AUGUST 2016 ARCHIVES

Best Laid Plans                                                                   8-1-2016


                   It was good to welcome a new week today.  The rain was a blessing for the crops and gardens and the farms can get a break from irrigating, for a while, anyway.

                   Last week was just, well.....Odd. People jumping down one another's throats without cause, plans and projects falling through or just generally falling apart, etc. It was a week that a lot of us wanted to shout, "Do Over!".  LOL! 

                   Friday night's "Revival in the Park" was held and fairly well-attended, despite the date, time, and details being changed three or four times. I was asked by the organizer and sponsors to try to advertise it, and I promised to do so, but when they kept changing everything minute by minute, I gave up. In fact, I made other plans myself.  I love to help with good causes, but geez, let's try to get organized here. Luckily, I can't get kicked for this one, I had nothing to do with the planning. Maybe next year's revival will be smoother. 

                   I missed the Community Picnic because the Rescue organization was bringing the dog by for us to meet. She was a beauty, but sadly, she did not take to my son's dog. She went after him and made it clear that they could NOT be friends. They would not be living together, but they would be sharing the fenced dog yard, so becoming friends is vital. Poor Ruger loves ALL other dogs and every person he meets, so this snappy girl was of zero interest to him.  It's all good though, the right dog will come along. My husband was bitterly disappointed, he is so anxious to fill the empty spot that Bailey left that he is willing to be impulsive in something where impulsiveness can be a tragedy. 

                  So I explained to him that as Christians, we have to sometimes get out of God's way and trust Him to lead and bring us to the best conclusion. If one dog or six dogs don't work out, then that means that He has the RIGHT one already chosen. It is OUR job to be still and wait on Him! I'm anxious too, but I've learned all about the negative consequences of the failure to trust the Lord. NOT a good idea!  LOL!!

                    The first sidewalk hearing will be held next week. This will be interesting to watch, because there are so many folks who want them and so many who do not.  I just hope it doesn't become another cause for more division in town. It really isn't all that important an issue. What matters is reaching a decision quickly in reference to how we wish to handle the financial mess involved. Benson's Mess. Just one of many that will become apparent as time passes.

                   Personally, I don't think we need sidewalks now anymore than we ever have, but I also feel concerned about the burden of reimbursement. It probably makes the most sense to scale back the project and do less sidewalk than originally planned. Either way, it won't make much difference in where folks walk, as very few do anyway. We'll just have to wait and see what the voice of the people will be. I am excited by the way this is being handled by the Board and Supervisor. When the people feel included, when they actually are given that voice, the sense of Community is strengthened. There will always be winners and losers, but at least there was a debate, at least we can all be heard and our feelings considered. 

                   These are the things that are missing from government today, and these are some of the reasons for the frustration we are seeing among the American people. The Officials who we elect to represent us, are NOT listening anymore. We the People are treated like mindless worker bees who have no investment, no right, and no voice. How we ever allowed our officials to get so out of hand is beyond me. 

                   If someone had asked me 20 years ago if America and the U.S government would ever be the disaster it is today, I would have said it could never happen here. But it HAS, and it continues to worsen by the day. Just as one small example, I read an article tonight that absolutely enraged me! I have posted it for you below. Give it a quick read, I'll wait...........

                       Daily Caller News Foundation

‘All Lives Matter’ Gets Texas Student Suspended, Sent To Diversity Workshop

“Just for her to say, ‘forget Black Lives Matter,’ is a punch in the stomach,” student Nala Hughes told a local press outlet at the time.

Sethi serves as the vice president of UH’s student government association (SGA), and several UH students demanded her immediate removal.

 


A full removal of Sethi has significant hurdles, though. The student government constitution requires the student body president, president of the student senate and three-fourths of present student senators to approve impeachment proceedings. Sethi would then be tried by the student supreme court. 

Instead of going through that arduous process, the student senate approved a measure giving SGA president Shane Smith exceptional one-time powers to punish Sethi as he saw fit. In response, Smith released a letter Friday outlining a set of five punishments for Sethi. The punishments include:

  • A 50-day suspension from SGA starting August 1. This suspension will be unpaid (she currently receives a stipend of about $700 a month).
  • A requirement to attend a three-day diversity workshop in mid-August.
  • A requirement to attend three “UH cultural events” each month from September through March, excluding December.
  • An order to write a “letter of reflection” about how her harmful actions have impacted SGA and the UH student body
  • An order to put on a public presentation Sept. 28 detailing “the knowledge she has gained about cultural issues facing our society.”

If Sethi refuses or fails any of the requirements, she will be kicked out of SGA entirely.

Smith notes in his letter that the punishment was particularly harsh because, in his view, Sethi hadn’t recognized the severity of her offense in declaring that all people’s lives matter.

“Since her original post, I have not felt that she has understood or respected how her actions have affected the people around her, as well as the reputation of SGA and the university,” Smith says.

He also said that despite UH being a public university, free speech considerations did not factor into the punishment.

“The first amendment [sic] prevents a person from being jailed by the government for what they say. But [it] does not prevent people from receiving other consequences for what they say.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contactlicensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

CONTACT INFORMATION

University of Houston
212 E. Cullen Building
Houston, Texas 77204-2018
(713) 743-8820


James Beltran is the news editor of Associated Press (AP) Houston Texas.

 Mailing address: 16945 Northchase Dr., Suite 2110, Houston, TX 77060-2151



Jonathon Garris is the editor of the Northwest Houston Leader.

 Mailing address: PO Box 924487, Houston, TX 77292


Vernon Loeb is the managing editor of the Houston Chronicle.

Section editors   
Book editor:Maggie Galehouse
Business editor:Al Lewis
Entertainment editor:Melissa Aguilar
Opinion editor:Jeff Cohen
Sports editor:Randy Harvey
Travel editor:Jody Schmal

 Mailing address: PO Box 4260, Houston, TX 77210-4260


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NEW LEBANON TOWN BOARD

SIDEWALK PROJECT

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the New Lebanon Town Board will hold two public hearings on the Sidewalk Project on Monday, August 8th and Thursday, August 11th at the New Lebanon Jr/Sr High School at 14665 NY-22, New Lebanon, NY 12125 at 7:00 p.m.  The discussion item  for community input pertains to the Town Board’s decision whether to  discontinue the project and repay the federal funding received  for planning costs and possible reimbursement to the  state  or to downsize the scope of the project and proceed  through the planning process  and acquisition of one right of way/easement and thereby establish a period of time for completion of the project.  The details of the options will be discussed at these meetings and there will be an  opportunity for the public to be heard.  This matter is time sensitive.  Please join us at one of these public hearings to express your opinion or email either the town clerk or the town supervisor with your input. There will be additional information provided in the August newsletter and information will be made available on the website as it becomes available.



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Don't Shoot the Messenger !                                     8-5-2016


                 There are times that I wonder why I bother to try so damn hard to reveal facts to people who prefer to live in blissful ignorance. 

                  Day after day, month after month, and year after year, I have studied, researched, investigated, interviewed, proven and dis-proven information that is important to the people of America. There are a lot of paranoid, conspiracy theories out there, but there are also just as many truths that are dismissed as conspiracies. We have talked about a lot of those things here over the years. 

                   Things that would have outraged people a mere 20 years ago, today elicit little more than a shrug or dismissive look. I can't wrap my head around the apathy and self-absorption of our "New" society. The things that Americans accept as the norm these days, were absolute scandals a mere two decades ago. We have lost our moral compasses, and rather than seek truth and object to the unacceptable, folks would rather bury their heads in the sand and believe the convenient lies. 

                    I have always thought that it was a requirement of every human being to stand for something, and preferably, something decent and healthy. What good in living if you simply exist and go with the flow? If you are a follower of the loudest and crudest leaders and movements? What happened to independent thought and curiosity? What happened to refusing to be influenced by evil and dishonesty? Have we become that weak , that enslaved to government and the media? Apparently so.

                  In writing this blog and engaging in activism, I have learned that telling the truth these days, and calling out the liars, the evil, and the corrupt, is the fastest road to becoming a Pariah. I am verbally attacked at least once a week, called names you would never want your kids to hear, accused of crimes I would never even consider committing, and constantly challenged by Liberals who think their degrees make them intelligent. (They Don't). It's hard, and it's often so discouraging that I am seriously tempted to just quit everything and be a hermit. A lot of people would LOVE it if I did just that. Which is one of the reasons that I DON'T quit!  LOL!! Annoying and frustrating Liberals is one of life's greatest joys.

                  Still, I think the most important reason that I keep going despite the hate mail I receive and the fancy rumors told about me around town, is because it means something to me to STAND for what I believe in. If it gains me a longer list of haters, so be it, I will not compromise my values to appease those who have none. 

