Editorial Campaign

The Steuben Greens have a campaign to write letters to the editor on a regular basis. In this way, we keep the Green Party and our values in the public discourse. At election time, we write letters in support of our Green candidates. We suggest that people write one letter a month. Write about an issue that is important to you. Write 250 words or less and mention that the Green Party fights for this issue.

Darin Robbins is our champion letter writer. Almost every month, Darin submits a thoughtful, well-written letter to the Corning Leader discussing current issues and mentioning the Green Party. Most of his letters have been printed.

Letters by Our Members

Community Economics, The Corning Leader, Mar. 4, 2009

TO THE EDITOR | Now more than ever, community economics is of vital importance. As banks and the auto industry have failed or asked for a bailout, we can see that the overall structure of this national economy is not sound. We feel compelled to bailout these businesses since their size and influence implies that they would drag the rest of us with them. But the true critique should be aimed at capitalism itself, where corporations exert too much power due to legal personhood and the assumption that all aspects of society should be replaced by the "free market". This structure creates an environment where the social is commodified, all risk is socialized while profits are privatized, alongside the centralization of ownership and the decentralization of responsibility. In other words, there is a demand for individuals to be self-sufficient economic actors without the ability to have the tools to accomplish such a role. However, a real and authentic community economics requires that workers be empowered to control their own destiny. As the Green Party candidate for 7th ward Alderman I will work to support local businesses through micro-credit, community investment, and the promotion of the cooperative business model. This is not only the first steps toward economic justice, but a practical way our community can survive this crisis. This is an example of economic sustainability, and I need your vote in November to make this happen.

Darin Robbins, Corning, Click here to visit Darin's campaign website

Campaign for Corning City Council, The Corning Leader, Feb. 2, 2009

TO THE EDITOR | If history has been made in our country, then we must act to make sure that that history is not a pale image that obscures the status quo. In early December, the workers who occupied the door and window factory in Chicago demonstrated that many assumptions such as neoliberal capitalism may no longer function or be adequate to human needs. More and more people are realizing that things as they are no longer work.

The hope for change has become a runaway horse that has escaped Obama's saddle. This is a demand that becomes louder over time throughout the nation. The two-party system, engaged in taking turns holding various political offices, is structurally unable to be the agent of change. Anyone who wants to help their community must be able to address national issues that impact their locality.

That is why I am announcing my candidacy for 7th ward Alderman in the 2009 election. My campaign as a candidate of the Green Party is based on the principles of peace, ecology, justice, and democracy as well as how our community can organize in order to survive national and global systemic problems. I am motivated by a new vision that includes local food production, local energy production, and an economic structure that operates according to democratic principles. I need your vote and support in order to begin the first steps of real empowerment that we all need. For now is the time for us to put the future in our own hands.

Darin Robbins, Corning, Click here to visit Darin's campaign website

Will Obama Expose the Truth about 9/11?, Corning Leader, Jan. 9, 2009

TO THE EDITOR | We'll soon know if Obama will expose 9/11 Truth. The calendar has ticked over and in 16 days, we won't have President Bush to kick around any more. One of the most grating things about the events of 9/11 is the people on whose watch it occurred, who did less than nothing to prevent it and who were duty-bound to investigate it and report to their bosses -- us -- what happened, remained in office, presiding over further disasters they deliberately caused or made worse with their incompetence. To compound the felony, we had to sit through seven years of speeches from them about how they were the only ones who could protect us, even as our economy disintegrated.

While I hesitate to proclaim it, for fear there is a grand finale in store, that chapter is nearly over and we will soon have a self-proclaimed reformer at the helm, with a staff of familiar faces. A healthy, if not filibuster-proof majority in the legislative branch will be in place and a new attorney general. In the interim since 9/11, a wealth of investigative work and analysis by citizen investigators, scientists, scholars, architects, engineers, and military and government civilians has been brought forth. It renders the government account as endorsed by the 9/11 Zelikow-Kean Commission impossible to reconcile with the facts. The first several months of the new administration will reveal what we may expect. Given the players, I am not hopeful. Will the truth remain a tell-tale bulge under the carpet?

