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Letters to the Editor for March 3, 2022

Thu, 03/03/2022 - 10:17

Where’s the Party?
East Hampton Village
February 19, 2022

Dear David,

Where’s the party? I just listened to the LTV broadcast of “Ask the Mayor” aired on Feb. 14, and I’m asking myself, “Where’s the party, and whose party is it?”

Clearly, Mr. Larsen and Mr. Minardi’s vision for East Hampton is to turn it into a party town. Kudos all around for the record time village beach passes were sold out at $500 a pop, enthusiasm for endorsing more and more beach activities with the selling of beer and alcohol and boisterous cries for more and more folks to join in. Missed out on the beach parking pass, no problem, take a bike or free ride from the long-term parking or, better yet, go to Wainscott or Amagansett. After all, townspeople can go elsewhere!

Main Beach has always been the overcrowded, loudest of our beaches with Wiborg’s being the quieter alternative. Where to go now? Wiborg’s will be decorated with food trucks and restrooms now surely dragging Main Beach farther east. Where will one go for just a quiet sit at the beach? With all this partying we are guaranteed loud noise and crowds beginning Memorial Day and lasting heavily throughout the season. If you found it difficult to dine out last summer, this one will certainly prove even more of a challenge.

What is most difficult for me to reconcile is the why behind all of this? Mr. Larsen wants East Hampton to be more like Southampton, Montauk, and Sag Harbor. Our comprehensive plan was established to conserve the unique identity of our village as one being historical and residential. But now we are the village of “more”: more restaurants, more parking (overnight and unused charging-station parking), more amplified outdoor music, more encouragement to drink (a tavern in a residential neighborhood, beach-concession alcohol), and more seating on the street. With the picnic tables cluttered on Newtown surely more restaurants will want greater sidewalk spillage.

This summer, I expect to see giant baskets of flowers dotting main street with banners advertising more events. Will these be endorsed by the village design review board, or will they simply appear like our new trash receptacles, which are certainly the most expensive aerodynamically designed cans available?

Our mayor brags that he was elected to make change happen and make it happen now. Mr. Minardi and others sit and nod along. But really, how much change is good for village residents? Where do we draw the line?

MAUREEN BLUEDORN

 

Blatant Disregard
Springs
February 28, 2022

Dear David,

I love Guild Hall, but I hate what’s being done to it in the name of improvement. The misbegotten renovation plan, revealed in the dead of winter as a fait accompli, destroys the unique character of the community treasure so recently celebrated in “Guild Hall for All,” the 90th anniversary volume I had the honor to coedit.

The blatant disregard for the integrity of the historic interior spaces is beyond shocking. The assurances that the theater interior will remain intact under its facelift are phony. To suggest that stripping the detailing from the galleries enhances them is dishonest.

Yes, the building can use some upgrades, but this proposal devastates the very thing it pretends to improve. I urge our community to raise its collective voice to stop it from happening.

Sincerely,

Helen A. Harrison

Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Director, Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center

 

Our Heritage
Springs
February 22, 2022

Dear David,

On Feb. 20, I was the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society hike leader at the town-owned Brooks-Park property in Springs. I’m also a member of the Brooks-Park Arts and Nature Center committee, dedicated to restoring and reimagining the house and studios.

The hike leader’s role includes signing in the participants, but that Sunday morning wasn’t easy. The cars kept coming, endlessly, and Neck Path and Eastside Court were running out of parking spots and teeming with people. Scrambling, I had to enlist assistance from a few friends to garner all the signatures. It instantly became apparent something special and far reaching was happening. I led a hike in Sag Harbor last fall with 35 people, a sizable turnout. This was four times that or more, on a frigid Sunday morning that, while sunny, had wind chills in the single digits and low teens.

Leading what can only be described as a parade from Neck Path onto the Brooks-Park property felt surreal. I took everyone on site to what was clearly an event far greater in scope than a hike in the woods. After a few opening remarks, I introduced our first speaker. The audience listened in rapt attention to riveting presentations by Marietta Gavaris, Scott Bluedorn, Janet Jennings, and Rick Whalen. It was communing with nature during a history lesson, hearing of a future filled with optimism and possibilities. It’s difficult to describe the energy we all felt; palpable just doesn’t do it justice. People signed petitions, viewed Scott’s artist’s renderings, asked questions, and left email addresses to be apprised of next steps.

