December 28, 2020
Just before Christmas we lost a most treasured asset of East Hampton, and the worlds of art, landscape, and life itself. Jack Lenor Larsen, the founder of LongHouse Reserve, and a world-renowned textile designer and educator, passed at the age of 93, leaving us all his fabulous gift of the LongHouse gardens, to live on and to enjoy in perpetuity.
Sadly, Jack could not experience his final year sharing his home and gardens with the customary large gatherings and the usual summer benefit at LongHouse due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have all suffered from the stresses of Covid, but LongHouse made every effort to accommodate small groups this summer to share the peace, quiet, and nature’s beauty as a healing opportunity for any of us who wished.
This is the very time in the history of mankind that one notices the rare opportunities we have for respite and repair. Jack was so prescient to have dedicated his life work to something like this that we can all benefit from.
Bravo, Jack, and thank you. We now must carry on and support your work into the future.
Music Lived On
December 23, 2020
Needless to say the pandemic has been unbelievably hard for all of us. Everyone who works with me at the Talkhouse took a catastrophic hit. We just want to thank everyone who helped us out.
I especially want to thank Nancy Atlas. At a time when our collective morale was at ebb tide she put together a series of concerts that the folks who support the bar and the artists who helped define it could watch at home. It raised dough for us and for all the local musicians who are, lamentably, out of work. Thanks to Nancy and her crew, especially Johnny Blood, the music lived on. Thanks again to all. We shall return!
All our love,
January 2, 2021
To the Editor,
Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. A most gorgeous gift for a winter’s day — the bluest sky, the mildest breezes. Coming south on Egypt Lane, there appeared in the sky over the water a small plane, soundlessly towing a banner, “Happy New Year.” Strange, but uplifting, for the beaches were deserted. A little farther on, the apparition resolved itself! A flock (gaggle?) of geese flying in amazing formation! What immortal hand or eye had created such a wonderful formation! Of course it was the purest of pure fantasies. But for the remains of the day I traveled on in my own sweet fantasy.
PHILIP D. FREEDMAN
January 4, 2020
I found Bess Rattray’s recent “Shipwreck Rose” column both amusing and poignant. She writes about her discovery over recent months that her favorite places for solitude in nature have been themselves discovered, as more and more people have come to live here and outdoor activities have become the only safe ones. Many readers will have shared her experience.
The column also confesses to the spurious sense of ownership that our secret spots — woods, hidden coves, remote headlands — can invoke. Perhaps each of us feels, somewhere, that our favorite places belong just to us, so we inwardly snarl at any “intruders”? As Ms. Rattray notes, there is the tendency to base this entitlement on the length of our residence here on the East End. We’ve been here for two years, not one. Three centuries, not two. Six millenniums, not three and a half centuries. This attitude — as Ms. Rattray well knows — is both crazy and dangerous. Recent nasty trends in American culture make this clear.
I am writing in the hope that someone can identify a very apropos passage written long ago by Ms. Rattray’s own grandmother, the former editor-publisher of The East Hampton Star, Jeannette Edwards Rattray. I wish I could find it, but I can’t. So I am counting on someone at The Star or at the library or historical society to be able to locate it. (It could have been in a column? A book?)
That passage might even have been a mere aside. But to me — an immigrant with a foreign accent — it was central to my life in this community. The older Ms. Rattray was discussing the difference between people who had recently settled in East Hampton “from away” as opposed to those who came from families who had been here for a long time. She said that there wasn’t one. The clear difference was between people who exploited and despoiled the essential nature of this place and those who protected and enhanced it. These activities, she wrote, were equally distributed amongst old and new inhabitants.
I moved here just in time to see how right she was. In the period from the 1960s through the 1990s many of the wild places in which we are now free to wander were acquired, protected from development, and set aside for careful public use. Some were purchased by the state, some by the county, by the Nature Conservancy, and some even by East Hampton Town. None of this happened by itself. It came about through long and enormous efforts: decades of meetings sat through, letters written, speeches made — by raggedy groups of passionate residents, many with no qualifications other than their love of this place.
Some of the people involved were part of the ancient fishing community and felt the landscape, birds, and fishes in their bones. (Let us remember, for instance, Cathy Lester.) Some had recently arrived and saw with fresh eyes the extraordinary beauty and uniqueness of this end of Long Island (thank you, Judith Hope from Arkansas). Some were natural scientists (both from here and from away) who realized the deep significance to all beings of what needed to be saved.
