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Monthly Archives: May 2019

Tantra or Sex Services?

We have received responses to several of our inquires and it doesn’t look good for Jason Tantra or Tantra 4 Gay Men. Several authoritative Tantra experts have condemned Mr Tantra’s site and his claims, as have several published papers. It seems the authoritative opinion is that Mr “Tantra’s” claims for himself and for his “teachings” are simply not Tantra at all, and, as one expert puts it, it “site looks more like sexual activity for gay men than serious tantric practice.” We agree. We are also reviewing a Google site that discusses Mr Tantra and his organization and we will include that information with the information received from government agencies in our next report. While the fact that Tantra 4 Gay Men and Mr Jason Tantra may be perpetrating a fraud on a vulnerable group, we are more interested in his visa, tax, and licensure status — but our US government agencies tend to drag their feet when it appears they might have been duped. We are contacting the New York State Attorney General’s office to make inquiries, since Mr Tantra is “appearing” at the Easton Mountain retreat lodge in New York State. Maybe a sting can be arranged.



Just when we thought that there could be nothing weirder than local politics and politicians, up pops a case that seems even more bizarre. We’ve received information on what appears to be a feud between two apparently vastly different organizations, rather individuals, on of all things, the question of Tantra vs. Neotantra vs. gay “sacred” sexuality. Yes, you are reading correctly, and NO, we’re not joking.

The bottom line is this: Yes! Lady Liberty is weeping because the Constitution is burning. We think that there is a civil rights violation here. If you believe you have been the victim of a civil rights violation, you should seek legal assistance through one of the many civil liberties organizations or through a private attorney. Get a free consultation or, if you need to spend $100 to defend your rights, it’s definitely worth it. Civil rights are fundamental rights and there are plenty of safeguards in the US justice system designed to ensure that your rights are protected.


Warning: This content deviates from our normal subject matter so we do urge caution, since it does contain material and discussion that might be considered “offensive” to some sensitive individuals.


We receive a great many tips on possible stories to cover so when we received this one, it piqued our curiosity and we started digging. Anyone who is familiar with this blog knows that when we identify an issue, we start the research process that includes deep fact-finding to verify the facts and the actual issues. This case is no different — or is it? Actually, it is different in two important ways:

First, it is pretty one-sided because the one party, an individual calling himself “Jason Tantra,” apparently from Bristol, England, and operating a company called Tantra 4 Gay Men, a company with a Bristol, UK, address, is battling with an American organization, not a commercial entity but an apparently spiritual-religious entity, largely because of a difference in doctrine and interpretation of what exactly Mr Tantra (Sorry! But that’s what he calls himself, and has refused to give his real name.) is offering in his so-called “sensuality workshops,” that are being offered in places like New York (Manhattan), Massachusetts (Boston), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), and other “discreet” venues in the US. Of particular interest is a so-called “festival” that is hosted by the largely LGBT “retreat center” calling itself Easton Mountain Retreat Lodge, in New York.

Unfortunately, because Mr Tantra went ahead and complained to WordPress, the social media platform, about the articles, WordPress suspended the blog owner’s site — actually in violation of their own Terms of Service — and so we have no way of reviewing what the author posted or the impact it might have had. That’s a double-edged sword because (1) we normally would investigate both sides, and (2) if Mr Tantra caused the site to be permanently deleted by WordPress, Mr Tantra has no basis to prove his allegations.

The second difference is that we are not particularly interested in the superficial issues of a squabble between two individuals or organizations but the cherished principle of freedom of expression, and its protection at least in the United States of America under the provisions of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. That’s a serious issue that we will likely focus on and the question of the extent of a person’s right, if any such right exists, to deprive another person of his/her right to freedom of expression, even if person No. 1 feels that person No. 2 is unfair or inadequately informed. The second part of this question is that of due notice. In New York state, at least, before anyone can be deprived of his or her rights or privileges, the law requires that s/he be provided with due notice.If that is not done, then there is the possibility that yet another protected right, that of due process, may have been violated.

