Beware presidential power to spy on, and kill, Americans

Sunday, February 10, 2013
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Beware presidential power to spy on, and kill, Americans

Many serious issues bombard us each day, to the point of being distracted from the most dangerous threat to every individual citizen. I refer to FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] and the killing of U.S. citizens upon presidential “order.”

Un-American, Orwellian thinking has been put forth, wrongly, to justify these dictatorial measures. It is illogical and unacceptable to resort to the means and methods of tyrants and dictators in defense of our (once) noble nation and the true values of our country, our Constitution and our people. Foolish lawyering cannot alter this truth.

Please, speak out clearly against these practices to bring them to an end. Now. Otherwise, a darkness will gather over our land. A secret government, not one of the people, will take hold to spy upon and self-righteously kill citizens of the land formerly held by the people, for the people.

Douglas P. Conlan

Clifton Park

Lengthening school day, or year, won’t work

It has been in the news recently that some schools will be lengthening their school days and years [Feb. 1 Gazette]. As a high school student, I am appalled.

It is not fair to students to do this. Right now, we have to get up very early in the morning every day and then sit through hours of work. The teachers are just doing their jobs, but after a while, it can all sort of blur.

I, for one, am a well-performing student, but after a long day of learning, I get tired and burned out. It won’t be very effective to make the days longer, because we will retain less information due to exhaustion.

One of the main reasons schools are doing this is to give low-performing students a chance to catch up. That’s great, but it doesn’t have to be done in a way that every student is involved. If all teachers [allow] students to stay with them for a few hours after school, it will be much [less expensive] and can still help the underachieving kids succeed.

The only way this can be successful is to add extra days to the year, not hours to the day. Then we will get the same amount of learning spread out. However, this will become pricey. To add 300 hours, as planned, the teachers will require a hefty sum of money.

Gov. Cuomo and the rest of the states are dreaming if they think [this] plan will work.

Matthew Prosper


Sheriffs, deputies right about strong-arm tactics

On Jan. 24, two letters were sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one by the New York State Sheriffs’ Association representing the 58 county sheriffs and the other by the union representing the Saratoga County deputy sheriffs. Both were extremely critical of the new state gun law for the manner in which it was hurried through the Legislature with no public participation.

The Sheriffs’ Association declares that testing the boundaries of a constitutional right (in this case the Second Amendment) should only be done with great respect for those boundaries. The governor misused the message of necessity to force the bill’s passage without allowing the required three days for review by legislators and the public. The Senate leadership failed to exercise its responsibility and acquiesced to the governor.

The Sheriffs’ Association approved of several parts of the act — expanded background checks, requirements for safe storage of firearms, increased penalties for illegal use of weapons — and found several others they would approve if amended. They and the Saratoga County deputies, however, strongly disapproved of the core of the act (arbitrary definition of assault weapons, depriving people of legitimately used semiautomatic firearms, reductions in the capacity of gun magazines, restrictions on the sale of ammunition, etc.).

Much of the law will affect only law-abiding owners of firearms, will mandate severe restrictions of one of our constitutional liberties, and will do nothing to reduce gun violence in New York.

It seems particularly telling that men and women who have dedicated their lives to enhancing public safety, including shielding citizens from gun violence, find this new gun legislation ill-conceived, ill-advised and threatening to our liberties.

Ronald Winters

Clifton Park

Right to bear arms can’t be unconditional

A recent Quinnipiac poll [showing] Gov. Cuomo’s approval rating dropping from 74 percent to 59 percent has given gun right advocates the false impression that New Yorkers are opposed to recent gun control legislation. However, that same poll also found that over 60 percent of New Yorkers either agree with [our] recent legislation or say it doesn’t go far enough.

In 2008 the Supreme Court decided in Heller vs. District of Columbia that the Second Amendment “protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia.” But the decision also stated: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

As such, it seems reasonable that, given the government’s constitutional responsibility for the general welfare and the fact that over 30,000 people die as a result of gun fatalities each year, government has the power to regulate what is not in the best interests of the general welfare — i.e. arms designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.

