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.
National politics have arrived in the 103rd District
Yesterday, 19 children and two teachers were murdered in their school in Uvalde, Texas. On the same day, in the neighboring Congressional District, representative Henry Cuellar won a Democratic primary to retain his seat by less than 200 votes. Henry Cuellar is the only Democrat in Congress with an “A” rating from the NRA. Henry Cuellar.
Despite holding back efforts to protect kids from gun violence, national party leaders like Nancy Pelosi and James Clyburn campaigned for Cuellar, recorded robocalls for him and directed aligned super-PACs to spend nearly a million dollars on the race in the last three weeks of the campaign. They did all of this to fight off a challenge from a 29-year-old progressive woman who excited young voters and represents the values of the party. The Democrats hold both houses nationally, but will do nothing on gun violence because of officials like Cuellar.
This same playbook is happening here in the New York State 103rd Assembly District. Climate change represents an existential threat to the lives of our children. Representative Kevin Cahill has represented our area for 20 years, has seen the effects of climate change on our area and yet still can’t bring himself to sign onto public infrastructure for renewable energy. He still takes money from privately owned energy companies.
Despite these facts, State Democratic leaders who control all of New York State government will rally to defend Cahill from a challenge by Sarahana Shrestha, another young, progressive woman. They will pour late money into this race and flood us with messages against a candidate with a proven track record of environmental activism and organizing young voters. And when nothing happens to protect our children’s future, you will know why.
Don’t let this happen. The answer is not to “Vote blue no matter who;” it is to vote for a better shade of blue. Vote Sarahana.
Landscape of our demise
“Non-thought” and everyone freaked out. “Look out, there’s a monster coming.”
Something I was thinking about, please share. Forget about the zombie apocalypse that will never come. I’ll give you something to cry about! No one ever said why, and then for some reason you just knew – say what you will, “Worry about the idiot apocalypse that is already upon us!”
Stupidity is one of life’s big mysteries. The convergence of many seemingly unrelated elements has produced an explosion of brainlessness and textbook cases of idiots en masse.
So, true: saw them and it’s scary and unsettling. Instead of brains, they crave Faux Views and “reality” television. This cancerous far-right monster is an anti-science, anti-academia and anti-truth creeping blob. You can easily tag ‘em as it talks, repeating lines like “You laughin’ at me?” and “I’m burning MAGA mad!”
If we are overrun with stupidity, doesn’t that portend dire implications for the assumptions surrounding democracy? This is a much bigger fight. They, the marching morons, are moving to the ultra-right at light speed. What they’re showing us is that fascism fuels them, which makes for a really dangerous time. Our democracy is on the line.
If you’re depressed about the state of the world, take comfort in the fact that, yes, many are tagged and we must always be on the lookout. We recognize them for what they are. They’re vulnerable if you fight back with proactivism, fidelity and truth. Can I get an Amen?
Hydrogen is the future
Presently, only hydrogen can replace fossil fuels as a total energy source; solar, wind is intermittent and dependent on batteries for storage. Even if battery technology improves significantly, the number of batteries needed to store the electricity required for our energy needs is undoable because of space considerations and limited by our finite resource base used for battery production.
Using electricity derived from solar and wind farms scaled for mass production to produce hydrogen from water, a process called electrolysis, we could produce enough hydrogen to power our homes, transportation and industries. The infrastructure necessary to do this is already in place. Existing gas stations could be modified to dispense hydrogen to fuel our vehicles. Hydrogen fuel vehicles already exist: Toyota sells them on the West Coast and there are now a chain of hydrogen fueling stations operating from California to Washington State that could serve as a model for the transition.
Hydrogen fuel cells can also be used to generate electricity and heating for homes, replacing boilers and furnaces, and hydrogen can be delivered and stored the same as we now store propane and oil in our homes. Power companies could convert to hydrogen fuel cell technology to produce electricity and to deliver hydrogen fuel to their customer base using their already-existing electrical grid and gas pipelines.
Finally, by transitioning from fossil fuels to green hydrogen, we will be moving from a climate-changing combustion-based to a renewable electric-based economy.
Robert J. Rivera
The myth of plastic recycling
It has been painfully clear for years now that plastic recycling in the US is a myth. The latest reports from Last Beach Cleanup and Beyond Plastics show that the plastic recycling rate of post-consumer plastic waste for 2021 was between five and six percent. This rate of recycling, which has never reached ten percent, has been sliding downwards for years, just as the generation of plastic waste (per capita) has risen by a staggering 263 percent since 1980.
I am deeply concerned that the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries continue to endanger and mislead the public about the efficacy of plastic recycling and the risks of continued plastic production and use. Ninety-four percent of US plastic waste ends up in landfills, incinerators, our landscapes and our oceans: 94 percent, while the majority of plastic that is actually recycled is typically (re)used only once before joining the rest.
