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All are welcome!
Re-published with permission from Greene County Weasels.
Playing the Gender Card is Just as Corrupt as Playing the Race Card.
If you’re playing the gender card in your campaign, you’ll probably be playing the gender card in office.
We’ve been following the Diana Benoit campaign for some time now, and it gets more and more desperate as time goes on. We’ve reviewed a number of her campaign sites and it appears she’s now playing the gender card as a last-ditch resort. Shame on you, Diana Benoit! Law enforcement and the Sheriff’s Department is not about what’s in you panties or boxers, it’s about people and people needing help. If you’re playing the gender card in your campaign, you’ll probably be playing the gender card in office. That’s just not right.
Diana Benoit seems to be a very confused person; a person confused about her purpose and about her capabilities. She’s being led around by the nose by her EGO.
Benoit is consuming herself in her own deceptions.
Diana Benoit is CONFUSED, at least according to the site calling itself “The Greene County Non-Partisan Citizens for Diana Benoit,” one of the most misleading campaign sites I’ve seen in a long time, Benoit claims: “A Republican campaigning on the Independence Party line.” WTF?!? That has to be a classic in misinformation. While Benoit may be a “Republican,” 89% of Republican voters in the Republican Primary rejected Benoit in favor of Kusminsky (NEWS Channel 13). That tells us that Benoit may be Republican in her head but not in Greene County! The second lie or misinformation, whichever you prefer, is Benoit’s claim that she’s running on the Independence Party line. She used sneaky backdoor tactics to get the state party committee to back her, once she lost the Republican primary to Kusminsky. She ignored the Greene County Independence Party Committee, wrote several media pieces libeling the Greene County Independence Party, managed to get the real Independent Party candidate’s ballot petition signatures thrown out, and got tarred-and-feathered, at the Greene County Independence Party Committee meeting in September. In short: the Greene County Republicans rejected her, and the Greene County Independence Party does not support her, she never asked for their endorsement or support until her devious tactics became public. Seriously, is that the kind of Sheriff Greene County residents want? Is that the kind of boss Greene County Sheriff’s deputies want to call their “leader?” Is that the kind of Sheriff State and local law enforcement want to work with?
So how does Diana Benoit explain those facts away? She thinks by playing the gender card, she can make her preference for backdoor entry, at least in her campaign politics, go away. Sorry, it won’t work!
She first attracted our attention when she lost to Peter Kusminsky, and was buried in a landslide. The primary voters devastated her bid so she gave up her dream of being on the Republican ballot. (See our article, Diana Benoit’s Questionable Ethics.) In a News Channel 13 online article “Kusminsky wins the vote for Greene County Sheriff in primary races” reports “GREENE COUNTY- In the race for Greene County Sheriff, Republicans chose Peter Kuminsky over Diana Benoit. Kuminsky won with 89-percent of the vote.”
She first attracted our attention when she lost to Peter Kusminsky, and was buried in a landslide. The primary voters devastated her bid so she gave up her dream of being on the Republican ballot. (See our article, Diana Benoit’s Questionable Ethics.)
What she then did was troubling: It was obvious that the Greene County political parties were backing Kusminsky, and why not? Benoit got buried in a major party primary. Why would any party want to pick her up?
The Greene County Independence Party backed Kusminsky but Benoit, in a moment of rage and sour grapes, had his petition thrown out when she filed a lawsuit, and with it all of the Greene County voters’ signatures, because the petition was “not bound correctly,” an idiotic technicality. So you think she’s going to get those voters to vote for her? No way, José!
You may think that’s a pretty low blow, but it is a technicality, and Benoit got legitimate Kusminky supporters’ signatures voided. Those were Greene County voters’ signatures she unceremoneously dumped. Now she’s looking for Greene County votes?
Benoit then went on to smear the Greene County Independence Party in several items in local newspapers. Not a very smart move, Diana. But then she did something that marked her forever: She trashed the Greene County Independence party and went to the NY state board to get on the Independence Party ballot in Greene County. She thought she was pretty slick, until she made the big mistake of appearing at a Greene County Independence Party meeting, where she was on the carpet squirming when confronted with some very damning questions. Benoit had no answers, and left with her bushy tail between her heavy thighs. (See our article, Diana Benoit’s Questionable Ethics.)
Now she’s desperate and really has no place to go — or hide. Her ego is so big and so toxic that she can’t possibly accept that she’s a pariah but she still pushes forward, like a rogue cow elephant in a china shop.
Her campaign is very poorly managed and is excessively aggressive and defensive. Wonder Why? Rather than make nice, her campaign manager goes on the defensive and is in anyone’s face. In one instance, she was approached by someone with a problem. Instead of trying to ease the suffering of the wounded warrior, she poured salt into the wounds saying, “Well, it’s their own fault.” Not very convincing, is it?