Chris Defendorf, Corning

The Green Alternative, Corning Leader, Dec. 31, 2008

TO THE EDITOR | The question over what is the real America has been relegated to a binary opposition between small towns and big cities. Conservatives accuse liberals of being elitists engaged in class war, while liberals accuse conservatives of being close-minded and engaged in culture war. But the conflict obscures the fact that small towns and big cities serve a vital purpose for the overall characteristics of this country. In all cases, there is still an urgency for new economic and social alternatives that decentralizes structures and empowers workers, consumers, taxpayers, and voters. This includes repealing the Patriot Act, cooperatives, local ownership of renewable energy production, and sustainable food production. As the national government goes through a transition, we must recognize that as long as the two-party system is in control there will not be deep structural change that we need despite the hope of many who voted for the new president. In this environment of atavistic ideology or hollow hope, we must remember that we should value small towns for its sustainability and its potential for decentralized power but also appreciate a cosmopolitan attitude in order to enrich our culture and imagination. We can have both as long as we remember we are neighbors before we are interchangeable parts of a nation-state. Therefore, the Green Party has consistently shown where the real America lies in its presentation of an alternative that is also an imperative to act and to resist the status quo packaged as a call for patriotism or unity.

Darin Robbins, Corning

Protest Bush's twisted America, The Corning Leader, Mar. 15, 2006

TO THE EDITOR | The decline in President Bush's polling numbers point to a larger problem. Though these numbers are not definitive, they are a snapshot of a fuller realization by the American people over time that the Iraq war was unnecessary, and was started by the possible agenda of neoconservative hegemony. However, critics of the war who support the principles of peace were labeled as anti-American even though it is the president's actions that are the most traitorous in regards to the principles our nation was founded upon. Members of Congress, stunned by the historical event of Sept. 11, were prodded into a concrete war in Iraq and approved the destructive Patriot Act in order to make sense of the tragedy.

But this action has severely wounded our democracy. To make matters worse, peace was not accepted at the 2004 Democratic national convention, and the Green Party was the only voice for sanity in this period of fear and challenged patriotism. Both Senators Clinton and Schumer voted for the Iraq resolution, and have not repudiated their decision or called for troop withdrawal as proposed by Congressman John Murtha. Our soldiers are dehumanized by war and our freedoms are threatened at home by this government at this moment. People as voters, candidates, or protesters must oppose the twisted America sponsored by the Bush administration. It is the only way to show that the soldiers who died were not fighting for Bush but for the democracy that prevents us from becoming an empire.

Darin Robbins, Corning

The people will end the war, The Corning Leader, Jan. 30, 2006

To the editor | The Bush administration is racked with scandal and doubt. Military recruiters in high schools have resorted to harassment to increase enlistment. Our soldiers are underfunded and have to have families pay for body armor. The Downing Street Memo demonstrated that the British government knew that American intelligence was being manipulated. When ambassador Joseph Wilson stated that there was no evidence that Iraq was trying to buy uranium to make weapons, his wife's covert identity in the C.I.A. was leaked to the press in revenge. Anti-war groups that acted non-violently were monitored by the administration's domestic spying program, similar to what occurred during the Vietnam War.

Cindy Sheehan's demands to meet the president for answers proved that this is an administration unwilling to admit wrongdoing. What must be made clear is that each of these cases are part of a larger whole that shows the president sought to wage a war that was unnecessary and made our nation less safe. Our brave soldiers are dishonored by this pattern of behavior, and our continued presence in Iraq makes their deaths meaningless. For now they are not fighting for our freedoms but fighting for George W. Bush and his hubris. The antiwar movement, and the Green Party in particular, truly support the troops by calling for an exit strategy that would initiate a time of peace and show how our nation was made less free by this war and the Patriot Act. George W. Bush may have started this war, but we the people will end it.

Darin Robbins, Corning

Second Bush term a threat - The Corning Leader 12/28/04


To the editor | The second term of George W. Bush will guarantee two things: the continuation of a needless war in Iraq and the suppression of dissent at home through the Patriot Act. War in general places our friends and family in situations where they must kill or be killed. This is exascerbated in Iraq where there was no real threat to our country and
there seems to be no clear victory. To bring the troops home, it is vital that there is active criticism against this administration. But the provisions of the Patriot Act make it possible for anyone who openly and peacefully opposes the president to be investigated as a possible terrorist and held without charges.

The first amendment and the fourth amendment of the Bill of Rights are especially threatened where searches of private property can be conducted without a warrant issued beforehand, and all medical and financial records are examined. However, there is something that can be done. More than 250 cities and three states have passed Bill of Rights Defense resolutions that affirm the priority of the Constitution and demand that local law enforcement respect the legal rights of citizens. Without these rights, we can not sustain the democratic and progressive values that make our nation worthy of defending. In this case, the Patriot Act is more of a threat to our way of life than Iraq ever was. I urge everyone to contact their city council and request that they approve a Bill of Rights Defense resolution.

