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.
I am writing about a change to traditional Medicare I am concerned about.
Millions of us seniors and Medicare beneficiaries are quietly being enrolled into a pilot program called “Realizing Equity Access in Community Health (REACH),” run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which contracts with third-party middlemen. This is occurring without our full knowledge or consent. If left unchecked, the REACH program could radically transform traditional Medicare within a few years, without input from us and without any Congressional oversight.
Developed by the previous administration and moving forward in the administration, the Medicare REACH program allows commercial insurers and other for-profit companies to “manage” care for seniors enrolled in Traditional (fee-for-service) Medicare. Instead of paying doctors and hospitals directly for seniors’ care, Medicare gives these middlemen a monthly payment to cover a defined portion of each senior’s medical expenses. REACH investor entities are then allowed to keep what they don’t pay for in health services, a dangerous financial incentive to restrict and ration seniors’ care. While Traditional Medicare requires 98 percent of its budget to be spent on patient care, REACH requires only 60 percent, thereby allowing up to 40 percent of their budget for their own profit and overhead. Dr. Susan Rogers, a retired internal medicine doctor and president of the 24,000-member Physicians for a National Health Program said, “this establishes a dangerous incentive to ration and restrict seniors’ care; if left unchecked, REACH will hand Traditional Medicare to Wall Street investors, without input from seniors, doctors, or even Congress.”
When I learned about this program, I called fellow Medicare recipients and they had not heard about this. One who checked if it affected them already told me their doctor was now part of this “network.” That seemed harmless enough but then learned that she would not be able to choose other doctors out of the network, like I can with Traditional Medicare. After reading more, I called our Congressman in January and learned that at that point in time, the staff hadn’t heard about it. I have since contacted our US Senators and the Biden administration and haven’t received any indication that they know about the REACH program concerns. Consequently, I am turning to the public to learn about this program. Do some research (see the Physicians for a National Health Program/pnhp.org) and talk with your neighbor. At my end I, with fellow seniors from Ulster Activists and Indivisible Ulster are providing a forum to learn about REACH at Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz on Sunday, March 20 at 2 p.m. Join us to learn more about this program and what you can do to maintain your Traditional Medicare.
Central Hudson power outages, day after day after day
Since the monumental blackout that followed last month’s ice storm, I have experienced numerous blackouts in Bearsville/Wittenberg: Saturday evening! Sunday morning! Early Monday evening! Early Thursday evening! Now it’s Friday morning, and the good news is that my Spectrum service seems to be working in spite of whatever Central Hudson is doing, so I can spend hours waiting for a human being to respond to my telephone call to Central Hudson.
But after waiting an hour, my call to Central Hudson was just cut off.
This level of service is worse than I ever experienced traveling in East, West and North Africa, Central America, the Andes Mountains, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Eastern Europe in 1990. At least when I visited Haiti in 1991, the power in lovely Cap Haitien was off all the time, so everyone survived on pluck and generators, with no expectation of power service.
I’m one of the lucky area residents with a good generator. Still, I need Internet service to work at home, so as I did on Monday and Thursday, I must take measures to work in my car this afternoon outside the Woodstock Library or at the gym where I am a member.
Has northern Ulster County become a dysfunctional place to live?
I am because we are
With a tilt-of-the-face communiqué, and in a few wordless nanoseconds, uh-ohs swam across my mouth.
There’s nothing to slacken it, they have the subtlety of a sledgehammer. These charlatans and frauds ramrod a deeply felt mosaic of nasty – using above disqualifiers purposefully, and as a weapon. Soured personalities are capable of anything – the worst perversions can be imagined; and unchecked.
They act like the Capitol is the Jerry Springer Show and they’re the entertainment. Here’s the thing: They are incapable of doing the job. They can’t be bothered to read lengthy laws or legislation. They’re not capable because they’re not willing, and they’re not willing because they’re not capable. For every person who cheers this on, there must be 20 that see it for the stupidity that it truly is.
These screeching chimpanzees want to kill and eat their enemies. They want to break the system by making the system unworkable. They want to bring down governments, the same way that other extremist movements have broken democratic systems to replace them with the consolidated power of a dictator. They had a taste of that with the leader. They want more.
With a ferocity from an ugly word salad of BS, idiocy and hypocrisy, they stain their lips with an oily substance of blaming and blood every day, and with every gray hour, a newborn deception and an ill-advised hatred clings to their speech. They taste the metal of war, a more violent world; a crumbling earth spinning – a future in fire, a Hell with a devil! We’ll never trust (our) judgment.
