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politics

KUZMINSKI: OPEN LETTER TO ANTONIO DELGADO

Column by Adrian Kuzminski for July 13, 2018

OPEN LETTER TO ANTONIO DELGADO

Fight Faso Over

Big Money In Politics

Adrian Kuzminski

Congratulations on winning the Democratic nomination for Congress in New York’s 19th Congressional District.
You’ve got a tough fight ahead against a smooth and wily opponent. I’m one of many who would like to see Representative John Faso defeated. He is a bought and paid for ex-lobbyist with big hardcore far right support.
The Mercer family, investors in Breitbart News and supporters of Steve Bannon, gave a half-million dollars to the pro-Faso PAC “New York Wins” in the last election, helping put him over the top.
All told, the Mercers spent over $25 million in 2016 supporting far-right candidates PACs, and organizations across the country, including New York State. Their agenda of radical privatization requires the destruction of public institutions and entitlement programs. That means lowering the standard of living for most people while concentrating wealth in fewer and fewer hands.
The Mercers are the .001 percent, and Faso is the guy they’ve hired to represent us in the 19th CD in
Washington.
All that ought to be a slam-dunk for the Democrats, but not unless they act on it. This is an opportunity for you, Mr. Delgado, to take up the challenge. Faso needs to be called out on his right-wing, pro-corporate, anti-people agenda.
The Democratic leadership unfortunately has enabled, even embraced, much of that agenda. Beginning with the Clinton years, they abandoned labor unions and sided with corporations, supporting trade agreements that outsourced jobs, and tax breaks that favored corporate development over public service.
They continue “to talk the talk” about fighting for their constituents, but they no longer “walk the walk.”
You and the Democrats aren’t going to win this election by supporting a status quo that is working for fewer and fewer people. Defending the status quo is Faso’s job, not yours. You need to challenge the system, not claim that you can work it better than he can, or that it’s not so bad.

Parker Fish/The Freenan’s Journal  – During a visit to the Hometown Fourth of July celebration in Oneonta, candidate Delgado chats with Steve Londner of the League of Women Voters.

You have to show voters that Faso is the local agent responsible for people’s growing insecurity.
You need to expose the sham property-tax reduction he tried to pawn off on voters by gutting local healthcare funding. You need to alert voters to his duplicity in
voting to repeal Obamacare, after promising otherwise – something he’s likely to do on Social Security and other entitlements.
You need to remind voters of his support for deregulating Wall Street and destabilizing the economy.
And then there’s Trump. He’s a demagogue who’s been left free to exploit the insecurities and fears of the people whom the Democrats have left behind, and Faso seems 100-percent behind that.
Trump and Faso’s agenda is the same as the Mercers’: Privatize everything in sight.
You’ve got to do what other Democrats haven’t done. They have not attacked the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, the culprits blocking the kind of universal, affordable healthcare enjoyed by citizens of almost all other developed countries.
They have not broken up monopolistic corporations, whether it’s Amazon, the Wall Street banks, Google, or Walmart, which collectively have killed off small business, the backbone of the economy.
The Democratic leadership has not fought to reduce military spending, which is funding immoral wars abroad and bankrupting our government, while sucking up tax money that should go to social services and infrastructure.
They have done little to get us off fossil fuels and onto renewables, allowing for the acceleration of greenhouse gases and the destabilization of theclimate.
And they have completely failed to get money out of politics, leaving us stuck with a corrupt, pay-to-play system, for which Faso could be the poster boy.
You don’t want to be part of those failed strategies.
If you fudge on these issues, you’ll lose; if you face up
to them, you have a chance to win.
But there’s an even bigger challenge. There’s little doubt that the benefits of American imperialism since World War II have run their course. Globalization led by unrestrained corporate power is no longer a tide that lifts all boats. It only lifts the yachts.
We can no longer economically dominate Europe and Asia, nor can we afford our massive global military machine.
Those days are over.
If globalization has a future, and I hope it does, it has to be more inclusive economically. In the meantime, America must figure out its own identity in a new, multi-polar world.
Now is the time to put our own house in order, and rethink what we’re doing. We need a new definition of American Exceptionalism, one that rejects racism, bigotry and narcissism in the name of a common understanding of the deepest American principles: democratic accountability, Constitutional rule, economic justice, and the greatest possible liberty that’s consistent with mutual respect.
Then we can redefine our place in the world. The Republicans aren’t going to do that, but you might. It could be our last chance.

