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Letters to the Editor: 02.06.20

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 10:24

Was Moved
Amagansett
February 3, 2020

Dear David,

I was moved and entertained by Zach Cohen’s letter in your issue of Jan. 23. A subtle update of his A.B.C.s, awry at P, until love saves the day, it has delighted me in more than one reading. A tonic for disturbing times.

Sincerely,

JEANNE FRANKL


Wish Him Hope
East Hampton
January 27, 2020

Dear David,

I was shocked to learn from Zach Cohen’s letter in the Jan. 9, 2020, edition of The Star that he has brain cancer. I am writing to wish him hope, support, and appreciation.

I have known Zach mainly through reading his occasional letters to The Star. I did have direct contact with him a couple of years ago when I was looking into preserving one of my lots, and he was very helpful in getting back to me about the chances of whether it would be of interest to the town. I learned in his letter of his interests in music, photography, writing, biking, traveling, and number theory. None of this surprises me, and fits well with all the work he has done for the many town committees on which he has served.

I have had several family and friends who have dealt with cancer. I also have a strong professional acquaintance with numbers and mathematics. I hope that Zach will live to a very high prime-number year, much higher than the three that he cited. Cancer statistics are based on a huge number of samples, and there are many outliers that go way beyond the averages. I think a positive attitude and a happy, full life can help, and Zach certainly has all of that. We should all appreciate what Zach has given to our town over the years, and hope for a good outcome.

JON HOWARD


Agonizing Illness
East Hampton
January 31, 2020

Dear David:

Kudos to Taylor Vecsey. She wrote an informative, three-part article about the issues facing the Gilbert family and the harsh 30-year sentence given to a schizophrenic young man.

As many know, Thomas Gilbert killed his father about five years ago. Anyone who took the time, as Taylor did, to interview the family and look at Gilbert’s history, would understand the emerging diagnosis and the effect on the parents. Schizophrenia is an agonizing diagnosis and most parents are in denial or they try to keep their child “safe” by offering money and other help.

Counseling and medication are commonly rejected by individuals suffering from this agonizing illness. This is not the story of a “spoiled rich kid.” This is the story of an outdated psychiatric evaluation system within the court and the so-called “expert witnesses” who are paid by the prosecution to define insanity as the ability to know “right from wrong.”

Many mentally ill people can tell you right from wrong, but still experience devastating symptoms, delusions, hallucinations, and are not mentally capable to make good decisions. More awareness of mental-health issues should have been offered and certainly mental- health treatment rather than a 30-year sentence at Dannamora.

Is prison the place to house the mentally ill? This is a travesty, and I am grateful to Taylor for her in-depth interview with the mother. We would have never known the facts of this case from the mother’s point of view otherwise. Great reporting. As the mother states: “What he did was not him; it was his disease.”

MARY BROMLEY


Come Stand
Amagansett
February 2, 2020

Dear Mr Rattray:

I was out in front of Town Hall once again this past Friday. Week five was nice. Brisk and a bit breezy, but a couple of people came by and stood with me for a couple of hours. It was nice to have the company and the conversations about stuff.

Week six of Fridays for Future/Fridays for Climate (week 77 for Greta Thunberg) will be tomorrow. I will be outside East Hampton Town Hall again from 9 a.m. until noon, or so, depending on the weather. Rain or shine, I’ll be there at 9.

For many years there have been scientists purporting the Earth is a living thing. One theory is the Gaia theory. The planet is alive in ways that we are only just starting to learn. The magnetic field that shields us from harmful solar radiation is driven by the iron-nickel core at the center and it creates other energies we’re also just learning about; it’s the heart. Everything is interconnected — biology, geology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and life are all interrelated and entwined. Human beings are just a part of this magnificence, this miracle in the cosmos.

It is imperative that we take care of Gaia, Mother Earth. It’s a matter of life or death. Our very existence is in jeopardy.

The reason I’m standing out in front of Town Hall is to try to raise the alarm and awareness. Please come stand with me. Please show me there are others in the community who see that this is an existential global climate change crisis caused by human activity and our burning of fossil fuels. Please show me that my fellow human beings are not going to let the destruction of our home — our mother — happen on their watch.