                   Several months ago I was in a meeting with a mixture of Liberals and Conservatives, and we touched on the subject of False Flag Ops by the government throughout history. Things such as the Gulf of Tonkin, Operation Northwoods, and Operation Paperclip, among many others. I of course, had to mention the most famous False Flag of RECENT history, the Sandy Hook School Shooting. One man on the Liberal side of the table, was immediately outraged. LOL!!  He said that the very notion that Sandy Hook did not happen, was Ridiculous and Horrible! He went on to say that he has BEEN to Sandy Hook and what a great community it is, and that no one would ever do such a thing as fake the deaths of children.  REALLY?  Ah, but they did exactly THAT! ( He doesn't know that I grew up near Sandy Hook and am all too familiar with that settlement and the Elitists who live there).

                    The sheep will take whatever the media and the government sells them as Gospel and argue with you until the cows come home. You can hand them documented PROOF all day long and they will refuse to even LOOK at it, because they are comfortable in their ignorance and the denial of the extent of evil that our government is capable of. Are they afraid, or truly just that stupid? I don't know, and I may never know. What I DO know, is that I too, am human, and yes, sometimes it is painful to be called things that I am not, it is upsetting to be sworn at by people you like, and falsely accused, and that is why I make every effort to not make false accusations here about others. I do my homework, and if I make a mistake, I admit it and correct it. 

                    I also try to avoid getting personal, and attempt to keep the exposures of bad behaviors to political actions or things that affect the community as a whole. This effort to avoid private business is not reciprocated, believe me. Nor are my efforts to avoid foul language and to not name names without solid evidence. None of my haters gives me that benefit, but I STILL keep doing what I do. I have bad days when the emotional pain of the assaults seems like way too much to deal with, and I consider the cost of speaking out against the cost of staying silent. It's no contest. To remain silent is to be complicit. To not warn good people of potential dangers would be sinful, and to not be grateful for the sacrifices of our Forefathers would be shameful.

                   God gave us voices and Free Will, the Bill of Rights gave us Freedom of Speech, and we were given those things for a reason. We are expected to use them for the safety and betterment of mankind. When we step out on Faith and tell the truth, we must expect the hate and opposition, bear the weight of it, and keep on going. It can be frustrating, painful, exhausting, and lonely, but to NOT do it, would be unforgivable. I tell myself all the time, that I would much rather be hated for telling the truth than loved for a lie.  When I stand before God, I want no regrets for the things I SHOULD have said and done, and did not. It is HIS opinion of me that matters, not the opinion of Liberals and the corrupt. 

                   So I am sad to inform my haters that I am not about to stop exposing the Bad Guys and the mis-behaviors anytime soon. "Haters gonna hate" as the kids say, but it is what it is. 
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                    We haven't received our new pup yet. The Pit Bull that Out of the Pits  brought to meet us was a total psycho and aggressive toward other dogs, and since that meeting we have not heard from them again. I believe that they disagreed with our method of training problem dogs with a tickle collar. NOT a ZAP collar, but one that we set to the lowest setting, so low that the dog's response is to scratch as if he were attacking a flea. It is a very humane, gentle, and EFFECTIVE way to train dogs that are out of control. 

                    Out of the Pits  approaches these dogs with 100% positive reinforcement, which is fine for soft dogs with no major issues, but a Pit Bull that is off the wall should NOT be given treats while she is nipping people and so wired-up that she won't stand still long enough to even be petted. That is what they were doing here, giving her treats and telling her what a "Good Girl" she was, while she was acting like a Coke-Head. 

                    In discussing the meeting later, my son and I both had the same thought; that the handlers reminded us of parents who think a child should never get a swat on the ass for running into traffic, but be "Gently Reasoned With" instead. Umm, NO, there are times you have to get their attention! Not with cruelty or pain, but with a message just strong enough to make an impression. If only we did the same with our politicians and college kids, this country would be in much better shape! 

                   Hundreds of thousands of good Pit Bulls are waiting for forever homes, and the people who are supposed to be helping them, are instead, sabotaging their chances by enabling them to develop and maintain destructive behaviors, much like today's "Everybody Gets a Trophy" mentality. They are crippling these dogs, not healing them, and it is very, very sad.

                   It's all good though, we have found our dog and completed the adoption process, and she will be here on the 20th of the month. She is being transported from Tennessee, a two-day trip for her, and the waiting is killing me! She is only 4 months old, but she will be a monster, being half Great Pyrenees and half Anatolian Shepherd. The males get to be between 100 and 150 pounds, so we expect her to reach at least  90 pounds when fully grown. I am very, very excited. No dog can replace one you have loved and lost, but every dog is a joy when trained with love and patience. We are happy and eagerly awaiting her arrival!
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                  Don't forget the Town Board Meeting this coming Tuesday and the first sidewalk hearing on Thursday night.
                   I had a meeting at the bank today about the account for the Flag Fundraiser. Seems we need to have a 501c3 to open a Fundraising account, so it's back to the drawing board until and unless we can get the N.L Veterans on board soon. I'm trying VERY hard, folks! If anyone has a suggestion, I would love to hear it! The flags will be ordered from Gettysburg Flags of East Greenbush, and we are trying to decide how far they should go, from Lover's Lane to the Town Hall, or from the 20/22So. intersection to the Town Hall. Would love your input!! We need a final count of how many flags we want.

                     Sleep well friends and neighbors, and when you go to bed tonight, think about what YOU stand for and are willing to speak out in support of. We all need to make our lives count for something, even if we make enemies in the process. 





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 Safe and Secure                                                                           8-6-2016



No neighborhood is 100% safe from crime. Many of us have lived in high-crime areas at some time in our lives, while others have never known anything but the security of small-town peace and low crime rates. The many transplants and part-timers who now call Lebanon their home or sometime-home, have seen the results of failing to be aware of one's surroundings in the city, but that goes for the country as well. If it doesn't feel right, look right, or smell right, it probably isn't. Instinct is your best weapon, but being aware and prepared are every bit as important.


Despite my being a strong advocate of the 2nd Amendment, I am not suggesting that everyone run out and buy a gun. They just aren't for everybody, nor should they be. If you are comfortable with having a gun in the home, then by all means, buy one, get professional training, and learn how to legally and effectively use it to defend your home and family. If you are not a gun person, there are other options for you, but always bear in mind that the police in rural areas could be as much as 30 minutes away when you need them in 30 seconds. The safety of your loved ones in an emergency is ultimately up to you.


A couple of years ago, I stopped in to Stewarts one evening with my husband. He went into the store while I stayed in the truck with the dog. There was an unfamiliar young man leaning against the Ice machine and watching every customer that went in and out of the store. Nothing illegal about that, but my instinct told me that he was up to no good. He just looked WRONG somehow, and it isn't usually something we can explain, it is just a “Feeling”. When Bob came back to the truck, I drew his attention to the young man and voiced my concerns about him. The next day, this young man was all over the local news for hiding a cellphone in the Stewarts bathroom and taking pictures of people using the toilet. I'm sure a lot of you can relate similar incidents when you have had that nagging concern about a person or situation.


Last night, again at Stewarts, a young lady I have known practically forever, was stranded at the store with a flat tire. This lady no longer lives in New Lebanon, but she was here to visit friends and another friend of hers had come along in a separate car. They stopped at Stewarts, parked their cars side-by-side, and when they came out, both cars had razor blades in one tire and the tires were flat. One had a slash at least 4 inches long. It's odd enough that a razor blade would slit a tire at all, much less TWO on two different vehicles at the same time, but it gets weirder.


The ladies called a friend to come and assist them, but while they were talking with their would-be rescuer, two men in a small car pulled in to the Stewarts lot and the men asked the two ladies if they needed help changing flat tires!! HUGE Red Flag! The men then proceeded to jump out of their car and remove a large jack and tire-changing tools from their little sub-compact, and began changing the tires! The young lady that I am friends with, moved away and called the Troopers, who told her there was, “Nothing THEY could do about it”! So she approached me and Bob, filled us in on the situation, and we decided to stay put with her and her friend. The whole thing REEKED of set-up, and I was concerned for these girls. The two men were oddly behaved and I had never seen either of them before, one was older, the other young. It was extremely strange.


Eventually, the person the ladies had called for help, showed up, thanked the two men and sent them packing while he took over. He would see to it that the ladies got to their destination safely, so we went on our way, but it was a situation that could have had a very different ending.


So yes, it happens everywhere, and it happens HERE. There is far more happening under our noses in this little town and every other in America, than we care to know. Should we lay awake at night, listening for odd sounds and worrying about every creak the floors make? Should we barricade our doors and run security cameras all over our properties? LOL! No, of course not, not unless you WANT to. Still, there are little things we CAN and SHOULD do to ensure our safety and increase our chances of never being a victim of crime.


Like a lot of you, I left my house doors unlocked day and night, home or not home, for many years. My keys were often still in the ignition of my truck when I ran into the store and even sometimes while we slept. Having grown up in a high-crime city, I knew better, but I had been away from all that for a long time and had grown accustomed to the relative safety of country living. Even working in law enforcement and seeing crime every day, was not enough for me to worry about security in my little, untouchable town. I didn't work HERE, and I actually felt that the things I saw outside were not possible HERE. Oh, but they are. Bad things can happen anywhere, and they do.


