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Tuesday
Nov142017

Letter To Editor : We Must Fight Against The Republican Tax Scam

Dear Editor,
Republicans are launching their hardest assault yet on working families across the country, financing a staggering $5.5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy on the backs of the middle class. The Republican tax bill rewards the wealthy with passive incomes, and punishes people who actually work for a living. Critically, our way of life as Long Islanders will end as we know it with the Republican elimination of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction.

We need our representatives in New York to not only stand up to these dramatic tax increases on New Yorkers, but to lead on this issue. New Yorkers stand to lose $72 billion on top of the $48 billion we already pay to the federal government above and beyond what we get back from Washington. I call on Representative Lee Zeldin to stand up for the constituents in this district and lead the fight to protect workers against not only the elimination of the SALT deduction, but against all tax increases on the middle class, and all tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans have an opportunity for the first time in a generation to dramatically redistribute wealth from the middle class to the wealthy, and they will do everything they can to push their agenda while they are in power.

We must make it clear to Lee Zeldin that we will not stand for this shameful bill, and that he will be held accountable for his party’s relentless assault on the middle class.

Sincerely, 

Vivian Viloria Fisher 
Vivian Viloria Fisher (D-Setauket) is a candidate for congress in New York’s first congressional district. 

 

Tuesday
Oct312017

Letter To Editor : Veterans Are Entitled To A Place In Americans Collective Hearts

From the Desk of 

Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory

As another Veterans Day approaches on November 11, we begin the annual tradition of setting aside time to thank our service men and women for their sacrifice, not simply their service. 

Many of us will spend the day watching parades and ceremonies in which to honor our veterans. Perhaps, we may visit one of the many monuments sprinkled throughout Suffolk County to commemorate this nation’s wars, where wreaths will be placed to remember those who served valiantly and died in the service of our country.

These rituals, undertaken since the end of World War I and the designation of Armistice Day in 1918 and Veterans Day in 1938, serve as reminders of the sacrifices of our service men and women to ensure our freedom. They endure as a result of the many iterations of wars throughout America’s history, from the raging battles on foreign soil to the cold wars that have influenced our policies and beliefs and have helped us become the democracy we are today. 

Still, with a world on edge, with 16 years of war still festering in Afghanistan, ISIS commanding our attention as it destroys innocent lives, Green Beret deaths in Niger, nuclear threats from North Korea and U.S. peacekeepers operating in volatile, hostile environments, we look to those who are designated to protect us. 

More so, we depend on the expertise of our military leaders, the commitment of our service men and women and their willingness to lay down their lives to ensure that we – as Americans – can continue to live freely. 

With a population of more than 160,000 veterans on Long Island, approximately 75,000 of them in Suffolk County, our responsibility does not end with a parade or ceremony. If we are grateful to accept that we are protected thanks to the efforts of our U.S. Military, we need to ensure that our service men and women feel the same level of support when they return home. 

Thanking them simply for their service seems not nearly enough. Their sacrifice is the foundation of their service and their willingness to sacrifice – the comforts of home, time with their loved ones, a career put on hold…or, ultimately their lives, entitles them to a place in the collective hearts of all Americans who live in safety and freedom. 

That bears remembering not just on Veterans Day but all year long. It’s the least we can do. 

Sunday
Oct292017

Letter To Editor : Stand Up To Republican Assault On Middle Class


Dear Editor,

Republicans just passed the most destructive budget in recent history. Republicans will effectively eliminate Medicare, slash more than $1 trillion from Medicaid, and cut another $5 trillion from cancer research, Pell grants, and Head Start, all while hiking taxes on the middle class.

The budget makes way for the Republican tax bill, which will cut a massive $5.5 trillion in taxes from the wealthy while increasing taxes on the middle class. As New Yorkers we will be cruelly targeted for massive tax increases by Republicans as they seek to eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes, which disproportionately affects New Yorkers, who already pay $48 billion each year more in taxes to the federal government compared with the services we receive.

Lee Zeldin and his fellow Republicans will never stop their unyielding assault on the middle class. They will never stop trying to take away your healthcare, raise your taxes, and blow up the deficit in order to give trillions of dollars in breaks for their rich friends. The only way to stop them is to vote them out of congress.

The very richest Americans will see massive tax breaks, while the rest of the country will foot the bill. The Republican tax plan will result in a massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the extremely wealthy, while weakening us as a country. I will continue to fight, as I have fought, to protect the middle class from these relentless attacks.

Sincerely, 
Vivian Viloria Fisher 


Vivian Viloria Fisher (D-Setauket) is a candidate for congress in New York’s first congressional district. 