If the plastics industry was a country, it would be the fifth-highest emitter of greenhouse gases on earth. Despite this, despite microplastics in our food, in our water, in our bloodstream, despite PFAS in our food packaging, despite the harm of industrial sacrifice zones like “Cancer Alley,” the plastics industry is charging forward with plans for expansion and growth.
The latest EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) and Bottle Bills introduced in the New York State Legislature potentially represent an overdue first step in the fight against the rising tide of plastic pollution. It is past time that citizens and legislators hold the plastics industry accountable for criminally endangering human health and natural environments across the globe.
Visit BeyondPlastics.org to learn more about the crisis of plastic pollution.
Disappointed in Cahill’s comments on abortion
I’m disappointed that Kevin Cahill said celebrations of the passage of our abortion rights law were “offensive” during an interview with the Daily Freeman last year.
The Reproductive Health Act codified Roe v. Wade in New York. Kevin Cahill’s comments were: “There was cheering, and I found that offensive… no one was cheering from my corner.”
We lit up the Empire State Building in pink to mark the legislation’s passage. Kevin Cahill equated that with Donald Trump’s lie that “the passage of [this] legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.” Cahill’s words were, “[Trump’s comments were] really inappropriate – as inappropriate as lighting up the buildings in pink.”
Roe v. Wade might be overturned by the Supreme Court. Now more than ever, we need elected representatives who will be loud and proud in their support for reproductive rights, not criticize us for being happy about that freedom.
Correction to article on absentee landlords
I am writing to submit a correction to an article composed by Terence Ward on 5/25/22. In the article (entitled “Absentee landlords accused…”), he incorrectly refers to a property address/landlord used as an example during a New Paltz Town Board meeting.
The picture that I included in my letter, as well as those displayed during the Town Board meeting, were of 6 Howard Street. They were not 11 Cicero Avenue.
Shootings merit strong action from school boards
Given the spate of armed attacks on schools, the Onteora School District should hire a full-time school safety officer and an additional mental health professional ASAP. Each new hire can be trained to deescalate conflicts. This proactive step would not eliminate the chances of an attack, but perhaps it would reduce the chances of a tragedy.
From infant formula to wet nurses
In the frenzy to import infant formula from around the world, are we totally forgetting the common sense that nourished me in a New Haven hospital ward dedicated to natural childbirth in 1948, when my mother could not produce enough breastmilk to feed me and her roomie had extra?
How about reestablishing the time-honored system of wet nurses? Quickly, before infants suffer and get malnourished due to the lack of infant formula. Wet nurses could supply pumped milk or actually feed the client baby.
Would there need to be an “emergency use authorization” like there is for the anti-COVID remedy Paxloovid, or perhaps just a lab analysis of the proposed wet nurse’s milk? I’m guessing that an organization such as La Leche League would be best at establishing guidelines, so that families seeking a wet nurse would have help in establishing criteria to interview a potential provider. This could be a pop-up business that truly benefits all parties, and yet another way to escape foreign control of an essential, undervalued American asset.
Memorial Day 2022
On Memorial Day, the best we say in America, “Today, we remember those who died in war and those families that lost loved ones.” But unfortunately, memorializing war allows us to overlook the generations of moral injury war inoculated into our culture, causing the side effects of suicide, addiction, domestic violence and homelessness.
A few simple observations: Generals are not killed in war. No politicians die in war. Government leadership declares war and soldiers and civilians are killed on our battlefields. Today, war’s moral injury steers veterans’ lives towards self-destruction after returning home. On Memorial Day, the public’s job is to take moral responsibility by owning the truth about why their children’s lives were taken. If we choose to continue healing from war, we must also honor the enemy’s lives we’ve taken.
On Memorial Day, we make up convoluted and complex answers to why soldiers’ lives were lost. We repeat the same ideological language, “These dead were protecting our freedom,” which was used to motivate the now-dead soldiers to join the military and die in unjust wars.
Our soldiers have come home shamed by the American public for fighting in “bad wars,” starting with Korea, including Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the side effects on veterans when the country morally stopped supporting what they were doing after firing the first few shots have taken more soldiers’ lives than in the wars they fought in.
War strategies have not been updated since we dropped the first atomic bomb because we need ground troops to enlist, and if they didn’t think their homes and families were actually at risk, they wouldn’t join.
The Ukraine war is an example of Putin being stuck in the same antiquated war tactics we are. Putin sends massive numbers of men to their deaths. The moral backlash this act will bring into the Russian culture will be astounding. If the war ends, these soldiers’ moral injury will become self-destructive. Putin will have to send them to jail and to Siberia for self-protection. When a soldier is forced to kill, and he’s aware the majority of the public he’s fighting for disagrees, you will soon see the consequences of self-destructive behaviors and rebellion.
Here in America, we’ve witnessed the side effect of our returning troops finding out their lives are human capital. The suicide rate is the accurate compass of the moral injury created by fighting unjust wars. Our recent insurrection has roots in our troops becoming aware they have gone to war to protect the resources of the wealthy. Add that poor health care, low wages, racism and the dominance of power and capital available to fewer and fewer. These inequities stimulate rage.