One of the things that bothers me greatly is seeing young girls working alone in convenience stores at night. Back when I was a young Deputy just starting out, one of our night-shift duties was to escort young women employees of stores and restaurants, to the bank with the day's take. We made sure they made the deposit safely and headed home to their families in one piece. That could never be done today, there aren't enough cops to go around. Women of all ages need to take responsibility for their own well-being in today's world, and that begins with Situational Awareness. With the recent addition of terrorism and racial division, this practice is vital to men as well.


Always be aware of who is around you, whether it be at Stewarts or the mall. Carry Pepper Spray or even something as simple as a sock with several rolls of coins in it, and when you are in a parking area or any deserted location, keep that weapon IN YOUR HAND. If you feel you are being watched or followed, return to the store and tell someone, or ask for someone to escort you to your vehicle. Park in well-lit areas, lock your car, and always check the interior before you get IN the car. If someone attempts to grab you, NEVER, EVER allow yourself to be forced into a vehicle. Fight and scream with everything you have, but do not allow yourself to be taken . It is far better to be injured and left on the sidewalk than to be taken and never seen again.


If you work late or until closing time, make arrangements for someone to be there to escort or meet you when you exit the building. Vary your departure times and routes home. Lock your doors even when driving and never pull over for anyone who is not in a marked Police Car with official light bars. Even then, if you are stopped, only open your window enough to hear the officer and pass your license and other credentials out to him or her. IF you have any doubt as to the true identity of someone claiming to be a Police Officer and are asked to exit the vehicle, request that a Superior officer come to the scene as you are fearful and unsure of the validity of the officer's identification. Be POLITE, obey his instructions such as turning your engine off and keeping your hands on the wheel, but unless you are certain that this is a REAL Police Officer, stay in your car! Educate yourself as to exactly what your local and State police vehicles and uniforms look like! Get to know the names of some of the officers and when they work.


Use your cellphone. Turn on the recording apps the minute you are stopped, it is LEGAL and your RIGHT to record the interaction. It protects both you and the officer.




Beware of anyone who pulls up beside you and points at a tire, or attempts to tell you there is something wrong with your vehicle, especially at night or in remote locations. Wave and thank them, but keep going until you reach a safe, populated site and then stop and check your car.


Always be aware of everyone and everything around you and never dismiss that gut feeling. Learn some basic self-defense, don't over-fill your hands with packages, don't count money in public, or leave your purse open and dangling on your arm. Keep your kids close and have a code word for times when you sense danger and need them to know to stay by your side.


At home, keep your doors locked at night and when you are not at home, and women, if you are home alone in the daytime, lock 'em up! Don't leave valuables where they can be seen by someone looking into your windows and never leave anything of value in your car in plain sight. TAKE YOUR KEYS. Don't hide a spare house key outside, instead, keep a spare in your wallet, and if your wallet is stolen, change your locks while you're canceling your credit cards.


Never assume that it can't happen to you, and do not allow the low-crime rates of where you live make you complacent. There is a difference between being paranoid and fearful, and being smart and aware. We should never live in fear of things that will likely never happen, but we should be ready for the possibility. After all, if you are safety-minded and prepared to respond effectively to danger, there is less reason to be fearful. You are empowered.


One last thing that bears mention; never engage in Road Rage! The world is very different than it was when I was young, and people are far angrier and under much more stress than they used to be. Human life is no longer of value to many people today, and road rage incidents can very quickly escalate to life-threatening situations. Count to ten and move on. Be safe.

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Recently, reports have been coming fast and hard of strangers knocking on doors of homes under the guise of selling various items. (Magazine subscriptions, etc.) These people appear to be selecting homes where there are ladies and small children home by themselves, and are happening at all times through the day and evening.

Read over these tips to help you and your loved ones stay safer at home.

*DO observe your neighborhood, and take note of strangers in the area

* DO keep notes! Record dates, times of contact and descriptions of person(s) involved, should your door be approached
* DO keep doors and windows locked. Close blinds/ window coverings. A good rule of thumb is if you can see out, someone can see IN
* DO NOT discuss who is home when on social media! This is not exactly a secure site to discuss highly personal business

* DO NOT think that because it is a woman at the door that it is a safe situation. Crime is an equal opportunity employer, that does not discriminate against age, sex, race, or religion

* DO Listen to your gut! If it FEELS wrong, it probably IS wrong.

* DO have alternative plans to get out of your home in the event of an emergency

*DO contact your local police department, and pass along the information you recorded.

Please do not fall into the trap of our old enemy, Complacency. As one of my favorite instructors once said, 100% of home invasions happen in the home. LOL!! Believing that you are safe because you did not open the door, (this is when your door may be kicked in- have an alternative exit plan in place,) or that gun-related stickers and signs stating No trespassing or No soliciting will keep you safe. Pay attention, take notes, plan ahead, and listen to your gut. Investigate simple reinforcements to doors, and make sure all window locks are functional. There are a variety of non-lethal devices on the market today as well. Again- just because you BUY one, does NOT mean you are safe. Learn how to operate anything you purchase!

Stay safe and alert!



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The Public Hearing                                               8-8-2016


             Not a great turnout. About 18 or 19 people is all that showed up, and I hope there are a lot more on Thursday.

             Most of the folks who did attend were the same old, same old faces that show up for most meetings and hearings, the people who care about their town and local politics. There were a few folks that are rarely seen , but not many. Fiona Lally and her husband, Joe Ogilvie for instance, and Gregg Carroll and her husband Jim. Transplants with the usual agenda of falling in love with the flower then trying to change it's scent. They want sidewalks so we can make New Lebanon into a REAL town. I didn't know it WASN'T  a REAL town. 

              To each his own, the purpose of these public hearings is to allow ALL residents to voice their opinions and offer input and that is a GOOD thing. If there are two people in the room, there will be disagreement, and that's okay too.  It's healthy and productive, and shows us where we need to do the most work.  I disagree about the need for sidewalks, but I respect the right of others to have a differing opinion. It's called, FREEDOM.

              There were good points made by folks on both sides, and personally, I really don't care WHAT they decide in the end. The lack of sidewalks are not the problem in New Lebanon, the problem is the eyesore Midtown Mall, the lack of a grocery store and pharmacy, and the high-handedness of newcomers who want to transform everything into THEIR idea of what our town should be. While we are willing to give and take, THEY are NOT. I just find it insulting when people who have lived here for a very short time, want to take control and force their will on us. Geez, at least wait until you have been here for 5 or 10 years before you start trying to rule the roost.

             Sidewalks will not bring us a grocery or pharmacy, they will not keep the few people who do walk in town any safer. Take a look at the very FEW feet of Rt. 20 where walkers are forced to use the shoulder. Almost every inch of Rt. 20 in town, offers grassy areas to walk safely. I agree with the people who would like to see our speed limit lowered as it is in Nassau, but my husband made a good point about that. He said that because we are at the intersection of two main roads, 20 and 22, D.O.T will never lower the speed limit and slow the movement of traffic. 

            Colleen stated that she has looked into the lowering of the speed limit, and D.O.T informed her that the Town would have to do what it can to slow the traffic down through the use of trees and plantings and a more lived-in look. I think there is some validity to that idea, people do tend to drive more slowly when a town APPEARS more closed-in by greenery and signs of life.  I'm all for more trees and flowers, flags and decorations. When I was in Pennsylvania last summer, I saw a shopping mall similar to the Tilden Plaza that was built with a facade that resembled a Western Town. There was even a covered wagon with life-sized, fiberglass horses in front. 

           It was super-attractive and welcoming, and believe me, people slowed down to take notice. (There were no sidewalks along the main road, either.) LOL!!  I think New Lebanon needs an aesthetic makeover, but I KNOW we can do it for much less money than the EDC and the transplants want us to spend. Plywood facades are inexpensive and very effective. Plantings can be donated by the hundreds of local gardeners and the nearby nurseries. More Bridge Flower Boxes can be added, more trees, more uniformity of the "Theme" of the town, something that retains the rural look and flavor while still allowing for modern businesses. I have always loved the style of the Tilden Plaza, and thought it would be awesome to continue that look elsewhere in town. Yet, it is certainly not something you can force on residents or business owners without imposing more regulations that we do NOT need. 

           I know that Kinderhook has a very strict Zoning Code that requires certain types of fencing and store fronts to keep the historical flavor of the town intact, and the result is awesome, BUT, do we want to be that heavy-handed with people and risk scaring away potential grocers or pharmacists? It's a fine line. One thing I DO know for sure, is that New Lebanon was MUCH more economically sound and well-known BEFORE the Liberal invasion. It was never a pretty business district, but it was busy, and we didn't see the many empty storefronts we see today. All that the pushiness of the city people has accomplished is to increase the weekend traffic passing THROUGH  this town and made it nearly impossible to get out onto Rt. 20 on Friday nights and Sundays. They have also managed to cost us many thousands of dollars in "Planning" for ideas that have gone nowhere. 

