No Appetite for Change

The Southern Tier doesn’t have a “hunger problem”; it has a nutritional problem in dysfunctional households.  This isn’t from a lack of food, this is the result of families failing their own children.  Local incidents of malnutrition are practically zero.  Poverty and poor nutritional choices positively correlate.  The real medical emergency regarding nutrition is obesity and all of the health concerns stemming from that.  The poorest among us are the most obese.

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If children are going hungry, it is the breakdown of families not of governments.  The illusion of hunger is a marketing tool that massages donor’s guilt to support the charities payrolls.  Childhood obesity is on the rise, especially among the poor.  In Broome County, more than 30,000 people receive SNAP benefits, (food stamps.) There is not a lack of food or its availability, but families incapable of managing adequate households.

With at least eight federal programs available, and nearly every community having a food bank, soup kitchens, church suppers, free lunches, replicated in hundreds of places throughout the area, it strains credulity to accept that anyone is going hungry due to a lack of community care or governmental policies.

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Being poor in America

For the only large grocer on the North side of Binghamton, SNAP is the stores welfare program as one employee told me that approximately 70% of their income comes from some form of government food aid.

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Being poor anywhere else

Some SNAP recipients offer “shopping” services, selling their benefits for 50 cents on the dollar in order to generate cash.  By making the maximum use of all of the free sources of food, combined with their SNAP benefits, those gaming the system create a benefit surplus large enough to sell on the open market of the grocery store parking lot to anyone who pays in cash.  This generates the funds that buys cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.

Food banks and free meal giveaways make the donors think they are doing the Godly, righteous thing.  Tossing a box of cereal or a few cans of vegetables into a CHOW barrel makes for easy, pain-free soul cleansing with the tiniest amount of effort.

Without means testing, (which no local food giveaway does,) no controls are in place in order to calculate the righteousness of those seeking the assistance.  Those defrauding the system are using the good will of decent people that are unwittingly supporting their drug habits, addictions and other vices.

A SNAP program so liberalized as to accept almost anyone is an all-you-can-eat vote-getting machine.  Attempting to regulate the kinds and qualities of foods recipients consume is of no interest to politicians that need them fat and happy enough to keep pulling the lever for politicians that keep the free stuff coming their way.

Knowingly inducing obesity and learned helplessness isn’t Godly it is evil.  However, requiring proper nutritional balance and limiting choice to the most cost-effective brands would buy fewer votes and therefore is an idea without a prayer.

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PC = Censorship

The ongoing saga of the alleged strip-search at a Binghamton middle school is a classic example of how the poison of PC (political-correctness) pollutes and censors common sense.

After an internal investigation, followed by two separate police investigations, no charges have been filed and no arrests have been made.  Why?  Because the allegations are false.  PC demands that you don’t dare say this or risk being labeled a racist.

Charges of filing false police reports ought to be leveled against the girls and their parents but that will never happen.  The girls aren’t white and the school officials all are.  This automatically invokes playing the race card in a tired old card trick everyone knows is a false flag.

Within hours of the alleged incident, a local hate-group calling themselves PLOT, (Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow) weighed in with their racist-based, vitriolic-fueled bile.  Eyes not blinded by the PC acid mist could clearly see the “plot” here has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with extortion and an excuse to be outraged.  PLOT’s own web-presence proudly proclaims their hatred.

The Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the girls.  In their statement they say, “… research shows how stereotypes lead adults to perceive black and Latina girls as more troublesome and suspicious than their white peers…”  What if in the case of this school, and in the case of these girls, that statement is just plain true?  What if these girls are well-known trouble-makers?  Is it a stretch to think that maybe, just maybe, these girls have had brushes with the school authorities in the past?  Common sense says that middle school kids perceive white teachers and principals as “troublesome and suspicious” as well.  No secret there.

The hard-working, quality educators that teach in that school are highly experienced, well-trained, professionals.  These folks fight every day a clash of competing cultures throughout the Binghamton schools, some that don’t respect authority, don’t respect the value of education, and come from backgrounds and familial situations that have failed to prepare them for assimilation into a productive, inclusive and friendly world based on mutual trust and mutual understandings.  How do you expect our educators to manage that mix of cultures with others that embrace personal responsibility, hard work, ethical behavior and the ideas of furthering and bettering ones-self to the best of each persons ability?

Our educators manage a daily clash of cultures in a world seeing those factions grow further and further apart every day.

Indeed, those young girls were mistreated.  They were mistreated by parents and activists who jumped to conclusions and smelled a payday in a settlement to a nuisance lawsuit.  Moreover, they are being continually mistreated by the NAACP, PLOT and the Legal Defense Fund, all of whom are making political hay on the backs of these little girls.

Put that in your PC pipe and smoke it.

