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Category Archives: Public Office

Threats of School Shooting at RCS High School!!!


As of March 29, 2018, we’re still waiting for the RCS District Superintendent Brian Bailey, RCS High School Principal Lisa Partierne, Coeymans Acting Police Chief Daniel Contento, Coeymans Supervisor Phil Crandall and others (see the list below) — anyone with real facts — to comment, provide a public statement, or provide the facts about the incident. No one seems to want to come out and make a statement on this important public safety, school safety issue. Why is that?

[Editor’s Note: The RCS Central School District issued a bland statement on the incident some three days after the incident, boilerplate, of course. The statement may be difficult to find because the main subject in the title is not “student safety” but “Dr Bailey”, narcissist! Read the say-nothing statement, CYA statement at “Message from Dr. Bailey – safe schools” last accessed on March 29, 2018) See our note about SNN at the end of this article.]


The Craziness Just Doesn’t Stop in Ravena-Coeymans!

What is RCS, Coeymans PD waiting for?

On Friday, March 23, 2018, three RCS high school  students were reported to be “joking” about coming into the highschool and shooting it up.


In our article “Drive-by Shooting Arrives in RCS” we were the first to break the story about the botched up investigation of a local drive-by shooting. Coeymans Police allowed the case to go cold; no real investigation, no suspects, no arrests, no prosecution. Criminals went free. Sheriff’s Department and State Police wouldn’t touch it without Coeymans Police requesting assistance. Request was never made.

If you recall, a high-school student at RCS high school was suspendid for wearing a T-shirt depicting a weapon (National Guard), and in another incident the school was locked down and a student arrested for having a rifle in his car trunk. Just recently students at Albany High School were terrorized and evacuated, and several students arrested for a school shooting incident. Why isn’t the RCS Central School District and the Coeymans Police Department reading the writing on the wall.


Three RCS highschool students Chandler L., Dylan A., and Cameran R. were apprehended and taken into the RCS high school principal’s, Lisa Patierne’s  office and suspended for five (5) days for allegedly “joking” about shooting up the high school.Five days should be just about enough time for them to plan their extracurricular criminal activities, obtain weapons and ammunition, and execute their plan for “shooting up” the high school.

RCS Central School District Superintendent Brian Bailey, RCS high school principal, Lisa Patierne, deputy principal, Joe Slichko, and Coeymans Police Department School Resource Officer, Schwebke and his boss, Coeymans Police Chief (acting) Daniel W. Contento have some questions to answer.

With the recent waves of gun violence in our schools, such “joking” must be taken to be real threats and the individuals not only taken into custody but subjected to intense psychological evaluation, surveillance and monitoring, and other controls. BUT NOT IN THE RCS CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT!!!

RCS is not the inner city, it’s not Albany Arbor Hill or Newark, NJ. And with a more than $43 million dollar budget — about 75% of which goes to salaries for personnel —, what are the teachers teaching these kids? What are the parents doing about teaching these kids correct behavior, morality, good judgment? How is it with the media coverage of the slaughter, murder, mayhem, trauma and suffering caused by students to students, to parents, to whole communities in recent shooting, that the RCS community doesn’t take “joking” about such incidents more seriously? Behind every joke is a real situation!

And with the recent scandal revolving around law enforcement misconduct and the international attention it got: Did anyone at any of the schools discuss the reasons why the conduct of two Coeymans Police personnel was reprehensible, scandalous, and outrageous? Is there anything, any room in the RCS curricula for discussions of morality, ethics, etc. or about the systemic social and political failure in the United States today that puts us at the top of the list for school shootings and other social disgraces?

Our guess is that none of this gets any discussion in the RCS Central School District and, furthermore, that most RCS parents don’t bother to discuss such things with their offspring. Judging from the response to the Coeymans Police misconduct on just one site — The Care2 Petition, which received more than 87,000 signatures (more than 10,000 in New York State alone), and the embarrassing attendance at the March 22, 2018, Coeymans Town Board meeting, at which less than 20 people showed up, three of which traveled from as far away as Queensbury to make a public statement at that meeting. That alone shows how uninterested locals are in their community. It’s a stinking shame, an embarrassment! Then you wonder why we live in such a, well, cesspool, with equally shitty elected officials, and pretty third-world services, if any? Pardon our language but there are no other words to accurately describe the situation — and you know it’s true!

We all know that our legal system will hold a host giving a party accountable for damage and injuries caused by a guest leaving the party drunk, and while under the influence, getting involved in an accident.  We say hold the teachers, the administrators, the school board members, the police department school resource officers responsible for injuries and deaths occurring on school property. PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE; the taxpayers are already being sucked dry paying for these parasites and getting nothing in return. PERSONAL LIABILITY will get these dumbasses thinking about taking their responsibilities seriously.

