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Category Archives: Ethics and Morality

Roman Catholic Church: Collection Envelopes Determine Good Standing!

We were recently contacted by a reader asking us for an opinion about the question of whether the Requirement of Registration in a Parish and an Affidavit of Good Standing is appropriate for fulfillment of the role of confirmation sponsor. That’s a compound question consisting of two separate questions:

  1. Is a requirement for parish registration appropriate?
  2. Is an Affidavit of Catholic in Good Standing in the parish in which one is registered appropriate?

The second question necessarily follows on the first question.

The Roman Catholic Parish of St Patrick in Ravena, NY, a parish in the territory of the Diocese of Albany, NY (Edward B. Scharfenberger, bishop) has scheduled their Confirmations for April, 2018, and just recently sponsor designates were informed that they were to provide certain certifications as to their “fitness” to fulfill the role of Confirmation sponsor. We have obtained statements from sponsor designates and a copy of the form to be signed by the sponsor designates. In general, the “contract” is rather primitive and a bit late, since it appears it should have been provided to the sponsor designate right at the start of the formation period and not 2 months before the Confirmation! In addition, it contains a number of silly requirements, one of which caught our eye:

“The sponsor agrees to provide:

+ The Church of St Patrick the name and address of the Parish and Pastor where they currently worship;

+ Further provide the Church of St Patrick with an Affidavit signed by their current pastor certifying they meet these requirements:

– At least 16 years old,

– Fully initiated into the Roman Catholic Faith through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.”

The grammar leaves a great deal to be desired and it’s unclear whether the certifying pastor has to be “at least 16 years old” and “fully initiated” or the sponsor. Another problem is that it is the “Church of St Patrick” while we have always thought of the Church as being the Church Jesus Christ, and the church as used in the Church of St Patrick would clearly indicate the building and not the community, the mystical body; properly stated, it should be the “Parish” of St Patrick for obvious reasons. But the document has other flaws.

It raises the question of What business does a pastor have certifying a sponsor’s age? That’s done by way of a secular birth certificate!

In addition, the current pastor must sign an affidavit confirming the sponsor’s age AND that the sponsor has received the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation, all of which are clearly proved by the respective certificates issued by the conferring parish, not necessarily by the sponsor’s territorial pastor. So we had a closer look at what’s going on here because something stinks in Ravena, and the smoke of satan is probably coming from the Albany Diocesan Offices.

Those observations are merely a further confirmation of the turmoil and confusion that reigns supreme in the Roman Catholic Church today, and are clearly visible in the parishes.[1]

First, let’s look at what the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law, the collection of rules and regulations governing what and how things are done in the Roman Catholic Church, has to say about what a “parish” is — this is an important first step because most “practicing” Catholics don’t have a clue what a parish is.

The Code of Canon Law (sections abbreviated “C.”) defines “parish” in the following terms:

515 §1. A parish is a certain community of the Christian faithful stably constituted in a particular church, whose pastoral care is entrusted to a pastor (parochus) as its proper pastor (pastor) under the authority of the diocesan bishop. [our emphasis]

And c. 518 expressly defines the parish as “territorial,” meaning,

Can. 518 As a general rule a parish is to be territorial, that is, one which includes all the Christian faithful of a certain territory. When it is expedient, however, personal parishes are to be established determined by reason of the rite, language, or nationality of the Christian faithful of some territory, or even for some other reason. [our emphasis]

Therefore, a parish is territorial. As such it embraces all the Catholics of a given region on a map. When a bishop formally erects a parish, he establishes its specific boundaries, and all Catholics residing within those limits are ipso facto (and de jure) members of that parish, whether or not they know it. Canon law does not require anyone living within the parish boundaries to take the additional step of registering at the parish. The very fact that a Catholic lives in the territory of a particular parish is enough to make him or her member of that parish. Canon law does not require formal registration in that parish to be a member of that particular parish. Question 1 is thus moot. A dead issue. No registration is required.

The fact that parishes are by definition territorial does not mean that it is illegal under Canon Law or wrong to require people to register; it may be useful to ask them to register in their parishes for administrative reasons, such as for example, census purposes or for surveys, or for demographic purposes.

In the American Catholic Church the parish registration system has been superimposed on top of Canon Law, but parish registration is not a part or provision of Canon Law. In fact, the parish registration system must never be used in such a way as to contradict Canon Law; if there is a conflict, Canon Law must take precedence. This includes the situation where a local bishop, called the local ordinary, or his staff makes up some “local” law or rule for the diocese; that local rule cannot replace Canon Law or contradict it. Period.

But the question posed is Confirmation Sponsors. On the question of parish registration as regards confirmation sponsors, The purpose of c. 892 and its requirements are merely to make clear that the sponsor of the confirmed person is to ensure that the confirmed behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament. That should be no problem in theory, but let’s move on.

In the Roman Catholic Church the requirements to be a Confirmation sponsor are the same as those for a Baptismal godparent. As regards the requirements for a person to fulfill the function of confirmation sponsor c. 893 refers back to c. 874 which lays down functions for fulfilling the function of a baptismal godparent, that is, the requirements for fulfilling the role of confirmation sponsor are the same as for a baptismal godparent. According to Roman Catholic Canon law, the requirements for both a Baptismal godparent and a Confirmation sponsor are:

Can.  874 §1. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must:

1/ be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;

2/ have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause;

3/ be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;

4/ not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;

5/ not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.

In other words, the person chosen by the candidate for confirmation or the candidate’s parents, or both, must be someone who takes his or her Catholic faith seriously enough that s/he may serve as a mentor for the person to be confirmed. In essence, the first requirement then, is the trust and confidence of the candidate and his/her parents that operate in determining the fitness of a person to be sponsor. To abrogate that authority or to demean the capability of the candidate or his/her parents to determine suitability in practical terms would be an affront.

The way records are kept.

Canon Law makes no statement, provision or requirement that the proposed sponsor be formally registered in a parish, nor does relevant Canon Law set forth any criteria or system for determining fitness in terms other than that the sponsor designate be a witness of Christ and a capable mentor. Nor does Canon Law lay down a protocol on how that s/he be examined for his/her fitness to be a confirmation sponsor, but merely states to the effect that the person takes his/her Catholic faith seriously and can be a mentor for the candidate.

Scott VanDerveer, pastor of St Patrick, Ravena.

Steven Matthews, pastor, St John Baptist, Greenville.

Since the Code of Canon Law nowhere mentions parish registration, and certainly does not state or even imply anywhere that a sponsor in sacramental Confirmation must be registered at a particular parish, such requirement is being made an obstacle is canonically illicit and unlawful. In other words, the territorial parish of St Patrick Roman Catholic Church, Ravena, NY (Scott VanDerveer, pastor) is wrong to require an Affidavit of Parish Registration and the Parish of St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, Greenville, NY  (Steven Matthews, pastor) in Greenville is wrong to deny the sponsor designate a letter testifying to the fact that the sponsor designate is a member of the territorial parish of St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church. If the sponsor designate lives in the territory of St John the Baptist parish, that person, if Catholic is a member of that parish.

While the Code of Canon Law expressly indicates that a Confirmation sponsor must be a committed Catholic, it does not provide a hint of guidance how this is to supposed to be determined, much less proved. This raises the question whether the territorial parish of St John the Baptist RC in Greenville or the territorial parish of St Patrick RC in Ravena have in place a consistent and reliable system to decide who is a suitable sponsor, and how to document that assessment. For the criteria used to test the quality of Catholics, we have to turn to the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, and to the so-called Precepts. But those so-called Precepts do not possess the quality of law and are extremely difficult if not impossible to verify (the link below).

The Precepts are a classic example of unenforceable control but the gremlin gatekeepers, the so called “Faith Education” directors use them like swords, but without Church authority or common sense to understand them.

We have to ask: Do the concerned pastors know each of their flock by name and do they have intimate knowledge of what their parishioners’ lifestyle and characters are? Or can we better presume that the candidate and his or her parents are better able to make that assessment? Does the fact that someone appears every Sunday at liturgy make him or her good Catholic, and thus a better sponsor than one who does not? Or is the measure one of the magnanimity of financial contributions to the parish, or the fact that both time and treasure are determinants? Can the pastor even recognize the person by sight? Would those be applicable objective criteria to satisfy the requirement that the person takes his/her Catholic faith seriously and can be a mentor for the confirmation candidate?

Again, an example from the Cathedral Church of St Patrick (Charlotte, NC). Explicit statement that collection envelopes are used to document attendance.

Figuratively speaking, this problem can be restated in hypothetical terms as, “Is the use of collection envelopes the final arbiter of whether a person is a Catholic “in good standing” and competent to serve as a confirmation sponsor?” But that’s not even a hypothetical situation! Many parishes are using collection envelopes to decide whether or not a “practicing Catholic” is a “Catholic in good standing!”

The criterion for Catholic “in good standing”?

Here’s a depraved, reprehensible and embarrassing excerpt from the BAPTISM AND/OR CONFIRMATION SPONSOR GUIDELINES of the Cathedral Church of Saint Patrick (Charlotte, NC), which is by no means uncommon and is representative of many American parishes, in that St Patrick’s makes a number of illicit and illegal requirements:[2]

The sponsor is required to certify this information (St Patrick parish, Charlotte, NC).

and the sponsor’s parish pastor must certify

Do these administrators and pastors know their Canon Law or are they arbitrarily applying a personal interpretation of the phrase, “in good standing?” This has been known to happen all too frequently and with tragic results.

Furthermore, while we know that well-meaning Catholics may work long hours in parish offices and programs for low or no pay, and their “dedication” is commendable, they do play a critical role in the life of a typical parish but – and that’s a really big “but” because they do not hold ecclesial office pursuant to c. 145, they are not accorded by law any spiritual authority over other members of the parish.[3]

The bottom line is that the pastor is the person ultimately responsible for the spiritual well-being of his parishioners, and as Canon Law states, parishes are territorial and all Catholics in that territory are “parishioners” under the terms of Canon Law. Therefore, the pastor is responsible for the canonical, pastoral, spiritual well-being of his parishioners. If he is unaware of a problem or a situation that can transfigure into a problem, it is important that he be informed about it, and that he deal with it appropriately. By respectfully calling the pastor’s attention to such an issue, the whole parish, diocese and certainly the whole Church ultimately benefits.[4]

Figuratively speaking, this problem can be restated in hypothetical terms as, “Is the use of collection envelopes the final arbiter of whether a person is a Catholic “in good standing” and competent to serve as a confirmation sponsor?”

The answer is administratively maybe, canonically NO!

Unless the lay administrators of the Parish of St Patrick have an established system approved by competent authority for determining membership in the territorial parishes of St Patrick or of St John the Baptist, the requirement of certifying membership in any parish is served canonically by the mere provision of proof of domicile, said domicile being situated in the territory of a given parish ipso facto and de jure establishes the person as a member of that territorial parish. Canon law takes precedence over local law in the event of ambiguity, vagueness, over-broadness or arbitrariness of the local provision.

RC Diocese of Albany chief rulemaker, Scharfenberger.

In terms of the fact of “in good standing,” unless specifically stated in clear and unambiguous terms How? in practical and objective terms a pastor is to determine “good standing,” and which criteria are to be applied for such determination, as well as the specificity and reliability of such criteria when applied to an ever-changing and practically protean population of a territorial parish, made even more difficult by the mobility of today’s populations, the arbiter in the first instance must be those who are intimately familiar with the character of the sponsor designate; in the second instance, testimony or reference or direct observation my be called upon to further confirm fitness. Otherwise, any claim to system or protocol that may be proffered by pastor or lay administrator is subject to scrutiny, and likely to be found insufficient, if not illicit or even canonically unlawful.

It is our determination that the territorial parish does not have the canonical authority to require registration of persons as members of a parish, that in virtue of their residing within the territory of a given parish makes them de jure members of that parish and entitled to a letter confirming that fact, providing that they can give a showing of having been validly and licitly baptized into the Church.

As established at c. 874 §1 (CCL) the requirements for acting as a confirmation sponsor are also set forth by canon law, that is, the sponsor designate must be baptized, have received the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, and have been confirmed pursuant the terms and conditions of Canon Law. Furthermore, the sponsor designate shall be 16 years old or older, shall not be not be bound by any canonical penalty, and shall not be the father or the mother of the person to be confirmed. The law also requires that the person shall lead a life of faith but does not provide specifics.

How do you score? Do you know how to score? Are you a “Catholic in Good Standing?

Catholic “in good standing.” There then arises the question of what is meant by a Catholic “in good standing.” It is generally purported that a so-called Catholic in good standing is a baptized Catholic who claims to live by the Precepts of the Roman Catholic Church as promulgated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which derive presumably from the statements expressed or implied in §§ 2041-2043 of the said Catechism. The observation, however, obtains that monitoring those “precepts” for each parishioner is at best daunting if not entirely impossible.[5] Furthermore, even if the precepts were verifiable in any credible way, keeping those precepts would be a question of Pharisee vs tax collector (Lk 18:9-14), demonstrating more technique than disposition (inner forum).

Either the pastor or his administrators would have to take a Sunday mass, reconciliation, Eucharist attendance, and would have to have some method of verifying their ascetic (fasting and abstinence) practices as well. Some parishes have inaugurated a control of collection envelopes to keep tabs on their flocks but not everyone chooses to use collection envelopes and many simply drop cash into the collection baskets. Most persons today would object to such monitoring and auditing practices.

External observation and compliance do not testify to inner holiness by any means and one would benefit by keeping in mind the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, while admitting that the majority in the pews are Pharisees or at best ignorant of anything approximating the so-called “precepts.” Moreover, it is flies in the face of reason to even suggest that the majority of Catholics today qualify even in one or two of the precepts; accordingly, the majority, though living moral and ethical lives, would be rejected by the Church as not being “in good standing.” So, the reasonable conclusion is that the term “in good standing” is not verifiable in reliable objective terms, and that such verification would necessarily have to resort to a creation of an exclusivist, verifiable class of individuals within any parish, perpetuating an already excessively technical and legalistic hierarchical and paternalistic institution that has had its well-earned share of criticism and condemnation, and has tragically resulted in the hemorrhaging of the faithful from an ailing Church. The term “in good standing” is a farce and should be abandoned post haste.

 

The Precepts used to determine a Catholic in good standing are taken from the RC Catechism. The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church is “a text which contains the fundamental Christian truths formulated in a way that facilitates their understanding” and is “a ‘point of reference’ for bishops, priests, catechists, teachers, preachers, scholars, students and authors.”   The RC Catechism contains doctrine (teachings of the Church) doctrine and some dogma (universal truths of the Church) but in itself is not dogma![6]

Furthermore, the USCCB notes that:

“By its very nature, a catechism presents the fundamental truths of the faith which have already been communicated and defined. Because the Catechism presents Catholic doctrine in a complete yet summary way, it naturally contains the infallible doctrinal definitions of the popes and ecumenical councils in the history of the Church. It also presents teaching which has not been communicated and defined in these most solemn forms.” (17)

The Catechism is a resource book and may be difficult for the “people in the pews,” to understand. According to the bishops’ statement:

“It would be helpful if the reader had some theological background, but the Catechism itself presents a considerable amount of theological background material.”[7]

Most lay ministers and parish administrators do not have theological or pastoral training; it is also true that putting important decisions in the hands of amateurs is a very slippery slope. Add to that the power dynamics and the political and social forces that are prominent in parishes and we have a very hazardous situation indeed.

