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.
New Paltz police chief responds to newly released body cam footage of Tyre Nichols’ murder
“Now that I have viewed the video footage of Tyre Nichols’ murder at the hands of five Memphis police officers, I struggle with how to both express my outrage while also assure our community that we are committed to doing the work to prevent this type of brutality from occurring in New Paltz. We unequivocally condemn the treatment and murder of Tyre Nichols; these actions are the antithesis of everything the men and women of this agency stand for.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, we pledged to be instruments of change and to treat our community with fairness, compassion and empathy. Towards that endeavor we have implemented many of the recommendations put forward by our Reform and Reinvention Committee, we have established community outreach programs and continuously review policy and training to ensure we are following best practices. While we have taken these and other steps to uphold that pledge, the deplorable actions of these officers in Memphis are a stark reminder of the collective work that remains to maintain the trust and confidence of the community we serve.
We stand ready to listen to our community and invite you to attend a special session of our Conversations with the Police on Wednesday, February 1 at 7 p.m. at the New Paltz Police Department.”
Robert Lucchesi, Chief of Police
Policing the police
I am a strong advocate of well trained local, state and federal law enforcement. I am also a strong proponent of civilian auditors, who know the law and who police the police.
With the proliferation of video cameras, many civilian police interactions are being recorded and uploaded to social media, or are prominently featured in newscasts reporting on the fallout from their release.
Many of these include videos from 1st amendment and police auditing groups, as well as materials FOILed and provided by police department released “body-cam” or “dash-cam” footage. Arguably, scenes on these videos are difficult, disturbing and sometimes infuriating encounters to watch unfold in “real time” from multiple angles.
Many routinely involve unprovoked escalations, rights violations, unlawful detainment, unlawful entry, excessive use of force and abuse of power, on the part of law enforcement.
I’m sure there are many, many recorded law enforcement encounters where criminals and suspects escalate and force is required to subdue the assailant, but that’s not the case in many of these “audit” videos made public.
After watching a good number of these videos over the past few years, several things become very apparent:
1. It’s essential that law enforcement agencies regularly review these videos and do not simply ignore or dismiss them as the product of agitators.
2. These videos bare witness to the woefully under-trained nature of some of our police personnel, in regards to knowing the law they are paid and entrusted to enforce.
3. Police response should be driven by public safety and the protection of citizens constitutional rights. If police can’t put citizens safety and rights above their own, they have no business being a cop.
4. Many police operate from the position of perceived fear and have no problem violating someone’s rights, to increase their perceived personal safety.
5. Perceived fear and safety are very subjective things handled very differently by different individuals’ judgments, based on experience, training and temperament.
6. Many times it comes down to the temperament, judgment, character and training of the individual police officer and whether they are sensitive to violating someone’s rights. Some law enforcement personnel, from the videos, seem oblivious to these sensitivities and are willing to violate protected rights on a whim.
7. From many of the videos, it appears clear that many front line police personnel do not have the appropriate temperament and/or emotional maturity to wield the responsibility and power they possess.
8. There are generally two types of officers who show up on scene. One is objective and has no issue providing their name and badge number, under any circumstance, when requested by a member of the public. The other type always seems to have a problem, in certain circumstances, providing their information when required. This seems like a simple ‘litmus test’ for determining temperament and professionalism.
Many large corporations use reasoning and personality tests (Myers & Briggs as an example) to determine if a candidate has the requisite qualities for the position they are applying for. In the case of law enforcement personnel and agencies, this type of screening should be done not at the HR hiring level, but at the educational level, to determine up front, if the candidate has the aptitude, attitude and emotional fortitude to fulfill the demanding and complex job responsibilities.
If communities want fewer lawsuits for abuse of power and rights violations causing harm and injuries, they need to vet their perspective front line officer candidates better, before they have a chance to have a civilian encounter for a minor or no violation, that becomes a multi-million-dollar liability and violent fiasco, as so many of these videos seem to demonstrate.
Anyone else get as sick and tired of hearing about Biden’s Corvette papers as I did? So instead I got up early and watched the goings-on at The World Economic Forum at Davos for comic relief. A howl.