Now, of course,we operate as journalists and not as attorneys, so our questions may or may not have legal weight in a real-life dispute, but they are worth considering because if those rights can just be arbitrarily eroded just because of a difference of opinion or because there is some sort of economic competition between the parties, which is not the situation in this case, then it can affect each and every one of us in various ways. The cherished American protected right of freedom of expression, including opinions, should not be cast so lightly aside simply because one party has a paranoid delusion of competition or an inflated sense of right, or simply because he doesn’t like what someone has to say.

Unfortunately, thanks to Mr Tantra’s draconian step of somehow inducing WordPress to suspend not just the posts about Mr Tantra or his company but allegedly the blogger’s entire site, has, as mentioned above, deprived us of the opportunity to review the particular posts but also places Mr Tantra and his company in a very different light.

We are navigating perilously close to tyranny by private interests and corporations

Moreover, it raises important questions about your rights and the arbitrary and unilateral adverse actions taken by social media, especially relating to your right to express yourself. When social media operators like Facebook and others can simply vaporize an account or a site without having to give an explanation, we are navigating perilously close to tyranny by private interests and corporations, and government not protecting our rights.

You see, in the UK there are very different concepts of freedom of expression and the laws differ considerably; in the UK you’d have less protection and more liability, that is, if you are subject to those laws. In the United States, the rights of freedom of expression are constitutionally protected and have received very broad interpretation in the courts.

Mr Tantra is a UK subject allegedly working in the United States on some sort of a visa. He claims also that his company and its services received extensive scrutiny by “the Visa office” of the “US embassy,” who allegedly authorized him to operate his business in the United States. We have requested details of his claims but Mr Tantra has refused so far to produce any documentation.

Our information indicates that Mr Tantra operates his business not only in the United States generally, but in several states, including New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and others. This raises the question not only of authorization generally to operate a business in the US but to operate a business in several sister states. Again, Mr Tantra is silent on these questions.

A very salient question we posed in the course of our initial exchange was that of taxes. Does Mr Tantra file federal returns and state returns for his income and revenues generated by his activities in the several states in which he operates his business. Mr Tantra states that he does file returns, that an accountant files his returns, and that he pays substantial taxes, but Mr Tantra does not provide a taxpayer identification number or any other documentation of his claims. We have requested at least some proof of his statements but have not yet received any.

Mr Tantra operates a business in the United States but doesn’t actually say what it is. We have visited his Internet site and from what we can glean from the information there — it’s a bit confused and well, ambiguous and vague, but see for yourself. Here’s the link: Tantra 4 Gay Men / Jason Tantra. We have also viewed a number of his YouTube videos which we find a bit amateurish and rambling but there are clear indications on both his Internet site and his YouTube videos that his company concentrates on sex practices, intimacy, tantric (sensual) massage, orgasm, awakening and enlightenment, bliss, and ecstasy. All of the keywords we’ve been able to identify are oriented towards gay men or “men who love men.” Seems like an unusual type of business or company to receive authorization from a US embassy to operate in the United States but who are we to decide US policy, we’re only voters, citizens, and taxpayers. Right?

Whatever. We have asked Mr Tantra to provide any copies of any blog articles he have from the suspended blog. We have also requested specific information from Mr Tantra so that we can be fair and even-handed in our upcoming report.

Mr Tantra’s responses are rambling and in part contradictory so we don’t really know if he understands what we are asking for, or if he is refusing to provide the documentation. Of course, he is under no legal obligation to even talk us but we feel it is in his interest to cooperate. We can’t accept simple statements as proof of what he says; we need to have something solid, official to show he’s legit.

As most of our readers know, we know where to find information and so we have contacted state and federal agencies with our requests for information. But in the meantime if any of our readers know of Mr Jason Tantra or his company, Tantra 4 Gay Men, we’d like to hear from you.

Since we have far more than 400,000 readers worldwide, we’d like to hear from anyone, not just Americans or persons in the US, but anyone worldwide who knows of Mr Jason Tantra, his company, Tantra 4 Gay Men, or who has participated in any of his “programs.”

