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

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

Anonymous Contributor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His post was simply:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Institutional Agendas Define the Group.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

[6] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Can you find yourself in this group photo?

The mob has control of the entire floor of Town Hall

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

The Coeymanites handed their community over to the Coeymanazis!

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

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


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


New Baltimore Town Board Meeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mayor “Mouse” Misuraca
Village of Ravene, NY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The entire area has turned into a hippo farm

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

Two locals having a chat

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


The Bigger Picture

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Got any Answers?
The Editor

 

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

 

Coeymans Police Turning Into Coeymans Gestapo Again?

Is Anyone Supervising the Rookies Turned Loose on Our Streets?

The Coeymans Police are Getting Heavy Handed Again. Get rid of Amanda L. Mueller, she’s bad news! Silly cow wants to be a bully cop!

If you are a local resident and driving through Coeymans, and happen to have a headlight out, wouldn’t you be grateful for a warning from a helpful police officer rather than a ticket right away? Well, forget the helpful patrolman and welcome the Fascist Gestapo back to Coeymans. And just when we thought things might be getting better, the Coeymans Police Department stocks up on ignorant brutes to harass local residents.

Coeymans has a really lousy record when it comes to female law enforcement trainees. Remember Danielle Crosier, she was a real loser, unless she was running police vehicles off the road or onto guardrails. She kept her job for as long as she could by doing deputy chief Kerry Thompson (while he was also doubling as an Albany County Sheriff Department lieutenant). So how’s trainee Amanda L. Mueller, Badge No. 149 keeping her job? She doing one of the Coeymans board members? No, that can’t be. None of the board members has any balls; no balls, no drive.


Two Coeymans police officers stopped the resident for a headlight being out.

Problem is, the Coeymans police, or at least trainee Amanda L. Mueller doesn’t know the difference between a vehicle’s high beams and fog lights. But if Mueller was partnered with another officer, a male officer, who was the senior officer. Certainly not Mueller. And if Mueller was not the senior officer on that patrol, why didn’t the senior officer set her straight? Go figure. Cops, as we all know, stick together.


Amanda’s Father’s Business, Mueller’s Automotive, on Main Street in Ravena.

But we’re a bit confused by Amanda’s ignorance. You see, Amanda Mueller’s father owns Mueller’s Automotive, the automotive repair business on 88 Main Street in Ravena. That’s the same place that services the Coeymans Police Department vehicles. Now isn’t that an interesting coïncidence? As we always say, “Follow the money!” Now, given that fact, wouldn’t you think that sweet little Amanda would know the difference between fog lights and high-beam headlights?  What’s more, might little Amanda’s quick-to-hand-out-tickets behavior be a hint that maybe she’s plugging good ol’ dad’s automotive repair business, one of the only ones in Ravena-Coeymans, and that getting the work done at Mueller Automotive might be the first step to a dismissal of the ticket? Sure, everyone in Ravena-Coeymans knows that Amanda Mueller is a local and who her daddy is!


We see a serious conflict of interest
The plot thickens with a little investigation

We see a serious conflict of interest case growing out of this otherwise unfair, but minor incident involving a Coeymans Police Department employee, a local automotive business, a police trainee who is a close relative of that business owner, and the fact that the town of Coeymans, the Coeymans Police Department does business with that trainee’s father’s business. The plot thickens with a little investigation, doesn’t it?

We see a serious conflict of interest in Amanda Mueller’s actions. Corruption, perhaps?


Hint to the Coeymans Police: You need aIl the support you can get from literate, competent residents. (Obviously you’re not getting it from your Twitter tweets!) You mess with the better element in this community and you’ll have more to deal with than just a disgraced town justice and a corrupt town board. If you want community support and good will, and you really need it in these times, you start by being helpful, not abusive. Your trainee Amanda L. Mueller and her partner were abusive to the local resident who happens to be a very upstanding and influential person, who could put most police officers to shame in terms of integrity and ethics.

They say that they’re there to “Serve and Protect.” Has anyone told them that?

Cold-Case Coeymans

They can’t complete a criminal investigation.
They can’t take a criminal complaint.
They’ll ignore evidence and obstruct justice (Right “Detective” Jason Albert”?)

If they do, it’ll go cold and they can close it. CLOSED. UNRESOLVED.
But motorists beware! If you have a headlight out, they’re gonna gitcha!

Give the biatch a badge and she becomes a bully biatch!

Once again! Shame on you Coeymans Police! Shame on your patrolpersons Amanda L. Mueller, Badge No.149. Give the biatch a badge and she becomes a bully biatch! Bully biatch in a uniform, smart mouth, vindictive, abusive. Perfect for Coeymans. Must be native brown trash from Main Street in the Hamlet.

