Letters regarding the Supreme Court and January 6th continue to fill our mailbox - Hudson Valley One

2022-07-30 17:57:37 By : Ms. Kiki Liao

The views and opinions expressed in our letters section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Hudson Valley One. You can submit a letter to the editor here.

Thanks to the Supreme Court, I find myself living in a Christian Utopia, which strangely reminds me of Hell.

Into the belly of the beast

It certainly wasn’t a Happy Meal, now was it? It was more of the same: Donald Trump was finally and fully exposed for being the reckless, incompetent and lawless failure that he is; and as it looked on that January day, Trump was afraid as he played out his last desperation act.

Of course, Ms. Cassidy Hutchinson, star witness in the January 6 hearings, told the truth! The evidence is compelling. She is not the habitual liar in this scenario. I don’t doubt it happened; the man is nuts after decades of insulation from a normal reality for most people. She was spot-on when she exposed Trump’s criminality before the Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack.

Ms. Hutchinson testified to what she was told, not what she saw. She captured that nincompoop perfectly! If there is an issue, then maybe the person who she said told her the story should testify under oath, as she did so forthrightly.

She showed more bravery in testifying than the limp-wiener males pleading the Fifth or ignoring subpoenas. We do know he wanted weapons on the Capitol site, and obviously these asswipes support his rantings of an illegitimate election loss.

“Control, power and seditious conspiracy:” Not only did Trump know he had lost, but he also wanted to lead his right-wing thugs there. His elected political allies who enabled this attempted coup were seeking pardons, so they all must be held accountable for their awful acts, too. Is anything else needed? That’s enough to put him and some others in jail for an attempted overthrow. He wanted so badly to be king, didn’t he?

“If I don’t stay president, I’m going to jail!” He then plunged to take the wheel and grabbed the SS agent. “WTF!” We needn’t be talking about the lunge at all. What’s established: Trump knew the mob was armed. He wanted an insurrection.

It’s also been entertaining and unfortunate to hear Trump trying to discredit her testimony as hearsay with his-say. His latest pushback: “I am too fat to reach the steering wheel in the limo?” That may be true; the problem is, it wasn’t the limo, dummy! I was hoping for a ketchup-soaked hamburger, which would hit the windshield first (wink wink).

It’s crazy, but it’s probably exactly how it went down. I am more than ever horrified now that there are millions of Americans that support this narcissistic conman. It’s distressing that they are blind to his criminal acts.

Throwing a tantrum in the backseat again! That’s what happens when you don’t have your out-of-control spoiled brat secured safely in a carseat. I believe that if Diaper Donald Trump lunged to grab the steering wheel of the SUV Beast, he should be charged with a seatbelt violation. That should solve everything! Or maybe a “carseat” violation?

Donald’s brain stopped developing with his toddlerlike “Big Brain!” It must have been exhausting being a Trump aide, having to carry around all those ketchup-flavored binkies in the event of a “small childlike frenzy” – the saddest thing, when a tantrum-throwing man/child holds the reins of this country. They probably gave Donnie a Happy Meal and a “McBottle” and put his orange ass to bed, only after they took him back to the White House and cheered on the insurrection.

Seriously, though, what was the Orange Menace going to do if he did get control of the wheel from a trained Secret Service agent? Turn it indignantly as the agent pulled off the accelerator? Reach for the horn like he was in a truck? Scream for Melania? The buffoon was never getting to the Capitol.

In conclusion: The only exercise Trump gets is when he throws a temper tantrum: throwing food, forward-lunging from the back seat of a moving vehicle, wailing hands while complaining. I see the possibility of a Trump-brand exercise video.

History is gonna rip him and his flock a new one. Release the dashcam! Get real footage from inside the belly of the Beast. Cassidy Jacqueline Hutchinson, thank you; you are a true American hero. Never forget January 6, 2021.

Remember the wonderful Joni Mitchell song, “They Paved Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot”? I don’t know about paradise, but they sure did put up a parking lot. The level of disregard for the environment at the Bear complex is absolutely staggering. The extent of bulldozed barren land and the sea of asphalt everywhere is an insult to the Town of Woodstock. The final touch is the fence hiding what is still green.

Everywhere one looks one sees the evidence of the heavy hand of man with too much money upon the land.

Get rid of the warmongers at the top

The Cold War is an idea that has festered in our political class since the end of World War II. And there have always been enough really insane leaders to push it along, Whole countries have been destroyed in proxy wars: Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. And all the while the technology of mutual destruction has gotten more deadly.

