Trump's IQ test
To the editor:
Trump promised to pick the smartest people available for his team — he knew who they were.
Apparently Trump equates IQ with bank accounts. His cabinet includes Rex Tillerson (State), Betsy DeVos (Education), Steven Mnuchin (Treasury), Wilber Ross (Commerce), Linda McMahon (Small Business). Every one of them a one-percenter.
Trump hasn't cleaned out the swamp, but he has emptied the pool of Goldman Sachs investment bankers as additional appointees.
He replaced Gina McCarthy who holds a Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering as head of the Environmental Protection Agency with Scott Pruitt who sued the Agency over environmental protections.
Obama's picks to head the Energy Department were Nobel Prize physicist Steven Chu and nuclear physicist Ernest Monitz. Trump picked Rick Perry, apparently the smartest ex-governor of Texas since George W. Bush.
Trump himself was smart enough to borrow a million dollars from his father to get started. Very smart, believe me.
Faso's middle class screws
To the editor:
Rep. Faso's promised vote for Trump's failed “health care” bill last week included a transfer of 300 billion dollars to the top 2% of the population. Now we'll wait as he tries to screw the middle class again with a Republican tax “reform" bill that will again try to transfer billions of dollars to America's millionaires and billionaires. Suggestion: cut out this letter and tape it to your refrigerator so when Faso tries to shaft you next time you can say, “I KNEW IT!” (Remove from fridge on the way out to vote in November, 2018.)
A callous Republican Party determined to watch men, women, and children suffer and die...
To the editor:
Make no mistake about it. The Republican party was willing to rip hospital, emergency, outpatient, maternity, pediatric, prescription, lab, rehab, and mental health services from their TrumpCare healthcare bill, leaving a skeletal insurance plan that no-one could possibly afford (all of these services were guaranteed in the Affordable Care Act.)
Sadly, our own representative John Faso ignored the pleas of most of his district and was ready to vote for this abomination. Mr. Faso had no problem taking 800 billion dollars away from the safety net of Medicaid and putting it right back in the pocket of the very rich.
Plus, there were shenanigans with NY property taxes put in the bill at the last moment.
Please be aware that the Affordable Care Act is not exploding. The Republicans began sabotaging it in 2014 when Marco Rubio and the Republican Congress removed the risk corridor protections that guaranteed insurance companies some extra money for covering those with pre-existing conditions.
The failure of TrumpCare should be a wake up call to all of us. The Republicans are declaring class warfare and will not stop trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act. Most importantly, our own representative in NY19 does not represent the will of the people.
Please keep reading, writing, studying, protesting, and marching to show that America is as strong as the weakest among us, and that we will do everything we can to protect them.
The Republicans prove time and time again that they just want tax breaks for the wealthy.
National news media is untrustworthy
To the editor:
You know when you go looking for something, you always find a bunch of other stuff you knew was missing or you find something that you can use?
I just found one of those things.
I found the June 2007 copy of NewsMax. While looking through it, I found an article from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas where he blasts the media as untrustworthy, just like President Donald J. Trump - and we know it is.
[In the ten-year-old article] Justice Thomas said, “Media can't be trusted to tell the truth.”
This sounds familiar to what we know and that of President Trump's “Fake News!”
Justice Thomas told an interviewer of another magazine, “One of the reasons that I don't do media interviews is, in the past, the media often has its own script.
“The media unfortunately have been universally untrustworthy because they have their own notions of what I should think or what I should do.”
Justice Thomas continued to explain how the media tried to connect his going to a school in Massachusetts in 1968 as part of the affirmative action effort!
He goes on to say that the politicians created the story, the people with a lot of mouth and nothing to say and everything comes out affirmative action. The media tried to say that he was recruited but Thomas said that it was a lie. I don't mean a mistake. It is a lie!
Thomas said, “You hear this junk. It's just not consistent with what really happened.”
In other words, they took what Justice Thomas said and twisted it around and made it say something that wasn't correct. The lying media of years gone is today's Fake Media, anything that is reported that is not the truth.
President Trump is right about the media, we knew it all along too.
Sullivan West need to expand pre-K program
To the editor:
I am a lifelong resident of Sullivan County and have been a property owner in the Sullivan West District for 14 years. I attended DVCS and made a conscious decision to return to Sullivan County to pursue my career and raise my family. In 1999, I voted in favor of merging the three school districts and was excited for the potential future opportunities.
My daughter currently attends the pre-K program at St. Peter's Regional School in Liberty. Unfortunately, the Archdiocese has announced that St. Peter's will be closing at the end of the school year, which is a devastating loss for the community.