Saturday
Oct282017

Letter To Editor : Trump's Trick Or Treat

 

The French term “déjà vu” meaning “already seen” describes an overwhelming sense of having lived through a current experience at a time in the past. The Frenglish term “vujà dé” meaning “never before seen” describes the feeling that, although you may have had a particular experience many times in the past, you are experiencing it in the present for the first time. 
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In Lee Zeldin’s (CD-1) recent missive about the Trump tax cuts he appears to be exhibiting classic “vujà dé” when he states, “It is also critical that we reduce the corporate income tax rate to improve the business climate, create more American jobs, bring jobs and businesses back from overseas, and prevent other jobs and businesses from leaving.” 
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We lived through this before. Donald Trump and House Republicans have proposed trillions of dollars in tax cuts, predominantly for wealthy individuals and corporations. It is estimated that Trump’s family would save $65 million a year in taxes. These tax cuts would come at the expense of middle-class families’ economic security and investments in our economy, such as education, scientific research, and infrastructure. Recent history, such as the failed and reviled experiment foisted on Kansans by Governor Brownback, and an abundance of economic research show that trickle-down tax cuts don’t create growth or jobs; they lead only to widening inequality between the top 1 percent of income earners and everyone else. 
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Did Zeldin forget the empty promises of Reaganomics, whereby big tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy were sure to trickle down to middle America in the form of job growth, higher wages, and prosperity for all? Reagan’s own chief economist tells us that the so-called Reagan recovery of the early 1980s was driven by monetary policy, not tax cuts. Reagan’s tax cuts increased the national debt from $1 trillion when he took office to $2.9 trillion when he left. 
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By contrast, President Clinton raised income taxes from 31 percent to 39.6 percent. 23 million jobs were created and the economy grew for 32 straight quarters in what was then the longest expansion in history.
In 2004, George W. Bush allowed companies with stashed offshore profits to repatriate them at 1/6th of the normal tax rate, with the belief that the companies would use the money on business investment. In reality, a $1 increase in repatriations was associated with an increase of almost $1 in payouts to shareholders, not investment in facilities or research, or to raise wages or hiring levels. 
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Burdett Loomis, a University of Kansas political scientist who has written extensively about the Brownback years says, “It absolutely should put an end to the theory that tax cuts for the rich end up helping everybody, but you can’t kill it. It’s a vampire idea. No matter how many times it’s proven wrong, it keeps coming back.”
Several psychoanalysts attribute “déjà vu” to simple fantasy or wish fulfillment, whereby, despite evidence to the contrary, Zeldin can believe that a tax cut for the 1% will improve the lot of the other 99% because it happened before​. “Vujà dé” allows him to believe that the downward spiral in economic growth and wages that followed tax cuts for the wealthy never happened before​. I suppose he never heard that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
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Déjà vu”, “Vujà dé”, or the Living Dead? Shall we consult the real experts: Count Dracula and Sigmund Freud? 

 

Ruth​ ​Cohen

Monday
Oct232017

Letter To Editor : Zeldin's Town Hall Meeting Edited Questions And Circuitous Answers

 

Lee Zeldin (CD-1), pretends to represent his constituents, In reality,  he represents no one but himself, Trump, and donors rather than voters.    

Lee  Zeldin‘s October 23rd letter to constituents states that “… it has been my top priority to meet with you, listen to your concerns, and bring home victories for our district.”  That would be laudable if he actually did meet with and listen to his constituents.   

I attended the Town Hall at the Portuguese American Center in Farmingville that Zeldin mentions in his recent letter.  The audience was not allowed to ask direct or follow-up questions.  We had to write our questions on cards, which the moderator Jon Oliver read aloud.   One would imagine that Mr. Oliver would read them as written, but it was clear that he was rephrasing them as soft balls, which, even then, Zeldin had a hard time answering.  Zeldin failed to adequately address most questions, and went off on irrelevant, time-wasting tangents.

I had submitted a question about the EPA. When Oliver “read” a question about the EPA, I called out that my name was Ruth Cohen, and that I wanted my question read exactly as written. The moderator said it was not my question.  Zeldin then babbled and dithered, saying nothing of substance.

When Mr. Oliver did arrive at my question, he, again, edited it. I twice called out loud that I wanted it read exactly as written. Each time, he changed my wording.  When I called out a third time, he grudgingly did me the favor of actually reading my question: “In light of your support for the Trump agenda, how do you reconcile your concern for Long Island’s environment with Trump’s evisceration of the EPA?”   Zeldin looked blank, put his hand on his stomach,* said he stood by his earlier circuitous and irrelevant comment, and REFUSED TO ANSWER.   

This is how a Representative treats his constituents? He is running from the voters, not representing them.

*It can indicate tension, and is sometimes used as a self-comforting action when one’s ego is being challenged (just saying).

Ruth A Cohen