Was President Eisenhower talking about the costs of war in his famous “Cross of Iron” speech? Or was he referring to the possible end of all human life? He said that preparing for war “is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

Many presidents have spoken about peace, but very few have questioned the wisdom of conducting a dangerous Cold War with another nuclear power. NATO has been particularly aggressive since the fall of the Soviet Union. Although Gorbachev was assured by Western leaders that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe, the 14 Eastern European countries surrounding Russia are now all official NATO members. Ukraine was going to be next.

The people in both Russia and the US do not want a war – especially one that might end in nuclear Armageddon. What is wrong with our political parties that talk up military intervention? Why does our media misinform us about why Russia invaded Ukraine? For peace to really have a chance, we have to get rid of the warmongers at the top.

First, I want to compliment Rokosz Most on his fine article “Climb the mountain, Sisyphus!” in the recent edition of Hudson Valley One’s Explore magazine. Being intimately familiar with local firetowers (I was on the crew that rebuilt the Overlook Firetower 1999-2002 and currently occasionally volunteer at the new Upper Esopus Firetower at the Maurice B. Hinchey Catskills Visitor Center), his story struck a positive chord.

Two comments I would like to add, please: 1.) Everyone – please Leave No Trace. Leaving clementine/orange rinds is littering. There is no animal that eats them, and it can take six months to two years for them to break down. In the meanwhile, they are unsightly. Like everything else you bring into the woods, they should come back out with you. 2.) With the addition of the Upper Esopus Firetower at the Visitor Center (www.catskillsvisitorcenter.org), there are now six firetowers in the Catskills officially – sponsored by the Catskill Center and NYS DEC and the 2022 Firetower Challenge reflects that, including all six this year (www.dec.ny.gov).

Many, many thanks to everyone involved in bringing us wonderful fireworks again! Thank you certainly to Naccarato Insurance, Sawyer Motors and of course the Kiwanis Club.

Matching ground covers with your site

I feel guilty about the way I planted 50 Canada anemone plugs last weekend. These ground covers are native – despite the name – and they are aggressive. You wouldn’t want them in your flower garden, even though in June they produce charming white flowers with yellow centers.

I planted them around the base of two trees and I cheated, big-time. How did I cheat? Instead of laboriously pulling out every weed, I covered the desired area with cardboard, piled on three to four inches of compost, then planted each two-inch plug one foot apart. So easy that I wondered if it would possibly work.

And why plant native ground cover around the base of trees? It suppresses weeds, prevents erosion, of course, and provides winter habitat for some native pollinators. It also provides a safe place for birds and pollinators to hide and forage. And it looks great!

Since Canada anemones are aggressive, they’ll grow fast and be hardy. Any weeds that appear will effortlessly be removed because the compost is fluffy.

Lily of the valley, though not native, has some value for the base of trees, as do ferns, both of which have the advantage of not being on a deer’s menu. For more suggestions and to match ground covers with your site, go to native ground covers, then click: https://wildseedproject.net/2017/01/native-groundcovers-beauty-biodiversity-ground-level.

To our communities, elected officials of New York State and to all of the people living in the Hudson Valley:

We, the clergy leaders and spiritual leaders of the Kingston Interfaith Council, are calling for an immediate and complete ban of all assault weapons and all modifications of weapons that transform them into assault-style weapons. We call upon our neighbors and businesspeople who are financially benefiting from the sale of assault-style weapons to take the moral high ground and to immediately cease and desist from all sales of assault weapons and modifications that transform weapons into tools for murder.

We also ask that our law enforcement, the Kingston Police, the Ulster County Sheriff’s department and the New York State Police, work together with the full force of their departments to create a massive ongoing buyback program for assault weapons and all guns that people are willing to relinquish as they recognize a moral call to respond to the death and destruction that we have seeded in our American society.

Our children are being murdered in schools, staring down the barrels of assault weapons. Our youth are dying by suicide with the guns in our homes. Our siblings of color are being targeted and murdered in our streets, in our grocery stores and in movie theaters. Our neighbors are being targeted as well as murdered in their houses of worship. We must recognize that what we once called “safe spaces” are now sites of horrific and unspeakable violence, murder and destruction, and sites of lingering and lasting devastation to the communities that surround them and the loved ones, survivors and support teams left behind. We can change this!

No more hiding behind rhetoric. We call on our politicians and government officials to take responsibility and take action. Our communities expect and demand that you do what is right and necessary to stop these atrocities from continuing to happen.