We proceeded to explore the land and walk the trails, connecting with the property, and with one another — all on 11 pristine acres in our densely populated hamlet of Springs, home to de Kooning, Pollock, Krasner, Little, Nivola, and, yes, James Brooks and Charlotte Park.

The Brooks-Park house and studios go beyond mere buildings; they are our history, our heritage, an essential part of what defines our beloved Springs. If this mission resonates with you, help us. Please call or email Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and Board Members Sylvia Overby, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, David Lys, and Cate Rogers. Tell them you support restoration, not demolition. And join with us in imagining a Brooks-Park Arts and Nature Center for family, for community, for the future.

Sincerely,

IRWIN T. LEVY

 

Actions Speak
Amagansett
February 26, 2022

Hello David,

I refer to your editorial remarks in this week’s Star on historic properties; let’s make it simple on this one. Recently the roof on the terribly neglected Marine Museum on Bluff Road required replacement. Despite repeated and loud complaints from the Amagansett citizens advisory committee and a Bluff Road Historic District veto, the town went ahead and put an asphalt roof on a historic building in a legally recognized historic district. Our administration does not care, Mr. Editor, about historic properties. Actions speak.

On the endless KHTO subject, did anyone believe that the feds would let our town manage this incredibly busy and strategically important airspace on their own? Somebody in Town Hall must be smoking that funny stuff they won’t allow to be sold here if they ever had the hubris to believe that — but they did.

JOHN MANNIX

 

Wonderful Addition
East Hampton
February 20, 2022

Dear David,

The Christopher Gangemi column on birds, “On the Wing,” is a wonderful addition to The Star. Not only does he provide details on how to identify and where to find our local birds, but he provides important ecological context and conservation issues. At the same time, he infuses his delightful humor and helps us understand the unique essence of each bird. I hope his column will inspire more beginners to get out and experience the incredible birdwatching opportunities we have on the East End.

Thank you, East Hampton Star.

Sincerely,

SARA DAVISON

 

Human Health Risks
Montauk
February 27, 2022

To the Editor:

I hope the town won’t install new artificial turf fields. Modern societies have badly damaged the natural world, and we should do our part to prevent further harm.

Natural grass fields are hardly models of biological diversity, but they provide habitats for birds, insects, and small mammals. If soil and grass are removed, wildlife will lose out. In addition, natural soil is alive with billions of micro-organisms, which synthetic turf will smother. And if global warming brings flooding, soil and grass will provide water absorption that synthetic turf cannot.

I have long been concerned about the human health risks of fake grass. In 2008, Junfeng Zhang, In-Kyu Han, Lin Zhang, and I reported our research results in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. We found that rubber granules in artificial grass in Manhattan contained numerous toxic chemicals, and we wondered what might happen if they were inadvertently swallowed. Could they be digested and cause a health problem?

Using synthetic digestive fluids, we found that most of the toxic chemicals didn’t seem readily digestible — but lead was. Although our samples contained relatively low lead levels, our results are worrisome because some scientists believe that any amount of lead can affect neurocognitive development. Most vulnerable are young children who play on the ground while games take place. They might put the granules in their mouths. Adults need to keep the young ones away.

Over all, the health risks are still uncertain, and perhaps can be avoided. But caution is in order. And when at all possible, we should do what we can to protect the world of nature in our care.

BILL CRAIN

 

Old Technology
Springs
February 24, 2022

Dear David,

We’re all lookin’ for better cell service out here, but boy were my neighbors and I surprised to learn that in the cover of dark, AT&T had strong-armed the town with threat of a federal lawsuit to get a settlement agreement for a more-than-70-foot-tall monopole on the grounds of the historic St. Peter’s Chapel on Old Stone Highway in Springs — this after a similar effort was soundly defeated last year. There was no discussion with the citizens who live here about this monopole and no consideration for alternate sites, of which there are many. The Springs Firehouse, for one, would love to have this revenue and already has a monopole. Oh, and there’s a 150-foot-tall tower that’s going in at Camp Blue Bay. What gives?