I recently called Sullivan West to schedule my four-year-old daughter for pre-K screening. Currently Sullivan West offers three pre-k classes (45 students) and students are selected for these classes on a need basis.
However, I was just advised that Sullivan West will only be offering one pre-K class (15 students) in the coming 2017-2018 school year.
This is unacceptable. With the merger of three districts, there should be at least three pre-K classes. School curriculum has changed over the years. Historically, students that do not attend pre-K struggle throughout school. By limiting the number of pre-K classes offered, you are denying our children a proper education.
Further, with the closing of St. Peter's, residents of the district have NO alternative pre-K options.
This situation needs to be rectified immediately. There is no time to waste when we are discussing the education of our children. Simply put, with the size of the district and no other alternatives, the district has an obligation to offer more than one pre-K class. It is unacceptable to set children up to fail because you chose to not offer more than one pre-K class.
In Search of the (North) American Dream:
Fleeing Donald Trump's America
Of the stories about refugees fleeing to Canada to avoid Donald Trump's America, one is particularly personal to me. A recent news video captures a Somali refugee named Mohammad who, after trudging for 21-hours through the North Dakota snow, collapses at the side of a road where he is discovered by a Canadian TV reporter.
The reporter (and later a policeman) reassuringly tell Mohammad that he has made it to the Canadian Province of Manitoba. Frostbitten, this refugee is taken first for medical care and then to Winnipeg to make his refugee claim.
Substitute frostbitten for “tempest-tost” in the Emma Lazarus poem that once characterized America and the betrayal of this scene - a refugee fleeing in fear from America - becomes truly wrenching.
Not too far from this frozen spot and nearly a century ago my father was born in the City of Winnipeg in that same Canadian Province of Manitoba. He was preceded by two siblings and followed by one. By the time my Dad's younger sister was born, the family was living in the Saskatchewan town of Wroxton. The nearest “big city” - Saskatoon - was about 270-miles away; the U.S. border at North Dakota, 250-miles away.
My father's father - my Zayda - ran the Wroxton general store.
Zayda Joseph and his wife Rachel - my Bubbe - were Jewish refugees from Russia. My grandfather arrived first, earned enough money and sent for his bride. My courageous Bubbe - then a girl of 18 - said goodbye to her family in Russia and traveled alone to Canada to join the man who promised to marry and make a new life with her.
Yes I know, cliché. But in cliché there is also truth.
Running a general store in the wilds of Western Canada offered few prospects for economic survival, so the Altman family - Bubbe and Zayda, Aunt Clara (age 9) Uncle Abe (age 7) Dad (age 3) and Aunt Midge (age 1) - loaded up a horse-drawn wagon, headed for the U.S. border and crossed over into North Dakota. “Illegals” all (at least by today's standards) they boarded a train for Chicago and later to New York City.
In the 1920s, poor Russian-Jewish refugees were not ranked highly in the immigration pecking order. Still, they were allowed to stay in this country despite the lack of official welcome papers at the North Dakota/ Saskatchewan border.
In the ensuing years, no one hunted them, made them fear for their safety or security, threatened to deport them or made them feel “less than.” Even when the Great Depression took hold, there was still a sense that we were all in this together.
Pearl Harbor drove home the reality of that togetherness. Within weeks, my father and uncle reported for duty. Dad was sworn in -as an American citizen - in Junction City, Kansas before shipping out to the South Pacific. Uncle Abe, already overseas when he was naturalized, took his oath of American citizenship in Brisbane, Australia.
The Altman family members remaining at home were allowed to be good neighbors and good Americans even before completing their citizenship. This country did not vilify and slander their character, send agents to their door, or round them up for deportation. Sadly, Japanese Americans were not so justly treated. Until very recently we regarded that as our national disgrace.
The American dream was neither perfect, nor shared equally. It was simply the best dream going. It wasn't even much different from the Canadian dream. We just marketed it a bit louder and of course, we had that statue and that poem. Mythic stuff.
Lieutenant Arthur Y. Altman returned from the war in 1946, started a family with Mom, started a carpentry and contracting business with Uncle Abe and continued his service in the Army Reserves. When he reached mandatory retirement age, Dad had served his country and all it stood for, for more than 30-years. When he “mustered out,” this onetime illegal had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army.
This is the story of our family. We celebrate, honor and are grateful to the country that allowed it.
Which is why the story of a frostbitten Somali man named Mohammad fleeing the United States for the safety of Canada, not far from where my father and his family crossed into this country, wounds so deeply. It is a betrayal of trust, of faith and of the promise of what America used to stand for. All that my father and my uncle and so many other fathers and uncles and brothers and sisters fought for and still fight to preserve.