Any guidelines or protocols existing in a particular parish must, of course, comply with Canon Law, as must any local law, and must be applicable uniformly and impartially to any given situation, including that of confirmation sponsor. The local ordinary and then his presbyter pastor are the ultimate authorities for determining such guidelines and protocols which clearly do not fall within the purview of persons not having canonical authority to promulgate or to interpret such guidelines or protocols.

If a question or problem should arise with regard to the provisions of canon law or to local laws, guidelines, or rules licitly, lawfully, and validly promulgated and ratified, such question or problem should be consigned to the parish pastor in the first instance for resolution. Pursuant to c. 145 and c. 519, lay persons or lay administrators do not have canonical authority in such spiritual matters.

The pastoral, spiritual, administrative procedures in the individual locales use to interview, screen, assess, guide, instruct, mentor, or otherwise prepare sponsor designates for their role as sponsor is beyond the question posed, and are thus beyond the scope of this opinion. That statement notwithstanding, the fact that they are beyond the scope of this opinion does not in any way detract from their importance nor from the responsibility of the parochial ecclesial officers to ensure that such procedures are in place and are implemented objectively and impartially, and that the associated lay ministers and administrators are adequately discerned, formed and mentored to ensure the well-being of confirmation candidates and their sponsor designates.

And the result is bad disciples!

Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger demonstrating the virtue of poverty. A bit too theatrical and ostentatious to be convincing, or to our taste. Whom does he think he’s fooling, anyway?


Notes

[1] The parish of St Patrick in Ravena has a number of problems not the least of which is their website which is an indicator of the lack of professionalism and care that one would expect. For example, there is a page entitled “We have come such a long way in a relatively short period of time!  Take a look at our History! / St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Parish began as a mission church in 1859 where the Church overlooked the Hudson River in Coeymans.  In 1917 it was rebuilt at it’s [sic] current site on Main St in Ravena / So who were our Pastors?” That page shows a series of images of a man’s headshot; apparently all the pastors were look alike clones. The Hudson River is not all that the parish of St Patrick in Ravena overlooked. Maybe pastor Scott VanDerveer should spend some time checking his minions’ work and grammar. It’s an embarrassment.

[2] Isn’t it an interesting coincidence that the local parish of St Patrick in Ravena, NY, should share the same deficiencies as the parish of the same name, St Patrick, in Charlotte, NC? What does that tell you?

[3] Can. 145 §1. An ecclesiastical office is any function constituted in a stable manner by divine or ecclesiastical ordinance to be exercised for a spiritual purpose. Further, at  §2., the Code states “The obligations and rights proper to individual ecclesiastical offices are defined either in the law by which the office is constituted or in the decree of the competent authority by which the office is at the same time constituted and conferred.”

[4] C. 519 The pastor (parochus) is the proper pastor (pastor) of the parish entrusted to him, exercising the pastoral care of the community committed to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose ministry of Christ he has been called to share, so that for that same community he carries out the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing, also with the cooperation of other presbyters or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of the Christian faithful, according to the norm of law. [emphasis provided]

[5] Appendix I, Catholic Catechism, Precepts

[6] United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), “Frequently Asked Questions about the Catechism of the Catholic Church” (http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/frequently-asked-questions-about-the-catechism-of-the-catholic-church.cfm last accessed on February

[7] Having made that statement, I would like to ask the bishops Who is to decide or determine what is what in the Catechism? Without formation and training it is a hopeless task for the lay person to discern what is doctrine, what is dogma, what is theology, etc. The whole statement is a collection of ecclesial double-talk!

 

Who are the Thought Police in Your Community? Do you know?

“As members of a community, even as citizens of a nation, we are frequently exposed to and have to cope with what is known as groupthink, a phenomenon that may seriously compromise our image of ourselves, our relationships with family, friends, neighbors, community leaders, and may also compromise our moral rights of personal dignity and autonomy. And yet, groupthink is precisely what underlies much of our “training” in how to be good citizens and in the so-called education programs and our social organizations, and is pandemic in most of the institutions in which we work. Groupthink,  shamefully, has been a part of our religious institutions since time immemorial. Agendizing, brainwashing, programming.”

Anonymous Contributor.

We, as citizens, as members of our community, parents and educators, as human beings we are told that we have an inherent and guaranteed right to speak freely and openly about most subjects without the stigma that might apply to a person living and working in a different country. We would like to think that people, especially our elected leaders and our educators, tend to listen to us and give some weight and importance to what we have to say; consequently, we can and should play an important and proactive role in deciding how we live, work and are governed, and in order to do this, we must make our leaders aware that we are aware of the groupthink phenomenon, its dangers and risks, and implement ways of avoiding this insidious, infectious, and fatal phenomenon in our communities and in our lives. Once people are made aware of the groupthink phenomenon and ways to identify it and prevent it, we are on the path to reclaiming the efficacy and authenticity we once enjoyed but lost in the wake of the development of corporate control of our institutions and the chilling of interpersonal relations by online social media.

Groupthink.[1] It’s everywhere and it’s toxic! It’s dehumanizing. It perpetuates lies and factoids. Yet you love it! It makes things so much easier when you don’t have to use your own brain and you allow yourself to be programmed to think, speak, act, perform according to the in-group’s agenda.

Irving Janus mainstreamed the term in 1982. [2] According to Janis, groupthink

“[h]appens when in-group pressures lead to deterioration in mental efficiency, poor testing of reality, and lax moral judgment. It tends to occur in highly cohesive groups in which the group members’ desire for consensus becomes more important than evaluating problems and solutions realistically. An example would be the top executive cabinet (the president and vice presidents) of a firm, who have worked together for many years. They know each other well and think as a cohesive unit rather than as a collection of individuals.” [my italics]

We can find groupthink in our workplaces, churches, schools, social media, government, and Yes! even in our homes.

Janis identified eight symptoms of groupthink, which are noteworthy and which I will briefly describe below.[3] Persons affected by groupthink may exhibit any of these symptoms:

  1. An experience of the illusion of invulnerability. This illusion produces an unreal sense of optimism and the sense of empowerment to take risks, sometimes extreme, which the individual would not otherwise take.
  2. Acceptance of a collective rationalization. The individual ignores the red flags and warnings and refuse to reassess their biases, prejudices and assumptions regarding reality.
  3. Belief in the inherent morality of the group. The individual and members of the group are convinced of the righteousness of their beliefs and become indifferent to the ethical or moral effects and consequences of the group’s decisions and actions.
  4. Establishment and adoption of stereotypes of out-groups. Stereotypes are a facile way of dealing with the “others” and do not require thinking or decision-making. De rigueur negative presumptions and characterizations of the “enemy” render rational and effective responses to conflict unnecessary. Cookie-cutter responses are the result.
  5. The imposition of direct pressure on dissenters. Any deviation from the presumptions and dictates of the group results in sanctions. Individuals, group members are discouraged from expressing alternative views, or representing positions conflicting any of the group’s views.
  6. Requirement of self-censorship. The individual and members of the group are required to ensure that any questions, doubts and deviations from the group’s “consensus,” program, or agenda are not expressed. The individual must “watch his/her mouth” or be sanctioned.
  7. The illusion of unanimity. The views and judgments, decisions and actions of the “group” or of the group’s statutory and declared leader(s) and majority are assumed to be unanimous, justified and reliable.
  8. The presence of self-appointed ‘mindguards’. Certain members isolate and “protect” the group and its leader(s) from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions. These are the “thought police” who ensure that any information that can potentially threaten the group or its leaders is filtered out and neutralized.

In other words, the phenomenon of groupthink seems to have grown out of and fits perfectly into the framework of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, “Nineteen-Eighty-Four,” with its implications of superpower invulnerability, collective processing of carefully cooked data and information, a sense of moral superiority of the group’s decisions and actions, the facile handling of non-members by the application of stereotypes, direct suppression and sanctioning of any opposing thought or expression — the individual “watches his mouth” to avoid attracting attention to himself and possible sanctioning —, all communications and indicators seem to indicate that “everyone is on the same page” and “stands united.”  Finally, the self-appointed “mindguards,” the Orwellian “thought police,” ensure that everyone toes the mark, knows his place, and follows the “party line.” Sounds awfully much like PC, political correctness, doesn’t it?

The Thought Police or Mindguards ensure that you don’t think out of the box.

As I mentioned above, groupthink is easily observed in our schools, churches, public servants, social groups, the workplace, etc.

Here’s an example that comes from my college days when I worked as an encyclopedia salesperson. We were trained to ask potential purchasers questions that they could not disagree with, such as, for example: “You do care about your children’s education, don’t you?” or “You want your children to have the best available information for school, don’t you?” Once they answered in the affirmative, they were cooked. It was sort of like asking a veteran the question, “You do love your country, don’t you?” Or a clergyperson asking a dissenter, “You do believe in God, don’t you?” Ask those sorts of questions and you get a commitment to groupthink; the rest follows once the individual is on the slippery slope to group membership, willingly or not.

It’s certainly easy enough to self-test yourself by asking yourself if any of the above symptoms could possibly apply to you…but be aware of the sneaky symptom of “self-censorship” because you might actually be unaware that you are self-censoring; you may actually believe that what you say you believe is in fact what you believe. (Please go back and reread that last part. It’s important and you really didn’t understand it, did you?!)

Everyone connected to the same “brain”, the core-group’s!

Here’s a real example: I was at my fitness center and struck up a conversation with a guy who was working on a neighboring piece of equipment. The conversation started out on muscle groups and doping, use of anabolic steroids, doping scandals, and how natural fitness was desirable over and against taking performance enhancers. The conversation drifted to the inquiry, “What do you do?” The guy was intelligent, apparently well-read in the subject of performance enhancers in athletes, and was no dummy. He responded by telling me he was a “personal income tax auditor” for the state of New York. What followed was a textbook example of groupthink. He commenced by telling me how interesting his job was because he was making sure everyone stayed honest. Everyone should pay taxes. Not everyone was honest, some people were honest but ignorant. The tax department and auditors were there to protect the public. He was happy doing what he was doing, and he liked his work. He was protecting honest citizens from the crooks and the parasites. New York state took care of its people unlike those states with no personal income tax, states that provided sanctuary to people who want to keep their fortunes but not share by paying personal income taxes. Basically, you can’t argue with this guy because what he is saying is superficially true, ethical and moral. But, and there’s the clincher, his thinking from one subject to the other was schizoid! He was very individualized, independent, even liberal when discussing the social and personal impact of performance enhancers on non-professional vs. professional athletes, and the use of performance enhancers in the guy-next-door who works out to stay healthy or attractive. His lock-step “tax department” jargon and speech, almost soapbox preaching, was groupspeak, the product of groupthink. Can you identify the symptoms?

Here are two more examples I found on a professional networking site, LinkedIn, which is slowly morphing into a Facebook-type social media space. Whereas LinkedIn was originally intended to be a forum facilitating networking among professionals, the parasites slowly infiltrated and started their social justice preaching and religious proselytizing.

One characteristic of social justice and religion is that both are fertile ground for a bumper crop of groupthinkers. Example 1: Social Justice. This example is remarkable because it is so homogeneous in the majority responses and because of the sheer number of responses: 5,013 Likes, 321 comments! Synopsis: A young woman with Down’s syndrome appears in what is obviously a staged video, in which she receives a call from a fast-food chain, Chik-Fil-A, in which she is offered a job paying $11.50/h. It is her first real job and she is elated at the offer and accepts.

The groupthink: Actual comments: “Awesome!” “Wonderful!””Isn’t Chik-Fil-A a great company!””The story brought tears to my eyes!” “It made my day! We need more stories like this!” But many of the comments were condescending: They mentioned “learning disability” and how remarkable it was that this young woman had “won,” how employment “is a right,” and other misguided slogans associated with what we know as PC but was described by Janis as groupthink. The censorship/sanction/thought police action: A commenter posted some reasonable, dissenting, conflicting thoughts about the reality of the situation in terms of stereotyping highly functional Down’s syndrome  persons as having “learning disabilities,” a bucket term that stereotyped them unfairly. That she was hired on her merits and if she didn’t have what Chick-Fil-A needed and wanted, she would not have gotten the call. That Down’s syndrome persons are highly desirable in service jobs with customer contact because of their personality characteristics, as was pioneered by McDonald’s some time ago, and that these corporations are exploiting vulnerable persons with Down’s syndrome because they are perfect for these low-paying jobs, and it creates a very positive social image for the corporation, so-called “organizational health.” (See the McKinsey report below.)

Needless to say, the “mindguards” were quick to respond, and butchered the commentor for being “a Grinch,” for not “caring” and for his “dripping sarcasm.” Not a single comment out of more than 300 comments and replies accepted the truth of what the commenter wrote; almost all condemned him for not sharing the majority’s groupthink. (Click here to read the actual comments made by the commenter and some of the replies.)[4]

The value of hiring persons with Down syndrome is not lost on the corporations![5]

The economic benefits of hiring persons with intellectual challenges is not lost on the corporations, as is demonstrated by the McKinsey report[6], but we’re not supposed to talk about the dark side of Julia’s hiring because the group think won’t allow anyone to pop their bubble of denial or distract them from their happy, be nice, love fest by suggesting reality. That’s groupthink.

Here’s another from the same site, LinkedIn. This time it was a religious fanatic known popularly as a “Jesus-freak,” someone who posts an inflammatory statement about how Jesus is the truth and everything else is a lie. First of all, such posts are more Facebook quality and have nothing to do with professional networking, so it shouldn’t have been on LinkedIn in the first place. So the original post by one David Wood, who describes himself as the “Executive Producer Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Resurrection of Jesus Christ LLC, School Of Hard Knocks,” and his project as:

“The Resurrection Project unites the Body of Christ, to launch a global love movement, a feature length movie, and a video game, and tell the story of Jesus’ Christ resurrection and the 40 days that followed. “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ” is the greatest love story ever told.” www.theresurrectionofjesuschrist.com [Author’s note: My italics; I have not undertaken any editing of Mr. Wood’s English.]

His post was simply:

That was it. My first reaction was that Islam never claimed that Muhammad was God. Nor does Buddhism teach that Buddha was a god. The name applied to God in Arabic, and hence in Islam is Allah, which is merely an equivalent of the English, God, so that point is really moot. And the fact that Wood claims that his Jesus is the “only one God” reveals a bit of tunnel vision, even religious and theological ignorance. This is groupthink at one of its worst moments!

My point is this: Approach that post as I did, with the above reasoning, and you will obtain a clear lesson in groupthink.  The post received 51 Likes and 15 Comments but was seen be hundreds, perhaps thousands who didn’t want to “offend” by responding. (Or perhaps because religion is not as popular as Down’s syndrome? Or because the message was so bizarre? Who can say for sure?)

Those three examples should suffice to convince even the hardcore groupthinkers of their affliction.

The kinds of groups that are particularly at risk for the groupthink phenomenon are, of course, groups that we could characterize as cliques, whether consisting of 3 or 3000 persons. Cliques don’t need to be small and a whole company or department may become a clique. The group or clique should be cohesive for groupthink to develop; cohesive factors may include ethnicity, similar interest, and physical appearance. Members of a clique often isolate themselves as a group and tend to view the clique as superior to anyone outside the clique.