What you’re packing in your boxers or your panties is not what public office is all about
She and her campaign advisers have really shot themselves in the foot now. We’ve been following Benoit’s campaign quite closely, and have found that she’s now playing the gender card. That’s the worst thing anyone can do, and is like playing the race card to get elected. What Benoit doesn’t seem to understand is that she’s a loser, and throwing her panties into the ring isn’t going to get her the votes. She doesn’t seem to understand that what you’re packing in your boxers or your panties is not what public office is all about. It’s a question of integrity, honesty, competence, and, well, performance even as early as the campaign, since that’s when you get to show your true colors.
Law enforcement isn’t about gender, so it’s beyond us why Benoit’s campaign is taking that tack — unless it’s out of sheer desperation. No one but the hopeless stupids cares if she claims to be a woman. Big deal. We’d like to ask her how being a woman makes her a good candidate for an office that doesn’t require any particular gender but does require integrity and leadership. Benoit has shown she has neither of those essential qualities. So do we really need her to start asking voters to vote with their emotions and not with their brains just because shes’s losing? She’s losing because she’s not up to the job! And voters know that!
Her eleventh hour attempts to make a showing are pretty paltry at best. We feel that playing the gender card shows very poor character, and is the same as playing the race card to attract votes. If that’s the best Diana Benoit has to offer, Thank you! But No, thank you!
Just an aside: Diana Benoit’s not doing hubby Daniel Benoit any favors either. She’s tainted his political career with her cheap shenanigans. You’d wonder what the atmosphere is like in the Benoit residence. Kinda tense, we’d guess.
Our advice to Diana Benoit: Start working on your concession statement; you may still leave this campaign with some dignity. It’s up to you.
If you’re as sick and tired as we are with Democrats and Republicans from local to state to national levels doing nothing but mud-slinging and backstabbing, when they should be governing the country, we have a very doable recommendation.
Think about it this way: Who are you? Are you a thinking, intelligent human being. Are you a real person with your own mind, body, identity? You can make your own decisions. Right? Then why do you act like the wind-up mechanical toy of two political parties that abuse you and your rights? They wind you up and you dance to their music. Right? WRONG!!! Stop calling yourself a Republican or a Democrat. That’s not who you are. You are an independent, free human being. Start acting INDEPENDENT!!!
Local mid-term elections are just around the corner and the two major parties, the Democratic and Republican parties, have for the past several elections either produced no candidates or the worst imaginable candidates. What that means is that when the Dems or Reps can’t come up with a candidate — or cut a back-room deal not to come up with a candidate —, it’s politics at work against your civil and democratic rights. You are deprived of your vote, your voice, and the choice of who runs your town, state, and even country!
We say don’t give the two arrogant Dem and Rep parties the numbers. Both the Dem and Rep parties have become far too arrogant and corrupt to care about what voters need and want, and too busy fighting like cats and dogs among themselves and getting nothing done.
We need a fresh start and we need to send the Dems and the Reps, and the Reps pet monkey, the Conservatives, a clear and unmistakable message: Get Lost, Losers!
We recommend: (1) If a candidate is unopposed, don’t waste a vote on him or her. New York Election Law states that if he or she is unopposed, they are considered elected by default, regardless of whether voters want them. Just don’t cast a vote for them as a protest. They won’t get the numbers and they will get the message.
(2) After the mid-term elections this November, let the Dems, Reps, and the Rep’s lap dog, the Conservatives know you’ve had enough of their idiotic games. — Unless of course you’re one of those people who think that being a Republican or a Democrat will get you certain favors and privileges…only if pigs have wings, neighbor.— After the mid-terms, change your registration to Independence Party. (Get the registration forms at the post office or ask at the community library.) By changing your voter registration party affiliation, you don’t lose a thing. You can still vote for any qualified candidate in any party in any election (except party primaries). You just won’t vote in the primaries as if that ever did us any good. By registering Independent, you are making a clear statement that you are an independent voter, not part of a corrupt and useless political game.
That’s our advice and we’re following our own advice.
Come Clean! Candidates!
We want to know and we want you, our readers, to know what exactly the Candidates are offering, not just what they think you want to hear.
The elections are approaching with breakneck speed and we want to head off all of the contenders by calling them out to answer our questions, not the beat-around-the-bush, closed group set-ups like the so-called Meet-the-Candidate scripted performances, where bullshit flies thicker and higher than on a dairy farm. Hold on, that would be cow shit, wouldn’t it? Dairy farm? Well, you get the gist of what we think of the meet the candidate freak shows. Same applies to the political whoredom we call the media and their edited interviews.
Well, we’re going to challenge all of that this year and invite all of the candidates running in the local elections (Coeymans, New Baltimore, and the surrounding communities) to be interviewed and to answer our questions on our terms.
But we’re not the whole community and each and every one of our readers has the right and the duty to ask questions and get answers about the people asking for our votes and wanting to take over governance of our communities, homes, our lives.
Our first invitation to be interviewed has gone out to Mr Phillip Crandall, incumbent Town Supervisor, Town of Coeymans. We have contacted Mr Crandall and have provided him with our preliminary questions; we’re waiting to hear from him with a date.
