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.
Psychopathy and war
When life and death are in the minds and hands of a small group of men controlling world powers, their psychological pathology becomes as dangerous as a nuclear bomb. My first Google inquiry returned this definition of psychopathy: “A neuropsychiatric disorder marked by deficient emotional responses, lack of empathy and poor behavioral controls, commonly resulting in persistent antisocial deviance and criminal behavior.”
Please make no mistake; a psychopath’s action occurred in Ukraine. Putin is fighting for his physical and political life as a 69-year-old man. Russia’s fragile economy and powerful oligarchs hold all the wealth and power. Putin uses fear and violence to maintain his power position. His tool of murdering his challengers with poison keeps the public distracted from Putin’s military decisions. Putin knows that war will keep the Russian public preoccupied with maintaining their existence, with little room left with which to manifest an organized protest.
Today, in America, race riots have been triggered to turn the public attention away from political decisions concerning voting and birth control. Add former president Trump’s civil and criminal charges on the nightly news, plus the pandemic, and the public mind space is overloaded. Emotional distraction draws the media away from power grabs manifesting in the back rooms of our political institutions. The oil lines zigzagging across American lands become a metaphor for the digital pipelines that carry distraction into every American mind. Unfortunately, Trump’s election proved emotional pathology seduces the media from exposing the reality of yet an un-sentenced criminal.
Hitler, Roy Cohen, Putin, Trump, Xi Jing Ping and Kim Jun Ung are all characters who use the emotions of fear and anger to distract the public from using their common sense and logical minds. But unfortunately, the vast majority of humans have to use their minds to make a living; this limited capacity makes them a critical target of political psychopaths.
Today, those with political power can multiply that power by digitally amplifying it with their psychopathology, manufacturing almost instant distraction from actual current events. Distraction results in the wealthy and politically pathological psychopaths manipulating the hearts and souls of the ordinary folks of the world.
To Russia with love
Breaking news: Donald J. Trump “Putin America First” – not so unbelievable, but staggeringly stupid. Trump, the leading contender for the GOP nomination in 2024, praises Vladimir Putin for invading and going to war with Ukraine, a democratic country (classic Putin fascism: occupying Ukraine, not respecting its basic sovereignty, and calling it all peacekeeping).
This isn’t shocking at all. It must warm Trump’s itty-bitty heart to see his dear friend and mentor terrorizing the world again. It’s what dreams are made of.
He is so under Putin’s thumb. But then again, who really cares what Putin’s puppet has to say about the situation, as he will just parrot what his puppetmaster says, right? Mexico better hope that Trump never gets elected again. He will follow in his good friend’s footsteps and declare northern Mexico part of the US. But then again, there are too many brown people for his taste there. He may instead set his sights on Canada: more in line with this bigot’s tastes.
Many in the Republican Party are also cheering Putin alongside their dear leader Trump. The American right wing is getting in the habit of calling evil good and good evil. It’s a truly twisted and perverse perception of a dangerous world, and the scary thing is, it’s catching on. Former GOP and once-revered president Ronald Reagan is spinning in his grave.
Trump’s interests don’t align with the interests of the United States of America. He now has doubled down on his Putin commentary and his praise for him. Trump is completely broken inside. His “insane adulation” for a communist dictator and Russia’s aggression is beyond the pale; its only purpose IMHO is to attack our country’s foreign policy and our NATO alliance, as well as to divide Americans.
How have we gotten to the point that the leader of the GOP, the last secretary of state, some of the Republican party’s most vocal members and a major USA TV network are actively taking Russia’s side in a conflict with America and the West? Shameful.
Knowing Trump’s behavior/modus operandi, he’s probably kissing Putin’s ass so, when the day comes and it looks like he’s gonna be thrown in jail, he has a place to run to and escape American justice! Treasonous and seditious Trump needs to go to jail, where he can live out his days. “Do unto traitors, even a former president, what is traditionally done unto traitors.”