Climate change of course was a main topic. That didn’t stop one private plane after another arriving, each disgorging only one person. I assume the captain and crew evaporated and somehow re-appeared when it was time for departure. John Kerry described himself as an extra-terrestrial, Al Gore exploded wildly about migrants flooding our borders because of climate change. But the climax of the shenanigans came for me when the founder of this carnival of billionaire looney tunes, someone called Shultz, dressed in what looked like a Space-X suit, got up on a big platform and banged on about “ze crisees” which ve now face, and how ve must stop eating ze meat and instead eat “ze bugs!”
Great. Now I know what to do with those pesky aphids that cling to my walls come spring. Worried about the rising costs of raisins for my bread-and-butter puddings? No prob. Just shake the contents of my fly swatter over the batter, pop into the oven et voila! Mayfly’s a bit of a teaser, but I finally came up with Ragout des gilets-jaunes et des mouches de Mai avec ses tostes — yellow-jacket and mayfly stew with its toasts. Bon appetit!
PS: I’ve left out the crickets of summer. I love them and will leave them be. Just hope they don’t come across Shultz.
A smile can mean the world to someone who is hurting
From Thich Nhat Hanh: “Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I intend to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” This past Sunday, January 22 was the second anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations TPNW (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons). Ninety-eight countries have signed the treaty — 68 have ratified it and 30 other countries are moving through their ratification process. Prohibitions under the treaty include not developing, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, deploying nuclear weapons on national territory or providing assistance to any State in the conduct of prohibited activities. Notably missing as countries NOT signing on to the TPNW are the U.S., U.K., Russia, China, North Korea, Israel, Pakistan, India and France. These are the nine countries possessing nuclear weapons. An enforceable and verifiable treaty is needed. Please contact your federal representatives in Congress, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., the White House (President Biden, Antony Blinken), local/county/state representatives (who, in turn, can contact federal officials) and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of non-signing nuclear countries. Effect change by being that pebble in the pond that creates ripples and a base that may allow our children and grandchildren to have a more secure world. As an individual, each of us can make contact with and smile at someone today — even if we don’t know the person. It may be the only smile they get today. Your smile can mean the world to someone who is hurting. And, who knows, that smile of yours might be passed on to an unthinkable number of others. You may even find that it gets returned to you when you need it most. Peace.
The Calamar calamity
So now, another developer, Michael Arnstein, is petitioning the Woodstock Planning Board for permission to build a seven-unit motel on Calamar Lane, a tiny unpaved lane off Tinker Street near the cinema. Until a few years ago, the three lots that Mr. Arnstein has purchased were devoted to long-term housing. You know, for residents. A horrible fire in 2018 destroyed those homes.
The three lots in question are nestled within an area that has always been primarily residential. Mr. Arnstein’s motel would be crammed between homes and bordered by a stream over which Mr. Arnstein wants to place two footbridges and then a sleeping platform on the other side.
But, wait, hasn’t Woodstock been struggling for years because its own residents have almost nowhere to live? How can we consider removing a serious housing option for the sake of unnecessary tourist accommodations aka individual financial profit? When does it stop? When does Woodstock hold true to its spirit and say no?
The spirit of Woodstock is much more than a bumper sticker. The spirit of Woodstock is real, and despite many desecrations, it still burns bright. People come to Woodstock for something different, to connect with a world that still breathes and sings. Let’s make sure that world is always here, a place where human values count more than anything.
If you too would like to preserve Woodstock, please sign our petition at: change.org/STOPCALAMAR.
Making a difference
I found myself waiting at Kingston UPS today in a long line with two women behind me also wearing masks. Yes, I am still wearing a mask. It has become my habit to speak to “strangers,” particularly when it is convenient, or we are meeting face-to-face like in the parking lot of Barnes & Noble, standing in line to pay, etc.
What I have found is that my Covid isolation has forced me to crave conversations about any topic, including the pandemic, as well as comments on the beauty of the Catskills, weather or an item in one of the stores. In fact, I find that many other shoppers are willing to discuss products, the weather or almost anything. It’s simple connection.