We’ve also invited the publisher of the Ravena News Herald, Mr Mark Vinciguerra, to join our non-partisan, independent interviewer in a joint interview of Mr Crandall. We invited Mr Vinciguerra because we feel that the presence of the local print media will provide for a more rounded, balanced interview.
Here are our preliminary questions that we will be asking Mr Crandall:
Proposed Interview Questions
- What are the 10 most significant accomplishments you have achieved in the past two years as Town of Coeymans Supervisor?
- What are the 5 most significant benefits that Coeymans residents have received during your term in office but don’t know about?
- What is your vision for the next two years if you are re-elected to be Town of Coeymans Supervisor?
- What are your plans for turning Coeymans into a small business Mecca?
- What are some of the incentives you will offer small businesses to encourage them to come to Coeymans and revitalize the Hamlet?
- How will you work with the Village of Ravena to beautify Main Street, and make it welcoming to small businesses like arts and crafts, specialty shops, etc.
- Do you have any plans for tourism and hospitality venues in Coeymans?
- Why would George McHugh be bad news for Coeymans?
- What do you offer Coeymans that McHugh can’t?
- Without speculating, what is your opinion about the McHugh, Laraway, Vinciguerra connection?
- Given the questions regarding the role of the Coeymans Police Department in the death of 19-year old Riley Kern: What does the Town of Coeymans plan to do to show good faith in the Riley Kern wrongful death case?
- Based on the meeting you and Mr. Contento had with Mrs Kern, Riley Kern’s mother, in July 2019: What does the Town of Coeymans plan to do to support Emily Kern’s efforts to get recognition for her son, and to make amends for the circumstances of his death?
It’s your community, too, and we want you to have a say in all of this. That’s why we’re asking our readers to send us their questions for consideration. If your questions are selected, we’ll include them in the interview of Mr Crandall.
As we go forward with the interviews, we’ll post names and questions for the candidates we choose to interview, and ask for your inputs.
Of course, we’ll keep you updated and informed on how the candidates respond, and we’ll share their answers with our readers.
Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also leave a public comment on this blog with your questions.
Thank you and enjoy a fun, safe,and happy Labor Day weekend!
No Flag-waving, Sunshine Patriotism. It’s all Phony. We are Celebrating Truth, Instead.
Our gift to our readers, followers, and supporters on this Independence Day. From the movie Idiocracy (2006), President Camacho’s State of the Union address:
Editor’s Note: Idiocracy is a 2006 American science fiction satire/comedy film. The film tells the story of two people who take part in a top-secret military human hibernation experiment, only to awaken 500 years later in a dystopian society where anti-intellectualism and commercialism have run rampant, and which is devoid of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights. The main character, Joe Bauers, the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for the top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes five centuries in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed down that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive. Many in the media and commentators call the film a “documentary” rather than a comedy, and discuss how the theme of the film is actually coming true!
Unlike most journalism and unlike most media, Smalbany is Independent, totally Independent, and doesn’t sell out for cash, ratings, future promises. Smalbany cherishes the guaranteed freedom of press and opinion, and will never abuse that guaranteed right. Smalbany is no slave to any special interest, any politician, or bribery of any kind. No other area print or online media can make that claim. That’s why we are the areas most read and most trusted journalistic source for truth and openness.
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The Smalbany a.k.a. Albany, NY, team wish all of our readers a safe and peaceful Independence Day 2019.
The Smalbany Blog again celebrates their 5th Independence Day, Yes! 5 years already serving the community and beyond. Smalbany Blog confirms and re-asserts their
- Independence from allegiance to any political party, ideology, special interest, religion, or group; Smalbany’s only allegiance is to Truth and Fairness.
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- Independence from ignorance and lies; Smalbany never posts an article without checking the facts and looking at both sides of the story.
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- Independence from fake loyalty to any flag or national myth; Smalbany is supranational, above any nation or national symbol, Smalbany avoids idolatry and false prophets.
- Independence from fear; Smalbany knows more than it posts, and keeps the scoundrels and villains in the community and beyond on their guard.
- Independence from corruption in public services, public servants, elected officials; Smalbany doesn’t ask any public servant or elected official for any favors. This means that the crooks in government can’t buy their way out of their crimes.
- Independence from any blame or guilt; Smalbany has always maintained the highest level of integrity — and will continue to do so — and has nothing to fear from the powers to be.
And speaking of misinformation, Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed. The actual resolution of independence was made on July 2, 1776, by the Second Continental Congress in a closed session. So why July 4th? The declaration resolution was publicized on July 4, 1776. In 1781, the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration. But it wasn’t until 1870 that the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees, and only in 1938 did Congress change Independence Day to a paid federal holiday; in 1941 the day was expanded to become a “national” holiday. (5 U.S.C. § 6103). (Source: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th, last accessed on July 3, 2019)
That’s the kind of Independence we at Smalbany wish each and every one of our contributors, followers, readers, and supporters. We wish you all a Smalbany Independence Day, every day!