In the RCS Central School District, school officials and law enforcement don’t take such “joking” = “threats” too seriously. After all, the teachters, administrators, and RCS school board members are all too busy padding their pockets, planning their retirements, or budgeting school tax dollars to benefit their cronies. The Coeymans Police are too busy running over raccoons in shopping mall parking lots.

You should have a lot of questions. You should be demanding answers. Our questions are:

  • How are the three students’ parents being handled in this case?
  • Do the parents of these three students have guns, ammunition in their homes? How are they secured? Have they been seized by law enforcement during the investigation or the pending investigation?
  • Were the parents of RCS high school and middle school students informed of this threat?
  • Were students in the RCS Middle School and RCS High School, two schools on the same location, informed of the threats in a professional manner? Were they informed about ways to detect such threats and a procedure to follow? Were they educated as to what to do in such an situation? 
  • What actions, other than administrative suspension, were undertaken to investigate these students and the possibility that their “joking” was not real “threats”?
  • The RCS high school and middle school are in the jurisdiction of the Coeymans “Raccoon Killer” Police Department, what actions or plan of action do the Coeymans Police have for such threats?
  • Are these three students under supervision or surveillance?
  • What action did the RCS Central School District Superintendent, , and the RCS Central School Board of Education taken in this case?

There are some really serious questions that have to be answered in cases like this. Contact local officials to get the answers before you hear the sirens and learn about the local school shootings because nothing was done in cases like Chandler L, Dylan A. and Cameran R.

CONTACT! DEMAND ANSWERS!

Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Brian Bailey
(518) 756-5200, ext. 6003
bbailey@rcscsd.org

Philip A. Crandall
Supervisor, Town of Coeymans
18 Russell Avenue
Ravena, New York 12143
Phone: (518) 756-6006
pcrandall@coeymans.org

Daniel W. Contento (SGT)
Acting Chief, Coeymans Police Department
18 Russell Avenue
Ravena, New York 12143
Phone: (518) 756-2059
chiefofpolice@coeymans.org
police@coeymans.org

RCS High School
2025 Route 9W
Ravena, NY 12143
Phone: (518) 756-5200, ext. 2003

Lisa Patierne, Principal
lpatierne@rcscsd.org
Joe Slichko, Assistant Principal
jslichko@rcscsd.org

RCS Middle School
2025 Route 9W
Ravena, NY 12143
(518) 756-5200, ext. 3000

Pam Black, Principal
pblack@rcscsd.org
Cynthia Herron, Assistant Principal
cherron@rcscsd.org

Is the RCS Central School District, the Coeymans Police Department, the Albany County DA P. David Soares waiting for this to happen?

Click HERE to return to the OFFICER IDENTIFIED story.

Note: Superintendent Bailey uses a techy acronym “SNN” in his so-called message. For those of you not privy to Bailey’s cryptic lingo, here’s what SNN is: School News Notifier (SNN) is an opt-in e-news service designed to help keep parents and the community more in touch with what is happening at schools via e-mail and/or text message. With SNN, administrators have the power to send updates and reminders about school activities, information about school closings and delays, and notices and other news. Parents and residents can sign up to receive e-mail messages from any of the schools and/or the district. Subscribers can choose to receive any or all of the alerts listed and can unsubscribe at any time. Subscribers must provide personal information but that information will not be shared with outside organizations. Question: What about the many computer illiterate adults, parents and non-parents, or those who do not own computers in the RCS Central School District. How does the rest of the community find out about what’s going on. That is, when our public servants ignore our requests for information?

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Acting Police Chief, Albany, Albany County Department of Children, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, Bethlehem Police, Bethlehem Police Commander, Capital District, Coeymans, Coeymans Acting Police Chief, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Board, County Legislator, Craig D. Apple Sr., D. W. Contento, Daniel Contento, Daniel P. McCoy, Danielle M. Crosier, David Soares, Dick Touchette, Dignity Act, Dignity for All Students Act, Drive-by Shooting, Eliminate Coeymans Police Department, Endangering a Minor, Facebook, Faith Plaza, FBI, Government, Gregory Darlington, Gun Control, Hudson Valley, Investigation, Jason Albert, Jerry "Dirty-Hands" Deluca, Jim Youmans, Joe Slichko, John B. Johnson, Kerry Thompson, Law Enforcement, Lisa Patierne, Mark Vinciguerra, Mayor "Mouse", Mayor "Mouse" Misuraca, Monitoring, Moose Misuraca, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore, New York, New York Food, New York State, New York State Education Department, New York State Police, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, NYSED, Office of the Attorney General, P. David Soares, Parents, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Peter McKenna, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Police Investigator, Public Office, Public Safety, Ravena, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena Shop'n Save, RCS Board of Education, RCS Central School District, RCS Middle School, RCS School Board, RCS School Superintendant, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Ryan Johnson, School Resource Officer, School Shooting, School Violence, Schwebke, Security Procedures, Selkirk, Senate Committee on NYC School Governance, Senate District 46, Shooting, Smalbany, Stephen Prokrym, Steve Prokrym, Student Abuse, Student Supervision, Students and Guns, Students with Guns, Superintendent of Schools, The Daily Mail, Thomas E. Dolan, Times Union, Todd Polverelli, Tom Dolan, Town of Coeymans, Weapons at School, William Misuraca

 

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

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

Anonymous Contributor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His post was simply:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Institutional Agendas Define the Group.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

[6] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Pope Francis & the Roman Catholic Church Collaborate with Facebook

The Church is Failing Us!