Nothing says anti-American like Trumpism and of course, the former GOP, who are now “Trump Republicans.” They collectively have no respect for freedom. They cheerlead for our enemies and weaken us. Why? Because they cannot put politics aside, as Joe Biden is our “Big D” Democratic president, and they’ll never support him.
WTF is wrong with these people? War isn’t good for anyone!
I’ve read a great many assertions on these pages defending Donald J. Trump that have provided a hearty laugh – but none more so than the claim that his critics only hate him because of his personality and the fact that “he kept his campaign promises.” I’m glad I wasn’t drinking a hot beverage at the time.
Although we can be thankful that many of the former president’s promises were left unfulfilled – particularly those that involved locking up political opponents – the list of signature campaign pledges that never came close to fruition is historically long. A partial list:
He repeatedly promised a healthcare plan that was always “two weeks away,” but never materialized.
His numerous failed attempts to roll out an infrastructure plan became a running joke.
His promise to wipe out the federal debt actually resulted in a nearly $8 trillion increase.
He swore he’d “drain the swamp” of corrupt officials, but effectively turned the swamp into a Superfund site, with his appointments racking up more indictments and ethics violations than any administration in history.
He promised much greater economic growth than his predecessor, but, even if you ignore his 2020 performance, his growth was virtually identical to Obama’s.
His boasts that he’d be the “greatest jobs president ever” were catastrophically wrong, and he became the first president since Herbert Hoover to end his term with fewer Americans employed.
He said he’d make America more respected, but polling consistently showed that our global reputation during his term plummeted – except, predictably, in Russia.
And, of course, his two most notorious campaign promises – that he’d build a “big, beautiful wall” along the southern border that Mexico would pay for – resulted in barely 50 miles of new structure and a $15 billion tab that was predictably borne by American taxpayers.
For most of us, Trump’s failure to honor his word isn’t remotely a surprise. As former mayor Ed Koch once wryly observed, “I wouldn’t believe Donald Trump if his tongue were notarized.”
Another “legitimate political discourse?”
Hitler’s takeover of Sudetenland in 1938 presaged the start of WWII. Russian crushing of the Hungarian revolution in 1956 was very violent and deadly, and resulted in hundreds of thousands emigrating. Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 to annihilate the “socialism with human face” movement was totally unanticipated. We woke up in early hours and heard much too many planes…later, there was a Russian tank parked in the courtyard of the Charles University. The invasion resulted in 20 years of “age of darkness” with cultural, intellectual and political devastation. . (I did not live through THAT; I emigrated in 1969 to the USA) But there was no killing and no buildings were bombarded. Was Brezhnev more “civilized” than the current paranoid maniac?
Putin is a hypocritical barbarian: he wants to protect the “wayward” Ukraine from the West and bring it back to the “motherland”, yet he goes on a killing spree, and he is destroying most of the country. World opinion matters to him not, because, to his deranged mind, he is doing the right thing.
What evil will happen where next? Where will this lead the world?
Every winter for the past few years, Interfaith Earth Action, New Paltz Climate Action Coalition and the New Paltz Climate Smart Task Force have sponsored an event featuring environmentally beneficial home improvements to keep the heat in and the cold winter weather out. This March, these environmental organizations are taking a new tack. As we emerge from a bitter winter and the isolation imposed by Omicron, this year’s event focuses on escaping from the clutches of single-use plastics and other “disposable” packaging and utensils, and finding new methods to shop for food and other household products.
You can Zoom into Spring Forward: Ditch Disposables on Wednesday, March 16, at 6 p.m. The program will feature Megan Wolff, Policy Director of Beyond Plastics, discussing the impact of plastics on the climate and our health; Iris Marie Bloom, Director of Protecting Our Waters, on the latest legislation banning the use of some single-use plastics; and Lisa Lindsley, Director of Investor Engagement at Majority Action, focusing on leading outreach with institutional investors to support their efforts to implement sustainable business strategies.