The good weather is here and we are venturing out looking for scenery and a nice brunch or lunch in fresh air and sunshine. For generations, southern Albany County and much of Greene County and Southwards was the place to go but that much has changed for the absolute worst.
With very few exceptions, there’s just nowhere in the area to go for service and good food, unless you’re ready to have to reserve a week in advance and then be prepared to pay Manhattan prices for Smalbany quality and service. But then there’s Montréal just 3-4 hours away, which is probably how long we drove around trying to find someplace for brunch, which turned into a late lunch this Sunday.
The Greasy Spoon Report
I’ll share the moral — Yes! There is a moral — to this article so you can keep it in mind as you read:
You never know who you are dealing with; be your best at all times.
It’s true. This Sunday’s weather was beautiful. Imagine: Three days in a row of sunshine and pleasant temperatures. Of course we were sick of sitting indoors, so we headed out to an area that used to be known for it’s resorts, cafés, restaurants, and venues: The Catskills. For us it’s been the area around Cairo and Purling. the area offers beatiful scenery and used to feature some really great but small places to get good food. But that’s all changed.
Let’s start with one of the more representative of the ongoing failures of the area. After driving around only to find our favorite places either closed or simply gone in the space of a year, we had to settle for a small place called the Log Cabin Cafe (outside of Cairo, in Purling). I describe how we ended up there below but here’s the story about our experience.
The Log Cabin Cafe was not our first choice. In fact we drove past it twice before deciding we had had enough of restaurants that were either deserted, didn’t care enough to post hours of operation, had idiots for staff, or just plain were out of business (more on this below). It all started when we walked in and were told that we had to sit at the counter. I looked around and right next to us (we were two persons), was a 4-top, with a couple of tables finishing up (also 4-tops) and two tables for two. I don’t eat a the bar or at a counter. Sorry. So I pointed out the empty 4-tops and asked what’s wrong with that? The hostess’ response didn’t set the mood when she responded, “Oh. That’s for four people. We might need it if someone comes in.” I responded “Well, someone has come in and you do need it. Wouldn’t you rather have it occupied that sitting there waiting for someone to come in?” She finally agreed to let us have the table. In the meantime, other tables had become available, and the counter was occupied.
The hostess was friendly enough and the place was kind of pleasant. The menu looked sparse (Log Cabin Cafe Menu) but adequate, and the hostess offered to recite the specials, which sounded interesting, but that’s where they stopped. Interesting but lousy.
“If I want ‘friendly’ I’ll go to a whorehouse. That’s where I pay for ‘friendly.’ When I go to a restaurant I pay for good service and good food, not for ‘friendly.’
The coffee was weak. That’s a very bad sign from the start. If you can’t offer a good cup of coffee, that is, a cup of coffee that doesn’t taste like some old lady’s reused teabag, that’s a sure sign that you’re dealing with amateurs. In the middle of the meal, we noted that the coffee had run out, and nobody seemed to care to make a fresh pot. I signalled to the waitress and asked if there would be a refill, and she said she had to make a pot. I agreed and noted, “Can you please make sure there’s coffee in the basket this time. Mine tasted like tea.” She responded with something like “hot water,” but I ignored it. Major Mistake No. 1. Don’t try to be smarter than the customer — you’re probably not (that’s why you’re serving him and not the other way around); offer to do better.
We had placed our order and asked for two ice waters with lemon. The ice waters came and they had slices of lemon. They also had a very strong odor of sulfur and tasted awful. The lemon didn’t help, and only made the water taste like rotten eggs with lemon. I mentioned to my guest that I would have expected that they would have cared enough to at least use or offer bottled water, given the horrible smell and taste of the well water. They didn’t. Major Mistake No. 2. If you know your water tastes like it came from the Ravena public pool or from the local sewerage treatment plant, offer bottled water! More to come.
The wait was excessively long for an omelette and pancakes. More like 20 minutes during which we had finished our mimosas, and our coffee, and were not offered refills on the coffee. Not only that, the coffee had run out — they apparently were running only one carafe at a time — so even when we got someone’s attention, we still had to wait for a fresh pot to brew. Major Mistake No. 3. If you’re serving, SERVE! Don’t make the guest follow you! And make sure you have something to serve! I’m not done yet; more to come.
Still waiting, the hostess told us our food was coming soon. By this time I had almost forgotten what I had ordered. It was a “special”: sweet potato pancakes (which could have been SWEET POTATO pancakes or sweet potato PANCAKEs two very different animals), local organic maple syrup. STOP there. I asked if I could substitute the sweet potato pancakes for regular pancakes if ordered the combo breakfast, which included pancakes OR French toast with “homefries”, two eggs, and bacon or sausage or ham, or honey ham “steak”. I wanted to try the sweet potato pancakes and was prepared to pay a little extra, if necessary. The waitress agreed to make the substitution. And we waited. And waited.