As leaders of faith communities, we are willing to call out power with truth; we recognize the moral failings of our addiction to guns and the moral failings of complicity and silence. Our shared values and faith traditions teach us: “To save one soul, it is as if you have saved the entire world.” “The hurt of one is the hurt of all.” “We are our ‘others’’ keepers.” It is long overdue for us to act.

We, the clergy leaders of the Kingston Interfaith Council, are calling for an immediate and complete ban of all assault weapons and all modifications of any weapon that transform them into assault-style weapons in the Hudson Valley and in New York State. As leaders of faith, perhaps we ought to be calling for a complete ban on all guns. We refrain from calling for this today for the purpose of bringing everyone along with us in our commonsense call for saving innocent lives by banning assault weapons. No American citizen needs to be armed with a weapon of war. We want our children to have a future, we want our neighbors to feel safe in their communities and we want our law enforcement to be able to do their jobs.

Our loved ones’ lives depend on your having the courage to enact immediate measures to change the trajectory that we are on.

Rabbi Yael Romer, DD (she/her) Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley

Rev. Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone (she/her) Vassar College/Fourth Universalist Society

Rev. Frank J. Alagna, PhD Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church

Rev. Filomena Servellon Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church

Rev. Dr. Renee S. House Rev. Dr. Joy MacVane Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church

Khalid Khan Muslim Association of Ulster County

Rev. Bob Janis-Dillon Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills

Alexandra Schleuderer, (she/her) cantorial soloist Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley

Rev. Dr. Faye Banks Taylor St. Mark’s Chapel AME Church

Suzanne Campise MDiv. Presbyterian Church USA

Jack Sherratt, rabbinic intern Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley

Melanie Wisniewski Tikkun Olam Committee, Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley

Rev. Paul M. Britton Immanuel Lutheran Church, Kingston

Margot Jepson, KIC secretary Holy Cross/Santa Cruz

Rev. Dr. G. Modele Clarke, pastor emeritus New Progressive Baptist Church

Rev. Evelyn Clarke New Progressive Baptist Church

Rev. Charles McComb New Progressive Baptist Church

Pastor James Child Pointe of Praise, Kingston

On July 5, Terramor Resorts submitted their plan for 75 luxury tent sites (each with accommodations for five persons), 75 private bathrooms, 75 showers, 75 firepits, a huge Main Lodge for weddings and other events, an oversized swimming pool and a staff dormitory for 25 along Route 212 in Saugerties by South Peak Veterinary Hospital… right next door to residential neighborhoods. That’s up to 400 people per day and up to 25,000 (!) additional vehicle trips over the course of our busy summer season.

This proposed development would occur on an already-dangerous stretch of Route 212 that includes the historically hazardous intersection at Shultis Corners at 212 and Glasco Turnpike, which itself is less than a mile from the Woodstock Day School. We maintain that this busy area is not typical of a rural “glamping” experience as Terramor would have us believe; this project, which would normally be situated on a parcel at least twice the size, is instead proposed to unceremoniously cram a 400-person resort and wedding venue into the middle of a peaceful residential district. This project would disrupt the land’s resources, endanger our public safety and threaten the peaceful enjoyment of our homes, our neighborhood and our lives. It would also effectively put 75 new short-term rentals (and we’ve all heard those horror stories) on the market every day at a time our towns are passing laws to restrict them.

Fellow citizens, we need to show the Town of Saugerties Planning Board on July 19 that we as a community strongly object to this project (which is actually ten miles from the center of Saugerties and is, for all practical purposes, in Woodstock) that would put tax dollars into their coffers at our expense. We humbly request that all concerned with this precedent-setting proposal personally find the time to attend the Saugerties Planning Board meeting to express their dissatisfaction with this egregious project. That’s on July 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Center, by Cantine Field on the corner of Washington and Market Street. We ask for your support and hope to see you there.

Alan Gould, Alan Seager, Bonnie Monchik, Camellia Lee, Cory Smith, Lesley Robson Foster, Matthew Cohen, Michael Kolber, Renee Rothkopf, Richard Buck, Richard Isaacs, Robert Miller, Rod Sherman Woodstock

Development proposals under review by Gardiner’s Planning Board have attracted much attention in these pages. Glenn Gidaly’s letter (6/15/22, p. 23) offers important insights and raises timely questions about citizen complaints against them. He points out that an application by John Alexander is for the construction of just one home on 108 acres, and that 80 acres of the property would be designated for an easement prohibiting any development on it. This swath of land under the easement would then be forever protected in its natural state. He contrasts that proposal with the application made by the Gunks Climbers’ Coalition, which calls for construction of a driveway and eight parking spaces to give its members convenient access to the Ridge, yet has no provision for restrooms or monitoring of the site.

