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Letters to the Editor for March 17, 2022

Thu, 03/17/2022 - 05:29

Worthy of Preservation
March 13, 2022

Dear Sir:

I read with interest the recent coverage in your paper of proposed renovations to Guild Hall. The Star took a very measured tone, delivered the facts, and laid out for all of us to see a vision of progress and sensitive and timely transformation for one of the most beloved and relevant institutions in the Village.

Anything that celebrates Guild Hall ought to be good news. Unfortunately, buried among the sensitively restored loggias and white galleries was a bombshell: a rendering showing that the auditorium is to be reimagined as a contemporary performance space. This completely ignores the architectural significance of what might fairly be described as the Secret Living Room of East Hampton.

I once overheard the great architect Rafael Moneo say to one of his students: “It’s not so much that your project is bad, as that it’s wrong.” This comes to mind here. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make an up-to-date-theater in East Hampton, but to view this auditorium as in play, a blank canvas for “world-classery,” is in my opinion either a misperception or miscategorization.

The room, with its tented ceiling and period quirks, is a significant work by Aymar Embury II, architect of the Triborough Bridge and Central Park Children’s Zoo. It also, like the recently lost lobby of the McGraw-Hill building in New York City, achieves a holistic connection with the outside. Like the recently saved Russell Page Garden of the Frick Collection, I would suggest that it is as worthy of preservation as any other part of the complex.

It’s no secret we have a problem in East Hampton with the lack of any meaningful legislation to preserve our architectural heritage. Money, as usual, is the culprit and this is mainly a market-driven residential issue. On Main Street, however, we are presented with a cheaper and easier opportunity to help us define what constitutes important architecture than on West End Road. It costs nothing just to take a second look.

Yours sincerely,



What Remains?
March 13, 2022

Dear David,

As a Guild Hall trustee and Academy of the Arts president, Eric Fischl is understandably supportive of the proposed renovations, but his argument is based on classic apples-to-oranges comparisons.

The Sag Harbor Cinema’s brilliant rebirth is the result of a disastrous fire that gutted the building. Mercifully, that’s not the case with the John Drew Theater. Previous owners had already stripped the Church, which Eric and April have rejuvenated so beautifully. Guild Hall is not advocating the kind of adaptive re-use that has made the Church such a great cultural asset.

There’s also a misconception about the galleries. Demolishing the fireplaces, as shown on the published rendering, is hardly a return to original shapes and proportions. Getting rid of the dropped ceilings and the box office indentation in the Moran Gallery would do that, but ripping out all the architectural detailing wouldn’t. I’m not recommending uncovering the fireplaces or a return to knotty pine walls with chair rails, interior shutters on the front windows, and checkerboard asphalt tile floors — original features long since removed — but why completely neuter what remains?

Eric and I agree that the arts play an essential role in our community’s vitality and the well-being of its people. I only take issue with the way Guild Hall is proposing to continue pursuing that mission.



Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw director

Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center


Turmoil at Longhouse
East Hampton
March 7, 2022

To the Editor:

The turmoil and disintegration seem to be continuing at LongHouse. I begin to fear for the future of this unique adornment to our community. My friend Wendy Van Deusen has just announced her resignation after serving more than 20 years as a linchpin of the organization. Without her, I don’t know how anyone will manage or even find their way around the precious, world-class craft collection and other important material.

To my knowledge, the sad story started last Labor Day weekend with the sudden, inexplicable firing by the trustees of LongHouse’s longtime executive director, Matko Tomicic, who served as the right hand of LongHouse founder Jack Lenor Larsen for 26 years. Then came serious concerns about possible trustee misconduct in connection with the disposition of Larsen’s estate, in which millions of dollars, long designated for LongHouse, were somehow taken away from LongHouse and reassigned to Peter Olsen, one of the trustees, allegedly with the assistance of other trustees.

Outraged reaction to these events was expressed in letters to The Star by many LongHouse members, volunteers, and supporters. Donors have filed a complaint with the New York State attorney general and have demanded the resignation of the board. Artists protested in a full-page ad and have removed iconic sculptures from the gardens.