Cliques can form in any age group but they are most associated with groups whose members have gotten stuck in an adolescent or late childhood developmental stage, the stage when individuals normally form and become members of such groups. Accordingly, groupthink is characteristic of individuals who may have gotten stuck in a pre-adult developmental stage.

Facebook is a well known huge groupthink-collective in which groupthink can be diagnosed at various levels in the interactions from the very top, where the Facebook Standards and the thought police are active censoring deviant thinkers, that is, anyone who may not agree with Facebook or its policies, to the smaller yet equally repulsive “groups,” which may be “open,” “closed” or “secret”. The problem and real danger associated with Facebook and other social media that functions by exploiting the groupthink phenomenon is the sheer numbers of people who can be and actually are affected by the clique(s).

The proven disorder of Facebook Addiction or Internet Addiction Disorder make the problem even worse because once subscribers are addicted, they are captivated by the groupthink phenomenon and cannot escape.(See our article on Facebook Addiction Disorder on this blog.)

It’s the beginning of the end of open communication, autonomy, and due process.

Another problem is what I would call the “Room 101” factor[7]:  the fact that in terms of groupthink, when Facebook decides to deactivate an account for one reason or another, whether for a period of time certain (days, weeks, etc.) or permanently, this “punishment” practice has a psychospiritual effect on the affected individual, similar to being shunned or banned froma group or a clique. It is a powerful motivator to keep people under their thumb, a control strategy, that works extremely well once Facebook has hooked a person, and the person is sufficiently invested in Facebook in terms of time spent online and digital friends collected, such that the now addicted subscriber will feel the psychosocial pain of being “deactivated.,” in a sense placed in isolation by Facebook without the benefit of due process. Yes, it’s the beginning of the end of open communication, autonomy, and due process. Similar, in fact, to “vaporizing” a dissenter in Orwell’s “1984” where the dissenter is simply made to disappear, as if he never existed. [8]

The recent reports of Facebook’s cooperation with the US and Israeli governments to deactivate certain Facebook pages because their messages are “inconvenient” is a very disturbing step taken in the direction of thought control, Thought Police and Mindguards. That’s why we’ve been trying to get through to our readers to campaign against social media like Facebook! (See our articles on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg‘s ambitious agenda to become God. Once he’s got a fifth of the world’s population addicted to Facebook and can control what they read, hear, see, and say, he’s well on his way to become the next Dictator in Heaven.)


The same “vaporizing” occurs when someone “unfriends” or “blocks” another subscriber who may have violated the group-leader’s or the group’s groupthink policies. Have you been Facebook vaporized recently? You wouldn’t know if you had been because Facebook strategically keeps it a secret; only the vaporizer and Facebook know it. Same applies when someone has a grudge against you on Facebook: they simply report you for such-and-such, and you find yourself deactivated. Groupthink à la Facebook!

The groupthink phenomenon can be avoided but only if the clique or the group is willing to acknowledge the phenomenon, to recognize it in their group, and sees the benefits of avoiding the phenomenon.

Fred Lunenburg (2012) proposes a number of possible ways to avoid groupthink in a group, including[9]:

  • Encouraging group members to state and air objections, doubts, and questions,
  • Promoting impartiality rather than stating preferences and expectations of the group at the outset,
  • The group leaders should periodically discuss the group’s policies and practices and report their transactions back to the group, inviting feedback,
  • Members should be invited to challenge the views of core members (and leaders),
  • At least one member should play the role of devil’s advocate, expressing objections or critiquing group policies and practices, and beliefs,
  • Where there is devil’s advocacy, members should spend time and effort evaluating the warning signals of developing groupthink inherent in adverse responses,
  • Alternative scenarios should be constructed by group leaders in evaluating any rivaling intentions,
  • In the case of a member who appears to consistently rival the group’s polices or practices (Red flag! Think groupthink!), the member should be asked to express as vividly as he can all his residual doubts,
  • Group leaders or core members should present the entire issue to the group to elicit feedback and insights before making any definitive choices or decisions.

Group coherence and decision making has clear benefits over individual decision making. This is especially true when a decision must be made under conditions of uncertainty.[10] Some of the benefits described by Bonito (2011) include[11]:

  • Improved decision quality
  • Higher level of creativity and creative thinking
  • Improved decision acceptance and organizational learning
  • Increased decision understanding
  • Enhanced effectiveness in establishing objectives, identifying alternatives
  • Greater decision accuracy and avoidance of errors and glitches

Admittedly, these benefits may be less related to the actual outcomes of decisions than they are to group morale and satisfaction; we can agree that groups should and probably do perform better when

  • Group members present a variety of relevant skills that differ sufficiently but do not create constraints or conflicts;
  • There is a division of labor or effort, input;
  • Individual inputs can be “averaged” in such a way as to arrive at a group “position.”

Are you controlled by the Thought Police, the Mindguards from the cradle to the grave?

By now you might be asking yourself the question: “That having been said, and while applicable to business decisions or to Facebook and other moderated social media, how does that apply to spiritual care or to our lives in our communities and the nation at large?” Well, in order to answer that question, I have to ask you to step out of your stall in the sheeple box, and think about the environment in which you live. Ask yourselves if you can identify groupthink in these situations:

  • In your church or faith community. (Hint: How do you talk about other faith or belief groups)?
  • In the Sports Association or Social Club. Do you have to toe the mark in what you talk about?
  • In your political or social club (Hint: When at a Republican Club or Democratic Club or American Legion occasion, are you careful what you say?)
  • In your children’s schools (Hint: Do you speak your mind at a Board of Education meeting or just sit simmering? At a PTA meeting what do you feel you can discuss? Do you even attend any of these?)
  • At town board or village board meetings (Hint: Do you speak your mind at a board meetings or just sit simmering? Do you even attend any of these?)
  • Have you ever avoided going somewhere or doing something because you were concerned what “they” would say?
  • Are there subjects or topics or language that you avoid specifically to avoid being stereotyped or labeled? Do you choose political correctness over truth and honesty? Do you do that out of fear of the Mindguards?

Are you being stalked by the community or social media Thought Police, the Mindguards?

At home do you have open discussions with family members or are some subjects simply avoided or off-topic? Are the Thought Police at work in your home? Or are you letting the Facebook and social media thought police do their work for you? Have you seen your kids today?

When is the last time you looked at what your schools are teaching to your children? Have you ever openly questioned what they are being taught? Or are you letting the Mindguards manage your kids’ minds?

At work do you challenge social injustice or do you simply turn your back hoping it won’t hit you next? Are you open in discussing what you feel needs to be considered for change? Do you suggest improvements? Or are you living in constant fear of being “vaporized,” “unfriended,” “blocked” by your employer or even your workmates and coworkers?

Have you been castrated by the Thought Police, the Mindguards?

Most of us will find ourselves interacting throughout our entire lives with employers, educators, community members, governing bodies, committees, or just with our families. We take these interactions for granted; that’s a big mistake..Each of these environments is at high risk of the groupthink phenomenon, and we need to start thinking about the nature and quality of those interactions. Can you identify the symptoms of groupthink in any of your relationships or interations?

We frequently say that “emotions are contagious,” but we don’t frequently admit that not only emotions but the environment created by the attitudes and thinking of leaders and core members in a group are just as contagious in the form of groupthink.

Organizations like schools, religious institutions, government, social organizations are hotbeds for the groupthink

Those of us who are aware of our lives will admit that each group or community has its own culture, and if we are to work effectively with the members and effetively serve the ourselves and our community, we have to be aware of the groupthink phenomenon as it most certainly exists in that group or community. Ask yourself if you feel your teachers, your administrators, your elected officials, local law enforcement are listening to you and your concerns and their attitude towards the “necessary evil” of your opinion must be tolerated rather than facilitated. That attitude extends to all the members of the community, including educators, elected officials, law enforcement, etc.,  and the symptoms of groupthink can be quickly and easily identified if you care to look. How do we deal with that situation armed with the awareness of the probable existence of groupthink?

Organizations like schools, religious institutions, government, social organizations are hotbeds for the groupthink phenomenon because they are founded on very clear principles of operation and program; they have their” agendas.” The objectives and goals of the group are clearly defined and the members are controlled by the assignment of specific tasks and imposing protocols. The agenda is clearly defined. You simply don’t dissent or rock the hospice boat. Groupthink.

Institutional Agendas Define the Group.

 

As “tradition” the groupthink may have developed as a response to the local culture, whether it be socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, etc. In this case, it is a response to the exigencies of doing living and functioning with that demographic mix, and is almost a requirement for survival. Is this “positive” groupthink? Perhaps, but it goes without saying that unless the establishment leaves the door open to open discussion, sharing of insights, correct interpretations of warning signs and red flags, it can quickly transmute into “negative” groupthink.

As the organization leaves the traditional, local, “family” orientation or organization and moves towards the group or the corporate systems, groupthink becomes more of a high risk than a positive stabilizing factor. This is where the culture of the group or corporation overshadows the individuals that move it as well as those who consume its products and services. Rather than being an evolving, “living” organism, it is a monolith. Again,I can’t help but cite Facebook or the federal government as outstanding examples of such a negative development.

A number of large multinational corporations like IBM, 3M, Anheuser-Busch have recognized the threat posed by groupthink and have implemented and developed processes to prevent or at least to mitigate its deleterious and prejudicial effects within the components of the organization and on the organization as a whole. Lunenburg (2012) discusses some of the ways they have approached prevention of groupthink by way of methods like devil’s advocacy and dialectical inquiry. McDougel and Baum (1997) discuss the application of devil’s advocacy to stimulate discussion and avoid groupthink in focus groups.[12] McAvoy et al. discuss how devil’s advocacy and the principles of sensemaking can be used in a method they call the “agitation workshop” as a method of challenging the false consensus created by the groupthink phenomenon.[13]

Do frequent meetings and evaluations work to avoid groupthink? More likely than not, they may actually promote groupthink when leadership reiterate at each meeting the same expectations at the outset, setting the stage for a more limited and controlled conversation that does not allow for alternative discussion. But such meetings and evaluations and be highly productive if, at the outset, the leaders or facilitators are aware of the symptoms of groupthink and some of the methods to directly avoid it, as well as the quasi-paedagogical methods of enhancing creative thinking, even improving performance by institutionalizing dissent!

We can and should play an important and proactive role in making the organizations and leaders with whom we work aware of the groupthink phenomenon, its dangers and risks, and ways of avoiding the phenomenon in our environments. Once people are made aware of the phenomenon and ways to identify it and prevent it, we are on the path to reclaiming the efficacy and authenticity we once enjoyed but lost in the wake of the development of corporate control of our institutions and the chilling of interpersonal relations by online social media.

By using your brain you can avoid the dangers of groupthink!
The Editor


Notes

[1] Irving Janis originally coined the term groupthink in 1972. (Janis, Irving L.  (1972).  Victims of Groupthink.  New York: Houghton Mifflin.)

[2] Janis, I. L. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological studies of policy decisions and fiascos (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin.

[3] For a more comprehensive discussion of the eight symptoms please refer to Janis’ Groupthink, Psychological Studies, above. A brief and very helpful overview of groupthink is provided in What is Groupthink? (http://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm, last accessed on January 8, 2018, 2018).

[4] The “Julia got a job!” obviously scripted video is synopsized on YouTube in the following words: “A heartwarming video shows the moment a teenage girl with Down syndrome receives her first job offer. A girl named Julia gets a phone call from a Chick-fil-A employee in Rancho Murieta, California. ‘I was just calling to offer you a position here,’ the woman says on speaker phone. ‘Your pay rate would be 11.50 per hour, would you like to accept?’ ‘I do,’ Julia says, her face overcome with emotion. As the woman tells her that she will start in December, Julia breaks down in tears of happiness. ‘Oh my gosh,’ she can be heard saying as she thanks the woman profusely. Julia’s family then encircles her and gives her a massive hug while chanting ‘Chick-Fil-A’. “ (AutoNews- Source:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5101331/Teen-girl-syndrome-cries-s-given-job.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490)

[5] According to McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm that serves private, public and social sector institutions, in a report entitled, “The value that employees with Down syndrome can add to organizations,” we read “[H]owever, some companies have chosen to tackle the far more complex challenge of hiring people with intellectual disabilities. Those that have done so have found that these people can add value to organizational health (an organization’s ability to align, execute, and renew itself faster than competitors so that it can sustain exceptional performance over time). Employees with Down syndrome are a particularly interesting topic of research, as they have a number of characteristics that both increase the challenges associated with inclusion and bring added benefits.” [my italics] (McKinsey & Company (2014) “The value that employees with Down Syndrome can add to organizations” (Vicente Assis, Marcus Frank, Guilherme Bcheche, and Bruno Kuboiama), last accessed on January 9, 2018.)

[6] Ibid.

[7] I’m referring to the notorious Room 101 described in Orwell’s novel “Nineteen-Eighty-Four,” the room in the Ministry of Truth (MiniTru in Newspeak), where dissenters were taken for “processing,” most never to be heard from again. “You asked me once,” said O’Brien, “what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.”  (“1984” Part 3, Ch. 5)  In “1984” the Inner Party persecutes individualism and independent thinking known as “thoughtcrimes” and is enforced by the “Thought Police.” The Ministry of Love (Miniluv), the ministry in charge of torturing dissidents.  The protagonist Smith is subjected to many forms of torture and is forced into the horror chamber known only as Room 101.

[8] Mind Control – George Orwell BBC 101 Documentary last accessed on January 9, 2018.

[9] Lunenburg, F. (2012).” Devil’s Advocacy and Dialectical Inquiry: Antidote to Groupthink”. International Journal of

Scholarly and Academic Intellectual Diversity, Vol 14, No. 1, pp 1-9.

[10] Nikolaidis (2012) defines uncertainty as “the condition under which an individual [or group] does not have the necessary information to assign probabilities to the outcomes of alternative solutions. (Nikolaidis, E. (2012).  Design decisions under uncertainty with limited information. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.)

[11] Bonito, J. (2011). Interaction and influence in small group decision making. New York, NY: Routledge.

[12] McDougal, C., F. Baum, (1997) “The Devil’s Advocate: A Strategy to Avoid Groupthink and Stimulate Discussion in Focus Groups,” Qualitative Health Research, Volume 7, Number 4, pp 532-541.

[13] John McAvoy, Tadhg Nagle and David Sammon, (2013) “A novel approach to challenging consensus in evaluations: The Agitation Workshop,” The Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation, Volume 16 Issue 1,  pp 45-55.

 
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Why You Should Avoid Ravena-Coeymans and New Baltimore, New York

Among so many other scandals and secrets, we now learn thru the media that the depressed village Ravena in the depraved Town of Coeymans (New York) may be getting garbage from Connecticut. Long-time polluter and environmental disaster LaFarge cement may be accepting tons of Connecticut garbage for burning in Ravena! According to an article in Hudson Valley 360, the online version of the Register Start and the Daily Mail, “A proposal is under consideration in the state of Connecticut that if enacted, could bring 116,000 tons of trash to the LafargeHolcim cement plant for burning each year.” Of course, everyone from the Lafarge spokesperson to corrupt Coeymans Town Supervisor Phil Crandall and his lackey, town board member Tom Dolan, plead ignorant, “We are not informed.” But the plan, according to the media, means that the Ravena plant could be burning 116,000 tons of solid waste every year in the near future. But local officials know nothing about this, of course. Aren’t they supposed to be aware of what’s going on in the town? (When the construction of the new kilns was announced nothing was said about burning garbage!)

