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.
Reduce yard’s carbon footprint
It was exciting to see so many people joining the No Mow May movement! For those who participated, you fed bees and other pollinators the whole month while also reducing your greenhouse gas emissions by not mowing for the month of May.
Gratitude to the Town and Village of New Paltz that passed No Mow May resolutions and suspended citations for tall grass/weeds during the month of May. Here is what you can do for the rest of the summer to reduce the carbon footprint of your lawn:
• Mow less frequently. Once growth slows down, you may only need to mow every other week.
• Mow higher. It is actually better for your lawn, too, as it is less likely to dry out.
• Stop fertilizing. The manufacturing of synthetic fertilizers leaves a large carbon footprint leading to climate change. Carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide and methane are produced during the fabrication of fertilizers. Most conventional fertilizers are produced using ammonia, which is extracted from natural gas, and two-thirds of natural gas is obtained by fracking.
• Shrink the area you mow. Mow paths and perimeters. Replace some of the grass with perennials and pollinator plants or just let some of the grassy areas revert to meadow.
• Switch to an electric mower for the areas you do mow. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates the average gas mower creates as much pollution as eight cars driving 55 miles per hour!
For more ideas regarding climate solutions you can implement, do an Internet search for the New Paltz Climate Smart Solutions Meetup on the Meetup platform. We present new solutions on the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. All free and open to the public.
New Paltz Climate Smart Coordinator
Heroes & villains
“I don’t know what word in the English language – I can’t find one – that applies to people who are willing to sacrifice the literal existence of organized human life so they can put a few more dollars into highly overstuffed pockets. The word ‘evil’ doesn’t begin to approach it.” – Noam Chomsky.
The broadcast blared a spectral voice that offered menace coupled with overpowering gloom. Gunfire had created an obscene and garish TV landscape. Yes, 19 innocent little schoolchildren are dead and it’s like pulling teeth for even a modicum of measures to maybe prevent this outcome.
I was kicked into the erupting volcano. A hornet’s nest of white light and white heat from the shadowy offender’s trigger pull revealed our country’s reflection, which is a dizzying stillness of ghostly scars covered in gray with ash. And, like a game of Pickup Sticks, I went down in every direction. I was unable to lean against anything, but instead felt buried under, and in isolation, brokenhearted one more time.
The reality is that our country is not here to serve us, to help and to care. Again, ugly and heinous circumstances showed a nation deeply flawed, with the result being tragic little souls mutilated by the action of the high-powered bullet designed to rip flesh to shreds; they had to be identified by DNA since their bodies were rendered unrecognizable. All it took was a nanosecond, a moment, as the ground had fallen out from them in one fell swoop. Yeah, “Let’s solve gun violence with more guns and ignore everything other countries with no recent mass school shootings do.”
We don’t have adequate words in our language to express this level of sorrow. Why does this keep happening? The ability to buy a gun at a gun show or through a private seller is absurdly easy. No civilian should have access to an AR-15-type killing machine. Public access to military-style weapons which have no valid hunting or sportsman purpose should be outlawed! An AR-15 has but one purpose: the quick, easy and efficient killing of human beings! Period!
Those guns should be reserved for military and police usage, as they are trained to use them. And most certainly not sold to an 18-year-old. Until America votes for the kids instead of these guns, things will not change. Jeezus, what is wrong with these Republican elected officials? There’s absolute zero excuses for why both political sides can’t sit down and come up with a compromise that will save lives. Anything less is unacceptable.
Eff’n insane swirls ‘round and ‘round in my conscious thoughts. I am tired of our citizens, whether they are adults or our babies, being gunned down by weapons of war. We as a nation choose to live this way, or we have allowed these corrupt, repulsive elected officials to choose for us. And they are the usual suspects: Republicans with high grades and campaign donations by the NRA. I hope every Republican who doesn’t support gun safety is voted out of office.
The stupid is strong in this one. They, our elected Republicans, aren’t pro-life. They are only pro-birth. Guns are worshipped more than keeping our vulnerable children safe. In fact, mass murders provide a boost in gun sales. Gun manufacturers just don’t see a problem here. Again, the fruits of Republican governance.
If they, the GOP, had souls or hearts, they’d go and denounce the deadly and insane culture they have all fostered. If only they’d commit to working in a nonpartisan manner to address the gun violence that is destroying this country. Unfortunately, these Rethuglicans are more worried that Mickey Mouse might turn your kid gay than they are that the NRA might turn them into corpses.
Ninety percent of Americans want gun reform. Ban assault rifles, not books. Regulate firearms, not women’s bodies. Protect kids, not lobbyists. It is time for a clarion call. We can fix this problem; we just need a damn spine to see it through. America! Prayers and thoughts plus taking a moment to honor the sacrifice of our brave schoolchildren who lay down their lives to protect our right to bear arms (the Republican way) is not the actions we need.
Most importantly is to vote out Republicans and any politician who defends these real nightmares with their bullshit excuses, thus allowing them to reoccur. “We the people” need to be proactive and say good riddance to those elected lawmakers who ignore the above craziness of such horrific killing.
Guns are an American tragedy. Be a hero. This endless epidemic of mass murder with a military-style assault long gun must come to an immediate end with a ban of these type of weapons. The only way to “honor” these children is when gun control legislation is passed. You want to honor them, do it right!
Save the born
Save the born! Ban assault weapons! In contrast, it appears that many states have an open season on humans who are born. In the South and Southwest, humans, including minors, who are raped and become pregnant must now bear the pregnancy to term, whether they want to not, or be accused of murder. Meanwhile, assault weapons are readily available to everyone, it seems. The leading cause of death to American children is from firearms. And the GOP/NRA agenda is for everyone to be afraid and angry, and to have lethal weapons at their fingertips at all times.
Some GOP politicians who vote to cut spending on mental health now descry the role of mental illness in the ongoing epidemic of gun violence that is unique to the US. As a licensed clinical psychologist, I agree with them. We have politicians clearly suffering from psychological disorders of sociopathy, narcissism and addiction to money and power, being elected to office by voters evidently suffering from delusion, paranoia and impaired reasoning ability. Once elected to office, such politicians work to overthrow democracy, inflame hate, anger and fear and grant easy access to assault weapons.