A highlight of the event will be the debut a new MAP (My Alternatives to Plastics) that directs shoppers to local businesses where they can buy in bulk, refill liquids, or bring their own containers and to restaurants that are “tiffin friendly.” Tiffins are reusable stainless-steel containers that are perfect for take-out.
RSVP for this free event at www.bit.ly/springforward2022.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the war going on in Ukraine. I will tell you about how the war is affecting people from all over the world. I would also like to tell you how to help Ukraine.
First let’s talk about the impact this war has on the Ukrainian people who have to flee their homes. Over 350,000 refugees have already been displaced. They mostly fled to Poland where they were given food and a place to stay. Most of the refugees have had to flee with only part of their family, because they were stopped at the border (because men from ages 18-60 had to fight Russia in the war, or anyone that chose to fight Russia).
Another reason is because if Putin takes over Ukraine, he will most likely not stop and try to recreate the Russian Empire, and that would most likely lead to a World War III. That would be very dangerous because we have weapons like the nuclear bomb which would lead to disaster.
Imagine you were in Ukraine and you had to leave family members behind, along with everything you ever knew. Or having to stay behind and fight Russia’s army who have superior weapons, and having missiles rained on you.
One way to help Ukraine would be to donate to the refugees. For this I would recommend the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund. I hope I have convinced you to help Ukraine.
Alexander Preston, age 11
A commentator recently wrote: “Joe Biden’s policy failures are the result of Joe acting like a man who has a broken fan belt and opening the trunk of his car to fix a flat tire in order to remedy the problem.” With this in view, it is not surprising that many of President Biden’s decisions, among them, the choice of Kamala Harris as VP, the reversal of Trump’s border and energy policies, the precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan and his puzzling relationship with Russia and Ukraine, have proven to be problematic if not disastrous. And yet, despite all this and inflation rising to record-breaking rates during his first year, because of “Jarmel-like” Trump hatred, many of the 81 million people who voted for Joe Biden would do so again if he ran against Donald Trump in 2024. The following is inspired by such voters and the hope that they will come to their senses.
This parody (titled “Run”) should be sung to the tune of the “oldie but goodie” “Stay.” The reader should imagine it being sung to Donald Trump by a repentant Neil Jarmel with the enthusiastic gratitude and humility of a recent convert who has realized he was once blind to the folly of his Trump Derangement Syndrome, “but now can see.”
Run for another four more years
Please, please, please, please, please
Say that you’re going to
Now Pelosi will mind
And Chuck Schumer will mind
But we need to have four more years
Just one more
One more time
Oh, won’t you run
For another four more years
Please let me hear
You say that you will
(Say you will)
Won’t you send a sweet tweet
I’ll be loyal to you
All of the time
Run for another four more years
Please, please, please, please, please
Say that you’re going to
Now our country’s declined
Please let us hear
You say that you’ll run
(Say you’ll run)
Won’t you hold a rally
‘Cos we need to hear the
Words that you’ll speak
VP Harris is weak
And old Joe is asleep
Please make it clear
That you’ll surely run
Oh, won’t you run
For another four more years
Please let me hear
You say that you will
Come on, come on, come on, run
Come on, come on, come on, run
My, my, my, my, run
Come on, come on, come on, run
What is he thinking?
George Civile’s brain must have a prodigious amount of space devoted to creative thinking. Putting together his weekly ditties is a testament to that. So much space, in fact, that it must have appropriated some of his memory storage areas. To wit:
He claims (2/16/22) that Trump has “kept his campaign promises…in the face of unprecedented opposition from the opposing party.” Really? Unprecedented? Republican opposition to Obama set the bar for political opposition.
As for campaign promises? Here are a few of the scores that he hasn’t kept:
1. He said he won’t have time to play golf if elected president. But he had made more than 250 visits to his golf clubs since he took office: a record for any president.