Adrian Kuzminski, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and Sustainable Otsego moderator, lives in Fly Creek.

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MORGAN: On Fourth Of July, Love Letter To America

Column by Tom Morgan, July 6, 2018

Money Talk

On Fourth Of July,

Love Letter To America

Tom Morgan

We find dollops of hatred on the menu this 4th of July.
Facebook bristles with diatribes. As do various social media portals. Politicians screech insults. Hollywood stars spit gutter language at the President. Mobs drive White House staff and their families from restaurants. Academics rev up poisonous demonstrations. They fill young minds with anti-American bile. News networks blister the administration. Endlessly. Protests morph into hatefests.
Scratch the surface of all this. You will soon come upon a layer of people who dislike the foundations of this country. They discredit the U.S. with a list of complaints: Europeans nearly annihilated Native Americans. They enslaved Africans and made millions from their labor. Tycoons steamrolled the working class. The U.S. invaded countries whose governments we did not like. We toppled leaders elsewhere. We interned Japanese in WWII. We humiliated and denied blacks their civil rights. We suppressed women. We punished gays. Big oil buys our politicians. The list is a mile long.
Therefore, this country is illegitimate. Or should not be admired and celebrated. Or so these folks argue. They tell us the pages of our history are blotted with the blood of innocents. Our history stinks of injustices. And reeks of racism. And misogyny. Our Constitution was written by slave-holders and bigots.
You have heard these and more attacks on the legitimacy of the U.S. Let me proclaim that a lot of this is true. Actually, all of it.
So, what is there to celebrate about this country? Well, first, let us put our history in perspective. Name a significant country whose closet is not crammed with similar skeletons. Racism and slavery were not invented here. Invasions? There have been thousands. Injustices? From racial to religious to sexual, they choke the pages of history.
If we get real, we have to admit a sorry truth: Human activities are chock-a-block with evil. Everywhere you travel on this earth you find evidence of people beating up on people. Now and in the past. From the holocausts of Auschwitz to those of the Khmer Rouge and Rwanda. From the Irish famine to Stalin and Mao’s slaughter of millions. From Soviet gulags to Cuba’s imprisonment of its people.
My point? In the midst of this horrible behavior some countries have managed to create something good for their people. Some have guaranteed power to the people, through the ballot box. Some have created honest courts. Some have shed reservoirs of blood to defend human rights. Some have created and protected basic rights and liberties for their people.
Some have protected free speech. Some have gradually dismantled wretchedly unfair racist laws and customs. Some have created vast systems to care for the poor and disadvantaged. And produced wealth enough to fund such systems. Some have sent their troops abroad to fight for the liberty of others. Some have shared their wealth with poor nations and their people. Some have made education possible for all their children.
The world has always been a haven of evil. It simply is and has been and always will be. However, the world also contains goodness and decency, love and respect.
Confronted by those who hate this country, I can make a case that America is also blessed. With an abundance of goodness and decency, love and respect. I can make a case that we have more of such than most countries. And that many countries would have little of such, had we not come to their rescue.
I can make a case that despite humanity’s evil activities, this country is a decent place to live for most. Perhaps you disagree. If so, why do so many millions risk their lives to come here? And why do so few flee when things don’t go their way?
Some folks focus on the half-empty glasses of America. I look out on the world and see countless half-empty glasses. And many that are utterly empty and crushed. I look to America and see much to appreciate, admire and be grateful for.
From Tom…as in Morgan.

Tom Morgan, retired investment counselor in Oneonta who writes a nationally syndicated column, lives in Franklin.

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KUZMINSKI: Can GOP, Democrats Compromise?

Column by Adrian Kuzminski on June 29, 2018

Can GOP, Democrats Compromise?

