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.
He’s not all that phat…Donald Trump is days away from saying he hardly knows Donald Trump.
Test your stupidity: To all the “Red Hat” set – Well, duh? Empty folders! Why would anyone want to keep 40 empty classified folders? Next, Trump will claim that he only took the classified covers, not the docs within them. He’ll claim that someone else took the docs. So, what’s he saying about the empty folders? Ask him if he sold any over the last six years? “Tre45on” is the reason for this season.
Of course, this all pales in comparison to what TFG will do if reelected.
A piece of history
The new Texan history textbooks refer to American slavery as “long-term job security.”
Democratic nominee for Ulster County Executive
I am writing in support of the nomination of March Gallagher as Democratic candidate for Ulster County Executive. For the 14 years that we have been acquainted, I have always known March to be a kind, generous and supportive community member, mother and friend. As a social worker who has worked with underrepresented and disadvantaged populations in Ulster County, I find March Gallagher to be a passionate ally in the fight for equity for all residents. As County Comptroller, she has earned our trust by modeling transparency and accountability. March Gallagher is inclusive and collaborative: she listens to the voices of our county’s residents and makes sure those voices are heard. I urge the members of the Ulster County Democratic Committee to choose March Gallagher for the Democratic candidate for Ulster County Executive.
2022 Onteora CSD school tax shock
We recently received our 2022 school tax assessment for Onteora CSD.
After paying school taxes for 25 years without complaint, our tax increase this year is 12% so we will complain. The two previous years were 4% and 6%.
We understand ‘assessed’ property values, translating into ‘taxable values’, increased. We also understand school populations decreased.
So why have tax rates per $1000 valuations increased from 13.95% to 14.97% in one year? Did the annual school budget increase 12%? Wasn’t there a 2% cap? Why doesn’t the assessor keep or reduce the tax rate given the number of properties affected ? Why exactly are Onteora school costs demanding such a high tax increase? Salaries? Building maintenance?
Transportation? I think all concerned taxpayers should demand answers.
Neil Jarmel once wrote, “The rhetoric of Trump and his constituency – of which you are a part, Mr. Civile – makes me feel unsafe in my own country.” Because of the anti-Trump rhetoric of many media outlets and public figures (most recently POTUS Biden in his “Speech from the Dark Side”) and Neil’s frequent attacks against Trump (“Trump is a sadistic fascist and so are his supporters”), I can relate to Neil’s anxiety regarding feeling unsafe. (How unsafe do I feel? Well, I would never venture into New Paltz wearing a red baseball hat.)
The following song, “George Civile’s First Millinery Dream,” is a parody of “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream.” To borrow from the late, great Del Shannon, “Hats off to Neil.”
I was riding through the city moving stuff across the land
I work for Mayflower Movers I’ll have you understand
I had some time to kill and I was hungry as a horse
I saw a McDonald’s up ahead and I stopped to eat of course
As I walked across the parking lot, I took my MAGA hat off my head
And began to consider if I should get a cheeseburger or a Big Mac meal instead
I put my hat on my booth’s seat as I ate my Big Mac meal
Protestors came in walking towards me and I said “Hey what’s the deal?”
They answered “We saw a guy with a hat who must’ve voted for DJT
I said “I’m a big Joe Biden fan so that guy wasn’t me”
And as I made sure my MAGA hat was hidden out of view
They said “That’s cool we’re sorry man we shouldn’t’ve bothered you”
The USA is one of the Americas I thought as I went outside
It used to be in this America a hat you didn’t have to hide
But they’re still harassing Donald and those who with him agree
This don’t seem right in the home of the brave and land of the free
So I sat in my truck thinking if I had wings like a bird I’d fly away
But I had no wings, still had some time and so I decided to stay
I came upon an American Legion hall I said “They must like Donald here”
I went inside, hat on my head, thinking there was nothing I should fear
A man was standing at the podium using a word that began with F and ended with G
It was Neil Jarmel he was cursing Trump and he looked up and noticed me
I quickly turned around removed my hat and put it in my jacket’s sleeve
I found the nearest exit left my truck and was really glad to leave
My hat was still hidden as I walked past the city zoo
I went looking for a store so I could buy a paper and gum to chew
I found a store, picked up the gum when a headline caught my eye
It said “Climate change is racist” so I read the story to find out exactly why
“White people don’t live near the sun so about climate change they don’t care”
Tt sounded kind of strange to me and I thought to white people that wasn’t fair
After paying for my items I put my hat in the paper’s folds to hide
Then walked outside with my jacket on holding my paper by my side
Then walked outside chewing my gum holding my paper by my side
I saw some angry people carrying signs they wanted everyone to see
The signs said “Keep abortion legal” and “Make college tuition-free”
They were chanting “Some lives matter…we still hate POTUS 45”
And I held my paper tightly hoping I would make it out of there alive
I made it back to my Mayflower truck and was driving on my way
I was stuck in traffic with a van next to me, its tint was a light grey
The driver was a man of color with a MAGA hat set upon his head
He worked for a rival company, Columbus Movers his van read
He rolled his window down and shouted “Where’s the nearest place to eat?”