Hope and Lester both rose through local politics to be wonderfully effective East Hampton Town supervisors. Others grouped together in living rooms and church basements to form what became powerful advocacy groups for particular places: Sag Harbor’s Conservation and Planning Alliance, the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, the Northwest Alliance and other groups besides. I joined some and covered the activities of others as a journalist. I don’t remember anyone questioning anyone’s place of origin. There was too much to do. And remarkably it got done. The great parks and preserves that surround us are here today.
So we should keep in mind the potential silver lining to crowded nature trails. Much work is still needed to keep these treasured places viable. Trails must be re-blazed and stayed on, invasive plants removed, vehicles kept strictly to where they can go without damage. More land could and should be preserved, especially along shorelines. Thanks to the community preservation funds, money is there. But it must be wisely spent, and local laws protecting all natural ecosystems from overbuilding must be enforced.
None of this will happen unless — again — residents old and new jump in and work for it. They can attend town meetings (even if by Zoom), join the various “concerned citizens of” and “alliances for.” They can create new and inventive groups and ways of working. We can’t see the faces of the people we now encounter in our once “secret” places, because they are masked. But we can hope that their hearts will be moved to action by the wonder of where they are.
Call on Your Angels
January 3, 2021
Happy New Year! May we have properly rung in good will and change in a big way. And not just the coins I threw inside the front door at midnight. May the money Pelosi urged Congress and Mitch the Devil and the outgoing if it must be “by his hair” president, to sign into being, get to the people who need it most.
May that happen all year, to salvage people’s dignity, feed families in need, and help dying small shop and restaurant owners in our town and Everywhere, U.S.A., to not close their doors, forever. It is, after all, what our democracy was built on, besides the embarrassing stuff the patriarchy perpetuated. Say that five times fast. May we fix that finally, by shutting down the noisy nutters who hold on to ludicrous conspiracy tales. May we all start behaving like we have brains not Q flakes in our breakfast bowl. Acai bowls are so much better, and berries improve brain function. Just saying. I’m introducing my own start-up, self-funded and by word of mouth, no inter-webbing. I’m calling it TREEL for truth, reality, ecology, education, literature.
If you’re going to spray-paint a door, you ought to know how to distinguish between “were” and “we’re” by the time you can hold a can of spray paint. And if you’re going to let inept feds put dirt bags on the beach and pollute our aquifers with sand mines, you need waking up or a good slap in the back of the head. Sorry, that was my violent DNA coming through. Good thing I go to therapy.
May we all have access to education this year and find that learning to read, learning anything new, can be fun, and finding value in human conversation is fulfilling.
May we leave the smart phones out of the bedroom and at the dinner table. May we discover that real people and relationships are so much cozier than porn and video games. Really, I promise.
May we bring back manners and love. May we understand that just because the new superhero is a woman and kicking villainous ass, we haven’t arrived yet. We don’t want to be boys; we want to do whatever we want, too, without your comments and critique. We don’t need a lot of pork; we love eggplant and arugula. We can even grow it.
May all moms and hands-on dads be appreciated this year. I appreciate mine, who ran her home like a top, and now remains on lockdown in her assisted living residence. Our only upside is Mom’s safety and health. But I miss her, terribly.
May this Covid plague go away and we get to hug our loved ones again. May we all follow the precautions so we can all benefit. May we understand that our rights are connected to the next person’s — we are not solitary cave dwellers — though sometimes the She Cave seems idyllic when other people aggravate us, right?
May we accept the limitations of others and, “If God (Goddess) can’t turn their hearts, may she turn their ankle.” My mom taught me that one, passed on by her mom.
May we find the humor in life while we cry buckets of tears at the injustice and unfairness others face every day. May women be listened to the first time so we don’t have to shout the second and third times or die trying.
May we call it like we see it without the tinted shades. May we not return to the normal we thought best. May we discover a middle way, that field Rumi talks about meeting up at — let’s go there.
A little more Chauncey Gardener and a lot less Putin. Drink the vodka, flush the bullshit borscht.