We’d particularly like to hear from the author of the posts that so upset Mr Tantra or the owner of the blog that was suspended at Mr Tantra’s demand. Better still, if anyone can provide copies of the blog articles concerned, that would be a real boon.

We do know that the gay retreat venue Easton Mountain, is hosting at least two Jason Tantra events this year: the Tantra4GayMen Diploma Program: Healing & Surrender Module (there are apparently 3 modules) and The Tantra Experience, and in past years has hosted Mr Tantra for a number of events and he is allegedly next presenting there June 22-28, 2019, for some kind of “diploma-certificate” program he offers. It gets pretty pricey at between $1,999-$2,199, depending on whether you want multiple occupancy rooms or camping. You can find his US offerings at US Events and Workshops.

We do emphasize that our interest in this case has nothing to do with the parties’ squabble or the particulars of their offerings, even considering we do not have the advantage of details from Mr Tantra’s alleged adversary. We are examining and investigating this case because of the First Amendment issues and the overall issues of doing business in the United States and the laws regarding taxation, filing of returns, what you can and cannot do with or without a license to do it, and generally the principles of freedom of expression.

Moreover by posting links to the various sites of interest we in no way whatsoever intend to suggest that we support or do not support those operators. The links are provided solely for the information of our readers and serve no other purpose or intent whatsoever.

We have communicated with Mr Tantra and have informed him that if we do not receive reliable documentation from him by June 5, 2019, we will proceed with our findings without his inputs. We feel that’s only fair.

We’ll get the answers one way or the other.

 

Update: We have initiated inquiries on this matter with the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and the Office of the United States Attorney, Civil Rights Office, in addition to our other inquiries.

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YMCA or YMCA? There’s a BIG difference!

YMCA originally stood for “Young Mens’ Christian Association” and still does in many areas; in Coxsackie, at the Greene County Y, it’s been redefined to contain the words “Yahoos  & Messy Angry Locals.”

Make no mistake about it, the traditional YMCA leaves the big box, franchise gyms like Planet Fitness and Best Fitness in the dust. The YMCA or the “Y” as it’s come to be known, has always been a venue for all ages and is a real community. Most Y-s have complete fitness facilities, the larger ones like the Bethlehem Y (https://cdymca.org/locations/bethlehem-ymca) have pools, steam room, sauna, hot tub, ice rink, fully equipped weights and cardio areas, and a list of programs both for fee and free. Nothing actually compares in terms of value for your money, and there are various discounts for seniors, low-income, and even for recommending new members.

Greene County Y Building

Unlike the franchise fitness scams, you will not only find that the facilities are better and offer a wider range of activities and programs, but the staff is professional at the Y, and the members are a community. Besides, if you are a member of one Y you will be able to use the facilities of most other Y’s without paying an extra fee. Pulls the plug on Planet Fitness’ premium priced “Black Card.”

Are some Y-s aiming for similar approval ratings?

Regardless of Planet Fitness’ business model, it is by all standards a ripoff, and their bottom line does not include you. Their whole business model revolves around getting your to sign a contract, then accessing your bank accounts, while hoping you’ll never show up for a workout. Their employees are ignorant and their employee retention is abysmal at best. As for management: What management?  Overall, PF is an accident looking for a place to happen; don’t let it be you.

We’d expect a family and community oriented organization like the YMCA to be much different. Like any organization, the Y has its own culture, too. And each local Y has its culture as well. Just as some are larger than others, some are better managed than others.

Here’s what one reader has to say:

Again, I have to mention the Bethlehem Y as being top-shelf in most all categories. But there are quite a few Y-s in the Capital District area, and I have not been able to visit them all, so some might even out score Bethlehem, though it’s unlikely. Bethlehem is clean, spacious, well organized, well equipped, professional, courteous, and a great place overall. So I’ll use the Bethlehem Y as the local standard to be striven for.

There’s always a contrast. You find a fantastic location and then you find a bottom-feeder. Same with the Capital District Y-s.

