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Category Archives: NYSED

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

 

 

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Board of Education Disses 911 Remembrance!!!

All over the United States, in schools, churches, government offices, courtrooms the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, were being remembered by observing a moment of silence.

The Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Board of Education Disses 911 Remembrance

It’s all over the place in the RCS school district: The schools of the RCS Central School District refused to remember the victims of the 911 terror attacks with a moment of silence. Even the students are outraged as we receive reports of Facebook posts posted by RCS students and expressing their outrage that there was no moment of silence on Monday, September 11, 2017. We find this disgraceful but are very impressed that kids who weren’t even born yet or were infants at the time of the attacks express such compassion and sensitivity to be outraged by their adult handlers’ lack of compassion and sensitivity to a national tragedy that resulted in multiple wars that are still causing misery and suffering at home and abroad.

What’s next?
Will RCS start flying the Saudi flag?

What’s next parents, residents, taxpayers? Do we start pledging allegiance to the flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? Will we next see the Saudi flag raised at the high school?

Most of us will remember 911 with a certain disbelief even today, years after the attack. We all know that the terrorists who planned and executed the attacks were from Saudi Arabia, a country with a long record of anti-West sentiments and whose human rights crimes are legendary. That’s Osama bin Laden’s home country and his family are affluent citizens of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia where Sharia or Islamic law requires women to be completely covered and still features public beheadings as their preferred capital punishment.

SABIC’s Flag Flies in Selkirk!

Right in our midst we have SABIC is a global leader in diversified chemicals and whose headquarters are in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares, with the remainder held by private investors in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.Check out their website and tell us it’s not scary! SABIC is located in Selkiirk/Feura Bush and has recently been granted substantial school tax incentives locally. The plot thickens!

According to a 2014 Times Union report by Brian Nearing, “Selkirk plastics plant hit with third environmental fine in three years,” the Saudi company was fined $16,000 for those violations but in 2011 and 2013 paid $241,000.00 in fines for environmental violations. But then that’s mere pocket change to the Saudis. More improtantly, apparently the Saudis are not happy just killing Americans and destroying American property, they aim to destroy American environment, too, starting right in our own backyards. The plot thickens even more!

So why are we so concerned about a Saudi chemicals company in Selkirk who, like so many American companies, is intent on destroying our environment and our health? After all, it’s just a country several thousands of miles away with terrorist ties and human rights violations. Not much unlike so many of America’s “friends”. So what you might be thinking.

So what? Here’s why:

The property owners in the RCS Central School District pay millions in taxes to support the now more than $46 million school budget for the district, while local towns are giving companies like Sabic and Selkirk Cogen tax breaks. The residents of the RCS Central School District vote for the members of the RCS Central School District Board of Education. According to the RCS CD Board of Education website, the board is:

“A local board of education is an agency of New York State that is governed by state law and the regulations of the commissioner of education.”

The BoE website also states the five main responsibilities of the RCS BoE to be:

  • to establish all school district policies;
  • to develop an annual budget for public approval;
  • to approve or disapprove the superintendent’s recommendations regarding personnel matters and the many contracts the district must enter;
  • to review courses of study and textbooks;
  • to act as a two-way communications link between residents and the superintendent

The site also states that: “The decisions of your elected board of education affect your child, your child’s future, your tax rate, and the well-being of your community.

RCS BoE President James Latter is a SABIC Employee; Jason Hyslop, a BoE member is a SABIC Employee!!!

In 2013, we published two articles on this blog with very serious warnings: James Latter: Why He’s A Bad Choice and Latter-Hyslop-Brown: The VERY WRONG Choice! but somehow Latter and Hyslop got elected to the board, and it’s been downhill ever since. You see, both James Latter, RCS BoE president, and Jason Hyslop are employees of SABIC. Where do you think their loyalties lie? In their paychecks or in the interests of the school district?

So now you have two RCS Central School District Board of Education members, its president, James Latter, and a sitting board member, Jason Hyslop, both employees of Saudi-owned SABIC, “establishing school district polices” and to “review courses of study and textbooks“, and keep in mind that, according to the Board’s own statement, “the decisions of your elected board of education affect your child, your child’s future, your tax rate, and the well-being of your community.

So now that we have informed you AGAIN that you have two SABIC lackies on your board of education and you put them there, we hope that at the next meeting you will propose that courses for conversational Arabic be offered the elementary, middle and high school curriculums, because you’re going to need it to pledge allegiance to the Saudi flag. After all, the RCS CD Board of Education does establish all school district policies and their decisions affect your children, your child’s future, and the well-being of your community.

So why do you think there was no moment of silence in RCS schools on September 11, 2017? Do we really have to answer that question?

Here you go, we’ll get you stared. Repeat after Mr Latter:

لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله
lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muhammadun rasūlu-llāh
“There is no god but God: Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”


Get the Saudi Companies off our Board of Education!!!

The Editor


Let your RCS Central School District Board of Ed members know what you think!
James Latter, President of the RCS-CD BoE and SABIC Employee
Teddy Reville
Bray Engel
Tina Furst-Hotaling
Kristin Hill-Burns
Jason Hyslop, BoE member and SABIC Employee
William McFerran
William McFerran
Peter Ross

Email all board members

 

Bring Out Your Dead! A Monty Python Prophesy

A Message from the Editor

We’ve been sharing some posts on the funeral business and deathcare from several other sites. While this is not the focus of this blog, we don’t mind because the posts have attracted substantial interest. This post will be the last deathcare post we will be re-publishing on this blog. If you want to continue reading about deathcare in the US, please go to the following sites and follow them. Glad you are enjoying the posts so much but we have to get back to local political and social issues.

You can visit the following blogs for posts on death, dying, funeral services, and other death-related topics:

Thanatology Café
Spirituality, Bereavement & Grief Care
Pastoral CareHomiletics & Spiritual Care
The Church, Ministry, and Pastoral Care

Happy Holidays!
The Editor


Republished with Permission from Thanatology Café.

There is a great deal to be said about our healthcare and deathcare industries in the US, they are similar in many respects and exhibit similar functional flaws in a general sense. In the humanectomized materialist consumerism driven culture in which we live, the corporations have reduced most of us to human means to a corporate end. Most of US humanity has been dehumanized to the level of mere consumers. This is not a new development, however, and can be read in many quasi-prophetic sources.

In a recent conversation with a licensed funeral director and funeral home operator, who read our article on Nicholas Facci and Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (March 26, 2017), we discussed among other things the funeral chains’ exploitation of the demise of our traditions. We continue that discussion here together with some and some interesting anecdotes about the Albany County Coroner’s office.

After that discussion, I couldn’t help but think about one of the many hysterical scenes in the Monty Python film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” or of the grim portrayal by Dr John B. Huber of the Manchurian Plague (20th c.) and the Black Plague (14th c.).

Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”

The scene takes place during the Black Plague in medieval somewhere, and opens with the sounds of strange medieval music. Discordant and sparse images. Wailings and groanings. Close up of contorted face upside down. A leg falls across it. Creaking noise. The bodies lurch away from and scene pans out to reveal they are amongst a huge pile of bodies on a swaying cart that is lumbering away from the viewer. It is pulled by a couple of ragged, dirty emaciated wretches, the cart drivers. Behind the cart walks another large man, a slightly more prosperous Porter, wearing a black hood and looking rather sinister. The Porter is carrying an emaciated old man over his shoulder who is still moving, and protests “I’m not dead!” The dialogue goes something like this:

The scene: (The Porter carrying an old man slung over his shoulder, approaches the cart and the cart driver…)
Cart Driver: Bring out your dead!
Porter: Here’s one!
Cart Driver: Ninepence.
Old man: I’m not dead!
Card Driver: What?
Porter: Nothing…Here’s your ninepence.
Cart Driver: Er…He says he’s not dead!
Porter: Yes he is.
Old Man: I’m not.
Cart Driver: He isn’t.
Porter: Well he will be soon. He’s very ill.
Old Man: I’m getting better!
Porter: No you’re not. You’ll be stone-dead in a moment.
Cart Driver: I can’t take him like that; it’s against regulations!
Old Man: I don’t want to go on the cart!
Porter: Oh don’t be such a baby.
Cart Driver: I can’t take him like that!
Old Man: I feel fine!
Porter: Oh, do us a favor…
Cart Driver: I can’t.
Porter: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won’t be long…
Cart Driver: I promised I’d be at the Robinson’s. They’ve lost nine today.
Porter: Well, when’s your next round?
Cart Driver: Thursday.
Old Man: I think I’ll go for a walk.
Porter: (To the Old Man) You’re not fooling anyone, you know! (to the Cart Driver) Look. Isn’t there something you can do?
Old Man: (Singing) I feel happy, I feel happy!
The Cart Driver looks at the Porter for a moment. Then they both do a quick furtive look up and down the street. The Cart Driver very swiftly brings up a club and hits the Old Man on the head. (Out of shot but the singing stops after a loud bonk noise.)
Porter: Ah! Thanks very much! (Handing over the ninepence) See you on Thursday!
(Tossing old man onto the bodies on the cart)
Cart Driver: That’s all right! See you on Thursday.