          If the Top Secret E.D.C really wants to make a difference, why not assist the owners of the Midtown Mall in finding affordable answers to fixing that horrendous parking lot and ugly facade? Make it all look like M&M? Imagine how much more likely businesses would be to rent those spaces if those issues were addressed? Why not try to attract a Doctor or Dentist to town, which would in turn, attract a pharmacy? Even a Walk-In Clinic would be a great plus, as there are none anywhere nearby. Elderly housing would be another great addition, maybe across from Darcy Construction or the elementary school.

          Better yet, how about the town use our tax dollars more wisely, and instead of spending money on Hamlet and Sidewalk planning, buy the old firehouse and make a Community Center? Wonderful things happen in Community Centers and there is NO end to the program possibilities that could be offered to residents of New Lebanon and surrounding areas! Isn't that more important than fancy tennis courts that are used more by residents of Pittsfield than they are by locals? Maybe if we had some of THESE things, sidewalks would then make sense. Right now, they just don't. 

          I have to mention the fact that any sidewalk project, scaled-down or not, WILL involve some type of Eminent Domain action on at least ONE property owner, possibly more. D.O.T has made it very clear that they have NO intention of ever removing the turning lane in town, so there is no other option. Eminent Domain is a scary and bullyish thing, but if it comes to that, maybe Ruth Abram could assist in getting it done as she is an expert in that area. 

        It was jokingly mentioned several times tonight, that "If you build it, they will come ", but that is not necessarily so.  Sidewalks will NOT bring business to New Lebanon, BEHOLD will NOT bring business to New Lebanon, and the very idea of municipal water and sewers that was also mentioned tonight, will NOT bring business to New Lebanon. Working together to improve the FACE of the town, offering businesses that appeal to people from all walks of life, and filling real NEEDS, are what will bring businesses to New Lebanon. We need to be unique enough to catch the attention of entrepreneurs and young families, and that won't happen if we become another Lenox or a little NY City. We MUST retain our rural, historical look and old-fashioned values if we hope to be successful. 

       By putting our OWN residents FIRST and giving our town's face a little love, the rest will happen naturally. Others WILL notice and WANT to stop here, live here, and open businesses here. We CAN do it, and we can do it without government grants or loans. We do it with unity, cooperation, donation of time, materials, and expertise, and even fundraisers if needed. Let's be independent and creative and plant the seed . It will grow on it's own.




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Town Board                                                                     8-9-2016


                Another great meeting with no arguments or negativity. It's like being in the Twilight Zone of NICENESS. LOL!!

                 Two highlights that merit mention; 1) We now have a audio system and every council-person has their own microphone! No more choosing between having the A.C on and hearing the board members speak. We now have the best of both worlds and it is awesome!

                   2) Remember the little heated exchange between Mark Baumli and Chuck Geraldi re: the ZBA handing out sign variances? Well, Mark had suggested that residents who were interested, attend a ZBA meeting and see what they thought about the manner in which variances are being handed out like "Halloween Candy" to folks who have received sign violation notices.  Cynthia Creech took his advice and attended this month's ZBA meeting. She came away with the same opinion that Mark had, that we may as well have NO sign laws if the ZBA is going to over-ride them. 

                   I have not been to a ZBA meeting in some time. I used to attend them all when John Dax was the Chairman, because he needed constant watching. Once Tony Murad took over the Chairman position, I no longer felt the need to babysit that board. However, seeing as how there are a few folks on that board these days who have a reputation of favoring their "Friends" from the city, maybe I need to start attending again.

                   The issue of sign violations became a hot topic shortly after the November election. We all knew that Benson would never address the problem because it would inconvenience Ruth Abram, his friend, neighbor, supporter, and champion. Her faded old mural still remains on the front of the Gallup Inn building, an over-sized advertisement and eyesore that violates every code in the book and was denied by the Planning Board, whose decision was ignored by Behold New Lebanon.  To my knowledge, the Zoning Re-Write Committee has yet to come up with a description of an Art Mural vs a billboard, and until they do, that ugly plastic advertisement will likely remain.

                    In any case, when Colleen took the Supervisor's position, one of the first things she addressed were the sign violations. Kent and Cissy worked their tails off to list all the violators and send them letters requesting they remedy. After all, the need to clean up the face of New Lebanon requires the enforcement of the sign code. So the people who received these letters were all given the option of applying for a variance if they disagreed with the charges, which of course, most of them did.  Rather than support the Code Enforcement Officer and the Town Sign Codes, the ZBA is in fact, handing out variances like Halloween Candy! What they are doing, is nullifying the efforts of the ZEO and the Supervisor and rendering the sign laws useless.

                   It reminds me of Hillary Clinton the unindicted Felon, and how the laws that apply to you and me, do not apply to HER.  Laws are only as effective as those responsible for enforcing them. If the ZBA is going to undermine the ZEO, why bother having sign laws at all?  Personally, I think many of our zoning regs are excessive and silly, and that includes SOME of the sign laws, but they are still the codes and for now at least, must be enforced as written. If enough people are upset by the existing codes, they can be changed, and I think some of them should be. 

                   In the meantime, we cannot pick and choose who can get a variance or "Right to Violate " and who cannot. The Behold mural is awful, and I would see it as awful if it were an ad for Marchese or M&M or the Theater Barn. It's a billboard, plain and simple, and even though I have no love for Abram, I would hate that sign no matter WHO put it there. At the same time, I happen to think the wooden pie and coffee cup signs at Blueberry Hill are cute and unobtrusive. (The new paint color is another story! Good Lord!) Regardless of what our opinion is as to the attractiveness or unattractiveness of a particular sign, the Sign Laws need to be the guide, not our personal taste or connection to the sign's owner. The enforcement cannot be biased.

                  It was acknowledged by the board tonight, that they have no power to oversee the ZBA, but that the next time someone applies for a seat on that board, we should all be sure it is someone who WILL enforce the existing laws and respect the ZEO.  It's funny that now that we finally have a Town Board that works well together and is putting the residents before themselves and their personal desires and goals, the ZBA is now going the wrong way. I guess we can't expect good behavior from ALL the boards at the same time, it just wouldn't be politics! LOL!!!
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                 Congratulations to the Theater Barn and the Phelps Family for 33 years in business! Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our town! Remember the Fundraiser for the Cemetery of the Evergreens being held at the Theater Barn next Monday night.  

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                  After all the problems with Charter Cable and the changeover to the new, digital service, my family fell in love with the couple of new channels and convinced me to not switch to Dish. I agreed reluctantly, and I am already sorry. As a night owl, I listen to the crime shows late at night while I am online. Almost EVERY, single night, the cable goes black for a period of time, anywhere from 10 seconds to hours. During the day, it cuts out numerous times for a few second intervals, and tonight, it is the audio that is gone and has been gone for over 30 minutes. It's ALWAYS SOMETHING with this cable.   Fairpoint is no better, seems the internet goes down at least once a day and several nights per week. This IS  2016, right? 

                  I often think it was better when I was a kid and we had an old, black and white TV that you had to actually get up to change the channel or adjust sound. Dad on the roof fiddling with the monster, aluminum antenna to try to clear the snowy picture, and mom with her head out the window yelling the results to him. LOL!!  We were lucky if we had three channels clear enough to watch, but it was free, and the programs were wholesome. The most graphic thing I remember seeing was the nightly report from Vietnam. 

                  Change is inevitable and it isn't all bad. A lot of the time though, the old ways are still the better ways. 
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  Below is a pic of our new baby!  We pick her up on Friday night south of Beacon,NY. Long trip from Tennessee!! I think we'll be spending the weekend letting her rest up and get comfortable. It's hard to believe that this little girl will one day weigh about 100 pounds, but she will! I have raised a slew of German Shepherds, but this is my first Anatolian. 





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The ZBA Responds!                                                         8-10-2016


                      I had a feeling as I was writing last night's blog, that I would probably hear from Tony Murad today. In all fairness, Shame on ME for not asking for his input before relating the comments from the meeting about the ZBA.  I do believe I dropped the ball, and I apologize for that. Live and learn I always say!

                       Tony sent me some excellent explanations as to how the ZBA is required to proceed in granting variances of any kind, and I am posting that for you below.  As I said last night, and Tony mentions in his correspondence, there are laws and codes that need to be amended, and if we want to see that happen, we need to ask for it, and not just one or two of us, but MANY. There is power in numbers, remember?  

                        I will always believe that every political board at every level of government, will have some amount of questionable behaviors. Whether it be some favoritism by certain members or some bending of rules to allow for a business to operate under difficult circumstances, rules are sometimes  broken. In many cases, they SHOULD be broken. Anyone who knows me, is aware that I feel strongly about civil disobedience as it concerns unconstitutional laws. Any law or mandate that violates our rights under the U.S Constitution are Null and Void, as are Executive orders unrelated to a National Emergency. 