Finally, there are much less unsightly ways for the Springs community to get better cellphone service. For example, SpaceX has launched its Starlink cellphone and internet service, where for a hundred bucks a month you can receive high-speed internet and cell service at home and across the globe. Why use old technology that makes our community look unsightly when there are alternatives?

Let’s not make Springs look like Newark with these industrial towers. They should be on sites hidden from view, in the very least not placed on our scenic roadways and historic church grounds. My neighbors and I are all in favor of more cell service. Can the town offer up three locations we all can collaboratively vote on? Sounds awfully democratic to me!

Yours truly,

PETER CORBETT

 

Can’t Wait
East Hampton
February 28, 2022

To the Editor,

Yes, bring the helicopter to Bistrian Gravel on Springs-Fireplace Road, under the bridge in Freetown. I can’t wait to hear the noise and see the dust.

ROSA HANNA SCOTT

 

Not Worth Having
East Hampton
February 28, 2022

To the Editor,

Look, town board, these guys are not kidding around. They don’t want any limits on their little goldmine, and they will meet any expense, hire limitless legions of lawyers, and file endless legal motions to keep our airport open. And if they succeed in that, why do you think they’d be willing to negotiate over hours of operation, or number of flights, or types of aircraft? We tried this before and we know how that turned out. In court. That will surely happen again, and again, and again. So, stop being suckers. These guys are sharks.

On balance, the airport is not worth having. Despite all the bad-faith propaganda that the aviation groupies have inundated us with, in slick TV commercials and invading even our Facebook feeds, we own a turkey that’s not making us any money and poisons our atmosphere for the convenience of a very, very few. By operating East Hampton Airport, we are willingly tolerating a public nuisance that tortures those who own it. It is airport noise that created this controversy, but the invisible pollution from hundreds of flights poses just as serious a threat.

When we object to all this, a storm of bullshit follows about new electric helicopters that will be quieter. (Apparently, they have no rotors?) Or how our economy will collapse without those commuting high rollers. Or when the rescue helicopters won’t have a place to land when Granny’s ticker starts to code. Or how they’ll all fly to Montauk instead, where there is no fuel, or waiting rooms, or hangars — yeah, right.

A new issue is the hinting that if HTO closes, perhaps the flyboys will move to a tiny pad in the Bistrian sandpit between Springs-Fireplace Road and Three Mile Harbor Road. In a remarkable coincidence, the Bistrian pad was repaved and repainted at about the time last year that the airport debate was coming to a boil. Coincidence? Who knows, but when you really drill down on the idea, more questions arise. Can you imagine hundreds of helicopter flights landing on a blacktop pad about the size of an average south-of-the-highway living room? It’s supposedly only 30 by 30. Can you imagine these flights landing within 100 yards of a busy highway? The Bistrian site is already a source of everyday dust pollution (I know — I live near it), but that certainly won’t improve with the rotor wash from all-day commuter flights stirring up the sand. And turbine engines don’t do well on a diet of abrasive sand and dust. Even if Bistrian would allow these flights to land — they’d have to approve each landing — there’s a town regulation that prohibits commercial use of sites like these. Would that prohibition end up in court, too?

Looming over this whole mess is the Federal Aviation Authority, taxpayer financed but clearly the victim of regulatory capture by those it is supposed to regulate. What a disappointment it has been. If I still had my investigative reporter spurs on, I’d want to know a lot more about that recent F.A.A. letter to the town board. What prompted it? Or who whispered in their ears? Anyone we might know? Perhaps someone who flies out of HTO? Certainly someone powerful enough to get the F.A.A. to come to the phone? There’s a lot more to that letter that we need to know.

So, where do we go from here? I see two paths, neither of which is going to make everyone happy. First, keep the airport open and fight to win airport limitations on our terms, not the industry’s. We are going to need a lot of money to do this because the enemy is not only the industry but the F.A.A. To finance this fight some of the legal money could come out of the airport fund, but that probably won’t be enough. Sooner or later, litigation will probably require a lot more. But to win this fight, the weak-kneed town board will have to pull up their socks and fight the fight.