(View the clip on YouTube)

While transcribing the dialogue I thought to myself how prophetic this 1975 spoof was.  More than 40 years later we can watch this clip and it sends cold shivers down your spine. Back then what was morbidly hilarious has become stark reality for us today.

“Bring out your dead!” Newcomer Funerals and Cremations TV Ads.

Cryptkeeper Newcomer Ad

There you are, sitting enjoying a snack thinking “Life is good!” And Warren “Ren” Newcomer, the cadaver-like founder of the Newcomer Funeral Services Group based in Wichita, Kansas, appears on your television screen. He’s the 21st century version of the Cryptkeeper and plays the part really well. He looks like an embalming gone awry and oozes a false compassion and insincere expression that makes you want to choke on your chips. Here’s a guy who has made millions exploiting the deaths of loved ones and doing his part to destroy our death traditions while grinning like a corpse on the way to the bank.  Newcomer Funeral Services Group has two locations in the Albany, New York, area, and has a presence in some 10 states. There are other similar funeral chains, Walmart-type factory funeral companies that have bought up private funeral businesses, cemeteries and crematoriums across the country. They operate under names like Service Corporation International (SCI), Dignity Memorial™, StoneMor Partners, Precoa, and of course, Newcomer Funerals and Corpse Disposal. What their advertising and marketing messages say to us, despite the actors and the phony compassion, is what Monty Python is teaching: “Bring out your dead!” Toss them on the cart and we’ll see you on Thursday (and don’t forget your checkbook or credit card).

“I’m Not Dead!” The Office of the Albany County Coroner declares a woman dead but she revives in the morgue

In New York Times article “They Said She Was D.O.A., But Then the Body Bag Moved” (Robert D. McFadden, 11/18/94) The author reports that Albany County Coroner Philip Furie and  Paramedics allegedly “found no heartbeat, no pulse, no breath or other signs of life, and the coroner declared her officially dead.”  So they “ zipped Mildred C. Clarke,  into a body bag, took her to the morgue at the Albany Medical Center Hospital and left her in a room where corpses are kept at 40 degrees, pending autopsies or funerals. About 90 minutes later, the chief morgue attendant went in to transfer her to a funeral home. “ The attendant noticed some movement in the body bag, unzipped it and found that Mildred was still breathing. She was moved to intensive care and treated but the case has never been explained. The L.A. Times reports later that “Mildred Clark, the 86-year-old woman who spent 90 minutes in a morgue cooler last week after mistakenly being declared dead, died Wednesday of undisclosed ailments, a hospital spokesman said…. Albany Medical Center Hospital spokesman Richard Puff said Clark’s family had requested that the cause of death be withheld.” Any guesses as to the cause of death?

According to the article, “Albany is the only major city in New York State that does not have a medical examiner, an official who is trained in forensic pathology, and this would be a real advantage,”  The office of the coroner is  a relic still found  in many American cities. Albany elects four coroners to declare deaths and investigate their  causes. They have no medical training but are required to attend a “death investigation course.”  The coroners are expected to evaluate crime scenes and suspicious deaths, but they have no medical training.

We’re investigating some leads relating to the performance of the Albany County Coroners, and will report on our findings in a future article. We suspect that the Albany County Coroner isn’t very popular among local funeral directors. But Hey! this is Smalbany, isn’t it? There’s a job for every misfit in the Albany Democratic Machine, isn’t there?

“Look. Isn’t there something you can do? Ah! Thanks very much! See you on Thursday.” Inconvenience of the Dying Process.

We’re so very busy and so much in a rush. Why? Because our handlers tell us we are. We’ve lost our sense for distinguishing what is nice and what is necessary. We no longer have to think. Advertisers tell us what we need. Marketers tell us what to ask for. Government tells us how to live. Churches tell us how to die. Emails tell us we need to Hurry! and to Rush! because time is running out to buy a certain something. Hell! We don’t even die in peace. Hospitals transform us into cyborgs with tubes and electrodes at every available spot, and when all else fails, they still want to provide “billable services.” Only when you have had enough watching the technology fail do you scream STOP! Even when the so-called healthcare team has the good sense to admit that they can’t do anything more, they recommend shipping what’s left of mom or dad to hospice. And so at hospice the saga continues. When death finally occurs, whether it’s helped along or drags out to the end, we are still in a hurry, still have other things to do. But yet again, the materialist consumerism we are addicted to has the solution for immediate relief of any inconvenience, even death. There are customized death packages for every budget ranging from direct burial or direct cremation to the “traditional funeral.” Just ask for the Detailed Price List required by the FTC’s Funeral Rule and prepare to be nickel-and-dimed. You have abandoned the traditional funeral home with the family funeral director and have opted for the Walmart funeral chain, the factory funeral service provider. And you deserve everything you get. Sorry but it’s true.

We’ve all read about states like Oregon and Washington that have legislated physician-assisted suicide (PAS), euthanasia in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. We all know about the hospice movement that has degenerated into another instance of corporate exploitation of death and the demise of the family. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Monty Python prophesied the hastening of death movement. True, we no longer use a club to help the dying along; we’ve become much more refined in the 21st century. We now use chemicals and drugs. Or, if we’ve made mom or dad into an ICU cyborg, we simply remove the respirator, inject some morphine and “Ah! Thanks very much. See you on Thursday” at the viewing. We’ve come a long way into our degeneration!

Get the shocking truth about Service Corporation International (SCI) here.

We really have to chuckle when we read such crapola like “Service Corporation International is dedicated to compassionately supporting families at difficult times, celebrating the significance of lives that have been lived, and preserving memories that transcend generations, with dignity and honor. (SCI site at , last accessed on April 6, 2017). If you’re ready to believe that operations like SCI or Newcomer, corporations with their eyes on the bottom line, with their programmed funeral directors and staff operating on a corporate agenda, are there to do what the family funeral home once did, you’re already brain dead. SCI is constantly being sued, settling, or paying out huge judgments resulting from their mistakes. But when you’re making billions, who cares. The living keep dying; sky’s the limit! Get on the cart.


A bit of history: In 1962, Robert L. Waltrip, a licensed funeral director who grew up in his family’s funeral business, founded Service Corpration International. SCI started out as a small network of funeral homes and cemeteries in the Houston, Texas, area.

SCI gradually increased its offshore presence, and it continued to acquire business interests in North America. Since the late 1990s the US and Canadian marketplaces a  saturated battleground of competing companies intent on buying up and exploiting the deathcare business sector. SCI, In the course of the melee, Alderwoods Group and Stewart Enterprises emerged as the three principal companies in the resulting funeral corporation industry. As of December 31, 1999, SCI owned and operated 3,823 funeral service locations, 525 cemeteries, 198 crematoria and two insurance operations located in 20 countries on five continents. In 1999, SCI introduced Dignity Memorial, the first transcontinental brand offering deathcare goods and services in North America. By consolidating its network of funeral homes and cemeteries under a single brand, SCI expected that they could create a recognizable and marketable brand image. In 2000, poor market conditions forced SCI to reevaluate operations. While foreign operations had once shown promise, nearly 70 percent of SCI’s revenue was generated by operations in the United States and Canada. The company decided to divest many of its offshore businesses, in addition to many North American funeral homes and cemeteries. The UK arm now operates as Dignity PLC.


“I don’t want to go on the cart!” How we treat our dying; how we treat ourselves.

Monty Python presents an interesting scenario at a time when Jessica Mitford was enjoying the fruits of her muckraking book, “American Way of Death,” (1963), and the funeral home chains and funeral service factory corporations were reaching their peak of exploitation when Mitford’s “American Way of Death Revisited” was poshumously published (1998). Monty Python had it right. But we all laughed our way straight to hell.

 

J.B. Huber MD: “Psychology of Grave Epidemics”
(Med. Times, 1911)

Moving from a 1975 comedy spoof we can cite a remarkable article that appeared in the December 1911 journal, Medical Times, by John B. Huber MD. Dr Huber writes about the great Manchurian Plague (1910-1900), and compares it to the Black Plague (1347-1351). I’d like to quote some passages from that 1911 medical journal article. See if you can draw any parallels with our 21st century society.

Yet business was conducted as ordinarily—by those still alive; and the stroller “viewing the manners of the town,” would hardly realize from the superficial aspect of things, that a dreadful scourge was gradually but surely destroying its people. Yet the plague had, from November last up to this New Year’s Day, done for one-fourth of the twenty thousand inhabitants of that community; and it was then expected that more than half the remainder would be doomed before the plague would expend its energies.

On this festive New Year’s Day in that Manchurian town, the mounted policeman’s horse had its tail brightly decorated with green and red streamers; a shop keeper burst merrily out upon a group in the street, scaring them with a bunch of firecrackers which he flung up into the air. A green house was decorated with bright red, gilt lettered posters, festive banners and green paper flags, all by way of celebration. Next door the yellow poster of the Sanitary Bureau was in evidence, sealing up that house, and marking it unclean; “eight dead, two dying,” are the tally with which it began the New Year. (Huber p. 353)

Sounds like our modern lifestyle: death looms around us but we just continue partying, ignoring it, until we have to go down that dark alley and have no choice but to confront the darkness, the gloom. Manchuria in the early 20th century doesn’t seem much different from Troy or Albany in the early 21st century.