[Read more at: Connecticut’s trash may be headed to Lafarge (Hudson Valley 360), and at Proposed solid waste removal plan could mean Conn. waste comes to Ravena (News 10 online)]


Infrastructure is crumbling. Real estate is plummeting and deteriorating. Tax base is dwindling. The ignorant still elect the ignorant…

Coeymans has a disgraced former town justice (Phil Crandall (D), Coeymans Town Supervisor), at least two former prison guards (guess what their attitude is to dissent or opinions), and a known bully used car salesman (Jim Youmans (D)), plus their cronies and friends (Cindy Rowzee (D), Crandall’s former “confidential secretary,” as Town Clerk, in key town government positions. Coeymans Town Hall has become the backwater, hill town version of corrupt Tamany Hall.

 New Baltimore has an illiterate, barely high-school educated, but highly paid dolt, Denis Jordan (D), with no formal training training  and no continuing education course, serving as Town Superintendent of Highways (Denis Jordan). Jordan ignores the New Baltimore Town Board and the New Baltimore Town Board — even though they have a Repubican majority on the board –— takes it up the bottom and does nothing to discipline Jordan or to protect residents and their property from Jordan’s incompetence.

When the New Baltimore Town Supervisor complained of anal irritation, this x-ray showed what appears to be Denis Jordan’s foot.

There’s little or no hope for justice in these backwater towns, either. It’s no wonder, though. The New York State Unified Court System (everything but unified) and New York state law requires a town justice to have only a high-school equivalency education and does not require legal training to be a town or village justice. The fact that town and village justices are elected locally, and because the standards for education and training of the judges are so abysmally low, the courts in the area are just as corrupt as the town boards, and local law enforcement. In the Greene County town of Cairo, one town justice, Leland Miller, takes his orders from the attorneys appearing in the court. So much for judicial impartiality. And New Baltimore has two incompetent town justices (Joseph A. Farrell Jr and Thomas J. Meacham, highly questionable ethics and courtroom conduct). Coeymans town supervisor Phillip Crandall, was removed from the bench and forced to resign from his elected position as a town justice and had to promise never to run for judicial office again! A judge disgraced for doing illegal favors for friends. But he then ran for the office of Coeymans town supervisor and was elected! And in 2017 re-elected by Coeymans voters!!! So Coeymans thinks that a dishonest town justice makes a great Town Supervisor? Apparently!

Incest may be illegal everywhere but in Ravena-Coeymans, shyster Michael Biscone can fix it for you.

Ravena doesn’t fare much better when it comes to a village court. Harold “Hal” Warner, a former Albany cop who was taken off the street because of civil rights abuses, and put behind a desk until he could collect his pension — That’s how they do it locally: We take our criminals out of the public’s eye, put them somewhere until they can collect their pensions! There’s a lot of local incest and Ravena, apart from its inbred native population, practices incest in public office, too. Old judge “civil rights abuser” Hal Warner’s wife, Nancy Warner, is a “village trustee” — we wouldn’t trust her with a bowl of cat food; she’d probably want to sell it — The village court is supervised by Mrs Hal, who, by the way would hyphenate her name as Biscone-Warner; she’s a member of a local incest tribe, the Biscones, who appear in public either as crooked real estate agents (Josephine Bruno) selling you local dump properties or as corrupt lawyers (Michael Biscone) who do your real estate work for you with their cousins, the real estate agents. Incest may be illegal everywhere but in Ravena-Coeymans, Michael Biscone can fix it for you. (Michael Biscone’s claim to partial masculinity, — he hasn’t seen that part of his anatomy in decades — is the fact that he claims to drive a “Bentley,” a fact he won’t let locals forget. He’s apparently on everyone’s payroll both over the table and under the table.)

When Coeymans Town Supervisor Phil Crandall complained of similar anal irritation, the x-ray showed his head inserted into his rectum!

Elected government? Forget about it. Where Coeymans has a pack of crooks on their board, New Baltimore has a one-party system for supervisor, and other elected offices: The No-Balls Party. Houses are going up for sale in unbelievable numbers in Ravena, Coeymans and New Baltimore. Property owners can’t get out of these backwater towns fast enough. What doesn’t sell gets either burned down or demolished. It’s a ghost town in the making.

Infrastructure is crumbling. Real estate is plummeting and deteriorating. Tax base is dwindling and the tax burden is falling on the few who are attempting to ride out the storm of mismanagement, corruption, and general incompetence in local government. And you wonder why?

Ravena’s mayor, William “Mouse” Misuraca, was elected by his bar room buddies and bar customers.

What can we say about the village of Ravena? Well, not much. What applies to the Town of New Baltimore and the Town of Coeymans applies equally well to the village of Ravena and the Hamlet of Coeymans. Incompetence, apathy, ignorance, anxiety, crumbling infrastructure, corruption, croneyism, empty storefronts, hemorrhaging businesses and population. Absolutely no vision in village hall. Ravena’s mayor, William “Mouse” Misuraca, was elected by his bar room buddies and customers — the mayor owns one of the local bars — and previously had tax problems so he qualified for local elected office. He’s done nothing for Ravena but plenty for his bar business: Everyone likes to have the mayor pouring his liquor, opening his bottle of beer. His honor William “Mouse” Misuraca! You can’t make this stuff up, people!

Vote for Mayor Mouse Misuraca (or buy 10 beers) and get a Mouse shirt!


Law enforcement in the Town of Coeymans and the Town of New Baltimore can easily be called “Cold Case Criminal Investigation” because you can hand the Coeymans Police Department and the Greene County Sheriff the hottest of evidence and they’ll let it chill until it goes cold. Chilling a case takes less effort and is less expensive than working it, maybe even prosecuting it. But then, the Albany County District Attorney, racist P. David Soares, and the Greene County District Attorney, Joe “Stagnant” Stanzione, as the chief law-enforcement officers in their counties, play the party game, they’re logrollers, country-club members in their respective parties. Don’t rock the boat! Don’t go after friends of “friends.” And you’ll likely be elected for life. Same thing for Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple and Green County Sheriff Greg Seeley, who both play by the party’s rules and stay in office. Corruption? Do ya think so?

Search this blog. For more than five (5) years we’ve been investigating and reporting on the craziness in Ravena, Coeymans, New Baltimore. We have hundreds of thousands of readers. State and local government officials, even the FBI, read this blog, yet the situation gets worse and worse with each election! Why is that we have to ask?

“I don’t get involved in local politics.”

The ignorance is staggering. When discussing — rather attempting to discuss — the local situation with a fairly evolved local (We know that because he was walking on his hind legs, upright!), he responded: “I don’t get involved in local politics.” Well that explains a lot!

It’s a pitiful situation but no one wants to admit the fact that we are in a crumbling, corrupt and indifferent vicious cycle of political parties, NO!, not parties, one political party the Self-Serving Party (or in the service of the Corporations, who then show their “appreciation”). Our politicians, or more accurately, our local wannabe politicians hold carrots on a stick dangling in front of the dumbass sheep (local residents, “potential” voters), and the dumbass sheep (We repeat: local residents, “potential” voters), follow the carrot wherever the lying sacks of dung (= our local wannabe politicians) want them to move. The fascist political party committees pick the candidates and the voters can make their choice between two or more evils, the final choice being evil by default. That’s what our democracy has become. And you sing your stupid carols and shout Happy Holidays, ringing in a New Year with depravity and debauchery, making resolutions you have no intention of keeping — and you try to deny that the coming year, the New Year, will be different from the Old Year. You’ve been deceived so often for so long that you’ve gotten to the point of deceiving yourself, and you don’t even know it. Business as usual in 2018. And Town Hall butters their bread while telling the starving masses, “Eat cake!”

Can you find yourself in this group photo?

The mob has control of the entire floor of Town Hall

When you look back on 2017, do I have to spell it out for you? What do you see? Well, in 2015 Coeymans elected a bunch of recycled losers to occupy Coeymans town hall. Phil Crandall and his mob of morons, Jim Youmans, Tom Dolan, all losers, made life miserable for the decent public servants, Coeymans Police Chief P.J. McKenna and Town Clerk Diane Millious. In 2017, Crandall was re-elected (or was he?) by the Coeymans villain voters. Crandall’s “confidential secretary,” Cindy Rowzee,  was elected by those same villainous voters to take over the Town Clerk’s office. Diane Millious after more than a quarter century serving the Coeymans community had had enough, had suffered enough abuse from Crandall and Youmans, two scurrilous bullies, and had shed enough tears.So they drove an honest town clerk out and installed a fixture from the corrupt supervisor’s office. Now the mob has control of the entire floor of Town Hall.

The Coeymanites handed their community over to the Coeymanazis!

The Hamlet of Coeymans is a social welfare slum. Run down buildings, abandoned buildings. Buildings being demolished at an alarming rate. Lost tax base; overtaxing those who are stupid enough to remain in what is a textbook example of the American third world in the making. Corrupt Town Hall, abuse of power, and a cowering community. Guess who’s to blame? The Coeymanites handed their community over to the Coeymanazis!

New Baltimore is just as bad. The Democrats served themselves and their friends for years. Now it’s the Republican’s turn. We say Democrats and Republicans but they are the same. For the past 4 years New Baltimore has been the Republican’s sandbox and they’ve done absolutely nothing to benefit taxpayers. The New Baltimore Town Board has proven that the fish stinks from the head down. New Baltimorons can pay their taxes to pay the freaks in the Highway Department to ruin their property, to devalue their real estate, even to create dangerous situations and then refuse to correct their defective work. The New Baltimore Town Board has the wherewithal to correct the situation — New York State Town Law actually gives the Board considerable power over the Highway Department — but when you got no balls and you have an incompetent town attorney advising you, the community suffers, that is, what’s left of the community.


Editor’s Note: In our article New Baltimore Elections: No Choice. The Sequel.(Nov. 4, 2017) We called on New Baltimore voters to protest all unopposed candidates by withholding their votes for unopposed candidates. Again on November 6, 2017, we repeated our call for New Baltimore voters to withhold their votes for unopposed candidates (Election Day Recommendations. This is the moment of Truth!); we advised New Baltimore voters simply not to give unopposed candidates the numbers. On November 7, 2017, we published the election results for New Baltimore (Congratulations, New Baltimore! You did good!). Those results showed more than one-third of ballots cast did not vote for an unopposed candidate. Those numbers sent a very strong protest message to those candidates. It was a great response to our call to withhold votes from unopposed candidates and not to give them the numbers! One third of New Baltimore residents who voted did not vote for an unopposed candidate! Bravo for those voters! Then, in our article, Complacency is a Bad Thing…Especially in Local Government, published on November 10, 2017, we put local, county, and state officials on notice that we would be watching and reporting, warning that complacency and indifference would not be accepted, warning them to be on their guard. This article is to show that we have not let our guard down; we still have your back, neighbors!


New Baltimore Town Board Meeting

New Baltimore would rather sit back and let their insurance company attorneys f**k with New Baltimore taxpayers

Even the higher state courts expect the Town Boards to take care of their own dirty laundry and to keep their incompetence out of the court system but New Baltimore would rather sit back and let their insurance company attorneys f**k with New Baltimore taxpayers — unless you’re a friend of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan or, as the incumbent Republicans like to say, “Republicans take care of Republicans” — You pay your taxes and the town of New Baltimore uses the money to screw you, while taking their salaries, and padding their pensions. You get to pay attorneys until your money runs out and your home collapses around you. They’ll ruin your property but they’ll still send you a hefty tax bill. And you’ll still be liable for their debt service. Complain? Sure. They’ll send a letter telling you you have to appear before some board months later! But you’d better not be late paying your taxes! Or your dog license, they’ll hit you with a $5 surcharge or threaten you with court action. Small town government at its best!

Don’t give Coeymans Police trainee Amanda L. Mueller any attitude! Hooters in Coeymans PD!

A bunch of kids in uniform with too much power (little authority), and a bunch of bored, ignorant geezers “supervising” them…

Local Coeymans police department rookies go for the quick and the easy: traffic passing through their territories, while a blind eye is given to criminals and obstruction of justice within the department. Serious cases go cold because of indifference and incompetence in the police department. But seriously, can we expect more of boys and girls who are barely out of puberty, still have identity problems, have barely an education, no life experience, no real ability to make good decisions, and you put them in a uniform, pin a badge on them, give them a gun and IT’S PARTY TIME BACK IN HIGHSCHOOL BULLY LAND!!! That’s what we have in Coeymans right now: a bunch of kids in uniform with too much power (little authority), and a bunch of bored, ignorant geezers “supervising” them. Lord save us from ourselves…and our police!!! (See our article on Amanda L. Mueller, local rookie bully cop, at Coeymans Police Turning Into Coeymans Gestapo Again?)

Coeymans: Save money. Put children in uniform, turn them loose on the community.

The antiqaited, obsolete and incompetent town and village court system is a collection of ignorant, just barely high-school educated hicks in black robes, elected by their friends until they are sanctioned, censured, or removed by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Mayor “Mouse” Misuraca
Village of Ravene, NY

Ravena is run by a local bar tender/gin mill owner, so-called mayor Bill “Mouse” Misuraca. Coeymans is run by a disgraced town justice, Phil Crandall, and several recycled politicians. Crandall, Coeymans town supervisor, was removed from his elected judgeship for ethics violations and doing favors for his friends. New Baltimore is a shambles, run by a bunch of balless board members, who can’t even get the town highway superintendent to keep reasonable records. New Baltimore has become a one-party town, where several elected officials, including the town supervisor, were “voted” into office this past election; the problem is that they were unopposed! There was no other candidate to choose! Local democratic process at work. (BTW, it was the Democratic party that was unable to cough up an opponent to the Republican incumbents.) Misuraca’s campaign slogan was lifted directly from the GOP (Republican) National Committee’s slogan, “Committed to Community,” but his administration is more committed to Misuraca’s bar room ego than to any notion of “community.” His campaign couldn’t even come up with a decent campaign slogan.

In the meanwhile, the infrastructure is crumbling and corruption abounds. New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan is doing favors for his friends using town equipment, but refusing to correct deficient and defective sewers and roads in the National Historic District.

Local Town Justice Presiding in Coeymans.
(George Dardiani or Thomas Frese (Dem))

Roads are shit, transportation is shit, local elected officials are shitheads and dumbasses, law enforcement are bullies or worse, judges are ignorant and the courts run by the lawyers. Ravena, Coeymans, New Baltimore have descended to below third world quality of life.

Local Town Justice Presiding in New Baltimore.
(Joseph Farrell or Thomas Meacham)

What left of families and what’s not “brown trash” or “white trash” is quickly vanishing as the children grow up, go on to their fake higher education, go deeply into debt for a third-rate education but can’t find jobs, struggle to pay back their student loans accrued for their third-rate education (generally because the academic standards in the RCS Central School District are so low, and the RCS CD Board of Education know nothing about education but love to spend money). Once the kids experience what it’s like in the outside world, no one has any plans to go back to their backwater hill-town home towns. They go elsewhere.

Local Village Justice in Ravena deciding a case.
(The notorious former Albany cop taken off the street and assigned a desk job for civil rights abuses, Harold Warner.)