In the face of all of this, the trustees have done nothing to address the community’s concerns. Quite the opposite. They quietly re-elected themselves in early February and are proceeding through the winter in semi-hibernation, as if the storm around them will disappear. Instead, it is getting bigger.

I don’t know when the New York attorney general will make a move, but, in my view, the situation calls for speedy action. Under these circumstances, I believe that The Star has an obligation to follow up on this story and do what it can to uncover the facts and report them to the community.




Bob Hettiger
East Hampton
March 13, 2022

To the Editor,

I would like to say a few words about my friend Bob Hettiger, who recently passed away. I’d known Bob for about 40 years. We weren’t what you would call close friends, but we had a common bond and respect as artists and friends.

Bob was an accomplished artist, combat artist in Vietnam, and a wildlife and landscape artist. Last time I saw him was late September. He was living with his friend Eve in her house on Fireplace Road, on property that went all the way to Accabonac Harbor with beautiful panoramic views. There was a small, finished outbuilding where Eve and Bob had hung a couple of dozen of his paintings, and a bunch of people, mostly Eve’s friends, were invited to a party to view his work. I’m glad I got to see it.

We got to talking and eventually he told me about his illness, but I had never seen him happier or more at peace. He had beautified the property with his gardening and his art. I sent him a text on Feb. 15, but didn’t hear back. Then I came upon his obituary in The Star last week and it hit hard. He was a great character, ornery Bonacker, with a twinkle in his eye and a great sense of humor. Maybe the Veterans of Foreign Wars could organize a show of his art. It’s sad that he’s gone, another missing piece.



Install More Chargers
East Hampton
March 14, 2022

Dear David,

Attention East Hampton Tesla owners: I wish you would utilize your proprietary chargers that now seem to be everywhere in this town, but especially in East Hampton Village. As a non-Tesla E.V. owner, I am constantly annoyed by how there always seems to be a Tesla taking up both coveted spots at the universal Chargepoint charger at the long-term lot, when less than half a mile away on Osborne Lane is an entire parking lot filled with chargers for their exclusive use (Tesla chargers don’t work for any other electric car).

Whenever I pass this latter lot it’s usually completely empty. I think this is a waste, and arguably an example of a dubious giveaway billboard for the Tesla brand that doesn’t seem to be benefiting anyone.

I think the village needs to step up and install more universal chargers and especially fast chargers in the Reutershan and long-term lots A.S.A.P. and in the meantime put up signs to direct Tesla owners to this municipally-owned resource so the rest of us can charge when we really depend on it.

With everything going on in the world right now, I realize this first-world problem is going to seem trite, but increased infrastructure will pave the way for wider adoption of electric vehicles that could actually chip away at the foreign oil dependence that’s on all of our minds.

For those curious about E.V.s — I’m paying about $30 a week in electricity for my Nissan Leaf to go wherever I need to go, and those prices are stable. Get on board!



Village Sidewalks
East Hampton Village
March 14, 2022

To the Editor:

The Village of East Hampton has permanently extended the use of village sidewalks for outdoor dining. I understand the need during Covid, but there are many reasons why it should not be made permanent. The sidewalks are not very wide. In addition, there are trees, garbage cans, bicycle racks, and benches along the way — as well as people walking in both directions!

During Covid, with the addition of tables and chairs on the sidewalks, walking, at best, was difficult. Also, huge planters (Golden Pear) were placed to delineate the area and took up large amounts of space, even some parking spots were lost on Newtown Lane.

Right now, Hampton Chutney already has eight huge tables outside. Each table has two benches, so, in total, there are eight tables and 16 benches. Two garbage pails and one bicycle rack are in the same area. Adding to this are the strollers and skateboards. When the benches get filled and the customers go in and out of Hampton Chutney, the walk becomes an obstacle course. Many people coming from the train use this sidewalk. What a mess! If the village insists on allowing outdoor dining, the seating spots should be severely limited.



I Celebrate My ‘Defeat’
East Hampton Village
March 12, 2022

To the Editor,

On Friday, when I lost my appeal against Mill Hill Realty, which wants to build an unlawful, oversize brew hall tavern next to my home on Toilsome Lane, I opened a bottle of Champagne to celebrate my “defeat.”