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Fast Freddie

Police recruiters screen out those who over-value power, dominance and authority.  Law enforcement tends to attract those with these over-valuing issues, making them likely to abuse their authority.

Fred Akshar fits that troubling profile.

Using only that which is in the public domain regarding his personal life, we see a disturbing pattern, beginning at the sheriff’s department where Akshar was involved in a romance with a subordinate.  As a Senator, Akshar again developed a relationship with a subordinate employee whose salary he tripled at taxpayer expense.  Now, Akshar admits to having a one-night-stand with the victim of a crime in a case on which he was working.  Because the case was being actively appealed, Akshar’s actions jeopardized the legal process.

Public officials are held to a higher standard that ordinary citizens.  The appearance of impropriety is to be avoided, in the interest of preserving and insuring the trust of the public.

FreddyAkshar not only fails in his ability to preserve the trust of the people, he doubles down, justifying and excusing himself from all criticism, going on social media to defend his behavior and deride any and all who see his antics for what they are, shameful, dominating and reprehensible.

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Tax Returns

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The date of this writing is Sunday, April 14, 2019 and it is well into the evening as I have just completed the electronic filing of my 2018 income taxes.  I thank God and Intuit Corporation for the miracle of the software package called Turbo Tax as this truly amazing product reduces the complexities of the US tax code to the answering of a few hundred yes-no, multiple choice or fill-in-the-blanks questions.

I’m certainly no high-net-worth individual; my tax return represents my small business and rental property.  Absent are the offshore accounts, European villas, international financial transactions and complex trust instruments and yet my own relatively simple and straightforward tax return prints out to 46 pages!

Even with a strong academic background in business and law, and a business owner for most of my career, the finer points of the Depreciation and Amortization form, MACRS deductions, the Qualified Business Income Component worksheet with the tentative QBI component and UBIA after applicable SSTB reductions is pretty much a mystery to me, produced as if by magic via my successful answers to the hundreds of questions.

I can only imagine what the tax returns for the likes of a Donald Trump might encompass by comparison.  In todays tax world, almost every single project benefits from the formation of individual corporations.  In the Trump world, it would not be uncommon for his signature to appear on scores of returns, each representing a single project.

The Internal Revenue Service, (IRS), routinely audits high net-worth taxpayers like Trump.  Less than 1% of taxpayers earning less than $50,000.00 are audited whereas nearly 10% of those earning more than $10 million are.  The Hill reports that Trump has been audited for 12 consecutive years.

After 12 years of audits, isn’t it safe to say that his financial affairs and their legality have been fully vetted?  Aren’t the trained, professional auditors at the IRS better suited to analyze the intricacies and details of a complex tax return than the average person?  Without extensive and advanced tax law training, I believe that the man-on-the-street wouldn’t have the vaguest idea of how to draw any conclusions or make any informed judgments about anything in that return.  If Trump had done something in violation of the tax law, the 12 audits would have exposed those failings long ago.

Presidents are not required by law to release their tax returns.  The mere establishment by convention of that expectation is not warranted, especially because Trump is the first President to come from a business background of the type that produces tax returns unlike conventional wage earners and employees.

The enthusiasm to demand Trump’s tax information is a more-of-the-same witch-hunt, now that he has been cleared of the ridiculous charge of colluding with Russia to undermine our elections.  Blind rage and hatred is what fuels the fire of discontent that burns in the chest of those who would trade our current state of prosperity, full employment and success for the collapse of it all, simply to bury a man they can’t stand.

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Wind Projects Count on Towns Ignorance

The proposed wind project in the towns of Windsor and Sanford is a bad idea and the town boards ought to be drafting zoning regulations that are in the best interest of all of us not just some of us.

This project was originally slated for offshore, near New York City, closer to where the power is actually needed.  Taxpayers on Long Island pushed back so wind developers began seeking softer, easier targets in small, rural community’s upstate, taking advantage of a suffering, depressed local economy and counting on small community leaders that may lack the sophistication and legal understanding to mount any significant challenges.

The truth is that the net economic toll in projects like this are consistent losers for the local economy, local taxpayer and property owners.  Developers and suppliers make the most money up front, courtesy of government subsidies and incentives, paid with our tax dollars!   After calculating the losses in property values, the negative agricultural impact, suffering tourism, the health implications and the awful aesthetics, these projects pose a health, safety and general welfare problem for everyone and truth-be-told, the net losses are in the millions of dollars beyond the short-term gains.

Our Town Boards have a statutory obligation to protect all of the citizens.  Those in leadership positions did just that in Cooperstown, NY, which successfully defeated a wind project in their area.  Ask any community that has gone ahead with a wind project if they would do it again and overwhelmingly the answer is no.