As the children leave the area, what’s left are the parents, aging, miserable, and heavily taxed. Property taxes are some of the highest in the state and with the wild spending practices in the RCS school system — plenty of money for AstroTurf and sports field renovations, seasonal refreshment stand construction, and tennis courts but none for books — aging parents question the value of paying school taxes in a community where there are no children and for the third-world education for “brown” and “white” trash, or for snooty, “me-first” part-time parents (parents who split their time between their personal interests and parenting). The obvious solution: people are selling their homes and moving to areas where, if they must pay high taxes or taxes at all, they will at least get a reasonable quality of life and some public services in return.

The situation in the village of Ravena-, and the towns of Coeymans and New Baltimore merely reflect the general decline and the depressed atmosphere of the New York Capital Region. The whole region is, and has been for generations, rife with thievery and corruption. The corruption starts in the state capital, Albany, and from that nest of depravity, extends its loathesome tentacles out to surrounding communities, even crossing county lines into Schenectady, Rensselaer, Greene counties. It’s a mess.

The entire area has turned into a hippo farm

The unfortunate fact that the Ravenese, the Coeymanites, and the New Baltimorons (a term coined to describe their neighbors by Ghoul’s Gulch denizen, Joan Ross a.k.a. “Cut-and-Paste” Joan and her partner in vileness, “Bitter Bob” Ross, imports from depraved Albany) have to admit is that they owe all their problems and misfortunes to their ignorance and apathy. They could have it much better if they’d simply take an interest in their community instead of complaining and turning into ugly hippos. Yes, dear readers, The entire area has turned into a hippo farm. Depression leads to many things and one of them is a lousy diet, lack of ambition, and obesity.

Two locals having a chat

Ravena and Coeymans is a veritable hippo farm, a breeding ground for every ailment, mental and physical, that accompanies a depressed and apathetic community. And Albany Medical Center is right there to open up yet another EmUrgent Care location, the Walmart of the American healthcare system, where you can go and sit and wait to be seen by an incompetent physician’s assistant who will give you what you are looking for, a fake diagnosis and a prescription, you’ll pay and be on your way. Everyone’s happy: you got your fake diagnosis and prescription, the EmUrgent Care staff got their numbers and are rid of you until your condition worsens and you return for the ambulance ride to the Albany Medical Center emergency department where you will wait 14-20 hours to get a bed and, if you don’t die there, you’ll be dumped out on the street in a couple of days with another fake diagnosis and another useless prescription. Best healthcare system in the world — or so they tell us.


The Bigger Picture

How we got here; where we’re going from here.

Life in the United States has become highly confused and superficial. Confused because the population is bombarded with conflicting and contradicting information from all sides, particularly the media. A general atmosphere of fear and anxiety is foisted upon the American people by everyone from the POTUS on down. Fear of North Korea. Fear of guns. Fear of shooters. Fear of aging. Fear of the cold and flu season. Fear of this or that product. Fear of the weather. Fear of fear.

The anxiety actually starts with fear of failure. Parents and the education system has failed to teach the value of failure as a learning tool. The result has been a downward spiral of expectations and standards to the extent that the education lie has become a reality. The young people graduating from our schools are dirt dumb. But they do know how to thumb-type and how to conceal a weapon so they can shake things up at school.

Albany High School. Once a place of learning the largely minority high school has become a place of violence, criminality, and police presence!

Take as an example the recent student fight phenomenon (See: Update: Albany High will close Friday after fights spilled into street) or weapons in school (See: Student with gun is arrested), as happened recently in Albany High School (Albany,, New York), a huge collection of kids of color (a fancy term for blacks and mixed-race youth) coming from disordered and angry homes, mostly single parent households, if that, who bring their anger and loneliness to school and start shooting or brutalizing each other. Once the shooting starts, the stampedes start. It was all caught on film and broadcast for all to see a week ago. The new entertainment, it seems. The new United States it is. Soon, the government’s first phase of destroying American values will have been concluded: those poorly educated, angry, young people will be churned out into a world that disparages them, a jobless world, a world full of the wrong passions and addictions, and they will likely perpetuate their anger and misery. They will all be churned out not with competencies and confidence but a sense of arrogance and entitlement; self-destructive and depleting.

George Orwell painted a very accurate picture of the world back in 1948, when he penned his prophetic novel, “1984.” It’s all coming true. Then there was Aldous Huxley’s novel “Brave New World,” and  the film “Soylent Green.”


Editor’s Note: Since our schools do not teach literature any longer, and people don’t read real books, being too wrapped up with Facebook and Twitter, truncated, abbreviated virtuality, I’m going to proved a brief synopsis of these novels for our readers:

Brave New World (Aldous Huxley, 1932). The author describes a world, in which citizens are engineered through artificial wombs and childhood indoctrination programs into predetermined classes (or castes) based on intelligence and labor. Lenina Crowne, a hatchery worker, is popular and sexually desirable, but Bernard Marx, a psychologist, is not. He is shorter in stature than the average member of his high caste, which gives him an inferiority complex. His work with sleep-learning allows him to understand, and disapprove of, his society’s methods of keeping its citizens peaceful, which includes their constant consumption of a soothing drug called soma. Courting disaster, Bernard is vocal and arrogant about his criticisms, and his boss contemplates exiling him to Iceland because of his nonconformity. His only friend is Helmholtz Watson, a gifted writer who finds it difficult to use his talents creatively in their pain-free society.

Nineteen-Eighty-Four (“1984”) (George Orwell, 1948).  As literary political fiction and dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot, and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, and memory hole, have entered into common use since its publication in 1949 (A complete glossary of “Newspeak“can be found at Newspeak. Nineteen Eighty-Four popularized the adjective Orwellian, which describes official deception, secret surveillance, brazenly misleading terminology, and manipulation of recorded history by a totalitarian or authoritarian state. There’s a great online study guide for “1984” but we think it might be interesting for our readers to first check out the Themes page. It’s an interesting read.

Soylent Green (Film directed by Richard Fleischer, 1973). The 20th century’s industrialization led to overcrowding, pollution and global warming due to the greenhouse effect. In 2022, 40 million people live in New York City; housing is dilapidated; homeless people fill the streets; many are unemployed; those few with jobs are only barely scraping by and food and working technology are scarce with most of the population surviving on rations produced by the Soylent Corporation. Their latest product is Soylent Green, a green wafer advertised to contain “high-energy plankton” from the World Ocean, more nutritious and palatable than its predecessors “Red” and “Yellow” but in short supply. The main characters are New York City Police Department detective Frank Thorn, who lives with his aged friend and police analyst, Solomon “Sol” Roth. Fast foward to the end: Roth is so disgusted with his degraded life in a degraded world that he seeks assisted suicide at a government clinic. Thorn rushes to stop him, but arrives too late. Roth is mesmerized by the euthanasia process’ visual and musical montage – extinct forests, wild animals, rivers and ocean life. Before dying, he tells Thorn his discovery (that Soylent Green is made from human beings) and begs him to expose the truth. Thorn boards a human disposal truck to the disposal center, where he sees the human corpses converted into Soylent Green, but is spotted and has to flee. Returning to make his report, he is ambushed by Fielding and others. In the ensuing firefight, Thorn kills his attackers but is himself wounded. When Hatcher (Thorn’s supervisor) arrives, Thorn tells him what he has discovered and urges him to tell the researchers so that they can make a case against Soylent and to spread the truth about Soylent Green. Hatcher promises that he will. Thorn is taken away by paramedics, shouting out: “Soylent Green is people!”


The apathy and anxiety are fatal to the community. The root cause is that people see so much wrong and wrong-doing, and our elected officials and office holders don’t seem to care, they are indifferent and for the most part incompetent due to inexperience or lack of education and training. Elected office has become an ego enhancement or a way to acquire power and influence and is even used against the voters, taxpayers and property owners. It seem that our elected officials quickly become the enemy and the oppressors, not the promised benefactors we speak to when they’re campaigning.

You’re drowning and you don’t get out of the water? That’s malfunction!

Over the passage of time, just as any disease process, the sufferer becomes tolerant of the pain and discomfort and learns to live with it for better or for worse. That’s what’s happened in our communities and that’s what’s happening across the nation.

You allow your kids to play violent games and shed virtual blood, they become tolerant and insensitive to violence. You allow yourself to spend hours a day on Facebook while you avoid doing more worthwhile things or even necessary things, and you become tolerant to being irresponsible and inefficient; in fact, you become addicted. You allow your elected officials to take you, the voter for granted, you allow them to do as they please while in office with no accountability or transparency, you allow them to treat you with disrespect, you soon become tolerant of it and you get more of the same. Business as usual. But the effect on you is fatal: you lose your dignity, you become apathetic, and your self-esteem plummets. Same things happen to entire communities, to entire nations. It’s happening right now.

The women’s answer to being unable to cope in a “men’s world:” sexual harassment.

The confusion is infiltrating every space in our lives. One example is the confusion we now face regarding the once clearly defined question of gender, and the acceptable behavior between the genders. When the male-female roles were clearer, that is, in the generations where men were men and women were women, there was respect and certainty. The man was the provider and protector, the woman was the nurturer and the educator. Now men are still expected to be men, but women have insisted on invading the previously men’s world, but the women don’t want a level playing field. They want the rules changed: they want to assume male roles but want to keep the advantages associated with being a woman. They want to enter the male world but can’t play the game by the same rules. We now have the women’s answer to being unable to cope in a men’s world: sexual harassment. Whenever a woman feels inadequate or unable to cope, she bounces back with a claim of sexual harassment. If you can’t cope or play by the rules, then just be a victim. Victim is in. But this scenario causes a great deal of confusion because no one feels trusted or safe any more; the result is anxiety everywhere. And that’s just one example of the myriad confusion and anxiety situations. The mistrust of women and the feminist agenda has even affected some men’s desire to even get involved with women, who are now perceived as adversaries, unnatural, predators, opportunists, freaks. Those men might very well be right in their diagnosis of such confused gender benders as many women have become. The Orwellian stigma attached to any charge of “sexual harassment” by any psycho no matter when the alleged event may have occurred, has reached a troubling peak at this writing. A defense is nearly impossible; the merest allegation is politically annihilating. It’s just one of the many diseases of our current culture.

So now you know the facts. What are you going to do about it? How are you going to improve your life, your community, the nation in 2018?

 

Got any Answers?
The Editor

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 28, 2017 in 2017 Elections, 2018 Elections, 46th District, 46th Senate District, A.L. Mueller Badge 149, Abuse of Police Power, Abuse of Power, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Albany, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Elections, Albany County Sheriff Department, Amanda L. Mueller, Amanda Mueller, Amedore Homes, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Bitter Bob (Ross), Bob Ross, Bryan Rowzee, Bully biatch cop, Bully Cop, Cairo Justice Court, Capital District, Carver Companies, Carver Companies, Carver Construction, Catherine M. Deluca, Cathy Deluca, Cindy Rowzee, Civil Right Violation, Coeymanazis, Coeymans, Coeymans Elections, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Board, Coeymans Town Justice, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Craig D. Apple Sr., Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, David Soares, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, Facebook, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory R. Seeley, Guns at School, Hal Warner, Harold Warner, Hudson Valley, James Youmans, Jason Albert, Jeff Ruso, Jim Youmans, Joan Ross, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, Joseph Farrell, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Josephine P. Dority née Biscone, Josie Biscone-Bruno, Kerry Thompson, Kirsten Gillibrand, Lafarge, Lafarge-Holcim, LafargeHolcim, Law Enforcement, Leland Miller, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misuse of Public Office, Moose Misuraca, Mueller Automotive, Mueller's Automotive, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Town Board, New York, New York State, New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, New York State Police, New York State Unified Court System, News Channel 10, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, P. David Soares, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Peter McKenna, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Port of Coeymans, Property Taxes, Public Corruption, Ravena, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena Elections, RCS Board of Education, Sabic, Selkirk Cogen, Senate District 46, Shelly van Etten, Tal Rappelea, Terrorism at Home, The Daily Mail, Tom Dolan, Tom Dolan, Town Justice, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Town Supervisor, Transparency, William Misuraca

 

Church, Government, Schools, Parents are Failing to Protect Our Children!!!

Republished with Permission of the Author and the Owner of the
Church, Ministry and Pastoral Care


The Church, rather than aiding and abetting the moral and spiritual demise of the human being; rather than cooperating and collaborating with the evils of social media, better named social disease; rather than having a clearly socialist, heretic pope blurting out his heresies over Twitter; rather than pastors preaching the pabulum of social justice and socialism rather than moral values and virtue, the Church and churches are failing us miserably! The Church and churches are failing not only the faithful or those hungry for spirituality but also those of us who are active in teaching, preaching, ministering, and propagating faith traditions and spirituality.

Pope Francis & the Roman Catholic Church Collaborate with Facebook

The Church is Failing Us!

We need to start re-assessing ourselves, our life styles, our priests, pastors, ministers, rabbis, and imams. We need to put a stop to the corporations and their snaking into our lives, our souls, our families! We need to start with disciplining Twitter, Facebook, and other social media who are destroying ignorant and even savvy adults, have even claimed presidents and popes who have succumbed to the addiction, and who are now laying claim to our most vulnerable and valuable members of our society, our children!

Anti-pope Jorge Bergoglio on Twitter

Where are the bishops, the clergy, the rabbis, the imams on these pernicious, scurrilous, specious, and evil developments? I’ll tell you straight out: Our bishops, our clergy, our rabbis, our imams, and our profane secular leaders are willing accomplices to the destruction of the human spirit by so-called social media, especially the filth-monger Facebook and its Antichrist founder, Marc Zuckerberg and his demonic minions!

Anti-pope meets Antichrist.
Jorge Bergoglio and Marc Zuckerberg
The Match Made in Hell

What has happened to the Churches’ pilgrimage on the higher moral road? They’ve ended up in a drainage ditch!

This blog is all about awareness, awakening. This is a blog is all about awakening the spirit in spirituality and authentic faith practices among all faith and belief traditions. This blog is all about awakening the human spirit. Because it’s about awakening the human spirit, I feel compelled to write this article about how Facebook is killing the human spirit. I’m going to divert attention from our commentary on church and congregation and spiritual development to a very alarming and dangerous situation being created by the social media drug, Facebook. I am diverting to this subject because it concerns our most vulnerable and valuable asset, our children. Please take the time to read this article and to seriously consider how Facebook is striking at the very core of humanity — how Church and clergy are aiding and abetting the assault on humanity —, and how we must do something to stop Facebook’s uncontrolled control of their subscribers and now this unabashed agenda targeting young children. It’s tantamount to digital pedophilia, child abuse at its worst, because it’s targeting their social and spiritual development, only to ensure that Facebook dominates our society. An the Church, not only the Roman Catholic Church but all Christian denominations and most non-Christian traditions are aiding and abetting the development. Think of the ramifications! What has happened to the Churches’ pilgrimage on the higher moral road? They’ve ended up in a drainage ditch!

Facebook’s Worst Idea Ever? A Messenger App for Kids


In an online article in Family, Facebook’s Worst Idea Ever? A Messenger App for Kids [New Jersey Family, December 4, 2017], author Megan Muesen writes:  “Facebook says it will collect some data, including children’s names, the content of their messages and data about how they are using the app. Facebook also reserves the right to share information with third parties (which may have their own privacy policies regarding children) and says it won’t use data from Messenger Kids to create ads…It’s hard to navigate the ever-changing internet landscape, especially at a time when children under the age of eight are spending an hour per day staring at a screen.” But can we trust Facebook to protect the best interests of our children, or can we expect Facebook to protect its own interests, especially its bottom line and revenues?