I yelled “There’s a McDonald’s up ahead about a mile down this street”
The traffic was moving slowly and we were able still to talk
He yelled “The way this traffic’s moving I wish that I could walk”
As we came near McDonald’s I saw the protesters still were there
I warned my mover friend “If you’re going in, of protestors you’d best beware”
I advised him to take off his MAGA hat and leave it in his truck
He said “No this is America where speech is free” and I just yelled “Good luck”
Moriello Pool a true New Paltz treasure
A huge shout-out and thank you to Bill Russel, director, and the entire Moriello Park and Pool staff for yet another summer of joyous memories, Seahawks swim meets, swim lessons and lap swimming, alongside meeting up with old friends and new. The Moriello Pool is a true New Paltz treasure.
I have been a pool member for 53 years (!!), which is a long time to be a member of anything. I can still remember when Bill’s mother, Barbara, was the pool director! After all these years, it remains a happy, happy day when the pool opens again each year on Memorial Day. Members and visitors alike comment often on how clean the pool is; the grounds are immaculately kept. The lifeguards are extremely professional and have gone through another summer without a close call under their watchful eyes. Brian Franciola does a bang-up job in our concession stand. All of Brian’s food is prepared daily to order, both healthy and affordable.
The pool and staff, members and visitors, are evidence of real community. Membership is very affordable and there is a summer rec swim team for children of all ages. My three grandchildren are all college swimmers, but they started out as Seahawks, six-and-under swimmers! A safe place to learn how to compete without pressure. When my daughter had little ones, she used to call it “the poor man’s Caribbean.” Not far off. For many, it is a vacation destination.
I was feeling sad this year once again, saying goodbye to friends I only see at the pool. That said, to say that there is not one change you would make is the highest of compliments. Bill and his entire staff pretty much score a perfect ten. Last week, a couple who swim laps daily mentioned how sweet the kids at the desk and lifeguards are. It’s true. What a sweet bunch.
I am beyond grateful to have this outdoor experience (especially during a summer of 90-degree-plus temps) just blocks from our front door. For me, it contains a pool full of memories. Thank you, Bill, and to all who worked with you to pull it off once again. It does not go unnoticed.
Be cautious about political donations
Is your mailbox often empty? Want to receive more mail? Here’s an easy way to do so – or to avoid that, if you like mail delivery as it is now.
With an election year in progress, I decided to support some candidates early on and sent in a few small donations last spring. I didn’t expect much of a response – perhaps a thank you note, but little more. Well…
Not only did I not receive much in an acknowledgment of my donation, my mailbox started to receive numerous requests for more donations. Lots more. Over the next few days and weeks, letters arrived, most with the same plea: for money. And almost all were from individuals, groups, PACs or organizations throughout the country I did not know, and to whom I would probably not send anything.
The letters arrived so frequently, even the mail carrier remarked about it. My small donations were being used to ask me for more donations.
I started keeping an informal list, by date, of who was filling my mailbox with their requests. So far this year, I have received about 220 requests and used 16 pages of looseleaf paper. The most from one individual totals 19 to date. Often the same appeal will appear a week or two apart, but some requests arrived in duplicate on the same day. The computers surely need some reprogramming, but maybe it’s deliberate. Really, if I don’t respond to one request, why would I do so to several? Otherwise, it’s a waste of money asking for more, instead of applying it to the political media.