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

Anti-pope Jorge Bergoglio on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Children are becoming fFcebook shadow people

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading!

Rev. Ch. Harold
Church, Ministry & Spiritual Care

 

 

Complacency is a Bad Thing…Especially in Local Government

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

We’re Back on Track. Investigations and Reporting Normal

All systems Normal. Ready to Launch!

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

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

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

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

The BIG IF.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do something or get off the pot, dudes!

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

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

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

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

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

 

Open Letter to Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione

Greene County District Attorney Joe Stanzione (R):
“I cannot comment on the matter at this time as it could compromise a pending investigation.”

If there is an investigation, pending or in progress, don’t you think that our elected officials owe it to us to tell us Who? is being investigated and What? It’s just days before elections for chrissake! Don’t you think we should be told these things?

IT’S OUTRAGEOUS

Greene County District Attorney Put on Notice to Take Action in New Baltimore

New Baltimore Resident Confronts the Greene County District Attorney asking WHY? is the Situation in New Baltimore Allowed to Go On. Demands Action, Investigation.

On October 31, 2017, after numerous attempts to get the New Baltimore Town Board to take responsible action and to do what’s right with regard to New Baltimore taxpayers, property owners, and residents, and faced with the refusal of the New Baltimore Highway Department to correct dangerous conditions created by it, one resident confronted the Greene County District Attorney, Joseph Stanzione, a Republican, and demanded that Stanzione do his job and take action, at least to launch an investigation as to Why? the New Baltimore Town Board has taken no action against the New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways Denis Jordan, and Why? instead of ensuring the rights of residents and property owners and ensuring fair play and justice, the Town Board hands matters over to its insurance company and its attorneys, forcing residents and property owners to spend thousands in court and attorney’s fees or simply to give up, when they should be getting help and relief, not to mention justice, from their elected officials. This is not democracy at work, it’s cowardice and dereliction of duty. It’s downright wrong.

The letter was cc’ed to New Baltimore Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, Deputy Supervisor Jeff Ruso, Town Clerk Barbara Finke (for recording), Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan, and to Town attorney Tal Rappelea and Town insurer’s attorney Crystall R. Peck, to ensure that all parties are fairly informed.

Here’s the full text of the e-mail communication to Mr Stanzione:

Dear Mr Stanzione:

I am writing to you in your official capacity as the chief law enforcement officer in the County of Greene.

It is inconceivable that you would be unaware of the situation in the Town of New Baltimore, and on that presumption, even more inconceivable that the Office of the District Attorney has not inaugurated some level of investigation into the dereliction and abuse of public office that is going on not only in the operations of the New Baltimore Town Board but most egregiously in the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department.

The specious and spurious indifference of the Town Board with regard to the abuses and incompetence, even corruption in the New Baltimore Highway department is tantamount to criminal. The Town Board, very well informed by residents of the activities of the New Baltimore Highway Department and its Superintendent Denis Jordan, have done absolutely nothing by way of response, fair play, justice, or compliance with their fiduciary duties to the taxpayers and residents of this Town.

The situation is not one of demands for special treatment or for extraordinary service, it is a situation that affects residents’ investments in their property and community, responsible stewardship of public treasure, observance of oaths of office, questions of competence, and even abuse of public office and corruption.

Much of what has been reported — please review the links below — has been in the eye of the public and is common knowledge in the Town of New Baltimore, and totally ignored by our elected officials on the Town Board.

It’s no wonder that the claim “Democracy is Dead” has become a slogan; regrettably, Justice predeceased Democracy in this town and its environs.

The real tragedy in this tragicomedy is the fact that because the Town Board refuses to do what’s right, and the Town Highway Superintendent has his way no matter what, the taxpayers and residents pay to suffer. The fact that our elected officials refuse to do their jobs, refuse to take steps to avoid the doing of injustice, are indifferent to what is going on in this town, and the deleterious consequences create an environment of distrust, anxiety, apathy and misconduct verging on criminality. Those who find it necessary to defend their interests and right, far from getting the needed and reasonable support from those entrusted with the public weal, are forced either to go into debt to defend their rights at law with representation, or, as is the case in the majority of instances, simply throw their hands into the air in despair! This is an abuse! This is not what democratic government is about…or is it?