For the industry, much is at stake. They see a bright future in commuter flights, and larger and larger helicopters are certainly in the future. Some will make Ira Rennert’s S-92 seem a minor annoyance. Boeing would love to sell commuter versions of their vertical takeoff Osprey V-22s for civilian use; wait till you hear one of those babies over Main Street.

Of course, the alternative is to close the damn thing. Closing the airport for a few days or even a few months will not do. As long as it remains in existence, the industry lawyers and the F.A.A. will try every trick in the book to return it to service. On the other hand, a permanent closure will leave nothing to litigate about. The noise will cease, the fuel farm will no longer threaten the crucial aquifer below the airport, the air will clear, and property values will surely improve. The town will have 500 of the most valuable acres o n the South Fork to develop with a host of great possibilities.

JON CLEMENS

 

Flight Rules
East Hampton
February 25, 2022

Editor:

It seems as if the decision to keep open or close the East Hampton Airport is directed by visual flight rules only. The airport opened in 1937 and is owned by the town, and yet the owners seem to know little about the rules and regulations that govern its operation. The idea of closing it temporarily was a boondoggle that would have resulted in potentially serious repercussions from the F.A.A. It is not that the desire to decrease noise, pollution, and overuse of the facility is not well founded, but did the town think that meddling with it was no different from changing the registration on a car? If the town does not have the ability to render decisions, then hire a consulting firm that knows the score and can guide them through the F.A.A. process.

J. LAUTIN, M.D.

 

Backpedaling?
Wainscott
February 28, 2022

Dear David:

Your editorial regarding changes at the airport certainly raises questions of why the shift away from the real hope of change to benefit the population versus a handful of pilots. It’s a no-brainer. The vociferous, big-mouth cackling and demands come from people who do not even live or vote here in town. Florida-registered addresses are listed.

The lawsuits will be filed, yet the board is not the town: We, the taxpayers are! The millions of dollars wasted in litigation costs will follow, and the board is ready to open the coffers. Why not just wash their hands of this and show them who is boss? Shut the damn thing for good. Improve the quality of life and stop the pollution.

Yet the voices of the multitudes from far and wide are ignored, favoring a mere handful. Why? Air pollution and groundwater contamination studies are ignored. Why? Building and Health Department violations regarding illegal bathrooms and additions are ignored. Why? Private pilots are not required to carry liability insurance or register their planes. Only 11 states require this, why? Damages will have to be litigated and at what cost?

Now we have commercial and private helicopter interests looking for alternative landing pads to spread the turmoil. I have an idea: Land in hell so you can understand the hell you inflict on residents.

The vice president of the East Hampton Aviation and the East Hampton Alliance seemed to spread misinformation this past election season. Who the hell do you think you are? The entire area has had a constant degradation of quality of life for decades.

Dangerous low-level flights that expose violations of the mental culpability of the New York State Penal Code Section 120.25. The Sag Harbor police chief arrested one moron for that. More need to be charged.

The New York Post expose said it all. It is time for the vast majority who are adversely affected to be the priority of those elected.

Respectfully,

ARTHUR J FRENCH

 

Significant Health Risk
Wainscott
February 28, 2022

Dear David,

Thank you for allowing residents the ability to be heard.

In the January Wainscott citizens advisory committee meeting, Councilwoman Sylvia Overby and Councilwoman Cate Rogers stated that the testing results for perfluorinated chemicals, or PFAS, along the South Fork Wind cable route would be made public. PFAS pose a significant health risk to humans: They are forever chemicals and they don’t break down.

Last week the results were provided to the town, and Councilwoman Rogers emailed the link to the results to me on Feb. 22. They are also available for everyone to review on the town’s website, ehamptonny.gov/DocumentCenter/View/11757/SFW.

The document shows a PFOA reading at 82 parts per thousand, well above the 10 p.p.t. allowed by the state and federal government, at one test well location on Beach Lane, and another location, also on Beach Lane, had a reading of 15 p.p.t. Many results were not provided. Instead, just a simple statement appears: “No Exceedances to DEC criteria” or “No GW anticipated — no sample required.”

I emailed back to Cate Rogers, asking to be provided with the actual levels of PFAS contamination for the wells that stated, “No Exceedances to DEC criteria.” To date, I have not received a reply.