Call on your angels. We all lost people we cared about this past year of hell. We need all the help we can get. Call them out loud. May we not descend any further into the cesspool. The lizard king you imagined is dead. Long live the mourning dove of light. Be a poet, not a fool, so when your computer crashes you have a way to communicate and heal your ravaged soul. May we all find bliss in simple things, a sunset, a clean flowing body of water, a cup of soup, a warm fire, and a good night’s sleep. May peace of mind not elude you. And may your “isms” disappear like the lost socks of time.
December 31, 2020
To the Editor,
Regardless of her heritage, whether factual or imagined, being inches away from Hilaria Thomas in Waldbaum’s/Stop and Shop, or a few feet away from her in church, notwithstanding her burly esposo, I can assure you, in any language, she is muy bonita.
A rose by any other name would be just as beautiful. And she is.
January 2, 2020
With the Year of Covid barely behind us, we look forward to the New Year and the customary resolutions: reduce personal weight, reduce time on social media, and reduce consumption of animal foods.
Yes, that. Nearly 40 percent of Americans are already eating more plant-based foods. Hundreds of school, college, and corporate cafeterias have embraced Meatless Monday. Even fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Chipotle, Denny’s, Dunkin’, Starbucks, Subway, Taco Bell, and White Castle offer plant-based options.
Dozens of start-ups, led by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are producing plant-based meats, milks, cheeses, and ice creams. Every ice cream manufacturer boasts nut-based flavors. Even meat industry giants Tyson Foods, Perdue, Hormel, and Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods have rolled out their own plant-based meat products.
The reasons for the skyrocketing popularity of plant-based meat and milk products are compelling: They are more convenient, healthier, more eco-friendly, and more compassionate than their animal-based counterparts.
The resolution to explore plant-based foods requires no sweat or deprivation — just some fun visits to our favorite supermarket and food websites.
January 4, 2020
I sent an email message to the East Hampton Town Board several weeks ago about 2021. This is the year that the Federal Aviation Administration is surrendering the dictatorial powers it holds over the use and future of the East Hampton Airport. I was curious about what plans the board was anticipating for KHTO’s future and its impact on the environment and disruption to large segments of Long Island residents. I never received a reply or an acknowledgement of the problem.
My wife and I are residents of Sagaponack Village. We have been residents here for more than 35 years. We were unaware of the East Hampton Airport until years after first arriving. But year by year the airport’s increased noise has been a rude reminder of its existence. This is not news to the town board. We, our neighbors, and legions of inhabitants of the East End of Long Island (even of Queens, N.Y.) have lodged complaints about the negative impact of the airport on the environment and its disruption to the quiet enjoyment of our homes.
We expected some respite from noise this fall, but now suffer increased air activity all days of the week. The pandemic is increasing traffic at the airport with new “winged immigrants” from New York City. There are now TV ads for commuter air service to and from New York City! How many more helicopter, seaplane, jet take-offs, landings, touch-and-go’s per day will become too much for the town board to ignore? When will a town’s awareness of the negative impact of KHTO compel addressing the malfeasance of previous town officials who enabled the F.A.A. to impose restrictions of local control in exchange for funding improvements to the airport?
On Dec. 6, Newsday had an article about the airport presenting “all sides” of the subject. “All sides” has been the excuse for no action for decades! I think it is time for the town board to start an open discussion about the future of the airport in light of the burden it imposes on residents of the East End and westward. And, it is time to allow local residents to take control of their environment, excluding “foreign” money, aviation entrepreneurs, and lawyers who are now dictating policy adversely affecting us.
December 29, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I fear that a “soft solution” for Montauk — dredging sand from offshore and depositing it along the coast to insulate coastal properties from climate change-induced flooding and sea level rise is going to be a more temporary solution than officials and the community are counting on. Montauk has already seen a sea level rise of four inches from 2000 to 2019.
In Montauk, a planned move from the coastline is going to be necessary sooner rather than later. But in the big picture, we’re going to have to ramp up the use of renewable energy to stop fossil fuel-burning from allowing the greenhouse gases to proliferate that are heating our planet.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has set a goal of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind power for Long Island. Let’s welcome it. Meanwhile, the new Office of Renewable Energy Siting, ORES, is speeding renewable projects all over the state.