Darin Robbins, Corning

Count All the Votes - The Corning Leader 11/23/04

The efforts of presidential candidates David Cobb (Green Party) and Michael Badnarik (Libertarian) to effect a recount of the votes cast in Ohio probably will not alter the outcome of the 2004 eelction. But the recount deserves support because it is the best way to test and begin repairing the integrity of our elections, and to ensure that every vote is counted.

There have been thousands of complaints about obstructed votes, legitimate voters who were disqualified, malfunctioning computer voting machines, and other irregularities in the 2004 election.

For the Democratic Party's leadership, which refuses to press for a recount, the lesson of Florida in 2000 seems to be that controversy must be avoided at all costs. For those of us in the Green Party, the lesson is that we need to fight for the right to vote, for accurate vote counts, and for the future of our democracy.

If one result of the recount is auditable paper ballot trails for all computer voting machines in Ohio, it'll be a victory for all voters.

Rachel Treichler, Hammondsport

To stop Nader [from spoiling], we must change system - The Corning Leader 03/09/04


How can we stop Ralph Nader and other third party and independent candidates from spoiling our presidential nominating process? We've got to change our electoral system. As former independent presidential candidate John Anderson said recently, "Our primitive voting system is this year's biggest spoiler.

"There is a fundamental, if easily correctable, problem with our electoral process," Anderson said. "We use a plurality voting system where voting for your favorite candidate can contribute directly to the election of your least favorite." The solution is instant run-off voting. "Instant run-off voting," said Anderson, "would give us a more participatory, vital democracy, where candidates could be judged on their merits and the will of the majority would more certainly prevail."

If the states were to adopt instant run-off voting, third party candidates could not spoil. Unlike most democracies, our states, including New York, have set up presidential elections so that the candidate with a plurality of votes wins all electoral votes, even if opposed by a majority of voters. "With instant run-off voting," Anderson said, "we would determine a true majority winner in one election and banish the spoiler concept." Voters would not have to fear voting for their favorite candidate.

Instant run-off voting already is practiced for top offices in London, Ireland and Australia and in Utah and California for key elections.There has been legislation backing instant run-off voting in nearly two dozen states, and former presidential candidates Howard Dean and John McCain advocate the system.

In instant run-off voting, people vote for their favorite candidate, but also can indicate other choices by ranking their preferences as 1, 2, 3. If a candidate receives a majority of first choices, that candidate wins. If not, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and a second round of counting occurs. In the second round, a ballot counts for the top-ranked candidate still in the race. Rounds of counting continue until there is a majority winner. Under this system, voters who like Nader but worry about George Bush could rank Nader first and the Democrat second. Similarly, libertarian-minded conservatives upset with the Bush administration's restrictions on civil liberties could rank the Libertarian nominee first and Bush second.

Join the Green Party and other third parties in their efforts to get instant run-off voting adopted in New York. Let us establish a voting system that eliminates the possibility that a vote for a third party or an independent candidate could spoil the chances of a major party candidate. Let us establish an electoral process that welcomes new voices that stimulate debate on important issues and mobilize new voters.

Rachel Treichler, Hammondsport

Voters must send message of peace - The Corning Leader, 12/14/03


To the editors: As time passes and U.S. casualties increase, we find the war in Iraq is not what the administration claims it is. It is now proven there are no weapons of mass destruction, nor is there any connection to terrorism or the Sept. 11 attacks in Iraq. The president is falling back on the claim the country is better off without Saddam Hussein, regardless of any original reason to go to war.

What the president refuses to acknowledge is war of any kind creates a humanitarian crisis, even battles meant to end such conditions. We are less safe as a result of this war than before because we have started dangerous repercussions.

There is an innate tendency in humans to help those who are oppressed. The president manipulated that tendency to start this war, and now we see oil contracts given to American companies without any bidding process and people such as Jessica Lynch used as propaganda pawns. Some have compared the war to World War II, but a more accurate comparison is to the Spanish American War in which an invasion was instigated by a trumped up incident and fed by media bias.

Next year is the presidential election, and it must be noted that the Green Party spoke out against the war long before it began, along with Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich. The results of this conflict must be in voters' minds, and a message must be sent to President Bush that peace is patriotic.

