iraq.

As of this writing, 1,145 Americans have been killed in combat and 8,039 have been wounded. The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University estimates that 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed.

The scramble for Iraqi oil, which escalated under President Bush's father, persisted under Bill Clinton (500,000 children dead on his watch in the embargo on Iraqi trade) and was endlessly elaborated under Bush, is the only obvious "value" in this otherwise useless squandering of innocent life.

I wonder how "values" voting parents will feel when that draft notice shows up? Will the "values" of excluding gay people from the contract of marriage and of other civil rights, and of abrogating control by women of their bodies, trump the lives of their own children in the service of a pre-emptive war against a non-aggressor nation in the endless massacre now under way, and about to expand, in the Middle East?

Robert Sandgrund


Ignorance, arrogance, greed pose biggest threats to nation

I love my country, but I am ashamed that so many Americans claim to have cast their vote for President Bush based on "moral issues." What is moral about innocent people dying in an unjustified war? Or handing out no-bid contracts to Halliburton? What is moral about selling out the elderly by compromising Social Security? Or giving tax breaks to the rich while sticking our children with an astronomical national debt? Those are not "Christian values" in action.

Bush drummed-up the gay marriage issue to distract the nation from his immoral policies. Our nation will not be brought down by gay marriage. The greatest threat this nation faces is our own ignorance, arrogance and greed. Bush personifies all three. God help us.

Chris J. Bartolomei


White House can now push its far-right wing agenda

I was able to rationalize why America had to endure the last four years, with election irregularities in Florida, a state governed by George W. Bush's brother. However, there is no one to blame for this election but the voters. Did 51 percent of our nation listen to the debates, read the news or understand the foreign and domestic problems that plague this administration and still vote for more of the same? Did these voters not realize the level of disinformation intentionally disseminated to keep the truth untold?

I fear that this perceived mandate will embolden the Republican far-right wing faith-based constituency to push this administration and our nation over the brink. Goodbye to the hope for a sane health care system and more jobs. Goodbye to tolerance and reason. This president's first election was a travesty; his second is a tragedy.

Michael Gelsinger

East Aurora

Will Bush backers volunteer to join the military and fight?

During the presidential campaign, I met many healthy, young supporters of President Bush. I wonder, now that he has been re-elected, how many of these young people will show their loyalty to the president by joining the armed services? I am sure the soldiers who have served double duty in Iraq would be more than willing to come home when the new troops arrive.

Paul Tara


Media don't understand meaning of 'moral values'

It's ludicrous listening to the media and political "experts" as they discuss what happened in the election. They are still confused about what we mean when we refer to "moral values." There is the viewpoint that voters are a bunch of ignorant radicals and that we represent a kind of social and political antiquity. The simple fact, in my view, is that a lot of us people of faith have become tired of the direction our country is taking.

Beliefs in God and the tenets of our faith are being twisted and distorted by a secular media that have an agenda based on the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. We're tired of voting for politicians who forget their promises after election. We're disappointed because we are being conned into a kind of secular morality that is copied from European culture, which is what we left the Old World to get away from.

Don Booth

East Aurora

State simply can't afford current costs of Medicaid

Few would disagree that providing health care for society's neediest is the right and moral thing to do. However, the difference between providing for adequate health care versus that which is now provided by Medicaid is extreme. When the cost related to Medicaid soaks up more than every dollar collected in local property tax, there is clearly something wrong. We simply cannot afford to provide this level of coverage.

It is both equitable and reasonable for our state legislators to reduce the costs of Medicaid. This would permit county governments across New York to again meet local expenditures without having to raise taxes, while at the same time allow for a more sensible health care plan for those requiring assistance.

Governments themselves generate very little revenue and rely directly upon tax income derived from their businesses and citizenry. Enacting a more reasonable tax code will serve to attract more business to New York, which will bring with it more people and create a broader tax base from which to afford programs like Medicaid. Usurious tax rates drive businesses and people away, thereby eroding our ability to provide for services.

Our current approach is not a viable or equitable long-term solution. Reform is inevitable, like it or not.

Richard Smith


Giambra must find better way to solve county's fiscal crisis

Regarding the county budget crisis that has County Executive Joel Giambra frantically looking for solutions to solve this problem, I'd like to ask these questions: Didn't we elect Giambra because his job was to protect the people of Erie County from exactly these type of predicaments? Are we supposed to feel sorry for him in this dilemma? I don't think so!

I am a homeowner who has just retired. If Giambra thinks that we're going to pay for his shortsightedness, he had better think again. I will never pay double county taxes to solve this problem. I voted for Giambra because I thought he was the best man for the job. Now it's time for him to get busy and do the job he was elected to do.

Ron Mis

Grand Island

Increase in sales tax should have sunset clause

Supporting a one cent increase in the sales tax might not be such a hard pill to swallow if it had a sunset clause. This clause should be for one year, with the stipulation that any extension would be by referendum of the residents of Erie County. It should also be stipulated how these monies are to be used and that they are not to be mingled with the general fund. After all, we are dealing with people who told us that the previous increase in the sales tax would be temporary. Here we are, 20 years later.

Dave Schamberger


Every city worthy of growth has a good library system

I recently visited the Central Library. As usual, I had a list of the books and CDs that I planned to obtain. I also wanted to browse through books on India. A visiting lecturer to Buffalo tweaked my interest in that area. While I was there, I skimmed art books relative to Southern India. These led me to videos on the religions and dance forms, which I was able to order through interlibrary loan.

I use the library at least twice a month. Each time, I have noted the many students doing their homework: some at the computers -- for which there is always a waiting list -- some using the in-house computer for library searches and others reading at desks. Older people also come, reading newspapers and books, and borrowing CDs and videos. And they come to the lectures and classes.

People have begun to live downtown. More and more buildings are being retrofitted for apartment dwelling. Eventually, we can possibly induce people to live in our city. But amenities must be part of that enticement. Every city worthy of growth has a good library system. Erie County must continue to support its libraries. That is an obligation for the city's growth and integrity.

Mary D. Cohen


Mayor ignores majority in pursuit of casino

Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder said in The News that our "city's poor image would be an impediment to attracting gamblers." How wonderful.

I thought that since the vast majority of upstanding, longtime city dwellers do not want a casino in Buffalo, we could stop campaigning against this. But no. Turn the page and there is our mayor still trying to meet with Snyder to "share with him why downtown would be a suitable location because the medical campus is bringing highly paid and highly educated people to our city every day."

Does Tony Masiello really believe these are the types of people who enjoy gambling casinos? Who does this man socialize with? Our mayor just doesn't get it. Most residents of the city do not want a casino.

Doris Jones


Either open casino downtown or forget the whole thing

I thought that the only reason to open casinos in Western New York was to help improve economic conditions in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, not increase the profits of the Seneca Nation. There is no reason for another casino in Western New York if it doesn't bring people to downtown Buffalo. If Barry Snyder wants to build a Vegas-style casino, then the Senecas should expand the existing sites in Niagara Falls or Salamanca.

Dominic J. Verso