2. He said he would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something “beautiful.” It didn’t happen. Instead, seven million Americans had lost their health insurance since he took office. He has asked the Supreme Court to strike down the law in the middle of a global pandemic, with no plan to replace it.
3. He said he’d cut your taxes, and that the super-rich like him would pay more. He did the opposite. By 2027, the richest one percent will have received 83 percent of the Trump tax cut and the richest 0.1 percent 60 percent of it. But more than half of all Americans will pay more in taxes.
4. He said he wouldn’t “cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” His latest budget included billions in cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
5. He promised to eliminate the federal deficit. He has increased the federal deficit by more than 60 percent.
6. He promised to bring down the price of prescription drugs and said drug companies are “getting away with murder.” They still are. Drug prices have soared.
7. He said Mexico would pay for his border wall. The wall will cost American taxpayers an estimated $11 billion.
8. He promised to bring an end to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program. Kim is expanding North Korea’s nuclear program.
9. He said he’d release his tax returns. It’s been more than four years. He hasn’t released his tax returns.
10. He promised to end the opioid crisis. Americans are now more likely to die from an opioid overdose than a car accident.[Information in 1-10 comes from an online article by Robert Reich, August 27, 2020, https://prospect.org/politics/trumps-40-biggest-broken-promises.]
Oh yes, and who could forget Trump’s famous “Clinton has to go to jail” for her mishandling of government documents? Prophetic.
This is your moment
Stop and smell neuroses.
We do not want Medicare privatized
Seniors are in danger of losing traditional Medicare. They will be put into an inferior system called REACH, which enriches investors and costs the government more.
Medicare allows free access to physicians of your choice with no need for justification. If you are sick, you get care. The new plan limits the choice of physicians and one must convince a middleman that care is necessary. The government organization trying to take down traditional Medicare is The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and they are quietly spreading this business plan across the country. By 2030, traditional Medicare will be gone without your consent. You will receive a letter appearing harmless, but all the rules will have changed.
Medicare permits 2% for overhead and there is no profit. REACH allows 40% for overhead and profits. Investors are rushing to join these cash cows. Profits will be increased by limiting care or by substituting cheaper treatments. Patient care will suffer and big business will make big profits. There are now five REACH type organizations operating in NY State. Tell your Congressman, Senators and President Biden that you want this so-called pilot project stopped. They need to hear from us that we do not want Medicare privatized and our health made secondary to business profits.
Colin Schmitt is a natural-born leader
I am thrilled to hear that assemblyman Colin Schmitt is running for the New York 18th Congressional District, and now that district will include the Hamlet of Wallkill, as well as the Town of Shawangunk. Although Wallkill and Shawangunk were not a part of his Assembly district, I still had the pleasure of knowing Colin for years. Colin is committed to serving his community and constituents to the utmost capacity. He is a natural-born leader that dedicates his life to public service, as well as continuing to serve as sergeant in the Army National Guard. Colin has a proven track record within his community that echoes across the Hudson Valley. Now, Colin is ready and excited to take the fight to Washington DC!
Jane E. Brody obituary
I was very much saddened to read that Jane Brody has written her last New York Times column. I hope to read her books. She and I had many interesting conversations at Woodstock community events. We especially enjoyed listening to music at Maverick concerts. We saw eye-to-eye on many health issues, and too, we stood at five feet one inch. I look forward to joining her for the 2022 season at Maverick concerts.
Back on the tax rolls
This past year, Ulster County took in 34 million dollars in additional monies not expected to have on hand at year end. I offer that now might be a good time for the people of Ulster County to open a dialogue with our government about how this surplus should be handled.
From my point of view, I believe the conversation should start with putting it back on the property tax rolls. When the county sets a budget for the year, that is the plan to fund the day-to-day operations and government services that property taxpayers are asked to assist with, once other revenue sources don’t match up with planned expenses.