Adrian Kuzminski

About a year ago, a deal was suggested between President Trump and establishment Democrats whereby Trump would support a path to citizenship for at least some illegal aliens while Democrats would support something like The Wall on the southern border.
The deal came very close, after Democrats met with Trump, but fell apart. It’s now back in the news again.
Is such a compromise possible, or even desirable? A Wall is anathema to Democrats. Closing off the southern border with some kind of impenetrable human barrier seems to them a crime against humanity.
Thousands of refugees from Central America in particular are fleeing the violence not only of drug lords, but also – this isn’t so well reported – of authoritarian regimes suppressing dissent, especially in San Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
A case could be made that the American support for these governments has contributed to the violence, and that the U.S. owes it to these people to take them in – but the Democrats aren’t making that argument.
The idealism of some Democrats has reached the point where, in their minds, national borders are an anachronism that should no longer exist. Since all peoples are equal, what could possibly justify any kind of barrier to admission to the United States?
Isn’t everyone really a citizen of the world? Isn’t the United States – as the exceptional society defined by the Constitution, not by ethnicity – the representative of the future, and thereby the natural home of all refugees?
Some Republicans, on the other hand, are alarmed by the loss of national identity and traditional values. They fear cultural dissolution not only from unrestricted immigration, but from the related forces of globalization and secularization.

This week’s controversial Time magazine cover juxtaposes a photo taken last week at the border in McAllen, Texas, with a photo of President Trump.

The certitudes of family, religion, custom, ethics, patriotism – even the rule of law – seem to be eroding away in favor of a disorienting cosmopolitan culture without clear values, where money rules, and traditional roles and behaviors are replaced by consumerism and egotism.
Walls don’t seem very promising. Think of the Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall, the Berlin Wall, or the current Israeli West Bank Wall. Border; security only seems to work when there is normal traffic, not a press of desperate refugees or insurgents.
On the other hand, there is arguably no national sovereignty if there is little or no border control at all. That’s long been the case on our southern border, where a blind eye has been turned to illegal immigrants because they provided cheap labor for jobs no one else would do. The result has been an illegal American underclass, estimated at around 11 million people.
In a deal, Trump would get his Wall, or some version of it, which would probably be more effective, if not foolproof, than what we have now. In return for this, the Democrats would get no less than a reasonable path to citizenship for ALL illegal aliens currently in the country, not just the Dreamers. Immigrants would be offered a dignified formal process for citizenship, with families kept together, in place of the police state tactics we have seen.
Some kind of standard of what it means to be an American would be established. Not everyone (criminals, etc.) would qualify, but most presumably would. Think of Ellis Island. The promise of an America for all would be restored, and the underworld of illegal immigration would be drastically reduced, if not eliminated.
Compromise takes courage and vision, now in short supply. The challenge is to figure out a definition of America that lies between the relentless march of a global cosmopolitanism that undermines traditional values, and a desperate reaction to it that doubles down on chauvinism, racism, and religious dogmatism.
The middle ground between these extremes is where a real compromise can be found. It would be the reinvention of a viable American center, something long overdue.

Adrian Kuzminski, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and Sustainable Otsego moderator, lives in Fly Creek.

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KUZMINSKI: Demagogues Happen – And Can Happen Here

Column by Adrian Kuzminski June 15, 2018

Demagogues Happen –

And Can Happen Here

Adrian Kuzminski

The Wikipedia – it may be the closest thing we have to a common standard of what things mean in our culture – tells us that a demagogue is “a leader in a democracy who gains popularity by exploiting prejudice and ignorance among the common people, whipping up the passions of the crowd and shutting down reasoned deliberation. Demagogues overturn established customs of political conduct, or promise or threaten to do so.”
Notice that it’s “the common people” in this definition who are confused by prejudice and ignorance, and guided by the passions instead of “reasoned deliberation.” This reflects the classical ideal of ancient Greece and Rome – also held by most of the American Founding Fathers. The right kind of politician in this view is someone able to control his or her passions, as well as the passions of others, through the practical application of reason. The Stoics called this the cultivation of virtue, of self-control and clear headedness, of wisdom, and it lay at the heart of ancient politics.
But then, as now, not everyone was virtuous, or had the same idea of virtue. In ancient Athens and elsewhere demagogues (literally “popular leaders”) arose who appealed not to virtue but to prejudice and ignorance in order to rile up people’s passions, featuring fear-mongering, tribalism, and what we now call fake news. Demagogues are one of the hazards of democratic society.
A demagogue divides rather than unites us. This is done by taking the fluid and accidental differences among people and transforming them into fixed, absolute concepts, such as race and gender, rich and poor, smart and dumb.
To drive home the differences, the demagogue goes on the attack. He or she will mock and otherwise denigrate the enemies they’ve created, and invite others to join in what becomes a movement. Its victims find themselves insulted and redefined in hostile terms as political targets. The art of the demagogue is to inspire even more followers than enemies. It’s a vicious game.
This is suddenly an issue because we have, for the first time, a demagogue, Donald Trump, elected president of the United States.