He makes a valid argument, for Gardiner’s Planning Board is receiving numerous objections to Alexander’s proposal, while getting none about the Climbers’ proposal. His concern is that the latter project entails potential risks to the environment, but no one is challenging it. Although his argument is well-taken and persuasive, he does not clearly settle the question of what to do about this hypocrisy.

Mr. Gidaly’s implied resolution to the hypocrisy is that the Gunks Climbers’ Coalition proposal should be challenged, not Alexander’s. But what about the 28 acres on Mr. Alexander’s property that will not be under an easement? Can we expect a brand-new proposal (say, for still another glamping facility) down the road? An alternative resolution – one that would be ecologically more inclusive and likely to attract broader public support – deserves consideration. Namely, any proposal that might reduce available habitat or disturb a given ecosystem should call for thorough review by independent experts and regulatory agencies (including Planning Boards and Environmental Commissions, but not restricted to them).

The very same rigorous review should be carried out whether the application is made by well-intended climbers, high-minded conservationists, private contractors, investment consortiums, political cronies, neighborly homeowners, land developers from Saudi Arabia or anyone else. For the sake of transparency and environmental justice, the community’s voters and taxpayers should also have the right to review the proposal, ask questions about it and offer their own input on it. There is a compelling justification for such an even-handed approach to proposed development projects.

In recent decades, far too much laxity in the issuance of permits and other accommodations has been granted to developers, here in the Catskills and across the country. Developers have thereby managed to avoid environmental impact hearings in which they would face cross-examination about their optimistic assurances and extravagant claims.

My concern is not that any individual development project is going to destroy life on Earth or cause species extinction on the Ridge. The real problem is an inconvenient truth: The accelerating pace of land development in urban and rural communities, as well as the incursions into forests and wetlands – all seemingly harmless at first glance if taken as individual events – have a cumulative and catastrophic effect on ecosystems locally as well as globally. Insect populations, amphibians, bats, owls and other raptors, timber rattlers and other wildlife are today far less common than they were even a few decades ago. And they face many diseases arising from habitat loss, light pollution, sound pollution, pesticide exposure and carbon footprints at every turn.

Space considerations preclude a discussion here about how our own public health is gravely harmed by these relentless and rarely challenged disturbances of ecosystems. COVID, AIDS, Lyme disease and monkeypox are just a few examples of the consequences arising from loose or nonexistent regulation of land development. This ominous trend is local as well as global, and we need to do whatever is possible in Gardiner (and everywhere else!) to reverse it.

Elder is a word I never imagined myself becoming. When I was a boy, my elders sent me to war. In the war, I learned my elders sent me to fight an unjust war. So, I became living capital, like cows and chickens. When I came home, I wrote a piece titled Old Men Can Be Bastards. The first line in Robert McNamara’s book In Retrospect is: “This is a book I planned never to write.” My question was, “What was he planning on doing with the memories of his 58,000 dead Americans in the unjust Vietnam War?”

Perhaps today’s youth has the Internet as a distraction from their elders’ plans for the rest of their lives. Instead of war rhetoric of protecting women and children from enemies, they daily listen to news about school and parade shootings. So, who is left for them to trust? The answer must be Google and Amazon, which deliver more dependability than our government elders will ever.

My generation was given moral blueprints for living that came from family values, churches, Boy and Girl Scouts, ball teams and Walt Disney films. All this was delivered to keep the young on a course to becoming good consumers who would shun rebellion because we were the only genuinely moral country on the planet.

Hanging out with my Black brothers, Marines in Vietnam, I was introduced to Gil Scott-Heron’s song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” The song was banned from the radio. It carried more truth than politicians could tolerate.

“You will not be able to stay home, brother You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out You will not be able to lose yourself on skag And skip out for beer during commercials, because The revolution will not be televised”

This song helped me see that the Black community understood why we were sent to war by politicians way beyond the white protesting college students. Today the Black community understands why our civil war body-count statistics rise daily in America. All wars are driven by capital: Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine and race wars. Frontline soldiers alone carry the country’s guilt, lack of moral responsibility and shame for destroying humanity, while the wealthy make sure “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” These powerbrokers protect Blacks like Clarence Thomas, our only Black Supreme Court judge, in the back rooms, so they appear to support Blacks.