HARRY LAGARENNE


Long-Term Benefits
Springs
January 30, 2020

Dear David,

I am most pleased to learn that Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind has announced the launch of the Ecosystem and Passive Acoustic Monitoring Project, an important step to better understand and to protect the North Atlantic right whale. Orsted’s partners for this innovative project are impressive: Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, the University of Rhode Island, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

This important initiative is emblematic of Orsted, ranked the world’s most sustainable company by the well-respected Corporate Knights 2020 Index, announced annually at the world economic forum in Davos.

Orsted plans to apply the project’s learning to develop tailored processes and procedures to better protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale during survey, construction, and operation phases of their U.S. offshore wind farm portfolio.

We in East Hampton can be proud to play a part once we accord the rights for Orsted to land its cables in our community, where Orsted will bury them, and also the unsightly overhead wires that now mar Beach Lane. If we allow the short Wainscott route to the Buell Lane substation, the construction here can be completed in one winter season.

Coastal communities like ours will be enabled to use the oceanographic data gathered to aid weather forecasting.

“The technology exists now to acoustically detect and track marine mammals,” said James H. Miller, professor of ocean engineering and oceanography, University of Rhode Island.

“Our project will help to minimize the impact of wind farm construction and operation on whales so that both we and the whales can reap the long-term benefits of clean energy,” said Mark Baumgartner, senior scientist, biology department, Woods Hole.

Of particular significance to East Hampton, data collected by the receivers will further the understanding of movement patterns of a range of species, including those of importance to the fishing industry.

ALICE TEPPER MARLIN

Win With Wind

Steering committee member


Respect the Earth
Springs
February 3, 2020

To the Editor,

Humans are like a plague destroying the natural balance on Earth. It all started in the technical and industrial revolution about 300 years ago. Before then we were on an even keel. We were in balance with all the creatures on Earth. The animals, forests, rivers, and oceans all worked in unison creating a balanced ecosystem.  

But then something happened that never happened before in the four billion years that life has existed on this planet. An animal called Homo sapiens became technically advanced. That’s when the tides turned.

For example, before guns it wasn’t so easy to hunt down a buffalo, and in some instances man came up on the short end of the stick. But when you added a gun to the equation we became superman. The white man shot and killed millions of buffalo just for its tongue, or in many instances just for the fun of killing it, leaving the hide behind to go to waste, showing no respect for the buffalo, the Indians who depended on it, or the environment. In just a few decades the buffalo and the Indians were on the brink of extinction.

Here’s another example. Beaver pelts were in fashion in the 1700s. Trappers could buy as many spring-loaded steel beaver traps as their money could buy, and all in one man’s lifetime the North American beaver was all but extinct. Unfortunately technology did not come with a handbook, and we quickly fell out of touch with nature. As the Industrial Revolution marched on, it was more of the same only on a much larger scale.

The white man’s greed for money, disrespect for nature, and even disrespect for mankind himself, has thrown our planet into a whirlwind of troubles. In just 100 short years we have polluted the Earth’s rivers, oceans, and atmosphere to such a degree that we are now changing the climate! I’m not saying technology is a bad thing; we may be one of a few species in the universe with such skills, and I think that would make us very special, but we must learn how to use it responsibly.

We are on the verge of becoming an interplanetary species. In the next decade or two we may have a colony on Mars, and in a few centuries if we can keep it together that long, we may have the technology to become an interstellar species, setting up a colony on a planet just discovered around Alpha Centauri (the nearest star to Earth). So here’s what we can do.

We should use our common sense and get back to basics. First off, we need to teach our children to respect the Earth and all the creatures that live with us on it. Their lives and families are just as important to them as our lives and families are to us. We should consider them equal to us; it’s almost like a religion for me. Only one that makes good sense.

I believe Mother Nature is god, whether or not she’s aware of herself I don’t know, but our technology has thrown us out of balance with her. First off our planet is a finite size and can only hold so many of any one species before reaching a breaking point. We humans have passed that breaking point.

For 200,000 years the human population remained steady at a quarter-million. In 1800 it reached one billion, then in the next 200 years it exploded off the charts to a staggering eight billion people. We are putting undue stress on the ecosystem. It’s just common sense to decrease our population so we can get back to a more natural balance.

Mathematics would prove that if every couple on Earth would have just one child we could cut the population in half in less then 75 years. This would relieve an enormous amount of pressure on the ecosystem; Mother Nature could start to rebound.