Republicans use that rage to create rhetoric their voters believe, many carrying the side effects of the billions spent on those wars. Democrats have been ineffective in navigating the wealthy and lack warrior politicians willing to fight for democracy over losing their jobs. So, on this Memorial Day, reflect closely on why the lives of our loved ones and enemies were taken in wars they themselves did not declare.
After a discussion took place at a recent Town Board meeting regarding a resolution pertaining to the transfer of 1.2 million dollars in surplus funds, a taxpayer said, “I’d like to ask that when you do put it in a resolution, that you’d be very specific in the resolution to say how many dollars and where the money is going in, so that it appears in the minutes of the meeting.”
The citizen made this request because, as he stated, on “April 20 of last year, 1.8 million dollars was transferred, and the resolution said transferred per transfer sheet; it wasn’t explicit in the resolution and did not appear in the meeting minutes, and the recording of that meeting disappeared, so we have no record of it.” The response to the request was, “I’ll look into that.”
Response to Messrs. Butz & Civile
When I wrote “One Man’s Abortion: 1963” for last week’s paper, I assumed there would be an angry response from the anti-abortion folks. I was not disappointed. There were two. The first, from John Butz, starts with the statement that “Abortion is murder.” I would suggest to Mr. Butz that not everyone subscribes to that belief. I certainly don’t. He then says, “The moral, civil and right decision was staring them right in the face all along…The humane, moral and ethical decision was to bring the child to term and immediately put the child up for adoption.” That is definitely not what Em and I thought was the humane, moral and ethical decision for us, and I would not assume I knew the right decision for everyone, as does Mr. Butz, nor would I try to impose my religious beliefs on anyone else.
He continues: “The inconveniences, real or perceived, are only temporary. A month or so of disrupting employment or studies can be quickly resumed.” My school, associated with the Methodist Church (which I attended as a youth), would have unceremoniously thrown us both out of school immediately had our condition been known, and it would have been difficult or impossible to enroll in another school with that on our records. We did not consider that an “inconvenience.”
He also states that “these people [Em and I and anyone who has ever had an abortion] never gave a moment’s thought to the significant heartache suffered by couples who desperately want a family but are unable to have children,” and we are “people who have nonchalantly murdered unborn children.” I assure Mr. Butz we spent more than “a moment’s thought” on our decision, and if Mr. Butz wants to point out “nonchalantly murdering children,” he need only look at this week’s murder of 19 children in Texas and the other 26 school shootings just this year! More children have been killed in schools than police officers have been killed on the job. Pro-life, Mr. Butz? I think not.
Mr. Butz also seems to have a big problem with folks peacefully demonstrating in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices and, he emphatically states, “If the attorney general was in his right mind and knew right from wrong, he should have arrested those demonstrators so the justices could resume their normal lives.” Mr. Butz, our pro-life champion, doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with the over 3,500 students shot and killed every year. Nor does he seem terribly concerned that their parents can never “resume their normal lives.” I’m sure we all wish Justice Thomas and his charming wife Ginny can resume their normal lives immediately and not have to hear the cries of bereft parents.
George Civile, another one of my critics and an almost weekly contributor to this paper of right-wing misinformation, says I “never explained why abortions were illegal or were considered wrong or sinful by the major denominations prior to Roe V. Wade.” He is correct. I did not explain that, nor did I explain why:
Interracial marriage was once illegal
Why it was illegal to be homosexual
Why women voting was illegal
Why it was illegal for Black citizens to sit anywhere but the back of the bus
Why it was illegal to consume or possess alcohol from 1920-’32
Why it was illegal to shop on a Sunday
Why birth control was once illegal
Why pinball, golfing and playing football on Sunday was illegal
Why dancing in a joint without a cabaret license was illegal
Why sexual acts outside procreation were illegal
Why being a communist was illegal
Why swearing in public was illegal.
Both Mr. Butz and Mr. Civile profess to be vehemently “pro-life” and their only concern is for the lives of the unborn children. I submit that if they were indeed “pro-life,” they would be out on the streets or writing to this paper protesting automatic weapons that indiscriminately kill our children, not foetuses; weapons in the hands of unbalanced teenagers and right-wing zealots. They would be protesting open-carry laws and meaningless or no gun restrictions that allow 18-year-olds to buy assault weapons and 700 rounds of ammunition, as did the shooter last week, on his 18th birthday!
They would be protesting the 20 percent of New Yorkers living in poverty, 35 percent of minority children suffering food insecurity. If they are “pro-life,” why do they not protest the substandard nutrition of children, chronic disease and mental health problems of minority children, inadequate child care, lack of access to healthcare for children, unsafe neighborhoods, undersourced schools and shortened life expectancy for children of minorities?
Pro-life, Messrs. Butz and Civile? That’s just so much crap. You’re not pro-life. You’re just anti-abortion.