I can’t begin to thank the zoning board of appeals enough for ruling against me, as well as all the caring residents of the Village of East Hampton who are against the beer hall and will suffer, along with my wife and me, the loss of our quality of life in the Village of East Hampton if or when the beer hall is built.

The reason I am delighted is simple. Had the Z.B.A. ruled in my favor, the odds were that the beer hall would most likely sue the Village of East Hampton in New York State Supreme Court in Riverhead. Mill Hill Realty, the developers of the beer hall, would have good lawyers. I would be out of the picture, and the village lawyers would take over my case. The lawyers who would then be defending the injustice of this tavern from being built will be lawyers on the village payroll. Would they have done a good job? Perhaps or perhaps not. Thanks to the Z.B.A. ruling, I will not have to take that chance. Now I will be taking the beer war battle to court with the lawyer of my choice!

So, I popped the cork, and raised my glass of Champagne to toast my wonderful attorney, Michael G. Walsh. I know that he has the passion and understanding of how outrageous the beer hall project is and he wants to win.

I feel much more confident now that Mr. Walsh will be taking my case to the Supreme Court in Riverhead or, if need be, the Appellate Court, rather than being represented by the village’s counsel.

The legal issue is simple: The zoning for the parcel at 17 Toilsome Lane does permit a restaurant; however it does not permit a bar, tavern, or brew pub.

All evidence shows the Toilsome Lane brewery is not a restaurant — it is a tavern, brew hall, and/or bar. Therefore, it should not be built. The many frightening moral issues of the proposed tavern are much more complicated.

Once again, I wish to thank the Z.B.A. for turning me into a “loser,” so I and the multitudes of residents who care about our village stand a better chance to become “winners” and stop the unwanted Toilsome Lane tavern from being built.

For all of you who have been fighting the beer hall, rest assured that I will continue this battle, and I look forward to any help you can give me in the future.



Legendary Team
March 14, 2022

To the Editor,

After reuniting with the rectangular, contained still water housed at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton REC Center, I was thrilled to see the legendary “Waterproof” father and son team, the Ryans. They were signing up eager students and talking with parents in the line — waterproofing.



Discriminatory Laws
March 14, 2022

Dear David,

I’m writing as a member of the East Hampton Anti-Bias Task Force to denounce a trend of discriminatory laws being passed in state legislatures around the country that target vulnerable L.G.B.T.Q. youth. One such bill recently passed in the Florida State Legislature and is expected to be signed into law by Governor DeSantis. It’s called “Parental Rights in Education” and it bans public school districts from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through the third grade. This legislation is meant to stigmatize L.G.B.T.Q. people, isolate L.G.B.T.Q. kids, and make teachers fearful of providing a safe, inclusive classroom. The existence of L.G.B.T.Q. students and parents is not a taboo topic that needs to be regulated by the Florida Legislature.

Making L.G.B.T.Q. students scared to discuss their identities, their community, or their families at school is as cruel as it is dangerous. These bills encourage schools to censor discussions of the lived realities of children who are already at risk and encourage social exclusion and bullying. This bill will have devastating real-world consequences especially for L.G.B.T.Q. youth who already experience higher rates of bullying and suicide.

Bills like this measurably result in increased risk of suicide. L.G.B.T.Q. youth are not inherently prone to suicide because of their sexual orientation or gender identity but they are at higher risk when they are mistreated and stigmatized in society, school, and their families. According to a survey conducted by the Trevor Project, 42 percent of L.G.B.T.Q. youth contemplated suicide in 2021. The Trevor Project’s research has also found that L.G.B.T.Q. students who learned about L.G.B.T.Q. issues or people in classes at school were 23 percent less likely to attempt suicide in the past year.

Sadly, this bill is part of a rising trend of anti-L.G.B.T.Q. legislation across the country. According to Freedom for All Americans, a bipartisan campaign that advocates for L.G.B.T.Q. people, lawmakers have proposed 197 anti-L.G.B.T.Q. bills since January.

The East Hampton Anti-Bias Task Force stands with the L.G.B.T.Q. community and urges us all to honor our shared humanity by committing to protect the most vulnerable among us and speak out against bias in all forms.