We teach our children all kinds of academics at school and that’s great for technology and moving forward, but our society seems to be oblivious to teaching children common-sense things that could make everybody’s life easier. Here are a few things we can teach them:

Respect the Earth, animals, and people who share this planet with them, Nobody is fond of seeing a McDonald’s cup on the side of the road, or an old mattress floating down the Hudson. We are so backward we actually hire government workers to clean streets and beaches of litter that people leave behind. This teaches kids that it’s okay to litter! Teach your kids if it’s their garbage, it’s their responsibility.

Teach your children to respect all the animals on this planet. If you buy meat from the supermarket or hunt for your own, respect the animal’s life by not wasting any of it. If there’s some left over, save it for next time; this will save animals’ lives and money as well. This also applies to all food. Also teach your children that we share this planet with all of nature’s creatures and just because we can cause harm to them doesn’t mean we should. A good motto would be: If they’re not bothering you, you shouldn’t bother them.

If you can instill these common sense rules into your children, they may grow up to live a more organized and productive life, Perhaps they will grow up and learn that polluting the planet is not a good idea, they may realize solar power is nonpolluting, creates zero carbon imprint, and once installed the energy is free. Perhaps they will set mandates that require a vehicle to get 100 miles per gallon, or better yet phase out coal and oil altogether.

Maybe they’ll make it illegal for industrial plants to dump their litter into our rivers and oceans. Maybe they’ll find ways to reduce the human population by giving tax incentives to people who have fewer children, instead of its being the other way around. Maybe they’ll realize that people no matter what race or religion are created equal and deserve the same fair chance as anyone else. If we could get the world to join in we could live as one in a balanced ecosystem together with technology and Mother Nature.

Learn to let her be.

Thanks for listening,

JEFFREY HINES


Ineffective Recycling
East Hampton
January 30, 2020

Dear Editor,

We live in a world of constrained resources and excessive consumption; unfortunately, too many people seem to be unaware of this crisis or simply do not care, including our local governments. The Town and Village of East Hampton’s very ineffective recycling and nonexistent composting systems are disrespectful of resource constraints and demonstrate a lack of understanding, awareness, and/or concern by local elected officials as to why recycling and composting should be a priority in our communities.

We need to develop a coordinated plan for local curbside recycling and composting. This program would create less garbage while also promoting recycling and composting by making it easier for all to do. Additionally, for example, less air pollution would be generated by the excessive burning of fossil fuels caused by hundreds of individual weekly trips to the local recycling center.

I approached the Village of East Hampton board about these issues last June and the Town of East Hampton board last July and to date nothing has been done. The village seems to be struggling with the essential task of placing recycling containers on village streets where there are garbage cans and still needs to address the recycling situation at Main Beach. The town has failed to place recycling containers at their shoreline parking lots, or work to effectively and efficiently operate their recycling center.  

The earth’s constrained resources require that local elected officials take immediate action to promote the reuse of our resources. Effective recycling programs are a function of local government promotion and support, and are known to create local employment.

We in the “United States of excess” (Robert Paarlberg) need to not only recycle and compost, but to minimize our consumption. 

RANDY JOHNSTON


An Island
East Hampton
February 3, 2020

Dear Editor,

As impossible as it seems, apparently, according to last week’s letter “Aircraft Pollution,” Barry Raebeck doesn’t drive a car, heat his house, send or receive mail, never gets U.P.S. or a FedEx delivery, use electricity, has never heard of Uber, and has never left Long Island, except by sailboat or canoe.

We live on a very large island. Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Fishers Island, Block Island, Shelter Island, even Gardiner’s Island all support airports with the realization that they are, in fact, living on an island. We live in a remote part of the largest of these (the South Fork actually being an island unto itself).

It’s unfortunate that we have haters living on the East End in spite of its assets, instead of embracing them.

MATT NORKLUN


The Only Way
East Hampton
February 3, 2020

Dear David,

I write to you today as a private citizen, not representing any of the organizations with which I work, professionally or personally.

Over the last five years, in a concerted effort to bring meaningful aircraft noise reductions to affected communities, the East Hampton Town Board has been forced by an intransigent governing agency in the Federal Aviation Administration to pursue legal options in order to control its publicly owned facility. In spite of its mandate to safeguard the public on the ground below, the F.A.A. is institutionally organized to dead-end any efforts the public may pursue to protect itself from the noise, air, and water pollution caused by general aviation. Their solutions are designed not to fit the problem, particularly East Hampton’s problem; hence, the problem is never solved.

