Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Celebrating Ed's Birthday...This Wednesday At Open Mic Night

If you live in Mountaindale, you know Ed, and you know the Mountaindale Inn.  Ed's place has been a fixture in our hamlet for DECADES, and Friday is Ed's 63 birthday.  Wednesday night is Mountaindale Inn's weekly Open Mic Night...we also be celebrating Ed's birthday, so come on down for a great craft beer, some fabulous music, and wish Ed a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Monday, July 23, 2012

America...World's Largest Banana Republic

A bold statement and declaration, and to help make the point, let us first put forth some definitions which make the case.

A banana republic is a politically unstable country that economically depends upon the exports of a limited resource (fruits, minerals), and usually features a classed society — a large, impoverished working class and a ruling plutocracy, the rich elites of business, politics, and the military

Plutocracy (from Ancient Greek πλοῦτος, ploutos, meaning "wealth", and κράτος, kratos, meaning "power, dominion, rule") is rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth.

Game, set and match, but let us delve further into the subject of America as a Banana Republic.  This year, we have a Presidential Election where most Americans votes do not really count.  Here in New York it seems a foregone conclusion that our state will be put into the Blue Column, and so neither candidate for the highest position in the country spends scarce time here, the time they do spend here spent in closed, invite only fund raising events for the uber rich elite, those who can afford to buy a seat at the table.  Rich elites of politics seems to personify Mitt Romney whose personal wealth exceeds $250 million dollars, over $200 million of it accumulated in offshore accounts where he pays almost nothing in taxes.  Obama is poor by Mitt Romney's standards, and yet he has already been bought and paid for by the wealthy ruling class (just look at how much he and Romney have raised from the uber rich for their campaign coffers)...one has to ask the question, "Why even bother voting when we have no real voice?"

Fox News, CNN, MSNBC...does not matter which network you choose to watch, when it comes to our American system of government, the announcers are admitting that the system has been rigged for decades to benefit those in the wealthy ruling class, breaking news out almost every day admitting the simple truth that the American lower and middle class are being gamed.  JP Morgan lost over $5 Billion dollars of the average Americans investments so far this year while the banking and investment lobbyist spend hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Washington, telling our elected officials that regulation of their industry is bad for (drum roll please) THE UBER RICH.  

American Exports...for the most part America no longer has what could be called a true industrial infrastructure, the rich having convinced us that it is in our best interest to shop jobs overseas so that they can produce and sell us CHEAPER MORE AFFORDABLE GOODS...curious here, if we have no jobs, if our wages are stagnant and/or depressed because there are no longer any good paying jobs, does the price of the goods being offered to us really matter, and if we are not producing goods, have we not placed our nation in a position of having exports of a limited resource (fruits, minerals)...NATURAL GAS, the last one of which is supposed to make us energy independent, and yet being exported to places like China and India.

Obama and the Democrats proposed keeping Bush Era tax cuts in place for 98 percent of Americans, while rolling back the tax cuts for the UBER RICH supposed job creators.  Curious...the rich may create jobs, but isn't it through the hard work and sweat of the average Main Street American that wealth is created, yet distributed unfairly?  Republicans oppose this roll back of taxes on the uber rich, claiming that the rich pay more than their fair share of taxes already, the richest ten percent carrying about 45 percent of the tax burden of our nation...that argument SOUNDS PRETTY CONVINCING on the surface, but lets examine it further.

For starters, Americans control/own 27 percent of the ENTIRE World's wealth....wealth being defined as actual assets one owns, such as property, natural resources, tangible property and liquid cash assets and other financial instruments.  Fold Canada into the mix and these two North American nations control just about 35 percent of the world's wealth.  The 27 percent of the world's true wealth held by America is not distributed fairly...as example, from 1990 to 2005 (adjusted for inflation) saw the average CEO's salary increase by 300 percent, while in that same time period the production worker's salary rose by only 4.3 percent here in America.

Median compensation for CEO's in all industries as of early 2010 is $3.9 million; it's $10.6 million for the companies listed in Standard and Poor's 500, and $19.8 million for the companies listed in the Dow-Jones Industrial Average. Since the median worker's pay is about $36,000, then you can quickly calculate that CEOs in general make 100 times as much as the workers, that CEO's of S&P 500 firms make almost 300 times as much, and that CEOs at the Dow-Jones companies make 550 times as much.

The richest ONE PERCENT of Americans own 35 percent of America's total wealth, which means that one percent also owns almost nine percent of the ENTIRE World's wealth.  If you take the top ten percent of Americans wealthy and elite, they own/control over 80 percent of America's total net worth/wealth and yet collectively only pay about 65 percent of the taxes collected by the IRS.  If your group through a rigged system controls/owns 80 percent of America's wealth, should not your group be paying 80 percent of ALL TAXES COLLECTED?  In a fair system the answer is yes, but sadly America no longer has a fair system, tragically we now live in a Banana Republic where most of us have been reduced to serfdom, barely subsisting on the meager wages paid by those in the top ten percent as they work ever harder at owning more and more of the pie, even if to do so means rigging the system in a way that allows them to steal what little wealth the lower and middle class have managed to accumulate.

What can we do about it?

1.  Strengthen unions...say what you want about unions, but they fight to protect workers rights, fight to see that average Americans in the work force get a fair day's pay (living wage) for a hard day's work.  The Republicans and Wall Street elite want to make unions obsolete, sent the way of the Dodo bird, and if Main Street Americans allow that to happen, we truly will become slaves of THE MAN.