With 2021 ending with such a large surplus, perhaps this should be returned to those who provided it to us through their hard work: the taxpayer. I propose and will be putting in legislation to allocate a $34-million reduction in property taxes in next year’s budget cycle or simply cut a check this year, proportionately sized, to all property taxpayers in Ulster County to begin this conversation. This might be the most prudent, equitable, fair and good government policy to do so.
Ulster County Legislator, District 2
The political & the personal
We rarely watch TV, but we stumbled onto Netflix’s Don’t Look Up last night. It’s the darkest humor, with an all-star cast, getting mediocre reviews, but it is also setting a Netflix record for “most views in a single week.”
This morning, as I was reflecting on all this, it made me think of my own little Facebook page. I don’t post often, and when I do, it wavers between the political and the personal. The political posts get one to three “likes”…if I “like” it myself. But a post about walking with my dog to get a cup of coffee got a couple of dozen comments. A nice thing to see, but…
In support of Colin Schmitt
I have been following assemblyman Colin Schmitt since his massive win in the Assembly in November 2020. He has proven himself to be a strong leader in Albany, who actively fights for his constituents and their values. When I found out that Assemblyman Schmitt is running for Congress in lower Ulster County, I was overjoyed. Finally, Ulster County is going to have a true leader that doesn’t cave to partisan politics.
Colin Schmitt’s opponent Sean Maloney is currently the most partisan Democrat in Congress. He actively hires staff that calls for the burning of police precincts and the defunding of our police and has admitted to doing hard drugs on national television. This does not represent the character I want in a congressman.
Assemblyman Schmitt has pledged to stand up for his constituents in Washington the same way he does in Albany. To Colin Schmitt, he has proven that it is not about partisanship; it’s about doing what’s right.
Doesn’t hold water
The check is in the mail, when asked about paying a bill. My dog ate my homework, when you forgot to do it. My alarm clock stopped working, when you were late for work. It just isn’t the right time, when you do not want to do something, and “My contracting business: I put it aside because the town needed me to get through this pandemic,” responding to a comment about being a part-time supervisor.
Update on Bearsville
It’s springtime and we want to give everyone an update on what is happening on the Bearsville Complex.
We continue with the renovation work, with light at the end of the tunnel. There was extensive work on the Peterson House and Bear Café (which became the Bear Cantina in 2020). We completed the theater internal work in 2021. Finally, we are onto the building that was the old Little Bear (which will be opening as The (new) Bear in April!).
Through all of this, as you know, there has been seemingly endless COVID, and gratefully, bottomless goodwill from the Woodstock community and especially our neighbors, for which we are very grateful! Now, with winter, there are the endless mud and grime and potholes! But we promise you, it will all come to an end very soon. Yes, even COVID! (I am not saying we can make that happen, but we can at least give the town somewhere pleasant to look forward to relaxing in this spring and summer.)
Now to the outside areas. The Town of Woodstock has thoroughly reviewed and approved a wonderful new site plan. During this lengthy process, we took advice from and worked with Woodstock Land Conservancy, the Town Planning Board (Bearsville is especially grateful to the Planning Board’s Judith Kerman) and with well-known local botanist Del Orloske to create a beautiful, natural, sustainable, local replanting scheme.
One facet of the plan is to reclaim the area for parking closest to the theater in order to make a larger, more beautiful and user-friendly outdoor space alongside the woodlands and alongside the Sawkill Creek.
I am so proud to announce that combining this larger grassy area with what we already had behind the theater will become the Albert Grossman Memorial Park for everyone to enjoy. Opening after Easter, one will find many peaceful sitting nooks and grassy areas. I am excited by the informative walking trail through the woods, which include old-growth giant oak, sugar maple and sycamore trees. At the eastern end of the property, we are creating a three-acre wildflower and shrub garden to connect to the vital pollinator pathway that is so important to our natural environment.