Facebook is more of a social disease than a social opportunity. It has robbed us of our ability to communicate in human terms, it has created addicts of most of its users. Facebook is a trap that lures unsuspecting people into what they think is a unique opportunity to connect and then treats subscribers like a bunch of idiots blocking accounts at random for days for any so-called violation of Facbook rules, and informing the user that they “may have violated” a Facebook rule. “May have”?  What does that mean. You don’t know and Facebook “systems” doing the blocking don’t care.

You complain that you “don’t have time” to do this or that in your day. Did you ever keep track of the time you spend on Facebook? Try keeping time you spend on Facebook each day for a couple of days. Just jot down Time On/Time Off. You’ll be amazed at how much time you spend on that cyberdemon. Now visit this article and find out if you’re addicted to Facebook (or any other Internet site). You’re an addict and don’t even know it.

Children are becoming fFcebook shadow people

It’s a form of self-deceiving, self-defeating, self-destructive behavior (SDB). This is a serious problem and everyone using Facebook and other social media should be aware of this devastating self-perpetuating, deadman’s spiral behavior. It develops insidiously and has dire effects. Self-destructive behavior is real, is affecting huge numbers of people using social media, and is highly addictive. It’s even affecting the Church and religious and belief traditions of all types.

Got Messenger? Even worse still. You may think you’re important getting all those notifications and messages but Guess what? you’re getting them from other addicts. Anyone who needs request a chat, a video call more than once or twice a day to the same person really needs to get back to reality and get a life. They, you’re addicted.

Just like any other drug, social media takes control of your life even only after a short time of recreational use a.k.a. social use. All it takes is a little bait and those susceptible to addition are hooked like a fish. Remember the time when someone asked you if you had a Facebook account and you actually said No. Facebook now reports that it has some 1.4 billion users worldwide, many of them addicts in the First World, but many also in the second and third world, people who are very vulnerable and susceptible to the wrong messages being disseminated by Facebook users and by Facebook itself. Imagine the scenario where presidents and popes have accounts on Facebook and Twitter and send their public propaganda to millions, billions worldwide. No think of the invisible, clandestine operations that are no doubt going on behind the scenes or behind the profile and “friend” you’ve been sharing your secrets with. Sure, keep indiscriminately “friending” every cyberfreak that comes along. Sure send them a picture of your private parts. Sure, send them anything they ask for. The cheap thrill now will cost you plenty later. That’s a fact of self-destructive behavior, by the way. Read my article.

The whole Federal Law thing about protecting children from online exploitation is a load of bulls***, people. See through the agenda!

Facebook recently launched a new app targeting young childrenFacebook launches a version of Messenger for young children; the app is targeting children and is designed for children ages six to 12 (!!!!). Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), a US federal law, is supposed to  protect underage children from exploitation online, and it’s the reason so many online services require children be 13 years of age or older in order to sign up. Facebook says the new app is only available in the US. Surprised? But the still open question is this: How does Facebook ensure that its present members are a certain age before sign-up? It’s obvious it can’t verify the age of a non-existent person and Facebook is crawling with non-existent persons. Just check out the profiles and subscriber names! Facebook can’t verify an account holder’s name or age, it’s that simple! They rely on what the account holder provides, and that’s usually fake! So the whole Federal Law thing about protecting children from online exploitation is a load of bulls***, people. See through the agenda!

Facebook is going after the next generation of users by targeting children!

Is this your child’s future? Staring for hours every day into an electronic device?

Facebook’s own spokesperson provides a damning statement on Facebook’s real agenda: Facebook is going after the next generation of users by targeting children. Facebook’s Public Policy Director Antigone Davis writes, “Children today are online earlier and earlier.” Davis goes on to say that “research shows that kids are using apps that are intended for teens and adults.” Davis says Facebook collaborated with National PTA on a study showing observing 1,200 American parents of children under the age of 13, with three out of every five parents saying kids under 13 are already using messaging apps, while 81 percent say their kids stated using social media apps as early as eight.” That statement clearly reads that children are already using adult apps, and are chatting and messaging, despite any toothless federal law and the stupidity of their parents! Facebook’s own statement clearly points out that Facebook is going after the next generation of users by targeting children! Facebook is creating a pipeline using young children to become regular users of the Facebook cyberplague.

It’s evil, it’s filth, it’s degenerate.

It hat what the PTA is all about? Parents should demand discipline of any teacher, any school, any school board of education that promotes or allows Facebook, Twitter, or Messenger to be used by students or who promote using social media for communicating school business. The same goes for any parish, congregation, synagogue, temple, mosque that promotes social media as a means for communication among their members. It’s evil, it’s filth, it’s degenerate.

Facebook has proven it cannot be trusted with youth data in the past

In an online article in Wired, Kristen Strader, campaign coordinator for the nonprofit group Public Citizen, says Facebook has proven it cannot be trusted with youth data in the past, pointing to a leaked Facebook report from May that promised advertisers the ability to track teen emotions, such as insecurity, in real-time. “Their response was just that they will not do similar experiments in the future,” says Strader. At the time, advocacy groups asked for a copy of the report, but Facebook declined. [Source: Facebook for 6-year olds?]

It’s not about social media, it’s only about social control.

Messenger Kids. Facebook is going after the next generation of users by targeting children!  Messenger Kids is targeting the 8-13 age group and Facebook is asking parents to give their approval so children can message one another. By enlisting the parents as willing tools to sacrifice their children, Facebook is betting that the app can introduce a new generation of users to the Marc Zuckerberg’s ever-expanding social control universe. Zuckerberg’s greed, arrogance, and intrusion into the family has no bounds! He has to be stopped along with his Facebook evil. It’s not about social media, it’s only about social control.

The glaring arrogance and undisguised attack on our young and children, undermining the role of parents and significant others is unforgivable! The idolatry has become overwhelming and I’d rather not continue supporting it. It is clearly dehumanizing and is doing much damage to our people. The recent announcement of an app for the 13 and under is one of the the most disgusting and ugly attacks on children and their social, moral and spiritual development yet seen in our history. We have to make a move and I am doing my part by this protest: I’m deleting all of my Facebook accounts! I urge you to do the same.

The new app is tantamount to child abuse, akin to pedophilia. Parents who allow it should be damned. In a NY Times article, New Facebook App for Children Ignites Debate Among Families, there is a huge debate among parents who, on the one hand are concerned about “Facebook’s snaking its way into his children’s lives at an early age would most likely do more harm than good,” and those who feel that technology is an inevitability and appreciate “Facebook’s approach with the new app.” The parent interviewed who appreciates Facebook’s newest perversion is, of course, from the LaLa-Land, California, home of Silicon Valley and Facebook. Surprised? Sure, such parents are more than willing to abandon their children to their electronic devices; that provides more me-time for the parents.

I’ve often referred to Facebook and other social media as an addictive drug. Modern science has identified it as being addictive and has even given it a name, Internet Addictive Disorder, and a sub-category of Facebook Addictive Disorder, with its own set of psychiatric signs and symptoms. What more evidence do we need than our own behavior, self-defeating, self-deceiving and frequently self-destructive, to prove to us that Facebook is doing irreparable damage to adults, and is now targeting an even more vulnerable group, our children, and they’re asking parent to cooperate in their own children’s destruction.

One parent’s position on this issue is worth reading. Jenny Anderson tells us “Why I Won’t Let My Children Near Facebook’s Messenger for Kids,” and it’s clear how one parent is aware enough to put her foot down. We need more parents like Jenny!

You should be more worried about your children and social media!!!

STOP FACEBOOK! RAISE YOUR VOICES! WRITE TO YOUR LEGISLATORS! CONDEMN MARC ZUCKERBERG AND HIS EVIL EMPIRE, THE SHEEPLE OF FACEBOOK! SAVE OUR CHILDREN!!!!

We have to make a move and I am doing my part by this protest: I’m deleting all of my Facebook accounts! I urge you to do the same.

The Forgotten Lesson: Christ’s love for the children.

Thank you for reading!

Rev. Ch. Harold
Church, Ministry & Spiritual Care

 

 

Complacency is a Bad Thing…Especially in Local Government

Many of our local politicians may feel a bit self-satisfied, relaxed and complacent now that the elections are behind them and  history but that would be a very big mistake. At the Smalbany Blog Ops Center we’ve been very busy over the past couple of weeks sorting through information, investigations, reports, and it may have seemed to the foolish observer that we were forgetting ongoing investigations and reports. But don’t make that mistake! The watchdog never sleeps!

We’re Back on Track. Investigations and Reporting Normal

All systems Normal. Ready to Launch!

OK, you clowns, we’re ready to drop some bombs!

Make no mistake about it, dear readers, we haven’t forgotten a thing. You can expect us to pick up right where we left off before the elections. We may have some new focuses like Cindy Rowzee in Coeymans and the other newly elected Democrat tools, Daniel Baker, and Tom Frese. Rowzee, in particular, is going to have a hard time licking Phil Crandall’s boots while complying with the law — but having been Crandall’s “confidential secretary” she probably doesn’t have a clue what law is. Just wait until she has to produce minutes of town board meetings — both the original sound recordings and her transcripts for comparison —, and what she comes up with in response to demands for documents and information under the New York State Freedom of Information Laws.

Most of the Town of Coeymans is Social Services or Plain Jail Bait

That’s how the Democraps get elected or stay in office. Benefits buy votes!
Right Tom Dolan, Choices Program Director?

The BIG IF.

The good news is that Phil Crandall may not be in office much longer; that is, IF the Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares does his job and prosecutes him for violations of election law by allegedly forging signatures on his petitions or having the signatures falsely certified by his son-in-law, and for leaking confidential police investigation information to parties under investigation. Criminal activities? YES! But most of the Town of Coeymans is social services or plain  jail bait so they don’t mind scoff-laws in critical public offices.

In New Baltimore, Jeff Ruso finally got into the Supervisor’s office but through the back door — sometimes that’s the only way in. Since he wanted the job so badly, he’s going to be under special scrutiny starting now. Kellie Downes, newly elected to a seat on the New Baltimore Town Council, had better show some spunk right off the starting line and give us the impression she has the right stuff. Plumbing in politics may get you into office but it won’t keep you there.

The fallout is likely to affect the Town, Mitchell & Sterling, Trident, Greene County Elected Officials, State Officials. It’s BIG!
The only ones likely to escape are the shyster attorneys, Rapplea, Peck, Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C.

Ruso is inheriting the dirty end of the stick from Nick Dellisanti in the ongoing crisis in the New Baltimore Highway Department and Denis Jordan. We say “inheriting” and that may be the wrong term. You see, Jeff Ruso, was and still is in the thick of the scandal involving the Highway Department and Denis Jordan, as is Shelly van Etten, who was re-elected to her seat on the Town Council. Nick Dellisanti may have gotten out the back door by deciding not to run again, but he’s not off the hook, not by a long shot. So, let the fun begin! Round two is likely to be a knock-out round with the Town of New Baltimore and the New Baltimore Highway Department and its Superintendent Denis Jordan, and very likely his Deputy Superintendent Scott van Wormer flat on their backs.

What was Kellie Downes thinking when she decided to run for New Baltimore Town Council? She must have been on another planet to have run fully aware of what’s going on in the Town of New Baltimore and the New Baltimore Highway Department.

After all is said and done, where is New Baltimore’s county legislator Mr Patrick “Pat” Linger on all of this? And Mr George Amadore, NYS Senator for the 46th Senatorial District, New Baltimore’s reps, both of whom seem to indiscriminately be passing big taxpayer buck on to Mr Jordan and his center for misuse, abuse and waste.

We hope that Jeff Ruso gets together with his town attorney Tal Rappelea and realizes that the Town of New Baltimore is in violation of Town Law and Public Officers Law, as well as other statutes. They’d better have a very close look at the decisions of the New York State Office of the Comptroller over the past several years on the subject of maladministration and misadministration of Highway Departments and the Town Board’s duties and responsibilities.

The New York State Office of the Comptroller, in virtue of their own legal opinions over the past several years, must inaugurate investigations of the Town of New Baltimore and the New Baltimore Highway Department for misadministration, maladministration, corruption, negligence, incompetence and dereliction of duties and responsibilities. You can be sure we’ve done our homework and are ready to drop a test bomb.

Then there’s the question of the Town of New Baltimore Town Board’s dereliction of their duties and responsibilities to ensure fair play and justice to Town residents, and to respect their fiduciary (trust) duties to residents, not to mention their duty to comply with the law and precedent. This involves their insurance company’s lawyers, Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., and whether or not they are unethically and even illegally obstructing fair play and justice by not advising the insurance companies to settle or to at least tell the Town they don’t have a case, and to ensure the best interests of the Town by minimizing risk and settling fairly with the residents concerned.

The Town of New Baltimore is paying Marshall & Sterling Insurance (Leeds, NY), Trident insurance brokers, and Argo Group (Bermuda!) to cover the Town in its liabilities. Those insurance crooks are hiring attorneys to attempt to screw Town residents, and the Town Board stands by and lets this happen. In the meantime, the New Baltimore Town Board has their heads up their butts, along with town attorney Tal Rappelea, and the insurance company attorneys, Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., and is doing nothing to manage or to control the risks and liabilities that caused the problems in the first place: incompetence and abuses in the New Baltimore Highway Department under the direct supervision and authority of Denis Jordan. No problem, though, because we’re back on the case, locked and loaded, ready for the knock-out round. Are you ready for this, New Baltimore?

That’s the bottom line, the crappy truth, Town of New Baltimore!

Gregory “Cold-case” Seeley, Greene County Sheriff, is in the spotlight, too. Too many cases go cold in Greene County, despite the fact that the Sheriff’s Department has some pretty hard evidence to bring in the perps. But then, we have to consider that if the Greene County District Attorney, Joseph Stanzione, tells Seeley he won’t prosecute, Seeley has no choice but to chill the case. The fact of the matter is that both Seeley and Stanzione are Republicans and will be up for re-election soon; that’s when the cat hits the fan. Our advice to both Seeley and to Stanzione: produce something convincing or get off the pot!

Do something or get off the pot, dudes!

Stanzione is well informed about the New Baltimore Highway Department and Denis Jordan’s abuse of office and violations of law. Stanzione and the New York State Office of the Comptroller, too. So we have a Republican DA and a Democrap-run state office both tasked with investigating a Democrap elected official, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan. This is going to be a great show. Tune in with us.

We know all of the parties have been kept informed of what’s going on from Greene County DA Joe Stanzione, to the Office of the Comptroller, to the Town of New Baltimore insurance companies, and the attorneys, Tal Rappelea and Bailey. Everybody is now on the same page, or rather sheet, so to speak. Let’s see what they do with it. Not much left for them to use.

Sorry, New Baltimore, Not Much Left for You!
The Editor

Other matters in upcoming articles will be the Town and Village Courts, particularly Cairo Town Court and its dumbass justice, Leland Miller, the lawyers’ puppet judge, and New Baltimore Town Court, Thomas J. “Tom” Meacham, who has a long list of violations of judicial ethics hovering over him. We’re ready to literally flood the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct with formal complaints!