The short-term allure of modest lease payments and the unfulfilled promise of abundant power is not a sufficient rationale for allowing this project anywhere near Broome County.  Accordingly, we are calling on not only the Towns of Windsor and Sanford to step-up and face their statutory obligations; we are calling on every town and village in Broome County to pass a well-written protective wind ordinance, in anticipation of these projects continuing to propagate.

Imagine dozens of these 500 to 700 feet behemoths, visible from everywhere, stretching up into the sky three times higher that the state office building in downtown Binghamton.

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Thank God, we enjoy the concept of home-rule here in New York State, allowing us local control over our own areas.  We need to harness this advantage and refuse to allow downstate interests to control our destiny and literally change our landscape.  We already supply them with our water, take their trash and afford them our natural beauty and peaceful, wonderful countryside as their weekend and vacation escape.

The beauty, serenity, our way of life, lets not let them take that from us too.  We should not and we will not surrender to anyone this place we all call home.

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13 Houses

When I was born, my dad worked in the laundry of a hospital.  He didn’t finish high school in order to join the military, along with all eight of his older brothers.  As the youngest boy, his biggest fear as a 17-year-old was that the war would end before he could get in.

This is where we lived when I was a baby.

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We lived in the left side of the third floor of this seven-family, 2-bedroom walk-up.

It wasn’t much nicer in the 1950’s than it is today, but we were happy and never went hungry.  When my first sister came along, it was time for a bigger place.

When my grandfather died, my grandmother made a deal with my dad to purchase a house with a mother-in-law apartment and share the rest of the house with us.  She lived with us until her death.  Without my grandmas help, we couldn’t afford the down payment on a house.  At about the same time, my dad took and passed the test to become a policeman.  The new house was right up the street from our old apartment and we thought it was a mansion by comparison.  This is where my sisters and I grew up.

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Just after graduating from high school, I got a job at IBM.  In the early 70’s, this was the equivalent of hitting the work-place-lottery.  I however found it to be dreadful and it motivated me to go to college.  Not long after receiving my first paycheck, I moved out of my family home and into the so-called, “real world.”

A friend of mine had purchased this two-family home and transformed it into a three-family by adding a small apartment in the attic.  It was right down the street from the IBM complex.  At first, I occupied one of the three bedrooms on the left side of the house, sharing the place with two of my high school friends.  After the attic was finished, I moved up there.  What we mostly did was work, drink beer, chase women, ride our motorcycles and smoke pot.  I was trying to work full-time while going to school full-time, so I had to get out of there.

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My best friend Mike and I went in together and rented this really nice and modern 2-bedroom apartment, (you can see the stairs on the left side that go to the 2nd floor.)  Doesn’t look so hot today, but it was a really nice place.

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Mike got a girlfriend who had a little apartment and he was spending most of his time there anyway, so we vacated this place and I crashed on my dad’s couch while I finished up college.

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See that little tip-out room in the front?  That was where my foldout couch was located, in the uninsulated, enclosed front porch.  My dad had re-married and at the time, this 3-bedroom house had 5 occupants plus me!  At this point, my dad had finished his career as a cop, suffered through a divorce and married a woman with 5 kids, the youngest of which was a pre-schooler.  After feeling like a guest in an already crowded little house, I rented my first apartment solo.

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This place represents a very low time in my life.  See that little stair-step and railing on the right rear of the house?  That was my apartment, a once noble home carved into little apartments that were not so nice anymore.  I was living hand-to-mouth, gutting it out in school and trying to make a living.  I had just broken up with my college girlfriend, finished school and was on a wait list for law school.  On a Saturday, I received notice from Texas Southern that I had been accepted late and a seat was open.  I had to decide quickly whether or not to pack-up and drive to Texas, like that weekend.  I went out that night to ponder my fate and met the woman I would eventually marry.  No law school.

After meeting my wife-to-be, everything changed and a lot of growing up and challenges were about to take place.  This was our first apartment together, what was then a really nice 2nd floor apartment in a 3-family home in a nice neighborhood.  Both of my children would call this their first home, even though we moved before they would remember it.

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After we were married, we moved to the Philadelphia area in order for me to take the dream job of my life, and for my wife to be closer to her parents, as she was originally from that area.  Our new place was a brand-new, never been lived in before condo in a suburb of Philadelphia called Perkasie.  (No photo.)

Fast-forward almost 4 years and my wife and I we’re divorcing and I was unemployed.  Crushed, I packed up a U-Haul truck and headed home.  I put my stuff in storage and moved into the spare bedroom of the home of one of the guys I used to live with back in the IBM days.  Unhappy days.

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As life settled down a little, I found a decent job and started dating a bit.  I meet Patty and we eventually decided to set up house together.

We found this 1st floor apartment and lived there for some time.