It’s about building our community now. A common behavior of feeling part of a community is saying “Good Morning,” or “Aren’t those mountains beautiful today” or “How old is your baby?”
Out of the blue? Not really. Even a simple “good morning or afternoon” has been a greeting in communities for thousands of years.
1. A simple comment or conversation can brighten the day for both of you. We both feel noticed.
2. We acknowledge we are part of a friendly society and
3. Life feels safer emotionally.
Building our community is vital now. Everyone in the whole world has experienced severe fear in the past Covid years. We have faced death and the trauma of loosing friends and relatives, not to mention our freedom to travel, our hopes and dreams to enjoy a social retirement, teenagers’ freedom to explore and the joys of family activities and play.
It’s time now to recognize the damage that our society has suffered and to begin to be kind, to be generous with our spontaneous safe connections, to feel the community warming up and acknowledging that we are in this together for our personal and community benefit.
Making an effort to be friendly makes a difference.
Interfaith Rev Bardet Wardell
The fact is
I once wrote that if I were to ask Bill McKenna, “What time is it?” and he replied, “2 p.m.,” and I looked down at my watch, and it read “2 p.m.,” I would think that the watch was broken. For example, in Hudson Valley One, McKenna is quoted as saying what “sealed the deal” [regarding my removal as Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA)] was, when the town was before the ZBA for the lower Comeau parking lot and lighting requirements, Harris treated the town’s engineering representative “like an infant, like a kindergartner.”
The truth of the matter is that the issue of the lower Comeau parking lot never came before the ZBA. What McKenna might have been referring to was when a Town Board member came before the ZBA and requested a variance from the Town’s Planning Board’s resolution requiring a specific amount of lighting in the upper Comeau parking lot. The ZBA denied the request by a 5 to 0 vote, based on safety concerns.
Great speech for teens
I brought my son to a free clinic hosted by the West Point men’s lacrosse team Sunday afternoon. It was well run with great drills.
Then to conclude, their head coach gave a beautiful motivation speech that was perfectly accessible and appropriate for this large group of teen boys with his D1 men’s college team at his side. The summarized version of his excellent speech:
• Be intentional and work hard in sports and school even when no one is watching.
• It is important to be inclusive and always try to care for others who may need support, help, or even just friendship.
• It is also ok not to feel great all the time when you’re trying to do all these things and it is absolutely ok to ask for your own help and support.
First thing my 8th grade son said to me at the end of the clinic: “Wow, that was an inspirational speech.”
I had no idea I would become an Army West Point lacrosse fan. Thank you coach Joe Alberici.
All shook up
A bottle of pills is a kind of maraca.
Interview with an ideologue
An ideologue is someone who has very strong beliefs or opinions and stubbornly sticks to them even when evidence suggests they might be wrong. Sometimes, ideologues are forced to reluctantly criticize politicians they support when they are guilty of the same infractions for which they so vehemently attacked their opponents. To wit Neil Jarmel’s recent acknowledgement that Joe Biden is guilty of the very same “total irresponsibility” for which he accused Donald Trump: having classified documents in his possession, even from the time he was a senator. Of course, because of his TDS, Neil rushed to the judgement that Trump’s case was much worse than Biden’s infraction. The following is an imaginary interview between PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff and my favorite ideologue, Neil Jarmel. All the answers from this parody are taken from Mr. Jarmel’s Feedback writings.
Woodruff: Good evening. Tonight, the NewsHour is privileged to be interviewing Mr. Neil Jarmel, a frequent letter writer to Hudson Valley’s popular newspaper, Hudson Valley One. Mr. Jarmel’s letters are noted for their frequent attacks against former POTUS Trump and his supporters. Good evening Mr. Jarmel.
Jarmel: Good evening, Judy. May I call you Judy?
Woodruff: As long as it is understood by readers that your use of my first name does not imply that we have ever met before and therefore you could not possibly know or understand me then, yes, you may call me, Judy.
Jarmel: Of course, Judy.
Woodruff: Since the time allotted for this newsHour segment is limited to 500 words I will only ask two questions. You have been criticized in HV1 for your frequent attacks against Donald Trump even though he is no longer POTUS. Do you think this criticism is justified?