The local-yokel facility I’m reviewing today is the Green County YMCA in the backwater, hill-town Coxsackie, in Greene County. You know it’s backwater when there’s only one Y for the entire county!

But first I do want to mention that the front desk staff are lovely people. Always a warm greeting and a smile. My darts go to the Coxsackie Y management and the so-called “directors.”

The membership will generally reflect the region and that’s also true for the Coxsackie Y. Most of the members are geezers who take up a lot of space sharing stories and talking about their aches, pains, and hernias. They’re generally fun and great to talk to but then they also tend to be speed bumps for the rest of us. God love them, though! They’re the salt of the Earth.

In fact, most of the members, young and not so young, are generally sociable and some are downright exceptional. They make up the bulk of the membership and are courteous, friendly, considerate, and mind their manners. It’s those members that take the edge off the failings I’m talking about below.

Then there are some members who are inconsiderate and seem to have no respect or courtesy for the facility or for other members. They’re usually the 30-40 age group with an anger problem. They throw or drop weights or just manage to be unpleasantly loud when working out. Some, doing dead lifts, cause a deafening clang with each rep that disturbs members on the cardio equipment and generally throughout the Gym. There are contractual rules for using the facility and unwritten rules of sociability but these yahoos think the sun rises and sets on them and makes the atmosphere toxic.

I have complained to management on at least three different occasions about the deafening clangs from the deadlifters in that tiny space, but was told that they have to get mats. (That was a year ago. Nothing’s been done yet.) On one occasion, the director, a woman, told me that the noise was OK because they “were doing the exercise right.” By the way, the “mats” to absorb the shock of the falling weights have been coming for almost a year now. She seems really concerned about the problem. NOT!

Dropping these weights causes a loud CLANG that can damage hearing! Besides, they’re lifting too much weight in the first place!

When you wear the title and get the salary of a “director” or “manager,” you direct or manage. At the Coxsackie Y, the majority female staff does neither. At any given time they’re parked at their desks in their offices staring into their computers, oblivious to what is going on the workout floor. This applies both to the so-called director of the Coxsackie Y, a woman, and to the so-called “wellness director,” a woman. These two “directors” seem to be better at laughing loudly, chatting with each other, flirting with the geezers, than managing a health and fitness facility.

My personal opinion is their eyes shouldn’t be glued to their computer screens but should be on the workout floor and what’s going on out there. Trainers, if any, should be out there keeping things in line, too. Both are invisible most of the time.

There is a video on YouTube showing the Coxsackie Y but you’d be a real fool to believe that it’s so roomy and clean. It’s not. In fact, on any day you can walk into the men’s locker room and wonder (1) was it ever cleaned that week, or (2) have they let the pigs out today? The men’s locker room is badly ventilated so that when some of the members have their toxic dump, you can’t be in the locker room (the crapper is right there in the smallish locker room).

Members also seem to have a problem with closing locker doors. Typical of the area, they must all live in barns or sheds.

The weights area is a mess. Members leave weights on the machines or just don’t put things back after they use them. As I mentioned above, it’s also dangerous because the place is so congested, some members drop or throw weights, and the staff does nothing to correct the poor gym etiquette, even when one complains to them.

The bad manners of some of the members, the overall congestion and clutter in the facility, and the indifference and lack of interest of the director and other upper-level staff make the place an accident risk at any given time. You have to wonder who is insuring them.

There are “trainers” and I have seen only one female trainer picking up after the slobs or wiping down mats, which frequently are dirty or gritty. Again, you can’t make shit shine. When members are pigs and walk all over everything, and don’t give a damn about others, you get a Greene County Y situation.

The other day I observed clumps of dried mud in the area of the cardio machines; apparently some member decided to wear his work boots on the workout floor rather than change into sneakers. That, again, is an example of poor facility management. In fact, I had to tell management that one yahoo was going to have an accident because he was working out without any shoes on. Why would anyone have to tell the attendants or the managers about something that was in plain view…that is, if they could take their eyes off their computer screens or each other for a minute.