“Eight dead, two dying.” Sound’s like Monty Python’s Cart Driver, “They’ve lost nine today.” Or like the handoff report in an ICU. Whether you’re tallying plague victims or scheduling body collections, or handing off your charges to the next shift, the language used tells it all: We’ve all become mere garbage bags laying about until we get collected, transported, disposed of. Don’t you think there should be more to the final chapter of a life lived, and the received legacy?

Plague: carting the dead, by Moynet
A cart with the dead.

“The carters that loaded the dead on the wagons and took them away would not walk, but sat companionably beside the corpses.”  (Huber p. 353)

And so do we in the 21st century. The 21st century carters load up the dead and take them away; the bereft sit complacently beside the corpses. One would hope that we have advanced a bit farther along than our ancestors, that we would observe the traditions handed down to us, perform the grief and mourning rituals so important to psychospiritual healing. Some of us do. Most haven’t a clue, and rely on the bean counters to guide them.

Direct Burial: Coffinless in Pits

“Nine hundred were buried coffinless in pits; above two thousand frozen corpses, in a most desolate stillness, awaited burial near the town, in a heap a quarter-mile long. Some coffins were in evidence, standing upright, without covers, the bodies erect in them; here an arm stuck upright out of its receptacle; there a naked leg protruded. Near the pile of which he was soon to become a member, was seen an outcast kneeling, worshipping, half falling in his weakness, as he bowed his head and rose again, before the grave of an ancestor.´ (Huber p. 353)

On the one hand we get a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes at one of the funeral home chains or factory-funeral homes as described by a young licensed funeral director now employed by Newcomer Funerals and Cremations. On the other hand, we are presented with a feeble suffering wretch who, despite his own suffering, has not forgotten his obligations in continuing his bonds with the dead, one of whom he shall soon be. It’s a rich, telling image; in a sense very real but very metaphorical. Once you create that image in your mind, you’ll not soon forget it.

“[T]he plague was coming to its most dreadful stage, for it was now destroying the family affections…Thus, most gruesomely, does the twentieth century repeat the fourteenth.”  (Huber p. 354)

While Dr Huber is describing a real epidemic, the Manchurian Plague of 1910-11, and describes the Black Death of the 14th century that swept away a substantial part of medieval Europe’s population, we are faced with a more insidious plague that is robbing us of our core values to family and kin, both living and dead. Huber, a medical man, calls this the “most dreadful stage” because it was destroying the core of the culture, the bonds of family. I’d guess he’d probably go further to say that the 21st century repeats both the 14th and the 20th, but that our plague is materialist consumerism promoted by greed and the catastrophe of so-called individual choice.

“Next to the fear of death was the fear of desertion.” (Huber p. 354)

Early 20th century China had very strong family ties, ties of responsibility, filial piety. This sense of duty was the basis of the veneration of ancestors, a form of continuing bond with the dead, similar to the West’s veneration of its sacred dead, the saints. Huber is describing a fear of abandonment, of “desertion” to be on a par with the fear of death. In clinical practice, whether in the nursing home or the hospital setting, or hospice, we find persons who are ready to confront death but fear doing it alone; they have a fear of desertion. We might extend that fear of desertion to the bereaved, as well, but their desertion is far more subtle than committing the dying to some remote corner of the medical ICU or to a hospice facility. The bereaved are not only saddled with their loss but also with the daunting confrontation with the corporate funeral director with his endless list of goods and services with their respective prices. All is done with the sensitivity of an embalming trocar. What ever happened to the compassionate family funeral home and its director, frequently assisted by his family.

Black-Death-Plague-Doctor-Clothing

“Who, then, would be so foolhardy as to throw good life after bad, by nursing a dying friend, when the Black Death lay per chance in his last sign, in the farewell pressure of his hand. So the nearest and dearest ties were dissolved, the calls of kindred and humanity neglected; the sick left to die and to be carted to the grave by hirelings…” (Huber p. 354)

Indeed, who today would be so traditional as to give up his or her self-time to care for a dying relative or friend, especially one who is in the disturbing phases of life’s end. Most persons are ambivalent about the whole process: On the one hand they look to the death as something unbearable in its finality; on the other hand they just want to get it over with. The death occurs and the bereaved are fed the 20th century psychological pablum that their connection with the dead person has ended, that they have to get on with a productive life. That was Freud’s teaching: You had to cut your ties with the dead. Quite the opposite of that in the East or in traditional societies, and quite a contrast to what we now teach in the 21st century. We now teach continuing bonds with the dead, a transcendence phenomenon, meaning-making, that the living’s relationship with the deceased is not only normal and healthy, it’s encouraged! We do it in the rituals of the support group or in ways like the AIDS quilt. We may do it differently than the poor wretch venerating his ancestors described by Huber but we nonetheless do it. We do it because it’s the human thing we do. But it’s also so very inconvenient for the chains and the corporations; they don’t encourage humanity, they encourage production and consumerism. Take three days and get over your grief. Back to work with you. See you on Thursday.

“Boccaccio attests vividly how the human organism in all its phases—physical, spiritual, moral, intellectual—deteriorated in stamina and in co-ordination. Compassion, courage and the nobler feelings were found in but few; whilst cowardice, selfishness and ill-will, with the baser passions in their train asserted their supremacy. In place of virtue, which had been driven from the earth, wickedness everywhere reared its rebellious standard and succeeding generations were consigned to her baneful tyranny.”  (Huber p. 354)

Boccaccio here is describing the pitiful demise of humanity in the Middle Ages. We could describe the present state of affairs without changing a word, couldn’t we? Take a moment and go to the Newcomer Funeral Service Group or their Albany/Latham websites for Newcomer Funerals and Cremations and read their ridiculous claims of what they offer the bereaved. Go to the Service Corporation International site and read about their “compassion”, their caring, their sensitivity to the needs of the bereaved. That’s worse than General Motors telling you they care about your lower back pain. Yet how many consumers actually swallow that sordid brew. These factory-funeral corporations aren’t making billions because no one’s falling for the marketing hype, the sales pitches pressuring the bereaved in their most difficult moments to sign and buy. We say look at the lawsuits and how much they’re paying out for failing the bereaved, for causing the bereaved more suffering than they had ever bargained for.

“[t]he Black Death “seemed to arise the worst passions of the human heart, and to dull the spiritual sense of the soul.” Who would think, declared Papon, “that in the midst of horrors so suitable (it would seem) for extinguishing the passions, there were two—libertinism and greed—which should be carried to so high a degree!” (Huber p. 354)

Indeed! Who ever thought that liberties, individualism, choice could lead to the present situation we find ourselves in. How is it that human beings in their worst possible moments should be exposed to the worst possible motivations and motives of modern mankind: libertarianism and greed. Those very libertarians preaching choice and liberty are deeply rooted in the horrible hypocrisy that such choice and liberty give life to. The plague that is upon us now in the 21st century is not a plague that is carried by fleas, and it’s not a plague that kills in five days. Our 21st century plague is called materialist consumerism, market economy, capitalism and it’s carried by fellow human beings, and it kills insidiously but totally in mind, body and spirit. There’s no way to discern with any certainty the extent of the infection but one thing is certain, there’s no effective vaccine, and most people would not want to undergo the cure.

One woman was married five times in one day—four of the bridegrooms having been buriers of the dead, dressed in the clothes they had stripped from the bodies of the deceased.” (Huber p. 354)

Huber describes the total depravity of the people who now have lost all sense of morality and values, and who now in a devil-may-care attitude of let’s be merry because we’re dead anyway. He describes a woman who marries five men in succession who are carried away just as quickly. She describes those who profit from the belongings and property of the dead, whom they have stripped. For all of Jessica Mitford’s muckraking, she would have had a picnic with this line, somehow drawing a connection between these “buriers of the dead” and those “dressed in clothes they had stripped from the bodies of the deceased.”

Like horrors disgraced many other communities. He: is furnished another example—such as are so deplorably frequent in history of how fanatical frenzy, associated with hatred and the play of the baser passions, will work powerfully upon nations and peoples to the utter exclusion of the restraints of reason, of law, or of any other wholesome factor. And the greater part of those who, by their education and rank, might have been assumed to raise the deterrent voice of reason, themselves led on the savage mob to murder and to plunder the Jews. (Huber p. 355)

Throughout history, Satan has always been the “other”; humankind has never really been able to see its true self, it’s never been able to accept its shadow side. Huber is describing the desperate search for a cause of the plague and, then as now, hatred and baser passions take control, and the necessary scapegoat is found. Whatever doesn’t support the new agenda has to be demonized and sent packing. The dead are not producers, the bereaved are not efficient workers. The dead are distracting the living from their production or consumption. Make the dead and dying disappear, marginalize the traditions, deny grief, exploit the bereaved, then send them back to work. The voice of reason is muted. Our institutions teaching and training the healthcare and deathcare professionals teach technology and business law, not ethics and humanities. The mortuary science programs wouldn’t want to whisper a word against the multinational funeral chains and factory funeral homes, after all they pay the bills and hire the graduates. Why cut your own throat? Why bite the hands that pad your pockets? Of course they won’t hire anyone teaching real deathcare, psychospiritual support, tradition, ritual, healing. The bereaved are, after all, consumers. And you wouldn’t want to keep them from their producing activity for any longer than necessary. Besides, there’s always another body and we have to keep turning over the visitation rooms and chapel. Headquarters wants to see numbers, you know.