I am putting you and your office on notice of these facts and the current situation in anticipation of your taking an interest in this case and taking action to relieve us and to see that the law is enforced and justice is done.

Let’s see if you and your office are up to the challenge.

I would appreciate a response once you have reviewed the facts in the attached links.

Yours very truly,

[redacted]

Links of interest:

[For security reasons we are not publishing the author’s name and details.]

We are watching the developments very closely and are very interested in seeing what Mr Stanzione has to say; whether he has the balls to do his job.

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


Editor’s Update: We have received information that Mr Stanzione, Greene County District Attorney, declined to comment on the resident’s letter saying “I cannot comment on the matter at this time as it could compromise a pending investigation.” Looks like something is brewing in New Baltimore. We’ll keep readers posted as things develop.


We also have a similar letter to the Insurance Agency who handles the Town of New Baltimore’s liability insurance,  Marshall & Sterling Upstate (Leeds, NY), and the insurance brokerage they use, Trident Insurance Brokerage, Stay tuned for further developments on this issue.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Power, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Alan van Wormer, Ashley Heline, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Callanan Industries, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Corruption, Daily Mail, Dangerous Conditions, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Diane Jordan, DOT, Elected Official, Fraud, George Acker, George Amadore, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Greene County News, Greene County Sheriff, Harassment, Hazardous Conditions, Hypocrisy, Incompetence, Indifference, Intimidation, Irresponsibility, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joshua Bouchez, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Misconduct, Misdemeanor, Misdemeanor, Misinformation, Mismanagement, Misuse of Public Office, Nepotism, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New York, New York State, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Official Misconduct, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Peckham Materials, Peckham Materials Corp., Peckham Road Corporation, Precision Roads and Driveways, Professional Ethics, Professional Misconduct, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Public Safety, Ravena News Herald, RegisterStar, Retaliation, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Tal Rappelea, Thomas Rickert, Town of New Baltimore, Transparency, Trident Insurance

 

Allegation that New Baltimore Highway Super Helps Employee Avoid Drug Test

Question: Did New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways Denis Jordan Turn a Blind Eye to Drug User Employee?

Time to Wake Up, New Baltimore!
Time to Investigate!


Normally we would not publish a mere allegation sent to one of our contributors but this one is very serious. It concerns the New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways and his poor judgment and misconduct in office. It concerns endangering the public. It concerns putting public property at risk. It concerns helping a drug user evade detection.

Normally we would not publish a handwritten note from an anonymous informer but this one is different. It reports a very serious incident. It reports very serious misconduct. It reports something that is very likely true.

Normally we would not publish something like this about an alleged instance of misconduct by a public employee, an elected official, someone to whom important public works are entrusted. But this time it’s different. It concerns a public employee, an elected official who, like so many in the Capital District of New York, but especially in the Ravena-Coeymans-New Baltimore area, is dishonest, incompetent, and corrupt.


Denis Jordan to employee: “Take two weeks and clean out.”

The allegation is that New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, Mr Denis Jordan, allowed a New Baltimore Highway Department employee to avoid taking a required drug test so that the employee, who admitted he was taking illicit, illegal drugs, could “clean up.” Jordan allegedly allowed the employee two weeks to clean up and then take the test. In the meantime, the employee was allegedly operating Highway Department trucks on public highways, putting everyone at risk. And Jordan knew this and allowed it. On retesting, the employee failed with high levels of cocaine; he was terminated. Jordan is still employed by the Town of New Baltimore.

What makes this information believable is the fact that the informant knew the contributor’s name and his address! This leads us to believe that the informant is local, and he or she may even be an employee of the Town! In fact, when we compared the postmarks on two pieces of mail, one from the Town of New Baltimore Assessor’s Office and the postmark on the anonymous note, the postmarks were almost identical, except for the dates! They apparently were mailed from the same place. Here’s the actual note our contributor received.


It might be a bit hard to read so we transcribed it for you. Here’s what the author has to say:

“Good day, [name redacted for security]:

“After reading your latest blogs regarding New Baltimore Hwy. Supt. Denis Jordan, I would like to give you some more information to look into.

“Recently a newly hired Town Highway Employee was scheduled to have a required drug test as part of his Employment. The morning of the test, said employee went to the Superintendent [Denis Jordan] and told him he could not be tested because he knew he would not pass. We are told that per the employee handbook, this is refusal to submit to a required [drug] test and the employment of said employee is to be immediately terminated. But instead, Supt. Jordan gave the employee 2 weeks to get clean, and told him he would be retested at the end of two weeks.

“At the end of the two weeks the employee went for testing [deletion] and tested positive for high levels of cocaine, and he was terminated.

“This employee [deletion] operated town equipment and drove town trucks up and down the Highway for 2 weeks under the influence of cocaine. Mr Jordan’s decision put not only the other town employees lives and safety at risk, but also each and every person he passed [deletion] on the highway for those two weeks.