My generation swept Vietnam, the lost war, under a thick carpet of cash and has never uncovered what that war did to the soul of our country. Our politicians learned that if you can hide the inhumanity of a war with cash, you can cover up the destruction of the environment in which you live. Today’s computer wars, drone wars and race wars are all feeding capital to the engines of progress. So don’t bother turning on the TV; our wealthy own the media and “The revolution will not be televised.”

It appears to me that having that rusted 55-gallon drum lying alongside the entranceway to the Big Deep, reminding me of a junkyard in Brooklyn, is not the solution to the summertime problems we have had there in the past several years.

New district lines, overlapping elections cause political confusion

The recently redrawn Congressional District boundaries have greatly affected the 2022 election situation here in the Capital Region. My eastern Rensselaer County home was previously in the 19th District, represented by Antonio Delgado, who has resigned his seat to become lieutenant governor. The 19th District’s boundaries have been radically altered. I now live in the 21st District, represented by Elise Stefanik. That’s quite a change from one of the most progressive members of the New York delegation to a self described “ultra-MAGA” Trump supporter.

A special election on August 23 will fill the remaining five months of Delgado’s term. Republican Marc Molinaro faces Democrat Pat Ryan, with Molinaro ahead in the current polls. Molinaro is also running for the full-term 19th District seat in November, while Ryan is running for the new 18th District seat in November.

On August 23, I’ll be voting in the old 19th special election and the new 21st District primary. In November I’ll be voting in the 21st District race.

I was concerned that this confusing situation might require me to go to different polling places or reregister, but a call to the Rensselaer County Board of Elections was reassuring. They seem very on top of it. There will be no change in polling places. Voters will be given the appropriate ballots for both contests, with no need to re register or submit any forms.

While I got some answers, I worry that a lot of people don’t know this is happening and, if they’re planning to vote by mail or absentee, they may miss deadlines they didn’t know existed. I plan to vote in person, as that seems the easiest way to make sure all goes well. I wish there was more publicity about all this!

I’m left wondering about the logic behind these new District lines. They seem designed to lock in partisan results. My vote in the old 19th District, which was competitive, felt like it mattered to the outcome. Unfortunately, my vote in the 21st, which is +17 points Republican, probably will not.

Last week I submitted to the readers an article from the National Committee for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM). This article described the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) that the Republicans and moderate Democrats are trying to pass. If this passes both Chambers of Congress and the POTUS signs off on it – whoever that is in 2024 – our benefits as we have been experiencing are over. The key word here is “experiencing”: experiencing as we know them now.

They will not just disappear. The BBA, if passed, will set in motion drastic cuts in these benefits. Let’s recap thus far: (1) A Payroll Executive Tax. If this went through, all Social Security funding would have come to a halt. Without this funding, there is no Social Security. This means the 7.65 percent, matched by the employer, is not taken out of an employee’s paycheck (a total of 15.3 percent includes Medicare of $1.45, employee and employer, matched). This would be yours to spend, invest or put under your mattress, do whatever. (Donald Trump tried to pass this. It was defeated.)

Right now, if FICA went under, the Social Security Reserve Fund would kick in. I believe we would receive our benefits as we are now until 2034. At this time, all benefits would be reduced by about 20 percent. So, someone at age 67, retired, drawing $1,500 a month in 2022 for an annual of $18,000, would be reduced the amount of approximately $300 per month, with an annual of $14,400 when they are 79 years of age. This would be a large cut when needed the most, particularly if they had no pension or other source of income!

There would still be some benefits. But the real problem would be Medicare. We contribute $1.45, matched by the employer. This also would not be there. The cost of medical care for cancer operations, heart procedures and a host of health problems would not then be picked up by Medicare, but instead by your private insurance company, if there was one. But they all have caps.

To sum up, we are aware of five attacks upon our benefits. (2) The BBA, a constitutional amendment that would address our benefits to reduce the large deficit. (3) Privatization, the money is yours to do whatever: invest or save. (4) Trust Act. This is where “fast-track” committees are instituted to fast-track dialogue past the rank and file, not allowing for any dialogue. (5) REACH: perhaps the most nefarious one of the four. Here corporate middlemen are allocated a portion of each senior’s medical expenses. What they don’t pay for each senior’s medical expenses, they keep for themselves; there is a built-in profit motive here and certainly not for the senior citizen!

I get this information from the AARP and the NCPSSM, as well as from contributors to the newspapers, such as some of you, espousing their point of view regarding their benefits. Here are five scenarios being contemplating by the GOP; and I believe this is just the “tip of the iceberg” of what is being contemplated.