Denies Youth the Right
East Hampton
March 14, 2022

Dear Mr. Rattray and team,

I’m writing to discuss honesty and acceptance — two core United States values most people can agree on. According to Oxford, two opposites of honest include “insincere” and “biased,” yet the Florida Legislature is sending a bill to their governor, Ron DeSantis, that makes it illegal to speak the truth about sexual orientation. In other words, the law suggests it’s unacceptable to identify as gay.

Laws like this not only attack the foundation of U.S. belief systems, but they also deprive people of the beautiful fact that some people are gay.

As a member of the East Hampton Town Anti-Bias Task Force I am writing to express disapproval of this law, officially named Parental Rights in Education, but otherwise known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. It makes teaching about sexual orientation illegal in K-third grades. The irony of this is that the law will force learning institutions to teach children how to deceive and be deceived. It doesn’t make sense, especially during those crucial early childhood development stages.

Regardless of how wrong it is to deny someone the right to choose how to define their own identity, another question remains: What’s the problem with being gay in the first place?

This bill denies youth the right to have their preferences normalized. It doesn’t accept that people are different, and it places a gag order on those who choose to define themselves as L.G.B.T.Q.+

Being close-minded about differences and otherness makes no data-driven sense and it contradicts the U.S. values of freedom, liberty, and justice. We are all valid. This law is illogical and goes against certain undeniable truths that all people deserve respect. What we share is that we are different, adaptation is key to survival, and accepting each other starts young.

This bill is also a cultural contradiction. When it comes to our social cultural norms, we make vows to be truthful and honest when we marry. At home we endeavor to teach our children that honesty is the best policy, and the idea of not telling the truth is not only criminal, it’s considered pathological. Yet still these trends are spreading.

Friends, family, and children who belong to the L.G.B.T.Q.+ identifying communities are credible members of our society and we as the anti-bias task force stand in solidarity with them. Not accepting different ways of being is unimaginable for a country standing on a pedestal of freedom, but ultimately it is also unsustainable because identity is at the core of mental wellness.

Where does it end? Should we stop children from saying the word sugar because some people believe it is bad for you? Who gets to choose? My mother used to say, “Your rights end where someone else’s begin.” Implicit in her message was acceptance. I believe this bill, and all legislation denying people the freedom to express the self-identities of their families or inherent selves, is anti-American and hurts the foundation of our greatness.

Individuals are the masters of their self-definition, not institutions, not parents, and not teachers. Therefore, I reiterate my condemnation and disapproval of this bill and any bill passed that tells someone that they can’t be who they are. Freedom is a value we can’t afford to attack, because, in the end, what’s wrong with accepting the truth of being gay in the first place?



Springs School Expenses
March 15, 2022

Dear David,

I recently received an email from David Buda about the Springs School’s expenses and our (residents of Springs) potential tax increases. His email arrived around the same time as The Star’s (and Newsday’s) articles about the amount of money aggregating in our town’s community preservation fund. So the thought struck me, “What could be more important to the preservation of our community than providing the best possible education for successive generations of our children?”

Why not allocate a portion of the C.P.F., or create a complementary Community Education Fund funded by house purchases over $5 million? These seem to come from areas of our town with local tax rates (relatively) much lower than those paid by residents of Springs. It would help toward supporting the Springs School’s expenses, especially those accrued through tuition payments sending students to East Hampton High School, and would level the “paying” field for all residents of our town.



What Have We Become?
East Hampton
March 11, 2022

Dear David,

It used to be clear: We knew who the heroes were, the good guys, the necessary divide between good and evil. Now the lines are blurred. Good people have settled for trash talk and rhetoric and put their thinking caps away with their Mouse Club ears. Sad. Some Christian people, or as we used to call those who believed and attended church, have lost their dang minds and Jesus wouldn’t know them from Adam. Where the hell is the love and empathy and for Pete’s sake, the common sense?