“Had this employee been involved in an accident and injured [deletion] or killed an innocent person, and his blood was tested, it would have put the town of New Baltimore in deep trouble both legally and financially.

“Once again Mr Jordan has no regard for rules and regulations that are put into place.

“Rules are for everyone else but him!!”

Given the information being provided in this letter and the details, we have to admit it is pretty convincing. How would someone make this stuff up? But what is even more interesting is the depth of the details. This informant must be in a position to know these “facts” or someone close to this person is in such a position.

This is very serious, indeed. So serious that we felt we should publish it for the community to be informed of what’s going on in the Town of New Baltimore and its departments. In fact, this is so serious that we now demand an immediate investigation by the Town of New Baltimore Town Board. Furthermore, it is so serious, we demand that the New Baltimore Town Board request Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione to launch an investigation into these allegations of Mr Jordan’s latest misconduct.

“Where there’s so much smoke there has to be a wildfire!”

Two outcomes are possible: Once an investigation is launched and completed, Mr Jordan may be cleared of any wrongdoing. But that’s highly unlikely given his history. On the other hand, once the investigation is launched and completed, and Mr Jordan is found to be guilty of the alleged misconduct, we would then expect that he be immediately removed from office and charged. The list of misconduct is too long to allow Jordan to choose when he goes and then shoot the taxpayers of New Baltimore the ‘bird” as he cashes his unearned pension checks at our expense. We say: “Where there’s so much smoke there has to be a wildfire!”

We have covered a large number of cases where New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways has been shown to be incompetent, unfit for the position he holds, as well as instances of misuse of Town personnel and equipment, violations of the rules governing proper recordkeeping, continuing training, and the list goes on. The burning question is Why has he been allowed by the Town Board to continue his misconduct without having to answer to anyone?

Town of New Baltimore Town Board, Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione: It’s time to get off the pot and do something about this ongoing situation. It’s high time someone started doing their job and clean up the corruption!

If the New Baltimore Town Board doesn’t initiate some official action on this latest report, given the other information that the Town has been provided, we think a referendum should be held to remove all of the useless puppets from Town Hall. We’ll want a town hall meeting to discuss what’s been going on in the Town of New Baltimore and demand that all elected officials b be present to answer questions and to take responsibility. This includes Supervisors past and present, Highway Superintendent and Deputy, Entire Town Board, Town Justices, too! Enough already of the hanky-panky cronyism and the behind the scenes operations called “executive sessions.” We demand accountability and transparency!

Let’s Get Started, New Baltimore!

The Editor

 

 

 

A Response to Lorin Marra. re: Office of the Albany County Coroners

We published an article “Politics, Power, Patronage and Conflicts of Interest: The Albany County Coroners Office” on September 13, 2017, about the office of the Albany County Coroners, and how the office is obsolete, tainted, and chock full of local funeral directors. The politics of the coroners’ office is as corrupt as it can get, and is a product of the nepotism and favoritism that has plagued Albany politics from within the mayor’s office to the police department to the office of the county coroner.


In the preparation phase of the article, we did extensive research both on the history of the office of coroner in general, including scholarly articles discussing the office of the coroner, and published professional journal articles comparing and critiquing the office of the coroner and the office of medical director. In addition to our research of public information and education material and the scholarly and professional journals, we also filed demands for the production of documents and information with Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer and Green Counties for information on their respective coroners or medical examiners.

Seal of the County of Albany, NY

Overall, personal contacts with the Albany County Office of the Coroner were very open and informative. The demands served on the counties of Schenectady (medical examiner), Rensselaer (medical examiner), and Greene (coroners) under the NYS Freedom of Information Law were less than open and honest. Rensselaer is in violation of the law by not having responded at all; Schenectady and Greene county, while responding, were evasive and off base. Why all the defensiveness? They’re not so defensive when asking for funding but then, in our culture of death denial, who really keeps tabs on them anyway? WE DO!

We received an interesting comment from Lorin Marra, who is somehow associated with the Marra Funeral Home and with Paul Marra, the “owner/operator” of Mara Funeral home in Cohoes and an Albany County Coroner. When we received Lorin’s comment we were a bit taken by its defensiveness and it only later occurred to us that it’s an election year and Paul Marra is running for re-election as an Albany County Coroner. Having made that connection, it was not surprising that a Marra family member would come out and defend Paul Marra, the candidate.

But wasn’t it a bit cowardly, a clear lack of integrity for someone running for public office not to personally respond in a comment and have his daughter respond for him. Maybe Paul left his cojones in the autopsy room, at one of the allegedly “1000” autopsies he claims to have attended (but no one in official circles knows about). Did anyone see that pig flying by just now? Wanna buy a bridge?

According to Lorin Marra, pigs really do have wings!