On their website (https://cdymca.org/locations/greene-county-ymca/) the Greene Y website lists a number of “personal trainers” but I’ve only ever seen two of them and I’ve been there at different times. Most of the time there isn’t one there. Besides, of the two I’ve seen, the male (Wayne, according to the website) didn’t make much of an impression but the woman (Sue, according to the website) is very interested in what’s going on and is the only one I’ve ever seen, including the so-called wellness director, picking up after members, wiping mats down, and generally taking an interests in the place.

In general, the comparison of these two local YMCA facilities is like a comparison of night and day. That doesn’t mean that a smaller facility can’t be well managed and kept clean and safe. What it does mean is that either management is either incompetent or indifferent at the Greene County Y. When you’re a manager you can’t be everyone’s buddy; you have to manage. That’s the manager’s duty and responsibility both to his or her organization and to the members he/she is there to serve.

[Name withheld at reader’s request]

We agree with many of the reader’s comments in general, since we are also members of the Y (the Bethlehem Y) but frequently use the Greene County Y when in that area. The culture is definitely different and management is characteristic of the area, that is, provincial and unsophisticated, which likely results in the deficiencies noted by the reader.

It’s a no-brainer that the free-weights area is a dangerous place even when members have some discipline. But when members are not disciplined, have no respect for others, and are not monitored or corrected by the paid staff, that’s a double danger. As for the noise in the workout area, the Hearing Health Foundation has made a statement about gym noise and hearing loss. There’s plenty on the Internet on the subject of gym noise and hearing loss; just google the terms “gym noise hearing loss.”

We work out at the Greene County Y from time to time and can vouch for what our reader has to say. We’d go further to mention that most gyms and fitness facilities provide background music. The Greene County Y does too but it’s poor quality and incredibly repetitive. But that’s no excuse for the smartphones on the gym floor. Too many members are tuning or talking while trying to walk at the same time. Many upscale gyms won’t allow the devices in the workout area because they know they cause accidents because the users are too stupid to stop and do what they have to do, and then continue walking. Most of them can’t chew gum and walk at the same time. it’s dangerous. And you have  more than your share of these dumbasses roaming around the congested area of the Greene County Y. Management apparently is blind to the problem.

At any given time you know that most of the neanderthals are lifting much more than they should be lifting. That’s why they have to drop the weights or throw them, or make so much noise with them. The weights are just too heavy for them. So drop some of it you fat jerks!

Far be it for the absent trainers or the dimwitted management to ensure the safety of the Neanderthals and the other members by giving some lifting advice. Gee, that would mean doing their jobs. Perish the thought.

There are numerous, perhaps thousands of articles and studies on the problems of cell phones in the workout area. The New York Times has also chimed in on the subject with a very interesting article on the subject (New York Times Article). You don’t have to believe us when we tell you that the moron with the phone in the gym needs to be told to leave it in the locker, or leave. Just google the subject.

Stupid twit! We’re not interested in your gash gossip!

We blame the directors of the Greene County Y and the Capital District YMCA, is the parent organization responsible for oversight of the Greene County Y. It’s their job to ensure that management works, that the facilities are clean and safe, and that the rules are posted and enforced.

Addendum: Healthcare and compensation scammers find a home at the Y. On yet another note we have to note that we wonder what the scam is with all of these guys on leave because of “injuries” and waiting for the compensation board or the state insurance corporation to decide on their “disability.” One at the Greene County Y was recently chatting with another goon, apparently from the NYS Department of Corrections or some law enforcement agency, about how his neurologist was taking his time with the determination and the other was still on paid leave and couldn’t go back to work. What in hell are they doing in the gym lifting weights if they’re so incapacitated. And I don’t mean low weights as in rehab, I mean WEIGHTS. They have a scam going and it’s not right or fair to the rest of us, especially if we’re footing the bill for their fake conditions. There are more examples and everyone there knows about them. They banter about it right out in the open!!! So let’s fix it, why don’t we? Where are the NYS authorities when all of this fraud is going on?