Let’s jump in deeper. How can the cause of the brutal attack on Ukraine lie at anyone’s door but Putin’s? Why do they actually believe and spread this crap that Biden is responsible? I mean, even Trump, Putin’s boyfriend, would be more responsible than Joe. He thought the world of Putin. But pussy-grabbers and misogynists and douchebags stick together. Too much? Too bad. I’ve had enough. Even my dead father would think this loyalty to a shameful loser was over the top. And he voted for Trump, once. Then he died before the next chance.

He met him, the Donald, back in the old days of casinos and Madmen. My dad was a cop, but could be mad about the gambling at times. A bit envious of the rich boys, maybe, but Dad was a decent man who read books and wrote songs in his spare time and knew right from wrong. A male chauvinist he surely was, as were many in his day. He fathered three strong-willed daughters. He knew we were forces to be reckoned with, and was eventually very proud of us. I digress. Or maybe not. Does Putin have daughters? Does he have a wife, a mother? Someone to grab him and shake him. Even Hitler had a wife — and a girlfriend. So evildoers can have a semblance of a heart before they go completely mad, I guess.

When do we go back to holding our heads high again as a country, united in the fight against evil, or has that ship sailed and we’re doomed as a country and a planet? I hope not, but it’s not looking good. Not when our townspeople and countrymen attack one another in the name of self-righteousness, God, whitewashing the country, fear, cult mentality, tribalism, ignorance, racism, complacence, denial — take your pick. When a state senator goes on record and calls a hero like President Zelensky a “thug,” then we got big problems in this country. Is this guy daft or just another spoiled brat, loser, Christian-right nutter? I ask you, what have we become?

The memes have started piling up again on social media. Their dissatisfaction with Biden is evident, and how dare gas be almost five bucks a gallon, and why doesn’t “Old Joe open the Keystone Pipeline, dammit?” Do you understand the Keystone Pipeline is not finished, and even if it were, it isn’t feasible or dependable or safe. Can they grasp that? If it were so simple and good for everyone concerned, it would have happened. It was a bad idea from day one. There are other alternatives being researched and implemented, as we speak. Clean energy, electric cars, for one. Go roll your eyes, I don’t care.

By the way, don’t think Putin doesn’t want the minerals in Ukraine’s ground for his use. All the more reason to defeat him A.S.A.P. and help Ukraine. If you think alternative energy in the future is a no-no your head is as thick as the dirty pipeline oil, and I can’t help you. There has to be a meeting ground for all solutions. But first you have to come to the table with the gloves off and the ears unclogged.

My father and I had many a debate over politics and cop issues, to name two big ones. He was the expert on police matters, 38 years on the job and a decorated New York City police lieutenant, but not an “empty suit” like so many bosses he dealt with. I was the voice of a new, educated generation who had another view on how I saw things. But we talked. Sure, he called me “a communist,” mostly because I was a formidable debater and he was frustrated. He said it with a smile on his face, and I took no offense; I’m not that delicate. We laughed and continued the argument. Then we ate the dinner, drank the wine, and had the coffee. I hugged him when we left. I’m glad I have that memory, because these days, people have eluded me on so many levels. “Thorncraw” wouldn’t know a hero from a sandwich. I hope when y’all come back from being away with the fairies, we can have a conversation. May the wind be at their backs and Ukraine win her independence.




Further Emboldened
East Hampton
March 11, 2022

Dear David,

The Shadow, of comic strip fame, had the power to cloud men’s minds. Bea Derrico lacks that power, although she is trying. In her letter to The Star last week she claimed Ukraine should have been armed before the Russian invasion began and blamed Biden for not doing so.

She wants to cloud the memory that Trump, in 2016, removed the plank in the Republican Party platform for selling arms to Ukraine for its ongoing fight against Russian aggression. When Congress authorized the sale anyway, Trump delayed for months and attempted to use it to extort a smear on his political opponent. Putin was further emboldened by Trump’s trashing of NATO to believe he could roll into Ukraine unopposed.

Biden’s vigorous efforts to repair NATO, and the trove of weapons he’s gotten to Ukraine in one year in office have been key to the success so far of Ukrainian patriots. Biden has led the world community to bring the Russian economy to its knees while Trump continues to praise Putin as a shrewd leader. We have expensive gasoline, but the ruble is worthless, and the Russian stock market has been closed for a week. How shrewd is that?