It would help save lives of American children, and citizens of all ages if more Americans would cease voting for narcissistic sociopaths and instead, would support politicians and legislation to ban citizen ownership and selling of assault weapons. Save the born.
The Patriarchy is dead, but its monuments are everywhere: statues of generals on horseback, phallic obelisks.
The Addiction: May 2022
This past Tuesday I briefly heard about the Texas school tragedy. Unbelievable. “Here we go again,” I thought. At night I listened to our president share his deep sadness and his outrage. He mentioned what happened in Buffalo just last week. He mentioned the Connecticut tragedy from ten years ago. He sadly mentioned that over 900 shootings in schools across the country have taken place since that horrific Sandy Hook disaster. He showed his deep compassion for the latest group of bewildered families, who must be in incredible pain. He also showed deep frustration for the inability of our lawmakers to find the backbones to do the right thing. I felt such anger as I wiped away my own tears.
He pointed out that countries all over the world have people with mental health problems, and many people who are lost and on the fringe of society. But he let all of us know that those countries do not have mass shootings. They have lots of people who struggle with mental health problems. But they do not have confused, disgruntled and angry individuals being allowed to buy AR-15 assault weapons, and then randomly killing innocent people in a last-ditch attempt to wreak havoc.
Why is this scourge happening to us? What is unique about our cherished United States of America that allows this kind of insanity to continue? Over and over again I have heard that the assault weapons are a weapon specifically for war, yet they somehow have been allowed to be purchased in our country. How did they become legal? Why? For profit? How many innocent citizens of our nation need to die before the pipeline for these weapons of war is stopped? Do I dare call them “weapons of mass destruction”? Why not? Add up all the lives that have been taken and all the families and communities over the years that have been destroyed. The results, unfortunately, are very similar.
What to do? First, we need to do our own soul-searching. Then we need to confront those in power. It’s time that we look right into the face of each and every politician and let them understand that their days as a lawmaker may be numbered if they continue to resist real and honest gun control. But will we have the courage to do this? I want to believe that we will.
It’s as simple as passing a sweeping law that bans all assault weapons. The government can ban them immediately and give a 12-month amnesty program to reimburse those who are willing to turn in these horrible weapons. The lawmakers can easily pass a simple law that requires a 48-hour time for background checks before anybody gets to purchase a gun. And they could also raise the legal age to buy any gun to 21 years of age. Haven’t we seen enough of these lost souls causing unbelievable pain to innocent people?
A ban on all assault weapons with a one-year amnesty program. A 48-hour background check before any sale of a gun is allowed to go through. The legal age to buy any gun raised to 21. This is simple and makes good sense. This, no doubt, would save lives. Aren’t we worth it? Aren’t the lives of our children worth it? Wouldn’t you love to see Congress take real steps like this? Wouldn’t it give you a little more trust in them? Well? What are they waiting for?
One more thing to remember: If the lawmakers resist doing any real positive change, it’s because they are simply hostages of our out-of-control capitalism. The concept of profit at any cost is at the core of the gun issue. The gun lobby has funneled millions of dollars into the pockets of politicians. Those lawmakers are exactly like the heroin addicts in the streets. They are no better and often much worse. They are addicted to their drug: the money that keeps feeding them and their habit. Those politicians are so addicted that they cannot imagine being able to get reelected without the millions from the gun lobby, who is actually the drug pushers. And the hard truth is that our whole capitalistic system is broken and responsible for bowing down to the power of money, even at the expense of human lives.
Why can we spend billions of dollars to help Ukrainians fight off the Russian assault? Why can we spend billions to create vaccines to help protect all of us from the COVID pandemic? But we can’t create laws that might inhibit gun-makers to sustain their wild profits from the sale of assault weapons? This out-of-control capitalism is at the root of the problem. We cannot expect things to change if we are not willing to get out in the streets and make lots of noise. Will you join me? Let me be perfectly clear. The value of each and every human life can never again be seen as less important than money!
Who will replace Ryan?
Ryan has decided to run for Congress again. If he wins Delgado’s vacated seat in August, then we will have to elect a new executive in November. Win or lose, he intends to run again in November for a newly formed congressional district. If he loses in August, but wins in November, we will need another costly election for executive in February. Either way, he will be running back-to-back campaigns, and regardless of what he intends, County business will take second place. I’m hoping he volunteers to step down beforehand.
Three candidates for executive have put their names forward: March Gallagher, Mark Ryder and Jen Metzger. Ryder has countywide experience but little if any influence at the State level. Metzger has influence at the State level, but no experience of County government.
Gallagher has both the influence at the State level and is very familiar with all aspects of County government. She also has experience as a CEO of a large organization. Personally, I’m rooting for Gallagher. As comptroller, she has saved us taxpayers a substantial amount of money and has uncovered some questionable departmental and agency behavior. As executive in charge of operations, she would go from tracking how our taxes are being spent to managing how they are spent: a change that this homeowner would be very pleased with.
Gun show in Saugerties
Remember those Christmas cards Republican politicians sent with photos holding assault weapons, either by themselves or even with their children? How do those strike you after the massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde? Why are they promoting a culture of guns? Why are they promoting weapons that can kill dozens in a few minutes?
Most Americans reject this pro-gun campaign. But consider that Saugerties is allowing a gun show in our public park. This is organized by a corporation that also seeks to promote the gun culture that is killing Americans. Held at the ice rink, this is across the street from our secondary schools and shares the park and parking lot with youth sports. And children get in free.
We need sensible gun laws, including a ban on weapons of war in the hands of civilians. We all need to step up and deny the folly that more guns make us safer. They are killing us.
It is a small step, but the Town of Saugerties should deny all future applications for gun shows. Promotion of guns is a deadly business from which the gun industry extracts its profits.
Kathy & Dave Gordon
Concerns on Cahill’s public health record
I was 17 when I saw the beginnings of the opioid crisis. Pills – pushed into our community by drug companies – had trickled into the halls of Onteora. I was 18 when my uninsured father was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease. He struggled to gain access to adequate care. I was 22 when I decided to study medicine, aspiring to do better than what was done for him. I was 28 when I came back to work as a doctor in this community. I committed myself to opposing the for-profit healthcare system.