Finally, as per the Town ordinances, Bearsville needs to provide additional parking spaces to both meet our occupancy numbers and to prevent parking along Route 212 when there are concerts or other big events. As soon as the weather is more suitable, and as per the agreed site plan, the upper area of the Bearsville campus will be paved to prevent the unwanted bumpy ride around the buildings. And the lower section will be resurfaced and new parking spaces will be created that will be green: natural stone and vegetation that will aid in water retention and prevent runoff.
We had to remove some trees to make way for the parking area closest to Route 212. Rest assured that trees will be replanted with native varieties, and every section of the parking areas will have a greenscaped median with local vegetation. We want the Bearsville Complex to be both beautiful and sustainable.
With regard to the trees: Many of those that lined Route 212 had become dangerous fall hazards which needed attention. Combined with the unusual ice storm two weeks ago, most of those trees had to come down. They will be replanted with native species.
We intend to respect the land, its plants and animals, as well as create a wonderful, revitalized community hub for the enjoyment of music, food, art and nature. Everyone is welcome.
We look forward to seeing you at Bearsville as spring and summer dawn.
and the Bearsville team
The multiplicity of an ecosystem has a unitary configuration.
I don’t think that Steve Massardo’s attempt at diverting our attention from the realities of potential voter fraud was very effective and realistic. This will be part one of a two-part response to Steve.
Steve claims a study showed, over a 14-year period, that there were only 31 credible instances of voter fraud and that, in two other studies in a 12-year period, just ten cases of voter fraud were found, nationwide. These statistics are quite astounding and highly questionable considering that, in the 2020 election alone, there were far more cases of fraud thanks to ballot harvesting, mail in ballots, absentee ballots, early voting, people registered in two different states or districts while attempting to vote twice, and everyone’s favorite…….people miraculously resurrecting for just one day to find their way to the nearest poll to cast their vote. Steve references the Electoral College as being archaic. The Electoral College has been what keeps the balance and allows the voices of the heartland of our beautiful country to be heard. If it was to be abolished, surely a Democratic dream, the reconfigurations and “tweaks” to our voting districts and system would, through Democratic prayers, turn more states into five-star Democratic resorts, like New York, California and a few others, giving them even more power and control.
I checked Steve’s website reference from which he most likely got his talking points and, to no one’s surprise, it turned out to be a strong left-leaning organization, the “Brennan Center for Justice.” It was easy to spot their agenda because of the anti-Trump rhetoric sprinkled throughout. Upon further digging into other presumably non-Brennan sites, I saw reference to some polls that said around 80% of Americans of all races, creeds and colors support government-issued photo ID’s for voting purposes. And this group was about a 50/50 split between whites and all non-whites. The obvious concern centered around reducing the potential for voter fraud. So, where is the “voter suppression?”
It’s funny how, in the past, all voters never had much of a problem getting to the polls to vote, and that was restricted to just one day. Yet, allegedly due to a temporary pandemic, we’re bending over backwards to push for and expand new voting options including early voting, absentee ballots, mail in ballots, ballot harvesting, etc., most of which are easily conducive to the potential for voter fraud. Even though the pandemic will be a temporary passing event, Democrats want all these “COVID voting measures” to become permanent. Isn’t it quite ironic that the 47 democratic European countries mentioned in my prior letter have been tweaking their voting laws, over time, to gradually do away with the very measures that we’re pushing, in order to eradicate the voter fraud they had experienced in their past. And, these loose and unsecured measures can easily come back and bite either party, depending upon who does or does not have the power and control.
And, I don’t think Steve looked deep enough into the bottles of water issue at the polls. The Georgia law said that voters could certainly have access to water if they’re in a long line at the polls, as long as the water was provided in a “self service, unattended container or receptacle.” When it talked about water distribution being a crime with a possible fine, it was referring to the prohibition of water and food being passed out to each voter by a political activist from either party, which could quite easily involve an attempt at voter influence by the person passing out the water and/or food.
John N. Butz
In the end
Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
We spend our whole lives eating
From Mother Nature’s Bust
And in the END
She gets to eat us