.It should be noted that Ms Lorin Marra doesn’t comment on any of the many facts and figures given in the “Politics, Power, Patronage and Conflicts of Interest” article but hones in only on the name “Marra,” which is mentioned in only the most neutral of terms: strictly factually. But, as we state in our response, “Where there’s smoke (or “defensiveness”) there’s gotta be fire.” What do you think?

Marra’s Campaign Sign
flanking those of opponents Simmons and Lockridge.

For those of you who have read our article “Politics, Power, Patronage and Conflicts of Interest: The Albany County Coroners Office,” you’ll certainly have to ask yourself Why? is Lorin Marra so upset. Have we touched a nerve? The fact is, Paul Marra is barely mentioned in the article, and not negatively in any sense of the word. Maybe one of our readers can help us out with this one. We’re republishing Lorin Marra’s confused comment together with our responses. [In the following text “Ed.”: is a note inserted by the Editor]


In reply to Lorin Marra:

We have approved your rant only to illustrate the fact that where a commenter becomes as defensive as you have, there must be something going on that needs further attention. As the saying goes: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

We’d like to make it quite clear from the outset that the article is not about Paul Marra nor about the Marra Funeral Home operation; the article is about the office of the coroner both in Albany County and in general. Mr Marra is mentioned, along with others, in the article because he has voluntarily stepped forward and has received the approval and support of the Albany county Democrats and their political machine to have been elected to be an Albany County Coroner. Mr Marra, his office, his associations, and his keepers, therefore, have made Mr Marra a public figure and that visibility is open to comment. Mr Marra, his interests, his associations, his performance and all other aspects of Mr Marra are subject to comment because of his status as a public figure. Period.

Lorin Marra writes:

This article is completely false…

We Responded:

That having been said, we can respond to your diatribe by saying that the information we provided in the article came either from official sources and based on what those sources, that is, the Office of the Albany County Coroner, provided in response to our demand for documents and information under the NY Public Officers Law. If any of our information were incorrect, it is because it was provided by the custodians of that information as public officers and public employees. So let’s put that part of your comment to rest and redirect your misdirected hissy fit to the proper target: the County of Albany.

You are terribly clouded in your perspective of reality if you represent, as you in fact write in your comment, which, as written is a bit unclear, “[M]ost coroners are in fact funeral directors nor [sic] for a political agenda but…” (the rest of that sentence does not contribute to a better understanding of your rather strained thought process). We do not propose in any way that funeral directors are funeral directors for a political agenda. Where you pulled that one out of is beyond us but if you take the time to actually read the article with your eyes open, you’ll actually see what we’ve written. To deny, particularly in Albany County, that the office of the County Coroner is politically tainted is tantamount to claiming that a 3-dollar bank note is legal currency in the US. How naïve? can you possibly be or How devious? might be a better question.

Lorin Marra writes:

…a coroner does not get paid enough by the state [Ed.: Paul L Marra is an Albany County official but is civil service, and gets his check from NY state. Currently he gets $$20,836 a year.] to actually make a living off of just being a coroner. Most coroners are in fact funeral directors not for a political agenda but because they have the knowledge and experience dealing with the deceased. Marra funeral home is in fact OWNED by Paul Marra.

We Responded:

We don’t give a whit whether Paul Marra “OWNS” (your caps!) Marra Funeral Home. But that confirmation by you certainly bolsters our statements about conflicts of interest.

Lorin Marra writes:

Coroners are NOT allowed to use their position to gain business in their personal funeral homes [Ed.: “Not allowed…” is true; what you seem to glance over is that they DO abuse their positions! It’s a human weakness.] Do you realize how many calls a coroner must go on during their respective shift? If they actually claimed all those funerals [Ed.: They don’t have to claim “all” the funerals, just some.] they would be a multi-millionaire which is not the case for any coroners [Ed.: But may be true for some funeral directors.]. The funeral home business tends to be a hereditary business, most people do not wake up in the morning and decide HEY I’M GOING TO WORK WITH DEAD PEOPLE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, they [Who do?] tend to go into the business because a previous family member has and so on.

We Responded:

We agree, though, that ethically “Coroners are NOT [again your caps!] allowed to use their position to gain business in their personal funeral homes.” What we don’t quite get is your point. Whether they are “allowed” has no practical or real effect on whether they do misuse their positions. One point you seem to have missed [again!] is that they can garner political and professional capital even if they don’s use their own “personal” funeral home. Think about that for a minute and if you don’t get it, please let us know and we’ll walk you through it.

Again, we agree with you that many funeral homes may be what we properly call “family funeral homes,” or funeral homes that stay in a single family’s hands for a couple of generations. That is changing and, if you read our articles with the intent to understand what is actually written rather than what the voices in your head are telling you to see, you will find that we are ardent champions of the family-owned, local funeral home as opposed to the multi-state factory funeral service corporations. But you likely would have missed that point. [Ed.: You may want to see our articles: “Birds of a Feather? Lying down with dogs? The Politics of Funeral Corporations….” and “Bring Out Your Dead! A Monty Python Prophesy“.]