The background to this is the Hoover administration and the Republican presidents before him. Their emphasis was “business only”: Let the states manage their own affairs. This attitude, particularly the banking industry’s, led directly to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Last week, I gave the readers the breakdown of Congress as they voted for FDR’s Social Security Act of 1935. From that time on, the GOP has been against this liberal state stemming from FDR’s New Deal – not just this program, but many others as well.

The GOP senators are fearful of Trump – not to the extent we are led to believe. The pressure mainly is coming from the “old line” party platform, the party bosses. The party line is: “Keep your mouth shut and go along with this platform. We are on the cusp of getting rid of this liberal state of the last 86 years.” To wit: the abolition of Roe v. Wade by the conservative Supreme Court is just the beginning. “How about gay marriages/relationships?” “How about environmental regulations?” to name a few.

If both chambers of Congress go Republican this November in the midterm elections, my worst fear is realized. If Trump runs again, and he will with a GOP Congress, and if reelected, FDR’s New Deal programs will start to go by the wayside. My benefits are going to undergo vicious attacks to get the federal government out from under the social concerns of the states.

At my age of 84 to be, I am not going to stand by and watch my benefits go under. I urge all seniors to get involved to bring this juggernaut under control. With 50-plus million seniors drawing benefits or beginning to draw benefits, this is one mighty powerhouse of voting power and can turn out on the street any and all of these “money men.” Contact your friends and family members in other states and let them know the seriousness of this situation.

Support the AARP and the NCPSSM. And vote!

Objectivity & Neil Jarmel: oxymorons

When will we ever hear Neil address an issue – any issue – from two or more points of view? The easy answer: Don’t hold your breath. Sadly, we may never see an end to Neil’s Trump-obsessed broken record, as it is probably made from a mix of tungsten, steel and titanium.

I have to say that I do agree with Neil on two points. Even though I am not a gun-owner, but firmly believe in our Second Amendment rights, I see absolutely no need for a civilian of any age to own an automatic, military-style assault weapon for hunting, target practice, sport, in defending oneself, family or property or for any other reason.

Even though Neil exaggerated a bit, schools do need some physical and structural beefing-up. I suggest:

1. An armed and trained SRO (school resource officer) accompanied by a metal detector at the main entrance.

2. All other exits in the school need to be one-way exits with no reentry possibilities, mainly for fire and other emergency reasons.

3. Double door entry at the main entrance with locks on both sets of doors to be engaged after school classes are under way. Anyone wishing to gain entrance to the school must produce the required ID either over an intercom/camera system or to the SRO at the entrance before being buzzed into the school. All schools need to be retrofitted with these measures. Had this easy solution been done many shootings ago, look how many kids and teachers would still be with us today.

Obviously, our children’s lives are more important than any budget. The federal government could render financial assistance to all schools instead of the wasteful and absurd spending it provides for studies and other nonsensical trivial garbage you wouldn’t believe – for example, a federal grant to study how cocaine affects the sexual behavior of Japanese quails! If you don’t believe me, google it and I’m sure you’ll find other similar farcical wastes of our tax dollars.

Enough agreement with Neil. The meaning and intent of “thoughts and prayers,” apparently, escapes Neil. He doesn’t know that it’s an expression of sympathy, compassion and empathy for those gravely affected by such shooting tragedies. I think Neil believes that “thoughts and prayers” are supposed to stop all future tragedies from happening.

Regarding all shootings, of course Neil continues to blame Republicans for everything. Curiously, he “forgot” to mention a key root cause (some would argue the root cause) of gun violence, especially mass shootings, is the severe mental health problems of the shooters. For starters, there has to be a better and more thorough way of conducting background checks, which now needs to include extensive review of social media posts, in identifying and preventing these people from ever owning a gun. Most recently, a colossal failure of inadequate or incompetent screening without any serious follow-up was demonstrated with the clearly documented Crimo history before his July 4 parade shooting in Illinois. If initial reports about his father’s lying and support of his son getting his gun(s) is true, then his father should be sharing a cell with his son.