Again, this is just more evidence that Orsted Eversource and the town are willing to endanger the health of Wainscott residents as well as workers who will be working to install components of this project. The town delayed notifying residents for almost two years of the potential PFAS pollution in our well water.

When we received the notice, we had our well tested. It does contain levels of PFAS, and we had been drinking it, cooking with it, and bathing in it. Orsted Eversource is required to perform both water and soil testing. No soil test results have been provided. Perhaps those tests have not been done yet or they are not providing that information to us! No village or hamlet should be used as a dumping ground, endangering the health of its residents, just to receive a $29 million benefit package.

The Department of Environmental Conservation posts on its website the current and proposed PFOA and PFOS values for human health and aquatic life. The Department of Health-adopted guidance values for finished drinking water are 10 p.p.t. for PFOA and 10 p.p.t. for PFOS. Proposed guidance values for human health are 6.7 p.p.t. for PFOA and 2.7 p.p.t. for PFOS. For aquatic life, the chronic values for PFOS are 160 parts per billion (fresh) and 441 p.p.b. (saline). The acute values for PFOS are 710 p.p.b. (fresh) and 190 p.p.b. (saline). No values are given for PFOA.

Orsted Eversource is not requiring workers to sign a waiver acknowledging that they will be exposing themselves to these hazardous health conditions. They simply state they will deal with them as required by the government requirements.

Working in this contamination significantly increases the risk of health to residents along the route, wildlife, and the probability of additional PFAS pollution to our aquifer. Alternative routes are available that do not appear to have these health risks and would not require digging up Route 27 to bring the power to the substation.

The rush to construct this project to be first in New York at all costs, including health, is unacceptable and reckless. To force it on Wainscott is disgraceful. Furthermore, the project does not meet the requirements of the request for proposals that PSEG and LIPA sent out. Only Suffolk County rate-payers will pay a per-kilowatt hour cost 275 percent higher than the kilowatt hour cost of Sunrise Wind, planned to be constructed adjacent to the South Fork Wind marine cable and both producing AC power. Sunrise Wind, however, is being paid by all electric-rate payers in New York.

Our town should represent all of us. They should work with PSEG and LIPA to get this project combined with Sunrise Wind and to obtain lower costs for the residents of East Hampton.

Sincerely,

MICHAEL MAHONEY

 

Women’s Privacy
East Hampton
February 22, 2022

Dear David:

To borrow a phrase from Justice Ginsburg, the G.O.P. will not take its knee off women’s necks insofar as their privacy rights are concerned.

The Republican candidates for the office of the Michigan attorney general recently squared off in a debate. The final question was as straightforward as it gets: “How do each of you stand on Griswold v. Connecticut?”

Griswold was the 1965 Supreme Court decision that struck down Connecticut’s ban on the sale and private use of contraception and banned prosecution of women who used contraceptives. The landmark decision articulated a “right to privacy” that would later be the basis for Roe v. Wade. Conservative Republicans have been clamoring for the Supreme Court to strike down, or at least thoroughly gut, Roe. Now the G.O.P.’s campaign to cripple women’s reproductive rights has taken a further step — threatening the availability of contraception to women.

The Michigan debate portends that restricting contraceptive rights may become a new litmus test for up-and-coming Republican candidates. It is striking that the conservative debate moderator asked three men who aspire to be Michigan’s chief law enforcement whether they agree with a Supreme Court decision affording women access to contraception.

How did each would-be attorney general answer the question? Each, in different ways, denounced the decision accusing the Griswold Court of trespassing on states’ rights. None seemed to have a grasp on the holding but that didn’t stop them. One predicted that the Supreme Court would, in his view, rightfully strike down Roe and should declare the wide constitutional right of privacy now enjoyed by women to be unworkable. He opined that a woman’s right of privacy was a state’s right issue.

We women all know what that means. Dana Nessel, Michigan’s current attorney general said it best, calling what she heard “terrifying.” This is a word we should bear in mind as we cast our ballots.

