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Sunday, January 17, 2021


Think for yourself

To the editor:
The day after the insurrection at our Capitol I was back to a place that I was at when Covid -19 began; paralyzed in front of the TV, but this time in a state of complete disbelief.
Hearing the Republicans at the Electoral College vote became frightening. How could they, after seeing what happened, especially after experiencing the hell they went through, vote nay? It's called being brainwashed.
Republicans made statements about how poor Trump was attacked by the Democrats from the first day he came into office. Awe, poor baby! What did Republicans do to Obama when he came into office? Called him a liar in the halls of Congress.
Decided openly, to be against him, to make sure he was a one-term President. Trump's lies started on his first day, about the size of the crowd at the inauguration. And the lies never stopped. And the racism never stopped.
And the hatred grew. And the big lie that Biden's election was fraudulent and that something could be done about it, almost brought the government down.
These are facts - 1. White Supremacists can't stand to see Black/Brown people becoming a population larger than they are. 2. A large number of white people don't even know that they are racist. I actually have friends say when the black football players were taking a knee, that they're making so much money they should just take it and be quiet. Or, how about the person who wrote to this paper and said everyone is born equal when the front page had an article about how horribly black students in one of our school systems were treated. Hello…That's racism. 3. There is a Caste system in this country that has long been denied.
Brainwashing is defined as “Any technique designed to manipulate human thought or action that brings on a loss of contact with reality.”
How to avoid being brainwashed or how to deprogram yourself: 1. Choose your news sources wisely. 2. Read eye-opening, mind-empowering books. 3. Stop conforming.

Pamela Zaitchick
Glen Wild

Don't fan the flames of hatred

To the editor:
Columnist's opinions go without accuracy, proofreading or fact-checking here but they are supposed to be truthful, calm, researched, ethical, unbiased and within the laws of journalism!
The Lifelines column on Friday, January 6 was a hysterical rant and mixed-bag of non-columnist ordeals! A columnist is not supposed to fan the flames of hatred; I think her whole column did!
I'm not condoning the Capitol event. I don't remember Lifelines condemning any attacks on America by BLM, Antifa and others that have gone unpunished for the destruction, burning, looting, disruption and killing they did.
The column accuses one person of attempting to overthrow our government but never ran after Rep. Maxine Waters who screamed at her followers in public to go after, push back and incited mob style riots against high-up officials of government and Trump supporters! The double-standard lives!
The columnist claims that Wednesday was totally predictable and you need-not be a wizard to figure it out? All kinds of law enforcement and Intelligence Teams hadn't ‘figured it out'. If you listen to Chris Cuomo who said ‘please show me where it says protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful' last June, sounds like looking for ok to violently riot.
The four years Democrats attacked the president, tried removal from office and failed while it cost taxpayers massively while dividing this nation doesn't count nor could it be a cause of Wednesday because ‘This was a page out of every would-be autocrat's playbook'! She forgets the last administration used Saul Alinsky Radicals Handbook, the Democrats new playbook, which all 8 levels of control are already in process.
The only day of ‘infamy' I know is Pearl Harbor 1941 when the Japanese attacked our Navy Base causing major destruction of our Fleet and killed 2403 military and civilian personnel. The British burned down the Capitol and the White House in 1814 isn't given the distinction of ‘infamy' but Kathy Werner says Wednesday is.

Don Dittmer
Lake Huntington

It's time to move forward

To the editor:
The 2020 Presidential Election has Concluded, the Electoral College has spoken, results have been ratified. It's time to move forward to build the next chapter in our American Experience, so that our children can be the builders of tomorrow and heirs of our freedoms.
In the days ahead there will be discussion and spirited debate at home, in the classrooms and the halls of government over the issues that our country has faced and those that remain unsolved.
Looking back at all the events that have transpired during the last year, let us remember we are all Democrats, we are all Republicans, that whatever differences we have in views or political beliefs, we should never lift-up the sword against each other, but in the spirit of pluribus Unum cherish with appreciation that out of many we are one.
So united, let us look up and see that our flag is still there for the land of the free and home of the brave. Together let us always strive to keep it that way, for in God we trust.

Kevin Gomez, Esq.

What's up USPS

To the editor:
I remember when the mail got to you within a few days, do you? Then came ‘mail 7 days in advance of due date'.
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”. Too bad it's not official.
Of course the HUGE delays in the mail are being blamed on the virus. The virus hit by March and the mail was ok until December and then delivery became a ‘Slow boat to China'. Nine months to disrupt the mail service while there's less mail due to direct deposit, automatic payments, e-mail and other electronic advances.
Some of my recent experiences; mailed letter to Florida 7 weeks ago, delivery still pending; December 14th mailed to Arizona, came back ‘vacant' 3 weeks and 2 days later while family lives there; mail from Kentucky postmarked 12-14 arrived 14 days later and important papers sent out Nov 30 still hasn't arrived from a business.
The NYS Worker's Compensation Board release (01-06-21): ‘Due to potential delays in USPS mail delivery, attorneys and payers may not receive hearing notices and decisions in a timely fashion. Register to receive these in your e-mail.' Potential is an understatement!
The post office is a Constitutionally created system. Bloomberg News report - The postal service says ‘there's no Constitutional Right to timely mail'! So what do they suggest to do for timely, spend extra on Priority or Next Day services? No answer yet.
What about time-sensitive mail, checks or important papers that are needed timely like credit card payments? This being outside of all the mail that is lost/never-gets-delivered that the Postal Service admits happens but don't know the quantity!
The riders of the Pony Express must be rolling in their graves.
Local deliveries are affected by this national problem.