Jarmel: The MAGAt-elected Trumpbulicans want all people to accept the public status quo as somehow fair and sacrosanct…America’s democracy has paid a very dear price because of Trump’s continual con-like antics.
Woodruff: You didn’t directly answer my question but I will take your response as a “No.” You recently criticized Republican George Santos for lying on his résumé during his election campaign: Joe Biden has plagiarized and told numerous lies in the last 50 years among them having a full scholarship, graduating at the top of his law school with three degrees and being “raised in the Puerto Rican community at home, politically.” With your criticism of Santos in view, why did you vote for liar Biden in 2020?
Jarmel: Unfortunately, known liars are welcomed into the Republican Party with open arms, whereas known criminals like Trump are compared to God.
Woodruff: Again, you have not answered my question, Mr. Jarmel. However, it seems I’ve gone over the 500 words limit. I wanted to ask you about the 210 House Democrats who voted against the Republican initiated bill requiring medical personnel to attempt to save babies born alive after a botched abortion, but that will have to wait for another time. Good night, Mr. Jarmel.
Jarmel: Good night, Judy.
Woodruff: This has been the NewsHour and I’m Judy Woodruff.
Joule Community Power — CCA clean energy program
Local energy news has been chaotic and confusing these past two years, shining a light on the importance of consumer protection and the impacts of the high cost of energy. With New York’s emission reduction goals and the opportunities for all utility customers in mind, it is important to address persistent confusion surrounding energy decisions.
During this time, Joule Community Power’s community-based renewable electricity program, Hudson Valley Community Power, saved customers more than $7 million in electricity costs and helped avoid 25,000 MT CO2e (metric tons of carbon equivalent emissions) between July 2021 and July 2022.
The Joule program unfortunately came to a halt in July 2022 when the selected supplier, Columbia Utilities, broke its contract and ceased serving customers, despite continued advocacy and legal action by Joule against Columbia, in coordination with eight of the partner-municipalities and two local residents. The Public Service Commission (PSC) supported these actions and has opened an investigation of their own. The PSC also investigated Central Hudson’s billing system errors and confirmed what we all already knew, namely that Central Hudson’s billing issues were not caused by Hudson Valley Community Power and are significantly more widespread. Joule continues to act for the community members, supporting the State’s investigation by advocating on behalf of consumers and supporting the development of solutions.
Meanwhile, the Joule program protected customers from market volatility by providing fixed electricity supply rates. After Columbia’s breach of contract and after saving customers the collective $7 million, customers were simply returned, with no interruption in service, to the original opt-out arrangement whereby Central Hudson makes the electricity supply decisions, which is predominately from non-renewable sources.
What’s next? Joule is taking the needed steps to offer Hudson Valley Community Power municipalities a new electricity supply contract this Spring. Currently 13 cities, towns and villages are taking the steps which will enable them to contract a new protective electricity rate for their residents and small businesses, with the opportunity to continue to save residents money while strengthening consumer protections. Municipal leaders continue to act to protect their residents and move towards a cleaner energy future.
Jessica Stromback, CEO
Joule Community Power
I now do all my shopping at Tops
Just the facts:
1. For approximately a month, Shop-Rite’s only two motorized carts have been broken/out of service.
2. I am disabled/handicapped and I spoke to Shop-Rite employees (including the store manager) about this issue/problem.
3. When I suggested that they consider ordering replacement motorized carts, I was told that there was no room for them — either in the inside front of the store or in the storage area in the back.
They said “there is no room.”
4. I therefore had no choice but to walk to my car with my groceries in my hands.
5. There was nothing, e g., rock salt, put down on the slick walk and street outside.
6. Reluctantly, I went to Tops, with its full lineup of motorized carts. Contrary to popular opinion, Tops is NOT more expensive than Shop-Rite. In fact, I found many additional less-expensive items that I didn’t know Tops even carried.