I’m 37 now, and during all that time until today, Kevin Cahill has been my assemblyman. During that time, Mr. Cahill has accepted over a hundred thousand dollars from private health insurers, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies – including $2000 from Teva, one of the companies behind the opioid epidemic. During all this time, the New York Health Act – a popular bill to create a single-payer system in New York – has failed to pass.
The malign influence of for-profit healthcare companies and big pharma is pervasive in our society. Mr. Cahill didn’t create these problems, but I do not believe a representative comfortable taking such large amounts of money from these companies can prioritize health over donors’ bottom lines. I’m writing this letter partly because questions about this money came up at the last debate. Luckily for us, this information is public and we all should see it for ourselves: bit.ly/bigpharma103.
This fall, with the 2022 midterm elections, the Republicans find themselves in the same position the Democrats were in at the end of 1933. At the end of 1933, Hoover was up for reelection as POTUS. His colleague in the opposing party was the Democrat, FDR. By the end of Hoover’s first term, it was the fourth year of the Great Depression, with millions of men out of work and no assistance to sustain themselves. The Republicans were faced with a dilemma: If Hoover was reelected and did nothing, Republicans would be voted out of office in the midterm elections; if FDR was elected and they did not support him, they would most assuredly be voted out of office as well.
Therefore, the decision was to support FDR, and they passed a host of liberal benefits – liberal in the sense as there were none previously! This was the prevailing philosophy of the GOP: Let the states take care of themselves; the federal government had no business in the affairs of the states. The Republicans hated this liberal state then and hate it now.
After eight years of a Black president, the Democratic Party nominated Hillary Clinton to run for president. For the Democratic Party to run a woman for POTUS, let alone Hillary Clinton, after Obama, it allowed the frustration and despair of the white supremacies to place in the Oval Office Donald Trump.
He was the only POTUS who had absolutely zero experience judicially, legislatively and with no military service – not that one needed this military experience to run for POTUS. But his qualifications for this all-important post was nil. In addition, he is, was not a team player. It is his way or the highway, reflected by the number of persons who resigned or were fired under his watch.
If the GOP can take control of both chambers of Congress, Trump will most assuredly run for a second term. This is the reason why the GOP is tightening up all voting requirements and eliminating some as well. The Republicans want to take control of the government. They have a conservative Supreme Court, and if they can get Trump into office, the existing liberal state will come to an end as we know it today. Don’t forget, Donald Trump attempted to push through a Payroll Executive Tax Cut which would eliminate payroll taxes; this meant no FICA that the employee and employer paid into; this meant no Social Security! This is just a taste of what is waiting for the seniors in this country if Der Führer is reelected again.
Another big concern is Medicare and Medicaid. When I take my wife over to Vassar for her checkups – mine as well – what I notice is the large number of senior citizens, those 65 to 90-plus, going there for their appointments. Private insurance companies will not be able to withstand medical bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. What about the people in the nursing homes who are on Medicaid? What happens to them when this program is cut or eliminated?
With a conservative Supreme Court, a Republican POTUS and both chambers of Congress conservative, it will be every man for himself and we will be back 80-plus years to the bygone days of the marauding capitalists. Wake up, people. Get on the telephone, write, let your representatives know your feelings regarding this state of affairs, that could become a permanent fixture with a conservative Supreme Court and Donald Trump.
I read Chief Sinagra’s letter to the editor about the importance of mental health awareness and treatment being key to reducing mass shootings and agree with his thoughtful comments. My understanding is that the law enforcement community in general wants tighter gun control and fewer guns in the hands of the public, and understandably so, as law enforcement are typically the first responders called into extremely dangerous situations, often dealing with highly armed civilians. Certainly, even a simple roadside stop can and does result in a driver suddenly pulling out a weapon and attacking the officer. It’s hard to even imagine when officers are facing an erratic mass murderer with a semi- or fully automatic rifle, body armor and hundreds of rounds of ammo.
I think, though, that complicating and delaying access to firearm purchases is key to the issue: Just like parents take away a Sharpie marker from a two-year-old getting ready to draw on the walls, we need to reduce access to guns in general and focus on mental health care. The consistent evidence supports that we as a nation are unable to identify and stop individuals intent on a mass shooting, despite most of them posting warnings or acting erratically before the shooting. Time and time again these shooters succeed in buying weapons/armor and ammo and randomly attacking innocent people at school or work locations. Hoping to identify and head off one of these attacks in a nation of 330 million people has proved impossible. The simplest answer is to stop selling guns to whomever wants one (or two or three or four).
Despite what the NRA wants everyone to believe, there’s no reason for a private citizen to be armed to the teeth with multiple guns and ammo in the totally mistaken belief of being ready to “defend themselves.” It’s a total fallacy and is supported by hard data – there are virtually no factual incidences of armed citizens ever stopping a significant intrusion or attack – and the few that may happen annually don’t warrant allowing so many guns to be purchased. If another gun were never sold in the US, there are still 400 million guns in circulation – 400 million!
Stop the supply of ammo; stop the sale of guns. Raise the minimum age to 30 to purchase one. Run exhaustive background checks, require serious mental screenings, limit the numbers and types of guns that can be purchased, limit the quantity of ammo that can be bought. Require mandatory gun handling and training. Register all guns and gun-owners in a national database. Do whatever needs to be done to tamp down access to guns, period. Four hundred million is more than enough for every single man, woman and child in the US to own at least one. Absurd, and for what? Self-defense? Semi-automatic rifles that can’t be used for hunting nor in most gun ranges?
Benches did matter
How many of you were here and remember this? Back in 2001, before our town’s transition, from the Woodstock Times: “Longtime Woodstockers Jean Collins and Artie Jackson along with former councilman Jay Wenk came up with the idea for the ‘People-Friendly Bench Contest,’ held May 19 on the Village Green. The result was five new benches, the visions of five area artists. The first-prize bench, designed by Parker Holden, can be seen in front of the Chamber of Commerce booth. The project was supported by town supervisor Jeremy Wilber and his secretary, Angela Sweet, the Woodstock Town Board, pastor Kathleen Edwards, the Reservoir Inn, Sunflower, Sunfrost, Woodstock Meats and many merchants, vendors, visitors and citizens who contributed financially. The artist who participated were Todd Andrews, Steve Heller, Holden, Pierre Riche and Matt Weinberger.”