Most are similar in content, asking for prompt responses (48 to 72 hours), stating they were targets of the opposition and my support was critical in this election year; about half included SASE, some oversized, many with family photos with endearing essays about their life and expectations. Hard to resist some of those.
Worst, or most annoying, are the “fake” surveys. Yes, a multi-page survey, to get my opinion on topics of interest to the sender, always ending with a plea for a donation. The surveys are usually pretty well slanted for expected responses. But I call them fake, since what organization has numerous staffers, even interns, standing by to tally the results, summarize a report and pass that on to the executives? Cynical me, I think they take the check and throw the “survey” away. I filled in a few, with a note to send me the results, and then I’d send a donation. I never got any, so never sent in a donation. Now I just recycle the surveys, along with all the other appeals. But if you like filling in surveys, you’re sure to get some – and more than a few.
Many solicitations arrived in envelopes with only one or two five-cent stamps in postage – doesn’t cost much for political people to write to you, but they make the rules, and then fault the USPS for running in the red all the time. A very few arrived with money – sometimes a penny, a few nickels, but better still, three with Kennedy half dollars and one with a dollar bill! Nice to get them and keep the money.
To my surprise, I’m now on a first-name basis with some famous people I see on TV. No, they probably will never see anything I’d ever send them, but they sign some of the letters, a few of which are written in cursive script.
Looks like the flood of political mail will continue, and likely accelerate now after Labor Day, to the dismay of my letter carrier.
So, if you do want a lot of mail, follow my example. You’ll get it in spades. But if you don’t, be cautious about the political people you donate to.
Turned off by Ryan’s actions
I’d like to remind my fellow Ulster County residents of one of the first executive orders that Pat Ryan enacted when he took the reins of our County government. You may remember the headline of Ryan signing his non-cooperation order. This order instructed County employees to passively resist immigration procedures and to halt cooperation with Customs and Border Patrol. I think that all law enforcement agencies should work together and have open lines of communication to ensure all Americans are kept safe. I was very turned off by Ryan’s actions.
In contrast, Colin Schmitt has the safety of Americans as the cornerstone of his platform. Schmitt stands for a cohesive border policy that starts with acknowledging the surge of illegal border crossings and historic levels of drug traffickers that are exporting deadly fentanyl across the United States as major threats to the Hudson Valley. Joe Biden and Pat Ryan refuse to take border security seriously and instead they demoralize Border Patrol agents who are trying to carry out a mission of national security. Fentanyl is stealing our youth; why aren’t Biden or Ryan using more resources to stop the flow of this poison? Colin Schmitt is the steadfast leader we need to strengthen border security and address the humanitarian crisis by ensuring our Border Patrol has the resources and open lines of communications that they need to keep us safe.
Nancy E. Hammond
A lie a minute, a crime a day
The one-man, I mean one-moron, crimewave, who presumed to be our president despite losing the people’s vote twice, stole and hid and refused to return national secrets.
History’s worst grifter can never again be allowed to run for any office! Okay, maybe for prison librarian.
Wolf M. Böhm
For many of us, Geddy is a lion. His time, his effort, his contributions, his life has earned him our respect. Pat Ryan not so much.
Where to begin? He beat Molinaro in a district Geddy made clear has been awash in new-arrival New York City Dems. They have come across our southern border and further tilted the Hudson Valley left. They poured in!
This path of Geddy’s lionization of Pat Ryan begins with him being elected to what, and having passed what valuable legislation? Let’s give the guy time to show us if his coat has a great mane, or actually has stripes. He may even be some other kind of cat altogether.
Geddy wasted no time getting to the driving force that Mr. Ryan himself identified as sparking his drive to try to climb the political ranks: abortion. New York State has abortion rights! The Supremes decided only that abortion legality and rules were States’ rights. I personally want it safe, legal and rare, like president Bill Clinton put it. But from the numbers I read, it is widely used in place of birth control. It is not birth control; it is the legal termination of a human life, decided by the woman carrying the baby.