Mental health care system broken
In light of the most recent events of the past two weeks, we once again find ourselves questioning how such tragic and senseless events as the mass shootings experienced at Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, New York, Laguna Woods Church in California and, most recently, Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, continue to occur in this day and age. Calls for enhanced and stringent gun control laws are louder now than ever before.
I too agree that greater gun control is in order. However, if we truly want to eradicate these senseless murders, we must acknowledge and fully understand that our mental health care system is broken, not just here in New York but throughout our nation, and there lies the root of these mass shootings. Until such time we recognize that our mental health care system is in crisis, and we start reinvesting toward building a robust and responsive mental health care system, then and only then will we have a fighting chance toward eliminating these senseless acts of violence that continue to be perpetrated against our children and our communities.
It is truly the duty of each and every one of us to implore that our elected officials start spending our tax dollars on the real issues affecting our daily lives. Simply taking guns away from people will not deter the illness that causes them to act out so violently against others. If it’s not a gun, it will be some other deadly instrument that will be used to inflict their reign of terror.
Joseph A. Sinagra
Chief of Police
Colin Schmitt: our next congressman
I’m so thrilled to see the new district lines reflect fairness for once, but nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to Democrats trying to finagle their way into office and power. I am so excited that Colin Schmitt will be our next congressman. He has always had my vote because he’s finally a candidate I can put my faith in to fix the nonsense locally and nationally.
I’m talking about these ridiculous gas prices and empty shelves everywhere you turn. He’s always been a voice for middle-class families and taken a stance for what’s right. I know he will work tirelessly to make improvements and real change. I can’t wait to see all that Colin will accomplish when he’s elected this fall.
Concerns about proposed asphalt plant
The proposed hot asphalt mix plant on Route 28 in the Town of Kingston has several concerning aspects. The site would lay beside the busy Route 28 highway in a former quarry, in plain view for everyone to see, smell and hear. It would also be beside several local retail businesses, possibly degrading their operations. Typically, hot asphalt plants are smelly and dirty. In the application, the developers state that the operations will have “diesel exhaust” and “particulate” from an “open-air” process.
Ulster Strong doesn’t dispute the applicant’s contention of a need and opportunity of providing a variety of highway-oriented services and solutions to the area, as well as added jobs and new tax revenues. It’s that the location beside Route 28 is clearly at odds with the bigger picture. An asphalt operation such as this would not just be a temporary inconvenience (e.g., such as during its construction), but an ongoing negative distraction and hazard. This is clearly at odds with the long-range vision of Route 28 being a scenic “Gateway to the Catskills.”
Unless the applicants can clearly show ways to mitigate the noted concerns about visual, smell and particulate pollution and traffic, Ulster Strong thinks this project would find a better location in Ulster.
A few questions
Butz and Civile make the emotional case that a woman who becomes pregnant owes a sacred debt of responsibility to the developing embryo to bring it to term. But this no-nonsense approach to taking responsibility for one’s actions and the overarching sanctity of human life begs some important questions: Since Betz and Civile would make abortion illegal, what legal remedy would be required of the fathers, who are at least equally responsible for the new life? If the woman is to be penalized by forfeiting nine months of her life and the emotional trauma of putting a baby up for adoption, what does the father forfeit?
Secondly, how do they deal with the consequences of rape or incest – cases in which pregnancy results from a crime inflicted on the woman or girl? Thirdly, if the state requires women to carry all pregnancies to term, will the state take financial responsibility for the babies women are forced to bear against their will?
Whenever I see someone comment that you can’t yell “Fire” in a movie theater just because you have a First Amendment right, as Neil Jarmel did, and use this as an example of why it’s justified to limit Second Amendment rights, I have to ask the question, “Do they put tape on your mouth before entering the theater?” No, they will punish you afterward if you do yell “Fire.” Gun control is the equivalent of putting tape on the mouths of people who have no intention of doing anything illegal with their firearms.
After Sandy Hook, then-Governor Cuomo pushed through his so-called SAFE ACT, which was his wish list of gun control laws he was proud to say were the strictest in the nation; we have assault weapons bans, red flag laws, magazine limits, universal background check et cetera. But these laws did not stop the Buffalo shooter, despite having threatened to shoot up his school prior to his shooting at the grocery store.
I don’t know what the answer is to prevent these shootings, but I do know more gun control won’t help.
Village Board seeks assistance from NYS DOT, DEC
Our Village superintendent of Public Works, Bleu Terwilliger, has inquired with regional Department of Transportation (DOT) engineers to see whether the ongoing flooding problems on North Chestnut Street (NYS Route 32) between North Front and Broadhead could be addressed.
We believe the State’s stormwater conveyance on this section of NYS Route 32 is either partially collapsed, undersized or clogged. Flooding is significant during most rains, and it is especially dangerous for vehicles and pedestrians during larger precipitation events. Moreover, pooling stormwater is finding its way into our nearby maintenance hole covers, which exacerbates the Village’s stormwater “inflow and infiltration” (I&I) problems.