To quote this very paper from Jan. 24, 2019, “Unless far greater action is taken, children born today on Long Island will experience a massive remaking of the landscape from more than two feet of sea level rise by their old age. They will curse our memory if we do not press for everything possible to slow the pace of our rapidly warming planet.”
January 3, 2021
The hare-brained idea of incorporating Wainscott as a separate municipality boils down to a desperate ploy to delay or defeat the South Fork Wind Farm. Financed by an overentitled group of billionaires, widely suspected to be tied to fossil fuel interests, their claims to support renewable energy are a hoax, as is their claim to reduce air traffic noise. The airport belongs to the town, so incorporation would have no real effect.
There is one effect Wainscott incorporation would assuredly have: It would substantially raise taxes for Wainscott residents. Those bankrolling the well-financed incorporation drive would hardly notice, but for the majority of Wainscott residents the tax bills would be a serious burden.
When/if it comes to a vote, every sensible Wainscott resident should turn out to turn it down.
ALICE TEPPER MARLIN
January 4, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Last week the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott submitted to the Town of East Hampton a petition to incorporate the hamlet I live in. And many members of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee have signed this petition. I was a member of the W.C.A.C. for over two years and to see the signatures of my former colleagues on this document disappoints me profoundly; it makes me weep for my children.
There is only one reason for this incorporation maneuver: to stop offshore wind, to stop a cable from being buried under the road. That’s it. Think about that for a moment. C.P.W. is attempting to incorporate our hamlet because they want to stop a cable from being buried under the road.
C.P.W. claims that they “strongly believe in alternative energy sources, including wind and solar.” Why, then, is C.P.W. doing this?
The process for reviewing the entire offshore wind project has been the most exhaustive, deliberate, and comprehensive that I have ever witnessed. Five New York State agencies have already endorsed the Joint Proposal, which was a 10-month-long process. And there is even more for the state to review.
I remain perplexed by C.P.W. Without question, we are in a climate crisis — a five-alarm fire — but the obstruction to put the fire out is tremendous. Why do I support a buried cable in Wainscott? Because I am concerned about my children’s future. My kids will most certainly be alive to celebrate the tricentennial of this country in 2076. What will their future be like if the warming ocean temperature increases at its current rate?
The members of the W.C.A.C. are also my neighbors. Whenever I see them, I stop and say hello and chat about everything and anything. We agree on 98 percent of the issues that affect Wainscott. But not incorporation.
Stop the Shenanigans
January 3, 2021
I write this in my private capacity, and not as a representative of the town or the town planning board, which I chair.
On Dec. 30, the eve of a four-day weekend, the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott filed a petition that seeks to convert the hamlet of Wainscott into an incorporated village, thus triggering the very short deadlines leading to an election, as required by New York State Village Law.
After 350 years, Wainscott’s status as a vital and valued hamlet within East Hampton could end by early spring. Yet this is not fast enough for C.P.W., which has issued a press release urging “Supervisor Van Scoyoc to call the election as soon as possible.”
C.P.W.’s hubris is exceeded only by its disingenuousness. Having effectively shaved four days from the limited time which Village Law gives the voters of Wainscott to consider the myriad issues presented by its petition, C.P.W. seeks to shorten that time even further. Worse yet, C.P.W. seeks to rush the process in the midst of a pandemic. The imposition of a village upon the residents, taxpayers, and property owners of Wainscott deserves more discussion than the present circumstances afford. Leaving aside that the petition was filed in winter, which is not a particularly inviting time to have a lengthy conversation with one’s neighbors at the post office, this is not a conversation which can be easily had while social-distancing. During a pandemic, one cannot simply drop in on one’s neighbors and attempt to sort the truth from the lies about incorporation over a cup of coffee.
Instead, the voters of Wainscott are left with the glossy brochures, fatuous PowerPoint presentations, and invalid comparisons to Sagaponack that form the basis of the consultant’s reports within which C.P.W.’s wealthy benefactors seek to frame this vital debate. C.P.W. is attempting to impose a permanent change on Wainscott without the fulsome debate or meaningful discussion which it deserves, as is the intention of Village Law.