Lorin Marra writes:

The fact that coroners can’t make a living off of just being a coroner (less than $30,000 a year) should prove that this article was a waste of time.

We Responded:

You have failed to disguise your arrogance, though, when you state that “coroners can’t make a living off of just being a coroner” [Oh! Your grammar is painful!] No, I wouldn’t think that they’d be able to do anything by just “being a coronoer,” I’d expect they’d have to actually do something besides just being an anything. But the City of Albany and the County of Albany have literally dozens of “employees” and “appointees” who make good money by just “being” a something and not necessarily doing anything. Besides, many people, perhaps not in your privileged group, have to make a living and even support a family on “less than $30,000 a year”. Get a grip, Lorin, and join the real world. (Your Mercedes is showing!).

Lorin Marra writes:

Also, Paul Marra has been a coroner for 29 years and has been a board cerified medi legal death investigator for over 15 tears. He has take n charge of over 5000 death investigations and attended well over 1000 autopsies. He also has trained for over 600 hours with the State association of County Coroners. [Ed.: Lorin Marra seems to keep better records and statistics than the County of Albany. Wonder where she got her figures?]

We Responded:

Has Paul Marra actually seen what’s behind this door?

The fact that “Paul Marra has been a coroner for 29 years and has been a board-certified medi [sic] legal death investicator for over 15 years” again supports everything we have written in the article you appear to be disputing. While we are struggling to identify what a “board[-]certified medi legal [Ed.: The word Lorin is struggling to get right twice (!) is “medicolegal.” Is she really a Siena graduate?] death investigator” might be, we would like to ask the glaring question that emerges from your statement: If he has been a coroner for 29 years but certified to investigate deaths for only 15 of those 29 years, how many mistakes did he make in the 14 years when he was not “certified?” The fact that he has been a coroner for 29 years, elected every 4 years, simply proves that too little scrutiny goes into the office of coroner and further supports the fact that in Albany County, once you’re in you’re in for life.

You state that Paul Marra has “trained for over 600 with the State [A]ssociation of County Coroners.” We’re not in the least impressed by that statement. Here’s an example: In one summer, a contributor of ours trained in a major hospital for over 500 hours to earn just one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education credit towards his qualifications. I repeat, that was 500 hours in one summer for one credit! We assume that you’re referring to 600 hours for Mr Marra’s training over a number of years. That’s not impressive in the least, especially when you consider the years of training that a real medicolegal death investigator must do to qualify and then the continuing education required just to keep the pathologist’s licence! Please, don’t talk to us about Mr Marra’s paltry training record!

Lorin Marra writes:

Please do your research next time.

We Responded:

The article, dear Lorin, clearly states the facts as provided by official sources, in particular the Albany County Coroner’s Office, and information from public access sources and published articles. Our facts are true, complete and correct, which is more than we can say about your subjective and clearly biased remarks about your relative, Paul Marra.

Furthermore, the professional and scientific literature abounds with one single conspicuous observation: The office of the coroner is obsolete and, since its very beginning in the 12th century, has been political and corrupt. Nothing has changed since then. Furthermore, until very recently, with the deployment of the Electronic Death Registry system in New York State, recordkeeping documenting coroners’ activities and cases was deplorable.

Lorin Marra writes:

Also legislation has just passed that requires coroners to have more training.

We Responded:

The only legislation that we are interested in is legislation to eliminate the office of the coroner and replace it with a competitive system that would employ specially trained medicolegal personnel for death investigations. Those professional death investigators may be assisted by a subordinate assistant with appropriate training. The current coroner system is inadequate, unqualified, ignorant, and obsolete. If that’s not enough reason to eliminate it, please add to that list the fact that it is politically tainted and corrupt.

Lorin Marra writes:

Please do your research next time.

We Responded:

We did extensive research for the article and stand by our facts as written and represented. We do suggest, however, that you be tested for dyslexia as soon as possible by a qualified professional. Your reading comprehension or your cognitive processing appears to be severely impaired.


Coroner’s Office Just as Dead

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a bit of humor and entertainment. Here’s one of our favorite scenes from Monty Python’s In Search of the Holy Grail. Enjoy!

Obviously, Ms Marra was not interested in the facts and figures we very conscientiously researched and published in our article; instead, she was more interested in demonstrating her inability to read the English language. If her dyslexia is shared by Paul Marra, Albany County Coroner, it’s no wonder that their records and available information is so scanty and incomplete. The fact that Ms Marra came up with figures that the Albany County Coroner’s Office couldn’t produce does shed some light on the fact that either Ms Marra’s figures are phoney or the Albany County Coroner’s Office doesn’t want to share some embarrassing information with the public, or the information is simply unavailable because of the Albany County coroners’ poor record keeping practices. Maybe the answer is “all of the above.”