For many years, New Paltz has been investing millions of dollars in solutions to fix our I&I problems. When too much stormwater enters and stresses our system, I&I makes our Wastewater Treatment Plant work harder, wasting electricity and increasing wear on our plant’s multi-million-dollar mechanicals. Our plant’s daily average has been 772,000 gallons per month-to-date through 5/23/22. However, when it rains hard, an increasing occurrence, the plant can be called upon to treat more than four times that volume in a single day, compared to the recent 772,000-gallon daily average. Rainfall is predicted to increase due to climate change, and we have seen an increase in recent years. This issue will most likely get worse and measures to mitigate need to happen quickly.
New Paltz has been party to a consent order from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation since 2003, which was also reissued in 2014, because of our overflowing raw sewage problem caused by excessive I&I. Hydraulic overloading has caused raw sewage to erupt from maintenance hole covers onto Village streets and into the Wallkill River multiple times over nearly 20 years.
We believe the NYS Departments of Transportation and Environmental Conservation need to work more synergistically to protect community health. Fixing the State’s infrastructure on Route 32 will reduce pollution caused by stormwater runoff, which degrades local water quality and creates other detrimental effects on the environment. The Wallkill River and Tributary 13 watersheds, as well as proximity to municipal and private groundwater wells, rank as important concerns. We hope you agree.
We would greatly appreciate our regional DEC office in New Paltz or DOT office in Poughkeepsie to share any thoughts on how to encourage New York State to move this repair up on its list of capital projects. If you would like to discuss or visit the site on a rainy day, please do not hesitate to reach me at (845) 255-0130, extension 115.
Mayor Tim Rogers
Not a fan
I never write letters to the editor, but the one regular letter-writer, Sparrow from Phoenicia, really annoyed me showing the hate he has for Republicans in the May 25 edition of Hudson Valley One saying it took 154 years for the Republicans to become completely evil while constantly talking about God. But then again, in all the years he’s been commenting, he never made sense to me.
Excellent coverage by David Gordon
David Gordon’s article on the Saugerties Planning Board meeting at which the petition to change the zoning law to accommodate the Denier Car Wash is comprehensively excellent and matches informal accounts I heard about the meeting. My takeaway is that it is outrageous that so much of our Planning Board’s (and the Zoning Board’s before it) precious time is being taken up by this egregious request.
Without even needing to know a single thing about the issue itself, the simple argument that it’s an underhanded trick to purchase property you know is zoned specifically against what you plan to do with it and then demand that the law prohibiting your scheme be overturned should be enough to dismiss it summarily, as the Zoning Board apparently did. But such is not the case, and for reasons it’s difficult to understand, many hours of this volunteer board’s time are being eaten up by a request that should never have been made.
The undeniable fact is that the Beaver Kill aquifer, upon which hundreds of households (including mine) depend, and for which there is no substitute, is endangered by any car wash, even one that takes the costly precautions this one says it will take. Such measures, which sound more like building an oil tanker (and we all know how safe they are) than a car wash, would be necessary if something vital, like a hospital, were needed and a site above an aquifer were the only possible place to put it. But a car wash? Please! This business could go all sorts of other places and hardly falls into the category of the necessary. That it’s not worth even slightly endangering the aquifer should go without saying.
What on Earth could be going on here? The implication that rezoning would benefit the men who own the Winston Farm property and the fact that one of those men, Randy Richers, is a partner in the car wash scheme is impossible to ignore. If this were a TV show script, there’d be no doubt about the motivations of everyone involved. Amazingly, the board seems to have agreed to let the car wash engineer look into the safety record of other car washes similar to what is being proposed here and report back to the board. This involves conflict of interest, pure and simple.
Residents of Saugerties need to make their opinions about this potentially catastrophic project known to the Planning Board. Despite statements to the contrary, no one needs to make originally worded or even lengthy statements, unless someone is so inspired. In our system of government, those elected or appointed to do the business of the public need to listen to the public in whatever manner the public chooses to express itself. At the ballot box, it’s yes or no, and so it should be at the Town Board, the Planning Board and every other board or commission that acts in our name. Just send a note of whatever length to the Planning Board secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Halt Medicare privatization
Medicare has been one of the shining examples of programs that the government does really well. Since its inception, it has played a big role in maintaining the health and well-being of people in their late adulthood. Now, it is under threat by hedge funds that want to take it over by implementing an “optional” scheme called direct contracting. There is no guarantee that it will remain optional, and if it is implemented, it will increase the cost of Medicare by several-fold. Don’t let them take away a successful program that has served generations of our elderly.
To learn more about why we need to oppose it and what you can do about it, check out https://protectmedicare.net/webinar-turning-up-the-heat. Follow it up with action by spreading the word.
Israeli lobby destructive to democracy
One might say that the Israel lobby isn’t much worse than some of the biggest of corporate advocacy groups. Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Banks and the weapons-makers spend millions on campaign contributions and flood DC with their lobbyists. Is Israel doing anything different?