As I see it, there is absolutely no legitimate reason to incorporate Wainscott. Of what value is incorporation if, as C.P.W.’s press release admits: “[T]he new village would oversee a limited set of functions with a small staff. All other services (e.g., police, pire, environmental, tax assessment, highways, airport management) would continue to be provided by the Town of East Hampton through common inter-municipal agreements”? Why should the taxpayers of Wainscott bear the burden of this new layer of government when all the services which the village intends to rent are already provided, and provided quite well, by the town? It is quite clear that the only real goal of the proponents of incorporation is to attempt to prevent the cable landing at Beach Lane, and there is no certainty that a village of Wainscott could successfully do that.
If the motivations of incorporation’s proponents are genuine, they would stop the shenanigans (as evidenced by the slippery timing of the petition’s filing) and give all the voters in Wainscott the opportunity to participate in the conversation which Village Law plainly intends. Before long, the pandemic will be in our past and a proper debate can then be joined. The petition should be withdrawn, for now. After 350 years as a hamlet, the incorporation of Wainscott can surely wait a few months.
Very truly yours
January 4, 2020
In the summer they collected petitions to “Save the Beach” from the horrible wind turbines they said would be installed in the ocean just off Beach Lane.
When they realized that was not true, they collected petitions to incorporate part of Wainscott as a village to prevent the cable from being buried under the roads.
When they realized they had not followed New York State rules on incorporating a village, they had to throw out those signed petitions.
They then promoted a campaign to stop the wind farm in order to save right whales, but that failed miserably when they couldn’t tell a right whale from a distinctive humpback whale.
Next, they again are pushing incorporation of part of Wainscott as a village to prevent the cable, which will be buried underground, from coming ashore at Beach Lane.
They claim many benefits of incorporation: control of the airport (not true), local government run by volunteers (good luck), no cable coming ashore on Beach Lane (don’t think so), lower speed limits, and only a small increase in taxes (doubtful), which new village residents will pay in addition to their taxes to East Hampton Town.
How can anything they say or do be believed? This is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.
Oh, by the way, they claim to be in favor of renewable energy, wind, and solar. Really?
JEREMIAH T. MULLIGAN
December 29, 2020
Five years ago, when Timothy Sini was police commissioner, he told the Gilgo Beach serial killer murder victims’ families “We are doing everything we can to solve these murders.” It was a lie then, and it’s still a lie now — belied by the very belated release of “HM/WH” leather belt photos withheld from the public until this past January (only one photo, and this month two more). I can’t help wondering if they also have 2011 video of the serial killer walking around wearing this same belt —that they’ve inexplicably held secret for almost a decade? Sounds ridiculous but doesn’t that word fit this incompetent, decade-long “investigation”?
How dumb (and hypocritical) are/were current and former Suffolk County Police Commissioners Geraldine Hart, Timothy Sini, Edward Webber, and Richard Dormer to have kept news and pictures of the “HM/WH” belt —this “significant piece of evidence” (Hart’s words, not mine) — that the Gilgo Beach serial killer probably wore (and presumably at least touched) secret from the public for nine long years. Haven’t all four of them repeatedly told the public, “If you see something, say something”?
How could they not have acted according to its corollary, “If you see something, show something”?
Had Dormer displayed this belt to the public nine years ago, someone who had seen the mass murderer wearing it could possibly have identified him to the police so he could have been arrested, tried, and convicted way back then. By now, he’s probably long gone from Suffolk County, Long Island, New York State, the United States — or even from life.
These bungling Suffolk County “Keystone Cops” should all lose/have lost their jobs and/or their pensions for their ignorance, incompetence, and dereliction of duty.
December 28, 2020
As we all stand at the threshold of 2021 reeling from an extremely difficult year (and three others before), we look forward with hope to the repair of our country and the world.
There’s no question that overcoming the pandemic and confronting climate change, the economy, racism, and extremism are at the top of a long list (Poor Biden!). But there is another deep core issue that has troubled humanity for as long as it has existed and actually created Donald Trump.
Donald Trump was not an alien from a galaxy far, far away or a creature from the depths of the Black Lagoon. No, he came from Queens. He had a nice house and a family. His history tells a powerful story. Many children today are growing up in families feeling unloved. At an extreme, like Donald, they go out into the world craving affection and act out destructively by hurting themselves and others.
Prior to the pandemic, I was called to a private school to speak to the sixth graders because many were depressed and even talking about suicide. The rash of school violence, suicides, cutting, and drug addictions in recent years reflect that something is seriously wrong in the lives of children that must urgently be addressed.