To be sure, the current gun control laws won’t end all, or even most, of the gun deaths; because until we address the root causes of crime, especially income inequality, poverty, lack of educational opportunities, lack of employment options, poor housing and the lack of hope, gun violence will continue.

But when the Centers for Disease Control projects that gun fatalities will exceed traffic deaths by 2015, to do nothing would be an unconscionable abdication of government’s responsibility.

John Pagoda


Let’s hope drug dealers aren’t on welfare, too

It is not amazing to me the number of people who were arrested in [last week’s] drug sweep [Feb. 6 Gazette]!

They live a life that the normal taxpaying citizen could not and would not want. However, I would love it if [Gazette reporter] David Lombardo could research and find out how many of these drug traffickers are receiving benefits from the state — including food stamps, health insurance, Section 8, etc.

I am sure it would be eye-opening! I would venture to guess that the taxpayers are paying for their extravagant lifestyle!

How do we take their drug profits and put them back into the state, where someone really needs the help?

Sue Tucci


If VA care is mediocre, Stratton is an exception

The news media likes to focus on bad news, so when we hear tales of woe from various Veterans Administration [VA] hospitals, we tend to believe that is the case for all VA hospitals.

Nothing could be further from the truth with regard to Albany’s Stratton VA Medical Center. My dad, a World War II veteran, has received spectacular treatment there.

His primary care physician is exceptionally diligent, even to the point of calling after hours to let us know the results of his tests. She is positive, upbeat, not only clearly concerned about my dad’s health but also quick to credit his caregivers. She has always been able to squeeze time into her busy schedule to see my dad on short notice.

The staff is pleasant and helpful, making sure my dad gets the various tests he needs, etc.

So when you hear the media criticize the VA, let the public know that their family members will be exceptionally well cared for at the Albany VA.

Richard Moody Jr.


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February 10, 2013
8:05 a.m.
gina99 says...

Douglas Conan-Great letter that should have been published before Election Day. We just had an election where the majority said they don't care about the government killing American citizens. This is Obama's policy. This is change you can believe in. Sad what American liberals have now become. Absolute power trumps principles.

February 10, 2013
9:57 a.m.
paulj says...


You poor fellow.
How are you ever going to hold a job where you may have to work 40-50 hours a week. Try being a farmer work 7 days a week. No summers off and 2 weeks vacations not to mention holidays.etc. Business owner will typically work 60hr- 70hr per week. Then do the books at night. Not only that, one mistake they lose their wealth. You don't know it but you are going through the easiest part of your life.
Try going to Germany, you will go to school on Saturday,too

February 10, 2013
10:29 a.m.
tonijean613 says...

Ronald Winters: There is no Legitimate use of a semi-automatic weapon. And I have yet to read about anyone in this country protecting themselves from that boogyman intruder with a gun. If there are any out there, the percentage is so miniscule it doesnt even register on any collected govt data. The fact is- the more militarized our "weapons of false protection" get- the more dead innocent children and other victims. The more guns- the more deaths. PERIOD. The United States has the most guns per person than any other country in the entire world- yet we have the most death by guns. If guns protected people,- there would be no gun deaths given the millions upon millions of guns in America. The solution is to scale back ALL weapons of false protection- starting with our military on down.

February 10, 2013
11:19 a.m.
paulj says...

Number one I am not afraid to use my name. That aside.
I don't know where to start without insulting you.
It is obvious you don't spend time reading news on the internet. Everyday there are stories of people protecting themselves with guns, from teenagers to senior citizens, most with semi-automatic guns.
It might be unfair to say but if you get the news from the main-street media there is no hope that you will be well informed.
Look at the state of Fl. statistics when they passed a law allowing concealed weapons. Then look at Chicago where there are wounding and murders by the dozens weekly with strict gun laws. In fact there are more killings in Chicago then Afghanistan on a yearly basis.
Try these sites*/index
You might also try the NRA but I'll bet you won't because you disagree with what you have read in the papers.etc. Sad because how else can you make decision unless you are informed with all sides of an issue?