Well, most lobby groups don’t spend a lot of time spying on the American people. Certainly not to the extent the Israeli lobby does, using its huge collection of personal data to destroy the job prospects of college students and professors. In fact, the lobby goes beyond that to infiltrate American human rights organizations, even using the Israeli spyware company NSO to trace their communications and locations. Pro-Israel reporters have infiltrated our major media, like Isabel Kershner for The New York Times, whose son served in the Israeli Army and husband works for an Israeli propaganda group (the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv).
The Israel lobby has a close relationship with groups that fan Islamophobia in US campuses and communities. The Clarion Fund distributed copies of the racist film Obsession to millions of people in the same year it was awarded $18 million from the Donors Capital Fund, a group that links conservative causes to overseas funders operating in Israel. Jewish Voice for Peace has recently identified at least seven major foundations involved in creating and funding anti-Muslim sentiment in the US.
The Israeli lobby is, in fact, much more destructive to our democracy than corporate advocacy groups.
Teach your children
Atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, no fan of Christianity, viewed the Christian belief that each human being is of equal moral worth with an immortal soul, beloved by God, as the root of all egalitarian impulses or desires. These impulses resulted in ending the Roman gladiatorial games and execution by crucifixion as well as ending slavery, elevating the social status of women and inspiring the development of hospitals and other egalitarian social justice innovations. However, he argued that if there is no God who promulgated this view of human moral worth, no one should believe we all deserve equal moral consideration.
With this in view, had Christianity’s influence never occurred, apart from imposing the power of a nonexistent Judeo/Christian moral ethic upon the Roman Empire’s social order, there is no reason to believe that such an egalitarian moral revolution would have ever occurred. Moreover, today there are those who view the Judeo/Christian ethic as a regressive influence whose “chains should be broken” and restraints upon behavior “cast off” that should be replaced by a merely human progressive code in which freedom is the highest virtue.
Indeed, a song from a popular rock group of the ‘60s acknowledged that their generation, which had rejected what they considered to be the hypocrisy of the preceding one, still “must have a code that we can live by.” However, though they exhorted the listeners to “have” this code and “Teach your children” this new code “well,” they failed to express what that code was or the authority behind it, which would assure that this code would make the world a better place for their children. Nor did they give any assurances that this code in itself would empower them to faithfully adhere to this new set of rules or ever keep children from becoming hypocrites, themselves.
These failures are significant because history shows that human beings have a tendency to violate moral codes even when doing so hurts themselves and others. Moreover, in light of the many mass shootings that have occurred in our country, it is time to ask how many of the shooters – most of them young men with absent fathers – were inspired by the bitterness they had nurtured over being mistreated, neglected, bullied, misinformed and propagandized by social media outlets and abused by people in their lives. And surely, it’s time to acknowledge that those who abused and misled them did so not because they were following the tenets of the Judeo/Christian ethic, but because they violated them.
In light of the abovementioned complaints of hypocrisy, it should be noted that hypocrisy does not nullify the truth that virtues exist that must be taught, honored and upheld as standards, despite the fact that humans are capable of not practicing what they preach. For this reason, it is time to admit and renounce our own hypocrisy where it exists and “teach our children well” by word and deed that the view of God, man and truth they embrace has serious implications for the society in which they will live.
With this in mind, those who want to teach their children well should begin by teaching them by word and example that there is purpose and meaning to their lives because God exists and this God is good and the source of all creation and everything good, and that he gave commandments that if embraced and obeyed, would make life better for any society that honors and upholds them. (Imagine if people didn’t steal, murder, commit adultery, lie and covet, in regard to these “Thou shall not” commandments, how their society would prosper. Further imagine how blessed a society would become if people considered having a sacrificial, Christlike love for one another – based on the view that God gives everyone equal moral worth – a goal worthy of pursuing and provided reasons for faith to their children, rather than offering them an unhealthy and misleading skepticism.)
In closing, Bob Dylan wrote, regarding a mysterious “Jokerman,” that “Freedom is just around the corner for you,” and then raises the question: “But with truth so far off, what good will it do?” His message is that even good things, like freedom, without the restraints of a reasonable, clear and consistent moral truth, will lead to a moral confusion that allows what was once considered to be evil to become acceptable and even viewed as good. By his question, Mr. Dylan implies such freedom will become an excuse for doing evil.
Finally, in light of this implication, if we really want to teach our children well, we should end by teaching them that whenever this occurs, freedom becomes a vile thing that will never do them any good.
Do all black lives really matter?
Kathy Gordon is absolutely right in pointing out the sad state of affairs in today’s society regarding the various incidents of hatred between races and cultures. There is no place for this animus in a civilized society. Yet, unfortunately, it still continues. Random instances of anti-racial and anti-cultural attacks have occurred in the past few administrations, but seem to have escalated to alarmingly new heights since the current administration took office, only 16 months ago. For obvious political reasons, they have manufactured the false term of “systemic racism” to refer to our current and entire society. We all know that to be a grossly inaccurate reference since the vast majority of us have no problems interacting with, getting along with, and helping our friends and neighbors, no matter what anyone’s race or culture is.