The food finally came. Well, what they claimed was our order finally got to the table. My guest’s omelette, a special, “Hawaiian omelette with ham and pineapple,” was, well not really an omelette as most of us know omelettes. It was eggs, thinly sliced deli ham, and pineapple in a sweetish sauce. When mine arrived in front of me, it took some imagination to make it actually my original order. Homefries were more like boiled potatoes with onion. The scrambled eggs were dry. The “ham” consisted of four thin slices of sandwich deli ham that had barely touched any heat, but even so, if they had served a single slice of the same ham, thicker and even browned, given the wait, it might have come close to marginally acceptable. The pancakes were the final straw: they were neither sweet potato PANCAKES nor SWEET POTATO pancakes. They were clearly just pancakes, maybe whole wheat pancakes, that were very heavy on the cinnamon or allspice and very weak on anything anyone could identify as “sweet potato.” My order was called the “Hiker” and you’d think for almost $10, that it would be enough for a hearty outdoors person. It wasn’t. More like a badly done kiddie’s meal. Major Mistake No. 3. Be generous and try to impress; put performance where your mouth is. There’s an old saying in business that most Capital District (and Greene County) so-called buisnesses have forgotten: “Nice words don’t butter the parsnips.” Think about that while I go on.
The second cup of coffee came and it was just as weak and watery as the first cup. Watching the waitress as she place the prefilled filter in the basket, she made no effort to add more coffee to improve the quality of the brew. Major Mistake No. 4. When informed of a deficiency, correct the deficiency, don’t repeat it!
In the meantime, the two servers — the hostess and her “daughter” — were “friendly” but simply not attentive.
My guest is a rather low-key, complacent sort of person, and was uncomfortable when I honestly responded to the hostess’ inquiry about how the food was. He was apparently a bit embarrassed when I read her the riot act and he said, “Did you have to tell her? She’s so friendly.” My response was: “If I want friendly I’ll go to a whorehouse. That’s where I pay for ‘friendly.’ When I go to a restaurant I pay for good service and good food, not for ‘friendly.’ I thought we came here to eat, not to f**k.” He had to agree on that point.
I had placed one of the “pancakes” on the side plate together with two slices of the “ham” and the “local organic maple syrup” cuplet expecting to take it home for my puppy’s dining pleasure. The hostess came to the table and finally cleared the dirty dishes; she returned and took the side plate with my “takeaways.” She returned with the check and, when I asked if she was packing my leftovers, she responded with a surprised look, “I didn’t realize your wanted to take them.” I noted that I had placed everything neatly on a side plate and didn’t feel to tell her to wrap it; besides, she never asked. Look, if it’s mutilated and on a plate, the guest probably thought it should be played with, not eaten. Big clue! If it’s neatly put aside with other bits on a plate, there might be a reason for that, especially if it’s not been touched. She just took it away, and never brought it back. Major Mistake No. 5. When you don’t know or are not sure, ASK!!!
Well that was the final straw. No, it wasn’t the final straw. I think it was reasonable for me to expect that given the poor quality of the service and the food that the hostess would have at least offered to comp the two drinks. NOPE. Furthermore, she took my leftovers which were clearly set aside, never asked if I wanted them wrapped, and took off with them. That was half my meal. Did she offer anything. NOPE. Major Mistake No 6. If you know that a guest was disappointed and unhappy, try to make nice, and offer something to make it better. Try to show you Care (even if you don’t really give a shit).
After all was done and said, we left almost $50 (check, tax and 15% tip — my guest left the tip; my choice would have been $1 not in gratitude for poor food and even poorer treatment, but as a statement). We could have done much, much better and then some at the Midway Café (Ravena) for a third of the price! Next time, it’ll be the Midway.
Conclusion: Log Cabin Café, Purling (Cairo). Rating of 2.5 out of possible 5. Poor to Mediocre. Lousy service; lousy food. Slow staff. They just don’t care or don’t know how to offer professional hospitality. Our advice is: Avoid the place!
The Quest for Brunch — Sure Disappointment
Our very frustrating attempt to find a place for brunch in Greene County, NY, started in the hamlet of Coxsackie. We learned of what promised to be a very good experience at a recent Rotary Club fundraiser, where we met the operators of the Yellow Deli on Reed Street in the hamlet of Coxsackie. That became our first stop on the journey to disappointment.
We left at about 10:00 on Sunday morning, a beautiful late Spring day, and headed south to the hamlet of Coxsackie on the Hudson River. Our most vivid recollection of Coxsackie restaurants and hospitality has been dreary, at best, given the poor service and frequently poorer kitchen skills of the wannabe “chefs”. It’s no wonder that you hear that a new restaurant has opened in Coxsackie, and by the time you get to try it, it’s gone out of business. The sign may be there, but not much else. But that’s typical of the area. Signs once announcing the presence of a business have become windworn monuments, literally wooden grave markers, because the former owners and the local community are such lugs, they don’t even remove the signs — sometimes for literally decades, as in the village of Ravena and the Town of Coxsackie — once the business has long since died.