Sincerely,

CAROL O’ROURKE

 

America the Beautiful
Montauk
February 22, 2022

To the Editor,

America the beautiful — really? When was that? Oh, these were just the lyrics of a song back in the 1940s. How did these lyrics continue? I’ll tell you:

America the beautiful

God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good

With brotherhood

From sea to shining sea

Kate Smith sang it, and the people sang it. It came close to being the national anthem. Brotherhood actually existed.

With its brotherhood, American defeated fascism in 1945, first in Nazi Germany then in the Empire of Japan. And in the following years, America helped build a more beautiful world. What happened to this world, you might ask. Where is the brotherhood? America still has allies around the world, but within its borders there is strife.

Blame it on Trump, some say. I say Trump only took advantage of already-existing conditions: a health crisis not seen in a hundred years, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires on a scale not ever seen before, an escalating income disparity between the rich and the poor, increased gun violence. All of this has led to the emergence of a disgruntled electorate, an electorate grasping at straws — and that straw was Donald Trump.

Those of us old enough to remember another such disenchanted electorate, which was in 1930s Germany. We remember the straw the voters grasped at that time and what it led to. It can’t happen here, some say. I say it is already happening. Donald Trump tells us, “I alone can fix it.” No, Donald, you can’t fix it; it will take a revived brotherhood to fix it. (Brotherhood in this context includes citizens of both sexes.)

EVELYN SPIEGLER

 

Nobody Wins
East Hampton
February 28, 2022

Dear David,

I have become a witness. I have always been one. As a writer that comes naturally; we listen, we watch, we create a piece of truth or a tale of fiction, depending on the job at hand. Lately truth is stranger and more disturbing. While we are all part of the world, some are better at oblivion.

How is the travesty in Ukraine affecting us? Other than a rise in gas prices, which according to messages on pickup trucks in southwest Florida, is all “Brandon’s fault,” I guess it isn’t touching most lives. I understand people’s frustration in rising gas prices. But I worry about the end game — our reliance on gas, forever?

What baffles me concerning Ukraine is why some don’t think it matters and may be unaware Russian dictators have tried to kill the Ukrainian people from time immemorial. I wish Milla Jovovich, who hails from Ukraine, would don her Joan of Arc wardrobe and deliver the goods to Putin. He’s a blight on humanity. We are all connected, aren’t we?

I guess the young man who had “America is for Americans” painted on his shiny red truck doesn’t consider his ancestors may have come from another country. Or he wants to keep the others out; they’re ruining the place. We can be American and care about Ukraine, like we cared about Ireland when England oppressed and divided a people. Like we don’t forget the Holocaust happened. Or the shame of slavery in our own red, white, and blue.

Ukraine has known dictators in Russia from Stalin to Putin. They conquer and destroy, collecting territories and precious resources like some disturbed game of Risk. I met a man from Ukraine back in 2009. He was living around the corner and part of our neighborhood group to save the aquifer. He was lovely, quiet, and a grower of vegetables. He shared his harvest and his ready smile. I guess it is a blessing he isn’t here to see his country devastated by senseless war, though I know he is missed.

Pray for Ukraine if you like, but more than that, maybe have a conversation about why we often insist on believing we as Americans are separate from everyone else — even from each other here. Let’s shrink the divide and concentrate on peaceful coexistence and save our planet. Nobody wins on the backs of others’ suffering.

Peace is possible,

NANCI LAGARENNE

 

Blood on Their Hands
East Hampton
February 22, 2022

Dear David:

It is difficult to comprehend the enormity of the Republican Party’s decline.

I am still moved by the sight of President Reagan ordering President Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!” And we marveled at the sight upon turning on the news one night after returning from the theater, of Germans actually tearing down that wall.

America watched with pride as 40-plus years of a menacing and financially draining Cold War ended as the former Soviet Union dissolved, with Soviet satellite nations becoming independent and (more or less) democratic countries. These nations cooperated with Western nations, relinquishing nuclear weapons within their borders. Even we Democrats had to give the G.O.P. leadership high marks for the efforts that finally turned down those tensions. Then, Republicans and Democrats worked together (imagine that) to bring political stability to the nascent independent former satellites, welcoming many of them into the NATO tent.