Someone needs to counsel trainee Amanda /.L. Mueller that as a patrolman, she’s part of the executive branch of government, not the judiciary. She is not out there to make decisions, to judge a resident, and then to punish the resident. That’s the job of the judiciary in observance of the provisions of the Constitution and scrupulous interpretation of law. We doubt Ms. Amanda L. Mueller has the training, education, or brains to do that.

Judge Judy’s Response to Coeymans Cop-trainee A.L. Mueller.

Two Coeymans police officers one female and one male, stopped the resident for a headlight being out.

Problem is, the Coeymans police, or at least trainee Amanda L. Mueller doesn’t know the difference between a vehicle’s high beams and fog lights. But if Mueller was partnered with another officer, a male officer, who was the senior officer. Certainly not Mueller. And if Mueller was not the senior officer on that patrol, why didn’t the senior officer set her straight? Go figure. Cops, as we all know, stick together.

Mueller: “I would have let you off with a warning but because you gave me an attitude about the high beams, I’m going to give you a ticket.”

When they stopped the resident Mueller insisted that the resident “Turn off your high beams.” When the resident responded that the high beams were not on, and he was driving with his fog lights on, Mueller becomes annoyed. Her response to the resident: “I would have let you off with a warning but because you gave me an attitude about the high beams, I’m going to give you a ticket.” Attitude?  ATTITUDE?  The resident was merely stating that his high beams were not on, that his fog lights were on. So she’s wrong and retaliates. Just what we want to see in our law enforcement. Bullying. So, Amanda Mueller doesn ‘t like being wrong and if she is, she’s going to get even. Nice police work. Nice community work.


Editor’s Note: For those of our readers who, like Coeymans Cop-trainee Amanda L. Mueller, don’t know the difference between high-beams and fog lights, we’d like to help you out: When driving in fog or even in wet conditions, or when visibility is poor, the light from regular headlights reflects off water droplets back into your eyes, impairing rather than improving visibility. Fog lights are positioned low on the vehicle and have a wide beam angled toward the ground, which reduces glare and helps you see the road better. (Source: CarId at https://www.carid.com/fog-lights.html, last accessed on 20 December 2017) So, dear readers — and trainee Mueller — there’s a big difference between high-beams and fog lights. 


If Mueller said what she is reported to have said, there will be repercussions

We are going to make our inquiries because we think that all stops must be recorded, audio and/or video. If there’s a recording, one of our editors will be looking for it and will review it. We will obtain a copy of the ticket issued to the resident as soon as possible, and will follow the case. If there is a recording of the interaction during this stop, and if Mueller said what she is reported to have said, there will be repercussions.

Now isn’t that sweet? Mueller doesn’t know high beams from fog lights and when she’s corrected, it becomes “attitude” and then she retaliates. Retaliation is not in the script, Mueller! In fact, you need to be disciplined for your unethical and unlawful conduct. We assume that all of the transaction was recorded? If so, we’ll get a copy. After all, if a warning would have been enough, just because the resident corrects her, she becomes BULLY COP!

Bully Cops Back in Coeymans!

We expect respect and courtesy.

Notice to the Coeymans Police and to Patrolperson Amanda L. Mueller: Get a grip! Loosen up! We don’t like bully cops and we don’t like retaliation. We expect respect and courtesy. If you think your uniform gives you license to abuse and to bully, your ass is going to be grass and you’ll be looking for a job. Probably a job more in line with your lack of skills and stupidity: a greasy spoon waitress.

It’s behavior like Coeymans patrol Amanda L. Mueller, Badge No. 149, that gets our attention. And the Coeymans Police Department does not want our attention. Ask former chief Darlington and some of his lackies.

Maybe we have to get back on the bandwagon. Maybe we should start pushing again to eliminate the Coeymans Police Department. it seems that all they can do is let criminal investigations go cold. But they are getting real good at bullying AGAIN.

We’ll be following developments in this case and from now on we’ll be looking a bit closer at what’s going on in Coeymans law enforcement or more accurately, Bully Patrol.

What say you, Chief McKenna?

We’ve been very fair to the Coeymans PD since Chief Peter J. McKenna took over. We’ve been very fair to Chief McKenna and very supportive. We have always rated Chief McKenna’s programs and efforts very highly. But now we have to step up to the plate and start policing the police again. True, it takes only one rotten apple to spoil the whole bushel, but who’s going to do the damage control? We know the Crandall mob wants total control. What say you, Chief McKenna?


Editor’s Note: We received notification of this incident from a person with personal knowledge about the incident. If the Coeymans Police have their version of the facts, we’d love to hear from them. We would also like to hear from any residents who have had any recent issues with the Coeymans PD, especially Ms Amanda L Mueller and Mueller Automotive of Ravena. We’re going to be watching Mueller and would appreciate any input from our friends and neighbors in Ravena and Coeymans. 


Maybe Patrolman Mueller’s blood sugar was low. Was it that time of the month, Mueller? That may be why she was testy.