Don Dittmer
Lake Huntington

There is no excuse

To the editor:
I have sworn, both as District Attorney and President of Sullivan County's Bar Association, to uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of New York.
My colleagues in our law enforcement and legal communities have done the same. We believe in the rule of law and the orderly process of government. We also believe in the right of every American to free speech, free association and free assembly.
The January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol Building was an assault on our democracy, committed by Americans, many of whom represent themselves as true patriots, who perpetrated a siege on the very institutions and elected officials who safeguard their freedom and ours.
There is no excuse, no justification, and no legitimate defense for these acts. We are a nation of laws which must be respected. No more important laws exist than those embodied by our Constitution, which sets forth our system of government and provides for the orderly transfer of power from one set of leaders to the next.
Our nation's founders, with tremendous insight, wove these principles the fabric of our republic. They did not make one set of rules for when their preferred candidate was elected and another if someone they opposed was elected.
Respect for our Constitution is more critical to the future successes of our country than the success of any individual politician. The respect a true patriot has for the rule of law transcends power or political affiliation.
Individually and collectively, we must demand from ourselves and exemplify that which we expect from others. We must be living examples of that which we demand from the members of every social and political movement: peaceful demonstrators who engage in respectful dialogue and tolerate inevitable political and cultural disappointments. We must also be living examples of that which we demand from our government: integrity and equal respect for every person's rights.
Ultimately, we must demand from ourselves and each other recognition of the legitimacy of our electoral process, safeguarded by those appointed or elected to positions of authority and trust to examine voter registrations, guarantee the sanctity of polling places, count votes and certify a result.
The rule of law in America ensures access to legal challenges to the electoral process, and when those have been exhausted, we are duty bound as American citizens to accept the result. The future of democracy as we know it depends on it.
The lessons of this moment must be imparted responsibly and urgently upon our youth, so that they may be carried forward to future generations. In my view, neither law enforcement nor lawyers can condone the kinds of divisive attitudes that led to the barbarism so recently on display, all of which undermine the public's faith in the rule of law.
This year, our local law enforcement and legal communities committed to promoting diversity and access to justice, mindful of the national conversation surrounding race and equality. We must now do more.
I urge my colleagues to join me in composing an educational agenda that underscores our collective belief in the fundamental principles of democracy, dialogue, decency and the right to respectful dissent that have led us to become a beacon of hope and freedom the world over.
It's time now to look toward the future with cautious and hopeful optimism; to set aside politics and look within ourselves and each other to that which unites us; and to demonstrate for our children, by thought, word and deed, appreciation of and adherence to the longstanding values of American citizenship that guarantee to each of us the right to pursue our own vision of liberty and happiness.

Meagan K. Galligan

Local Observations

To the editor:
I waited to let some time pass before weighing in on some of the stories that have appeared in The S.C. Democrat over the past few months.
First, the paid ad from former District Attorney Steve Lungen ‘endorsing' candidate Frank LaBuda in the most recent election and LaBuda's response is priceless. It appears they dislike each other. Who knew?
Secondly, I have never seen so many ‘Letters to the Editor' written by an acting Chair of the Legislature. Rob Doherty is as thin skinned as it gets. When someone is so sensitive to criticism, it is a signal. Don't be fooled!
Most importantly, is the result of the Mayor's race in the Village of Monticello. In all my years with the IDA, it was virtually impossible to get investments in the Village because of it being dysfunctional. Fortunately, Monticello has a new Mayor, George Nickolados, a person with a vision who can instill some confidence.
Unfortunately, the Board's first move after the election was to try and appoint Gary Sommers, Nickolados's opponent, as Village Manager. Really?! These are some of the same Board members who are responsible for the financial decline and chaos of the Village.
My hope is that the Village Board, instead of being obstructionists, can work with the new Mayor to reach a consensus on policies. It is time to do what's right. Your legacy and the people you serve depend on it.