That the emotions played a part regarding the plague was observed by many. Those who were terrified were more prone to contract the disease. Those who feared not and were of a cheerful, equable mind were, to the extent at least of that benign influence upon the organism, the more likely to escape. Boccaccio, in writing the Decameron, recognized that pleasant thoughts were the best preventive….Those who despaired threw away their one chance of life; those of sanguine temperament resisted well. (Huber p. 355)

It’s really ironic that I should close with this passage from Huber’s article. Not really. What Huber is saying here is that if you despair you’re lost already. If you become complacent, you’re dead in the water. Those who step up, ask the questions like: Are you part of a funeral home chain? Are you owned by a funeral service corporation? Are you still family owned? will likely come out on top. It’s not necessarily the pleasant thoughts that get you through any plague, it’s the positive, affirmative thoughts that will prevent you from being taken for a ride. It’s really very true what Huber and Boccaccio are preaching here: You have to have the courage to ask the questions, to look beyond the bells and whistles, to see through the smoke screens, and to assert what you feel you need in your bereavement, not what’s on the corporate menu. The more you do your own thinking and planning the more likely you’ll escape the snares set by the corporate funeral directors. The article may have been written in 1911, over a hundred years ago, but it still has substantial relevance today. I hope to have shown that in my analysis.

Thus are all phases of individual existence mutually and inextricably interrelated: extensive and prolonged deterioration in any one aspect is bound in time to affect perniciously the others in time; such hideous psychic phenomena as are here stated do not obtain in the beginning of any such calamity as the Black Death. But it is the circumstance (and a most pathetic one) that the exercise of the heroic virtues for any lengthy period is contingent upon the maintenance of normal living conditions in general; otherwise the psychic stamina deteriorates, manners become dissolute, morals depraved and consciences debased. (Huber p. 355)

What Dr Huber is saying in this paragraph is that life events are intimately interrelated — I understand these life events to be the basis of our traditions and rituals — and that if we allow any of those events to be exploited or to lapse into irrelevance, all others will suffer as the result. Huber’s phrase “heroic virtues” equates with human values and ethical conduct, which logically rely on “normal” living in our society. When “psychic stamina deteriorates” we have a disturbance in coping and resilience, we forget the ritual and become lost, we forget our obligations, and our whole mindset, our worldview, deteriorates. This, in the 21st century, is what happens when we fall victim to the materialist consumerism of our age and become slave consumers of the corporations and their perverse messages.

And so you have it: From none other than Monty Python’s 1975 depiction of the Black Death, and from a physician writing in 1911 about the pneumonic plague in Manchuria, China, do we have the evidence that really nothing has changed; we have learned nothing. What more can one say?

Support Your Local Funeral Home

(And don’t forget to ask for some time with
the interfaith bereavement chaplain!
(518) 479-0525 or compassionate.care.associates@gmail.com)

 

Our Editor’s Response to the Newcomer-Facci Exposé

Update

A reliable source has reported that Mr Facci has allegedly been reprimanded by his Newcomer keepers for failure to comply with Newcomer policies. Surprised? He’s also been reported by his colleagues at Newcomer Funerals and Cremations for alleged noncompliance and misconduct. Could it be his mouth? His attitude? We also hear Facci’s taken down his Facebook page. Wonder Why? Facci’s really quite unhappy, we hear, and is considering relocating to Florida. We suggest Cuba. We wonder if he’s that immature to think his reputation won’t follow him? We can’t say that we didn’t expect these developments. Facci made his bed; now he has to sleep in it. Too bad he didn’t appreciate what he had from the start.


The Editor’s Response

We recently republished an article about a recently licensed funeral director, Mr Nicholas J. Facci, and his online activities, his relationships with former mentors and associates, and his recent hire by a local chain funeral services provider, Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (Albany and Latham), a member of the Newcomer Funeral Services Group, a Kansas based organization with funeral homes in some 10 states. We’d like to make our own statement on that article. We’d like to respond to some of the private comments we have received in response to the article, “Birds of a Feather? Lying down with dogs? The Politics of Funeral Corporations….”


Despite the appearances and although Nick Facci is plastered all over the Internet as being associated with Riverview Funeral Home and Simple Choices Cremations, he was fired from his employment with Riverview and Simple Choices; furthermore, Facci has published numerous times on his Facebook page that he is no longer associated with Riverview or Simple Choices. He has recently been hired by the Newcomer funeral home chain, a “Walmart-type” provider, and is now working in the Albany-Latham area.


We vetted the author and verified the sources of the article. The facts were true and the majority of them came either from public sources, the Troy Record newspaper, or from Mr Facci’s own Facebook page. The facts, opinions and conclusions stated by the author were credible and truthful, and based on research of information available to anyone who is interested.

Some readers — apparently those with short attention spans — have suggested that the article is a bit long-winded. Yes. The article is a bit longer than our typical article, and while it may be a bit hard on Mr Facci, we feel that given the circumstances and Mr Facci’s conduct as well as the environment in which Mr Facci is employed, the article is important and the facts and conclusions are of significant interest to the pubic. We had and continue to have  the opportunity and the control to edit material out of the article but we chose not to do so. We continue to stand by the author and the content of the article. As for being hard on Mr Facci, Whose fault is that? The facts are the facts.

That having been said, we’d like to make some editorial remarks about some of the feedback we’ve been receiving from readers, both in the funeral services business, consumers of those services, and persons who just found the article of interest. We would like to note that we have information that Facci, Newcomer and some of the funeral directors who know Facci have been very responsive but have kept their responses pretty much under wraps. That’s how the funeral profession is, we guess. Others with personal knowledge have come forward with their information. Nothing we have received so far indicates that the article is in any way misleading or untruthful. Far from it. Most of what we have received so far actually confirms the author’s facts.

Here, in a nutshell, are our responses to the article and to our readers’ responses:

The article has been vetted and found to be substantially true in its facts. As our regular readers and followers are aware, we are very diligent in assuring that what we publish on the Smalbany blog is factually true and credible. Our community of readers and followers also know that we don’t take sides, and our sole purpose is journalistic integrity and community service. Enough said.

The author of the article was vetted and found to be reliable. The author of the article has no personal, political or economic interest in publishing the facts of the article. The author of the article is a well-known figure who has a fine reputation, is known for his defense of truth and ethics, and has excellent professional qualifications. The author is credible and the facts truthful.

Mr Facci is responsible for his conduct and his statements. The article points out a disturbing trend in the funeral services industry, how funeral director candidates are educated, trained and licensed, the importance of ethics in the funeral services profession, and the fact that poor education and immaturity can result in serious detriment to the reputation of the funeral services profession and significant injury to the customers served by unscrupulous providers. While we feel our funeral directors and family funeral homes provide a necessary and very important service to those who have lost a loved one, we have our concerns about the direction the funeral services business has been taken by the corporations and funeral home chains. We also share the author’s concerns about the quality of the people working for these funeral home chains and their motivations, and their character. These are all reasonable concerns and are presented in the article.

The article may have scared the hell out of Facci and/or Newcomer and Facci was forced to remove his Facebook posts but removing them doesn’t undo the fact that they were posted, read, and noted. Just because he removed his posts doesn’t undo the fact that he posted them in the first place. Unfortunately for Mr Facci, he can’t undo the Troy Record article and the statements he made in that article. Too bad, Mr Facci!

Unlike Facci’s former employer, we do not underestimate Facci nor are we ready to present our back to him for target practice. We are monitoring these developments closely and have our ears to the ground, so to speak.

It is all about Mr Facci, not about the author. As stated above, the article points out Mr Facci’s character and professional flaws, using Mr Facci as a so-called stereotype of a trend in the industry. The article is about Mr Facci and how he got to where he is, wherever that may be. The article is about how one immature and flawed individual can manipulate situations for his own selfish benefit, and how even veteran professionals and a large funeral home chain can be taken in by such a person.

One commenter suggested that Newcomer has a “file” on the author. Our response was: “Big deal!” If Facci or Newcomer feel that they have something interesting about the author of the article, share it! If it’s good information, we’d love to know about it. But all things considered, we can’t imagine what they could have because we’ve already checked. The so-called “file” may be printouts from anonymous Internet sites, anonymous blurbs by critics who don’t have the guts to use their real names, or sociopaths who think they have an ax to grind. No doubt, if Mr Facci had anything to do with the assembly of any file it must involve some breach of confidentiality or other unethical practice. Sorry, gentlemen and ladies, that’s not the kind of information or the sources we tend to use on this blog. Hard facts and reliable sources are what you get here. Our suggestion: Go stuff your file!

For the sake of argument, even if the author has a skeleton or two in the closet, what difference would that make. None at all. If the facts are true as presented in the article, nothing in a so-called “file” about the author can change Mr Facci’s character or conduct, nor can it justify Newcomer Funeral Services Group (Kansas) or Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (Latham and Albany) in deciding to hire Facci without even checking with his former employer(s). And if Newcomer had checked with Facci’s former employer and hired him anyway, despite the facts disclosed and Facci’s unethical conduct, Shame on Newcomer! The article is about Facci and Newcomer, not about the author.