The first part of New York City we enter when heading south from the Hudson Valley is the Bronx, where for about the last ten years, abortions outnumber live births. Birth control is not just condoms and pills. My quest for free vasectomies for men and boys as young as 14 has no traction, but I am still advocating. The law is clear that if a male creates a fetus, he is financially responsible for that person until adulthood. The rate is 17 percent of pre-tax income. That should be a pretty strong argument for where men spread their sperm, but it isn’t. On the subject of what should happen financially to the man when a woman becomes pregnant, I would like Mr. Ryan’s opinion.
On the topic of the US rushing out of Afghanistan, I want to hear how he (military man) thinks it should have been handled.
On Nixon’s Clean Water legislation, I want both Mr. Ryan’s record as County executive on clean rivers and his plans when the tide of progressives carries him to Washington. And if he has even one day in DC like Hollywood’s Mr. Smith, I will eat a raw oyster from the Hudson!
Geddy, you know journalists should fall in love more slowly.
Election of State Supreme Court judges
The recent US Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, and rolling back women’s reproductive rights, highlights the case that our judges matter at every level.
On November 8, we will elect three new judges in our New York State Supreme Court Judicial District 3, which includes Ulster, Sullivan, Columbia, Albany, Schoharie, Greene and Rensselaer counties. New York’s Supreme Court is one of the busiest in our state system, as it oversees civil disputes such as property, divorce and other non-criminal matters and is the court most New Yorkers are likely to visit in their lifetimes.
While there are three open seats this year, there are four candidates on the ballot. So, please pay attention to what I will unpack here!
Three candidates are Democratic women who would practice in their home counties: Heidi Cochrane (Columbia County), Meagan Galligan (Sullivan County) and Sharon Graff (Ulster/Sullivan counties). I am proud that the Ulster County Democratic Women have endorsed them. Electing three Democratic women would help balance the current 12-men-to-four-women gender gap in Judicial District 3 and ensure all our rights will be respected.
Also important: The fourth candidate is Republican Tom Marcelle, a hard-right judge on the Cohoes City Court, who is – no surprise – anti-choice, who considers bail reform to be unconstitutional and who was endorsed by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. Previously, Marcelle was recommended for a federal judgeship by former congressman John Faso and current Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin – then nominated by Trump. Fortunately, Marcelle’s nomination was blocked by Senator Gillibrand.
On Thursday. September 22, our Democratic women candidates will attend a Meet and Greet in New Paltz and answer voters’ questions about the State Supreme Court. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to attend.
Meanwhile, we women have some persuading to do. And we must let our friends and neighbors know about the three superbly qualified women who will help improve our State Supreme Court with their wisdom, experience and Democratic values.
President, Ulster County Democratic Women
I do not advocate or promote abortion, but I support women’s right to defend their own lives. For this and other reasons, I am disgusted by the buttheaded rants, uncivil parodies and Trump-cultist tirades from right-wingers whose “pro-life” stance extends only to the unborn. Following is my satirical representation of the MAGA misogynists’ ghoulish hypocrisy, to the tune of Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee:”
I’m proud to be a right-wing right-to-lifer,
I’ll gladly kill your sister, daughter, wife,
I love the smell of women bleeding out, but
I proudly claim the mantle of “pro-life.”
I won’t pay tax for other people’s children,
The needs of living, breathing kids I scorn,
I just want to control and punish women
While boasting that I’m saving the unborn.
I’m happy when a 10-year-old gets pregnant,
If she says she was raped, I don’t believe.
Ectopic pregnancy is not an illness,
It’s God’s death sentence for the sins of Eve.
I’ll make a woman bear a headless fetus,
If dead, I’ll make her bear it anyway,
I’ll laugh my ass off if she dies of sepsis,
The slut had sex, so she deserves to pay!
When gunmen shoot whole classrooms of small children,
While armed cops cower outside the school in fright,
I send my thoughts and prayers for God’s protection
From limits on our Second Amendment right.
When young folks get sent off to kill or be killed,
I’m for it, don’t care what we’re fighting for,
I cheer when our side bombs civilian babies,
They’re just collateral damage in our war.
I staunchly back our fossil fuel extractors,
My comfort’s worth destruction of the Earth,
No matter what Hell children will inherit,
As long as women suffer through forced birth.
I love death penalties and executions,
Especially in cases plagued with doubt.
Abortion must be classified as murder,
Let’s kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out!
I’m proud to be a right-wing right-to-lifer,
I’ll gladly kill your sister, daughter, wife,
I love the smell of women bleeding out, but
I proudly claim the mantle of “pro-life.”