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2017 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Albany, Albany County Board of Elections, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Elections, Amedore Homes, Argo Group, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Cairo Justice Court, Charles H. Stahlman, Charles Stahlman, Chuck Irving, Cindy Rowzee, Coeymanazis, Coeymans, Coeymans Elections, Coeymans Town Board, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Corruption, Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, Darrell Puritan, Darryl L. Purinton, David Soares, DEC, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Department of Environmental Conservation, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, DOT, Drive-by Shooting, Elected Official, Eric T. Schneiderman, False Instrument, Fraud, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Investigation, Jean Valk, Joe Stanzione, John Faso, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joshua Bouchez, Judicial Misconduct, Ken Grey, Kirsten Gillibrand, Lawsuit, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore town council, New York, New York State, New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Comptroller, P. David Soares, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Phil Crandall, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Ravena, RegisterStar, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Senate District 46, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Stahlman, Susan K. O'Rorke, Tal Rappelea, Thomas Rickert, Tom Meacham, Town of Coeymans, Transparency, Trident, Trident Insurance, VanEtten, Zach Stahlman, Zachary C. Stahlman, Zachary Stahlman

 

Is the Town’s Plan to Exhaust Residents Seeking Justice?

New Baltimore Resident’s Message to Joe Stanzione, Greene County District Attorney:
“We, the public, pay the bills but we’re not getting delivery. As an attorney, you should recognize that this is unlawful.”

Taxpayers and Property Owners are not Means to Their End!
Tax Dollars Pay Public Employees’ and Elected Officials’ Salaries, and Provide Money for Reasonably Expectable Competent Services.
Not to damage our property and then ignore us!!!

New Baltimore insurers Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY), Trident Brokerage, and Argo Group (Bermuda) are being paid to work against New Baltimore Residents and Property Owners with good faith claims for damages. The Albany law firm of Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C. have been hired by New Baltimore’s insurers and New Baltimore to make sure New Baltimore residents, property owners and tax payers don’t get justice and fair play! Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? Don’t WE pay the bills in this town? If we as private citizens damage town property our sorry asses are in jail! Maybe that’s where our Town Board, our Town Sole Assessor, Gordon Bennett, and definitely our Town Superintendent of Highways, Denis Jordan, should be!

This is what our government has become!

When a government uses a taxpayer’s own dollars to screw the taxpayer, that’s downright immoral. The Town of New Baltimore pays for insurance to cover liabilities but when a liability occurs, the insurance coverage we pay for is used against us, and the town hides behind the insurance company’s lawyers. You want rights? Find another lawyer, pay him, spend years paying him or her, and when the money runs out, forget about it. You’re still paying. Why doesn’t the Town of New Baltimore wake up, accept the evidence, and stop playing games with residents. That’s not how it’s supposed to work guys and gals!

Here’s the text of a local resident’s letter to the insurance companies covering the Town of New Baltimore’s liability risk. It seems that New Baltimore’s Town Board (Jeff Ruso, Shelli van Etten, Chuck Brody, Scott Brody), Supervisor Nick Dellisanti,  and other elected officials are really missing the bus when it comes to doing what’s right for residents and taxpayers. The problem is that we elected these people who are spending so much time screwing us than they are making life better for us. No exceptions! From the SupervisorDellisanti, Deputy Supervisor Ruso,  to the town board members (Shelli van Etten, Chuck Irving, Scott Brody), to the Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan, to Gordon Bennett, New Baltimore Tax Assessor, who, rather than look at a piece of damaged property for reassessment, tells the property owner to ask for a form!!!

Here’s the full text of the letter to the Town’s insurance company:

Dear Insurance Specialists:[1]

Mr Thomas Rickert, CPCU, ARM, ARM-P, ARM-E, ARC, ARe, VP, Head of Marketing, Trident, ArgoGroup[2]
Joshua Bouchez , Territory Marketing Manager, East Coast[3]
Claims Reporting, Trident[4]
Ashley Heline, Communications Coordinator, ArgoGroup[5]
ArgoGroup Underwriters[6]

It has always been my understanding, and I would reasonably presume that of the general public, that insurance was a science of risk management, control, mitigation but our understanding has changed radically over the past two years on the example of ArgoGroup’s, Trident’s and Marshall & Sterling’s “risk management” in the Town of New Baltimore.

It seems your operations are more attuned to “risk aggravation” or “risk perpetuation” than to “risk management,” and this fact is borne out by a brief review of some of the reports published on a local watchdog blog, Smalbany Blog, which has been covering the incompetence and the abuses operating in the Town of New Baltimore, most specifically in the New Baltimore Highway Department under the direct supervision and authority of its Superintendent, Mr Denis Jordan. For your convenience, several of those links are provided at the end of this communication. You are encouraged, in your own interests, to review the contents of those articles.

Our Town Government at Work for Us.

In terms of fair play, justice and fiduciary obligations, ArgoGroup, Trident, the agency Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY) in collusion with the law firm of Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C.(Crystall R. Peck, attorney of record in this matter) and the Town of New Baltimore, you all get failing grades in terms of ethics and fair play. Furthermore, on objective and subjective moral assessment, your conduct is immoral.

It is very much in your interests to review the links provided below which provide a very clear picture of the real risk situation in New Baltimore and how the rights and interests of taxpayers, residents and others, including your shareholders, are being misused and abused.

The facts are indisputable, the evidence clear and convincing, the wrongful acts ongoing, and the damage to the public and to private interests substantial. This is bad press for you and your collaborators indeed.

Poor stewardship of public treasure, abuse of office, and indifference and incompetence at the state level (Mr George Amadore, NYS Senator, 46th Senatorial District), the county level (Greene County, NY; Greene County District Attorney, Mr Joseph Stanzione), and at the local, town level (Town of New Baltimore Town Board; Town of New Baltimore Highway Department, Highway Superintendant Denis Jordan; Town Attorney Mr Tal Rappelea) with the self-interests of Trident/ArgoGroup’s legal prostitutes Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis, & Peck P.C., are jointly, severally and individually traumatizing every concept of justice, fair play, professional ethics, good government, and abusing the fiduciary obligations and duties of local, county, and state elected officials, whose obligations are to the public weal, and to the individual uniquely concerned.

It is our well-founded observation that none of the parties listed in the above paragraph are complying with the basic tenets of ethics and the standards we, the public, expect of regulated enterprise, licensed professionals, elected officials; in fact, it is our observation, not our opinion, that Marshall & SterlingTridentArgoGroup, state senator George AmadoreGreene County officialsTown of New Baltimore officials, and the law firm of Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis, & Peck P.C.are making a public mockery of public and professional ethics, good government, responsible stewardship in government, and the notions of justice, fair play and fiduciary obligation to the citizen, resident, and most of all to the taxpayers of these communities.

As it now stands, the taxpayer and property owner is exposed to tenfold jeopardy[7]:

  • Jeopardy situation No. 1: As a property owner, one is obliged to pay substantial taxes on one’s property to support government and education; accordingly, the property owner, by and through their taxes and assessments, pays for the services of government. Forsaking all else in order to ensure timely payment of assessed property taxes, the property owner remits.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 2: When the services of government, including the wages and salaries, the goods and services required for operation, etc. operate contrary to the interests of the taxpayer, the taxpayer is harmed. The taxpayer/property owner is deprived of his reasonable expectations issuing from the payment of assessed property taxes.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 3: Included in the allocations of taxpayer dollars, that is, the taxes paid by the property owner, are set aside for the purposes of payment of the salaries and wages of individuals who are either indifferent or incompetent, and those individuals in the course of their employment, harm the taxpayer, those tax dollars are used ostensibly to harm the taxpayer. This is an egregious abuse of the notion of trust and fair play.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 3: When the competent government offices are served with notice of the above situation, and those authorities do not exercise and implement every available option to cure the defects and deficiencies, those authorities are derelict and guilty of misprision.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 4: When the harm done to the taxpayer/property owner is ongoing and attributable to the constructive operations and knowledge of the local competent government offices, each of the instances constitutes a new claim and a new harm to the taxpayer/property owner. Given the fact that the local government and the competent offices are duly notified, each instance constitutes a separate act of negligence/dereliction.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 5: The taxpayer/property owner not only is being deprived of reasonably expected level of competent services for his tax dollars, he is being deprived of good ethical government services, both of which result in financial damage to the taxpayer/property owner in terms of his good faith investment in his community and his reasonable expectations of financial advantage resulting from his investment. This deprivation is tortious.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 6: When the beneficiary local government by its negligence, indifference or incompetence then ignores the taxpayer/property owner’s good faith notice and demands for cure of the defects and deficiencies, and for compensation of the harm done, the local government ignores the claimant and, instead of fair response, hands the matter over to an underwriter, who then hands it over to a hired-gun law firm.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 7: Given the situations above and given the fact of Jeopardy situation No. 7, the taxpayer/property owner is confronted by a situation comparable to Buridan’s ass[8]: The choices available to the taxpayer/property owner to obtain justice are: (1) rely on the good will of local government, (2) proceed at law. A third option is merely to throw one’s hand’s into the air in despair, and lapse into anger and apathy. Conspicuously, option (1) is absent and unavailable to the taxpayer/property owner, and option (3) is unacceptable by any standard of assessment. This leaves Jeopardy situation No. 8.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 8: The taxpayer/property owner, while still obliged to pay his property taxes and other assessments to the delinquent and derelict town government and town officials, is compelled to seek out and to pay for legal services necessary for obtaining justice. This may be a calculated strategy deployed by the delinquent and derelict town government in collusion with their insurance underwriters and their attorneys, clearly expecting that the matter will have to endure a protracted course in pretrial procedures and, if the victim is persistent, then to endure the trial procedure. This normally lasts for a decade or more and can cost the harmed property owner hundreds of thousands of dollars. Regardless of the endurance of the harmed property owner in terms of financial resources and tenacity, he is still in jeopardy situation No. 9.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 9: The clear strategy of the town is to hand over the matter to the underwriter, who has almost limitless resources, who hands it over to a local law firm, who is on retainer by the insurance company. The combination of very deep pockets and a law firm on retainer and obliged to represent the interests of the insurance company over and against the interests of the property owner, regardless of the factual situation, encourages the insurance company and the law firm to keep the matter in the courts for as long as possible, ostensibly in the expectation of exhausting the property owners will, energy, and resources, causing him to withdraw.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 10: The interests of justice and the public weal are defeated, as are the interests of the property owner. The entire community and society at large are damaged, injured.

Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t.
Why are they doing this to us?

As the situation enumerated above clearly shows, the current situation is immoral and represents an insult to the precepts of ethics in government and the professions. We are demanding investigation and prosecution of the particular matter and the general situation in New Baltimore.

I reasonably expect that as this situation develops there will be commensurate and appropriate public outrage, a justified outrage that will manifest itself in a multitude of ways.

This communication will be submitted to the Smalbany Blog for editing and publication.

I look forward to your response and comments.

First of all, given the performance of these elected officials, they don’t deserve to be in office and should be booted out next election. Secondly, these crooked insurance agents and brokers should be boycotted and investigated by the regulatory authorities. As for the shysters, the prostitute law firms like  Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis, & Peck P.C, they should be drummed out of the profession; they’re whores practicing law and abusing it.

Well, we’ve done our homework and have researched the law and other applicable court decisions as well as opinions on the subject matter handed down by the Office of the New York State Comptroller. Apparently, New Baltimore Town Attorney, Tal Rappelea, although he claims to specialize in municipal (town) law, hasn’t done his required reading for this course. We’ll be happy to provide him with our Memorandum of Law at the next New Baltimore Town Board public meeting. We’d like him, Mr Denis Jordan (New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways), Mr Scott van Wormer (the “new” — or he will be — New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways), Mr Joe Stanzione (Greene County District Attorney), Ms Crystall Peck (Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C.), and the Greene County Press (Johnson Newspaper Group, Mary Delaney), and Ken Gray or Jean Valk (Marshall & Sterling Insurance) to be there to hear what we have to say, and maybe to comment, too. Maybe Greene County Sheriff Gregory Seally (R), “Mr Cold Case” Seally, will bring a couple of deputies and cuffs for the Town Board and Mr Jordan. We”ll also publish the Memorandum before the meeting so that the whole community can see what can and should be done to correct the disgusting situation in New Baltimore, and other towns like it.

Speaking of lawyers, here’s a bit of humor to take the edge off:

Question: Why does New York have all the lawyers and New Jersey all the toxic waste?
Answer: New Jersey had first choice.

Sign on New Baltimore Town Hall front door.

Enjoy your day!

The Editor

If you enjoyed this article, please copy and paste this link https://wp.me/p2jPFe-31V and email it to your friends, family, and contacts. Keep everyone informed.


Notes

[1] This communication was also cc’ed to Nick Dellisanti, Supervisor, Town of New Baltimore; Jeff Ruso, Deputy Supervisor, Town of New Baltimrore; Barbara Finke, Town Clerk, Town of New Baltimore; Mr. Joseph Stanzione, District Attorney, Greene County; Tal Rappelea, Town Attorney, Town of New Baltimore; Crystall R. Peck, attorney representing Trident/ArgoGroup (Town of New Baltimore); Ken Gray, Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY);  Jean Valk, Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY).

[2] Thom Rickert, CPCU, ARM, ARM-P, ARM-E, ARC, ARe VP, Head of Marketing, thom.rickert@tridentpublicrisk.com

[3] Joshua Bouchez, Territory Marketing Manager, East Coast, joshua.bouchez@tridentpublicrisk.com

[4] Trident Claims Reporting, claimsreporting@tridentpublicrisk.com

[5] Ashley Heline, Communications Coordinator, Argo Group US, ashley.heline@argogroupus.com

[6] The Argo Group is the parent of the Trident Insurance brokerage, and is located in Bermuda. Wonder Why? that is? Could it be for tax avoidance? (Argo Group, 110 Pitts Bay Road, Pembroke HM 08, Bermuda. info@argolimited.com

[7] Jeopardy is defined as being or being placed in a situation in which someone or something is exposed to possible injury, loss, or evil.

[8] Buridan’s ass is an illustration of a paradox in philosophy in the conception of free will. It refers to a hypothetical situation wherein a donkey that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. As used here, it represents a situation where the choices are equally good or equally bad; damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The donkey in the illustration is hungry but dies because it can make the choice of which bale to eat. The illustration relates to the situation in New Baltimore in that the options for the property owner are all going to cause more harm or more suffering no matter which choice he makes. The only good choice is for the Town of New Baltimore to choose to do what is fair and right. But they have chosen not to do so. Thus, the property owner is in the unfavorable situation he finds himself in.

 

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Alan van Wormer, Argo Group, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Chuck Irving, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Conspiracy, Corruption, Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, David Louis, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Diane Jordan, Diane Lewis, DOT, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, Eric T. Schneiderman, FaceBook, Fair Play, George Amadore, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Greene County News, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory R. Seeley, Hearst Corporation, Incompetence, Independence Party, Investigation, Irene Beede, Irresponsibility, Jean Horne, Jean Valk, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Ken Grey, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Melanie Lekocevic, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New Street, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Open Letter, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Public Corruption, Public Safety, Ravena News Herald, RCS Community, RegisterStar, Retaliation, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Susan K. O'Rorke, Tal Rappelea, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Town of New Baltimore, Transparency, Trident, Trident Insurance, Uncategorized

 

The Greed and Insanity of the American Funeral Industry: Dissolving your dead.