As a parenting expert, and a child and family therapist I have found that the basic underlying problem is that well-meaning parents often do not understand their children’s emotions or challenging behaviors, and lack the knowledge of effective communication skills to handle problems positively. (After all we are not born with these skills.)
If a 3-year-old child kicks his mom when she’s breastfeeding the baby, or a 6-year-old swipes a candy bar from the shelf at the deli, parents get frightened, label the child as “bad,” or make a parental leap, “He’s going to be a delinquent.” Using negative labels and punishments, they unknowingly harm the child’s self-esteem. Before you know it, the child doesn’t feel so lovable and may become depressed or act out his rage and hunger for love destructively.
I have spent years explaining children’s behavior to their parents in counseling, in my books, and blogs. I have found that children’s behavior is often caused by natural developmental issues. When a 7-month-old keeps grabbing handfuls of dirt from a planter even though you say no, he is just being curious. If a 10-year-old lingers in the playground after school and breaks his curfew he is just a child asserting his independence. It doesn’t mean that the parents shouldn’t intervene to stop the behavior. But parents must gain tools to respond positively and protect their children’s self-esteem.
In the New Year I want to put parenting education on the list for Biden. (Sorry to add to your job, Mr. Biden.)
Parents need to learn about why their children are behaving the way they are: what’s related to natural development and what’s related to family relationships or problems, and how to handle challenging situations positively. We must find ways to make sure that children are getting the love and emotional support they need. Parenting courses and seminars should spring up across the country in every community. If children grow up feeling loved there will be no more Donald Trumps, and we will be fixing the world one child at a time.
January 2, 2021
Our purported representative in Congress, Lee Zeldin, was one of the members of the House supporting the case filed in the Supreme Court by the attorney general of Texas that would have voided the votes of millions of voters. That case was rejected by the Supreme Court.
It was followed by a case filed by Representative Louis Gohmert (R., Texas) that would similarly void millions of votes in favor of the discretion of Vice President Pence, who could thereby rule unilaterally on his own election, as well as that of the president. This is the definition of autocracy rather than democracy.
As it should have been, the case was dismissed by a federal judge in Texas (who had been appointed by President Trump) and affirmed shortly thereafter by a panel of Republican appellate judges (including yet another Trump appointee).
The case was an assault on democracy itself, as are the other election cases Trump and his allies have brought. The fundamental premise of the suits is that there were too many votes for Joe Biden for president, so there must have been “fraud.” None of the cases were supported by any facts and none succeeded, thankfully.
A few days ago Mr. Trump tried to bully the Georgia secretary of state into “finding” him enough votes to overturn the results in Georgia. He was rebuffed, just as he has been rebuffed by other Republican officials in other states who put their duty to country over party loyalty or personal loyalty to Trump, as well as by judges unwilling to disenfranchise voters. Thank goodness for these people who have shown respect for the law and the Constitution, rejecting unsupported and astonishing allegations that amounted to fairy tales. Unfortunately for us, Mr. Zeldin is not among those with such principles.
Fundamentally, if there was fraud, why did down-ballot Republicans do so well? The down-ballot candidates also include some in New York, including Mr. Zeldin, who won his race for another two years in the House. It is, of course, too late to challenge his 2020 re-election, but not too early to keep a close watch on this man, who is willing to stand publicly with those who would disenfranchise voters, and who is not smart enough to understand that he has been grifted by the Grifter-in-Chief. We deserve better.
January 4, 2021
To the Editor,
O.J. was innocent. You can keep your insurance. ISIS is J.V. Adam Schiff has the proof of Russian collusion.
Dementia-riddled Joe Biden received more votes than any other presidential candidate in American history, including Obama, with no campaign rallies other than an occasional, half-filled used parking lot.
Sure, and Richard Blumenthal served in Vietnam.
God help us.
Flood of Lies
January 4, 2021
To the Editor,
Facts still matter. That’s why Donald Trump and his minions try so hard to obscure them in a flood of lies and conspiracy theories. But the facts remain — Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election by more than seven million votes, and two months later Donald Trump still can’t face losing. After weeks of relentless, baseless attacks on the legitimacy of the election, Trump called the Georgia secretary of state, demanding that the election official “recalculate” and “find” him votes, and threatened criminal charges when his demand was rebuffed.