I don’t think the F.A.A. wishes to cause harm to the noise-affected, but the mechanisms available to control this noise do not fit the circumstances that exist at our airport, and the F.A.A. has indicated, in no uncertain terms, that it will not adjust its rigid requirements to fit our airport noise problem. It clearly places supporting the growth, and not the governance, of aviation at all costs. The Boeing 737 Max tragedies, in which hundreds of people lost their lives, are a perfect example of the F.A.A. neglecting its duty to public safety.

Couple that with the unrelenting pressure of big business, and one can appreciate the slow progress of this rather Sisyphean task with which the town board has been engaged. In an effort to actually solve the problem, it has become clear in the last 18 to 24 months that the only option may be something many of us in the airport noise abatement community had never embraced: closing the airport.

Local pilots and aviation interests have failed to link their futures with those residents of surrounding communities who, historically, embraced pilots’ rights to fly and enjoy aviation as a hobby and small business, but needed relief from noise impacts. That failure and the subsequent partnership with the big, national aviation interests, the real culprits in the flagrant disbursement of noise and carbon emissions impacts, have created a deeper divide.

Somehow this mirrors our national debate: What’s good for me doesn’t need to be good for my neighbor. What happened to the mind-set of the collective good?

As an airport noise abatement advocate for nearly 30 years myself, I have been subject to maligned perceptions of my position, and I have tried to politely debunk and remind those on the other side of this issue that our fates are joined. The failure of the local aviation community to recognize this may now be coming back to haunt it. As now, the town has exhausted every possible legal remedy both within the F.A.A. regulatory process, and through the legal system at large, to exert local control over this airport.

As one who had never wished the airport closed, it is with a heavy heart, I now see that the only way to control the real impacts of noise, carbon emissions, and water pollution that airport activities have created may actually be to close the facility.  The town has tried every means available to it, with little to no cooperation from the local aviation community. The main problem is numbers and concentrations of flights, which the F.A.A. will never permit the town to control. So, closure is beginning to look like the only option.

It is regrettable that the shared experience of this facility was never recognized so a compromise could be found. It’s my sincere hope that one may yet emerge, but that possibility is more and more unlikely.

What a shame.

Sincerely,

KATHLEEN CUNNINGHAM


Continued Torment
Noyac
February 3, 2020

Dear Editor

When East Hampton takes back local control of its airport in 2021, almost 600 acres of town owned-land could be opened, for the first time in decades, to benefit East Hampton residents through alternative uses of the property. Millions of dollars in annual income from the property now benefit only those with aviation interests and will, for just as long as the property now operates as an airport. Not one cent, not even from non-aviation related leases on Industrial Road, part of the property, is transferred to the town budget to relieve the annual tax burden of East Hampton residents.

Aviation industry proponents have spread misinformation about a dire future that may befall East Hampton if the town were to end East Hampton Airport operations. The truth is out-of-state charter operators would take a huge hit to their profit lines, but East Hampton residents would gain. Millions of dollars would flow to the town budget, even before transformation toward a cleaner, more profitable property is complete.

Transformation or revisioning has many income-producing possibilities: energy-producing solar and other environmentally responsible, sustainable ventures that could help fund desperately needed projects in town hamlets. Town stewardship of the land will protect our aquifer and precious drinking water. Undisturbed land could be preserved and rare native grasses, resident bird species, and the rapidly shrinking wildlife habitat could be protected from toxic aviation emissions.

Transformation would greatly reduce unsafe flights above homes, end distribution of about 900,000 gallons of aviation fossil fuels trucked in to East Hampton each year, and end minimum 38 million pounds of carbon dumped annually on Long Island by unnecessary private round trips from New York City. Ultrafine particulate matter from aviation emissions can enter the lungs and cause a variety of respiratory illnesses, including asthma, which now affects so many children. Additional studies are underway, examining the effects of aviation on human health and the environment, and there is no good news. One recent U.K. study linked ultrafines to brain cancer!

Continued aviation operations will include a future with scores of electric aircraft buzzing above us. But wealthy users won’t find religion and unload luxurious $65 million fuel-guzzling jets; there’s a waiting list for new models. Charter operators won’t trade powerful twin-engine helicopters for a cramped electric vehicle. The existing fleet will share airspace with less powerful aircraft propelled by new technology, and the intermingling of aircraft will pose greater dangers over East End homes than ever before.