The fact is, our information is good as 24 karat gold. All of it comes from reliable sources. The fact that Albany County has poor record keeping practices and the County doesn’t consider it important enough to update their software is a problem voters might want to address. The fact that Schenectady County (medical examiner’s office) and Greene County (coroners) dragged their feet for months and only produced a fistful of information or no information at all, or just excuses made by the county attorney, is at the very least a black eye for those counties. The Rensselaer county attorney should be brought up on charges for refusing to provide any information on the Rensselaer County Medical Examiner’s office. If that’s democracy at work and freedom of information…

Make Your Vote Count!
Big Choice! They’re All Dems!!!
Be Informed!

Demand Accountability

P.s. If you’re interested in the current candidates for coroner this time around, don’t be surprised that they’re all Democrats, you can go to the Vote411 site. Click here.

Here’s some additional information on medicolegal death investigators. According to the ABMDI, The American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, FAQs page, the medicolegal death investigator doesn’t need any special training or education.

  1. What is a Medicolegal Death Investigator?
    The role of the medicolegal death investigator is to investigate any death that falls under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner or coroner, including all suspicious, violent, unexplained and unexpected deaths. The medicolegal death investigator is responsible for the dead person, whereas the local law enforcement jurisdiction is responsible for the scene. The medicolegal death investigator performs scene investigations emphasizing information developed from the decedent and determines the extent to which further investigation is necessary. Medicolegal death investigators should have a combination of education and skills encompassing areas of medicine and law.
  2. Who can become a Medicolegal Death Investigator?
    There are no formal requirements to become a medicolegal death investigator. Each coroner and medical examiner office has different hiring practices. A medicolegal death investigator must be knowledgeable of local, state and federal laws. In addition, a medicolegal death investigator must be the most medically knowledgeable person at the scene of the crime to determine if further investigation is necessary.
  3. Do I have to have a degree?
    There are no formal educational requirements specifically for medicolegal death investigation. Any degree program dealing with Forensic Science, Natural science, Anthropology, Nursing, or any other medically related field would be useful. There are several established training courses available throughout the country that teach the basic information needed in order to perform a thorough, competent medicolegal death investigation.
  4. How much money will I make as a Medicolegal Death Investigator?
    An investigator’s salary will be determined by the jurisdiction and amount of experience the medicolegal death investigator has. Salaries and benefits vary throughout the United States.

[Source ABMDI FAQ page, http://www.abmdi.org/faq, last accessed on October 9, 2017]

Bottom Line: There are no special education requirements or degree requirements to be a so-called “medicolegal death investigator.” But the fact that “a medicolegal death investigator must be the most medically knowledgeable person at the scene of the crime” is very disturbing because most funeral directors have only a two-year degree in mortuary science, and that degree has very little to do with any “medical knowledge.” Furthermore, a degree in mortuary science or, more accurately, in funeral home operations, is not generally considered a medically related field.

Now doesn’t that information make you feel more comfortable about who is making decisions about a human being’s death at a possible crime scene?

 

Hello. County Coroner? We’ve got a body here.
[Ha, ha, ha!]

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2017 in Abuse of Public Office, Albany, Albany County Coroner, Albany County Coroners Office, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Executive, Albany County Supervisor, Albany Mayor, Arthur Fitch, Babcock Funeral Home, Benjamin Sturges, Bill Loetterle, Bob Freeman, Bring out your dead, Bureau of Funeral Directing, Capital District, Charles Smoot, Conflict of Interest, County & Municipal Employees, County Legislator, Dan McCoy, Daniel McCoy, Death, Death Awareness, Death care, Death Certificate, Death Education, Death Investigation, Deathcare, Democrap, Democrats, Dick Touchette, Dignity Memorial, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, F.O.I.L., Favoritism, Francis Simmons, Frank Commisso, Frank Simmons, Freedom of Information Law, Funeral, Funeral Home, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Coroner, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Sheriff, Hudson Valley, Human Service, Hypocrisy, Investigation, Jack Flynn, James Cavanaugh, Joe Stanzione, Joseph Stanzione, Kristin Gillibrand, Lorin Marra, Magin & Keegan Funeral Home, Marra Funeral Home, McLoughlin & Mason Funeral Home, Monitoring, Nepotism, New York State Funeral Directors Association, Newcomer Funeral Home, Newcomer Funeral Services Group, Newcomer Funerals and Cremations, Nicholas J. Facci, Nick Facci, Nick Facci Facebook, NYSDOH, NYSFDA, Office of the Professions, Paul Marra, Professional Ethics, Public Office, Rahmar Lockeridge, Ren Newcomer, Rennselaer County Attorney, Rensselaer County, Rensselaer County Medical Examiner, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Robert J. Freeman, Schenectady County, Schenectady County Medical Examiner, Service Corporation International, Shame On You, Transparency, William Loetterle