Rebecca B. Wilk
To save someone’s life
Knowing the scourge of misinformation, lies, absent facts and intentional ear-plugging performances will not stop me from telling you a remnant of a true story from years ago. Because it has triggered me to think about saving lives. I once knew a man who saved another person’s life by stopping at their burning car. The driver was not moving, so he raced to the car, wrapped his shirt around the hot door handle and pulled, but it didn’t open. So he ran to his pickup, grabbed a pry bar, came back, broke the car window, forced the door open, pulled out the dazed driver and carried him to safety.
I often imagined what I might do for the heroic man if that had been me in the burning car. How would I have expressed gratitude for him risking his life to save mine? How long would I remember him in the years to come? If he called me later in his life for help, would I?
Why am I setting this up, you may wonder? Because I am a veteran who went to war and risked my life to save American lives by taking Vietnamese lives. During the Vietnam War, many at home called it an unjust war. So did the man who pulled the person from the burning car saving his life do something different than the boy sent to war on lies from his government?
How long after the war will you remember veterans who risked their lives for you and your family? When our veterans returned home, you took ten years to welcome them with a ticker-tape parade in NYC. When they call for help, you allow our government to prioritize the wealthy’s needs over those fighting men and women who protected them while they went to college and got the best jobs. When veterans returned to a country where the protestors made them pariahs, but to the veterans, you all were that man in the burning car we’d rescued. Would you help the man who saved you in the burning car and not the veterans who went to war for you?
Veterans are labeled with a syndrome called PTSD, given no diagnosis other than being a veteran.
With this assessment, there is less room to think of the men and women who have saved our lives. Instead, we are losing lives on the battlefields of our capital and our children are regularly killed in schools, places we once thought safe. Acceptance of our government’s lies about the Vietnam War paved the way for more wars, and we, the public, allowed our military to become human capital.
Many Vietnam vets have passed from exposure to Agent Orange, burn pits, addictions and top-of-the-list suicide. However, one of the most painful roles Vietnam vets play in society is the victim of our government for sending them to war and taking no moral responsibility. A soldier’s role was to protect us as citizens. This profound betrayal was, and remains, a moral injury that the government and leadership refuse to own.
Despite all the lies and spin today, I hope we still have the humanity to save someone from their burning car.
So you have a disability, and sometimes your disability gets in the way of you living with grace and elegance. I get it. I am blind and, although I do quite well most of the time, I must use a portion of my energy each and every day just to maintain my confidence and love of life. Sometimes it’s easier than other days, but it continues to be a bit of an energy drain. But I do my best to not let my disability get in the way, even when it’s hard.
On November 8 we have a very important election that could either confirm and strengthen our precious democracy, or send us down the rabbit hole toward becoming a fascist country. This is serious. I am taking this as a real threat and plan to vote on election day no matter what. Will you?
Many folks with disabilities all too often make last-minute decisions to vote, but unfortunately don’t strategically plan ahead to insure that things will go smoothly. Many things can go wrong, as many of you with disabilities must be well aware of. So please consider now to line up friends and rides to your local voting places. Plan to leave early on Election Day, and call ahead to learn the times where they expect a lull in the numbers of people who will be voting. Less people in line will make it a little easier for you. And if you can’t secure a ride to your local polling place, please call a local support organization. There most likely will be tons of drivers who will be happy to give folks a ride to vote. One helpful handy hint for you is to treat helpers with respect and maybe a little gratitude if they come through for you. But at the same time, please lovingly but firmly teach them how to best assist you. Most people mean well, but have no idea how to be a thoughtful ally to a person with a disability.
If you prefer to mail in your ballot, please reach out tomorrow to the local authorities and insist on getting the help you need to receive a ballot in the mail. Then secure a friend or a neighbor to help you with following exactly what you must do to have your vote totally accepted. Get it in the mail way before the deadline for mail in ballots. Don’t think your vote does not matter. It does.
All people with disabilities have power. In fact when we vote as a block, we can have a major influence on an election. But this article is not to tell you how to vote. No. I just want you to get out and vote. Those of us with disabilities have often in the past, thought we were not significant. But it’s time to change that point of view. It’s old and it’s not true. Take yourself seriously. It’s worth it and you are bound to like yourself a little more for your tenacity.