2.  Work toward creating additional political parties here in America so that we can force Washington to seek compromise and consensus between dispirited groups.  Almost an impossible task since the Democrats and Republicans have passed over 2500 laws that throw road blocks up in the path of any group trying to become a third political party.

3.  Stop electing the uber rich to office.  Wealthy people will never represent the best interests of the majority, but instead will pass laws that protect their wealth, and the wealth of their friends who have curried favor by purchasing it through generous donations to the campaign coffers of those willing to do their bidding at the peril of the majority.

4.  Stop supporting and electing both Democrats and Republicans.   Recruit and support for office people like yourselves...the owner of your local mom and pop store, your small town garage owner (rather than the guy who owns the large dealership), or a working mother who struggles every day to put food on the table for her children.  In short, even if you have to do a write in vote, start electing AVERAGE AMERICANS into office locally, statewide, and to national office.  When we elect AVERAGE AMERICANS, average Americans in office will actually begin again doing the People's BUSINESS.

5.  Take our voices out into the streets...yes, am talking about exercising our First Amendment Rights, not in small handfuls, but in groups of a hundred thousand or more. As long as we remain meek,  as long as we remain silent, huddled in our homes afraid to speak, our lot will not change, business as usual on Wall Street, and on Capital Hill will continue on as the rich get richer, and the American Middle Class is destroyed.

6.  Band together, and support your small local merchants rather than spending what little money you have in the large chain stores such as Walmart, Sam's Club or the large Mega Malls.  Fact is, money SPENT LOCALLY stays local. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Why Fallsburg Should Ban FRACKING...Uhhhh....No Insurance!

The Price Anderson Act makes it impossible for any American homeowner to get insurance to cover losses from a nuclear accident at places like Entergy's trouble plagued Indian Point nuclear reactors that sit atop an earthquake fault.  Well, seems that the insurance industry is not going to wait for Congress (as in do nothing but squabble) to pass similar legislation denying property/home owners from getting insurance for harm done from the process of Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing.  Nationwide out of Ohio has announced that they WILL NOT COVER DAMAGES caused by this dangerous extraction method:

The Columbus, Ohio-based company's personal and commercial policies "were not designed to cover" risk from the drilling process, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, Nationwide spokeswoman Nancy Smeltzer said Thursday. 

The process injects chemically treated water into wells to fracture shale thousands of feet underground and release trapped gas or oil. There are rich shale deposits in parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, West Virginia and elsewhere. 

Health and environmental groups claim fracking can contaminate drinking water. The gas industry says it's safe if done properly. Nationwide said risks involved in fracking operations "are too great to ignore" and apply to policies of commercial contractors and landowners who lease property to gas companies.

Do we the citizens want to believe an industry KNOWN TO LIE when they say it is doubtful they will be drilling in our community (at least right away), and do we really want a drilling/mining process allowed in our community when we CANNOT GET INSURANCE to cover damages...like the natural gas accident that blew a house off of its foundation earlier this week?

Contact your elected officials in Fallsburg supporting a ban on Hydraulic Fracturing withing the geographical footprint of Fallsburg.

Crank Call wastes Precious Public Resources.

The Fallsburg Police have their hands full in the summer time with the greatly increased population that comes into our area, and they do a fine job handling this extra work load. What they do not need is someone wasting their precious time. Imagine my surprise yesterday when a uniformed officer drove out to Mountaindale to check on a complaint that my car was “abandoned.” it seems that one of Mountaindale's citizens decided to bear false witness and made a decision to call the Fallsburg Police Department claiming my car had not moved, and was abandoned for a period of over 48 hours.  
The officer, who coincidentally lives in Mountaindale, immediately knew my car when he saw it. He sees me regularly driving it all over the area...into Woodridge, Fallsburg, Thompson and other local communities.  He immediately informed dispatch that my car was LEGALLY PARKED in a public parking space on our Main Street. 
I've spoken with higher ups in the Police Department, and I am going to speak with the officer who had to make a run out to our hamlet to see if charges for filing a false police report can be filed against whomever lodged the false report. Obviously this is a case of harassment, but more importantly, it is a huge waste of Fallsburg Police Department resources and manpower in this, their busiest time of the year.  The prankster who made the call should be ashamed of themselves, and should be aware of the fact that filing a false police report is a crime.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lots of Choices This Weekend For Fun Activities

Mountaindale's Mark and Kelsey will be the headline entertainment this Saturday over in Rock Hill at the Rock Hill Farmers Market...the gazebo is taking shape, and as always there are some fabulous locally grown veggies, meats and other treats there...I highly recommend the yogurt.  The market is every Saturday from 10-1 PM across the street from the Trading Post.

Don't forget...Sunday is the Sullivan Striders fund raising run for the Mountaindale/Woodridge Rails to Trails...you can still sign up!...Meet up at the fire station here in our hamlet for a great run/walk for a wonderful cause....OUR TRAIL.

The new Trail Brochures are out...if you need some, contact Allen Frishman.

Don't Miss Barnfest!

Debra Winger
Ramsay Adams


Admission to Barnfest is FREE.  There will be an art auction, penny social as well as a vintage clothing collection.  And of course Catskill food for purchase and fun activities for the whole family.