Wednesday, April 6, 2011

News That Matters - Wednesday, April 6, 2011

News That Matters

News That Matters
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Telling it like it is for 10 years and counting...

"The freest government, if it could exist, would not be long acceptable, if the tendency of the laws were to create a rapid accumulation of property in few hands, and to render the great mass of the population dependent and penniless." - Daniel Webster

Good Wednesday Morning,

Question of the Day:

Is Adam Levy running for something again?

Why Are Rents So High II?

On Monday's question regarding why rents are so high with 8% of county properties vacant, reader PH writes:
"I would venture that there are many fewer mortgages written today than in previous years because of the much more stringent financial qualifications.  Since most people (read majority) of those seeking shelter can not get a mortgage to buy a house they must rent.  This increases demand on rental properties and since supply is relatively stable, or at least not growing faster than our population, the price (rent) either remains as high as pre-bust or actually increases."
Which would be true if people were actually renting apartments but they're not and they're remaining empty for long periods of time. Landlords are having a tough time finding tenants yet rather than lowering the rent, they're remaining high. Would someone else like to give it a try?

“Bank of America avoids paying taxes by using subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. To eliminate their taxes, they reinvest proceeds overseas, instead of bringing the dollars home, thereby undermining the U.S. economy and avoiding federal taxes.
“Bank of America avoids paying taxes by using subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. To eliminate their taxes, they reinvest proceeds overseas, instead of bringing the dollars home, thereby undermining the U.S. economy and avoiding federal taxes.
Yuppies with Guns

As reported as early as last week in these pages, tomorrow (Thursday) at 7PM at the Philipstown Town Hall, The Senator Who Shall Not Be Named and the NRA are promising a rally to overturn that town's ordinance that prohibits guns on town property, registered or otherwise. The SWSNBN and his allies see this as an affront to the tens of thousands of gun owners who need to carry a loaded weapon while playing tennis at the Rec Center. Or they feel safer packing down Main Street with the hoards of yuppie summer tourists.
(I agree with the NRA: You can't ever trust a yuppie. I hear they tend to get angry and come after you with an organic, locally grown bean sprout and as bean oil is near impossible to remove from camo outerwear, shooting them is your only defense.)
Cold Spring's Mike Armstrong had this to say:

"On April 7, those opposing the proposed ban on weapons on Town properties will gather from far and wide to protest at our Town Hall. They promise to bus in people you don’t know to tell you that people you don’t know should be allowed to carry weapons that will scare your children at the Philipstown Rec center and chill debate at our public meetings. The organizers have thoughtfully asked the protesters to leave their guns at home. Yes, peacefully expressing their opinion is their right. But their cause is wrong."

You can read the rest of his letter at
(Don't!) Tax The Rich:

In 1929 when the stock market crashed and believing that lower taxes and government spending was the solution, President Herbert Hoover slashed taxes and government budgets worsening the greatest economic crisis in American history. The lack of fluid cash combined with the resulting decline in government spending and building projects threw millions out of work and precipitated a domino effect of lost wages, closing businesses, widespread homelessness and national despair.
In 1933 newly elected President Roosevelt raised taxes on the wealthy and created government works projects (CCC, etc.,) which put millions of Americans back to work and the economy began to improve as consumer spending increased and businesses began to reopen and restock their shelves. But in 1938 Congress decided that lower taxes and a cut in government spending would be a better fix, enacted these "reforms"... and it took WWII to pull the US out of that mess.

When Congresswoman Hayworth, Assemblyman Katz and others insist that lower taxes on the rich and less government spending on public projects is the solution to the economic crisis, they are ignoring history and common sense. And when they say higher taxes on the wealthy has never created jobs, they're lying.

Where do you go?

Over the past year visitors to the News That Matters website (possibly even including Misters Noel and Bennett!) have gone on to other websites thanks to our coverage of issues and events in the area.
Friends of Peekskill Hollow Road, New York Outdoors, Midhudsonnews, Putnam Chabad and the Land Use Professionals website are the top recipients of your outgoing clicks.

In the next grouping are; Tilly Foster Farm,, Haunted Hudson Valley, the Stormwater Center and Cost of War.