Darin Robbins, Corning

The Future For Americans - The Corning Leader - 4/15/03

To the editors: Now that the Bush administration has ignored world opinion (global economy, remember?) and the wishes of a clear majority of American citizens, all of us who opposed the idea of war in the Middle East (and who still think it's not in the best interests of our country) are distressed that our young men and women have been put in harms way for reasons that are turning out to be unfounded in fact. Yet, because our legally elected officials in the U.S. Congress have abdicated their duties under the Constitution, it is left to the citizen-taxpayer to protest this misuse of our country's power and prestige for short-sighted goals. Yes, we support our young men and women in what looks like a war overseen by armchair generals (some call them chickenhawks). Yes, we want to see a democracy in Iraq. But any truly democratic government in any Arab country would immediately request the removal of all U.S. forces. How long will we occupy Iraq? Will Syria be next, and then Iran? What about rebuilding Afghanistan? What's happening there? What about Osama? Remember him? What about the current promotion of irrational fear to allow the curtailment of our Bill of Rights? And here at home we need true national health insurance, campaign finance laws with teeth, reform of the property tax/school tax mess, an honest assessment of the failure of our stupid "War on Drugs, and on, and on, and on. These are the problems and questions facing Americans in the coming months and years. We need sober, informed, public discussion of these issues, not a bunch of bobble-heads and yes-men marching us into the 21st century with drums beating and flags flying. Let us hope that some presidential candidate in 2004 will speak for all Americans, not just the affluent minority.

Hugh Mason, Rathbone

Neighborhood Schools - The Corning Leader - 4/5/03

To the editors: With the end of Option 2, we as a community have the ability to avoid the damage of sprawl that would have drained our city and placed students in a large school diminishing the quality of the educational experience. Now with the Quantum Leap initiative, we have the chance to create a progressive education system that emphasizes the attainment of knowledge. We can now focus our attention on this project. For it is with reform in education that our community can avoid manufacturing future workers in a factory-like setting. Neighborhood schools can be the place where our children can be educated to be public intellectuals, able to engage in critical discourse. They can be able to engage in acts of informed dissent such as that toward the war in Iraq. As the peace movement recognizes that this war has a complex history with hidden agendas, it is necessary that we cultivate future generations that are able to analyze current events and be willing to question the status quo. They must not be passive consumers of the media and the government, but fully engaged as citizens equipped with the intellectual tools to be empowered. There must be changes in our educational process to allow for this to happen, and Quantum Leap may be the first step. Education is a vital process that must be qualitative, and avoid the churning out of students that can not think for themselves. It is not only counterproductive to our society, but negatively affects the global value of peace.

Darin Robbins, Corning

Green Party Denounces War - The Corning Leader

To the editors: Upon entering a new year with hopes for peace, we are faced with a possible war in Iraq and a continuation of the War on Terrorism. Sadly, both are predicated on a course of action that does not deal with the prevention of future conflict. Looking at the history of Iraq, we find that the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds was in our government's knowledge during the 1980's, and a recent report shows that 24 American companies supplied weapons material to Iraq during that time. In terms of ending terrorism, we are given the false solution of giving up civil liberty protections and prosecuting suspects without due process. We are faced with our government deceiving us about the nature of these international situations. In Iraq, we are predisposed to believe that they have weapons of mass destruction regardless of findings of the U.N. inspectors. We have plans to attack no matter what Iraq does. In fact, the U.N. resolution calling for Iraq to disarm also calls for other countries in the region to disarm, including Israel. In terms of terrorism, there is no dialogue about social and economic justice that would take away the motive for terrorists. The Green Party is the only political party that opposes a war in Iraq and the War on Terrorism. It is the only party that believes peace must take a stand and demand no military actions that will cause violent repercussions in the future.

Darin Robbins, Corning

Decriminalization of Marijuana

To the editors: The recent conviction of Ed Rosenthal in California demonstrates the deficiencies of the War on Drugs. Under federal law, Mr. Rosenthal was charged with selling marijuana, even though his activities were approved under California's medical marijuana law. In fact, the jury that found him guilty felt they were coerced into rendering a decision that ignored the actual legality of medical marijuana. This demonization of marijuana can also be seen in the misleading television ad campaigns that incorrectly associate marijuana with terrorism, domestic violence, and date rape. These are specious arguments that ignore the qualitive difference between marijuana and addictive drugs such as heroin and cocaine. The ads against marijuana are deceitful in too many ways to describe, but they all further an incorrect legal belief that possession is equal to intent to sell. Under the current federal laws, judges are made powerless to make decisions based on the specific case before them, and are required to send first time "offenders" to jail rather than treatment. The drug laws in New York state are even more severe, furthering the misguided belief that marijuana is a dangerous drug. The Green Party believes that the decriminalization of marijuana, even at a gradual pace, is a realistic approach to dealing with the criminal drug trade and refocusing on curing real addictions.

Darin Robbins, Corning




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