 

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

Another exposé of more of the dirty laundry of local communities.
(Next week, we’ll be reviewing the documents FOILed by us and produced by the Town
regarding some issues we’ve been investigating. Stay tuned!)

 

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

 

A Moving Message from Diane Millious, Coeymans Town Clerk

A Tragic Story that Marks the Decline of a Community

Phil Crandall has been out campaigning with his pet confidential secretary Cindy Rowzee and misinforming voters! Crandall and Rowzee have been saying how lovely their relationship has been with veteran Town Clerk Diane Millious. Ms Millious denies that statement and says that Crandall and Rowzee are lying, misinforming potential voters! That certainly doesn’t surprise us!

“C” is also for Crandall

Phil Crandall may be facing charges for forging signatures on his ballot petitions, which were falsely witnessed by his son-in-law! People have come forward saying they never signed the petition. Very serious allegations and we’re waiting to see what Mr David Soares does with the case. And that leaves the question why Phil Crandall used the Town Attorney for a private matter when he didn’t want to show up for the court appearance. A violation by Crandall using the Town Attorney for a private defense AND an ethical violation by Town Attorney Pastore!

Phil Crandall my be up on serious charges of obstruction of justice by leaking a confidential police investigation memo to the perps.

Crandall was forced to resign from his position as Coeymans Town justice because of corruption; Coeymans voted him in along with a couple of other recycled failed politicians in 2015. We have to ask what dishonesty and corruption got them into office after they were either disgraced or lost previous elections.

And Why? was Phil Crandall too busy to show up for the Meet the Candidates event at the school? Coward that he is, he didn’t want to face voters with tough questions.

Although we reported extensively on their corrupt histories, Comanches preferred to make fools of themselves. Here are some of the previous articles we published in 2015, as background:

Diane Millious, Coeymans Town Clerk for more than a quarter of a century, opens up Why? she’s leaving public service. Her statement , original made privately to friends on Facebook, is being reprinted below with permission. We’ve inserted the names, where necessary, so that everyone is clear about whom she is talking.

Ms Millious’ statement should make some important voting decisions for you on November 6, 2017, election day.

Election Day is almost here and this is the first time in 16 years that I won’t be on the ballot. The decision not to run was not an easy one. It was made partly because of a desire to pack up and move south but mostly because of what I have had to endure over the past two years. I have worked with several Supervisors and Town Boards over the years, some easier to work with than others, I stress the words work with.

The current Town Board with the exception of two members has been impossible to work with. This Town, your Town is currently being run by three people [Phil Crandall, Jim Youmans, Tom Dolan], three people are making all the decisions, don’t be fooled by it being a five member board. Many of the decisions have been made behind closed doors without discussion with the whole Board, the remaining two have been blindsided several times.

There were many occasions when I asked to be placed on the agenda only to find out on the night of a meeting that I was not on the agenda. After this happening several times I found that in order to be heard I had to speak during Public Comment. I have been met with resistance and denial for my needs in staffing my office. The workload requires myself, my Deputy and two part-time clerks alternating days. That has been my staff for 16 years, this Board decided that my office was overstaffed, mind you the Supervisor [Phil Crandall] and one on the Board members [Jim Youmans] are hardly ever in Town Hall to see what my office or any other office does. However the Supervisor’s Office [under Phil Crandall]  is currently staffed by the Supervisor [Phil Crandall], his full-time secretary [Cindy Rowzee, now running for Town Clerk], his full time clerk [Nita Chmielewski, former disgraced Town Supervisor], a part-time human resource/payroll clerk [Linda Ziegler], and an Internal Control Officer & accountant [Sarah Morrison, Darryl Puritan at about $100/hour] who frequently work on weekends. I might add that most of these positions are paid twenty plus dollars an hour with increased hours and pay rate in next year’s budget.

I have been disrespected, scolded and downright bullied by the current Town Board [Phil Crandall, Jim Youmans, Tom Dolan]. Up until the last two years I have run my office as I saw fit to suit the needs of the public, these past two years have been difficult on me and my staff.

My former Deputy was going to finish out my term with me, she chose to retire at the end of May because of the turmoil.

Having said all this, it has been a privilege and an honor serving the Town of Coeymans. I took great pride in helping to meet your needs. Make sure you vote on Election Day and make informed decisions.

Since Phil Crandall and his Democrap croneys Jim Youmans and Tom Dolan were elected in 2015, Coeymans Town Hall has become a cesspool of disrespect, lies, corruption, and incompetence. Coeymans doesn’t need this sort of garbage running things, going on spending sprees to pad the pockets of Mr Crandall’s little harem in his office, while cutting staff and salaries in other departments to the point of abuse!

On November 7, 2017, election day:

Vote Row “B” all the way! “B” is for Better.

Coeymans deserves better than Crandall, Rowzee and DeLuke!