Silence is an admission of complicity. We provide ample opportunity for anyone with something to say to say it by leaving a comment. If no one comes forward with contrary facts we have to assume that they have no defense. Fair enough. After the appearance of the article, Mr Facci was very quick to clean up his Facebook posts and many of his scandalous posts disappeared (fortunately we had already collected some of them such as those exposed in the article). A number of persons who know Facci either personally or professionally have provided comments by email or by electronic message confirming the facts in the article. Other parties have contacted us with concerns that the article could be misinterpreted. Alternative interpretations are in the head of the reader, not in the text of the article.

We are grateful for the comments about the facts. Any time we receive confirmation of facts or clarification of the facts we are very grateful because we place great value on the quality of the information we provide. Regrettably, most commenters don’t have the ability to comment, and tend to rewrite. Those comments are worthless and they don’t get published.

As for the concern that the article could be misinterpreted. Misinterpreted? How? Does it make Facci’s former employer look bad? We think not. Facci’s former employer has an outstanding reputation; even Facci made that clear in the Troy Record article, even while Facci was badmouthing Newcomer! Facci’s former employer did everything possible to teach Facci the trade and to get him through the licensing process. Even so, Facci bit the hand that literally fed him. It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest that Facci’s mentor should have been able to have second guessed Facci’s devious mind. We cannot take responsibility for the state of mind of some readers. The article is pretty clear. If some bleeding heart wants to make believe that Facci’s conduct is excusable, that’s their problem. If some hard-nose wants to lynch Facci or Newcomer, while we wouldn’t go that far, we can’t control such a reaction. The article says what it says, no more no less. Repeat: Alternative interpretations are in the head of the reader, not in the text of the article.

Again and again and again, we have stated in our articles that we don’t want to take control of minds, we only want to get them working, thinking, and learning about what’s going on in our communities. That’s all. Our readers are free to make any decision they feel is right; we just provide the facts.

Our personal take on the situation: If Mr Facci were an elected official or a municipal employee, or if Mr Facci were a doctor, a dentist, a car dealer, whatever, we’d have the same response to the conduct and character described in the article: He’s got problems. He needs to fix those problems. Anyone who knows about his problems and continues to do business with him or hires him assumes responsibility for those flaws and problems and the repercussions. The same applies to Facci. In fact, we hold Facci’s feet to the fire particularly because he is in the position he is in. Facci is responsible for what he did, said and posted. Facci was fired from his former position when his employer had had enough of Facci’s shenanigans. Facci had even prepared for that possibility and was already providing a way out for that eventuality. Newcomer chose to ignore these facts and hired Facci. Newcomer now has to deal with those facts having been made public. Either Newcomer is willing to carry Facci’s baggage for him or they can free themselves of him; it’s their choice, and Newcomer has to live with the consequences.

We have also been informed that one person who provided Facci with a letter of recommendation actually demanded that Newcomer Funeral Service Group disregard that recommendation. The person making the recommendation, upon learning of Facci’s conduct, decided to withdraw the recommendation for reasons of conscience.

Facci and Newcomer are the authors of their own crisis. To be honest while not violating a confidence, it must be said that when the article first appeared, Facci’s former employer wrote to us requesting that we remove the article. Here is a guy who has sustained considerable damage to his business done by Facci, and he’s asking that the exposé be removed. We politely declined to remove the article. But that’s how funeral directors are. They are so used to doing their jobs and remaining behind the scenes, not intruding that they tend for forgive and not to make waves. That’s why Facci is such an interesting subject because he doesn’t care as long as he comes out on top. He’s an individual that the article uses to draw attention to the way the funeral home chains and corporations are changing the politics of death and deathcare. It’s not pretty.

Facci and Newcomer are not the only players in this dirty game. Without offering any excuses for Facci’s conduct or Newcomer’s choice of employees, we cannot avoid pointing an accusing finger at the Hudson Valley Community College Mortuary Sciences Program and the New York State Bureau of Funeral Directing, and the New York State Department of Health, all of which have their fingers in the pie. As organizations involved thickly in the training and education, the oversight, and the licensing of funeral homes and funeral directors, those organizations should be put in the spotlight. While we are informed that the Hudson Valley Community College Mortuary Sciences Program curriculum was put on hold and substantially revamped last year, it remains to be seen whether that has any concrete effect on the quality of candidates it churns out. Is Facci a perp or a victim? Is Newcomer a perp or a victim? What is Warren “Ren” Newcomer,  and Arthur Fitch, manager of Newcomer Funerals and Cremations in Albany and Latham, doing to defuse the situation? Jury is still out on those questions.

Mr Facci and Newcomer Funerals and Cremations have another reason to be grateful. Mr Facci had to be reminded to be grateful to his former employer and mentor for the fine training and formation he received. We mentioned that  in our original article. Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor has again asked that we withdraw the article; he’d like to put the experience behind him. While we don’t agree to letting Facci or Newcomer off the hook that easily, we have considered the request, and on compassionate grounds, have complied with the request as of March 31. This is an unusual action taken only at the request of the victim of an offence, we do not routinely remove an article from public view, unless we are convinced that  the victim might benefit. While the article is no longer visible to the general public, it still exists and, if a reader makes a specific request to rcs.confidential@gmail.com for access to the article, we will provide a password for accessing the article; otherwise it will not be visible to the wider public. Mr Facci and Newcomer Funeral Services Group will continue to be monitored, if only to ensure that they do not engage in any further self-destructive behavior, however.

All that having been said, we can’t ignore such headlines as, “Funeral Chain Exploits Demise of Tradition,” which asks the question “Newcomer Family Mortuary ignored industry taboos by advertising discount funerals on television. Will competition usurp tradition in this high-growth industry?” That article was nothing less than current, relevant and prophetic article and appeared in the online magazine Inc. It’s an historic article but could have been published today.

As usual, if our readers have anything to add, comments to make, information to provide, we will be very grateful if you leave a public comment by using the comment feature on this page, or if you want to leave a more confidential message please use our email at rcs.confidential@gmail.com.

Reminder: Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor asked that the original article be withdrawn. We do not withdraw articles but in compromise and out of respect for Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor,  we have restricted access to the original article by requiring a password. Readers interested in accessing the original article may request a password by making a request to rcs.confidential@gmail.com.

Thank you all for your interest and loyalty. It’s now a time for healing.

The Editor

 

 

RCS Public Library Thanatology Café Program Preview

The April Thanatology Café Gathering is on
Saturday, April 9th, 2016, at the

The RCS Community Library

95 Main Street

Ravena, NY

Program starts at 2:00 p.m. and runs until about 4:00 p.m.

Visit and follow the Thanatology Café blog. Follow @thanatologycafe and on Facebook’s  Thanatology Café group.


death a personal understandingThanatology Café. Where the conversation is about death, dying and life. Will launch at the RCS Community Library on April 9, 2016.

The program will launch with a series of 10 short videos — one each month for 10 months — on various aspects of death, dying and grieving, “Death: A personal Understanding,” and the April 9 session will also include a short award-winning animated video clip, “The Life of Death.” Discussion of the videos will follow. Refreshments will be available. The program is free and the public is welcome.

A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death -The Life of Death is a touching hand drawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.

A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death -The Life of Death is a touching hand drawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.

 

Keep Union Lacky Matt-the-Mutt Miller Out of the County Legislature!

Matt-the-Mutt Miller Has His Beady Eyes on a County Legislature Seat

Don’t Let that Happen!!! Vote for MENDICK!!!

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Break the chain of corruption!

Matt-the-Mutt is part of the Albany Democrat reform movement; you know, the Give-it-all-Away party — but only if what they’re giving away is yours. Any time someone starts barking about reforming and changing things even before he’s close to being elected signals DANGER! And that’s exactly what Matt-the-Mutt Miller is doing. He thinks he’s in the legislator’s chair already and is bragging about what he’s going to change in the Albany county legislature. He’s a damned egomaniac and not much more. Only a halfwit would consider that corrupt megalomaniac for anything other than dogcatcher.

This blog has alerted the RCS school district, RCS taxpayers and RCS parents a number of times about Matthew J. Miller’s a.k.a. “Matt-the-Mutt’s” questionable morals and conduct. Matt Miller is a CROOK! We alerted RCS taxpayers about Miller’s deal with certain now extinct members of a former Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk board of education (under the Deluca mob) to be paid tens of thousands of tax dollars as “energy manager” for the school district. In other words, he told people to turn off the lights. This wouldn’t have been so bad if he weren’t DOUBLE-DIPPING! You see, he was also being paid FULL-TIME to teach, which he wasn’t doing either (see below). We guess that makes him a TRIPLE-DIPPING CROOK.

Matt-The-Mutt Miler 's a Loser!

Matt-the-Mutt Miller is a Loser!