I have to disagree with Kathy’s reliance on the BLM movement as an accurate and sincere movement that portends to allege that all black lives matter. If anyone has bothered to peel back a few layers of their onion, it is obvious that some of their mission statements are dangerous and, also, show that they hardly care about ALL black lives.
First of all, the BLM was founded by three women with admitted Marxist tenets. They believe that capitalism is responsible for blacks being stuck in a hopeless realm of not being able to achieve and succeed, despite a statistic I mentioned in a previous letter that, currently, there are nearly 150,000,000 black millionaires, and counting.
As incredible as it sounds, one of their key pillars of belief is that they do not support the traditional nuclear family, even in the face of many recent reports that state that a main reason for many young black men getting involved in gangs, drugs and violence is because there is no father in their homes or lives.
BLM’s SOLE focus is only on black lives killed by police while making it sound like this is a major problem in every city in our country and that most police officers are racist and out looking to hunt down black men. The number of blacks killed by police are minuscule when compared to the number of blacks killed by other blacks in major cities like Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, etc. A Chicago statistic says that 75% of murder victims are black and that 71% of their murderers are, also, black. Where is BLM with their signs, bull horns and “peaceful protests” as they passionately claim that black lives matter?
Another area where BLM obviously couldn’t care less about black lives is in the area of abortion. Since Roe v. Wade, 20,000,000 unborn black babies have been murdered, around 400,000 per year. Seventy-nine percent of Planned Parenthood locations are within walking distance of predominantly underprivileged black communities. Coincidence? Hardly! And, once again, are they demonstrating in front of these Planned Parenthood sites? No. Where are the “caring” BLM members? Nowhere! Crickets!
So, don’t tell me that ALL black lives mater to the BLM — other than the microscopic number killed by police.
John N. Butz
Volunteers for Comeau Trails needed
Comeau Trails need physically capable volunteers to help spread stones on Comeau’s Middle Trail on Sunday, June 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (rain date Sunday, June 12).
We have one large, motorized wheelbarrow and several basic wheelbarrows but need strong, sturdy volunteers to help load them. The Comeau Trail Committee would appreciate any time anyone can give to help preserve our highly used trails. Thank you.
Thank you to Gay
Driving on Zena Road I am always struck by the beauty of the Zena cornfield and the former Lisa Downer fields across the road. They are some of Woodstock’s greatest gems and one can’t help but breathe deeply when passing by.
Thank you to Gay Leonhardt for forming the Woodstock Land Conservancy back in the 1980s and having the foresight to conserve these fields with their magnificent views. Thank you to all the Woodstock residents who contributed so enthusiastically and generously to purchase and protect the cornfield and to support the work of the Woodstock Land Conservancy in its nascent days.
Given recent tasteless development in Woodstock, I can’t bear to even imagine what could be there instead of the idyllic setting we are so lucky to enjoy.
It is quite disturbing to read about the discussion of the Woodstock Planning Board and Lizzy Van, owner of the Bearsville Center, concerning a few days per year of outdoor events. Have we forgotten that Woodstock has become so attractive because of the music and art that was created here? How much attention and business this generated? What would Woodstock be without its legendary history of music and art? The most famous small town in the world?
No, it would not even be on the map.
No one complains about all the noise of chainsaws, lawn machines and truck traffic reverberating in the valley. The town officials should welcome Lizzie Van and the new Bearsville Center with open arms and special support for creating an exceptional place for performances and recreation, carrying on the Woodstock spirit. When people move here, they should be made aware of that special spirit
We are here since 50 years now and brought many musicians and events to this town through the Creative Music Studio. Since then we have seen the presence of music evaporate to just a few spots. If the Bearsville project fails because of the lack of town support, we would have to leave too.
Ingrid Sertso and Karl Berger
Under the sea
I’m tired of billionaires flying into space; I’d rather they went undersea.
I have faced the DOT, and they have a special way of thinking about what is a logical speed limit. New Paltz had a committee that met to provide suggestions for improving the roads serving the town. I attended their meetings regularly and was well treated, except once, when a woman came to ask for support getting School Zone signs erected after a car hit and badly injured a boy in front of the Teen Center, right next to the Middle School. After a brief discussion, the woman was encouraged to write letters to everyone she could think of, and in a few YEARS she may get the signs. The person who said that seemed entirely sincere!
I suggested we just put up the signs, and that led a normally rational man to yell at me that I was “ridiculous” and storm out. I continued that if they took the signs down, we’d simply put them up again, for which I was told I would be arrested. So then I made the universal hand sign for talking on the phone and said “Hello, Andy. Paul Nathe down in solidly Democrat New Paltz. I’ve been arrested for putting up School Zone signs! Yeah, really! OK, thanks Andy.”
The guy who had suggested writing letters changed his mind, describing my idea as guerrilla warfare.