By the way, can anybody think of a reason Trump would do that if he were not still dreaming that if he kisses Vlad’s butt long enough, he’ll get to build a hotel in Moscow? He has also bragged that Russian kleptocrats are important buyers in his buildings. Note to Justice Department: In your search for Russian assets to attach, look for buildings that have “TRUMP” in big gold letters on the facade.

Manny Vilar, another aspirant to Shadow-like mind clouding, opens his letter with the remarkable statement, “Joe Biden is on track to be the worst president in American history.” Has Joe lied to the American people by minimizing as a common cold a pandemic that would kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions worldwide? Has Joe Biden torn the country in two with his big lie in an attempt to end hundreds of years of democracy? Has Joe Biden destroyed American prestige around the world by fomenting a violent attack on Congress to stop the wheels of American democracy? Has Joe Biden threatened to jail his opponents and journalists who report the truth? Manny — and his entire party — nationwide would have us forget what they have endorsed for the last five years.

Then they want us to forget that the infrastructure bill that Trump promised but never brought up was passed with bipartisan votes by Joe Biden. They want us to not notice that 6.6 million jobs created in Biden’s first year is a record for any first-year president. Unemployment dropped from 6.2 percent to 3.9 percent, the biggest one-year drop in history. Lowest child poverty rate in American history. We have some inflation, and the programs were not perfect, but Joe Biden cared about the American people when they needed help.

Manny and Bea would cloud our minds. Don’t let them do it.



The Curtain Call
March 14, 2022

To the Editor,

Many years ago, in Los Angeles, I saw a play about Hitler called “Arturo Ui.” At the end, the cast took the curtain call, and, when the applause died down, one of the actors stepped forward to address the audience. He spoke briefly about the relevance of the play, and I remember his closing line verbatim: “Yes, the world stood up and stopped the bastard, but the bitch that bore him is in heat again.”

And now we have Putin.



Oil and Gas
March 14, 2022

Dear David,

There are loopholes in the so-called sanctions set upon Russia, Biden catering to Russia. Our energy secretary doesn’t know how much oil and gas we consume a day. When Joe Biden campaigned for the presidency, he ran on no more drilling on federal land, no offshore drilling, and no industry to drill. This is one promise he kept, his first day in office he stopped the Keystone Pipeline, but he allowed the Russian-German pipeline to continue. He has so much unfriendliness toward fossil fuel. He failed and screwed the Americans but caved to Putin.

Increase American energy production, open up Alaska and Texas drilling, produce permits. Jen Psaki and Joe Biden keep repeating about the thousands of permits not being used. Some of these permits are useless, as many are dried up, plus other reasons for not being used. Biden boasted about tapping into 30 million barrels of our emergency oil reserves, less than two days’ supply, while not mentioning a word about our plentiful untapped oil and gas supplies. Keep in mind gas prices at the pump went up way before Putin invaded Ukraine. The United States of America was energy independent up to and including 2019. We now have an arrogant person with dementia that bends to the green deal.

The other idiot, John Kerry, as phony as they come, goes off-script, changes the script to his delusions, only concerned about climate change, insofar of the fact he drives huge, guzzling, takes a plane with tons of fuel being used wherever he goes.

Today we find out Russia is the negotiator between us and Iran on nuclear bombs. Imagine that, as Iran shoots 13 missiles at the United States Consulate. Biden’s next mistake begging, dealing with Maduro in Venezuela for oil, Satan number 2, North Korea shooting missiles, and Saudi Arabia not taking any phone calls, there’s discrepancy in talk about the latter, some say yes this is true, some say no.

God help and pray for the Ukraine and also the U.S.A.

In God and country,


The United States is a net exporter of petroleum. Ed.


The Oil Scam
East Hampton
March 13, 2022


A discussion on Fox on Tuesday morning around the increasing price of oil focused on the XL pipeline and our need to produce more oil. The conversation was disingenuous at best, an outright fabrication and deceit at its worst. The oil scam exists on many levels, but the most repugnant aspect is utilizing the invasion of Ukraine as a tool for changing climate and fossil fuel policies. The current oil problem is neither disastrous nor long term. There are lots of ways to get through it but they are not good political fodder.