Mark Wilson/empirewire.com

There have been other American demagogues – Huey Long and Joe McCarthy come to mind – but never before one elected president. Before Trump’s appearance on the scene, a level of public decorum consistent with the politics of virtue was standard in this country, at least among mainstream politicians. It’s not that they didn’t lie to us (they did when they thought they had to), but in spite of that they maintained a level of public courtesy and mutual respect that sustained a sense of the American community. Truth and reason were respected, if not always followed.
Trump, by contrast, has openly disparaged truth and reason and focused on the personal humiliation of his opponents. He has made this tactic mainstream, particularly at his rallies during the campaign and since. He has made fun of a reporter’s physical disability, encouraged his supporters to beat up hecklers, disparaged the looks of male and female competitors, used ethnic slurs to denigrate his critics, and given a pass to racist demonstrators. It’s as if the locker-room talk of Tony Soprano and his henchmen at the Badda Bing migrated from HBO to the White House.
This is a sea-change in American politics. The politicians of virtue – establishment Democrats and Republicans – are freaked out by their defeat at the hands of a demagogue, as they should be. The polite discourse to which they at least gave lip service – the rhetoric of reason, science, progress, and mutual respect – now looks stilted and fake to more people. Tony Soprano’s in the White House and his uninhibited talk is releasing emotions and taboos once locked up by the limits of virtuous politics.
We’re at a dangerous moment. Civilization is based on restraint and mutual courtesy. However we choose to respond to any demagogue, if we lose our own virtue in the process by adopting his or her tactics, then he or she will have won.

Adrian Kuzminski, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and moderator of Sustainable Otsego, resides in Fly Creek.

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KUZMINSKI: Are Today’s Disputations Only Reformation Battles Revisited?

Column by Adrian Kuzminski, May 31, 2018

Are Today’s Disputations Only
Reformation Battles Revisited?

Adrian Kuzminski

A recent op-ed in the New York Times by a University of Virginia professor, Gerard Alexander, was provocatively titled: “Liberals, You’re not as Smart as you Think.” It may have been a shocking idea for the Times, but it’s old news for anyone who’s been listening to Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or watching Fox News.
Hillary’s comment about the “deplorables” in the 2016 campaign was seized by conservatives as proof of liberal arrogance and snobbery. It helped lose her the election.
Conservatives feel that liberals have been in charge, and that it’s gone to their heads. Liberals won the culture wars – women’s rights, gay rights, multi-culturalism, globalization – and they often seem to have the background, education, and professional training needed to succeed economically in a changing world while others are struggling.
The conservative attempt to defend traditional values has largely been in resistance to disconcerting change. No wonder that many conservatives embraced Trump’s campaign rhetoric: America first, the Wall, anti-globalization, anti-elitism.

A little history might help explain how we got here. Martin Luther could be considered the first liberal. He insisted that individuals had the capacity to decide for themselves the truth of religion.
It turned out, however, that there seemed to be no way to prove that one person’s subjective belief is right, and someone else’s wrong. With no way to compromise over a common, public religion, the only option was to fight it out in a series of disastrous religious wars.
As a result, knowledge based on traditional faith was increasingly privatized, and modern Thinkers – European Enlightenment philosophers, the American Founding Fathers – began to look for alternatives to organize society.
They ended up abandoning religious faith as a social principle in favor of reason and science.