The scary part is there are actually people in this world who vote and support this idiotness. And sadly, I think I know a few of them.
A challenge to the TDS crowd
In light of letters addressed to George Civile a couple issues ago, I have a challenge for the Neil Jarmels, Bud Laverys, Ted Reisses and others in the same camp on the far left who are hopelessly suffering from terminal TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). I would like to see if they can write a letter to Hudson Valley One without using the word “Trump,” even once, while making no reference to “the prior administration.” And, in their letters, I would like to see if they can honestly address, from their hearts, their opinions on the disasters which have befallen our beautiful country in just the past 14 months, ever since the inauguration of Joe Biden, and knowing, of course, that Trump had absolutely nothing to do with making any of Biden’s decisions for him in those 14 months.
Here are just a few hints on issues for discussion:
1. The unchecked flow of record numbers of illegals waltzing through our southern border, the majority of which are not legally eligible for or entitled to asylum claims, and with the influx also including felons, human and sex traffickers, the occasional hidden terrorist and record levels of fentanyl killing record numbers of our citizens. I also ask for your comments on our feckless vice president who was tasked with stopping all this chaos, yet who has done zero to address the chaos except for one laughable visit to only one of the 150 countries whose residents have gained illegal entry to the USA, in search of the phantom “root causes” of this out-of-control crisis. Can you explain Biden’s and Harris’ refusal to go to the key areas of the border even once, to see firsthand what the reality really looks like?
2. The unpatriotic uncaring and deadly bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan while naïvely allowing a vile and lethal group of rabid terrorists call all the shots as they walked all over Biden and his “experienced advisors” while killing 13 members of our military.
3. The shutting down of the Keystone XL Pipeline as the critical cause of the inflation problem we’re now experiencing and its connection to our continued reliance on others for our oil. In essence, Biden’s refusal to restore our energy independence because of the current emergency situation at home and abroad clearly reveals his spineless cowering to AOC and her fellow radicals on the far left with their still unproven and untested Green New Deal alternatives to fossil fuels, not only in the short term but also further down the road. When they finally get their act together and demonstrate proven, tested and guaranteed systems of alternative energy, then and only then should we begin a seamless and gradual transition away from fossil fuels.
4. Biden’s unwillingness and inability to field non-preapproved questions, spontaneously, and in a serious and honest manner. Any serious and relevant question that he either has no answer for or that he is afraid to answer, he simply pompously laughs at the questioner, makes a snide remark and walks away. Is this your idea of a competent and transparent president who possesses full and functional mental capabilities?
Try your best to remember you’re only to address Biden’s failures and nothing else.
John N. Butz
Hats off to HV 1 reporters
If we ever needed proof that local newspapers tell “the rest of the story”, one doesn’t need to look any further than Rokosz Most’s article, Renovation Rumble, about the eyebrow-raising PILOT requested by the Kingston Housing Authority. This is deep, laborious investigative journalism at its finest.
The same is true for Terence P Ward’s article, A Tipping Point, about the impact of budget cuts to the future of road repair in New Paltz.
Thank you to Ulster Publishing and all the fine reporters who keep us informed about what’s going on in our backyards.
Night lights kill
We are aware that moths are fatally attracted to light, though no one understands just why. Moths can literally burn themselves out as they careen around an artificial light or die by zooming onto a bulb. What we’re less aware of is that most moths dine on the nectar of nocturnal flowers. If these flowers are illuminated by artificial light, 62% less feeding occurs. These lights also make it harder for them to find a mate, but easier for birds, spiders and ants to find a meal of moths.
We should care about the size of the moth population because we care about the size of our bird population. A typical baby bird consumes 30-40 meals a day and caterpillars are the most nutritious and easily consumed meal for nestlings. If we decimate the moth population, we decimate the caterpillar population and we impact the life cycle of birds.
For the sake of your security use yellow, motion detector lights that focus light downward instead. They now can be solar generated so don’t require electricity. You’ll be securing many little, but important lives at the same time.
Saugerties air pollution legislation will impact us all
Oh, do read on, as the following is directly quoted from Chapter 54. AIR POLLUTION. General References Zoning Chapter 245. History: ADOPTED by the TOWN BOARD of the TOWN OF SAUGERTIES 8-1-1985 BY L.L. NO. 2-1985 (CH. 59 OF THE 1975 MUNICIPAL CODE).