Simply put, the XL scam is a bag of B.S. XL would facilitate the flow of oil into the country but wouldn’t necessarily increase it. So, XL is an irrelevant sidebar to current gas prices and talking about it is tripe, really disingenuous psychobabble. The U.S. is also producing more oil than it ever has. It also has thousands of approved oil leases that have remained untapped. Our oil companies can produce as much as we need, if they wanted to.

The problem with oil is that we are in a short-term crisis due to the war. The crisis will pass, as they always do, and oil will return to a more reasonable cost and gas prices will go down. We have experienced oil prices as high as $150 a barrel; today it’s $130. Oil doesn’t just pop out of the ground. A temporary problem doesn’t require huge policy changes that will have no effect on the problem. So end the B.S. about oil independence and imagine how much better the situation would look if we weren’t dependent on fossil fuels.

Scamming oil prices has always been a part of the business. Gas prices rise as the cost per barrel increases, except that the oil we are using was purchased months ago and the difference between the old and new prices is pure vig for the oil companies. They always have a choice about what prices to charge; they always choose the highest.

Increasing the supply of oil from the Middle East and places like Venezuela is even less complicated. We support democracies and dictatorships in Latin America, never communists (whatever that might mean). We traditionally turn everything to crap (see: our borders). Maybe we could take a different approach in our time of desperation?

Venezuela is close by and in need of cash. Our relationship with Venezuela is a total botch job. We did everything wrong that we possibly could. We could easily begin correcting the mess by lightening up on the current government and letting it go down the tubes on its own. (It’s not far away.) We can’t remain forever dumb despite our brutal brain-dead history.

Behind the war and the oil is the dread feeling that we had made the decision to let Russia destroy Ukraine months or even years ago. If our intelligence knew what was going to happen (it claims otherwise), then we willingly allowed the Ukrainian people to go down because it allows us to destroy Russia (economically) without having to go to war. A small price to pay for eliminating Russia as a competitive power? It would be the normalization of geopolitical sadism at its worst.

Cynicism really stinks. It’s way worse than ignorance. We lose faith in the system and hope for the future. We are supposed to lead?



There Are No Words
East Hampton
March 7, 2022

Dear David:

The Former Guy labeled Mr. Putin’s assault on Ukraine as “genius,” something that showed real “savvy.” He extolled Mr. Putin for inserting what T.F.G. branded as “some peacekeeping force.”

We all know now that T.F.G. lives in a world of delusion illumined by his own narcissism, but his new-found embrace of Mr. Putin’s atrocities designed to force the Ukrainians to knuckle under to his will has opened yet another putrid window into Mr. Trump’s lack of a soul.

What are those “peacekeepers” doing to calm the Ukrainians? The English arm of the Ukrainian news channel Hromadske recently reported that the so-called peacekeepers in Mariupol are scattering improvised explosive devices all around the city that have been disguised as children’s toys. Imagine that: Peacekeeping now takes the form of laying booby traps designed to injure or kill children. And all T.F.G. can do is tell dinner jokes about the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine — maybe because he still feels dissed by President Zelensky’s refusal to fabricate charges against President-to-be Biden. That all of Ukraine will pay for that perceived slight is of no moment in the mind of Trump.

In the face of this barbarism, the continued macabre pro-Putin cheering by some in the G.O.P. can only be attributed to a shameless effort to curry favor from Mr. Trump in their loathsome efforts to retain what little power they wield. As for the Putin cheerleaders in the Fox nighttime lineup, there are no words for the shame they deserve.

In stark contrast to the Fox and G.O.P. theatrics, East Hampton should cheer Olga and Andrey Trigubovich (and their children) for selflessly gathering donations destined to help fleeing Ukrainians. Our hearts beat a bit happier to have been able to do our little bit to help.

One last word: We are all in this together and we need to do our part — and shoulder some pain — to support those under the brutal thumb of Mr. Putin. Yes, gas prices will go up, but even if the price of gas goes up a dollar, is that too much to pay to save a Ukrainian life or preserve peace in Europe? I surely hope our collective answer is an emphatic “No!”



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