VOTE STRAIGHT ROW “B”
VOTE FOR A BETTER COEYMANS
The Editor

 

Is Church Playing the New Lowest Common Denominator; Sending Mixed Messages

Is Church Playing the New Lowest Common Denominator; Sending Mixed Messages? Or no real message at all?

Is the Church missing the bus? Sending the wrong messages?

Passing through some of our local communities, I frequently notice churches, that is, the physical building, the places of worship, and what characterizes them. The structure, the upkeep, the appearances, the messages posted outside; these say a lot about the people these brick and mortar structure, symbolic representatives of the beliefs and communities they claim they serve. I often see the trite clichés like “God is home, come on in!” or “Be yourself; everyone else is taken” and similar trite slogans. Apparently the Roman Catholic Churches in this area, Ravena and Coxsackie, NY, have given up on being taken seriously so now these parish leaders, the pastors, have to play cool cutsie, mimicking their Protestant and Reformist cohorts. Such silliness simply degrades the sacred space and makes idiots of those few who still frequent them.

This is particularly the case when a new pastor tries to become too popular too fast for too many of the wrong reasons. He starts to get sloppy in his role as spiritual leader and too cozy with the local in-crowds. A leader doesn’t have to be a friend and he doesn’t have to entertain. He has to lead. So, as I drive through the aging, geriatric, brown collar community of Ravena, New York, the local Roman Catholic Church, St Patrick’s, catches my attention. How?

Well, some time ago I was surprised to see a folding sign board placed in front of St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Ravena, on Main Street. It was last Fall and said something like “Leaves fall but Christ doesn’t”. My first thought was that it was rather silly, rather odd. Something I’d expect from some failing Protestant denomination, or some storefront church whose pastor has no other training than what he received in jail, where he got his certificate in Bible Studies from Dumbass Bible Institute or wherever. I knew the pastor at St Pats was one of the young bloods recently ordained, Scott Vandermeer, in his thirties, a journalism degree, able to move around without a walker, he was somewhat more promising than his predecessors, all aging or decrepit, failing, burnt out or uninterested, all cut from the Hubbard School of Ultraliberal Hacks. Careerists. Our hope never failing and our realism always on the watch, we even wrote to Vandermeer offering him help and support. It soon proved that he was going to be just another narcissist; he never responded to our letter. Here we go again!

Soon the signs started going up and were getting weirder and weirder, perhaps because they were cleverly done so as to appeal to the intellectual depths of darkness of the local community. One that appeared:

The sign above is stupid because St Pats does not have a soup kitchen or a food pantry. So not only is the sign a bit idiotic, to anyone not familiar with the local intelligence level, it’s misleading. [Editor’s note: Vanderveer is “out of the country” at the time of this writing and apparently will not be back for another 2-3 weeks, so we could not reach him for comment.  Nor did we receive a response from his office staff.] That really doesn’t matter because it does get worse. Some local in a feeble attempt to put some meaning in his or her life, and for a minute of local fame, placed the “?” on the sign making it even more ridiculous. No one in the parish, not even the absent pastor, seems to have noticed…or cared.

More recently, that is, several weeks ago we again drove by and saw that the sign had been changed to something quite new:

 Is a feeble-minded, scandal-plagued Church is going to make the nation strong again?

This time Mr VanDerveer is apparently making a statement that the Church has something to do with the characteristics of the nation, presumably the nation known as the United States, since we are not aware of any Scriptural or Doctrinal references that would support such a statement. It used to be that strong men made strong nations, then strong families but with the castration of the American male and the virilization of the American female, together with the decline and demise of the American family, it seems that a feeble-minded, scandal-plagued Church is going to make the nation strong again. If this notion was part of the preaching series offered by Vanderveer, we are really sorry we missed his performance. But by any standard, given the Separation Clause and the hesitance of government generally or any of its branches specifically to enter into any discussion of a collaboration between Church and state, this statement seems to indicate that Mr VanDerveer is either ignorant or has a boundaries problem. While the Church and churches, that is, the Roman Catholic and Christian tradition — by division and internecine conflict —  has been losing ground since the 16th century, it would seem that Mr VanDerveer and his keepers would be better advised to concentrate on good preaching and catechesis, fostering interdenominational dialogue and collaboration,  reaching out to local opinion leaders rather than making an untenable and unsubstantiated statement like “A strong church [=] a strong nation.” No matter how you analyze such a statement, logically, theologically, socially, or politically it fails. The Church would be well advised to steer clear of politics — and fallacious logic —; a mere parish priest has no business making such statements and should be reprimanded for having done so. It’s irresponsible, insupportable, fallacious, and is simply not official Church teaching. Politics should be kept out of the pulpit and away from the front of the church — or it should be left to the bishops who are the sole church officials authorized by Rome to make asses of themselves.. Mr VanDerveer should be spending more time preaching that strong family values and morality make for a strong nation; sharing Sunday family dinner together without smartphones might be a start. Getting rid of fidget spinners and Facebook, replacing them with a print book, perhaps St Augustine’s Confessions,  in the schools would be a great move, too.  But the Church has failed in that teaching, too, and in getting that message across to the community.