Secular ideas focused on Nature replaced religious ideas focused on God as guides to public life.
The biggest turning point was probably Darwin’s theory of evolution, which upset the Biblical account of creation. Another turning point, in the United States, was the separation of church and state. That allowed for freedom of conscience, but it also ensured that the growing public realm would remain secular.
Reason and science, however, didn’t necessarily make us better people; they haven’t solve our moral problems. Nor have they led to a more egalitarian society. Serious conflicts about values and what’s right and wrong continue.
Reason and science, and the technologies they spawn, seem stubbornly neutral, as easily adapted for good as for evil. The secular world did not, it turns out, provide a solution to the crisis of faith.
For many, the private beliefs of religion have continued to inform their values in a secular world.
But many others, abandoning religion, have been attracted by the rise of new secular faiths, or Ideologies – fascism, communism, nationalism, libertarianism, socialism, human rights, identity politics – all of which purport to tell us how to live.

Did Luther’s faith in reason lead to today’s disputations? Let’s hope a 30 Years’ War doesn’t follow.

These beliefs are secular insofar as they invoke Nature rather than God. They go beyond reason and science insofar as they appeal to arbitrary, non-evident absolutes like race, gender, the dictatorship of the proletariat, or the hidden hand of the marketplace.
Ideologies, like religious convictions, are matters of personal faith, not public knowledge.

Liberalism and conservatism today divide mainly over which secular faith to embrace, not which religion to adopt. Liberalism is historically identified with socialism, communism, and identity politics, while conservatism is historically identified with fascism, nationalism, and libertarianism.
Liberals tend to embrace change, and conservatives to resist it. That may be the main difference between them.

We seem to have come full circle. The new secular faiths are just as subjective as the old religious ones. They are no more evidence-based than were the old God-centered religions.
There remains, it seems, no objective way to decide that any faith – old or new, religious or secular – is right and its competitors wrong.
Just as Protestants and Catholics could not convince one another that their faith was the right one, so today’s liberals and conservatives cannot seem to convince one another that some secular values are right and others wrong. We remain divided.
It took a couple of centuries of futile warfare for the religious struggles in Europe to burn themselves out. Our divisions aren’t yet that profound, and let’s hope they never get that bad.
We are in conflict about our secular beliefs because they are matters of faith, not evidence. Perhaps taking them a little less dogmatically would be a step towards defusing conflicts over them.

Adrian Kuzminski, a retired Hartwick College philosophy professor, author and Sustainable Otsego moderator, lives in Fly Creek.

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EDITORIAL: How Can Anyone Process Eric Schneiderman’s Sudden Fall?

Editorial, May 11, 2018

How Can Anyone Process

Eric Schneiderman’s Sudden Fall?

The Cooperstown Rotary Club starts its meeting with song, and the first this past Tuesday went, in part:

 

I’d like to build the world a home,
and furnish it with love…

I’d like to teach the world to sing,
in perfect harmony…
I’d like to see the world for once,
all standing hand in hand
And hear them echo through the hills
For peace throughout
the land.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman favorably impressed a full house on appearing at the Glimmerglass Festival June 16, 2016, to discuss “The Crucible.” Moderating is Faye Gay, the New York City attorney.


With Spitzer, then Weiner, now Schneiderman, it’s hard to be anything but rueful at those words.
The latter’s fall – he was accused in this week’s New Yorker of abusing four girlfriends – is perhaps the most surprising among leading state Democratic politicians felled so far by allegations of sexual misconduct.
When he made a star turn at the Glimmerglass Festival in July 2016, Eric Schneiderman, despite his hard-driving campaigns and prosecutions, gave the impression of a mild, modest man, and a cultured one: His father, Irwin, it was noted, was a philanthropist whose support was central to keeping the New York City Opera going for decades.
Monday the 7th, the magazine hit the stands. Four women had accused him of slapping and otherwise physically abusing them. He first said the allegations – “which I strongly contest” – were irrelevant to his professional duties. By evening, however, he resigned, stating, “these allegations … will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time.”
While it may be the right decision, it’s a shame.