After it has concluded an economic analysis on the value of the airport to East Hampton, the town has promised that the voices of all stakeholders will be heard. East End residents whose quality of life has been shattered for decades by airport operations look forward to those discussions. We look to a future in which our families, our health, and natural resources become the priorities, not continued aviation torment and pollution that profits and benefits few and devastates many. Is that too much to ask?

Thank you,

PATRICIA CURRIE


Fantasies
Plainview
January 31, 2020

To The Star:

Recent tragedies in the news have driven me to indulge in the following fantasies that could (theoretically) have spared countless innocent lives:

Eight-year-old Tommy Valva and mother of five Jennifer Dulos could both still be alive if only father Michael Valva and husband Fotis Dulos had been partners in a same-sex marriage, and both died in a murder-suicide. Or, alternatively, crashed head-on in a fatal wrong-way crash, or killed each other in a case of double road rage.

All wildfires would be immediately inundated by thunderstorms; sinkholes would open up to drain away all flood waters; volcano magma would stop earthquakes in their tracks by “gluing” the moving tectonic plates together.

Rays from the sun’s corona would travel 93 million miles (in just eight minutes) to kill every single coronavirus on earth.

RICHARD SIEGELMAN


With the Radicals
Springs
February 3, 2020

Dear Editor,

Every day we read another story that shocks the system about the horrors of the enactment of bail elimination in the flawed New York State Criminal Justice Reform Act enacted by the Democratic majority in the Legislature. The law is now widely recognized as faulty, and disastrous as a law can be and has led to the release of hardened criminals to return to victimize the communities that they return to.

Just last week in The East Hampton Star, you wrote an opinion piece, “Discretion Needed in Bail Reform.” Although you got the premise right, the law is flawed and needs to be changed [because] the rest of your article missed the boat. The realities are a radical segment of the State Legislature’s Democratic majority pushing a false narrative that racial and income disparities are the cause of incarceration is untrue.

Criminals, except for hate crimes, do not discriminate. In fact, criminals are more often [likely] to victimize those that are of the same race. Additionally, the narrative that judges used racial and income as a guide is also untrue. Judges had a simple three-point test to apply for bail eligibility: the defendant’s family ties and length of residence in the community, the weight of evidence against the defendant, and the sentence that may be imposed upon conviction.

What I believe is essential is the voters need to know where our Democratic elected officials and candidates stand. Do Democrats such as Perry Gershon and Bridget Fleming stand with the radicals in the Democratic Party that believe in letting criminals free to victimize our communities is okay?

What about our local elected Demo­crats and the East Hampton Democratic Committee where do they stand? Do they stand with the radicals in New York City and the National Democratic Party?

The East Hampton Republican Committee is the local party dedicated to working families, a living wage, environmental conservation, equality, diversity, and economic development for all. We believe in bipartisan solutions regardless of financial status or political party affiliation. Access to the government should not be based on what you can afford or how much you donate to a national or local political party. Town government should be fair, equitable, open, and transparent to all.

Come and check us out at our next monthly meeting. We will not judge, nor will we demand that you follow a national, state, or N.Y.C. political doctrine. Let us work together for a better East Hampton for all.

MANNY VILAR

Chairman

East Hampton Town

Republican Committee


Coup Is Ending
Springs
January 27, 2020

Dear David,

After the lying, made-up stories, kangaroo court was finished, the Trump lawyers took over.

I stupidly watched the Democrats make total fools out of themselves. The parroting was truly unbelievable. The lies that came out of Adam Schiff’s mouth were mind-boggling. The stupidity and hate from Nadler was so uncalled for.

President Trump’s lawyers gave you facts, evidence, and rule of law, which will take precedence over the clown impeachment. The coup is ending.

All evidence gathered under the warrants improperly needs to be quarantined. Two of the four warrants were not valid; they had no probable cause.

If there was no dossier, no Mueller fake report — this report cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Whose dossier was it? Hillary Clinton’s bought and paid for! Steele has the best lawsuit, he was used.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO


Should Be Ashamed
Montauk
January 28, 2020

Dear David,

To all G.O.P. senators:

You are grossly underestimating the intelligence of the American people. You should be ashamed, but we know you are not.

You will be well rewarded in the November election for your cowardice.