An half hour for God and 3 hours for the ball game seems like a fair deal for most Catholics.

Instead, the Church and its agents, VanDerveer’s colleagues, superiors, and minions, have prostituted the Church, mistaught and continue to pervert doctrine, dogma, and promote error, and have reduced preaching to a 5 minute commentary so that the so-called “faithful” can get there and out the door with 30-45 minutes at most. After all, a half hour for God and 3 hours for the ball game seems like a fair deal for most Catholics.

Get the ^%$# out of the way! I’ll be late for worship…and the game!

The latest stupidity to be posted in front of St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church apparently has to do with the Biblical myth of Noah and the Deluge found in Genesis, or we may be wrong and VanDerveer’s referring more likely to the bizarre interpretation of the myth provided in the movie, Noah (2014) but here’s the official Biblical version:

“The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” (Gen 7:2-4)

Actually, someone should have whacked the one who thought these signs were appropriate! Never mind the mosquitoes. We don’t recall any specific reference to mosquitoes in Genesis (nor in any part of the Bible) nor any cameo appearance of mosquitoes in the film Noah. Perhaps Vanderveer can help us with that one. We do tend to have our facts straight on this blog so we’re reasonably certain that there were no mosquitoes involved. The only other possibility we can think of is that one of Vanderveer’s Scriptural Studies instructors at seminary came upon some previously unknown Biblical text that tells the story of Noah and the mosquitoes. Whatever the story behind it, Vanderveer appears to believe the story. Why else would he publicly post something like that in front of his church? It seems the “unclean animals” were  sent either to Roman Catholic seminary or to Ravena-Coeymans after leaving the Ark. We have no record of where the “two mosquitoes” went after having escaped being swatted.


A Pleasant Anecdote

While I photographing one of the signs, a St Patrick’s parishioner was approaching the church to attend a meeting, and stopped to chat when she observed me taking the photographs. She commented how interesting the signs were and how they got your attention. I responded very bluntly that they were not interesting; they were a disgrace and were demeaning to the sacred place they were disgracing. I did agree that they got your attention but for the wrong reasons. I admitted to her that I was taking the photo not because I found them attractive, funny or pithy but because they got my interest, and that was not good.

The parishioner was very interested in what we had to say and very gracious, too. We discussed a number problems with the Church, the parish, and local politics. All in all, it was a positive exchange that started on a negative footing.

Shows you that there are still some good, sensible people in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk community; all too few, though.


Contrary to what you have been told or led to believe, dear readers, churches are not where God lives [Thank God!], that is, churches are not God’s personal primary residence, they are sacred spaces where we can find safe, quiet space to reflect, meditate, be still, or engage in a conversation with the Divine, a practice what we call prayer, but have forgotten – or never knew how to do. Nowadays most conversations with God turn out to be like conversations with those twits exercising their thumbs on an electronic device; a meeting where God’s trying to reveal himself to the twit who’s functioning with half a hemisphere, wondering whose reflection it is in the smartphone screen.

Repurposing Our Churches

When I hear of closure of churches, merging of congregations, sale of church property, conversions of churches to art galleries, restaurants, even private residences, I feel a cold shudder. These churches have become like dinosaurs; they were once living, awesome organisms, and they thrived and nurtured similar life but at some time long ago they became sick, languished and died. Now all we have left of them are lumps of rock we gawk at in museums or use as paperweights in our studies. So, too, many of our former sacred spaces are now secular spaces where the inhabiting materialist-consumerists worship their new idols: mega-flat screens, surround sound, a nymph, and a bottle. Happy worshipping!

We’ve replaced God there too with some idol like money, sex, a car, or a pop star

So where has God gone once evicted? God’s where he’s always been: in the dark silent depths of our hearts, unless we’ve replaced God there too with some idol like money, sex, a car, a political figure or a pop star. Yes, Idolaters of Ubiquitous White Noise and Distractions, the Ultimate Truth still lies hidden in that wet, fertile, darkness deep within a human being (No, not a vagina!) but nowadays who among you Vessels of Clay with your stymied white-cane spirituality would dare explore the silence within, when there’s so much to do in the world? Why would anyone want to become acquainted with their true self when they can invent another, more pleasant, acceptable self and one that you can transform it at any time using a convenient app? Who will know? You will. But you don’t care because you’ve been diving down that slippery slope for so long you wouldn’t know your true self if you tripped over it!