We had hoped for a different experience when we drove down Mansion Street and entered Reed Street in Coxsackie and caught sight of the Yellow Deli at the bottom of the street. We looked forward to experiencing the full range of the products we tasted at the Rotary fundraiser.
Once again, disappointment. Hanging in front of the building was a shingle reading, “Closed,” and a note on the door announcing that the Deli would not be open because of the Shavuot (Pentecost) religious holiday. The operators are members of the sect calling itself the Twelve Tribes, and apparently place a minor religious holiday over and above doing business and their responsibilities to the community and customers providing them with a livelihood.
The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” … Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:23-28)
Far be it from us to give a bad recommendation or review to business for observing a minor holy day, but it does leave a bad taste in the mouth, no pun intended.
We’ll give it another shot and hope they’re not in church again. Disappointment No. 1. Yellow Deli closed but only for the day, we hope.
After 59 years, Hartmann’s Kaffeehause, in Round Top, has closed its doors!
If you google Hartmann’s Kaffeehaus you’ll find nothing but excellent reviews. Excellent service, excellent food. Incredible European style cakes and pastries in an authentic German atmosphere where most of the staff were German and loved offering Old World hospitality whether auf Deutch or auf Englisch!
Well, after more than 59 years providing top-shelf service and food, Hartmanns has closed its doors for good, and with that tragic event, we lose yet another local tradition and yet another bit of nostalgia.
We are truly saddened by the loss of Hartmanns because it is truly a loss to those of us who knew and loved the place, and to the community far and wide.
After the Yellow Deli stop, we headed for Disappointment No. 2, when we found Hartmann’s had closed for good.
We then headed for Maasmann’s Restaurant at the Blackhead Lodge and Country Club, Round Top. It was already 12:00 and we had been driving from location to location for about one-and-a-half hours and were getting a bit frustrated.
On arrival at Maasmann’s we found the doors unlocked but the place was deserted. I don’t mean that there were not customers or diners. The place was dead as a doornail. We couldn’t find ANYONE in the place, no staff, no one. We waited a bit and even called out to see if someone would respond. Nothing.
We left a bit amused that the place was left open and unattended. Disappointment No. 3. Massemann’s Restaurant abandoned but open.
We followed other signs in Round Top only to find that they led nowhere, that is, the signs were there along the road but the restaurants were boarded up.
So the next stop was the Mountain Brauhaus, also just outside of Cairo, in Round Top, another quaint German venue that’s been there for years. Actually, since about 1955!
It was about 12:00, two hours into the nightmare. We pulled into the parking lot and checked out the front. No cars but it was still early. Got to the front door and found a sign reading “Use the Ramp for Entrance.” OK. So we went along the side to the ramp. Door locked. No sign. No hours. Went to the deck and checked that door. Locked. No sign. No hours.
Typical of the area. No respect for customers and very low on courtesy. wouldn’t you think they’d at least post their hours of operation? Not in Greene County, friends.
Disappointment No. 4. Mountain Brauhaus closed, locked, no indication of hours. Are they still in business? Your guess is as good as ours!
Next stop was the Bavarian Manor, in Purling, another legacy restaurant, and just down the road from where we were. We’d been there before for lunch and dinner and were not disappointed. But that was then.
We pulled into the parking lot and were enthusiastic because we saw quite a few cars, well maybe 7 or 8, in the parking lot. Was that a good sign? It was already shortly before 1 p.m. and at the entrance the sign read “Sunday open from 1 p.m.” Things were looking good, friends! Until we went in.
The place, like Maasemann’s at the Blackhead Country Club, was deserted!!! No on, not even staff around. But we heard voices coming from what appeared to be the kitchen so we approached and knocked. A man asked if he could help and we said we were there for lunch. He looked at us like we were from another planet and said they didn’t open until 5 p.m. I informed him the sign out front said that they were open from 1 p.m. He answered, “That’s on Sundays.” I informed him that it WAS SUNDAY! He looked confused and and then said, “Yeah. We open at 1 on Sunday. Yeah. Sorry, it’s Sunday.” “Well,” I said, can we wait? We weren’t surprised by the response. He informed us, “We’re not open until 1:00. Sorry.” It was 5 minutes to 1.
My guest was ready to wait but I wasn’t. I mentioned that from what I saw in the kitchen they were far from ready to prepare a meal. And I had my doubts about the place if they didn’t even know what day it was.
Disappointment No. 5. Bavarian Manor doesn’t know what day it is and isn’t ready to do a meal.
So that’s how we arrived at the Log Cabin Café. After having skipped breakfast in anticipation of a nice brunch, we spent almost 3 hours riding around experiencing disappointment after disapointment, until deciding we’d stop at the Log Cabin Café. After 3 hours and no less than 5 disappointments that morning, we were ready to chow down on an old shoe and wash it down with river water, if necessary. But, as I’ve already reported, we didn’t even get that at the Log Cabin Café, Disappointment No. 6.
Well, that’s our experience in Greene County on a Sunday. At least the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed some fabulous scenery. But the Greene County Chamber of Commerce and Greene County businesses had nothing to do with the weather or the scenery. If they had, that too would have been DISAPPOINTING.