                         Bending of rules is often a necessary evil when laws are too restrictive and like all municipalities, we have many that are. Over the years, I have seen the zoning in this town enforced in a tyrannical and vengeful manner and I have seen it relaxed  to make it easier for a business or property owner to operate as they need or wish to. Yes, there are rules and guidelines, but there is also a human factor that comes into play in these matters and resulting decisions. Given the choice, I much prefer the relaxing of the rules to the tyrannical enforcement of them. Those of you who remember Stan Koloski know what I am talking about.  We NEVER want to go THERE again! 

                          My concern at this time, is that this view that the Town Board has of the ZBA and how the variances are being handled, could cause more division at a time when we are finally making progress in re-uniting the town. It is my hope that the two boards will sit down and iron out these differences and come to an amicable agreement before it escalates into hard feelings and grudges.  We have good people in our town government now, and the opportunity to see growth that will appeal to ALL residents of all political flavors. No one said it would be easy, but it certainly is not impossible if we are dedicated to the goal of unity and compromise. 

                            So please read Tony's comments and reach your own conclusions. If you are dealing with Zoning issues that you feel are excessive or unfair, contact the Zoning Office and ask to be heard. If enough of you take this simple step, we can actually make some positive changes that will make life easier for business owners, residents, and the people charged with interpreting and enforcing the laws.  

                   Sleep Well, New Lebanon! 


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  From ZBA Chairman Tony Murad


                


At each meeting of the ZBA , I gave short synopsis of what the ZBA is and what it can

and cannot do.

First, the ZBA is NOT an enforcement agency. We don’t enforce any laws. We only hear

appeals from the law.

Zoning Laws are written as if all properties in a specific zone are the same. The fact is

that no two properties are the same. The legislature and the courts, in their wisdom,

realized that due to various conditions such as lot size, location, topography and financial

hardship among others, the strict enforcement of the zoning laws would impose a

hardship on the affected property owner. Thus, the Appeal process was created to

provide relief to a property owner who could demonstrate that fair use of his property

could not be obtained unless the zoning law were varied in his specific case. NYS has an

excellent publication entitled “Zoning Board of Appeals” which can be read on line that

explains Appeals in their entirety.

The ZBA is obligated to give the least amount of variance requested upon reasonable

proof and evidence provided by the property owner. We cannot take an action that

rewrites the zoning law. We cannot take into consideration whether a zoning law, or part

thereof, is good or bad, or whether others are in violation. We cannot take into

consideration whether the law in question is being enforced equally on all property

owners by the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

When many appeals to the ZBA are made on a specific issue, (in this case the sign law),

it signals that either the law needs to be modified in some way or that enforcement has

been lax over a period of time or that required permits have not been applied for. You can

make your own conclusion as to why the current situation exists.

But those reasons cannot be part of a ZBA decision. If changes to the Zoning Law or

Sign Law are warranted, only the Town Board can make them.

There are several cases pending, but in the cases we have heard, we granted what I

would call modest variances. Meisners were allowed to keep the vertical antiques sign

post that supports their allowed free standing sign after they presented anecdotal evidence

that cars drive by too fast to see a smaller sign. Behold was allowed to keep three smaller

signs on the Victorian House that in total were less than the 24 square foot limit because

the smaller signs fit nicely between the porch posts, whereas a single sign would have

looked awkward. Blueberry Hill was denied a request to keep the three free standing

signs. However they were granted a variance to keep three smaller signs on the building,

because there is no place to put a 24 square foot sign. Lastly we granted a variance to

Hilltown Pork for a large sign on his building which is some distance from the road.

Additionally many trees at the roadside make it difficult to see the sign. His neighbors

came to speak For approval of the request.

I suppose to some people that is Halloween candy, but we as a board are sympathetic to

property owners’ rights to use their properties while realizing we are obligated to adhere

to the Town’s law.

I can point to two decisions I regret in the approximately 30 years I have been a member

of the ZBA, both situations which have ceased to exist and have long faded from peoples’

memories. While other decisions may have been wrong, I, and I believe many of the

people who have been on the board over the years, have always tried to find that balance

between a property owners rights and the Town’s obligation to have laws that benefit the

community.


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Puppies !!                                                                 8-13-2016




It's funny how quickly we forget the trials of a new puppy! LOL!!


I could write all day about the wonderful blessings that come with a dog and every word would be sincere. We finally have our new baby, Reagan, and she is beautiful, sweet, and very smart. Like most pups though, she is also a blank slate, and everything is new and strange to her.


In just one full day, she has already learned to go to the door when she wants to go out and pee. It was a huge surprise after several accidents today, that she asked to go out at bedtime tonight ! Don't worry, I am not fooling myself that this step to maturity is finished. LOL!! Everything worthwhile takes time, and consistency. With puppies, consistency is vital, but it is also the most difficult part of the job. How do you look into that baby face and soft eyes and deny them ? It's agonizing, even though we know it will pay off for the dog and US in the long run.


Reagan is not used to the load of attention she has received since we brought her in the door last night. The whole family is kissing and petting and spoiling, and when bedtime came, she revolted. Suddenly, the idea of being put into the crate was not very appealing, despite the 4-inch thick cushions, quilt topper, and new chew bone. For us, crates are a training tool, never a punishment, and once a pup is housebroken and no longer chewing everything in sight, we leave the crate doors open to allow them to access it when they want quiet time, or ignore it if they don't. It is their “Haven” , and my German Shepherds loved having the option of climbing into their private cave when company came or they were having an anti-social day. Who doesn't ?!


So last night's lock-down did not go well, but it also wasn't terrible. She raised the devil for about 15 minutes, woke both the guys up and rattled my last nerve, but after being ignored 100%, she finally settled down and slept without a sound until 8 a.m! Many pups will carry on all night, so I was pretty pleased. Today, Reagan met her neighbor/ older brother dog, Ruger, got to explore the dog yard and run off some energy, tasted a new diet a little bit at a time, and worked on potty training. Thinking I had managed to tire her out and exercise her well after yesterday's long trip from Tennessee, I fooled myself into thinking that tonight's bedtime would be a snap. LOLOL!!


The minute the crate door closed, she threw an epic tantrum that went on for 45 minutes. It is now 12:45 a.m and she has JUST given in. In this situation, NO attention is allowed, not even a “NO!”, so this is when consistency is tough. Yes, we forget about the commitment it takes to raise babies of all species, and that the older we get, the harder IT gets. With only 3 hours of sleep in two days, I am not at my best, but I persevered, and I will have a great dog one day as a result, but holy crow, it's HARD! LOL!


This puppy is a sweetheart, soft, gentle, curious, and happy. I could not have asked for a better pup and we are all in love. She's at that gangly, clumsy stage of looking too thin and long-legged for her size, and she has HUGE paws and heavy-boned legs. Her feet thump with every step. She will be a big girl, but I don't think she will reach the 100 pound estimate I was given. The male Anatolians might, but I don't think Reagan will. That's okay, she will be big enough, and she is already barking at the mail lady as if she were the Big Bad Wolf.



My husband just got up with a charlie-horse in his leg, and Reagan saw him! So guess what just began all over again? A fresh tantrum is is in full-swing! Corn harvesting begins at 5:30 a.m. so it will be another blurry-eyed morning. Oh well, This too shall pass.







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A Future in Peril                                                      8-16-2016



                    I guess it's time to at least mention the elections, though the very thought makes me nauseous. So do the candidates.

                     Those who have sworn allegiance to the Mainstream Media have heard nothing but Trump negatives for the past week. Not a hard thing for the media to accomplish when Trump consistently behaves like a boor. Yet little to nothing is being mentioned about the numerous lawsuits pending against Hillary that make Trump look like the Bad Boy on the Playground. 

                     Last week, Trump dared to suggest that Second Amendment supporters will take steps to prevent any further infringements on their rights should Hillary be elected. The statement was one that could have been interpreted in a couple of different ways, but the Libs of course, immediately labeled it as a "Threat of Violence" against Hillary. To be perfectly honest, I do believe that Trump did intend to issue a warning that if the un-indicted Felon running against him becomes president and replaces Justice Scalia with another gun-grabbing Liberal, the Constitutional Americans will revolt. Trump is 100% correct about that, we WILL revolt, we WILL refuse to comply, and we WILL use our numbers. If it comes down to it, we WILL use our firearms. (Did you hear that, NSA?)

                      The Second Amendment is not second in importance so that people can go hunting, it was intended to provide the People with a means of defense against tyranny in government, and so it will be exercised if we are pushed much further. If not for the Second Amendment, the others would have been taken from us long ago. It is all that stands between freedom and despotism. The theft of freedom through disarmament has occurred in numerous countries throughout history and every time, the people became slaves and victims at the hands of a too powerful government that had all the guns.

                      Any forceful attempt by government to disarm the People of America will be met with massive armed resistance. That is not just an opinion or a warning, it is not a threat, it is a guarantee. So yes, for once, Trump was absolutely right. What I fail to understand, is the outrage that has resulted from his comment. Do Liberals really believe that REAL Americans would simply become a part of of the Sheep Herd and obediently disarm? LOL!!  They definitely live in their own little fairy tale world of unicorns and rainbows, don't they? They even believe that they are the majority, but let them try to nullify the Second Amendment and they will get a wake-up call as to who the majority really IS.