Since Harvey Weinstein faced rape allegations last October and was fired as president of Miramax Studios – as many as 80 women have since come forth – the nation has seen dozens of top executives, leading artists and professionals who have been subjected to a range of allegations.
Ironically, given Glimmerglass’ production that July 2016 evening of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” a modern spinoff from the Salem witch trials, Schneiderman appeared locally to comment on the mass hysteria Americans witness from time to time – McCarthyism, certainly, but as recent as the Manhattan Beach arrests in the’ 80s.
Certainly, there is an aspect of that in the #MeToo movement, that will only be clear a year or two or a half-dozen hence. Some of today’s celebrated cases may turn out to be the equivalent of infractions or misdemeanors, but others will indeed be Class A felonies.

Be that as it may, the revelations of the past seven months don’t stand alone.
As a nation, we’ve seen a coming apart of stabilizing institutions and relationships over the past half century.
As individuals in Otsego County, we can’t even control troubling trends and unfortunate happenings at close range. At base, we can only control ourselves – in all things – and even then, imperfectly.
What we can do is recommit ourselves to basic principles: to love, to mutual respect and consideration, to fidelity to the people who depend on us – in the end, even to forgiveness. We often need that ourselves.

This Sunday the 13th brings the celebration of perhaps the most affirming ideal, and the Rotarians’ second song praised its embodiment. Corny, of course, but here goes:
M is for the million things she gave me
O means only that she’s growing old;
T is for the tears she shed to save me
H is for her heart of purest gold
E is for her eyes with lovelight shining
R means right, and right she’ll always be
Put them all together they spell Mother
A name that means the world to me
If only, at all times, we would remember mom.

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KUZMINSKI: More Gas? Only If Paired With Equal-Sized Renewable Project

Column by Adrian Kuzminski, May 5, 2018

More Gas? Only If Paired With
Equal-Sized Renewable Project

Adrian Kuzminski

When fracking was proposed in New York State a decade ago, the potential benefits were jobs, economic growth, lower energy prices, and energy security.
Opponents (like me) worried not only about local degradation of the environment but about the global consequences of methane seepage and emissions for the climate as a whole.
In most places outside of New York State, the frackers won the argument, and in fact much of what they claimed has come to pass.
Vast new reserves have been opened up by fracking, perhaps even more than anticipated. The United States has moved from deep energy dependence on often unfriendly foreign sources to a greater degree of energy self-sufficiency.
The US has become a net exporter of natural gas and is now able to leverage its new energy resources in foreign policy negotiations. Fracking has sparked renewed economic activity and a sense of energy security has been restored.
But the cost of these short-terms gains may yet overwhelm us. Professor Anthony Ingraffea from Cornell has a sobering new video on YouTube: “Shale Gas: The Technological Gamble That Should Not Have Been Taken.” Check it out; go to youtube.com and type “technological gamble” in the search line.
Ingraffea goes back six years and compares the climate change predictions made by a range of experts then with the latest data now available.
The new evidence shows those predictions to have been wide of the mark in the worst possible way. Global warming is happening much faster than predicted.

Cornell Professor Anthony Ingraffea’s conclusion in 2013 that natural gas contributes more to global warming than other fossil fuels changed the debate.

Ingraffea puts the blame for accelerating climate change squarely on the fracking revolution. As its critics have worried all along, the overall greenhouse emissions of fracked natural gas turn out to be as bad if not worse than any other fossil fuel.
Fracking has not been the “bridge fuel” the industry advocated. Ingraffea points out that fracking has extended the fossil fuel age, dramatically increased global warming, and, by providing continued low-priced gas and oil, frustrated the development of renewables.