7. I now do all my shopping at Tops.
New interest rate environment
The Village of New Paltz borrows money for various capital projects and equipment and finances our purchases over several years using a combination of short- and long-term notes and bonds. For the last few years the village enjoyed borrowing money inexpensively, but starting last year, Federal Reserve officials emphasized that we should expect to see ongoing restrictive monetary policy to slow demand and tame inflation.
Last week, our $1.1 million bond anticipation note (BAN) was listed on S&P Global’s Ipreo Parity auction system and nine institutions bid to lend us the funds for one year. Only licensed banks and broker dealers may use this system. Banks tend to hold short-term BANs like ours and broker dealers will offer them to their investing clients.
Of the nine licensed institutions who offered to lend us $1.1 million, Jefferies provided the lowest net rate at 3.36% for us to borrow these funds starting 2/2/23 and pay them back by 2/2/24.
Our net rates for BANs:
1.16% Oppenheimer — September ’16
1.27% Oppenheimer — September ’17
1.91% Jefferies — March ’18
2.15% Jefferies — September ’18
1.40% BNY Mellon — September ’19
1.39% Piper Jaffray — November ’19
0.59% Green County Commercial — October ’20
0.23% Oppenheimer — September ’21
0.56% Green County Commercial — February ’22
2.96% Fidelity Capital Markets — September ’22
3.36% Jefferies — February ’23
Mayor Tim Rogers
Just to be clear about this…. Part one
Incidents of threat, harassment, and violence:
• Threats against members of congress: up 330+% since 2016.
• Armed demonstrations: up 47% between 2020 election day and inauguration day.
• Organized paramilitary groups: up 96% between 2020 election day and inauguration day.
• FBI hate crimes: 8,263 in 2020.
• White supremacy propaganda & activism: up 1100+% since 2020.
Police say failed Republican candidate Solomon Pena is the man behind a series of shootings at the homes of elected Democrats. Fascist, right-wing terrorism arrives in the open, in New Mexico. The phrase that keeps going through my mind concerning the modern Trump-led GOP is, “The company you keep.” Look at some of the people who wear your brand proudly. Are you OK with that? This is what happens when you elect a gangster for President of the USA! Yep, that’s today’s GQP for you!!!!! Thank your Republican election deniers. He’s [Pena] just another moronic, conspiracy-believing, violent sore loser. Biden, Democratic Party, and liberalism deranged syndrome is on display once again in right-wing politics.
Mr. Pena seems to be a career criminal who has found a home in MAGA, but I don’t know how much he represents the Republican party. Let’s not overreact to this delusional individual. He’s on his way to prison, along with a lot of other MAGA dupes and fools from the insurrection of 1/6/21 [supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol].
Is anyone surprised? Here’s a partial list of what preceded this failed New Mexico GOP operative’s actions over the past 12 years: Rep. Paul Gosar’s violent slasher video directed against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2021… The plot to kidnap and murder Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan in 2020… Rep. Marjorie Greene’s outrageous support for the execution of Democratic leaders — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — in 2018 and 2019… Trump’s infamous call for those “Second Amendment people” to do in Hillary Clinton had she won in 2016… The despicable Republican “crosshairs” are targeting Democrats that Sarah Plain endorsed just before Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords got shot back in 2011.
GOP apologists will bring up the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise by an obviously deranged person to bolster their “both sides do it equally” arguments, but there is just no comparison. Right-wingers love to point out that Scalise’s would-be assassin was a Bernie Sanders supporter, but Sanders has never called for violence against his political rivals. The Republicans can’t smudge the difference. So enough with the false equivalencies.
The GOP depends increasingly upon voter suppression and the open threat of violence against Democrats because Republicans know they can’t win elections otherwise. The more fundamental tragedy is that in adopting such garden-variety fascist tactics, Republicans are only reflecting the views of their most loyal voters, many of whom wear T-shirts proclaiming, “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat.” Would you believe that there’s still a relatively large number of Republicans in the 118th Congress who support overturning elections: in the House of Reps. 136 of them, and the Senate currently has: 13 members.
Let’s recognize that New Mexico local state Republicans accepted nominating this candidate POS. Yes, nine years in prison…burglary, larceny, receiving stolen property, contributing to the delinquency of a minor. But that’s still acceptable to them!?!