                       So while all of this attention is being paid to Trump's statement, no one is looking at what is going on inside the Democrat Party or around Hillary the Nut Job. By design, I'm sure. No mainstream media outlet is discussing those lawsuits or the fact that Hillary is obviously physically and mentally ill. No one is talking about the continuing investigations into her crimes or the four recent, mysterious deaths connected to her and her campaign and emails. Hillary already had an impressive number of dead bodies in her wake, dating all the way back to her corrupt Arkansas days. Then there were the deaths in Benghazi attributable to her, and who knows how many have died at the hands of ISIS, hers and Obama's creation. Now, four more in three weeks? The media has nothing to say? 

                       No, they are all too busy claiming that Trump's Second Amendment comment was an assassination threat against Hillary. LOL!! ONLY Liberals could glean that idea from a statement that suggested nothing even remotely related to killing anyone. It boggles the normal mind as to how Liberals can twist and mutilate EVERYTHING to suit their own needs and agendas. They are literally, Bat-Shit Crazy!

                       Every election is important. The last two presidential elections were terrifying for those of us who value freedom, transparency, American Tradition, and Constitutional Law. We KNEW what Obama was and what an Obama presidency would do to all we treasure, and we did everything in our power to dissuade, warn, and inform his supporters, to no avail. Even after our worst fears became reality-on-steroids, Obama managed to be elected to a second term. 

                        The unconstitutional and tyrannical actions of this man and his administration in his FIRST term, justified Impeachment many times over. Not only did this not happen, but he was literally allowed to run amok by a Congress that is without honor or gumption. Why WAS Obama allowed to violate Constitutional Law and ignore the Separation of Powers? One reason, and ONLY one reason. Skin color. It made no difference to Liberal Democrats and their puppet media that Obama is in fact NOT Black, but bi-racial, the fact that he LOOKS Black and rejects his White half is enough to provide him with the protection given to America's minorities unfairly, every day, thereby making a mockery of the "Equality" movement and its supporters. Special treatment is NOT equality.

                         That being said, Barack Obama has been allowed to maim and mutilate all that made and kept America great for almost 300 years, in a mere 7. People have complained, protested, filed numerous petitions to Congress, and implored their representatives to rein this tyrant in and impose legal consequences, also to no avail. Our voices and demands are no longer heard and never heeded. The wishes of the People no longer matter. The only people that are heard or even allowed to speak their minds via the media, are Liberal minority groups and criminal illegals. 

                         Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, Atheists, LGBTQ groups, perverts, spoiled youth with NO clue,and whiny weaklings are coddled and rewarded for their deviance, stupidity, laziness, selfishness, and violence, while good, moral, hard-working Americans are demonized, persecuted, and burdened with the weight of supporting and appeasing the human scum . All it took was ONE , very bad presidency. Imagine what just one year of a Hillary presidency could do? 

                          Do not fool yourselves into believing that only Conservatives and Christians will suffer at her hands. The complicit are always the first to be sacrificed. Libs comfort themselves with the lie that their support of Hillary will grant them special consideration and protection when the sh_t hits the fan. Their support of this evil, deranged woman is totally irrational and based on lies and media indoctrination. 

                          A Hillary presidency will bring about the final blow to freedom, morality, and safety in America, the last haven on earth. This "animal" is a proven liar, thief, murderess, and all-around felon. She has committed treason with Russia and the Middle East and helped to create ISIS.  In a sane and lawful America, both Hillary and Obama would be sitting on Death Row. Any Conservative, Republican, or citizen who committed HALF of their crimes,  would be!

                           So yes, as dangerous and destructive as Obama has been, Hillary would make him look like a beginner. Never in the history of America has it been more important to keep a candidate OUT of office !! EVERY Conservative, Christian, Patriot, Soldier and Veteran, Police Officer and Clergyman MUST get to the polls in November and STOP this "thing" from becoming the next leader of the free world. 
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   Below is a piece that was published in this month's issue of IMPRIMIS, a monthly publication from Hillsdale College. I found it to be so important, that I typed it up to share with you all, and will be using it as the subject of the next Constitution Study at the library on August 29th.

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 There are at the most recent count, between 29 and 34 mysterious deaths surrounding the Clintons, most were ruled as "suicides". 
 

 The LATEST Clinton Deaths
 http://constitution.com/four-murders-three-weeks-directly-linked-clintons-dnc-video/

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THE NEXT SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

 By Scott Pruitt




When Justice Antonin Scalia passed away this February, talk turned almost immediately to who would replace him- although in a large sense he is irreplaceable. Even those who disagreed with Justice Scalia acknowledge his profound impact. His scholarship and judicial opinions, through brilliance and wit, transformed how we think about the law and the Constitution. He inspired a generation of law students and lawyers. He provided a foundation for the work of judges and legislators, as well as Attorneys General like myself. All who knew him personally will attest that his brilliance was matched only by his warmth, cheer, and grace. He will be deeply missed.


In thinking about the kind of person who should take his seat on the Court, it is worth reflecting on Justice Scalia's principles or jurisprudence. One of the chief principles he championed as a scholar and a judge, is that the Law, whether statutes or the Constitution itself, must be applied according to its text. In other words, judges should not apply the Law based on what is good policy or what they suppose Congress may have intended, (but did not express), in passing legislation.


In addition, Justice Scalia believed that the words of the Law should be understood as they were understood by the people when the Law was ENACTED. For example, if you strike a bargain with someone and later there is a dispute about that bargain, how do you interpret the words of your contract? Do you look to what the words of the contract meant at the time you agrred to them ? Or, do you look to what those words mean ten or fifty years after the fact? There are some who believe that the meaning of words change over time untethered from any objective measure. Thus, what is legal one day may be illegal the next without any textual changes to the Law. Justice Scalia rejected this notion. He held fast to the idea that the meaning of Law is fixed by the meaning ascribed to the meaning of the words at the time they were enacted.


These two principles, textualism and originalism, are rooted in a third characteristic of Justice Scalia's jurisprudence, an unwavering respect for the idea of popular government. Laws, including the Constitution, receive their legitimacy from the PEOPLE. The Constitution is not an autonomously evolving document that spins out new “rights” and obligations to which the People have not given their consent. Rather than discovering new rights in the Constitution, judges should respect the constitutional prerogative of the People to pass laws through their representative legislatures limited by the restraints imposed by the Constitution – which was itself ratified by popular means.


Along with this opposition to creative interpretation of the Constitution , a fourth characteristic of Justice Scalia's life work was conviction that the rights actually guaranteed in the Constitution should be tenaciously defended, from the right of Free Speech to the rights of criminal defendants. Beyond these enumerated rights, Justice Scalia recognized that the Constitution's primary protection of liberty is its structure of checks and balances between branches and its division of powers between the federal government and the states. In short, Justice Scalia rejected the judicial activism of inventing a Law while embracing judicial engagement by ensuring that the limits on government are strictly enforced!



Ensuring that the next Justice appointed to the Supreme Court is someone in the mold of Justice Scalia is surpassingly important! Not since the New Deal has the country had a Conservative majority on the Supreme Court. For sixty years, the court has been either decidedly Liberal or split between Liberals and Conservatives. For 25 years, the court's most controversial and closely-divided cases sometimes had a Liberal outcome and sometimes a Conservative one. At the time of Justice Scalia's death, the court consisted of four unwavering Liberals, (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan), three Conservatives, (Scalia, Thomas, and Alito), and a fourth who votes with the Conservatives mush of the time, (Roberts), and one swing vote, (Kennedy). Replacing Justice Scalia with a Liberal would fundamentally alter that balance, creating a solid majority of five Liberal judges that would ensure Liberal outcomes to all controversial decisions.


Make NO mistake, the Liberal justices on the court nearly always vote as a bloc. Whereas the Conservative Justices occasionally depart for reasons of judicial philosophy from what some might consider the Conservative outcome – as Justice Scalia often did- one is hard-pressed to find decisions where a Liberal justice's vote is in question. To illustrate this point, in the Supreme Court's 2014-2015 term, the four Liberal justices agreed with each other over 90% of the time, more agreement than between any two Conservative justices. For example, Chief Justice Roberts agreed with Justice Thomas in only 70% of cases. If the Liberal wing of the court is given a five-justice majority, we should expect that no controversial decision of the court will ever be in doubt.


Let me provide a survey of the important issues the court might decide in coming years, once a ninth justice is appointed. One of the issues coming before the court will concern a basic liberty essential to democracy, Freedom of Speech. Under assault these days is the freedom to spend money (or not spend), on political speech. Before Justice Scalia's death, the court voted to grant review of a case called Friedrichs v. California teacher's Association, in which public sector employees wanted the right to NOT pay compulsory union dues. This case raises an important question about Free Speech; CAN the government force you to contribute money to a political cause you oppose? Without Scalia's vote, the court split evenly, leaving the issue to be resolved by a future Supreme Court, the deciding vote to be cast by the ninth justice.