Steve White

The clock is ticking

To the editor:
As the first week of the New Year limps along, I was not surprised to see that the Sunset Lake Local Development Corporation meetings for Jan. 8 and Jan. 11 will not be open to the public.
They plan to view presentations from 4 bidders to lease Sullivan County's nursing home and/or Certified Home Health Care Agency (CHHA).
Almost 1,000 county residents have signed petitions or letters indicating they do not support the sale or lease, and there have been continual events and media coverage, all in opposition.
It's no surprise that the public will be kept in the dark for these meetings, which are not recorded while in executive session.
How can this LDC be considered as an independent, impartial body from the county? The board membership includes the Assistant County Manager, a legislator, a county coroner (all paid positions), and Lowell Feldman as Chairman, an expert in the privatization of nursing homes and who is acquainted with the Chair of our Legislature, who proudly champions this project.
Feldman asked to be considered an “interested party” for the sale during a public hearing on July 14, 2020. Bob Chellis, a real estate attorney and Presbyterian minister, is the only member who can truly be considered independent.
While the LDC was supposed to have an independent attorney, it's County Attorney Michael McGuire who has been calling the shots. This is the committee entrusted with the safety of our nursing home residents, county employees, and the sick and vulnerable in our community, as well as with the taxpayers' investment over the many years in these institutions.
Two of the members and the county attorney are deeply embedded in county business and attend legislative meetings. There is not a single representative from the nursing home or CHHA. This board now holds the title and lease to the nursing home and can sell or lease it at their own will.
In a better world, in a better time, the public's opinion should count for something. In a democracy, the public should be a part of decision making.
Now, in Sullivan County, the clock is ticking by as “disinterested” parties rob us of our health resources behind closed doors.

Lise Kennedy

Whose side are you on?

To the editor:
In his Dec. 29 “Here and There” column Ed Townsend questions the constitutionality of the recently enacted New York law that puts some clamps on selling and displaying the Confederate flag. I agree with Townsend's concerns about the possible chilling of free expression.
However his call for free expression didn't instill much confidence in me. Remember when some NFL players chose to kneel, rather than to stand for the playing of the National Anthem? Our “bone spurs” president called those athletes unpatriotic and said they should be fired. Where was Townsend when it came to defending those players' First Amendment rights?
Both the private displaying of the Confederate flag and the kneeling by the NFL players are legitimate, constitutionally protected forms of non-violent protest.
The difference is that many who display the Confederate flag do so in support of a failed, traitorous movement that took up arms against the United States in order to preserve slavery, while the kneeling NFL players acted to condemn racial injustice.
Given the choice that Townsend made as to which cause to defend I can only ask, whose side are you on, Ed?

Marshall Rubin

Nurses suffering “in the trenches”

To the editor:
The New York State Office of Mental Health should be ashamed at the treatment front line nurses are receiving at the Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Forensic Facility in New Hampton, New York. Seventy nurses care for extremely challenging forensic patients who come to us for evaluation or long-term treatment as remanded by the Courts.
When the Covid pandemic hit us last year, along with many other health facilities, we were caught off guard. We ran out of equipment and we struggled with an unknown disease that took the lives of some of our patients and staff. As the second wave approaches, we are faced with the realization that our administration is not concerned with the safety of the nurses.
For years, our nurses have worked in extremely cramped quarters. We do not have nursing stations as do the large medical hospitals. We are confined to small, windowless offices that have poor air circulation. Our buildings are old with antiquated ventilation... we can freeze or suffocate from the heat.
In these small offices, two nurses work elbow to elbow. All our equipment is also stored here as well. The medical equipment takes up most of the existing space and includes, for example, crash carts, medication carts, refrigerators, large desks, computers, centrifuges as well as sinks and garbage cans.
During the summer months, when covid was at its worst, we were forced to gown in these same cramped offices. To date, we have not received needed biohazard bins to dispose of used PPE. We improvised and used paper bags.
There still is no separation of clean and dirty areas in our nursing offices. In order to create an illusion of social distancing, administration offered to hang shower curtains in these offices. The nurses refused this plan outright.
There exist large adjoining offices that can accommodate the nurses. Staff who occupy these offices have graciously offered to move to other quarters, but administration continues to drag its feet, and our situation remains dire.
We are concerned that when the new wave hits, the administration will be unable to move us as the personnel needed for this project will be needed elsewhere. We look forward to the Covid vaccine but are aware that time will be needed to test the efficacy of the vaccine.
As of this moment, we are not receiving any communication from administration concerning this safety issue. Our emails read like the threads on Facebook. We receive multiple posts filled with political agendas, banners that tell us that we are heroes, and pictures of flowers and puppies. Our infection control nurse is assigned to collect data, so we are not receiving this much needed assistance. Requests from our union (PEF) for closure are going unanswered.
We know that our job is filled with risks, but we are heartbroken that our administration would rather sit in their comfortable and safe offices, while we suffer “in the trenches”. There is no rational reason to continue to force nurses to work in unsafe environments where our very lives are at risk.

Oneida Musa, RN, BSN

Symbol of Oppression

To the editor:
I am half-Jewish, which would have been enough to get me exterminated in Nazi Germany. So I am relieved that columnist Ed Townsend (“Here & There Beyond The News,” December 29) thinks Nazi symbols should be banned.
By the same token, Confederate flags should also be banned — not because they reflect hateful views held by the individuals displaying them, but because of their impact on other people.
Mr. Townsend, I guarantee that if 50 percent of your DNA came from a person of African American descent, you would feel very differently about the Confederate flag. It is a symbol of oppression.
Why would anyone espousing, as you write, “our values of justice and inclusion” want to make our Black neighbors feel unsafe and unwelcome in their own country?

Rebekah Creshkoff
Callicoon Center

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