If that’s not bad enough Matt-the-Mutt Miller allegedly told his RCS students that he’s an ATHEIST. Being an atheist is not big deal but telling impressionable and sensitive young people about your problem is a big deal. Parents: Do you want your teachers telling your kids about their personal beliefs? You’re trying to teach your kids to have values, morals, maybe even be good Christians, Jews, or Muslims, and their teacher is telling them he’s an atheist. So, Mr Miller, what do you do when it comes to the pledge of allegiance? Remember “One nation under God”? Do you refuse to pledge? Or do you make believe and pledge? Or the US dollar, “In God we trust.” Do you get paid double-dipper dollars or in rubles? You’re worse than a simple hypocrite, you’re a crooked hypocrite.

Iff you check out Miller’s LinkedIn page at Matt Miller you’ll have to wonder if his campaign head shot isn’t 25 years old at least. Compare Miller’s LinkedIn photo with the photo from 2014 and you’ll have to ask when he got his facelift? But Matt-the-Mutt’s face really isn’t the issue here. The issue is whether he’s fit for elected office and that is a no-brainer: He’s not. He arrogantly lists on his LInkedIn page that he’s been 14 years Local Union president, 3 years Union Treasurer/PAC chair (PAC is the RCS “political action committee”), 6 years District Energy Manager he means the RCS school district, during which time he was double- or even triple dipping for at an average rate of $8,000 a year, stealing tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars!). He seems to be real proud of his teachers union connection; he says more about that than he does about the RCS central school district. But that makes sense; he’s probably used the district as much as he can and now wants to move on. Like now we thinks he’s going to get a seat on the county legislature for the 39th district. Only if real fools vote, and only then.

Matt-the-Mutt<br>(2014)

Matt-the-Mutt (2014)

Matt Miller(2015)

Matt Miller (2015)

Matt-the-mutt wrongfully and improperly, Yes! cowardly, encouraged students to be uncivil and disrespectful when sending comments to a local blog, this blog, when he didn’t have the balls to comment himself. That’s what your tax dollars are paying for with Miller: an education in how to be uncivil, disrespectful and deviant. Just like Matt Miller.

For years Matt Miller has been the local NYSUT (New York State United Teachers) sockpuppet in the RCS school district. He’s the teachers union representative in the district. But here’s where he gets he dubious distinction of being a triple-dipper at taxpayer expense: He is paid a full-time teacher salary but has a reduced teaching load so he can do his union work! So, do you think his union work is in your interests or the kids’ interest? Guess again! He works for the union and you’re paying for it! Triple-dipping crook Miller.

So, now Matt-the-Mutt Miller wants you, the town of Bethlehem, to elect him to be an Albany County Legislator. That’s just what the already crooked, corrupt Albany political machine needs like a hole in the head: another corrupt crook! So, go ahead, put the atheist, double-triple-dipper, union lackey Matt Miller in a legislator’s chair in Albany. You don’t have to be a nuclear physicist to guess whose interests he’ll be serving there: the union’s and his own!


Click on this link to return to What You Need to Know Before Voting on November.

You can stop corruption! The Editor

You can stop corruption! The Editor

 

Local Dentists. Are you being abused, taken for a ride in the chair?

We all know about licensed professionals whether hairdressers, electricians, builders, funeral directors, doctors or dentists. Licensing means only that they have completed the required training as defined by the New York State Department of Education — and that they paid the state fee. Licensing does not qualify them as having the people skills necessary to do their job nor does it ensure that they have any ethics. The cardinal rule of ethics is this: “No one shall use another person as the means to an end.” Yet many of our licensed professionals do just that: They look at you as a cash cow and the means to their enrichment.

You just stand there like a dumb Moo, and let them milk you dry.

You just stand there like a dumb Moo, and let them milk you dry. Yes, you do look stupid.

In fact, when you sit down and think about it, dentists are the only practitioners who willfully mutilate the patient and then charge the patient to fix the mutilation — they’re a lot like Greene county contractors or the New Baltimore highways department or the Ravena public works department. WTF! Think about that for a minute…

Marvin Gerstenberg of New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Kurt Froehlich of Coxsackie Dental Arts: Two Peas

Marvin Gertzberg of New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Kurt Froehlich of Coxsackie Dental Arts: Two Peas

As soon as you complain, some dentists (like Kurt Froehlich of Coxsackie Dental Arts) will insist that you made a contract. Now, any contract is a meeting of the minds. But both parties have to agree on terms that are clear and unambiguous, and both parties have the right to ask for the terms to be put into writing just to be sure the terms are clear and unambiguous, and that the one party knows what is expected of him and the other party makes it clear what it expects. Once that is done we can assume that there is mutual informed consent by both parties to enter into a contract that is binding on each and enforceable by both parties. Note the key terms here: “meeting of the minds,” “clear and unambiguous,” “Informed consent.”

Note the key terms here: “meeting of the minds,” “clear and unambiguous,” “Informed consent.”

What this means is that once you have all the information you need and that information is clear and not double-talk, you have the option of entering into the contract or not. No “contract” can be forced upon you; if they do a procedure on you without your informed consent it can be criminal battery, maybe even assault! And incomplete information is worth as much as no information; you shouldn’t be left standing there to fill in the blanks.


Funeral directors are required by law to have a price list….Why shouldn’t dentists and physicians be held to the same or similar standard?

Editor’s Note: You need to be reminded that this is business, not a love fest. Your dentist is smiling at you because he’s making a lot of money but he’s smiling only as long as you play his game by his rules. Rock the boat and you’re in for a rude — and we do mean rude — awakening. That’s why we recommend you always insist on a treatment plan, in writing, plus an itemized estimate of the costs, and check with your insurance company to find out what they reimburse and whether you’re going to get stuck with having to pay a chunky balance. If your dentist tells you he wants payment up front and that you have to deal with the insurance company, RUN! If your dentist refuses to provide you with a written treatment plan or refuses to explain what his plan is or doesn’t come back to assure you understand what’s going to be done and that you understand everything, RUN! Always take notes or jot down notes about the experience as soon as possible after your visit. You may wish you had when the cat hits the fan. Where do you run, you ask? To your computer or to pen and paper and write a complaint giving the dentist’s name, his practice, dates and the facts of the incident. Send the complaint to us and we’ll forward it to the authorities. Or you can send us a copy and contact the Department of Health and the Department of Education, Licensing Division on your own. If you feel there’s a crime involved, like fraud, contact the office of the district attorney for the county you live in. Funeral directors are required by law to have a price list and to provide that price list to clients; in addition, some states even require funeral directors to provide side-by-side comparisons of burial vs. cremation costs! Why shouldn’t dentists and physicians be held to the same or similar standard?


As we mentioned, we’re going to diverge a little this time and give our crooked and incompetent public employees and local elected officials a breather — that’ll give them an opportunity to do something really stupid we can write about—, and look at some local delinquents who have somehow slipped under the radar: local dentists. Now, we’re not singling out dentists because all the other health-related providers are such angels; we’ll get to them in due course. It’s just that we have some information of significant interest on two local dental vampires that might be vital for residents in the Greene County communities of New Baltimore and Coxsackie to know, and in which the Greene County District Attorney might be interested.

Gertzberg & Froehlich beefed up their practices in a previously underserved community to cash in and take off!

The two dental practices we are focusing on are New Baltimore Family Dentistry (Marvin Gertzberg**) and Coxsackie Dental Arts (Kurt Froehlich), both run by two ready-for-retirement dentists who apparently beefed up their practices in a previously underserved community to cash in and take off. Gertzberg recently sold the New Baltimore Family Dentistry practice and is soon to retire; Froehlich is likely to do the same once he bleeds his patients and the community dry. Read on…

So what they’re doing in the good ole US of A, is what they do so well: misinform and practice deception.

Dentists like to be called “Dr” but in reality, they are not real doctors because their degree, although it reads “doctor of dental medicine” or “doctor of dental science”, isn’t really an academic doctorate. Same applies to most medical “doctors” in the United States. An academic degree, especially a “doctorate”, is awarded after the candidate earns a master’s degree, applies to and is admitted to a doctoral program, does appropriate original research, under the supervision of an adviser writes a dissertation and defends that research and the dissertation; and then is awarded an academic doctorate, usually a PhD. Medical doctors and dentists in the USA finish a 4-year undergrad degree that does not necessarily have to be science related (some are in music or English or some subject unrelated to medicine) but they do have to do pre-med or pre-dental courses. After being admitted to an accredited medical or dental program, they then do 2 years of basic science coursework (anatomy, pharmacology, pathology, biochemistry, microbiology, etc.) and if they do well, they then do 2 years of electives and clinical work. They have to pass a series of board examinations. Having done that, they graduate and go on to spend time on-the-job as interns, residents, and fellows, etc. During all of that, like any professional, they are expected to take continuing education courses, keep up-to-date in their specialties, and develop their skills just as any hairdresser, embalmer, or electrician would be expected to do. So what the for-profit corporate education system is doing in the good ole US of A, is what they do so well: misinform and practice deception.

[Editor’s note: In most developed countries, what the doctors and dentists we call “doctor” are not called doctor at all but Mr and referred to as physicians or dentists but unless they have completed the academic research and dissertation requirements leading to the award of a “real” academic doctoral degree, they are not called “doctor.”]