On the other side of the Free Speech coin is the continued vitality of the court's “Citizens United” decision. Let me clarify a common misconception; Citizens United did NOT hold that corporations are allowed to give unlimited amounts to political candidates! In fact, the laws limiting the amount of campaign contributions to a few thousand dollars are still valid and IN PLACE. Rather, in Citizens united, the court held that the government may not limit the amount of money spent, whether by individuals, unions, or corporations on their own independent political advocacy. This case was decided 5 to 4, with Scalia in the majority. If he is replaced with a Liberal, Citizens United will likely be overturned, and the right to Free Speech will be greatly diminished!


The First Amendment also protects religious liberty, another of our endangered core rights. Before Justice Scalia passed away, the Supreme Court granted review in “Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Pauley, a case which will decide whether certain state laws called “Blaine Amendments” are constitutional. Blaine Amendments are provisions added to state constitution during a time of anti-Catholic fervor, they date back to the 1870s, that prevent any state funds from being used to benefit a church or a religion for any reason. This means that states running programs that provide resources to private institutions must discriminate against religious institutions, even if the program being funded is not religious. In the Trinity Lutheran case, a Missouri program was providing scrap tires for flooring in playgrounds to make them safer for children.


Because of a Blaine Amendment, the state refused to provide tires to church schools. With other Attorneys general, I filed a brief supporting the effort to get these Blaine Amendments struck down. The new justice is likely to cast the deciding vote on whether to remove this legacy of hostility to religion. Freedom of religious conscience also hangs in the balance. We have seen this in the Hobby Lobby case, where the court protected the right of religious employers to NOT fund abortions. So too in the case of the “Little Sisters of the Poor” where the court has for now, narrowly avoided the question of whether Catholic nuns can be required to cover contraception in their health insurance plan. Other cases regarding freedom of conscience are on the horizon. The court recently declined to review a case that upheld a Washington law that requires pharmacists to sell abortion drugs despite religious objections. Similarly, a case may soon reach the court to decide whether civil rights laws can be used to force for example, a Christian photographer to use her skills to celebrate a same-sex wedding.


Moving on to the Second Amendment, the next justice will likely cast the deciding vote on whether to continue to recognize and\ individual Right to “Keep and Bear Arms”, or whether to interpret that right so narrowly as to effectively do away with it. For example, just this month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California held that the Second Amendment does not forbid laws that prohibit most people from carrying, (bearing), a firearm in public. Without a justice willing to stand up for an effective right to bear arms, the Second Amendment might well become a dead letter.


Other issues that hang in the balance include the death penalty, affirmative action, regulation of the abortion industry, and voting laws. But I want to focus on final set of constitutional questions that have reached their tipping point in recent years - questions having to do with the structure of our Constitution. Contrary to what many believe, the primary guarantee of our liberty in the Constitution is not the Bill of Rights. Rather, it is found in the structure of government under the Constitution, which is designed to prevent accumulation of power and oppression of the People. The Constitution separates powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government and between the federal government and the states. Those who wrote the Constitution expected the members of the different branches would be zealous in defending their powers from other parts of government that attempted to encroach on them. They expected state legislatures to do likewise. These constitutional structures provide the greatest and broadest guarantee of liberty by limiting governmental power and today, they are under threat.


Since at least the New Deal, the executive branch has been accumulating more and more power, and the current administration has taken unilateral executive authority to new levels. President Obama has on numerous occasions effectively engaged in Law-Making – an activity strictly delegated to Congress by the Constitution – when Congress refused to pass laws that he desired! Last year for example, the Environmental protection Agency instituted a new “Clean Power Plan” , an attempt to put the coal industry out of business in the name of combating “Climate Change”, absent any authority granted by Congress. Oklahoma, along with 28 other states, sued to have this rule blocked. In his last act on the bench, Justice Scalia voted to put this Clean Power Plan on hold while it is being litigated, providing a good indication that five of the justices thought it to be unlawful. With Scalia gone, his replacement will likely determine the outcome of this case.


Along the same lines, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers recently rewrote the definition of the term, “Waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act to include every puddle and pond in the country, enabling a vast extension of federal regulatory authority at the expense of the states and the People. Again, this occurred without any grant of authority by Congress which passed the Clean Water Act back in 1972. Again, Oklahoma and 28 other states have challenged this power grab.


Most recently, the president and his agencies have attempted unilaterally to mandate accommodations nationwide for transgender people by rewriting laws like Title IX which prohibits discrimination based on sex. They are attempting to do so by redefining the word “sex” in the law – understood when Title IX was passed by Congress to refer to the biological sex, to mean “Gender Identity” which the administration defines as a person's “internal sense of gender”. A new justice will likely cast the deciding vote on whether courts should check this type of executive over-reach as well.


Another way Obama has expanded his power is by refusing to enforce laws he does not like, effectively repealing them! He has done this with immigration laws by designating entire classes of people as having “Legal status”, even though the law CLEARLY states that they are unlawfully present. Similarly, his administration has effectively legalized marijuana in certain states by refusing to enforce federal laws prohibiting it. The extent to which presidents must follow their constitutional mandate to “Take Care that the Laws be Faithfully Executed”, is a hotly debated issue on which the next Supreme Court Justice might provide the pivotal vote.


The next Supreme Court Justice will not only decide the outcome in pending cases, he or she will also influence the type of cases that make it to the court in the first place. Businesses are less likely to challenge exorbitant or unfair rulings against them knowing there is a majority of justices hostile to their interests. Conservatives will be less likely to put their time and resources into defending the Constitution if they know the court will not enforce it. Meanwhile, Liberal groups will be emboldened to bring cases that attempt to roll back the First and Second Amendments, among others. They will also bring cases attempting to establish “New Rights” to government welfare payments, to free attorneys in civil cases, to increased funding for public schools,etc. - as well as things like a prohibition on racial disparities in criminal justice outcomes, an exception to the First Amendment for so-called “Hate Speech”, and a prohibition on “sex-segregated restrooms”.


The appointment of the next Supreme Court Justice could be the most legally significant event for our country in a generation. If the next justice is in the mold of Ginsburg or Sotomayor, the rulings of the court will shift dramatically to the left. If the next justice shares the principles and philosophy of Justice Scalia, the ideologically balanced court that we have grown accustomed to in the last quarter century will likely remain. As someone whose job it is to defend the rights of the People of Oklahoma, this turning point is very important to me. But, as I hope I have explained, the next Supreme Court Justice will make decisions that touch on the rights or every American and that may come to define the nature of our government and our society for many years to come.  






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Dividing Lines                                                           8-24-2016

             

                    Being residents of a rural town that's close to New York City, we are all sadly aware of the vast differences between up-staters and down-staters. 

                     All states have their cities and their suburbs, their ghettos and their affluent neighborhoods, their outlying rural areas and their bustling business districts.  A few people stay in the communities they were born in forever, but once we reach maturity, most of us choose to settle in a place that appeals to our goals, personalities, or dreams. 

                      The options are numerous, and millions of Americans re-locate each year in search of their personal Nirvana. Some find it, some never do, while still others who are stuck in place can only wish they could do it.  Many times, I have heard country-raised kids say that they can't wait to "Get Out" of the boring town they grew up in and go out and see the world. Some of them do go, but eventually, most of them come "Home" again, having sown their oats, seen the sights, and realized that "Home" wasn't so bad after all! 

                        I was a city kid that yearned for the country life since I was old enough to know there WAS a country life. So it's easy for me to understand why so many city dwellers who can afford to, escape to the country for weekends, vacations, retirement, or to raise their children in a safer, healthier environment. Who can blame them for being drawn to peace and quiet, simplistic beauty, low crime rates, and a slower, gentler pace of life?  If anyone "Gets It", it is ME. So why do I object to and criticize these part-timers and transplants as often as I do? That's easy to answer. 

                         I just find it impossible to understand why anyone would choose to escape the stresses and coldness of city life, only to try to bring those very negative aspects of the city to the Haven that provided them their escape. When one leaves the city, be it for a weekend or forever, they must leave the city behind, not bring it WITH them! It is up to them to assimilate to the country community, not for the rural community to assimilate to THEM.  When in Rome......

                         Some city folks DO in fact, assimilate well. They learn to trade their designer shoes for work and muck boots, their BMWs and Audis for old pickup trucks with 4-wheel drive. A few grow  and raise their own food and study country skills, befriend the locals, and eventually adopt the friendly, relaxed manner of the country people. Others lend their talents to positive projects such as historical preservation and technological advancement, but they are the rare ones. 

                          The vast majority of city people are Bullies, or snobs, or both, and it is these people who create resentment and cause division. It is not at all endearing to come into a country town and attempt to change everything you claim to "Love" about it. It is not respectful to form secret committees to plan economic, ecological, or societal transformations behind the backs of the locals, or to burden us with the government intrusions and restrictions that come with "grants" and state-sponsored "programs". 