In my meanderings I spend time in churches, at meetings and conferences, on Internet forums, at monasteries, interacting with others in a variety of settings. I note the anxiety and the vulnerability that cripples so many people; I note their white-cane spirituality, blindly pursuing some sort of agenda-seeking-to-become-a-religion, a tool for a virtual life; they have no real life. I listen to and become offended by the ignorance and narcissism of those claiming to be called to a vocation, as clergy, as lay religious, as lay ministers in churches, congregations, parishes; I frequently observe the infantile fascination of the unwashed when, in a strange ecstasy of voyeurism, they rub shoulders with monks, priests, nuns, or spiritual leaders, and they grin idiotically as if caught in an act of masturbation. “Hee, hee! Look at me!” Narcissism, too, is a form of idolatry. I have to wonder whether the gawkers or the gawkees actually realize the pitiable dynamic going on. It’s rather like the voyeurism of social media but worse. Worse because the so-called spiritual leaders are actually enjoying the worship, and the egos soar – and the wound deepens and festers, poisoning the entire mystical body.

Starving?
Tail’s great!

And like starving rats will go for anything that smacks of survival…

If churches and faith communities are hemorrhaging members, the religious vocations are dwindling into membership cachexia. And like starving rats will go for anything that smacks of survival. For several decades now, the materialist consumerism and the dumbing down of society has left the message of higher truths and spirituality to languish in the shadow of anti-human propaganda, corporate greed, political narcissism, social confusion, despair and anxiety. Fear of loss is the underlying message everywhere we look. That fear is nourished by the messages we receive of time running out for something, anything, everything; fear the terror threat, fear the coming rain or snow showers, fear the threat represented by the guy next door, fear the North Koreans, fear the Russians, fear the illegals. What we need to fear is the false teaching in the poor preaching, we need to fear the pulpit politics, we need to fear the bigoted perp patrols.

Stuck somewhere in a learning curve…

The only religion that’s growing these days is Islam and our response is to demonize it

We are stuck somewhere in a learning curve. But where? We need to learn to fear our own demise and ignorance thanks to the conflicting and contradicting messages we receive from the media, the poor performance of our education institutions, and the dishonesty and corruption of our political system. Add to that the failure of our Judeo-Christian religious institutions to teach correct doctrine and dogma, and to provide effective preaching in support of implementing doctrine and dogma into our day-to-day lives in furtherance of “happiness” and a “good end.” And it’s no wonder people are despairing and anxious. The only religion that’s growing these days is Islam and our response is to demonize it as a bunch of whacko terrorists. Doesn’t anyone see where this is leading? Why can’t religious institutions join together to combat the capitalist propaganda drowning us in a sea of lies and hate? But then, when I was a kid it was the Roman Catholics and Protestants killing each other. Only the bigotry and creeds have remained the same; only the faces have changed.

Cultural and political institutions our religious and faith institutions are appealing to the lowest common denominator

Failing religious institutions and religious organizations and institutions are desperately prostituting themselves in a vain attempt simply to survive. And like our cultural and political institutions our religious and faith institutions are appealing to the lowest common denominator in the attempt to get what they can and run with it. It’s not working, people, that’s why you see so many storefront and strip mall micro-churches flooding into the vacuum left by mainstream institutions. Problem is this: the storefront and strip mall micros are just as bad as the movie-theatre or stadium megachurches, because they create their own ideologies, agendas, idolatries and there are plenty of sheeple to participate because they don’t know anything better. Thanks Vatican II and interfaith dialogue, ecumenism. Lights, cameras, action! Worship!

I can speak from personal experience, scholarship, and professional activity with various faith traditions and communities, religious organizations and institutions, and educational institutions. As a writer, editor, researcher, and educator I vet my facts.

So where does an institution in decline turn in the desperate attempt to survive a couple of more years? St Patricks is prepping, even in the absence of its pastor for several weeks, for the celebration of the church’s centennial. 100 years is not a very long time in Church terms but it’s a start. The nagging question is how long does it still have before it’s converted into another empty building on Ravena-Coeymans’ growing list of vacancies. [Editor’s note: St Patricks have already sold off a number of real estate parcels, some of which were sold to RCS school board president, James Latter, the same James Latter who works for the Saudi Arabian-owned Sabic corporation, the same corporation who got recommendations for tax breaks from the RCS school district.] Maybe Mr VanDerveer’s off attending job interviews, since the parishioners in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany are usually the last to know when their church is closing.

When you can’t attract young men to the priesthood you have to attract old men to the diaconate

Like the consumer society they operate in, churches like St Patrick’s are compelled to sacrifice quality for quantity. For example, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany reports in a recent issue of Sheaf, the official gazette of St Bernard’s School of Ministry and Theology, the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese reports “200 deacons and growing.” When you can’t attract young men to the priesthood you have to attract old men to the diaconate. Numbers not quality count; that’s why the permanent diaconate was revived by the Roman Catholic Church in the 60s to stem the decline in seminary admissions; in many dioceses the diaconate has become a boy’s club, a church country club, an organization of narcisistic logrollers. “My dad the deacon.” “My son the deacon.” “My wife, Mrs Deacon!”