By appointment only
Within the August 13 edition of this newspaper I came across an interesting item on page nine. It seems that the Village of New Paltz Planning Board is considering a unique solution to a potential parking problem. A proposed cannabis dispensary at Zero Place has some folks anticipating unbearable traffic congestion accompanied by overwhelming demand for parking spaces (and weed). Solution: The business will be required to operate by appointment-only … no walk-ups allowed. Those unfortunate patrons arriving without an appointment, and jonesing for a hit, will be directed to the Moriello Pool parking lot. Note: I suggest that walk-ups and bicycle-ups be exempted from the appointment requirement since they do not impact the parking predicament.
We understand that circumstances at Zero Place may be unique, but the lack of adequate parking space is not one of them. With that in mind, I suggest that we consider instituting an appointment-only policy at several other locations in the village and town.
Jammed up — The parking lot at Dedrick’s Pharmacy, Convenient Deli, etc. is often packed-out. To ease congestion, all of the businesses in this plaza could switch to appointment-only operation. Those customers arriving without an appointment will be directed to the middle school and/or M&T Bank, assuming, of course, that these establishments will cooperate. A better option might be to make arrangements for valet service. While the customer picks up their prescription, art supplies and meatball hero, the valet would remove their car to a secret remote location. In the meantime, a valuable parking spot is available for someone who had the foresight to make an appointment. A brief text message to the valet would return the car.
Chockablock — Cherry Hill Plaza. This parking lot begs for appointment-only consideration. It’s already working for Access Physical Therapy so why not extend the policy to Rino’s Pizza, Gadaleto’s Seafood, et al.? Shop-Rite is nearby to accommodate those ditzy enough to arrive without an appointment.
Double parked — Downtown business district. Personally, I’m tired of driving around the block every time I can’t get a parking spot right in front of The Bakery. Maybe they could set up a reverse-valet. The valet takes the customer’s order: half-a-dozen everything bagels, a decorated cake and a double latte. Then they drive around the block until the order is ready for pick-up. Perhaps not so good for carbon emissions but a valuable parking spot is saved for … by appointment only.
No honeymoon for Ryan
Pat Ryan is facing an early test of his progressive credibility on the issue of the dirty energy ‘side deal’ tentatively agreed to by Senators Manchin and Schumer in the recently passed reconciliation bill. This deal would legislate fast tracking of fossil fuel infrastructure construction. If the climate change mitigation measures contained in the reconciliation bill are one step forward, fast tracking dirty fuel infrastructure amounts to two steps back. And these fossil fuel projects are disproportionately sited in economically disadvantaged communities so there is a socioeconomic/racial component in this fight as well. Senate Democrats plan to include this concession to fossil fuel interests in a must-pass omnibus spending bill.
Bernie Sanders and progressives in the House are leading the opposition to this crooked deal. Government is capable of walking and chewing gum simultaneously. We can legislate climate change mitigation measures, moving away from dependence on fossil fuels, even with the energy shortage in Europe due to Russia’s war on Ukraine. Government has to figure out a way of maintaining energy security while confronting climate change. Making smart policy is difficult and complicated.
We will soon see if the newest Democrat in the House can carry on the fine work he did in Ulster County on a national level. A lot depends on Pat Ryan and people like him to stand up to powerful people and do what’s best for regular citizens and the long-term health of the planet .
With all the articles that I have submitted to the old New Paltz Times and continuing with the Hudson Valley One, 75 articles plus, I have had numerous comments down through the years regarding my articles.
Just recently, an individual approached me, not knowing each other. He was very polite, friendly and he asked if he could chit chat with me for a few minutes. Being a suspicious person, more so, with age, I immediately was on guard until he mentioned my letters in the paper. ‘Ah’, ‘I said to myself’, ‘ a reader.’ With that we introduced ourselves and shook hands.
What he wanted to chit chat about were the letters I had submitted to the papers down through the life of one paper and now in the existing paper; he was a subscriber of both and therefore had knowledge of the history of my many letters.
He came right to the point, stating he liked my letters but wondered why I did not talk or discuss any other topic of interest other than the loss of my benefits. Good question.