Editor’s Forward

From Deathcare Professional to Disposal Professional

At some point in time, the American funeral director has gone from deathcare professional to disposal professional. It’s really gotten out of hand and it’s time the American people started thinking better about themselves and started telling the government and the corporations to stop treating us like so much municipal waste. This doesn’t happen without the involvement of legislators and government. If funeral directors are forced into providing an immoral but legal service, who’s to blame them? We can boycott them and refuse to use them, and send our loved ones to someone who can treat them with human dignity. It’s our choice and we’d better start thinking about it before someone else makes the choices for us. This new movement in the funeral industry is just disgusting!

The Editor


Excerpt from the article by
Republished with Permission of the Author
Rev. Ch. Harold W. Vadney, BA, [MA], MDiv
Interfaith Bereavement Chaplain/Thanatologist

Dissolve and Flush: Funeralized Alkaline Hydrolysis.

The Newest Technology for Disposing of Dead Human Beings.


In the West, interment, inhumation, entombment have been the traditional  methods of disposing of dead human bodies, that is, prior to the late 19th century with the revival of cremation as an alternative. Until about 1880, cremation was anathema, unless, occasionally, at times of extraordinarily large numbers or dead, such as during war time, during epidemics, or following natural disasters, mass graves or incineration of the corpses was preferred to avoid further catastrophe in terms of public health. Fire cremation was revived in the West as a quasi-pagan option attributed to non-Christian freethinkers and masons or simply to anti-social elements but then took a different tack by appealing to the public health and environmentally conscious elements in conventional society. Today, economic concerns both consumer and industrial take precedence. The dominant market economies in the industrialized West, particularly in the USA, UK, and some Western European countries, as well as the insatiable appetite of post-modern, post-Christian cultures for novelty and individualism, have left the door ajar for the entry into the funeralization professions of an industrialized process called alkaline hydrolysis (AH), an industrial process invented in the late 19th century as a way of dissolving in strong chemicals farm animal waste for use as fertilizer.[1]


“Omnes homines terra et cinis” Sirach 12:32
[“All human beings are earth and ashes”]

In a particularly beautiful description of how the pre-Vatican II Church thought of the human being, and in poetry that was possible only in a more sensitive epoch of human history, one reads:[2]

“The old Church holds on to her dead with eternal affection. The dead body is the body of her child. It is sacred flesh. It has been the temple of a regenerated soul. She blessed it in baptism, poured the saving waters on its head, anointed it with holy oil on breast and back, put the blessed salt on its lips, and touched its nose and ears in benediction when it was only the flesh of a babe; and then, in growing youth, reconsecrated it by confirmation; and, before its dissolution in death, she again blessed and sanctified its organs, its hands and its feet, as well as its more important members. Even after death she blesses it with holy water, and incenses it before her altar, amid the solemnity of the great sacrifice of the New Law, and surrounded by mourners who rejoice even in their tears, for they believe in the communion of saints, and are united in prayer with the dead happy in heaven, as well as with those who are temporarily suffering in purgatory. The old Church, the kind old mother of regenerated humanity, follows the dead body of her child into the very grave. She will not throw it into the common ditch, or into unhallowed ground; no, it is the flesh of her son. She sanctifies and jealously guards from desecration the spot where it is to rest until the final resurrection; and day by day, until the end of the world, she thinks of her dead, and prays for them at every Mass that is celebrated; for, even amid the joys of Easter and of Christmas, the memento for the dead is never omitted from the Canon. She even holds annually a solemn feast of the dead, the day after “All Saints,” in November, when the melancholy days are on the wane, the saddest of the year, and the fallen leaves and chilly blasts presage the season of nature’s death.”[3]

The Church of bygone days frequently used prose poetically and quoted liberally from the Church Fathers and even from the ancient philosophers and historiographers like Plato, Seneca, Socrates, Cicero many of whom, though pre-Christian, did not eschew the notion of the immortal soul.  St Augustine writes, “We should not despise nor reject the bodies of the dead; especially we should respect the corpses of the just and the faithful, which the Spirit hath piously used as instruments and vessels in the doing of good works…for those bodies are not mere ornaments but pertain to the very nature of humankind.”[4]

Cremation made an occasional appearance in isolated periods of Western history or in outlier regions where Christianity had not yet attained dominance; cremation was largely associated with non-Christian, pagan cultures.

In the East, in places where Hinduism and Buddhism had a firm foothold, cremation was and continues to be the norm. In some geographical areas such as in parts of Tibet, where the ground is unfavorable to interment and wood is a scarce and valuable resource, exposure of the corpse or dismemberment of the corpse and consumption by carrion-eating birds, so-called sky-burial or, in its form where the dismembered corpse is cast into a fiver for consumption by fishes, water burial, is practiced.

A similar practice of exposure is found in Zoroastrian communities in Iran, in the so-called towers of silence or dakhma, where the dead are brought, exposed, and consumed by vultures; the skeletal remains are then later collected for disposal.

While isolated instances of cremation are reported both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, burial or entombment was conspicuously the norm. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, burning of a corpse was a final act of abomination, reserved for only the worst elements of society.

One of the common misapprehensions of the Church’s aversion to or discouragement of incineration of the human body as a routinely available option for final disposal is that it was associated with pagan or freethinker practice, or with attempts to dissuade believers from faith in a bodily resurrection. While this might have some historical substance and may be represented by some early writers, it is but a minor hypothesis.

Ancient flame cremation practiced by the ancients.

As Eusebius describes early Christian aversion to flame cremation in a statement that still holds plausible, “” they (the Pagans) did this (cremated) to show that they could conquer God and destroy the resurrection of the bodies, saying, now let us see if they will arise.” In other words, cremation was a challenge to the belief in bodily resurrection as taught and believed in the early Church.

Furthermore, no less a figure than Cicero advances the notion that incineration was of ancient practice in Rome, and suggests that inhumation was a practice that predated the Roman practice of cremation. In fact, some noble Roman families never permitted their bodies to be burned, and Sulla is said to have been the first Roman who ordered his body to be cremated after death, lest his bones should be scattered by his enemies.[5] The pontiffs of pagan Rome would not acknowledge a funeral to be complete unless at least a single bone cut off from the corpse, or rescued from the flames, had been de posited in the earth.

Ancient Greece and Rome did practice cremation at various points in their histories but the ultimate disposal of the remains continued to be burial; either a part not consumed by the flames or the “bones” of the cremated corpse were ultimately buried in the earth. Cremation was by no means consistently the norm or the preferred method of disposal in Greece or in Rome.

Pope Boniface VIII forbade all violent modes of disposing of the dead as savoring of barbarism. “The respect due to the human body requires that it should be allowed to decay naturally, without having recourse to any violent system;” so says Grandclaude. A forcible argument against cremation is also found in the Catholic custom of preserving and honoring the relics of the Saints and putting their bodies or portions of them in the altar. It would be no longer possible to have the most important relics of future Saints if their flesh were to be consumed by fire.

That brief sampling of ancient teachings and beliefs regarding the question of incineration of human remains, arguably a “violent system” of disposing of human remains, should suffice to provide a background for the remainder of this discussion. For a more detailed discussion, I refer the reader to the Reverend Bann’s article cited above.

It was only in the late 19th century that a cremation movement came into being, and then only owing to the deplorable conditions in the cities which were rapidly outgrowing their boundaries due to immigration from rural areas, and the resulting encroachments on the previously outlying churchyards and, with population growth and densification, poor sanitation, and high mortality rates, consequent overfilling of existing cemeteries literally to the point of overflowing.

The urban slums of the Industrial Age.

Such were the conditions that gave rise to the public health concerns of reformers who claimed that the dead in the cemeteries were evil, that their miasmas leached out into the water and the spaces of the living, causing disease, suffering, and death. It was the evil dead rotting in the earth and their juices that were public health enemy No. 1. The open sewers and living conditions of the larger cities, and the putrid waters of the rivers flowing through them, of course, were not to blame.

And so, an alternative method of disposal of the dangerous and filthy dead had to be found, one that did not threaten to gobble up valuable real estate, and one that could be justified in the face of Church and religious objections. Cremation was the most obvious answer for purifying the unclean corpses. After all, since time immemorial fire was the great purifier.

In the beginning, therefore, the initial impetus was the miasma theory of pestilence, and corpses were to blame. Then, around 1880, the germ theory of disease was born. It debunked the established miasma theory of disease, and stated that disease was caused by specific organisms, germs. No problem for the cremationists, who were quite agile in dropping the miasma theory and accepting the germ theory but corpses were not yet off the hook, so to speak.

If germs were the cause of many of the diseases afflicting the population, wouldn’t the putrid rotting corpse be germ heaven? And if you have all those corpses lying about doing nothing but what corpses do, that is, rotting and defiling the air with the aromas of putrecine and cadaverine. Those same rotting corpses were breeding grounds for pestilence and a simple hole in the ground was not very likely to contain the little vermin. Cremation, the great sterilizer, would be the cremationists’ next slogan. But it didn’t last long.

The interests of the economic-minded would carry the day both in terms of the environment and the economy, and that campaign agenda is with us to this day. Basically, the dirge goes: “Why allocate so much valuable land to the dead when the living can profit by it?” Land for the living! After all, as corporations like StoneMor can confirm, cemetery real estate and the real estate occupied by the cemeteries represents a vast fortune. Someone has to tap into it.

The countries of Europe afflicted with the spirit of rationalism had no problem dealing with cemeteries; they just overruled the Church and legislated that the state had ultimate control of the citizen in life and in death. The Church could fall back on canon law but ultimately had to acquiesce to the state’s overwhelming power, and so the cemeteries were secularized. Once secularized they were emptied and their occupants relegated to ossuaries or catacombs en masse, and anonymous in their tens, even hundreds of thousands. In many instances, their eviction from the cemeteries and relocation to the quarries was done under cover of night, in order not to offend the living or present an obstacle to commerce.

France was one of the first Western nations to desecrate consecrated ground and defile the dead.

In countries where the Church, Roman Catholic or mainstream Protestant dominated, the faithful were expected under established sanctions, to obey the doctrines of their faith. For most mainstream Christians, and for all Orthodox Jews and Muslims, cremation was an abomination, and burial in the earth or entombment were the only acceptable methods of sepulture. And so it remained until 1963, when the Roman Catholic Church relieved it’s ban on cremation and, while not encouraging cremation, did not censure those who opted for incineration as their preferred method of disposal. Upto then, those choosing cremation were pro forma classified as apostates, atheists, pagans, free-thinkers, or Masons.

The 1960’s was a decade of revolutionary reform in practically every aspect of life: politics, religion, morals, education, all of which ultimately found expression in attitudes towards life, death, dying and after-death.

Alkaline hydrolysis (AH)[6], aquamation[7], resomation[8], biocremation[9], call it whatever you like it all literally boils down [no pun intended] to taking a dead human body, placing it into a pressure cooker, adding water and chemicals, heating, cooking, draining, rinsing. The dissolved flesh and organic matter is then flushing into the sewer system. What is left is bones and any metallic or synthetic material in the body (artificial joints, pacemakers, sutures, etc.). The metal such as artificial joints etc. will be recycled or “repurposed.”  The bones will be dried and ground up into a sandlike powder and returned to the family or otherwise disposed of.

The actual patented process, alkaline hydrolysis (AH) is a process developed for waste disposal. “Waste disposal” is the actual term used in the patents. AH was developed for disposal of infectious or hazardous waste by dissolving it into a “safe and sanitary” end-product. In fact, the actual wording of one of the patents is: “it is an object of this invention to provide a system and method for safely treating and disposing of waste matter containing undesirable elements, such as infectious, biohazardous, hazardous, or radioactive elements or agents.”

AH was developed for dissolving, liquefying organic matter into a disposable liquid that can be recycled as a fertilizer or simply flushed down the drain. It’s actually a technology that was developed in the late 19th century for disposing of animal waste, and which was developed in the mid-20th century for disposal of farm slaughter waste and for elimination of medical school cadavers, is now being promoted as the new eco-friendly take on cremation. Alkaline hydrolysis a.k.a. water cremation a.k.a. biocremation —  in reality just using a Draino®-like chemical to dissolve the dead human body and flush the remaining human sludge down the drain into the public sewer system — is the new rage in technology. Some funeral homes in about 14 states, where the process is now legal in the United States are now offering it as an alternative to cremation. It’s disgusting and will be a hard sell, since it will be acceptable only to the really bizarre element out there. I hope to clarify some of the issues in this article.

This is not how human beings should be treating their dead.

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Notes

[1] See also History of Alkaline Hydrolysis by Joseph Wilson. Wilson is the chief executive officer of Bio-Response Solutions, one of the first companies involved in the industrialization and marketing of alkaline hydrolysis for the disposition of human bodies. Joseph H. Wilson, The History of Alkaline Hydrolysis, e-pub, September 2013, 3, http://www.goodfuneralguide.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/History-of-Alkaline-Hydrolysis.pdf last accessed on October 29, 2017). The original patent filed by A.H. Hobson, U.S. Patent No. 394982 (1888), describes the process as a “… process of treating bones, which consists in digesting the bones in an alkaline solution in the presence of heat, then separating and concentrating the solution, thereby forming glue, gelatine, or size, in then digesting the remaining hone in a strong alkaline solution, so as to completely dissolve the remaining nitrogenous matter, and bring-the same into a more readily assimilable form…” (Claim 2), and as “certain new and useful improvements in the treatment of bones and animal waste or refuse generally for the purpose of rendering the same more suited for fertilizing purposes, and for obtaining gelatine, glue, and size…” (https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/pdfs/US394982.pdf last accessed on October 28, 2017).

[2] By way of precluding any possible suggestion of supercessionism, I would like to state from the outset that I am citing Roman Catholic writers in much of this discussion not because I am so biased but because I would rather use as my foundation a more systematized, mature, and stringent authority, which, if necessary can be attenuated or mollified mutatis mutandi in further arguments, rather than a more loose, liberal, or permissive approach as represented by the more progressive Protestant or post-Christian denominations. Although I practice as an interfaith chaplain, I am steeped in a more classical tradition than many of my contemporaries, and I ask that my readers take that subjective proclivity into consideration when reading my statements.

[3] Brann, Rev. H.A., DD, “Christian Burial and Cremation.” American Catholic Quarterly Review, Vol. X (Jan-Oct 1885). Philadelphia: Hardy & Mahony. p. 679. Reverend Brann provides a rather comprehensive background and discussion of Roman Catholic sources and thinking on cremation, which, in my reading, is remarkable in its tolerance, given the sociopolitical climate in which it was written (1885-6).

[4] De Civ. Dei Cap. XIII, p. 27, Vol. 41, Migne’s Patrologia.

[5] Desecration by scattering of one’s bones appears to be a thread running through much of ancient human history. Compare Sulla’s concern with the Biblical account (I Kings 31:12) of the incineration of the bodies of Saul and his sons to prevent desecration by the Philistines.

[6] US Patents 5,332,532, 6,437,211, 6,472,580, 7,183,453, 7,829,755, and U.S. Patent No. 7,910,788 (method).

[7] “Aquamation: A Greener Alternative to Cremation?” By Marina Kamenev/Sydney, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010 (http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2022206,00.html, last accessed on October 28, 2017)

[8] “Innovation in sustainable end of life choices” the slogan of the Scottish company Resomation®(http://resomation.com/, last accessed on October 28, 2017).

[9] “Biocremation. A Natural Choice.” (http://biocremationinfo.com/consumers/what-is-bio-cremation, last accessed on October 28, 2017)