SECT. 58-1 Legislative determination.
It is hereby declared, pursuant to the authority created by the provisions of the Town Law of the State of New York that to permit or allow or cause to be permitted or allowed the discharge or escape into the open air of such quantities of dense smoke, cinders, soot, dust, noxious gases, offensive odors, trade wastes and other pollutions with inadequate regulations is a menace to the health, safety, morals, welfare and reasonable comforts of the citizens of the Town and that the establishment and maintenance of proper standards for the regulation of the same is essential to the public welfare. Therefore, the provisions hereinafter prescribed to provide adequate regulations with respect thereto are enacted and their necessity in the public interest is hereby declared as a matter of legislation determination.
SECT. 58-2 Purpose.
The purpose of this chapter is to regulate the emission of thick or dense smoke, cinders, soot, dust, noxious gases, offensive odors, trade wastes and other pollutions within the corporate limits of the Town of Saugerties outside the corporate limits of any incorporated Village therein.
Discharge of smoke, gases and wastes restricted.
No person shall allow, suffer or cause to be permitted the discharge or escape into the open air of such quantities of smoke, cinders, soot, dust, noxious gases, offensive odors, trade wastes and other pollutions in such a manner as to cause injury or nuisance to any person or persons, or in such manner as to cause injury or damage to business or property, real or personal, or cause or permit soot, ash, dust, cinder or other material to settle upon any private or public property of any nature in the Town of Saugerties whereby damage may results to any person or property.
SECT. 58-4. Exception as to residential premises.
This chapter shall in no manner apply to chimneys of buildings used exclusively for residential purposes.
SECT. 58-5. Penalties for offenses.
The violation of any provision of this chapter shall be deemed an offense punishable as set forth in SECT. 1-14 of this Code.
It seems clear to me that the air pollution caused by the enormous amount of traffic, idling vehicles and construction of needed roads in order to accommodate visitors clearly would be in violation of this Code.
And, of course, noise pollution – for which there still remain no regulations – will cause the distress, invasion of personal respite due to each and every one of us to ensure quality of life free from same. No one will have access to the peace and quiet and no one will have volume control.
Think about that. How anyone can believe this is something that will add to the quality of life, benefit the Town/Village/surrounding communities and more? This cannot be undone and will impact us all.
Proving my point
Deborah Fialkow’s response to my column, “Truth and reconciliation in one small town,” in the March 2 issue of Hudson Valley One proves my point: Her tone is hostile and her angry assumptions about my personal intent, ethnicity and politics are mistaken.
I knew Dr. A. J. Williams-Myers and considered him a mentor. I lament his passing at such a crucial juncture in the continuing American civil rights movement and New Paltz social justice endeavors. He would have brought civility to the current discussion.
All in the family
My biggest mistake was inviting my mother to the high school prom.
Learn more about plastic pollution
Although well-intended, governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) to reduce packaging and paper has serious flaws. EPR for packaging should be part of the solution to our growing packaging waste and plastics crisis, but only if it includes requirements for reduction, recyclability, recycled content and banning priority toxic chemicals. Businesses can and should reduce their packaging by 50 percent in the next decade. The governor’s bill puts the companies who created the packaging mess in charge of fixing it. This is simply not a viable solution to a problem that needs attention now.
The State does not have time to watch a failed EPR system play out. Every year 8 to 15 million more tons of plastic enter our oceans. More and more people are aware of climate changes caused by plastics and they are demanding solutions. A recent global survey by IPSOS (market research and consulting firm) found that 75 percent of people want single-use plastics banned.
The governor and Legislature need to fully address packaging pollution with a strong EPR bill as well as an expansion of the Bottle Bill deposit law, which after 40 years of success should cover more beverages, such as alcohol bottles and noncarbonated drinks. In addition, the deposit should be increased from a nickel to a dime to increase the return rate. Assemblymember Steve Englebright has very good proposals on both EPR and the Bottle Bill that should be looked at closely and passed during this legislative session.
Please visit Beyond Plastics website at beyondplastics.org if you wish to learn more about plastic pollution.
The truth died long ago
It is said that the first casualty of war is the truth. So, what truths have been erased in our new Cold War with Russia?