There are no two sides to this story; there is no middle ground. You are either on the side of democracy, or you’re on the side of a desperate mob boss president who is willing to do whatever it takes to stay in power. Lee Zeldin has made very clear which side he is on. It is shameful that he represents C.D. 1.
January 2, 2021
During the French Revolution a future victim of Madame Guillotine predicted that the revolution would devour its own children. It appears that Donald Trump, in his last gasps as president, is doing the same thing to the leadership of the Republican Party. I certainly do not feel sorry for these sycophantic and obsequious sheep who rubber-stamped Trump’s assaults on democracy, his collusion with our enemies, and the thousands of lies that he told to the American public. Two of his lies have resulted in the deaths of 350,000 Americans. Lie number one: Covid-19 is a Democratic hoax. Lie number two: Wearing a mask does not impact the spread of the virus.
Trump’s sole focus on overturning the presidential election results could easily split the Republican Party into two factions: those who will do whatever Trump desires and those who will acknowledge that the election was fair. It will be interesting to see how much weight Trump’s threats of mounting primaries against his new Republican enemies will have.
Happy new year! (It has to be better than 2020.)
Built to Fail
January 4, 2021
The Lawrence Wright New Yorker article this week on the pandemic provides the extraordinary history and details of Covid-19 and allows everyone to understand exactly what happened during the past year. What is missing from the piece is the assertion that the Trump administration, despite all the wealth and power of our country, was never going to solve the problem — 350,000 deaths are on his hands and he doesn’t, nor ever, felt a thing.
Perhaps the least understood piece of the Trump-Bannon administration is that it was built to fail, structurally flawed and incapacitated by design like a one-legged soccer player. Cleansing the swamp really meant deconstructing the political system and the government. Deconstructing is really easy compared to building a system. A 50-story building that takes four years to build can be demolished in a day. What this administration did was tear apart and hollow out the government. Agency by agency they shredded its capacity to deal with the nuts and bolts of running a country of 330 million people.
Deconstruction didn’t require the daily drudgework of providing services and making things happen. It was about decrees and language and lots of bullshit. So when Covid-19 hit, we were structurally incapable, from a DNA perspective, of dealing with the problem. Viruses don’t respond to bullshit.
Trump correctly identified the virus as a war, which used to mean marshaling all of the nation’s resources to deal with the problem. Except, today, war is not defined by soldiers and their actions but by drones and technological weapons. In today’s wars we kill from 2,000 miles away and never get splattered with blood or see the dead bodies in the streets. War to Trump-Bannon meant creating a vaccine while everyone fended for themselves.
What Covid-19 required, demanded, was the creation of a nationwide program to defend the country, the construction of a system to limit and control the virus utilizing all of the available tools in our arsenal. But Trump-Bannon had only constructed a few hundred miles of a border wall that was mostly reconstructing what existed in its first three years and had no interest or ability to build this defense system. Going to war meant shooting drones, not sending in the troops.
In our Trump-Bannon-style war on Covid-19 we only test and give the vaccine from 9 to 4, Monday to Friday — it’s called a bankers’ war. If it were up to them, the hospitals would probably close for the weekends. With less than three million people vaccinated in December, that leaves 327 million unvaccinated. Warp Speed has turned in to warped brain or, “I don’t really give a shit.”
In the same vein, the 150 white, mostly male, Republican politicians who are protesting Biden’s election are in the deconstruction mode. These intellectually and emotionally challenged white men believe that they are privy to information that no one else has access to. Tearing apart the electoral system is adhering to the Trump-Bannon mantra. More than 60 legal briefs were thrown out of court. If they had real evidence they’d bring it forward.
Or the telephone call from Trump asking the Georgia election officials to find 11,780 votes so that he can win the state. Flat-out sedition or is it treason? Impeachable.
So, we return to Trump-Bannon and realize that the mess they created was the design flaw in their system. Aiding and abetting Trump-Bannon is a descent into the depths of our political repugnancy. We are happily devoid of any moral compass. Devoid of any self-esteem and proud to be the official Scumbag Party of the U.S.A. So what if we lose 365,000 people? So what if we resort to treason and sedition to bring the system down? A small price to pay for fealty to the Pig.