The POTUS Man
(Reader Alert! The following parody contains “right-wing misinformation.” Readers (especially Eric Glass) are encouraged to list examples of such misinformation and explain in a Feedback letter why the items on their lists meet the “misinformation” definition.)
Someone once sang: “Time keeps on moving…into the future.” With this in mind, it seems that there is not enough time before the midterm elections to make the future look bright for POTUS Joe Biden and his party. Despite this realistic outlook, POTUS Biden called a meeting of House and Senate Democrats to encourage them that things are, actually, going according to plan. He did so by reviewing the steps he’s taken to “Build Back Better” that will make any skeptics of the party’s prospects for success gain confidence.
Not surprisingly, Joe, a big fan of the late Sammy Davis, Jr., wrote a parody of one of Sammy’s big hits, “The Candy Man,” to lift the spirits of Democrat leaders and encourage them to “keep the faith.” To help reassure his listeners, POTUS Biden convinced his buddy Barack (the one and only) to sing the song to the group, with Jill Biden and Michelle singing background by his side.
(Introduction spoken by Barack)
All right everybody, gather around
President Biden’s here
Now, what kind of country do you want:
Socialist? Energy-dependent? Woke-ruled?
Tell him what you want! You’ve come to the right man,
Because Joe’s the POTUS Man
Who can take a country (who can take a country)
Make it seem brand-new (make it seem brand-new)
Change the laws that worked to please the leftist point of view
The POTUS Man
The POTUS Man can, ‘cos he follows leftist dreams
And makes the world less good
Who can take a border (who can take a border)
And make it overrun? (make it overrun)
Say the country will do well when “build back” has begun?
The POTUS Man
Joe the POTUS man can, ‘cos he follows far-left dreams
And makes his base feel good
The POTUS Man makes all his leftist takes
So confusing and pernicious
Now talk about your far-left wishes
Joe’s make even me suspicious
Oh, who can take inflation (who can take inflation)
Send it through the roof? (send it through the roof)
Tell you that it’s Putin’s fault when there is little proof
The POTUS Man
Joe POTUS Man can, ‘cos he knows that shaming him will makes his base feel good
The POTUS Man drools: “New election rules
Ae so racist and pernicious”
Says they fulfill Jim Crow wishes
But such claims are just malicious!
Oh yeah, who can take the Green Deal (who can take the Green Deal)
Make it seem so real? (make going green so real)
When he knows that all his claims really are surreal
The POTUS Man
Joe POTUS Man can cause he knows that telling lies
Will make the left feel good (AOC feels good)
Who can cause big problems (who can cause big problems)
And not take the blame? (never take the blame)
Offer you excuses that are nothing less than lame
The POTUS MAN
Joe POTUS Man can ‘cos he tells us bold-faced lies
That makes the press feel good
Who can make the false claim (who can make the false claim)
“I’ve no Hunter ties” (Hunter business ties)
When there’s proof that such a claim is one of many lies?
The POTUS man
Joe POTUS Man can ‘cos he tells us silly tales
That help Ron Klain feel good (his chief of staff feels good)
Who can divide people (who can divide people)
More than I once did? (more than Barack did)
Call half the country racist and keep the truth well-hid
The POTUS man
Joe POTUS Man can ‘cos he tells so many lies
He makes old Trump look good (Trump looks awful good)
(Regarding the recent NPHS valedictorian profile)
Who can take the pronoun (who can take the pronoun)
“Her” and make it “they?” (her and make it they)
Change a “she” to “their” and make all grammar rules passé
HV1’s writers can (their staff writers can)
HV1’s writers can ‘cos they follow grammar rules
That make the woke feel good (the woke feel so good)
Social media awareness for parents at JCNP
The Jewish Congregation of New Paltz (JCNP) wishes to thank New York State trooper Anca Watt for speaking about social media awareness for parents at our May 26 Thursday Night Live event. Many parents have little experience with TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram: social media platforms that form the core of communications for our school-age children. Trooper Watt, whose beat covers Ulster, Orange, Green, Dutchess and Rockland counties, has served for almost ten years with the State Police. In addition to regular policing duties, she has come to focus on speaking with community groups about this area of danger.
Some of her key points:
1. Do kids need privacy online? No. Parents have the duty and responsibility to keep their children safe. The only way to protect your kids online is to monitor what they’re doing.
2. Parents are in charge of their children until age 18. This entails not only responsibility, but potential legal liability.
3. Social-media dangers lurk for boys as well as girls.
4. Kids don’t think that posting their private information, such as birthdate and address, can get them in trouble. It can and too often does.
5. Geolocation services can provide real-time information about the location of a boy or girl to people who may mean them harm.
6. Even adults face dangers online. Innocently posting that you’re headed out to dinner may tell a burglar that your house is unoccupied.
The presentation was enlivened by many questions from the audience.
We also wish to thank Middle School principal Ann Sheldon for joining us, as well as school superintendent Angela Urbina-Medina, who shared our press release with district principals, who shared the information with their parent mailing lists. Because of the School District’s advocacy, parents from the larger community joined JCNP members to listen and ask questions.
Jewish Congregation of New Paltz
The circle completes: Memorial Day 2022
My wife and I were working in front of our house cutting down a small dead tree when I heard a voice say, “Would you come to my house and take a dead tree down?”
“No, sorry, I’m too old. Have the young man you’re walking with give you a hand.”
The next thing I knew, both men stepped closer. The older one said, “I’m Harry; we are looking for an apartment for my friend Minh from Vietnam.”
“Really, I’m a Vietnam vet.”
Harry said, “So am I, Army Signal Corps, ‘68-‘69.”
“Marine, helicopter door gunner, ‘69-‘70.”
When I heard Minh was a student at SUNY, I introduced him to my wife, Helise, a retired dean from SUNY.
