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Occupy movement signals an awakening

For most of us participating in the Occupy movement, the answer to the "what do we want?" question is basic. We want a systemic return to the rule of law.

No more tinkering around the edges of a fundamentally corrupt and rotting system. Tinkering that accomplishes nothing but a minuscule slowing of an inevitable decline into a poverty existence for the masses. Inevitable, unless the masses fight back.

This movement begins as an awakening, a means by which to shake the American people from their apathetic slumber of acceptance at being ever-increasingly pushed down and ruled over by wealthy elites and transnational corporations.

Once the undeniable volumes of awakened people are achieved, and corporate-controlled media and entrenched establishments can no longer ignore, mock or easily crush those volumes, the movement transitions into the "demands" stage. When demands are fully developed, they won't be comprised of small, meaningless calls for corporate-authored legislation or implementation of a neutered regulatory item, also crafted by the very industry it would seek to police.

This movement does not aspire to find a way in which to best play the game with the cards already on the table. This is about sweeping those dirty cards off the table completely, presenting an entirely new deck and new rules for how the game will now be played. The demands this movement will make will be fundamental and paradigm-altering. Those looking for a simple or easily packaged list of what the movement wants right now will continue to struggle with understanding what this is truly about. This is no "answer to the tea party." This is much more complicated and fundamental.

For those who extol the virtues of, or are looking for pragmatism, this likely will not be the movement for you -- yet.

Fai Borowiec

Buffalo

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Design sustainability into building projects

Thanks to The News for its stories about all the building going on in the medical corridor and other places in Western New York. It's exciting and uplifting news, and indicates we're moving forward even as we just celebrated our remarkable past. And it creates jobs.

I have watched daily with great interest the building of the new State Police center on the Thruway in Cheektowaga. I kept looking for solar panels, geothermal heating, windmills, water collection/recycling systems, green roof -- and didn't see any of it. I was also looking for information about sustainability being designed into some of the medical corridor buildings and didn't see any. How come? Maybe they're just hidden.

As a member of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeepers River Academy, I had the pleasure of visiting three local sites to see how sustainability can work when it's made a priority. The Harriman Quad at the University at Buffalo South Campus is truly a showcase of sustainability. Congratulations to UB for its vision. Instead of allowing rainwater to cycle into the sewer system -- and flood it -- the quad captures most of the rainwater to feed the beautiful plants that filter the water while providing a beautiful public space.

There's information available now, so there should be no excuses for not designing sustainability into building projects. Do we need laws, or will common sense prevail? It's time for us to embrace sustainability and show the great leadership and vision for which this region was once so well-known.

Bev Halligan

Hamburg

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Voters must consider what's best for nation

The political stalemate in Congress is frustrating, but the way people vote is even more perplexing. If we put a series of questions to the voter, his answer many times shows why there is stagnation in Washington. Would you vote for the politicians who want to get rid of or water down Social Security and Medicare? Do you support congressmen who voted to subsidize businesses that move their manufacturing overseas for cheap labor or endorse subsidies for oil companies? And what about free trade and its unfairness to the American market? Do you endorse those who take oaths for political lobbyists not to raise taxes on millionaires but could not care less about the middle class when they know that it means higher costs for things like medical care and college tuition?

How about the political lackeys on the Supreme Court who say that corporations are people and can anonymously contribute as much as they please to political candidates? It's no wonder only people who are deeply indebted to lobbyists can run for office. And what about the politicians who want to eliminate oversight rules for the banking industry, even though the lack of oversight caused the near collapse of our economy?

We now have congressmen who want to hold back funds to Americans who have suffered through natural disasters for bigger budget cuts. Our children will never live as well as the baby boomers because these right-wing extremists want to remove all of the advantages that former generations had to succeed, such as affordable education, health care and good-paying jobs. And yet too many cast their ballots based on a single issue and elect the very people into the House who are trying to destroy this nation.

John W. Kowalski

Lockport

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Why wasn't Kyl ever censured for claims?

Faster than a speeding Senate vote; more relevant than a loco tea partyer; able to leap over congressional responsibilities by simple deadlock: the supercommittee! While admitting that I'm not familiar with all members of the supercommittee, I was immediately bothered with one particular Republican member: Sen. Jon Kyl. I would like help in understanding why Kyl has not been censured by Congress, at the very least.

On the floor of the Senate in April, Kyl claimed that abortion is "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." In fact, 3 percent was the correct number. His office then put out the message that Kyl's assertion "was not intended to be a factual statement." If Kyl, as his office has admitted, did not intend to be factual, then he lied. He has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and its protection of our rights. Lying on the floor of the Senate doesn't seem like something that should be ignored.

Robert J. Wegrzynowski

Medina

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Inept workers don't deserve plum posts

Just when I think I've heard it all, I read where Karla Thomas was appointed as an administrative assistant to Betty Jean Grant on the Erie County Legislature. Thomas is the same person who was fired by the city for incompetence after paying more than $2 million on health insurance premiums for dead retirees. This appointment was made after the election, which is no surprise. This position should have been open to all qualified applicants. Enough is enough!

Marty Farrell

West Seneca