Now, with shock and horror we watch many of today’s Republican leaders and network mouthpieces (who must be blissfully ignorant of the rows the G.O.P. had hoed before) questioning the importance of efforts by the democratic West to support the people and State of Ukraine. The loudest mouth among the blissfully ignorant, Tucker Carlson, wonders why the West considers supporting Ukraine more important than supporting Russia. Forty years ago, Mr. Carlson would be soundly denounced for those views, and he deserves denunciation now. The difference is plain to those not wearing blinders: Ukraine has struggled mightily to shake off the yoke of autocracy and its attendant corruption to become a nascent democracy. In stark contrast, Russia has abandoned the inclusive governments of Presidents Gorbachev and Medvedev; instead, it has evolved into one of the most repressively autocratic regimes under Mr. Putin’s iron fist. Mr. Carlson now cheers Mr. Putin’s attempts to expand his autocratic empire and suppression of those in his way.

Those G.O.P. leaders and mouthpieces will have blood on their hands as the viciousness of the Russian invasion will undoubtedly spread. Indeed, it has been reported by United States intelligence that a list of Ukrainian patriots and Russian dissidents in exile in Ukraine have been targeted for arrest and undoubtedly worse. It is hard to fathom that the G.O.P. and its Fox cheerleaders can sink any lower in their cesspool of anti-democratic dogma.

Sincerely,

BRUCE COLBATH

 

Still Wrong
East Hampton
February 27, 2022

Dear Editor,

You know sometimes I hate being right. About a month ago I wrote that Joe Biden was about to get a lot of people killed and sadly I was correct. As I write this, war is raging in Ukraine, Russian forces are driving deeper into the country while its brave citizens take up arms to defend their homes. The prospect of sanctions that the president’s administration touted as a deterrent to war failed. Just hours after the bloodshed began the idiot in the White House admitted on live TV that the sanctions were never going to deter Putin and contradicting the very talking points his administration had been putting out for weeks.

Biden’s incompetence and lack of action allowed Putin and his cronies to prepare for the eventuality of sanctions and once they were placed many felt they were insufficient. Even now the additional steps being taken by Old Joe and his merry band of Obama retreads won’t be enough to deter Putin’s aggression. The rhetoric flying back and forth between Moscow and Washington is heating up to the point Russia has put its nuclear forces on “high alert,” whatever that means.

Who would have thought that 13 months into Dementia Joe’s watch we would be witness to the crumbling of the post-Cold War world order and the prospect of nuclear war? Obama famously derided Mitt Romney in a presidential debate when Romney cited Russia as the main threat to the United States. “And, the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” Obama said. Well now it’s been 30 years, the 1980s called, and no one at the White House picked up and now look at where we are at.

A lot of things could have been done different, but none of us have a time machine handy so we are where we are. I guess the big question is what is going to happen next and things don’t get any better. Old Joe liked to tell us about his 47 years in Washington and those five decades of failure are about to come home to roost. Robert Gates was Obama’s secretary of defense and observed of Biden that he’d been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue; news flash: Old Joe is still wrong.

By the time you read this, Dementia Joe will have delivered his State of the Union address to Congress. I can only imagine the nonsense that is going to have dribbled out of this idiot’s mouth, I just hope the amphetamines they pump this clown up with before his big outings last long enough that he doesn’t get all tired and whispery at the end. A lot of desperate Democrats are hoping that this will be Biden’s F.D.R., J.F.K., or L.B.J. moment, but the reality is we are getting F.J.B. It makes me think of another famous Obama quote, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.” Boy, he wasn’t kidding.

MICHAEL D. BOUKER

The statement above attributed to the former president came from an anonymous Democratic official who spoke to Politico in 2020. Ed.

 

Weekends in Delaware
Montauk
February 27, 2022

Dear David,

The United States of America was an energy-free country, I say “was” because we now have a wuss for a president. Joe Biden spends his weekends in Delaware, while the American people do everything they can to survive the cost of energy, gasoline, heating oil, or propane. We lower our thermostats, walk a little more instead of driving. We do what we can while Air Force One or Marine One helicopter takes off, guzzling fuel, to take the Bidens to Delaware, whether it be Wilmington or Rehoboth.