                           Country folk are accustomed to doing and prefer to do, for themselves and one another. We don't all appreciate the government sticking it's nose into our business or "regulating" our lives and freedoms.  City folks are all too used to excessive rules and oppressive regulations, but that gives them NO right to invite those things into a community that wants no part of it. Insult is added to injury when the locals are not included in these discussions and decisions, many of which will have a profound effect on us all. 

                             Just consider the sidewalk issue in New Lebanon. Who supports it and who does not? Look at the library and the greatly increased costs to taxpayers since city liberals took control of it. They even changed it's name without so much as ASKING the locals if we agreed to that!  Think about the number of acres removed from the tax rolls in recent years due to "environmental" programs and grants brought to you by, you guessed it, the city folk.  Stiffer Zoning regulations, proposed "Noise Ordinances" , increased tourism and traffic and the pollution caused by that traffic, the increased costs of buying a home here, out-pricing our children who wish to stay and raise their families. 

                             Absentee votes in our local elections, most placed by city folk who live here less than half the year, are saturating upstate towns with new "officials" who are Liberal Democrats, determined to destroy our way of life, our Conservatism, morality, patriotism, and freedom. I could go on literally for HOURS, but you get the gist. 

                              For many years, upstate New Yorkers have discussed and yearned for a separation from downstate. We want our independence to choose our representatives and officials without the Liberal Majority of the city folk having the upper hand. Who are THEY to decide for the rest of us? Why should the city vote be allowed to influence the outcome of elections year after year? We have an immoral, unconstitutional, tyrannical, and corrupt governor and state administration that is chock-full of NY City Democrats. This is a DIRECT result of the city vote. Do you think that Andrew Cuomo would have been re-elected if only upstate voters had voted in the last election? Not a snowball's chance in Hell. 

                               The Safe Act, the Bathroom Bill, Same-Sex Marriage, Common Core, and the filthy Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund fiasco, among numerous other, despicable burdens have all been brought upon us by Cuomo and the Democrat voters in NY City.  Never before, have upstate New Yorkers wanted a separation from NY City more than they do right now, and there is a movement in place to make that a reality. 

                               The obvious question would be, "CAN it be done?". Well, it HAS been done before, but it was so many years ago that few people are even aware of it. So yes, it CAN be done, but it will take many years to disentangle the present state government and replace it with two, very separate and unique ones.  I don't believe it is something I will live long enough to see come to fruition, but I will still do everything in my power to support it and assist in the process.

                                Just knowing that there is a  real possibility of liberating upstate N.Y from the insidious disease of liberal policies seeping out of NY City into our rural towns, is enough for ME.  I will never be reluctant to plant a tree under whose shade I may never sit. Perhaps my grandchildren and their children will one day cool themselves beneath it's leaves.
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                                 If you wish to be a part of this movement or simply learn more about it, I am posting the information for you here. In the meantime, there are MANY things YOU can do as an individual to preserve the freedom, traditions, and rural flavor of YOUR town. 

                                  Run for public office and apply for appointed positions within your town government. Get involved in the PTA if you are a parent, and attend school board meetings.  Demand more action and involvement from your local, political party leaders. New Lebanon's Republican Party Committee is a joke and an embarrassment. Urge these so-called "Leaders" to petition for the local political candidacies to be closed to any new residents who have lived here full-time for less than five yearsand elections closed to those who live here for less than 6 months per year. Let them vote where they spend the majority of their time!

                                  Demand that Absentee Ballots from residents of less than 6 months per year be denied and tossed out. Contact your Town Supervisor and Board and object strongly to the EDC holding closed meetings while making plans to change OUR town and spend OUR money with NO input from the locals who will be effected. Reject government grants and the regulations and restrictions that they force upon us as free citizens. 

                                   We cannot hope to change things for the better or preserve our lifestyle for future generations if we wait for the "Other Guy" to do it. It will takes ALL of us, and every one of us counts. What are YOU going to do to keep New Lebanon and upstate NY free of the city influence? 
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 Here is the link to the website:
http://www.newamsterdamny.org/



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Marshmallows and Orchids                                          8-26-2016



              Before I get going about the latest stupidity, I'd like to ask you to recall what I told you about the New Amsterdam Movement  to divide upstate and down-state NY. 

               I stated that I don't believe this is something that can happen in the next decade, if then, but that I am happy to support the honorable effort all the same. It's something that should have been done many years ago.  I have two email accounts that receive over 500 emails daily, not counting the spam and trash that would bring the total to 8 or 9 hundred. So I always try to read the most important messages first, but there are days that I get distracted by them and miss one or two. 

               Last night, one of the important messages came from the State Organizer of the New Amsterdam Movement. Guess who was asked to be their Columbia County Coordinator?  Looks like I may be planting that tree sooner than I planned to.  I still believe that the effort will be extremely challenging and will take many, many years to bring to fruition, but I also believe that it is important to do what one can, where one can. Quite a coincidence though, that the day after I mentioned the effort here, I was recruited. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
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                 Another of my most interesting emails yesterday, was an article I received about what Liberals refer to as "Hate Speech". It dealt with the now-familiar "Word Warriors" among America's youth and the staff of our universities.  Recently, I talked about a group of college students that were demanding that the spelling of the word, "PERSON" be changed to, "PERSXN".  Apparently, our youth find it offensive that the current spelling suggests male superiority by including the word,"SON".  LOLOL!! 

                  Yes, our American students ARE that sissified and fragile. (Who RAISED these kids?!)  A simple word that has been a part of our language since the beginning of time, is now offensive and unacceptable. Where do these people even GET these ridiculous ideas and interpretations?  How is it, that kids like these who are supposed to be studying, working, and having youthful fun, still have time to invent reasons to be offended?  With the cost of tuition today, shouldn't these spoiled, clueless brats be too BUSY to indulge in such immature frivolities? Apparently not.

                  When I was that age, I worked Full-Time and attended school Part-Time, and still found a few hours a week to see friends and enjoy my youth. What I did NOT have the time or inclination to do, was infringe on the Right of others to Free Speech or to analyze words and phrases for bias, racism, or offensiveness.  Sure, people say rude and cruel things about others ALL the time, that's just life. Get over it, grow up, and move on. Monitor your own speech as you wish, but recognize the fact that you have NO right or duty to monitor anyone else's. 

                   Liberals just love to control everyone and everything. They're dedicated to bending others to THEIR will via bullying, whining, new laws, and lawsuits. Spreading misery is their mission in life, be it by constantly encroaching on other's freedoms, all the way to supporting and advocating  Socialism. To them, the Pledge should state, "with slavery and suffering for all ".  

                   If Liberalism and all the backwards, deviant, senseless pieces of it are so wonderful, why are Liberals so miserable? Why, if their choices and ideals are so terrific and progressive, do they have to be imposed upon the rest of us through FORCE ? Well, I for one, will not be influenced, mandated, guilted, shamed, or forced by ANYONE or anything to bend to the Liberal Agenda.  I will fly whatever flag I choose, speak as I wish, and do what I want within the confines of Divine law and the Constitution. If that is offensive to anyone, too bad! Go to your Campus Safe Room, hug a Teddy Bear and suck on a pacifier because the problem here is not mine, it is YOURS. 

                   Texas University recently voted to allow concealed carry of firearms on campus. Finally, some common sense. The marshmallow Liberal students are objecting to the new policy, of course, yet they have no real argument or reason for that objection except for ONE. They claim that "Dildoes" are not allowed on campus, so guns should not be either. Umm, WHAT ? You can't make this stuff up, folks! These kids are actually passing out vibrators to those that are anti-carry, and urging them to "Strap them on". Now, you may ask exactly what guns and vibrators have in common. I wondered that myself!  One young girl explained it as being absurd that vibrators are banned on campus, but guns no longer are. She calls it, "Fighting absurdity with absurdity".

                    Personally, I still don't get the connection, but these are very disconnected people. Totally disconnected from reality, true history, responsibility, maturity, etc.,etc.,etc. These crazies will be the FIRST ones to hide behind a desk if a shooting scenario occurs, and the FIRST ones to scream for a Good Guy with a GUN to save them!  I have posted the link to a video of this protest, but be aware that it is not for the faint of heart or the prudish. These kids are not only stupid and spoiled, they are disgusting as well. I hope that the parents who are paying their exorbitant tuition are satisfied with the education their money is financing and how their offspring are turning out. 

                    Look folks, we have to STOP raising America's kids as if they were Orchids in Alaska. Life is not kind or gentle, and if we fail to prepare our youth to be tough, righteous, capable adults, we doom them to a lifetime of emotional misery, mental instability, and crippling immaturity. At the same time, we sentence our country to a future of leaders who know nothing of its foundations, traditions, strength, or sacrifice. 

                    Enjoy the speech video as well. I could not have said it better myself. 
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 Speech Video
 http://www.mrctv.org/blog/watch-uncommon-sense-lets-ban-all-words


 Texas University Protest Video






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