It was Memorial Day 2022, and I was talking to a young man who may have been the grandson of my enemy in the Vietnam War ‘69-‘70.
I had arrived in Vietnam, just beginning to understand I’d entered what many United States citizens considered an unjust war. Protestors stateside and many Marines fighting in Nam did not believe we belonged in this war. But, after seeing unarmed Vietnamese fishermen ordered to be shot at, keeping fellow Marines alive became the only reason I did my job. But unfortunately, there were no good political or moral truths for us to be there.
Now standing before me was Minh, a 21-year-old man born in Saigon. I told him I returned to Vietnam in 1994 to study PTSD in the Vietnamese and found less PTSD in the Vietnamese than in our returning veterans. Minh smiled respectfully. I did not say to this gracious young man who lived in Vietnam that I have thought of his country every day of my life since I returned home. But unfortunately, no Memorial Day has helped me heal from what we did in that war.
When I returned to Vietnam with healthcare folks from the West Haven VA, I wrote a poem to the Vietnamese people and had it translated. I was standing before the famous General Geip and his fellow soldiers when I read it.
October 17, 1994
The spirit that I have taken
From your Heart
From your Country
From your Land
From your People
From your Beauty
From your Soul
From your Fathers
From your Mothers
From your Children
I return to You
I am one Man
I have lived with sadness
Holding your spirit prisoner in my heart
Looking into Minh’s young, radiant smile, I heard my words stumbling, “Minh, seeing you before me today is a gift.” An alive, vital man sent here by his family who survived an ugly war. I struggled to allow my tears to come.
Helise and I led Minh and Harry to the pond behind our house. We showed them the koi fish, frog and turtle. When Harry, the war vet, and Minh, the Vietnamese student, were leaving, I felt my soul working its way back into my heart it went from so many years ago.
Use your common sense
With the illegal and horrifying misuse of firearms once again in the news, maybe it’s time to actually do something practical and effective, not to mention common-sense, in regard to the issue. That is to ban guns from TV, the movies and especially, video and computer games frequented by young males.
President Nixon signed an edict that banned cigarette ads on radio and TV effective after January 1, 1971. Cigarettes soon pretty much vanished from TV and the movies. Why doesn’t President Biden do the same for guns now?
TV sells things: lifestyles and all sorts of goods, services and activities. Why on Earth does it include the misuse, even illegal use of firearms as entertainment? What is the matter with us that we continue to tolerate this, given the awful results lately?
We can’t expect the media organizations to do it themselves. Often, the entertainment arm brings in revenue that supports the news divisions, so no TV or movie business will look into and report on the effects of the prevalence of gun violence on people’s behavior, especially among the young males – it’s always men – and mentally ill.
It’s time to get rid of the instruction and normalization of gun violence, as portrayed on TV in such high-body-count shows like John Wick and the truly despicable Purge series.
So, if you want to do something about gun violence, write, call, speak to or demonstrate in front of your local political representatives, and urge them to get the president to do what President Nixon did: use his authority to rid the media of guns as entertainment.
What could be more common-sense than that?
Israel lobby does not threaten US democracy
Fred Nagel’s litany of antisemitic theories about the “Israel lobby” has no basis in fact (“Israeli lobby destructive to democracy,” 06/01/2022.) Lest anyone believe these worn-out tropes, the Jewish Federation of Ulster County is bound to retort.
Mr. Nagel asserts the Israel lobby “uses its huge collection of personal data to destroy the job prospects of college students and professors.” He doesn’t cite a reliable source, nor does he provide motive or explain how it captures data. It’s a canard that speaks to “Big Brother” paranoia of lunatic-fringe conspiracy theorists. Our research was unable to uncover a scintilla of truth that, even misconstrued, could support the allegation.
He suggests pro-Israel operatives “infiltrate human rights organizations.” Again, he fails to provide any credible evidence. But, arguendo, if they are spying on anti-Israel agencies, they aren’t gaining much. Several prominent organizations continue to voice their criticisms. Israel is a democracy; it and its US supporters debate their critics openly on the world stage. Israel’s supporters don’t resort to subterfuge. Mr. Nagel can’t point to one instance of “infiltration” that has impacted policy. We challenge him to prove otherwise.
Mr. Nagel makes note of the 2005 film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War against the West, accusing the producers of fanning “Islamophobia on US campuses and communities.” The title of the film references “Radical Islam,” not the religion of Islam or multimillions of peaceful adherents across the globe. Ironically, he takes offense where the leaders of an explicitly antisemitic terrorist movement do not.
One need ignore decades of history, cut off all news media and blind themselves to the Twin Towers bombing, attacks on the USS Cole and Baghdad Embassy, plus two Iraq wars and numerous other blatantly terrorist acts in the name of radical Islam, to believe it. Have the recent deadly knife attacks by Palestinian youths on Israelis entirely escaped his attention?
It’s a fact the Palestinian Authority names streets after terrorists who murdered Israelis and pays stipends to their families based on the number of Jews who died in their attacks. That’s the public face of radical Islam. How can a film exploring that undeniable fact – which aired on both CNN and Fox News – be interpreted as biased?
Mr. Nagel attempts to make his point by conflating the War on Terror with fomenting Islamophobia as a proxy war strategy of Israel proponents. In fact, Islam is a recognized religion in Israel, Arabic is an official language, Israel opens historic sites to individuals of all religions and Islamic citizens freely exercise their right to vote, access healthcare and education and every other benefit provided to Jewish or Christian Israelis. Islam is a religion of peace, founded in the same Abrahamic tradition as Judaism and Christianity; every day “radical Islam” proclaims hatred of the West and promises to eradicate Jews from their historical homeland. Further, in pursuit of peace, Israel offered the Palestinians an independent nation (the “two-state solution”) no less than three times. Each time, the Palestinians demurred. But radical Islam’s attacks haven’t abated one iota.
Mr. Nagel’s accusation the Israel lobby harms the US is misguided; it’s a fantasy rooted in limited understanding of Mideast geopolitics. The Israel lobby seeks only the security of the nation and to find a roadmap to lasting peace. Perhaps Mr. Nagel needs a refresher course in Democracy 101. We’re happy to educate him about how constructive dialogue based on facts, in the sunshine of the public arena, works.