My electric bill for not even 30 days has jumped 80 percent, gas for the car was costing me $15 to $30, now costs $75 to $80 to fill up. The president says he wants to get us relief on both; however, he’s busy picking a Supreme Court judge, not helping us.

After Joe Biden mishandled Afghanistan, he is now handling Russia worse. Promising sanctions, and promising sanctions again and again has given Putin the go-ahead to do what he wants. Gave Putin the green light, and now the Ukrainians are in the fight of their lives. Pray for them; they need every prayer they can get. This is on you, Joe Biden, open up our pipeline, let us be independent, start fracking. Eventually we can bankrupt Russia.

P.S. President Biden, I’m sending you copies of my gas, electric, and propane bills. Advise me how to pay them. I already have one job.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

 

By the ‘Putin’
Plainview
February 24, 2022

To the Editor,

Donald Trump may have contributed to Vladimir Putin’s power grab of Ukraine with his infamous, misogynistic braggadocio that whenever it comes to women he desires, his policy is to “Grab ‘em by the pussy.” P-U-tin has merely applied Trump’s “ ‘em” to the 14 former U.S.S.R. republics other than Russia, and decided to “Grab ‘em by the Putin” — beginning, but not ending, with Ukraine.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Donald Trump once infamously boasted that he himself is an “extremely stable genius” and now he’s lowered his credibility even further by declaring an extremely unstable man, Vladimir Putin, to also be a “genius.”

Trump once bragged that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and yet not lose any voters.” So I presume that even if Putin personally were to somehow start shooting Americans dead in the middle of Fifth Avenue, Putin would still get Trump’s “vote.”

RICHARD SIEGELMAN

 

Ukraine
East Hampton
February 28, 2022

David,

While Russian troops pour into Ukraine, much of the world watches the United States. What are we going to do to deal with the looming disaster? Instead of pulling together, U.S. politicians remain stuck in the miserable repugnance of political divisiveness. Senators Hawley and Graham and ex-President Trump, among many Republicans, sound off on Biden and heap praise on Putin while offering no solutions or ideas to solve the problem. The severity of the problem seems to elude these political cretins. The disunity of our political class is certainly a deterrent to finding a diplomatic solution.

Finding genius and brilliance in the insane destructive bullying of Ukraine is a clear indication that Trump and Fox News need to be remitted to padded cells. Rationalizing the invasion of Ukraine as other than aberrant and deranged is an obscenity. Does a nuclear threat not clarify the madness?

In 1994, as part of the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurance, Ukraine, Russia, England, and the U.S. entered into an agreement that guaranteed the political independence of Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine’s relinquishing its nuclear arsenal. Russia refuses to recognize the agreement and the U.S. and England are unwilling to fulfill their obligations. So much for the concept of international treaties.

If the Ukraine had kept its nuclear arsenal, which it didn’t effectively control, it might have been a deterrent to Russian aggression. Otherwise, left on its own militarily, it will get wiped out. The Russian invasion (and the impotence of the world to stop it short of sanctions) is a serious dilemma for the rest of the world that is not autocratic. Europe’s dependence on Russia for energy sources further complicates the problem. There was no real way to stop Putin from invading Ukraine without sending in the military.

The world order that we have tried to establish since World War II has been fractured way too easily. We are concerned by actions and consequences and seem more disturbed about the cost of sanctions on ourselves. There is a cost to imposing severe sanctions but it will be a short-term drop in the bucket compared to the cost of a destabilized world order.

While most of the world has limited its military spending over the past 30 years, Russia and China have substantially expanded theirs. The savings that accrued, to Europe especially, were enormous. That a military deterrent to Russian aggression doesn’t really exist short of a World War III scenario raises too many questions. Should nations rearm themselves in preparation for a major war? Should we create an effective international peace force with teeth? Or do we find other means of controlling aggression?

Crushing Russia’s economy seems to be the logical deterrent to future aggression. It may not stop the aggression in the short term but it will be devastating in the longer term. If we are to lead the world, this is a major test of our leadership. Not only by our actions but by the creation of policies to resolve future problems.

What kind of a world do we want to live in and what are we willing to do to have it? Do we allow the fascist bullies to impose their might against anyone they choose or do we believe that democracy and self-determination for everyone is the right way to go?

NEIL HAUSIG


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