Sincerely,

BRIAN POPE


Man of 17,000 Lies
Amagansett
February 2, 2020

Dear David,

There is a very big and beautiful silver lining to the G.O.P. Senate’s absolute abandonment of our democracy by refusing to subpoena documents from the liar in chief or to hear from witnesses who can shed light on the craven treachery of the Trump crime family. It is our first impeachment trial where there are no witnesses because the jurors are terrified of the truth. Anyone with a brain cell left in their noggin knows those documents and witnesses will confirm Donald Trump betrayed the country, abused his power, extorted an ally and lied to the American people. But the G.O.P. doesn’t want to know what it’s pretending not to believe. Back in the 1850s there was an anti-immigrant (German and Irish then), anti-Catholic, and xenophobic party called the Know Nothing party. Its members were supposed to respond, “I Know Nothing” when asked about party affairs. They spread absurd conspiracy theories about a papist plot to subvert Protestant religious and political values.

Sound familiar? They’re back. Remember when O.J. was acquitted though we all knew he was guilty? As a cartoon this week with a bunch of elephants wearing blindfolds in a jury box noted: “If the blindfold fits you must acquit.” The good news: Where will they hide when the truth comes dribbling out?

Most of the 75-80 percent of Americans who wanted witnesses now know the trial was rigged. The 20 percent who wanted no witnesses are simply admitting they don’t want to know the truth. I believe only a handful of Republican senators and maybe a dozen or two congressmen really believe he’s innocent. Rubio, Alexander, and Portman essentially acknowledged his guilt while refusing to do anything about it. They know John Bolton is telling the truth, and Trump, Cipollone, Barr, Mulvaney, Pompeo, Perry, Duffey, and the rest of his crime family are lying. John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff, knows it. Bolton, regardless of whether you agree with his views, has never been excused for mendacity, unlike Trump, the man of 17,000 lies.

Trump could announce a military alliance with North Korea, a plan to build a wall across Alaska to keep Eskimos from emigrating to Russia, a friendship pact with his hero, Putin, and other dictators in Turkey and China, the abandonment of NATO and the allies we kept for 70 years who embrace freedom, and the cowards clinging to his coattails would nod approval out of their thirst for power and their fear of losing it. Remember the not too distant past when for those who had secured their freedom or quested for it saw America as a beacon. Those days are over.

His Lawyer Alan Dershowitz actually said, “If the president does something he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.” Yup, he really said it.

Only a month before Nixon resigned, his impeachment was still a long shot. Then a smoking gun tape emerged and he was doomed overnight. In the coming weeks we will have Lev Parnas’s documents and tapes, the cases before the Supreme Court to release Trump’s tax returns, which I believe will lead to the Russians and Deutsche Bank, the criminal investigations before the Southern District of New York that could ensnare Trump and his Rasputin, Giuliani, the 24 emails the Department of Justice is suppressing on the Ukraine aid freeze, and the Bolton book chronicling how Trump orchestrated the extortion of our ally to help hurt a political rival and feed his willfully blind, base lies that it was a perfect phone call and there was no quid pro quo. 

By the way, I can get you a deal on those “Read The Transcript” and “No Quid Pro Quo” T-shirts. Remember them? No one seems to wear them anymore.

There will be others who will speak including Cal Kupperman, the deputy national security advisor, hopefully some men and women of courage, and the rats scurrying for cover as the whole plot hatched by Giuliani, Barr, Pence, Pompeo, and Mulvaney (Has anyone heard from him since he admitted there was a quid pro quo? I’m concerned.) is revealed drip by drip. If a mere 10 percent of his heretofore loyal base defects, the G.O.P., now the C.O.T., Cult of Trump, will not only lose the White House but the Senate and the perfidy of this scoundrel can be exposed.

Bolton spoke of those who spoke in the House as witnesses, Alexander Vindman, Marie Yovanovitch, Fiona Hill, Tim Morrison, and Bill Taylor. It is from people of courage like these patriots that our hope resides, not in the cowards hiding behind Trump out of fear or their unadulterated thirst for power. Bolton said, “The idea that somehow testifying to what you think is true is destructive to the system of government we have, I think it is very nearly the reverse,  the exact reverse of the truth.”

So we are still saddled with a corrupt narcissist, a man who was involved in over 3,500 lawsuits before he was president, a man who lies nonstop, a man who takes the word of Putin over our own intelligence agencies, a man accused by at least 17 woman of sexual misconduct, a man whose racism stretches back to 1973 (when his firm refused to rent to black tenants), and a man who extorted an ally to get dirt on a political opponent. It feels like we’ve landed in 1984 36 years later. 