If only we were all still allowed to be in this together.
Richard E. Altman
A race to the bottom
To the editor,
Oh America, why, for every step forward, must we take two (or more) back? What shame I felt watching Trump behave like a petulant brat beside the new leader of the free world, Angela Merkel. How embarrassing to have yet another climate denier in the White House.
I was once told by someone who knows, back during our fight against fracking, “you're right, fracking ruins groundwater, but Russia will do it anyway, why let them make all the money?”
Tillerson will snub our NATO allies and instead visit Russia. Once Trump lifts the sanctions imposed by their invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, and cyber war on us, the world's richest man, Vladimir Putin, many oligarchs, our secretary of state and cronies are going to get way richer, drilling newly ice free areas in the Arctic and HERE.
How is it that the Pentagon, NASA, World Bank, World Health Organization, and UN, to name a few, along with many laypersons like myself who can read and observe reality, all recognize that climate change is THE gravest threat to global security, and yet, here we are?
Team Trump proposes to outrageously cut the EPA and State Department each by 30%, has appointed enemies to head them, and has erased climate change language from whitehouse.gov.
I don't know; maybe we could invest in renewable, local energy production, creating permanent not temporary jobs while protecting communities from volatile international fossil fuel markets that are ruining our environment and enriching the few at the expense of all?
Just an idea.
It hurts my pride as an American to know that other nations will lead on this issue while we not only deny but actively accelerate our own demise in a race to the bottom with Russia. I would like to hope we could do better.
Save St. Peter's School
To the editor,
Please accept my open letter and plea to His Eminence, The Honorable Timothy Cardinal Dolan. I hope this is the proper and appropriate way to address His Grace … they didn't teach us how to do this when I was studying for my Bar Mitzvah over 50 years ago. I know The Cardinal is a man of great love and humor and will forgive me for my shortcomings.
In Judaism we believe to save one is to save the world. It is in that spirit that I am imploring, actually begging you to reconsider the closing of St. Peter's School in Liberty, N.Y.
I have had the privilege and joy to see first hand the loving, creative and all around remarkable individual attention these children are receiving at this wonderful and unique place. If you, Dear Cardinal Dolan would only make an unannounced visit, you would see for yourself that the embodiment of God's Love and Grace is present there. What greater gift to these children than to believe in them and their futures by finding the resources to keep St. Peter's alive.
After all, it's only money. And that's not too hard too find. But a child's soul. Priceless.
I thank you for your consideration and wish you continued success in making this world better for all of us.
Stand against hate
To the editor:
The Sullivan County Human Rights Commission was created in 2005 to foster mutual respect for the rights of all persons in Sullivan County.
At this time, we are compelled to speak out against the deplorable expressions of hatred that have blossomed across America in recent months. Desecration of Jewish cemeteries, threats to Jewish community centers, attacks on Muslim mosques, the shooting of Indian men in a Kansas restaurant, racially charged graffiti on a home in Connecticut, the revitalized presence of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations. These are just a few examples of the uptick in hateful acts across the U.S.
In our thinking, even one such case is one too many.
The New York Police Department, in February 2017, reported a measurable increase in hate crimes, led by anti-Semitic incidents.
We urge the citizens of Sullivan County to be vigilant in not allowing hate and fear to afflict our lives and those of our neighbors. We must stand together as one and embrace the principles of the United States Constitution that says ALL men (and women) are created equal and entitled to the benefits enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught, “There is simply no time for neutrality … For those who dedicate their lives to pursuing justice, every moment is urgent.” Civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
To this end, the Commission sponsors activities that enable citizen discussions, encourage mutual understanding and disseminate accurate information when egregious acts occur.
The Human Rights Commission meets on the second Thursday of each month in the Legislative Meeting Room of the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, call 845-807-0189 or find the Commission website at http://www.co.sullivan.ny.us and click on the Departments tab.
Judy Balaban, Gabriel Bertonazzi, Kathie M. Aberman,
Peggy G. Johansen, Roland Ward,
Samuel Encarnacion, Sr.,.
Donna Schick, Bill Liblick,
Comm'rs & Exe. Dir. - Human Rights Commission
To the editor,
I just received a phone call asking me “If we send you a letter in the mail, would you donate to the fight against autism?” I declined. Then the caller said “We have a prayer list for folks like you; would you like to be on it…" at which point I hung up.
My first thought was that usually, solicitation callers don't want to send you any written information; this was strange. And then I realized: this caller was very eager to get my name and physical address. I can only imagine why.
It's sad that nowadays we have to be suspicious of everything. But sadly, it's necessary.
Rev. Carl Bowers