I informed him I have many concerns about the role of our government today, particularly at my age, and the misbehavior of the Republican Party under Donald Trump. I informed him there are no concerns that takes paramount over the concern I have about the possible loss of my benefits. To address his question, I mentioned some of them, to wit: the concern I have over climate change (global warming), the Federal deficit, the proliferation of automatic weapons in the country, the lack of appropriate gun control within the context of the 2nd Amendment, the immigration problem (which can be traced back to the early years of the Republic); the Covid pandemic which the authorities did not address quickly, the inability of our two major parties not being able to solve problems; the intransigence of Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader on various topics that he does not like, preventing compromise , which is the hallmark of our democracy. And so and so on.
I mentioned to him as I have mentioned previously in letter after letter, which he acknowledged, the primary importance of my benefits. He understood perfectly my concern regarding Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Where he differed with me was his belief that I was over reacting which, at that time, I suspected he was a registered Republican. Upon my inquiry, so inquiring, he said ‘yes. I am.’
Upon my asking him, “why did he feel or think that way?” he replied, “I don’t believe the Congress of the United States would cave in our benefits. I mentioned to him that Donald Trump tried to pass a Payroll Executive Tax Cut which would eliminate payroll taxes completely. Without payroll taxes, (Federal Insurance Contributions Act-FICA) there is no Social Security! It was defeated. I informed him that our Social Security that I, age 83 and he, age 79,) now have, would be available until the year 2034 at which time they would reduce by 20%; there is enough money in the reserve to cover these benefits. In 12 years, though, I will be 95 and he will be 91 and we will lose this amount from our monthly check unless changes are made for the best before that time arrives (or we’re not around to witness it). He understood this line of thought but did not know about Trump’s Payroll Executive Tax bill, even though it was in one of the letters I submitted! As soon as I mentioned this, with a dour expression, he immediately replied, this would affect my children and grandchildren, not just me.
I mentioned then that, even though Social Security is a concern for my wife and myself, my main concern is Medicare and Medicaid. With a sister, not married, no children, in the nursing home, on Medicaid, a reduction, elimination of this vital program, throws her in an intolerable position at her age of 81.
I then mentioned my wife’s operation of four years ago and the horrific cost of this procedure and follow up, is something I can’t comprehend if eliminated or reduced, even though I have health insurance through the state. He deemed to understand the significance of this.
But when I recounted the history of the Republican Party from the Supreme Court Act of 1886, affirming the corporation as a person, classification ‘personhood,’ he questioned my statement. I then quoted the books I researched where I found this information. It was the seven Republican Presidents before FDR that created the Great Depression and were directly responsible with the Democrats for voting FDR in office and passing the New Deal innovations. This he did not know. Again, I informed him of my research which I have recounted at different times in the articles. He was very skeptical but was startled when I informed him I dropped out of the GOP after 59 years due to the GOP of today with Trump at the helm.
I recounted my devotions to Eisenhower, Nixon, GH Bush, Ronald Reagan and found Donald Trump lacking in all qualities to be in that office. He had no experience in the judicial, political, legislative branches of the government and at no time, ever served in the military as numerous draft deferments testify. He was in no shape, form or matter qualified to serve in this esteemed office. This caught his attention and he seemed surprised. We parted company, but I was gratified to experience dialogue with a member of the party hell bent on doing away with my benefits that we ‘oldies’ have paid into for years. At least we talked, something that the GOP today does not do with its colleagues in the House.
Context and history matter
I often agree with Paul Nathe. When he wrote about the effort to privatize Medicare, known as REACH, urging us to write our congressmen, I wanted to tell him that months ago my husband and I did write/call President Biden, Senator Gillibrand and then Congressman Delgado. We never heard back from any of them.
I strongly disagree, however, with Nathe’s September 7th letter to the editor in which he calls out Pat Ryan for not remaining Executive Director of Ulster County for a full term. Context and history matter.
Pat Ryan originally ran against Delgado and others for the House of Representatives. He lost that race, and when opportunity presented itself, ran for the position of County Executive. We all profited from that decision. His well-grounded, enormously productive actions in that role are justly praiseworthy.
Now he has the opportunity to run again for Congress. Ryan has more than proved his excellence and should not be denigrated for wanting to try again. We’ve seen that many want him to have a wider effect. We need him there!