We’ve invited Mr. Nagel to debate, or we’ll appear on his podcast. No answer. We reiterate the offer.
Mr. Drimer is the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Ulster County (ucjf.org). Mr. Gold is the organization’s president.
Another censored book
We have another book being actively censored by local booksellers and libraries in our region.
The first, of course, was Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s indictment of the COVID industry, The Real Anthony Fauci. Kennedy is a man who has done more for our region than any 100 local politicians put together. For people too young to know, due to local passivity and a deeply ingrained culture of political corruption among the region’s political class, the Hudson Valley was on the path of becoming a national industrial sacrifice zone. Thanks to Riverkeeper, which Kennedy led for many years, this disastrous course was changed.
The new censored book is Naomi Wolf’s Other People’s Bodies. As I write this, it is currently the #10 best-selling book on Amazon, yet it appears in no local library and is carried by no local bookstore, independent or chain.
What’s the book about? It covers many topics, but the key one is the details of the science (Pfizer’s own) that the company with the aid of the FDA attempted to seal for 75 years. Yes, you read that right: 75 years. Thankfully, a group (also ignored by local book gatekeepers), Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency, sued the FDA and a judge recognized the blatant criminality of denying the public access to what Pfizer knew about the dangers of the vaccines it was peddling. The science is now in (Pfizer’s own), and it’s devastating. You can read about it in Wolf’s book – if you can find a copy.
Ask your local librarian and bookseller when this book will be on their shelves, but if you get an evasive or condescending answer, don’t be surprised.
Black Lives Matter
The assault on “Black Lives Matters” by John N. Butz (June 1) is already discredited before we ever get past the first paragraph. In it, he states that “systemic racism” is a “manufactured … false term” because “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.” Aside from this being a rather low bar for racial equality, it shows absolutely no understanding of what “systemic racism” is.
Systemic racism is not a matter of individual “tolerances,” it’s the institutional disadvantages and abuses that are the inevitable, living consequences of centuries of slavery and Jim Crow, white supremacy and police brutality. It’s the continuing and often growing racial gap in everything from employment, to education, to housing, to income, to health care, life expectancy and infant mortality, to police stops, abuses, arrests, sentences, incarcerations and murders. It’s the systematic destruction of the cultures, the families, the opportunities for upward mobility and the self-respect of black Americans, all of which they’re somehow supposed to assume responsibility for as soon as white people tell them it’s time? It’s the ingrained nature of white privilege, such that many whites actually believe that the inside track they still enjoy is really part of an equal playing field.
I could go on, responding to the misrepresentations and slanders aimed at the Black Lives Matter movement. But I do want to address the analogy made between police murders of young blacks and “black-on-black crime,” a common and disingenuous defense strategy we often see in rightwing media. Ignoring for the moment the issues of inflated statistics and disproportionate arrests, crime is an unfortunate by-product of poverty, abuse, congestion, lack of education, hopelessness, drug availability, environmental inheritance and self-fulfilling prophesies. And, considering the de facto segregation that redeveloped in the 1980’s as part of “the Reagan revolution,” the logical victims of crimes are most likely going to be people in closer geographic proximity. But we don’t read about “white-on-white” crime, for some reason, and Mr. Butz fails to mention hate crimes and mass killings, mostly perpetrated by whites, at all.
In regard to the police, they yield the power of the state and hold an institutional accountability that individual civilians do not. It is the history of black folks that their communities have been terrorized by Klansmen, real and aspiring, wearing badges. No one is saying that nothing needs to be done to stop murders of all kinds, and, despite the uninformed claims of Mr. Butz, adherents of BLM obviously acknowledge this. It’s insulting to claim otherwise. But trying to solve that complex problem is not an excuse to minimize the devastating pattern of police murders of unarmed blacks, and the subconscious, if not overt racism in both individuals and the system that it reveals. Only those who have had to have “the talk” with their black children about what to do when inevitably confronted by a police officer should really be speaking to this. As the white father of a black son, I assure Mr. Butz that he is in great need of some education and empathy.
Serious discussions welcomed
I am cautiously optimistic to see the serious bipartisanship discussions taking place in the United States Senate regarding gun legislation. I think everyone can agree red flag laws should be enacted at the federal level so that in all states protections from those who pose a threat can be in place. The law in Florida championed by Republicans which allow for risk protection orders should be enacted at the federal level. Along with additional school safety funding, mental health and expanded background checks, this might finally be the time we can come together all while still protecting Second Amendment rights. No responsible gun owner wants a gun in the wrong hands.
Kevin Cahill delivers
One of the most important things in choosing who to vote for is knowing whether or not they will deliver on their promises. For over 20 years, Kevin Cahill has been proving that he delivers.
When the pandemic hit, he ensured relief for small businesses and secured funds to address food insecurity where it most mattered.
When it looked like a woman’s right to choose was going to be put at risk, he helped pass the Reproductive Health Act, which guaranteed those rights in New York State. He has worked with his colleagues in the Assembly and the State Senate to ensure that New York can be a safe haven for those women in other states who may have their right to choose taken away.
So many of us in this part of the state have been impacted by rising housing prices. Years ago, Kevin anticipated this and he wrote the law that will allow Kingston to enact rent stabilization in large apartment complexes.
Experience and track record count. Kevin is a proven leader. He has shown that he works diligently for our community. He has delivered for us! Please consider joining me in voting for Kevin Cahill in the June 28 Democratic primary.
Too many assumptions, Eric
What was the flaw in the logic I presented? If abortion is NOT the taking of an innocent life, what alternative definition of murder do you have, Eric? And this taking of an innocent life, like murder, has nothing to do with one’s religious beliefs since it refers to a basic humane concern for the sanctity of life. Whatever anyone’s religious or non-religious beliefs are, murder will always be murder, as I explained in my last letter.
Bringing yours and Em’s child to term and putting it up for adoption did not cross your mind as a humane, moral and ethical decision. Even though your decision may have been a tough one, the bottom line is: when is murdering an unborn child EVER the humane, moral and ethical thing to do?