Regarding Neil’s continued misuse of the terms “insurrection” and “coup,” it was established in prior letters that insurrections and coups are extremely well-planned and organized while involving hundreds, if not several thousand, very well-armed invaders, and which events involve much bloodshed, culminating in a successful takeover. These types of events were hardly reflected by the actions of rioters in a timeframe that didn’t even last one full day. And what an obscene abuse and waste of taxpayer dollars in beating a dead horse for a year-and-a-half to accomplish what should have been done in several months, at best. And isn’t it both funny and sad how our same government spent less than one percent of the same time, money and resources in pretending to “find justice” for the $1 to 2 billion in damages caused by leftists, BLM, Antifa et cetera during the “2020 summer of love”? 

Meanwhile, we’re all still waiting, Neil, for you to address the real concerns of the 88 percent of Americans who see your superhero, Uncle Joe, leading us in the wrong direction.

Despite former POTUS Obama’s recent expressions of support for him in the Feedback section (“Joe’s Still the One” and The POTUS Man”), because of his 36 percent approval rating POTUS Biden was depressed. Feeling unappreciated and unloved for his efforts to destroy the fossil fuel industry in America in order to make the country “green and clean,” Joe wondered what else he could do to become more popular. After all, hadn’t he tapped our energy reserves and asked the oil companies he was trying to undermine to pay their fair share in taxes and increase production? And wasn’t he encouraging gas station owners – despite their low profit margins – to lower prices in order to combat “Putin’s tax hike,” their increased costs notwithstanding? And wasn’t he asking the “pariah” oil producer, Saudi Arabia and OPEC, to increase oil production? And anyway, what did they expect, since Obama’s secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, once stated, “Joe Biden has been on the wrong side of every foreign affairs and national security decision made in the past 40 years”?

In any event, POTUS Biden knew he had to do something to lift his spirits and regain his “Scranton Joe” confidence. Remembering the unwavering and unwarranted support of his loyal (we’re still glad Trump’s not POTUS) base, POTUS Biden asked George Civile to pen the following tune and attribute it to “Joe Biden” as an expression of gratitude to his staunch (we don’t like Joe we just hate Trump) supporters. Mr. Civile said Joe advised him to suggest that the song should be sung to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.”

Said “I’d unite us make your dreams come true”

But there’s something that you always knew

Like Obama I’d tell big lies to you

Yet you gave to me your love

When critics yearn for Donald’s orange hair

And Bill Maher says I’m not all there

You just say my critics aren’t fair

And then I feel your love

I know your mind is really set on me

Though everything I do goes wrong

Just like RINOs who want to be Trump-free

Your faithful love’s constant and strong

When on the TV hated Liz appears

And she touts her insurrection fears

You’ll cheer her story for a million years

And then I feel your love

Though Hannity and Carlson tear me down

And Ingraham says I’m just a stumbling clown

Watching Morning Joe makes me come around

And helps me feel some love

Inflation’s getting higher every day

And yet my base feels no regret

They never blame a single thing on me

And so eagerly forgive and forget

The border problem will not go away

I made it happen and it’s here to stay

It’s overrun and I hope it stays that way

Yet I still feel your love

And so I start this day renewed in hope

And though critics call me a bumbling mope

Or use another mean sarcastic trope

You make me feel your love

The Supreme Court in the United States has been respected for years as having top judicial minds. For as long as I have been alive, their decisions have guided our nation through many challenging times. The Court has not always made the best decisions, based on my humble point of view, but they’ve always been respected. Their group opinions matter, and our nation has followed their guidance dutifully. Unfortunately, though, things appear to be changing.

The first outrage: On February 13, 2016, chief justice Antonin Scalia died. Soon after, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacated seat. However, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, refused to give Garland a chance to be confirmed, even though there was more than eight months before the upcoming presidential election.

The second outrage: After Trump won the 2016 election, he immediately nominated Neil Gorsuch to replace Scalia’s position on the bench. He was confirmed shortly thereafter, with a simple majority of senators voting for him. Early in 2017, thanks to McConnell’s efforts again, the filibuster was conveniently removed for confirming Supreme Court justices.

The third outrage: The Republicans on the Judiciary Committee stubbornly voted to confirm Bret Cavanagh for the next Supreme Court opening, despite all kinds of serious questions about his past. The seat opened when Justice Kennedy suddenly resigned. To this day there are questions about Kennedy’s abrupt resignation.

The fourth outrage: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 13, 2020. On October 20, only one month later, Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to fill the vacated seat. She was swiftly confirmed on October 27, only seven days later. The hearing and confirmation were fast-tracked like never before. Why? Because the presidential election was to take place just seven days after her confirmation, on November 3. This was a total reversal of procedure from the events with Merrick Garland in 2016.