Let’s face it, most people who go to the doctor or to the dentist hardly open their mouths to describe what’s ailing them,and even fewer ask the right questions, and even fewer question the doctor or dentist. Most people go in and the doctor or dentist does most of the talking and less of the listening and the patient sits patiently waiting to be told what’s wrong and what’s going to be done. Did the doctor or dentist even listen to what’s wrong or discuss what’s going to be done. Hardly. In fact, all the while you are trying to inform the provider, they’re already deciding what they’re going to do. We’ve written a piece on “listening” that will be published on another blog. We’ll post the link once it’s up; you may want to read it.

** It appears that New Baltimore Family Dentistry has changed hands and M. Gertzberg doesn’t even appear in the staff directory. But that’s not our problem. Gertzberg may have left the practice but the organizational culture he created and left behind is still is alive and well — until proved otherwise.

Dentists must commit time to listen without interruption

Because we’re focusing on two local dental practices, let’s have a quick look at what Dr Stanley Weiss DDS, a dentist and psychotherapist has to say about dentists’ listening skills in Dental Economics, a professional journal for the dental profession (online at: Dental Economics):

“As a dentist and psycho-therapist, I’ve found listening is overlooked in dentistry…Dentists must commit time to listen without interruption to what patients and staff members communicate. In addition, you must devote energy to concentrate on blocking everything else to absorb what patients convey…To know patients, we must listen to them. With new patients, rely on experience to elicit dental and medical information, show how well you listen, and project personality and attributes such as your caring, humanity, and sense of humor…An inability to listen will be judged harshly. Your patients might interpret it as your not caring, disinterest, lack of empathy, or even incompetence.…Many dentists think the way to impress patients is to talk, talk, talk about their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. This may work infrequently. Instead, listen, ask questions based upon what the patient has said, and be attentive to the patient and what he or she says…What you invest in listening will be returned to you economically in patient retention and referrals. To most of your patients, your listening is more important than your mechanical skill.

Dentist: “… putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your pocket.”

listen to new dental patients

Listen to new dental patients

That’s coming from a dentist! Here’s something else published by a dentist who had to publish it under a fake name because he was talking about his colleagues in the dental business. In his book, “Dentistry and Its Victims: The Self-Defense Handbook You Need to Protect Your Teeth and Your Pocketbook“, dentist Dr Paul Revere (not his real name): This little gem of a book exposes the dental profession and makes clear recommendations to patients. The title page of this includes a quote from Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary: “Dentist, n., A prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your pocket.” It is written by a pseudonymous dentist who knows the “inside” story and who is warns the laity about poor dentistry. He does more: he provides the reader with some sensible information about self-help and good routine care. I include this book on this list because of the criticism of dentistry and because the author explains some of the risks to the dentist of providing good dental care. There is a paradox here: the dentist who does the best possible job may, in fact, alienate his patients. The good dentist may, for example, save a tooth – at great personal cost to the patient – when the patient really just wants the thing out. The author also suggests this important point: “…organized dentistry will not publish, and actually suppresses, all studies on the quality of dentistry as it is practiced.” (p. 11) This is, of course, in order to maintain the position that dentistry already has. The author similarly makes the point that dentists’ ethics — What ethics? you might very well ask — prohibit, or at least restrain, one dentist from criticizing another. The same sort of code of silence exists for dentists as exists for physicians and scientists.(Ask your community librarian to get the book for you. Here are the details for requesting it: Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; Revised edition (1980), ISBN-10: 0312193912, ISBN-13: 978-0312193911).

Back to our focus: New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Coxsackie Dental Arts (CDA). These two dental practices might easily have been the reason for both Dr Weiss’ and for Dr Revere’s scathing assessments of the shortcomings and worse that we have to deal with in the dental office. What’s even worse is the highway robbery and deception that is going on literally right under our noses.

 Dentists are the only practitioners who willfully mutilate the patient and then charge the patient to fix the mutilation

The pitiful part of all of this is how much people will accept for the sake of convenience and because they don’t have the guts to open their mouths. Rather than be confrontational those without dental insurance would rather not go to the dentist; after all this is a toothless society we live in, isn’t it. Or did I mean “ball-less.” And those with dental insurance don’t give a damn because, What the hell! they’re not paying the bill. But now local dentists have a new scam that they call their new “business model.” That model is this: You pay their price up front for what they do and they’ll submit the paperwork to your insurance company, who will then reimburse you for the amount they would reimburse the dentist. Well, that might sound real nice until you see the light: This new “business model” is win-win for the dentist and bullshit for you. Here’s why: The reason the dentist is doing it this way is because he doesn’t feel the insurance company is paying enough. So he milks you for his inflated price for the service and you get what the insurance company would normally pay him. Nice scam, right. But here’s what else they try to get away with: The dental office doesn’t even want to submit the paperwork to the insurance company, instead, the dental office wants to hand you the paperwork and have you do their work. This is the “business model” Coxsackie Dental Arts and dentist Kurt Froehlich is using to milk some, if not all of his patients. Example, Coxsackie Dental Arts (Kurt Froehlich) charges $1200 for a single-tooth permanent tooth replacement (on the existing tooth base). You pay Froehlich $1200 and the insurance company will pay you about $375 – 400.00 or what the insurance industry has determined to be fair and reasonable for that service. So if $375 or $400 is considered fair and reasonable and would be what any dentist would accept if he isn’t using Froehlich’s so-called business model, then the $375 or $400 would be adequate to cover the dentist’s expenses and still leave room for making some bucks. Why is Froehlich so unique and special that he needs to charge three-times what is fair and reasonable?!? Maybe Coxsackie Dental Arts or Mr Froehlich can explain why his practice is three times better than a fair and reasonable practice.

But we don’t think he can because we have information that shows what a scam he’s running at Coxsackie Dental Arts (CDA). A local resident went to CDA to get an infection seen to and to have two temporaries repaired. He first tried to get an appointment with CDA using their website “Request and Appointment” form. In about a week’s time and 4 attempts later, he still had no response from CDA, and called to make an appointment. (The resident says he tried two other practices: Michael Conte in Glenmont and even New Baltimore Family Dentistry using their online forms and got responses within a couple of hours). The resident explained to the CDA receptionist what he needed and that it needed to be done a.s.a.p. because he would be out of town the next week and didn’t want to mess with the infection and the broken temps. He got an appointment two days later but was told he had to pay $55 for a consultation. Why $55 for a new patient. We don’t get it. You should be happy to get a new patient and you don’t need to charge for a consultation when you’re discussing what the patient needs. But CDA and Kurt Froehlich do!

So, the patient is in the chair, the tech takes x-rays specifically of the infected area and of the temps needing repair. The patient attempts to explain to Froehlich what happened and Froehlich tells him he doesn’t need details. The patient offers to show Froehlich his previous x-rays only a year old. Froehlich says they’re too old, he needs to take his own. The patient tells Froehlich his former dentist has the permanent bridge for the teeth. Froehlich says he uses his own work and doesn’t know what the other dentist’s work is like. But … Froehlich doesn’t need details and doesn’t even say, “Well, let’s get the perms and have a look. Maybe we can use them.” Now Why? would he do that when he thinks he can charge 3 times more? That’s a slick trick!

Froehlich tells the patient that the root of the infected tooth is being absorbed by the body and has to come out. That would mean that the bridge (two teeth) would have to be replaced. (Had Froehlich done what any decent dentist would have done and looked at the previous x-rays, he would have had a basis for comparison, but he wasn’t interested in “details.”). When someone tells you he “Doesn’t need details,” he’s not listening and he’s not interested in you or what you have to say.

What Kurt Froehlich sees when he sees you in the chair!

What Kurt Froehlich sees when he sees you in the chair!

Froehlich then preps the teeth with the broken temps and his tech makes a temporary set. Froehlich says that to finish the work he would need $1200 downpayment, that a post-dated check would do, because it was a Thursday afternoon, and CDA is closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the patient was to be out of town all the following week. The patient doesn’t like the idea of doing post-dated checks and so pays Froehlich with a credit card. Froehlich then disappears (the patient, still in the chair, sees him leaving and sees him driving away). Froehlich leaves and the tech finishes up. Froehlich never reappears to check the work or to ensure that the patient had a clear idea of the treatment plan, which the patient repeatedly told Froehlich he wanted. We find that Froehlich was way out of line leaving the premises while a patient was still in the chair, not checking the work done by his tech, and not ensuring after all was done that the patient understood what the plan was. This was a new, first-time patient and that’s the treatment he got at Coxsackie Dental Arts. Nice impression, Froehlich! Froehlich was really froehlich (German for happy) once he got his money.

In the meantime, we have received documents that show that Coxsackie Dental Arts, Kurt Froehlich, submitted a claim to the patient’s insurance company for $2455.00 on the day of the patients initial visit! Froehlich is billing at least 3 weeks before the anticipated work was to be done (the patient was scheduled to return on August 3, 2015)!!! Now if the same rule applies to Coxsackie Dental Arts and to Kurt Froehlich that applied to New Baltimore Family Dentistry and to Marvin Gertzberg, that is, that a claim can’t be filed or paid until the work is completed, then Coxsackie Dental Arts is demanding payment for work not done, and is fraudulently claiming payment in the amount of $2422.00 ($2400 for the two crowns not even made on July 16, much less installed + $22.00 overpayment for the double-billing of the consultation)!!! Coxsackie Dental Arts and Kurt Froehlich have been found out; they’re robbing their patients blind with inflated prices for dental services, double-billing, and fraudulently claiming payment for work not done!