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Our landlord was really difficult, and at the same time, the guy across the street had bought a new home and was having trouble selling his old one.  I made a deal with him to rent the house until he could find a buyer.  It was literally across the street so we moved without a truck!

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Patty and I were getting serious, so we made the commitment and decided to buy a house of our own.

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Shortly after, I got custody of my kids and this is where they were raised.  It was, and is, a beautiful two-family, custom build, a really super house where we had lots of fun.  Patty and I went our separate ways as the kids grew and left for college.  I bought her out and shortly thereafter, I grew tired of being a landlord, so I sold this place and moved into a smaller 2-family place I had purchased a few years earlier for income.

I fixed up the 2nd floor apartment as I went along, and I live there today.

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I’m be 66 years old later this month.  I just applied for social security.  I own a small business that I continue to work in every day.  I am debt free and I own another 2-family house for income.  Being self-employed, I have no pension, so I will need to rely on social security, income from my business, and the rental income from my two, 2-family houses.

I have worked hard my entire life.  I’ve made some colossal mistakes along the way and I’m paying the financial price for those mistakes now.  Having just chronicled the entire journey makes me feel even worse about what I have done and how I have done it.  That said, I guess I’ve done a little better than my dad did, and they say that is the object, to see your kids do a little bit better than you did.  It seems I have set the bar low enough for my kids to clear it with ease.  My daughter already has.  My son’s working on it.

 

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Blacklash

The scheme to Make America Racist Again almost worked but Smollett is even a worse actor in real life.

State Attorney in Cook County Illinois Kim Foxx must have owed the Obama’s a big favor in cutting Jussie Smollett loose from all 16 of his felony indictments.  You remember, that 2nd rate actor that staged his own racial hatred ambush by a supposed pair of Trump loving, Make American Great Again white racist assailants.  Except the truth was it was actually two Nigerian brothers who were paid to make it look like Smollett was assaulted, after he sent himself a threatening letter dripping with racial animus.

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Obama advisor Tina Tchen called Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx and as a result:

We’re sorry Mr. Smollett, you’re free to go, all a big mix-up, not only are you free, your record has been sealed, case closed, our bad, please accept our apologies.

Except someone forgot to clue in the Mayor of Chicago as well as the Chicago police chief.  These guys are hopping mad, insisting now that there may be a two-tiered justice system in American.  Imagine that.  Wow, stop the presses; something is amok in Chicago politics?  A dirt bag like Rahm Emanuel, (long time Obama sycophant and current Chicago mayor) is amazed and insulted!  That’s saying something.  His outrage is more likely to be the result of not being in on the scheme.

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Then the Chicago police chief is so mad, he starts dumping documents on the internet, revealing much more about the case, that is until a judge slapped him with a restraining order.  Can’t have any truth leaking out.

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Hard to imagine that this little stunt isn’t some sort of tit-for-tat payback for the likes of Michael Brown in Ferguson or Freddie Gray in Baltimore, notwithstanding the fact that in each of these cases, the police were not only justified but exonerated.  No, in this case, the perpetrator was and is a race-baiting self-promoting riot-monger, hell-bent on fashioning a racial hatred theme where none existed outside of his own self-loathing.

But then consider presidential candidate Kamala Harris and her ties to anti-lynching legislation, just two weeks after Smollett claims to have been assaulted and then remember Smollett’s accusations about a rope around his neck, and the Trump references, I’m smelling the creation of a narrative to help a 2nd rate actor support the candidacy of a 3rd rate contender for the presidency.

Smollett ought to join the ranks of Colin Kaepernik and OJ Simpson in being shunned into total obscurity but instead; the NAACP would like to reward him.  It seems there is a growing segment of the militant black community that can’t believe that racism is receding as fast as it is, so to compensate, they have to make some up, just to keep their hatred machine fed.  Al Sharpton showed them how, back in the 70’s when he fabricated the Tawana Brawley fiasco, again, targeting innocent people in a racist sting-set-up that never actually happened.  No one was held accountable for that either.

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Those who insist that racism is a systemic issue today are correct, except that in large measure, those in the white community have long ago left those sentiments in the rear-view mirror while a significant portion of the agitated black trouble creators create racism when they can’t find it, and then throw it a lifeline to keep it from drowning.  Without the facade of racism to use as shield, miscreants fashion false accusations instead into swords based on lies.

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If the racism industry slows to a crawl and threatens to disappear, what are the likes of the Al Sharpton’s, Jesse Jackson’s and Maxine Waters of the world going to do for income?

If law enforcement was able to proceed, unhampered by partisans, and in the process uncovered a scheme that tied Kamala Harris, the Obama’s, Kim Foxx and Jussie Smollett together in an effort to convince Americans that Trump’s America actually looks and feels this way, it is hard for me to imagine anything more diabolical and more anti-American than that.  This is what real hatred looks like and it is hatred of America.

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