The egregious cheating and manipulations of the stacking of the Supreme Court by McConnell and the Republicans over the past four years took place in full view of America. When policeman Derek Chauvin was filmed in broad daylight killing George Floyd, he was convicted, and is now serving years in prison. He may very well be still working as a policeman if there was no film of the murder. But as I write this, the illicit behavior of McConnell and the Republican party that took place in full view of our nation has not been confronted. Why not? It was flagrant and obvious, just like the video taken of Chauvin’s foot pressing down on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes.

I’m outraged that the Republican Party and Mitch McConnell have basically gotten away with murder. Aren’t you?

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention!” (quote from Heather Heyer)

Bordering Route 212 just west of Glasco Turnpike sits 75 acres of untouched forest and wetlands.  This parcel has been purchased by Kampgrounds of America to be developed, under a Special Use Permit, into a “glamping” resort named Terramor.  They initially presented themselves to the community in a get-to-know-you gathering as a “good-neighbor” alternative to a traditional development: “love of locale…a strong community partner” and only 50 tents — a number, we were told, financially necessary to turn a profit.  But their words are starting to ring hollow.

Just a month later they had increased the number of proposed tents by 50 percent, to 75.  And what does that number really mean? On a given day, when Terramor is full, it means 400-425 people, including staff, 75 bathrooms in use, each with a toilet and shower (these are not your ordinary camping tents), 75 fire pits, 75 sources of amplified music, if the guests wish, “only allowed until 10 p.m.,” says Terramor, which is small solace.  Unlike this company’s glamping resort in Maine, this land is in close proximity to residential homes, all of which will be affected by the greatly expanded strain on the aquifer, by pesticide use, by water runoff, by air and sound and light pollution.

The neighboring communities well understand that this land is valuable, and short of a white-knight land conservancy stepping in to keep it wild, it will be developed, but certainly the size and scope of this project (which will include a full-size swimming pool and lodge for events like weddings) seems wildly out of proportion…not to mention the collateral effect on Route 212 where the entrance to and exit from the resort will be, into traffic along a stretch of 55mph roadway already known to be dangerous.

My home doesn’t border Terramor.  I will be little affected by proximity.  But the homes of my friends and neighbors will be.  And in truth, this development will affect everyone who lives in Saugerties or Woodstock and makes use of Route 212.

Terramor’s parcel of land is in Saugerties township.  Their proposal for a special use permit will be coming before the Saugerties Planning Board on Tuesday, July 19, 7:30 p.m., at the Frank D. Greco Memorial Senior Citizen Recreation Center, Cantine Memorial Field, 207 Market Street, Saugerties.

As part of a group of concerned neighbors, I encourage anyone who wants to see this project stopped, or at least substantially downsized, to attend the Planning Board meeting.  It is not a forum in which the public will be permitted to speak, but there is strength in numbers.  A substantial showing will absolutely make a difference.  Be there!

I would like to THANK the Woodstock Library Board for their diligence, transparency and care in guiding the purchase and development of the new library in our town.  The residents of the town can now look forward to a library that is more fully responsive to their needs and that has been resoundingly approved by the community.  Wherever differences of opinion may still exist with regard to the purchase, may there be respectful listening and sharing of ideas that promote a positive evolution of this important entity.

On other topics, PLEASE urge our local, state and national leaders to take action on the following:  Sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) — 86 nations have signed, 60 have ratified, none of the nuclear nations have signed (US, Russia, China, France, Israel, India, North Korea, Pakistan and the UK) — all of these should be influenced to sign;  the death penalty — several executions are being scheduled to be carried out this year — contact Death Penalty Action, Catholic Mobilizing Network and/or Innocence Project; honest negotiation and dialogue rather than militarization where there is war, especially Ukraine — research the International Peace Bureau (IPB), International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Pax Christi and/or New York Peace Action (NYPA);  the NY State Excluded Workers Fund;  a workable and humane process to provide a path to citizenship for those seeking to come to the US;  climate change;  other concerns.  Through networking, local and state leaders can exert a broader influence than just on the region that they represent.  Our responsibility is to let our leaders know our concerns!  May we move forward with patience, humility, forgiveness and gratitude.

Corporate decision makers search for any “glitch removers’, all the while they’re bathed in green greed.

Shots rang out! Tequila on the house!

Orthopedically speaking — arthritis is the enemy of the people

There was a rather odd and nearly local peashooter Incident involving Wasabi peas.

As all of us await our whatever back orders to modulate, there again lingers the looming linguini.

Off to my new gig — deer-crossing guard. TA-TA!

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