It is great that we must go to New Mexico to find a story about a candidate for their state house to make a point about Republicans and guns. “Hey, if the outcome doesn’t go the way I want, claim it was rigged and throw a tantrum — even use a gun!”
So, it looks like this is to be the standard behavior for many Republicans post-Trump; live in denial and get your fans to live there, too. What could possibly be more un-American, more destructively corrosive than to claim unfairness when losing an election? These people are social and political terrorists, plain and simple. Who puts these people on ballots?
The party of “Lie, Cheat and Steal” has expanded its playbook. Where will it stop? Would-be “Trumpublican politicians” and already elected Republicans are a sad laughing stock and extremely scary group. It takes a village — “AND this new GQP is made up of hateful, conspiracy filled residents, who live in a gun-happy violent and toxic darkness, which we all know is a result of the “TRUMP [d]EFFECT….”
One of the hardest challenges I’ve ever faced in my life was walking into Dutchess County Family Court. The mother of my middle daughter refused to allow me to see my daughter after our separation, so I sought legal assistance. This had to be the most horrific experience I’ve ever faced in my life. Though I currently have an equal custody, co-parenting agreement, the long-term effects this four-year fight will have on my daughter and all my children, will be difficult to erase.
The truth is that as ‘men’, we are raised to be strong. No matter where you look, the media, movies, video games, books, music, etc. We’re also taught that when someone hurts one of our family members, we have to let them know in whatever way possible that we won’t tolerate that, and they should fear doing it again. Even if it requires being humble at times and accepting the pain.
In New York, I believed a family court judge would observe parenting skills, a parent’s health, how the parents cooperate to make their best decision based on the best interests of the child. I was wrong. I believed that judges respected the law, held the law to the highest standards. In Dutchess County, I was wrong. I believed the family court was to assist in resolving conflict, making the best interest of the child’s wellbeing the priority. In Dutchess County Family Court, I was wrong. A strong family is foundational to a strong America. Not in Dutches County.
The National Parenting Organization has done extensive work and has presented data-based facts on the benefits of shared parenting in New York and the ills of the impacts of our communities without it. New York has received an F.
When we look at our society, the racial divide, the racial inequalities, the racism as a whole is detrimental to families, the community, society and the culture. Sixty-four percent of children in single parent households are black or African American. (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2019) 90% of all homeless and runaway children (Research and Statistics), 63 % of teen suicides and 85% of children and teens with behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. In 1996, 70% of inmates in state juvenile detention centers serving long sentences, were raised by single mothers. In 2021, 82% of inmates were raised in single mother homes. 70% of runaways, 70% of juvenile delinquents, and 70% of Child murderers, come from single parent homes. (Richard E. Redding) Children without their father’s consistent involvement are five times more likely to commit suicide, nine times more likely to drop out of high school, 14 times more likely to commit rape, 20 times more likely to end up in prison, 32 times more likely to run away from home. Global studies show that children who spend at least 35% of their time with each parent have better relationships with both their mother and father, do better in school, do better psychologically and socially & are less likely to smoke, do drugs and drink. Importantly, they are less likely to suffer from depression, and other stress-related issues. In states like Kentucky, who enacted a shared parenting bill in 2018, data shows that family court filings are down 11% and domestic violence claims are down 445 cases since the law’s inception.
Broken homes are leading to adolescent epidemics and it’s impacting the black, brown and low-income communities the hardest. Statistics prove it, and now we need action from those we trust for them to keep our trust.
Andre’ Rainey (Former Mayor, Forever Father)
When listening stops
“If you kill a killer, the number of kills in the world remains the same,” by Bat Man.
I wonder if humans’ moral behaviors grow out of our instinct to survive in nature. For example, animals do not perform mass killings of their species as humans do in the name of their religion. These thoughts leave me wondering if religions have usurped morality from nature to control the behaviors and finances of their parishioners.
Working as a counselor, I have known several chaplains, and the paradox the government and military created for these people of faith is hard to comprehend. What kind of God approves of such massive human death by his fellow man? The Marine Corps enlistment oath that I took ended with “So help me, God,” which I profoundly needed after my return from War but was nowhere to be found.