No exaggeration: Two days later the signs were up!
Then the Acting Regional manager of the DOT attended the next meeting. How cool. Until he was asked how speed limits were decided. He told us that for the most part the DOT used the speed most people drove on each section of road. Insanity, I said. Pleasant guy, young and getting ready to collect his pension in a few months. Government-types respond to career disruption possibilities.
The people who are threatened by excessive speeds near Saugerties need to make it clear to the DOT that they will be held liable for the dangerous Speed Limits on Route 212. Call the office of every politician responsible for your area, right up to Governor Hochul and down to the members of the school board, many of whom see themselves rising up through the ranks. Speak forcefully about your fears about your family, and life and death. And VOTE!
We must be missing the point
Mass shootings must be stopped. They happen so much less often in other countries that we must be missing the point. We love our cowboy image, but this is no longer the wild west. Without extensive training and practice, if you get into a shoot-out, there is a good chance you will die. If you manage to kill or wound an intruder, the legal bills could well bankrupt you. Protecting yourself and your family is less the reason to have arms than to make you feel stronger.
Sigmund Freud thought all men wanted to believe in their most powerful phallus, and a gun is a likely representation of one. The Second Amendment does not guarantee gun ownership for everyone, but protects the right to have arms to join a militia, presumably to protect the country. We need to have good laws protecting the right to own guns for peaceful purposes to end this notion that the government is always about to take away our guns. We must keep guns and especially assault rifles away from the loonies. Republicans should stop obstructing and join with Democrats to formulate the legislation we need. Background checks would help, but assault rifles are useless toys for a man to feel like he has the biggest phallus in town.
Why are we surprised? Our country has long advocated violence as a solution to problems. It’s in our national DNA. I’m reminded of a former co-worker’s story about his first day on the job in Jackson, Mississippi. It was a federal government job and during a pause at a staff meeting, one of the attendees remarked that a neighbor had been shot the night before. After a beat, one of the others asked, “Did he need shootin’?” But that’s America, and many of us celebrate it.
Just look at our entertainment, at movies, at TV, at video games. Look at our T-shirt slogans and our heroes; e.g., the movie “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.” America glorifies killing. And it is not just entertainment. Defenders of the Second Amendment say we need guns to protect ourselves, as if police and the National Guard are not enough.
Then we go a step further. We equip our citizens with the most lethal, effective means to kill people, military assault rifles. Seemingly, anyone can get them. In fact, just this month you can pick one up here at the gun show in Saugerties, where they will be on display by eager sales staff, praising their features. All this, and yet somehow we are shocked when there is a killing by some disturbed individual, someone trying to “settle the score.” “How could this happen” we ask. Doesn’t that seem naive?
The hypocrisy of going green in Saugerties
The very first sentence of David Gordon’s article “Zoning in” in the May 25th edition of Hudson Valley One issue says it all:
Car washes are prohibited in the general business district and the aquifer protection overlay district along Route 32 in Saugerties.
How much more clear can a statement be?
Why would the Planning Board even consider addressing this issue other than to point out to the proposers that car washes are prohibited in the … and the Aquifer Protection Overlay District along Route 32 in Saugerties?
Why would the Planning Board even consider permitting ONE businessman to potentially destroy our aquifer so he can have a clearly forbidden business where he wants it? I believe I have a clue.
Should this change be allowed, the owners of Winston Farm, of which he is one, will obviously use the point of this zoning change to justify using the zoning change to then defend whatever other zoning changes would need to be put into place for whatever grand development is planned for Winston Farm, as they would be able to declare that zoning was altered once, so why not again (and again and again).
Denier’s words ring hollow, his protestations that this is not the case at all are absurd. This proposal is a means to an end, nothing else. And if our Planning Board falls for this ploy, I have a bridge that perhaps I can sell this town. We could put it at Winston Farm just like the bridge to nowhere in Alaska proposed in 2008.
Does he think we’ve all just fallen off the turnip truck? Unless and until there is a written legal document stating so, words are just that, words. They, in fact, hold no water.
Take a look at another situation of recent happening.
We seem to display a good deal of hypocrisy in our Town. Our Supervisor touts ‘Going Green’ by planting three trees at the Kiwanis Ice Rink and then supports and publicizes how great an amphitheater idea on Winston Farm would be, totally ignoring the fact that hundreds of trees will need to be cut down to accommodate it. Now, I’m pretty sure something of illogical thought has taken place here. Paving land to add parking … not at all going green. Gouging the land to build a building large enough to accommodate several thousand, possibly more, people, how’s that going green? Please stop speaking out of both sides of your mouths.
It is our Town government’s pledged responsibility to protect the residents. They cannot protect us from earthquakes but they sure as heck can protect us from car washes and amphitheaters and inappropriate use of our precious open lands.
That is the oath taken when sworn into their political positions.
Commentary on life
You cry I cry
You cry I cry
You cry we cry
UVALDE we cry
BUFFALO we cry
Myrna S. Hilton