This issue is playing out locally as well. There’s an energy crunch in Oneonta, with NYSEG interrupting gas service to some of their larger customers (SUNY, Fox, and some local businesses) because of limited supply.
In spite of the fracking boom in neighboring Pennsylvania, the infrastructure for delivering more gas in the Oneonta area right now doesn’t exist. The secondary pipeline serving the area isn’t big enough to meet demand.
The same arguments for the benefits of fracked gas used a decade ago are once again in circulation by those calling for more gas: It’ll bring jobs, stability, and economic growth.
Without a functioning economy we have social chaos, it’s true; but without environmental protections we have eco-catastrophe.
Transitioning to renewables remains the unavoidable answer in both cases. Renewables address the climate issue while providing economic relief with
jobs in the new industries we so desperately need. But it’s not happening fast enough.
That’s a political problem – one unfortunately not about to be solved.
The gas proponents now, as before, are focused on short-term benefits and seem oblivious to the bigger threat. Those who appreciate the long-term threat, on the other hand, have no immediate and practical solutions to the energy challenge.
Yes, of course, we must transition to renewables ASAP, but it’s not just a matter of effortlessly dropping one energy source and plugging in another.
There are serious technical problems (limits to electrical applications, intermittent power and inadequate electricity storage) and financial ones (funding the required large-scale infrastructure changes).
It’s time to recognize both the urgency of climate change as well as the need to buy some time to put in place technologies and financing that can transition us to renewables as quickly as possible.
It’s time to recognize both that the unintended consequences of gas may be worse than the problems it solves, and that those suffering from economic insecurity can’t afford to wait around indefinitely for promised but undelivered jobs in renewable energy.
What’s needed is restraint and prudence. Until we get to renewables, we’re clearly going to continue to overheat the planet to keep the economy going and avoid social breakdown.
How much more warming can we stand? It’s not clear, but major new pipelines and gas power plants are climate-denying projects that promise to take us over the edge.
In the meantime, we have growing local economic distress which might be relieved by delivering more gas to Oneonta by enlarging its existing pipeline.
Improving that pipeline and its capacity would clearly boost the local economy; a redone pipeline might also be more efficient.
But any expansion of gas consumption, even a small one like this, can no longer be justified unless correlated with a funded renewable energy project of at least the same scale.
Nothing less is acceptable any more.

Kuzminski, a retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and moderator of Sustainable Otsego, lives in Fly Creek.

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KUZMINSKI: Nation’s Two-Party System Guarantees ‘The Iron Law Of Oligarchy’

Column by Adrian Kuzminski, April 20, 2018

Nation’s Two-Party

System Guarantees

‘The Iron Law Of Oligarchy’

ADRIAN KUZMINSKI

Most voters enroll in one or the other major party, though the number of non-party enrollees has grown in recent years. In our area, and nationally, it’s very roughly one third Democrat, one third Republican, and one third non-partisan, or independent (small “i”).
The two-party system goes back to the battles between Alexander
Hamilton’s Federalists and Thomas
Jefferson’s Republicans. The
Jeffersonian Republicans have since morphed into the Democrats,
and the Federalists into the
Republicans.
Unfortunately, these parties have become a big part of what’s wrong, rather than what’s right, with American politics.
The two political parties – they are not mentioned in the Constitution – have a strangle-hold on the electoral process. It’s difficult, though not impossible, to get on the ballot without the approval of one or the other party.
In the current race in the 19th CD, for instance, party enrollees need to collect only 1,250 signatures to get on the primary ballot. But if you run as an independent, you need 3,500 signatures.
Party candidates have other advantages. They can go to their county party committees to pitch for support and recruit volunteers to circulate their petitions. The parties are also a source of money for candidates.

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4

Ruggles Essay Contest

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ESSAY CONTEST – 9:15 a.m. Ruggles essay competition. Auditorium, Cooperstown High School. Call 607-547-8181 or visit www.cooperstowncs.org

TOWN HALL – 6 – 8 p.m. Gubernatorial candidate, Larry Sharpe, presents. Hosted by the Young Americans for Liberty. The Red Dragon Theater, SUNY Oneonta. Call 607-287-9022 or visit oneonta.campuslabs.com/engage/event/1952949

 

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, NOV. 17
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, NOV. 17

Tribute Concert To Fleetwood Mac

14-19eventspage Give the gift of Christmas to children in need. To participate in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program CLICK HERE!

CONCERT – 7-9 p.m. Tusk, one of the nations top tribute bands, perform Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits. Cost, $20. Followed by the 70s Dance Party 9 p.m.-Midnight. The Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. Call 607-316-2870 or visit foothillspac.org

BENEFIT AUCTION – 5:30 p.m. Great items up for sale to benefit the Greater Oneonta Historical Society. Bring items to sell, or bid on interesting items for auction. Holiday Inn, 5206 NY-23, Oneonta. www.oneontahistory.org or call (607)432-0960.

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103