Thank you, firefighters, for saving my home
On Saturday evening, August 27, I’d picked up the leftover bread from Bread Alone, delivered it to Family of Woodstock and was unloading my car and putting in what I needed to take to a memorial party for Carol Antun at the Woodstock Museum when, on my third trip I saw flames shooting out from under the hood near where the windshield wipers are.
Realizing that car fires only get worse, I immediately called Woodstock’s Volunteer Fire Department, then dashed out and pulled my kayaks out of harm’s way. Within what seemed like a few seconds the rest of the car caught fire.
Suddenly, I was joined by an amazing young couple who I’d never seen before, who explained to me that having called the fire department there was nothing more I could do, but needed to get out of there quickly. As the burning car blocked our exit, they helped me across the dry stream bed and onto the road where we ran down to the driveway to direct the fire engines in when they came.
The few minutes that it took for them to arrive felt like hours. The engulfed car was only about 20 feet from my wood house. Luckily there was no wind to spread the fire, which was now accompanied by the sound of small explosions as the tires and other things burst.
Immediately the firefighters showed up and turned their hoses on my house and kept them there until the car burned itself out, and even when all was done, the outside walls were still warm, which showed me that even a few extra minutes and I could have lost everything.
To the brave and wonderful firefighters, thank you for coming. Thank you for braving the danger of the flaming car to hold your hoses on my house to keep it from catching fire.
As long as I live, I’ll be grateful to you for being able to continue to live here.
And to the young couple: Thank you for helping me though this tough time.
Neil’s struggles continue
Even though Neil Jarmel, quite surprisingly, addressed a non-Trump issue last week, he fell off the wagon toward the end of his letter by continuing to incorporate his standard Trump/Republican jabs … no surprise, at all. What Neil continues to wrestle with is his inability to identify and separate two issues that have absolutely nothing to do with each other — his paranoid fixation on January 6 vs. the myriad of Biden-induced problems crippling our country. Apparently, Neil has forgotten that Trump has not been in office for 20 months and has made NO decisions resulting in the nightmares with which we are all faced, right here and now.
Neil praises Pat Ryan for his recent special election victory. But, in order to win, Ryan knew he had to play up the abortion issue and make it the centerpiece of his campaign. And, he still only won by a mere couple of points. Putting the baby killing issue front and center can be very dangerous since we’ve all been warned, at one time or another, not to put all our eggs in one basket. However, what choice do the Democrats have since they have absolutely nothing else to run on that address and alleviates the real pain being experienced by everyday Americans in trying to get through life by avoiding financial loss, rampant crime, the effects of an open border and its sabotaging of our national security, and the deadly effects of out-of-control fentanyl shipments pouring over our southern border which very likely has directly affected the friends and families of some of our very own Hudson Valley One readers? Biden and Harris’s total inaction and refusal to visit, even once, the critical areas of the illegal infiltration, deaths and drownings at our border unquestionably proves that they don’t give one damn about the American people, most notably the ones who voted them into office and who this comedy duo is supposed to be serving. And the icing on the top of this incompetent cake are the pompous and arrogant allegations by Mayorkas and Biden’s puppet, Karine Jean-Pierre, that the border “is closed.”
In reviewing many of Neil’s past TDS tirades, he continues showing his confusion as to exactly who is REALLY responsible for attacking the rights and freedoms of all Americans. His latest level of excitement is his eager anticipation of the results of the Mar-a-Lago easter egg and treasure hunt. Whether Trump is found guilty of anything or not has NO bearing on the countless problems we are all facing as a result of the Biden/Harris circus train, in just 20 months.
In light of all the above, we’re still waiting for Neil’s explanation of how the “wretched” Fox News teams are crushing his bogus “news” sources in the ratings.
At his point in time, I have to believe that Neil has lost his dictionary and Thesaurus in a flood or fire, as he seems to be at a total loss for words in addressing what is REALLY important to ALL Democratic, Republican and Independent Americans. And, I hate to burst your bubble, Neil, but their concerns have nothing to do with Trump.
Incidentally, we welcome Neil’s new TDS squad recruit, Bruce Grund. At least Bruce’s Trump bashing was a bit more eloquent than Neil’s.
John N. Butz