Fortunately, not all restaurants and diners in Greene County are abject failures. There are a number of really excellent places to eat over the entire price range. We’ll review a couple of them in our next post. Hang in there and don’t venture out to brunch or dinner until you hear back from us. Don’t be disappointed. Eat at home until our next review of hot spots for good food.
We have received responses to several of our inquires and it doesn’t look good for Jason Tantra or Tantra 4 Gay Men. Several authoritative Tantra experts have condemned Mr Tantra’s site and his claims, as have several published papers. It seems the authoritative opinion is that Mr “Tantra’s” claims for himself and for his “teachings” are simply not Tantra at all, and, as one expert puts it, it “site looks more like sexual activity for gay men than serious tantric practice.” We agree. We are also reviewing a Google site that discusses Mr Tantra and his organization and we will include that information with the information received from government agencies in our next report. While the fact that Tantra 4 Gay Men and Mr Jason Tantra may be perpetrating a fraud on a vulnerable group, we are more interested in his visa, tax, and licensure status — but our US government agencies tend to drag their feet when it appears they might have been duped. We are contacting the New York State Attorney General’s office to make inquiries, since Mr Tantra is “appearing” at the Easton Mountain retreat lodge in New York State. Maybe a sting can be arranged.
Just when we thought that there could be nothing weirder than local politics and politicians, up pops a case that seems even more bizarre. We’ve received information on what appears to be a feud between two apparently vastly different organizations, rather individuals, on of all things, the question of Tantra vs. Neotantra vs. gay “sacred” sexuality. Yes, you are reading correctly, and NO, we’re not joking.
The bottom line is this: Yes! Lady Liberty is weeping because the Constitution is burning. We think that there is a civil rights violation here. If you believe you have been the victim of a civil rights violation, you should seek legal assistance through one of the many civil liberties organizations or through a private attorney. Get a free consultation or, if you need to spend $100 to defend your rights, it’s definitely worth it. Civil rights are fundamental rights and there are plenty of safeguards in the US justice system designed to ensure that your rights are protected.
Warning: This content deviates from our normal subject matter so we do urge caution, since it does contain material and discussion that might be considered “offensive” to some sensitive individuals.
We receive a great many tips on possible stories to cover so when we received this one, it piqued our curiosity and we started digging. Anyone who is familiar with this blog knows that when we identify an issue, we start the research process that includes deep fact-finding to verify the facts and the actual issues. This case is no different — or is it? Actually, it is different in two important ways:
First, it is pretty one-sided because the one party, an individual calling himself “Jason Tantra,” apparently from Bristol, England, and operating a company called Tantra 4 Gay Men, a company with a Bristol, UK, address, is battling with an American organization, not a commercial entity but an apparently spiritual-religious entity, largely because of a difference in doctrine and interpretation of what exactly Mr Tantra (Sorry! But that’s what he calls himself, and has refused to give his real name.) is offering in his so-called “sensuality workshops,” that are being offered in places like New York (Manhattan), Massachusetts (Boston), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), and other “discreet” venues in the US. Of particular interest is a so-called “festival” that is hosted by the largely LGBT “retreat center” calling itself Easton Mountain Retreat Lodge, in New York.
Unfortunately, because Mr Tantra went ahead and complained to WordPress, the social media platform, about the articles, WordPress suspended the blog owner’s site — actually in violation of their own Terms of Service — and so we have no way of reviewing what the author posted or the impact it might have had. That’s a double-edged sword because (1) we normally would investigate both sides, and (2) if Mr Tantra caused the site to be permanently deleted by WordPress, Mr Tantra has no basis to prove his allegations.
The second difference is that we are not particularly interested in the superficial issues of a squabble between two individuals or organizations but the cherished principle of freedom of expression, and its protection at least in the United States of America under the provisions of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. That’s a serious issue that we will likely focus on and the question of the extent of a person’s right, if any such right exists, to deprive another person of his/her right to freedom of expression, even if person No. 1 feels that person No. 2 is unfair or inadequately informed. The second part of this question is that of due notice. In New York state, at least, before anyone can be deprived of his or her rights or privileges, the law requires that s/he be provided with due notice.If that is not done, then there is the possibility that yet another protected right, that of due process, may have been violated.
Now, of course,we operate as journalists and not as attorneys, so our questions may or may not have legal weight in a real-life dispute, but they are worth considering because if those rights can just be arbitrarily eroded just because of a difference of opinion or because there is some sort of economic competition between the parties, which is not the situation in this case, then it can affect each and every one of us in various ways. The cherished American protected right of freedom of expression, including opinions, should not be cast so lightly aside simply because one party has a paranoid delusion of competition or an inflated sense of right, or simply because he doesn’t like what someone has to say.
Unfortunately, thanks to Mr Tantra’s draconian step of somehow inducing WordPress to suspend not just the posts about Mr Tantra or his company but allegedly the blogger’s entire site, has, as mentioned above, deprived us of the opportunity to review the particular posts but also places Mr Tantra and his company in a very different light.
