Tackling everything from abortion to marijuana


I’m dealing with all my issues here, each as briefly as possible.

First, there are two laws from the current legislative session. Many letters, including one in this publication last February from a nun, claim the new abortion law allows termination of a pregnancy right up until just before birth (re: “Abortion is wrong,” Feb. 14)

According to FactCheck.org, the law actually allows an abortion when “the patient is within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.”

Then there’s marijuana. While Gov. Andrew Cuomo has evolved greatly on this issue to the point that he said he would sign a bill for legalization, the best the legislature could come up with is decriminalization. That means if you possess more than an ounce but less than 2 ounces, you could wind up paying the government $100. For less than an ounce, $50.

But more than 2 ounces could still land you in jail. So can buying, selling or growing marijuana.

In her story on the Albany legislative session (re: “Lawmakers highlight busy Albany session despite anti-vaxx protests,” July 25), Heather J. Smith claims that a tax loophole allows landlords to write off empty storefronts as a loss. I Googled this to see if it were a federal or a state law. Actually, it doesn’t exist.

But last February, Mayor Bill de Blasio came up with something that’s rare for him — a good idea. While in Albany, he proposed a commercial vacancy tax. The legislature evidently sang Bob Dylan to that proposal, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.”

I’m glad that Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi are working together on our behalf. It’s nice when public officials actually do their job.

I’m also glad that Biaggi will still be pushing for the New York Health Act. But then there’s Sally Pipes, the president and chief executive of the so-called think tank, the Pacific Research Institute. They think the free market — made up of many business people who care about nothing but profit — will magically solve our health care problems (re: “Medicare for All will cripple doctors, hospitals,” July 25).

How using the health care model that the rest of the developed world successfully uses to cover all of its citizens will bankrupt our hospitals and drive doctors to other professions is a mystery to me.

In a September 2018 report, Hong Kong — which provides free health care with small co-payments to all its citizens and resident children under 11 — ranked number one. Number two was Singapore, with a government-run universal health care system. Number three was Spain, which also has universal health care.

The United States ranked 54th. Even two victims of U.S. sanctions — Iran and Venezuela — ranked higher. They were tied at 39.

The survey came from Bloomberg. owned by a multi-billionaire not known for socialist leanings.

Then there’s Stewart Epstein, who’s becoming the Jekyll and Hyde of letter writers. He can come up with one letter that cuts through the bull to highlight the truth. Then comes another in which he parrots mainstream propaganda. When you read U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s entire statement dealing with the bigoted treatment of U.S. Muslims rather than four words taken out of context, there’s nothing flippant about it.

I presented the full statement in a letter printed in the May 17 Chief-Leader in response to an Epstein letter in that publication. But from what was in Epstein’s letter in the June 27 edition of The Riverdale Press, he wrote like I said nothing (re: “Dems should change tactics”).

As for Epstein’s claim about Omar that “she clearly comes across as disliking Jews,” he provides nothing to back that up.

As for the open primary debate, Riverdale Press editor Michael Hinman is right (re: “Let the voters be heard,” July 11), and Ed Cohen (re: “Keep primary closed, please,” July 18) is wrong. As long as the two major parties have a monopoly on who wins general elections, independent thinkers should have a say in who those parties nominate.

As for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, here’s a statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reported by CounterPunch publisher Jeffrey St. Clair in his July 16 column, but not by the mainstream media: “Israel is the nation state of Jews alone.”

This policy exists because if you had a one-state solution with full rights for Palestinians, they would out-number and out-vote Jews, and Israel would no longer be a Jewish state.

That’s the reason for a two-state solution. With both sides having legitimate claims, how do you get there? I don’t know what a final agreement would be. But perhaps the first step could be a complete ceasefire by both sides, and a freeze on the seizing of Palestinian land.

Then both sides — with the United States being neutral for a change — can negotiate until they come up with an agreement all can be satisfied with.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Landlords exploiting a loophole allowing them to keep stores empty that they write off as a loss was attributed to Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz.


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Richard Warren,