February 10, 2013
12:36 p.m.
paulj says...


After thought, please get your facts straight concerning the populations with guns. Check Israel and the Swiss, also the type of weapons they have. Why do all households have guns?? You have been brainwashed.

February 10, 2013
1:12 p.m.
tplansing says...

John Pagoda, can you tell me how the Center for Disease Control has the magic power to be able to decide how to come up with the knowledge that gun deaths will exceed traffic deaths by 2015? Now I am not saying that I am a sourcer, a master mind in the Magical Arts, or anything like that. But I do know that when the law abiding gun owners takes the responsibility to purchase a firearm of any sort, he/she is also taking the responsibility of making sure that, he/she knows where that firearm is, that it is stored in a safe place, is kept unloaded, that the ammunition is kept stored in a place different from where the firearm is stored and that both are not easily accessible to each other! It is the un-responsible owner who leaves it laying around, loaded where inquisitive LITTLE hands might find it and an accident happens. The CRIMINAL,(your burglars, thieves, robbers, rapists, hired murders, drug dealers, pushers, etc.), or MENTALLY UNSTABLE PERSON, (criminal psycopaths, drug users in need, etc.), would be more likely to obtain his/her firearm of choice, usually one with an FULLY AUTOMATIC FEATURE, (which has been outlawed since the 1930's unless you obtain a permit from the Burear of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which requires a very extensive background check, and a $200.00 application fee), normally purchased through the Black Market that is not open to the average person at some store front. And the only way to find out where there is one is to find the right person who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone! Don't believe me? Go to any gun shop an see if you can openly purchase a fully automatic firearm for target pratice. The shop keeper will probably laugh at you and then say sorry, can't do it! So, John Pagoda, the true problem is not the number of guns in circulation, or limiting the number of guns, those evil "semi-sutomatic military assault rifles", or the extended capacity magazines, or who can carry what. The true problem is the criminal element, and I truly expect to get a lot of flac from this! It is those who obtain guns for criminal purposes from the Black Market. The Drug Dealers, Pushers, the Gang Members, the Criminally and Mentally Unstable, these are the problems. If you want some answers to those problems, I might have some. Prison Farms to work of sentences, No Plea Bargains Period, Capital Punishment to fit the Crime, Items grown of Prison Farms to provide food for Prisons and Mental Institutions, Re-opening of all Mental Institutions for those who are considered Mentally Unstable and a danger to themselves and/or others.
There, I hope I have helped you with your questions and worries.

February 10, 2013
2:39 p.m.
paulj says...

Only problem with this venue is that those that write letters with their name are generally for the print paper, required. I wonder if they read this venue?

February 11, 2013
6:47 a.m.
tplansing says...

At least I do!

February 11, 2013
10:26 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Doug Conlon, perfect timing as MSN has reported that drones are to be used against the California cop killer. He is being called a domestic terrorist. As I have said before the right of due process and trial by jury was so important that it is both in the 5th and 12th Ammendment of the Constitution.

tonijean obviously missed the story all over the news a few weeks ago where the mother hid in a crawlspace with her children and shot an armed intruder that tried to get at them. BTW she had a "so called" assult rifle. Please stop lying......

February 12, 2013
11:13 a.m.
biwemple says...

So they're using a police drone with a thermal sensor on it to try and locate him, not shoot him with a missile. They've been using these sensors on police helicopters without issue and violating anyone's due process for last few decades, except now with a drone, the suspect is not likely to hear it looking for him like a helicopter hovering overhead.

February 12, 2013
1:43 p.m.
biwemple says...

Oops, meant 'and not violating'

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