You’ve made an incorrect assumption that pro-life beliefs can only refer to caring about the lives of unborn children when you presume there is not the same caring by pro-lifers for innocent, already born children sitting in a classroom about to be murdered. It goes without saying that I, and everyone else, believe in the protection of school children’s lives, as well.
The problem I have with the demonstrations in front of the Justice’s homes is that it clearly violates a law and that our spineless and partisan Attorney General refuses to acknowledge and honor this law while administering the justice that is required to support this law. Isn’t this the core job of a real Attorney General or any other legal professional?
You’ve made another incorrect assumption that I seem not to care about young lunatics being able to purchase military-type automatic assault weapons. Like you, I believe that this shouldn’t ever be allowed to happen. In a rare moment of lucidity, our Gov. Hochul just signed into law a bill that raises the age of gun ownership of these types of weapons from 18 to 21. As Police Chief Joseph Sinagra perfectly pointed out, and I paraphrase, the key problem and root cause of all these shootings is that there is no comprehensive and effective plan of action in place or even in the works that would identify, isolate from society and treat these deadly lunatics who obviously have extreme severe mental health issues. When was the last time you, or any of us, has ever read an article or have seen a news commentary about a mass murderer being described as a sane, compassionate, upstanding role model citizen who attends church on a weekly basis?
You’ve made many more erroneous assumptions, insinuating that I’m not concerned with the many points you raised, at the end of your letter, regarding the plight of the lives of disadvantaged minorities, especially the children. Naturally, there is no way that you could know what my stance is on any of these issues.
To answer the point you tried to make in your last paragraph, I will always maintain that anti-abortion IS pro-life … these terms are one in the same and cannot be separated into an “either, or” choice, as you have unsuccessfully tried to establish.
John N. Butz
Support for Sarahana
On June 28, the voters of Assembly District 103 will have an opportunity to choose Esopus resident Sarahana Shrestha. Let’s not squander this chance.
We cannot depend on status-quo Democrats. With a supermajority in the State Senate and Assembly, why are we still pining for progressive legislation concerning climate change? Affordable housing? Universal healthcare?
Sarahana has been knocking on doors every single day to speak with voters, asking us to share our concerns and providing us with her ideas for change in Albany. She’s running a campaign that empowers voters, myself included. Because of Sarahana’s organizing and outreach, I’m more involved in local politics and more engaged with my community. I’m thinking more critically about the integrity of my representatives and asking if our current leadership represents our best interests. I’m recognizing the strength of my own voice. True leaders encourage others to lead. Leadership is not a stronghold
To those who consider Sarahana an idealist, I say she is a realist. The reality is that in the Mid-Hudson Valley, we’re struggling. Many of us can’t afford healthcare or housing — we’re fearful of the future. Sarahana has presented on-the-ground solutions. She is running because she sees the way forward. Her entire platform offers a pragmatic approach to directly improve the lives of working people, to protect the environment and to uplift our communities. What is more real than that?
Join me on June 28 by casting your vote for Sarahana Shrestha. Our future depends on it.
Commentary on life
Failure to act?
Take no action?
Nail bed FUNGUS?
Your curb appeal?
Curb your fears
Myrna S. Hilton
The DSA should devote its resources to defeating Republicans
Timothy Welsh of New Paltz (“National Politics have arrived in the 103rd District”) is very unhappy with the Democratic Party. He doesn’t like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he doesn’t like Congressman Jim Clyburn. And he really doesn’t like Conservative Democrat Henry Cuellar who, because he must win in a very conservative Texas house district, votes with the NRA often. He is not my cup of tea either, but he is a Democrat and I would vote for him over almost any Republican.
And then Mr. Walsh leaps from the U.S. House of Representatives to the 103rd New York Assembly District to attack Assemblymember Kevin Cahill on extremely dubious grounds and endorses Cahill’s opponent in the Democratic Primary on June 28.
Cahill’s opponent is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) the far-left-leaning group that, because it doesn’t have its own access to the New York ballot, runs candidates on the Democratic Party Line. That’s fine. I agree with of the DSA’s positions on many issues and furthermore I think it is good for more women and people of color to run for office, no matter what their political ideology.
I do have a problem, however, with the DSA’s apparent strategy of running unqualified candidates against long-standing and truly progressive Democrats. In the 103rd, the DSA has chosen to challenge one of the most senior (read, influential) and progressive members of the Assembly, Kevin Cahill. For 20 years, Cahill has been largely responsible for New York becoming the blue state it now is. He has long been a champion, of women’s reproductive freedom, including being named a legislative champion by Planned Parenthood, being lead sponsor in 2019 of the Comprehensive Contraception Act and the Reproductive Health Act. And he worked hard protecting reproductive rights for New Yorkers in response to the looming SCOTUS threat to Roe v. Wade. Yet dark money ads on behalf of his opponent dishonestly hint that he falls short on this critical issue.
Similarly, on the environment, Mr. Walsh implies that Cahill is weak. Nothing could be further from the truth. In 2019, Cahill passed the most aggressive climate change law in the nation: the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, making New York the leader on environmental protections. He has introduced the Climate and Community Investment Act, which would enforce a carbon tax to raise billions of dollars a year to provide climate justice for New Yorkers who face the brunt of climate pollution. For 20 years, Cahill has been a rock-solid champion of the environment in these and so many other ways that he was named “Legislator of the year” on the EPL/Environmental Advocates Voters Guide.
Honestly, I could fill several more pages just mentioning Cahill’s other accomplishments on the environment, fair housing, criminal justice reform, the economy and fighting for his constituents against Central Hudson in the recent billing fiascos visited upon the citizens of the 103rd. And that’s not to mention the billions of state dollars he has directed to progressive and community projects in his district.
In contrast, the DSA is running a young woman who has never served in any public office, has virtually no political experience and zero legislative experience, but who boasts of being able to save the environment and “change the culture” in Albany. Her reach exceeds her inexperienced grasp.
So, it’s no wonder that the state, county and local Democratic committees are standing with Cahill against this challenge from the splinter group Democratic Socialists. As are the state’s many unions (his opponent has no union support), who understand that Cahill has stood with working people for decades and will continue to do so if reelected.