We are navigating perilously close to tyranny by private interests and corporations
Moreover, it raises important questions about your rights and the arbitrary and unilateral adverse actions taken by social media, especially relating to your right to express yourself. When social media operators like Facebook and others can simply vaporize an account or a site without having to give an explanation, we are navigating perilously close to tyranny by private interests and corporations, and government not protecting our rights.
You see, in the UK there are very different concepts of freedom of expression and the laws differ considerably; in the UK you’d have less protection and more liability, that is, if you are subject to those laws. In the United States, the rights of freedom of expression are constitutionally protected and have received very broad interpretation in the courts.
Mr Tantra is a UK subject allegedly working in the United States on some sort of a visa. He claims also that his company and its services received extensive scrutiny by “the Visa office” of the “US embassy,” who allegedly authorized him to operate his business in the United States. We have requested details of his claims but Mr Tantra has refused so far to produce any documentation.
Our information indicates that Mr Tantra operates his business not only in the United States generally, but in several states, including New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and others. This raises the question not only of authorization generally to operate a business in the US but to operate a business in several sister states. Again, Mr Tantra is silent on these questions.
A very salient question we posed in the course of our initial exchange was that of taxes. Does Mr Tantra file federal returns and state returns for his income and revenues generated by his activities in the several states in which he operates his business. Mr Tantra states that he does file returns, that an accountant files his returns, and that he pays substantial taxes, but Mr Tantra does not provide a taxpayer identification number or any other documentation of his claims. We have requested at least some proof of his statements but have not yet received any.
Mr Tantra operates a business in the United States but doesn’t actually say what it is. We have visited his Internet site and from what we can glean from the information there — it’s a bit confused and well, ambiguous and vague, but see for yourself. Here’s the link: Tantra 4 Gay Men / Jason Tantra. We have also viewed a number of his YouTube videos which we find a bit amateurish and rambling but there are clear indications on both his Internet site and his YouTube videos that his company concentrates on sex practices, intimacy, tantric (sensual) massage, orgasm, awakening and enlightenment, bliss, and ecstasy. All of the keywords we’ve been able to identify are oriented towards gay men or “men who love men.” Seems like an unusual type of business or company to receive authorization from a US embassy to operate in the United States but who are we to decide US policy, we’re only voters, citizens, and taxpayers. Right?
Whatever. We have asked Mr Tantra to provide any copies of any blog articles he have from the suspended blog. We have also requested specific information from Mr Tantra so that we can be fair and even-handed in our upcoming report.
Mr Tantra’s responses are rambling and in part contradictory so we don’t really know if he understands what we are asking for, or if he is refusing to provide the documentation. Of course, he is under no legal obligation to even talk us but we feel it is in his interest to cooperate. We can’t accept simple statements as proof of what he says; we need to have something solid, official to show he’s legit.
As most of our readers know, we know where to find information and so we have contacted state and federal agencies with our requests for information. But in the meantime if any of our readers know of Mr Jason Tantra or his company, Tantra 4 Gay Men, we’d like to hear from you.
Since we have far more than 400,000 readers worldwide, we’d like to hear from anyone, not just Americans or persons in the US, but anyone worldwide who knows of Mr Jason Tantra, his company, Tantra 4 Gay Men, or who has participated in any of his “programs.”
We’d particularly like to hear from the author of the posts that so upset Mr Tantra or the owner of the blog that was suspended at Mr Tantra’s demand. Better still, if anyone can provide copies of the blog articles concerned, that would be a real boon.
We do know that the gay retreat venue Easton Mountain, is hosting at least two Jason Tantra events this year: the Tantra4GayMen Diploma Program: Healing & Surrender Module (there are apparently 3 modules) and The Tantra Experience, and in past years has hosted Mr Tantra for a number of events and he is allegedly next presenting there June 22-28, 2019, for some kind of “diploma-certificate” program he offers. It gets pretty pricey at between $1,999-$2,199, depending on whether you want multiple occupancy rooms or camping. You can find his US offerings at US Events and Workshops.
We do emphasize that our interest in this case has nothing to do with the parties’ squabble or the particulars of their offerings, even considering we do not have the advantage of details from Mr Tantra’s alleged adversary. We are examining and investigating this case because of the First Amendment issues and the overall issues of doing business in the United States and the laws regarding taxation, filing of returns, what you can and cannot do with or without a license to do it, and generally the principles of freedom of expression.
Moreover by posting links to the various sites of interest we in no way whatsoever intend to suggest that we support or do not support those operators. The links are provided solely for the information of our readers and serve no other purpose or intent whatsoever.
We have communicated with Mr Tantra and have informed him that if we do not receive reliable documentation from him by June 5, 2019, we will proceed with our findings without his inputs. We feel that’s only fair.
Update: We have initiated inquiries on this matter with the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and the Office of the United States Attorney, Civil Rights Office, in addition to our other inquiries.
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