As a psychotherapist, I learned doctor Freud interpreted religion as a wish fulfillment for humans to unburden their guilt to God, so they did not have to carry it on their own. So likewise, politicians use religion to dump the truckloads full of regret, shame, and guilt generated by the endless wars they have sponsored since the inception of our country.
I wondered where morality was the minute I landed in Vietnam. Having returned home from the war in 1970, I stopped struggling to locate trust in the “In God We Trust” written on our money.
I became the head of veterans treatment at a psychiatric hospital, working daily with vets and trauma victims. I had gotten treatment myself for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the Vietnam war. I paid a private therapist for treatment, not trusting the VA hospital. In my studies of PTSD, I began seeing it as a viral illness, which helped to describe what appears to happen when PTSD-diagnosed veterans bring the war home to their families. I then realized PTSD symptoms of rage, lack of trust, confusion, self-loathing and moral injury was viral because our society stopped listening to victims of all kinds. I awakened to why PTSD was seen as not treatable; no one wants to listen to the moral dilemmas veterans, and trauma victims got placed in, so help to heal the moral injury goes untended.
PTSD is a societal illness as viral as COVID. If you choose to not listen, it is like not wearing a mask; you will likely get the virus. PTSD has killed more veterans and infected more families than all of our war casualties and civilian victims since World War II.
Trauma treatment by mainstream medicine is cheaper for insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies to pay for medication than to listen to their patients. Likewise, these companies pay politicians massive amounts to spend on votes. As a result, shareholders’ wallets grow fat, and their eardrums become too calloused to listen. As a result, anyone holding these stocks’ listening ability is compromised.
“Not Listening” is why we are in global, political and medical distress today. We’ve learned to prostitute our attention span by listening to lies and sales pitches and by turning over our guilt and shame to those who wear religious garb, abandoning those needing humanity and morality because they cost too much to be listened to.
Say no to the Calamar Lane “Motel”
Visitors are drawn to our little town of Woodstock by its legendary reputation. But the folks who give our town the creative, quirky, countercultural vibe that visitors flock to experience are leaving. They can’t find a place to live as all the housing stock turns into short-term vacation rentals. The plan to build a hotel/motel complex on Calamar Lane is being discussed before the Woodstock Planning Board on February 2. The developers originally proposed a plan for long-term housing structures that would have benefitted the community. What they are currently planning — short-term rental “motel” units in a peaceful, residential neighborhood — is disingenuous and purely detrimental. The increase in traffic and noise that a “motel” would bring would alter forever this quiet corner of town. The negative environmental effects of this project have not been sufficiently studied. Out-of-scale, unconsidered development like this represents a serious existential threat to our town. And is an overpriced, Disneyfied ghost of a Colony of the Arts what visitors want to experience? Is this the future we want for Woodstock?
The Earth’s inner core could be slowing its spin, but don’t panic
Geddy: https://www.popsci.com/science/earth-core-spin/. This is a legitimate alternative reason that weather patterns change over long, (but not glacially long), time periods. As for ice ages, geologists have evidence of about 16, spaced roughly 20,000 years apart. Once upon a time, the Adirondacks rivalled today’s growing Himalayas. Ground down to beach sand and Long Island.
Where did I park my Time Machine?
Response to Sacred Ground article from Vol. 4 No. 4
Enslaved people is the term to be used to refer to those people who were kidnapped from their homes and brutalized for generations by the horrors of chattel slavery. I was surprised at the sheer number of times the outdated term ‘slave’ was used in last week’s article to refer to the remains of enslaved people in a Lloyd burial ground. It’s nice that their final resting place will at long last receive a modicum of recognition and respect, but can we please refer to these people as people? The term ‘slave’ robs those who suffered the atrocities of slavery of their humanity, as if their only legacy is one of having been the property of others. You call someone a teacher or doctor because they chose to be those things; you call someone an enslaved person because slavery was forced upon them. The Underground Railroad Education Center and many other prominent historians and organizations explain it this way: “Also important to reevaluate is the use of …“slave” in our lexicon. With the word “slave,” we deny the humanity of the enslaved person; with “enslaved person,” we recognize their enslaved state as imposed on them and not intrinsic to their identity as a human being.” (https://undergroundrailroadhistory.org/the-vocabulary-of-freedom/). That the term will also be used on the sign that will mark the burial ground is another slight. Please let us use vocabulary that is thoughtful, meaningful and accurate.