Mr. Walsh wishes the Democratic Party was the same as the DSA, representing only a narrow slice of the left. If it were to magically transform as they wish, our party would likely never win another election against Republicans. We are a “big tent” party. That is what leads to electoral victories over Republicans.
Defeating Republicans, Trumpists, purveyors of the big lie who fight for billionaires’ interests instead of working people, and who foster hatred and division everywhere, should be the number one priority of all progressives. The DSA should devote its resources to defeating Republicans, not dishonestly attacking proven and experienced progressives who have built the blue state we enjoy today.
Revolving door for employees of color in New Paltz schools
I write as a former school board member of six years and school volunteer of 50 years about the revolving door of employees of color in the New Paltz schools and the failure of its Board of Education to correct the problem.
I have witnessed as a board member and school volunteer the catapulting in and out of our school district employees of color with such titles as custodian, bus driver, teacher aide, teacher, administrator and even board member at a rate that I can only explain by institutional racism. The New Paltz School Board is ultimately the party responsible for correcting this problem because they have the resources and legal power to make change. But they remain ineffectual in making corrections but silently with great skill continues to push out employees of color through the revolving door.
Diana Armstead the only current board member of color whose term ends in three weeks, made it clear at the last board meeting of June 1 in her departing statement: “It is the school board members white fragility that is blocking the school district’s systematic ability to address institutional racism in our schools.”
In fact, the school board will become all white at the beginning of July and will continue to meet exactly the Google definition of white fragility — “…discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice.” Even when this school board had the chance to temporarily appoint a man of color to the board, a man interested in filling the vacancy of an outgoing board member of color (Sophia Skiles), they did not. The recommended individual had served on the board before, had been recommended by two school board members of color and who had a history of fighting for racial equity, the board appointed a white male. One has to ask what was their goal in filling the vacancy?
At the June 1 meeting, the board’s own standing committee called Racial Equity Advisory Committee (REAC) read a long scathing statement about the failure of the board to respond to five years of requests for data on issues of equity to complete their analysis of institutional racism and to then make recommendations for change. So, the school board that is supposed to come up with solutions continues to be the problem.
Over the past 50 years, I have observed a process of low expectations of our employees of color that become self-fulfilling prophecies among even the best of intended board members. For example, in the case of two bilingual counselors hired and let go of at the same time, one was too soft spoken and the other was too assertive. In the case, of a black female applicant for a principalship of one of our school buildings, she was too “assertive” while at the same time we had other school principals who were known to be very assertive, but then they were white. While on the school board, I witnessed the racial discrimination of Stacey Sands by a white school board and administrators, and I testified in a federal lawsuit brought on by Attorney Michael Sussman that he won. Similarly, I have witnessed for 50 years many dozens of cases of employees of color that did not meet the standards and expectations of white people in positions of power like many of our school board members and administrators.
Please join the community at the next board meeting to continue this important discussion. Please come to the next New Paltz school board meeting on Wednesday, June 15, 6:30 p.m. at the high school.
De-platforming and media censorship
Last week, I renewed my subscription to HV1. I also made donations to Consortium News and MintPress, two alternative investigative news organizations who routinely challenge reporting by governments and the mainstream media (MSM).
Consortium News (CN) was established in 1995 by the late Associated Press reporter Robert Parry — who broke the Reagan administration’s Iran-Contra scandal — seeking editorial autonomy after increasingly being silenced by his editors in the 1990’s for questioning U.S. government narratives. Former New York Times Mid-East Bureau chief and Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent Chris Hedges, former United Nations’ weapons inspector Scott Ritter and retired U.S. Intelligence officers/whistleblowers from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity — who debunked Colin Powell’s UN charade feigning Iraq’s MWD program within hours of his speech — write for CN. CN is an outspoken champion of imprisoned WikeLeaks publisher Julian Assange, famously facing extradition to the U.S. by the Biden Administration for exposing George W. Bush’s Afghanistan and Iraq war-crimes, including the murder of civilians and two Reuters journalists in the Collateral Murder video: https://www.nytimes.com/video/multimedia/1248069533084/collateral-murder.html.
Before publishing the tranche of government cabals revealing U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Assange was assisted by editors from The Guardian and The New York Times and who, with El Pais, Der Spiegel, and Le Monde, also published these documents: https://www.laprogressive.com/the-media-in-the-united-states/myth-of-assange-as-terrorist. Neither The Guardian nor the Times were prosecuted with Assange. Neither The Guardian nor the Times covered Assange’s trial from the court-room — CN was the lone news organization who did. Neither The Guardian nor The Times have come to Assange’s defense to match the gravity of the censorship occurring; CN and Mint Press have.
Several weeks ago, CN and MintPress were de-platformed from PayPal for vague reasons and threatened with the seizure of their accounts: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/deplatformed-by-paypal-antiwar-journalists-speak-out/ar-AAXCINi. Both have challenged U.S. policy and MSM coverage of the war in Ukraine. After an international outcry, PayPal restored their accounts.
CN has subsequently been targeted by NewsGuard, a Pentagon-State Department-affiliated watchdog for “for false reporting,” including coverage of the 2014 Ukraine coup orchestrated by the U.S. and reporting of Neo-Nazi elements within the Ukrainian government and its military, subjects covered by any number of MSM outlets prior to the war:
Consortium News and MintPress are tiny players on the world’s media stage, yet their anti-war reporting has induced de-platforming by a digital giant and U.S. government censorship. They are the tip of the iceberg. How long before tiny, regional news organizations like HV1, who also employs PayPal, and who bravely publishes many points of view challenging government narratives from the local to the national, from New Paltz to Israel, from Kingston to Ukraine, find themselves de-platformed by Paypal, or censored by NewsGuard?
Act Blue donations
Your recent article implied Actblue donated to Kevin Cahill’s campaign.
Actblue doesn’t donate. Those numbers are made up of individual donors who may give as little as $5. Many Democratic candidates use Actblue to take online donations.
As their website states, “Does ActBlue choose who it supports? We don’t! That’s because donors use our platform to donate directly to the candidates and causes they support (we’re just the technological infrastructure).”
Peter McKnight, Treasurer
Hurley Democratic Committee