Deacon Chic Coming Soon to Your Parish!
You have your church band, liturgical dancing, now you can have liturgical strippers!
Don’t miss the Trinitarian Trio of Trollops!

The Episcopal church has been ordaining “women” for decades; many (mostly gender ambiguous specimens) in the RC church are advocating ordaining women deacons and the reasonable expected consequence of this slippery slope is women priests! When does this comedy of errors, this farce stop? [Editor’s note: For those of our readers with limited vocabularies, a “slippery slope” is a comedy of errors is a related series of amusing or farcical events involving a series of awkward missteps or other mistakes.]

Clergy or Special Ed Class or LGBT Rejects?

There is a big problem with erroneous teaching and that leads to gross stupidity and poor public image. Take for instance the Church’s stand on abortion and other issues. The corrupt and long discredited practice of prayer and what the faithful could expect from prayer as espoused by a greedy medieval Church led not only to Martin Luther’s confrontation and the ultimate schism but also to the Counter-Reformation, and later to many, many scandals. They still haven’t learned.

Erroneous teaching and that leads to gross stupidity and poor public image

OK. But can someone tell me how this works? How about you, Father?

Let’s face the facts: The Church may be facing annihilation over the longer term if it doesn’t (1) come up with some sort of recruitment scheme for the long-term future of the priesthood, and (2) come up with some sort of outside “support for its mission,” which translates into people who are able and willing to give in support of the Church in general and of their local faith community before it has to selling off more acreage. The old priests and nuns committed their lives and fortunes to the faith community; they’re gone now and so are their legacies. A liberal, liberation theology (= socialist)  tainted Jesuit pope is not going to solve the problem; in fact, he stands to worsen it. Jesuits don’t have a very good record in Rome; Jesuit popes have an even worse record..

And this is how it’s gonna be!

One of the real problems being faced by the Church and by the faithful is that they are learning impaired. Change is not measured in years in the Church but in centuries. While the men in the Vatican are swilling good wine and dining in gardens al fresco, the American Church is making its own rules. Everyone seems to be caught up in a dead man spiral, stuck somewhere in an ecclesiological learning curve. But no one seems to be certain where they’re stuck.

Still in the learning curve. But where?

So that’s where we stand locally, and regionally. Ravena is just an example, a stereotype, and not the main culprit; Ravena is a symptom, we have to look for the ecclesiological pathology elsewhere. Meanwhile, the stupid signs aren’t helping.

The Church at Work.
Did you find the problem yet?

 

Tragedy or Failure? Watch what you do; take personal responsibility for things like this!

A truly sad event occurred in the morning hours of April 25, 2017, when a young man died as the result of an unfortunate vehicular traffic accident. The event has been called “tragic” but we’d like to call it instructive and meaningful. Logan Penzabene’s death on April 25 was not just the loss of a son, a friend, a young man whose life would have been full of promise; it was a wake-up call to every single politician, law enforcement person, and every member of this bereft community and beyond. The roadside memorials will disintegrate, the tears will dry up, the body will be buried but will the problems and failures persist?

Watch what you do; take personal responsibility for things like this!

The media reports that “The tragic crash took place in the midst of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s teen safe driving campaign, and law enforcement babbles, and as Bethlehem Police Commander Adam Hornick babbles, “It’s even more unfortunate that we had this crash urging a campaign like this where we have such a concentrated effort by law enforcement to cut down on incidents like this.” Hornick hopes others will take the crash as a reminder to drive safe on the roads. Don’t we all?

Regardless of what Gov. Mario Cuomo puts out there politically or what Hornick makes as a public statement on behalf of law enforcement, the fact remains, that many reports and complaints have been made to local law enforcement and to the New York State Police regarding the safety of vehicular traffic on Route 144, where this accident occurred, claiming the life of another young person and severely injuring another.

We made a direct complaint to New York State Police at the toll plaza 22 of the New York State Thruway…

In fact, several weeks ago, we made a direct complaint to New York State Police at the toll plaza 22 of the New York State Thruway regarding the very real and present problem of operators, including passenger vehicles and heavy commercial vehicles, running the stop signs at Rt 144. Details were provided to responding State Troopers but to date we have not been able to observe any police presence at the times we reported such activity nor at any other time.

The New York State Police seem to have plenty of money, personnel and time to escort oversized vehicles down Rt 144, even when commericial escort should be available and doing that service, but the NYS Police don’t seem to have time to enforce the vehicular laws of this state. People are endangered, injured and killed as a result. Why is that?

Know what this means?

We have repeatedly reported on the careless and dangerous operation of vehicles entering and exiting the Port of Coeymans and adjacent Coeymans Industrial Park properties but we have seen no enforcement action taken at that location. Illegal and dangerous passing by motorists when a slow-moving truck pulls out in front of them. Decoy cars parked unlawfully and dangerously on the roadside but no visible control of the heavy truck traffic. Why is that?