In the third group are; Swimming Holes New York, Seven Hills Lake, Kirk Lake and the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference.

The fourth group contains; Left of the Hudson, The Putnam Examiner, Putnam Valley Democrats, Putnam Highlands Audubon, the Putnam Arts Council and Arts on the Lake.

This shows what a broad range of information we bring and the diverse interests of our readers.

And now, the News:
  1. Leibell-founded senior homes group faces unpaid tax bills, liens
  2. Ball’s upcoming 9/11 hearings draw flak
  3. Should “Frack” Be A Curse Word? A Look At the Hottest New Energy “Solution”
  4. This Is What Resistance Looks Like
  5. New aerial images deepen concerns about Gulf seafood safety
  6. Tea party affair could doom GOP
  7. Arabs prefer life in Israel

Leibell-founded senior homes group faces unpaid tax bills, liens

By Michael Risinit for the NY Jounral News

CARMEL — The nonprofit senior-housing foundation founded by convicted former state Sen. Vincent Leibell — and primarily funded with grants once obtained by him — is thousands of dollars behind in its taxes.

In addition to missing a deadline to pay Carmel more than $73,000 in 2011 sewer and water taxes, the Putnam Community Foundation is behind on payments to Putnam County for back taxes and its main contractor has filed two liens against its property seeking almost $36,000. Altogether, the foundation, which rents 50 apartments in Brewster to seniors and owns 35 acres next to the Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel that is scheduled for more housing, owes $120,996.77 to Carmel, the county and Transitional Builders of Poughkeepsie.

Leibell, who formed the foundation in 1999, pleaded guilty to two federal corruption charges in December and is awaiting sentencing. Prosecutors said he extorted kickbacks from a lawyer who did work for the nonprofit and then urged him to lie about it to investigators.

Read More

Ball’s upcoming 9/11 hearings draw flak

Ed note: thanks to LE for sending this along.

Sen. Greg Ball was in the Assembly last year where the Hudson Valley Republican earned a reputation as something of a verbal bomb-thrower, heaping scorn on fellow lawmakers that he believed were too spendthrift and too liberal.

Now that he’s gone from the 150-member Assembly to the 62-member Senate, his actions are a bit more noticeable, and maybe stirring up more controversy. He’s convening hearings on post-9/11 public safety, beginning Friday in New York City, and the inclusion of two of his slated speakers is drawing a rebuke from Senate Democrats: Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-American and director of Former Muslims United, is known for her withering critiques of Islam; Frank Gaffney, is one of the opponents of a mosque planned for Mufreesboro, Tenn. (the story was recently featured on CNN).

During last year’s MosqueMania outbreak, Gaffney told Glenn Beck that shariah law is “a political program that the authorities of Islam have long believed — a millennium or so — must be imposed over the entire world.”

Here are the letters, back and forth, between Sen. Kevin Parker — whose own frequent lack of self-control is legendary — and Ball:

Read More

Should “Frack” Be A Curse Word? A Look At the Hottest New Energy “Solution”

However many global warming deniers there are, we already see—or soon will—more in a category we might call “fracking enablers.” These people assure us that the natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) is as safe as…well, as safe as they were just recently telling us nuclear power had become. But what’s the real story about this practice which has spread so rapidly around the United States?

In an article in a feisty journal called Capitalism Nature Socialism, the environmental journalist Karen Charman presents one of the most devastating reports we’ve seen on the particulars in play:

Read More

This Is What Resistance Looks Like

By Chris Hedges

The phrase con­sent of the gover­ned has been tur­ned into a cruel joke. There is no way to vote against the in­terests of Goldman Sachs. Civil Dis­obedi­ence is the only tool we have left.