All of this raises the question of whether this is as widespread as it seems, and why no one has picked up on it until now. Where have you all been while Gertzberg and Froehlich are skipping happily to the bank? Here we have two dental practices in a backwater area who are cashing in like bandits and nobody seems to notice. Patients don’t, insurance company doesn’t, district attorneys don’t seem to care, but we do! Game’s over, dudes. We’re calling for in-depth audits of your practices and investigations by the insurance companies and district attorneys! We’re calling on your patients to demand transparency and accountability. New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Coxsackie Dental Arts have no right to steal form us directly, indirectly, or otherwise!

On the way to Boston, on the following Sunday evening, the temporary bridge falls out and the patient is left with two exposed stumps and a temporary in his hand! Exactly what he expressly intended to avoid when he went to Froehlich’s practice. He tries the next day to reach Froehlich’s office but gets a voice recording, leaves a message, and later in the day, while in meetings, gets a callback and a voicemail message telling him to get some FixaDent and put the temporary teeth back in.

The patient is suspicious by this time that he doesn’t know what exactly Froehlich is planning but that impressions were made on that Thursday but for what? There was not treatment plan and the patient didn’t know what Froehlich’s plan was; Froehlich didn’t hang around long enough to tell the patient.

That same day, the patient sends Froehlich an e-mail telling him to stop all work, to issue a refund of the $1200, to tell the patient what the treatment plan was, and why Froehlich took the impressions. The patient made it a point to assure Froehlich that he would pay for any work done to that point that was in accord with his, the patient’s, explicit requests: to check the infection and to repair the temporaries.

Froehlich wrote back refusing to honor the patient’s requests. The issues are now in dispute and the patient has contacted his insurance company to find out whether Froehlich put in any paperwork. The insurance company informed the patient that
Froehlich’s claim was processed on July 31, 2015, and the two unit bridge was denied because it was within the 5-year limit for replacement; Froehlich, although he charged the patient $55 for a consultation and was paid in cash, Froehlich still filed a claim with the insurer for the consultation and was paid for it. In other words, Froehlich double billed for the consultation, apparently wanting to get paid twice! It seems Froehlich, according to the insurance company, double-dipped and now owes the patient $22.00, since the insurance company paid $22 of the $55 Froehlich billed them for, even though the patient paid cash for the consultation.

But what’s ironic in this entire story is the fact that the dentist that made the claim to the patient’s insurance company for the two-tooth bridge in January 2014, was none other than Marvin Gertzberg of New Baltimore Family Dentistry, and it seems that there’s remarkable similarity between the two practices.

The patient made an appointment with Gertzberg at New Baltimore Family Dentistry for the same appearance of an infection in the same tooth that sent the patient to CDA. Gertzberg showed little interest in the infection and was looking for bigger fish to fry, it seems. Although the patient did not have a problem with a bridge, Gertzberg reported the bridge to be “loose”, he up-sold the patient into having the bridge replaced. Once the patient agreed to have the bridge replaced, Gertzberg found that one of the anchor teeth was “decayed” and he felt he could not assure results if he built the “decayed” tooth up, and persuaded the patient to allow him to extract it. Once the anchor tooth was extracted, it meant that in order to restore the bridge, an implant had to be installed. But the implant would cost an additional $2500. Wouldn’t it have been more sensible not to have extracted, to have done the best possible restoration and proceeded from there? Not according to dentistry in New Baltimore! Not when you can charge for a bridge, an extraction and an implant. That’s big money. But it all started when Gertzberg was asked to take care of an infection on the other side of the mouth! How did it come to his finding a “loose bridge”, a bridge the patient had no problem with? We have to look deeper for the answers.

You see, at the time, Gertzberg was planning to sell his interest in the New Baltimore Family Dentistry practice, so he had to glamorize his financials and his practice; he had to make the numbers look real good and attractive to a potential buyer. He did eventually sell the practice about a year ago but it was all Hush! Hush! Don’t you think that New Baltimore Family Dentistry patients had a right to know that the practice was being sold. We do! We asked New Baltimore Family Dentistry directly, twice about the sale and they refused to answer the question. Why would it be such a secret? And now we’re informed that Marvin Gertzberg plans to retire shortly. Apparently he’s used us to his satisfaction.

Well, an inquiry with the patient’s insurer told us something more about New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Marvin Gertzberg: The patient was very dissatisfied with the sales pitches and the shoddy way Gertzberg prepped the area where he expected to restore the bridge. The patient, having extensive knowledge in the field of dentistry, periodontics, and medical science, after having examined the tooth once extracted, found the tooth to be healthy. Moreover, it appeared that the “decay” was nothing less than the degradation of the cement holding the bridge in place. Another problem with Gertzberg’s poorly crafted treatment plan: Gertzberg removed a bridge that was not causing a problem. Gertzberg removed a bridge that was spanning the space of four teeth. Gertzberg extracted a visibly healthy tooth saying it was beyond restoration. Gertzberg intended to sell an implant, and Gertzberg only provided for a bridge to cover 2 teeth. What was the plan for the rest of the gap. Patient was never told. Only Gertzberg knows. But it gets better.

A bit of fraud going on here at New Baltimore Family Dentistry

fraudWhen investigating Kurt Froehlich’s shennanigans at Coxsackie Dental Arts, the inquiry with the insurer informed the investigator that Froehlich’s claim to the insurance company for $2400 for 2 crowns was denied because a claim for the same two crowns was made in January 2014, within the limit period of 5 years. That claim was submitted by Guess who? Marvin Gerstenberg of New Baltimore Family Dentistry. According to the insurer, Gertzberg submitted a claim for dental work. for two crowns, and was paid $775 by the insurer. Gerstenberg was paid an additional $165 for the extraction. That’s a total of $840.00 (compare this to Kurt Froehlich’s $2400 for the same thing—except for the extraction—, literally!). But according to the insurance company, Gertzberg could submit the claim only if the work had been completed. It was not. When the insurance company was told that the patient left the practice because of dissatisfaction and that the bridge was never put in his mouth, the insurer stated that Gertzberg could be paid only if the work was completed, that is, that Gertzberg installed the permanent bridge in the patient’s mouth, completing the work. Even if Gertzberg had the permanent bridge made up, he could not be paid until the patient had the work completed and the bridge in his mouth. Seems that there’s a bit of fraud going on here at New Baltimore Family Dentistry; wouldn’t you think Gertzberg would know he can’t submit for reimbursement until there’s something to be reimbursed, like completed work. The insurance company is now investigating and intends to get the money back. We say Gertzberg should be disciplined.

There is still the question of why Gertzberg would remove a bridge over four (4) teeth and proceed to replace a bridge for only two? That simply doesn’t make sense. What you take out, Marve, you put back! Apparently, Gertzberg didn’t inform the patient of this craziness and the patient found out only when he contacted the insurance company!

Now think for a moment: What right does Kurt Froehlich and Coxsackie Family Dentistry have to do what he’s doing in this community and still profit by his unethical practices, and his scam of a “business model.” Can this community afford his ego? How many local residents have fallen victim to his over-inflated, ego-driven prices and walked away abused by this prestidigitator, in Bierce’s own diabolical words, “who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your pocket.”

And how many times in the past has Marvin Gertzberg and New Baltimore Family Dentistry pulled this sort of trick and gotten away with it? Gertzberg puts a new slant on Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary: Gertzberg’s dentistry “puts nothing in your mouth while pulling coins out of your pocket.” As a matter of fact, Gertzberg takes more out of your mouth than he plans to put in! Bizarre way to do dentistry, isn’t it?

There’s more to these two stories and probably much more in addition to these two stories. All we can do is inform the public and let the public see that justice is done. The pitiful part of all of this is that Gertzberg and Froehlich are old and at the brink of retirement and cashing in on their practices, as unethical and crooked as they may have been; they should still be held accountable, however, and an investigation should be launched to audit both their practices not only by insurers but also by the Greene County District Attorney and the Department of Health, among others.

A dissatisfied customer tells about 28 people.

There is still some hope that public opinion will take its toll on practices like New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Coxsackie Dental Arts. In the September 2015 issue of Consumer Reports, page 7, there’s a statistic called “Viral Vitriol” that reads: “A customer who’s eventually satisfied tells 10 to 16 people, on average, about the experience, according to Arizona State’s 2013 “customer rage” study. A dissatisfied customer tells about 28 people.” This blog is doing far better than that. Now Mr Gertzberg, Mr Froehlich was it all worth it?

Well, everything will come out in the dirty laundry if this goes to court. The patient will subpoena everything to show what a slick money-grabber these guys are. Coxsackie Dental Arts and Mr Froehlich have a real uphill battle on a very slippery slope if you ask us. Froehlich is going to have one hell of a time explaining to patients and to a judge how he justifies his sleezy practices.

 Use the comment feature to tell us about your healthcare experiences in Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk and New Baltimore-Coxsackie.

You Vill Tell Us! Ze Editor

You Vill Tell Us!
Ze Editor

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“Qui tacet consentire videtur ubi loqui debuit ac potuit.”
“Silence is admission when when the accused ought to have spoken and was able to.”

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