On Aprll 25, 2017, Logan Penzabene was killed when he crossed into the on coming lane of traffic. Why was that? What caused him to migrate into that other lane and strike the oncoming vehicle? Texting, using a phone, horsing around in the car? Didn’t take more than a second and it happened! Where are we, people? In LA-LA Land?

The Penzabene Accident Scene

On the one hand we can speak of our unrealistic notion that we are in control of events and that such things are preventable. That’s part of our LA-LA Land arrogance and is somehow believing in magic. Something that is preventable reasonbably leads to the conclusion that if it happened and was not prevented that some mistake was made, and if a mistake was made, someone obviously made it, barring any notion or proof of mechanical failure. In Logan’s case, complete failure of his steering wheel. So if the accident was due to human error, what was it?

Signs pointing in the direction of failure of programs…

While we, as human beings, are blasted into reality when such an event occurs, that reality regrettably lasts only until the memorial shrine disintegrates or a couple of days after the funeral. Then it’s back to business as usual. Here’s the stupid-rule: the more stupidity, more so-called tragedies. But the real tragedy is still the stupidity. The stupidity of educators, parents, law enforcement and policy makers. These events are not just deaths, they are evidence of failures but no one seems to think of these events as signs pointing in the direction of failure of programs. So the so-called tragedies continue.

It’s half-arsed damage control…

Quite frankly, it’s half-arsed damage control when the RCS school district plays the caring and compassionate student-centered educators by announcing that “grief counselors are being made available to students and staff in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk school district. This follows the death of RCS grad, Logan Penzabene. He was killed in a car crash Tuesday in Selkirk.” Too little, too late  And if RCS Superintendent of Schools Robert Libby sent a letter home with each student in the district informing families about the fatal accident Wednesday, he’s going to have to do a hell of a lot more than just sending students home with letters. But does he have any clue what to do?

Cuomo’ s public announcement of a so-called “teen safe driving campaign” isn’t going to do it. Hornick’s wishful thinking and so-called efforts to cut down on inicidents” like the Penzabene incident isn’t going to come to any fruition. Why? Because they are smoke and mirror shows, empty!

If efforts and programs worked, why is it, as Hornick reports, that “[T]he community has already been through this; the town has,” Hornick said. “This is the second fatal in town in six months.” Second “fatal” but what about the others, the non-fatal ones. If Hornick’s efforts were as colorful as his title,  Bethlehem Police Commander, maybe we’d see some change.

In our May 3 article “Enuf already! Freaks and Scofflaws” we  reported on a local business vehicle apparently operated by an employee of Eagle Tools in West Coxsackie. That report was provided on the very day of Penzabene’s funeral, on May 3! That truck ran a stop sign, was traveling at a low speed, was crossing over into the oncoming lane numerous times, never used a turn signal. And that’s someone allegedly with a commercial driver’s license!

And what about the rest of you? You’re all just as guilty! Just open your eyes while you’re driving and observe what’s happening around you, and the hazards and dangers being created randomly by your fellow vehicle operators. Better still, just count the hazardous and dangerous habits you have behind the wheel. Precious cargo on board signs merely obstruct visibility even if you were using your rear view mirrors; programs and efforts don’t work unless the community actively commits to the program and actively participates in the efforts.

What are you doing to ensure you don’t get that knock at the door or that telephone call starting,
“I’m afraid I have some bad news…”

This is not the time to start thinking…

It would also help if law enforcement did less talking and responded more proactively to real complaints and reports of vehicular misconduct and careless operation.

Cuomo is a politician and spends most of his time in a very secure environment, most of the time in New York City. We have to live in the community. We have to use the roads. We have to try to stay alive despite the stupidity of those around us. What to we do about stupidity? Well, you could start by being less stupid yourselves.

So forget all the empty “You’re in our prayers” crapola. Forget the roadside memorials. Forget the sentimental expressions of superficial sympathy. Forget Cuomo and his idiotic empty programs. And forget law enforcement efforts that are practically non-existent if we can judge by their response to real complaints and ongoing problems. Do something that is really effective: Mind your manners!

While human compassion blots out reason in the acute moments of such loss, and loss it is in myriad ways, and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Logan’s devastated family and friends, we have to look at this event as having an incredible meaning for everyone: Logan’s death has become an icon, an icon that demands that we take responsibility for our own actions and accept accountability. If Logan’s death is to have any meaning at all, it’s up to his young friends, his community, and all of us to be responsible and obey our laws, take our time, be mindful of the moment, and to realize our duties and obligations not only to ourselves but to those around us as well. Period.

Read a Related Article at No Empty Chair at the Dinner Table.

Download the final article from Spirituality & GriefcareNo Empty Chair

Thank you, Logan!
The Editor