I know there are people who will never abandon him, people who have invested too much in his persona, a chimera of a constantly receding past that can never be grasped.  But the shambles of the G.O.P. political leadership now has to cower as they await the next revelation, and then the one after that, till his ship hits an iceberg. We’re up against people who don’t care about the truth —  that is what happens when you join a cult.

But I still believe there are enough G.O.P. voters who ultimately will say enough  and realize Trump has played them for fools. The battle now is joined for the future of America. Take heart: We’re going to win.

Regards,

PETER HONERKAMP


Economic Growth
East Hampton
February 2, 2020

To the Editor,

The primary concept for analyzing economic growth in developed economies, like ours, is that there are no “free lunches.” Everything we buy, we pay for — eventually — a simple, relatively clear-cut concept that tries to eliminate the scheming chicanery of our elected officials.

In 2011 the Republican majority tried to pass a balance budget amendment that would require the federal government to spend no more than what it takes in in tax revenue (excluding debt service). They campaigned on the “no free lunch” mantra with the purpose of getting our burgeoning deficit under control.

Even though the amendment didn’t pass, the Republican Congress restricted the Obama government from making substantial investments in areas that would stimulate the economy. Despite these efforts the economy grew between 2 and 3 percent annually and unemployment steadily declined.

Trump inherited an economy that was plodding along and moving in a positive direction. Presidents as a rule are stewards of the economy and are never personally directing day-to-day decisions. Trump, based on a fabricated evaluation of his business acumen and success, believed otherwise. His achievements of the last three years in real terms are mediocre.

The stock market has clearly exploded. However, 12 percent of the population reaps 80 percent of the benefits and most of the country gets zippo. It’s a false sense of well-being, like not taxing the wealthy because one aspires to be wealthy someday. Furthermore, investment has dropped to a negative number reflecting a lack of confidence in the rest of the economy.

Unemployment has continued to decline in line with the previous administration. A good sign if wages go up.

Wages have increased in the last year by 2 percent. The increase is severely mitigated by the increases in health care costs and state and local taxes. I.e., if you earned $80,000 per year and paid $8,000 for health care the 20 percent rise in the cost of health care over the past three years would wipe out the gain. In truth, more than 75 percent of workers showed income loss since 2017.

The deficit will increase by more than $3.5 trillion by the end of 2020. Instigated by the president and supported by the same group that wanted a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Growing the economy. If the economy grows, 2.3 percent this year, on the basis of increased debt, it is being bought but not paid for. Illusory growth is a great talking point until we have to pay the piper.

While the mediocre economic growth is not a problem, the level of chaos and uncertainty and short-term thinking has had a destabilizing effect. Even the new NAFTA was nothing but a giveaway to corporations until the new Congress forced Trump to include labor issues that were the main reason to renegotiate the treaty.

Virtually nothing was done to redress the wealth and income inequality issue, which was why Trump was elected. Infrastructure investment is almost non-existent and investment in public education is even lower.

Our economy has continued to shift toward greater wealth for the top 10 percent and modest if any gains for the rest of the country. While Trump was consistently engaged his engagement reflected a scheming short-term businessman’s approach to complex long-term problems. Bankruptcy is not an option. Someone should tell him.

NEIL HAUSIG


Souvenirs
New York City
January 24, 2020

To the Editor,

Several of our many cherished historical signing-pen ceremonies, presidents have been using pens and handing them to people that helped push bills through. Probably the most famous one is when L.B.J. signed the Civil Rights Act. He used multiple pens when he signed that.

Professors giving college pens for notable lifetime achievements as portrayed in “A beautiful Mind.”

President Obama sat down to sign the health care bill into law He warned, “This will take a little while,” because the president used 22 pens to affix his signature to that one document. The president than began handing out those pens as souvenirs.

“Desecration is an act of depriving something of scared character or the disrespectful contemptuous or destructive treatment of that which is held to be scared or holy by a group or individual.” Desecration is exactly what Nancy Pelosi and gang effected, achieved.

On Jan. 15 at the Capitol in a joyous, ceremonious, pen-signing celebration, bordering on pagan rituals, Nancy bearing one of her typical grins, picked up pens lined up beside her and used [one] to sign a bit of her name on the impeachment articles of an American president then gratifyingly, personally handed each signing pen to the assembled Chairman and House Managers who will prosecute the case in the Senate. Repellent. Repulsive.

EDWARD A WAGSCHAL


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