To the editor:
On April 24, the Herald-Star published a letter from Barry Bardone of Bloomingdale ("A look at things that failed.") In that letter, Bardone made a number of disconnected rambling assertions about the POTUS. I confess that prior to reading his nearly incoherent babble, I hadn't heard most of his claims, but I could tell that they were probably nonsense he'd gathered from the far-right-wing of the Internet or Fox News. So I decided to fact-check just two of the assertions at random.
Assertion No. 1 in Bardone's own grammatically challenged words: "Here are some of the firsts for the president: To arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it." I had an idea what this one referenced, but I also knew the facts as he presented them to be incorrect. I suspected he was talking about Obama's order to the justice department to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. However, that's not what Bardone said. Bardone claimed the president was refusing to enforce the law and that he was the first ever to do so. For the record, both of these claims are factually false.
As it happens several presidents have refused to defend laws they see as unconstitutional in the courts. Most recently, G.W. Bush refused to defend a law passed by both houses of Congress despite his having vetoed it. That bill involved a must carry provision in a TV cable bill.
As to the other part of the claim; that Obama was refusing to enforce DOMA, this too is false. Recently in Vermont, a state which has legalized gay marriage, Obama's administration enforced deportation laws on a lesbian from Japan who married a same-sex American citizen because under DOMA the U.S. government does not recognize the validity of their marriage. So as we can all see, Obama is enforcing the law and he is not the first to refuse to defend an unconstitutional law. Bardone gave false information twice in that one sentence.
Another falsehood from Bardone's nonsensical farce of a letter was to claim that our president is the first: "to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year (taxpayer funded.)" This is something I had never heard and had no idea what he was going on about, so I did a quick Google search. Turns out that, yes, Obama is paying a dog trainer a retainer, but that's as far as the truth goes in Bardone's specious claim. The dog trainer actually has several clients and earns on average $102,000 per year from all of them. The president pays nowhere near that amount. Moreover, the president pays for the trainer from his own pocket, not at taxpayer expense as Bardone lied. So unless Bardone has a problem with the president using his salary as he sees fit (an idea which reeks of classism and partisanship,) I suspect he was just distorting the facts assuming nobody would check his veracity. In fact, I now doubt the veracity of the entire letter.
J. David Core