For one thing, Ukraine has long been an integral part of Russian history – not that this connection has spared its population from centuries of invasions and revolutions. Kyiv, in fact, was the 12th-century capital of Rus, which became part of Muscovy a century later. In the 18th century, Muscovy became the Russian Empire.
For another, the US has been pursuing an aggressive expansion of NATO since the late 1990s. Our country could have made a lasting peace with Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Instead, we added more than a dozen new NATO member states surrounding Russia. In 2008, the US vowed to include Ukraine and Georgia as well, prompting a Russian invasion of the latter.
Against this background, the US orchestrated a coup in 2014 against Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovych. He was Ukraine’s most popular politician when a 2010 election swept him into office. But Yanukovych had tried to balance Russian and EU interests, making him a NATO target. When he objected to a particularly harsh austerity plan proposed by the International Monetary Fund, the CIA began arming and training right-wing militias, like it has done so often before (Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Haiti, Venezuela and Honduras).
Our hopeless media ignores all this. NPR cheerleads the hate-Putin campaign. In the heart of the empire, the truth died long ago.
Apathy exists in a town when, metaphorically speaking, most of the population is made up of sheep who are content and only worry about their own patch of grass, not knowing that they are being led by a bellwether who has his own agenda.
Banning books? Are movies next?
Banning books to hide the truth about the changes in our world will only continue the toxic and pretentious charade. The LGBTQ community exists. Some may not agree with their choice of lifestyles, but in our country, we are given life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Right? Every American deserves that right.
Some states are doing their best to suppress critical race theory books to hide the truth of our racist history. Why? Because their belief is that if you hide the truth, then you can pretend it didn’t happen. When will those foolish lawmakers learn that hiding the truth only allows the festering of toxic energy? Toxic mold is poisonous to humans. It cannot grow in the sunshine and fresh air. It can only grow in dark places.
Dear lawmakers: Hollywood has a history of hundreds of films made where flagrant and open racism is shown. It is part of our history. You don’t have to like it, but it is the truth! So, what’s next for you? Will you start banning all those old classic movies?
Hey Mr. Feedback Writer
The following is a continued response to the criticism of Ted Reiss: Ted, I stand by my assertion that Trump’s opposition was unprecedented and against yours that Obama set the bar in that regard. When Obama was elected, he enjoyed the traditional presidential honeymoon period and was very popular. However, he invited opposition from Republicans and his popularity declined in general when he proposed health care reform (the Affordable Care Act) without allowing any input from Republican leaders on the legislation. Indeed, Obama’s presidency, despite unprecedented support and protection from the mainstream media, was ultimately attacked because of his policies and his incompetence.
Regarding Ted’s charge that I’m forgetful, it seems Ted has forgotten POTUS Obama’s gross incompetence as seen in his stalled “Obamacare” rollout. The following is the title of a July 30, 2014 Atlantic Magazine article: “Obamacare Website Has Cost $840 Million: A slew of management failures led to the site’s disastrous launch, according to a new GAO report.” Moreover, Obama’s incompetency is further supported by his disastrous assessment that ISIS was merely a JV team among terrorists. (Indeed, Obama’s CIA head Brennan stated that the notion of ISIS forming a caliphate was a laughable fantasy.) Moreover, unlike Trump, it was not opposition from the MSM or political foes that caused Obama to lose over 60 seats in the House, in 2010 and eventually the Senate in 2016, but the unpopularity of his policies. Indeed, although Obama remained popular among the electorate, his administration was disastrous for the Democratic Party, resulting in not only the previously mentioned loss of the House and Senate, but the loss of over 1,000 offices in state elections.
As Donald Trump often said (to paraphrase), “If you don’t like the fact that I’m president, you should blame Barack Obama: He’s the reason I was elected.” And, unlike Barack Obama, Donald Trump had no honeymoon period, but was immediately confronted by demonstrations against his election and calls for his impeachment from Maxine Waters and others. Moreover, Trump’s loss of over 40 seats in the House in 2018 was not the result of incompetency; rather, it was mainly due to a hostile media, inspired by propagandist Democrats like Robert Reich, who falsely proclaimed him a “puppet of Putin” 24/7 for over two years.
Coming soon: a continued response to Bud Lavery.
Below is an abbreviated parody. It is best enjoyed if the reader imagines Neil Jarmel singing the song to Bud and Ted because of their not-so-excellent writings. Its title is “Hey Mr. Feedback Writer.”