Killing our planet
This is our fourth day in darkness and we are running low on candles. I don’t know what we will do with the kids. They are already losing their minds.
There is no contact with the outside world. Is there an outside world left? In the days leading up to the sudden darkness, there were war reports about Ukraine, with US forces in combat with the Russian army. How did things spin out of control like this? Our media’s talking heads didn’t have any answers either. They just looked at each other in disbelief.
Somewhere deep under ground are the criminal leaders who pushed us over the brink. The US has been at war with any number of countries since WW II. Why didn’t we try to end this warmongering before it was too late? It didn’t take too much brainpower to realize that the reasons they gave us for all these wars were lies. If only we had risen up.
I know the criminal leaders of both countries are safe somewhere in their underground bunkers. They have lights, water and food. Maybe they are sending scientists to the surface, all dressed up in their Hazmat suits, to look around and see what’s left.
I must admit, when I listen to my children crying, I wish these criminals the very worst. I hope that the radiation seeps into their high-tech bunkers and makes them sick. Or maybe that they kill each other, like they have killed our planet.
Steve strays a bit
In response to Steve Massardo’s letter of 1-26-23 (Spreading the manure), he conveniently forgot to describe the huge difference between my political commentary and Neil Jarmel’s political commentary in our letters to HV1. My comments address CURRENT dangerous events in real time being engineered by the PRESENT hapless, divisive and ineffective President Biden and his administration, while Neil’s comments almost exclusively focus on an ex-president who has been out of office for two years and who has had absolutely no decision-making abilities that are responsible for the chaos we’ve all been witnessing and experiencing for two years under Biden. Let me go out on a limb by saying that I think the vast majority of ALL Americans are living in the present and trying to deal with issues in their present day lives. Neil’s F-bomb laced PAST and ongoing tirades against Trump, aka his TDS, hardly compares to my present day concerns with Biden and his calamitous consequences for ALL Americans and our military — two different planets, altogether.
Regarding IRS employees, no matter what the past and current numbers, why hasn’t there always been a focus of their skills, resources and power, all along, on the six-figure earners, millionaires and billionaires where the real money is? That’s where the bulk of game playing and tax deceit is happening — not with the everyday Joe and Jane who are struggling to barely make ends meet. Don’t the current IRS agents feel skilled and confident enough to outsmart the wealthy in order to recoup tons of hidden money in unethical or illegal tax evasion schemes and loophole tricks? I’m not a CPA, but it seems logical to go after the huge sharks and whales instead of primarily focusing on all us small fish.
If Steve’s statistics are accurate, how are 400+ billionaires able to get away with only paying 8.2% of their income in taxes while all us common folk are paying a much more disproportionate percentage on our meager incomes? And, some billionaires pay NO taxes, according to Steve. How is that even possible? If this is true, doesn’t anyone think that our taxation system is in dire need of a MAJOR overhaul? And, Steve blames Republicans for this ongoing abuse. Then, where are all the Democrats and why are they silent on this issue? For two years, didn’t they have total control of the House, Senate and presidency? Yet, not a peep on this sensational taxation imbalance. The truth is that this has been around for quite some time with BOTH parties carrying on their inaction. No meaningful legislation has ever been introduced to straighten out this inequity. Why is this? If either party did anything about it, it would hamstring our wealthy politicians and non-politicians from getting even richer. For most politicians, developing and increasing their own personal wealth far surpasses doing the bidding of the people on their list of priorities.
So, is there any wonder as to why many American people have little trust, confidence and faith in most politicians and why the “swamp” has been and, most likely, will continue to be a permanent fixture in Washington, DC, with little to no change in sight? The manure to which Steve refers is in Washington, DC and NOT in the Feedback section of the HV1.
John N. Butz