We will not halt the lay­ing off of teach­ers and other pub­lic em­ployees, the slash­ing of un­employ­ment be­nefits, the clos­ing of pub­lic li­bra­ries, the re­duc­tion of student loans, the forec­losures, the gutt­ing of pub­lic educa­tion and early childhood pro­grams or the dis­mantl­ing of basic soci­al ser­vices such as heat­ing as­sis­tance for the el­der­ly until we start to carry out sus­tained acts of civil dis­obedi­ence against the fin­an­ci­al in­stitu­tions re­spon­sible for our de­bac­le. The banks and Wall Street, which have erec­ted the cor­porate state to serve their in­terests at our ex­pen­se, caused the fin­an­ci­al crisis. The bank­ers and their lob­by­ists craf­ted tax havens that ac­count for up to $1 tri­ll­ion in tax re­venue lost every de­cade. They re­wrote tax laws so the nation’s most pro­fit­able cor­pora­tions, in­clud­ing Bank of America, could avoid pay­ing any feder­al taxes. They en­gaged in mas­sive fraud and de­cep­tion that wiped out an es­timated $40 tri­ll­ion in glob­al wealth. The banks are the ones that should be made to pay for the fin­an­ci­al col­lap­se. Not us. And for this rea­son at 11 a.m. April 15 I will join pro­test­ers in Union Square in New York City in front of the Bank of America.

“The polit­ical pro­cess no long­er works,” Kevin Zeese, the di­rec­tor of Pro­sper­ity Agen­da and one of the or­ganiz­ers of the April 15 event, told me. “The economy is con­trol­led by a han­d­ful of economic elites. The neces­sit­ies of most Americans are no long­er being met. The only way to chan­ge this is to shift the power to a cul­ture of re­sis­tance. This will be the first in a se­ries of events we will or­gan­ize to help give peo­ple con­trol of their economic and polit­ical life.”

Read More

New aerial images deepen concerns about Gulf seafood safety

wathen_oilsheen_boat.pngNew aerial images from the Gulf of Mexico are deepening concerns about whether seafood currently being harvested from those waters is safe to eat.

Hurricane Creekkeeper John Wathen of Alabama flew over the Gulf on March 19 and 20 on a flight provided by On Wings of Care and videotaped what he saw. Though Wathen works for the Waterkeeper Alliance, he did this work on his own and does not speak for any group in the video.

His conclusion is sure to prove controversial.

"In my opinion," Wathen says, "nothing that's being caught in these waters today is safe for human consumption."

The federal Food and Drug Administration insists that Gulf seafood is safe to eat. "Although crude oil has the potential to taint seafood with flavors and odors caused by exposure to hydrocarbon chemicals, the public should not be concerned about the safety of seafood in stores at this time," the FDA states on its BP oil spill update page.

Read More

Tea party affair could doom GOP


It’s not unusual for Republican presidential aspirants to shore up their conservative credentials by pledging to cut taxes, slash spending or increase defense funding. This year, however, the way to the hearts of GOP primary voters seems to be through the Quran.

Already, more than a half-dozen GOP hopefuls have publicly warned about the imposition of Islamic law, Shariah, in America. Herman Cain, the only Republican to have formally announced his candidacy, is vowing not to appoint Muslims to his Cabinet.

This is the increasingly radicalized GOP — the 2011 version. The GOP’s most extreme wing, the tea party, is setting the party’s political direction not just in Congress, but on the presidential campaign trail.

Read More

Arabs prefer life in Israel

Op-ed: While condemning Israel, Arabs prefer life in Jewish state over Palestinian residency

Yoram Ettinger

The current seismic developments in Arab countries have removed the Middle East "screen saver," exposing the real Mideast: top heavy on violence, fragmentation, volatility, hate-education and treachery, and low on predictability, certainty, credibility and democracy.
The collapse of Arab regimes reflects the collapse of superficial assumptions, which have underlined Western policy-making and public opinion molding. The upheaval in Arab societies highlights the dramatic gap between Israel's democracy and its Arab neighbors.
In fact, recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Libya, Syria (and you ain't seen nothing yet…) have enhanced the craving in the Arab Street for the liberties and benefits of Israel's democracy.
For example, Israeli ID cards have been sought by senior PLO and Hamas officials and their relatives, such as the three sisters of Ismail Haniyeh, the top leader of Hamas. They married Israeli Arabs and migrated from Gaza to Tel Sheva in Israel's Negev. Two are already widows, but prefer to remain in the Jewish State, and the son of the third sister serves in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Read More

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