Hey Mr. Feedback Writer speak the truth to me
I’m not foolish and I know where you are coming from
Hey Mr. Feedback Writer the truth will set us free
In the daytime or the nighttime your letters we read
Don’t feed to me a narrative
You steal from other men
Whose tales can’t tell me why or when
And whose sources remain unnamed
And the story is falsely framed
To fit created dreams, they are so
False paradigms amaze me though
There’s power in their sway
They lead the good-intentioned far astray
Never knowing they’ve missed the way
For false assertions though hollow
Hey Mr. Feedback Writer speak the truth to me
I’m not foolish and I know where you are coming from
And hey Ms. Feedback Writer the truth will set us free
In the daytime or the nighttime your letters we read
Our nation needs better leadership
Once upon a time our nation stood for freedom. Now too many of our leaders are hiding from the responsibility we inherited from our fathers to defend freedom.
I am saddened by this change and fear for the people who will be living across the world in a few decades. My descendants will not be able to live free, they will have few choices, and they will be ruled.
For me, the Big Lie began with the United Nations. It did not stop Russia, it did not save millions of Africans, and it is now simply silent. President Obama, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett and big donors picked Biden and Harris to be the candidates they hoped could beat Trump after they attacked and damaged his presidency from the day he defeated Clinton.
Many in DC and in the media continue today to focus attention on Trump, distracting our nation from the increasing risks we now are suffering at the hands of China and Russia.
If you want to leave a better world to those who will inherit the world from us, please take the time to call and write those Senators and Representatives who speak the truth as you see it and express your heartfelt opinion. Our nation needs much better leadership!
What is the earth calling for at this time?
Winston Farm has been sold to some local developers, and some of us have heard about plans for exploitation of this historic site. I would ask a number of questions when it comes to thinking about what is best for the community and the earth/environment. Is that okay to do, or are we just allowed questions which address economic growth and financial reward? Presumably, developers are already quite comfortable themselves, so will we be helping them to get richer? Their call. They can also plan to reward themselves modestly and instead think seriously about what the earth is calling for at this time. If anyone has read the recent reports released by the IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), you will understand that we are living through a critical period, a game-changing period. I ask the developers and town planners to think about seven generations ahead of us: What will be more important to them: clean air and water and a healthy environment that can support continued human (and non-human) existence or entertainment for the well-off which heavily taxes finite resources? We cannot continue to consider ANY development without considering these kinds of questions. This is not a drill. One Earth.
Conveniently not reported
In case you didn’t notice, the Covid-19 narrative is winding down but the information coming in exposing the lies as to the safety of the jabs is waxing. The FDA and Pfizer had wanted 75 years to release the data from clinical trials that was used to approve the Pfizer vaccine, but the US District Court ordered that 55,000 pages be turned over to the public every single month. The first batch of 55,000 pages was released on March 1, 2022. Did you hear about this in any of the mainstream news outlets? Especially since on page 38 of that release is a list of 1,291 potential side effects from the mRNA vaccine, which ordinarily should have stopped the whole vaccine program, yet not a word in the New York Times or the Washington Post, etc. (https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/97544).
Maybe that’s because the vaccine program was pushed in the corporate-controlled media by an infusion of $1 billion from the U.S. government to propagandize the public as revealed in a recent Freedom of Information response (https://www.theblaze.com/news/review-the-federal-government-paid-media-companies-to-advertise-for-the-vaccines).
The list of news media outlets receiving this money is: ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as cable TV news stations Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, legacy media publications including the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, digital media companies like BuzzFeed News and Newsmax, and hundreds of local newspapers and TV stations. So while you thought you were receiving unbiased medical information from independent news sources, in actuality you were a target of a big pharma/govt. advertising campaign for the vaccines. So much for journalistic integrity.
To make matters worse, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky recently admitted in a livestream sit down at Washington University School of Medicine that she was getting her information from “CNN newsfeed” when she created CDC guidance (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_hYgIpxM4A — 28:50-29:20).
As we watch the latest world crisis develop in the Ukraine, let’s not allow those who were irresponsible in the way they handled the pandemic , especially the combined efforts of big pharma and the U.S. government to prevent the early treatment of Covid-19 with proven protocols that led to the unnecessary deaths of possibly 500,000 people (https://www.thedesertreview.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/letter-to-the-editor-in-support-of-early-outpatient-treatment-of-covid-19/article_b342aea6-38b2-11eb-bdf7-8bcbd1e8ade4.html).