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Letters to the Editor for May 16, 2024

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 18:27

History Club
East Hampton Village
May 7, 2024

Dear David,

East Hampton is such a beautiful and welcoming community; we are so lucky to live and work here! As part of our English as a New Language program at the East Hampton Middle School, our East Hampton Local History Club introduces our students to various places of importance in our community. This year we were hosted by an array of specialists around the town. At the East Hampton Library, Andrea Meyer and Alexandra Giambruno gave our students a tour of the library and all of its figurative (and literal) treasures. At the Gardiner Mill Cottage, Terry Wallace gave an amazing art history presentation with original paintings from the early days of East Hampton. Police Chief Michael Sarlo and his officers led us through the town police station and explained the ins and outs of modern-day policing in our community. Captain Jim Brundige and his staff at the East Hampton Airport gave us a tour of the airport facilities that included a private jet and seaplane. As an incredible bonus, Sound Aircraft services generously provided V.I.P. swag bags for all the students! At the Leiber Collection, Scott Gibbons gave us a close look at beautiful handbags, paintings, sculptures, and ancient terra-cottas. Additionally, Town Crier Hugh King and an East Hampton town board member, David Lys, have made themselves available to help with historic information from our town’s early days to the present.

There is an old saying that says it takes a village to raise a child. We are thankful that our students live here, where the extended community goes above and beyond to educate them and truly make them feel a sense of belonging. Thank you so very much to all of the people who help us make learning an interactive and memorable experience for our students. We couldn’t do it without you!




Dogmatic Decisions
East Hampton
May 7, 2024

To the Editor:

Ever since the town board appointed its Zoning Task Force with no representation from much of the community, I’ve been dubious about the process. The new plan to count finished basements toward the cap on gross floor area confirms my doubts.

Before my real estate career, I was a senior government official for 14 years in Washington, D.C. I also advised government agencies and nonprofits for another 20 years. The importance of linking actions to outcomes and objectives was a consistent directive throughout. And this is exactly what the task force fails to do with its proposal.

There are legitimate reasons for limiting G.F.A., lot coverage, clearing, and setbacks. Nobody wants homes to loom large over neighbors, destroy viewsheds (as was sadly the case at Ditch), conflict with historic districts, or saturate our fragile groundwater system with fertilizer and pesticides. These are all clear objectives.

But what objective is being achieved by counting lower levels toward already capped G.F.A.? How is that lower level measurably impacting the environment or neighbors if, presumably, owners have corresponding septic capacity and are not running afoul of any other dimensional regulations? It appears that task force members have philosophical objections to larger homes and have not followed evidence-based policymaking. The irony is that if lower levels are counted toward G.F.A. caps, I expect that most builders will choose to increase the above-ground, more-impactful footprint of houses versus to build lower levels.

Home purchases on the East End are in most cases the most significant investment homeowners make. They are places to live, but also to bring together family and friends. On any given summer weekend, when my kids are home from college and work, our home is filled joyously with family and friends. We live more than two-and-a-half hours from most relatives without traffic, so happily I can convince them to visit by offering them a place to sleep. Every bedroom and sofa are taken — including the pullout in the playroom in my lower level which saved my sanity as a full-time working mom when my kids were toddlers. I’ve lived in East Hampton year round for almost 25 years. If more restrictive rules are adopted, small-lot owners, in particular, will be forced to choose between bedrooms for their adult children (who probably can’t afford a home of their own), a room for elderly parents, home offices, or playrooms for preschoolers.

Almost 40 years ago, during a discussion in my college honors seminar, one of my classmates called capitalism “yucky.” I’ve repeated that story many times over the years because it quickly conveys the perils of dogmatic decision making. It seems to me that the Zoning Task Force finds larger homes and finished lower levels “yucky.” To limit G.F.A. based on the presence of a finished basement, the town must link its actions to legitimate objectives and goals. It has failed to do that.

The unfortunate reality is that in most instances, small, dense affordable housing (of which I have been and continue to be a vocal supporter) has a much greater impact on the East End’s environment than large homes which sit empty for much of the year. Let’s work together as a community and focus on the real issues — like affordable housing and not waste our time on nonissues.

Before continuing to proceed from within an ideological echo chamber, the task force should reach out to a broader section of the community — including real estate and building professionals — and make them part of the process and solution. The town’s future actions should be firmly grounded in supportable outcomes and objectives.




To Serve
May 10, 2024

Dear David,

My name is Barbara Dayton and I am running for a fourth term on the Springs School Board.

It has been my pleasure to serve on the board over the past nine years and I would love the opportunity to continue representing my community.

There have been a number of big projects during my tenure — the building expansion, two superintendent searches, two principal searches, and, of course, Covid-19. I have learned a lot from every one of those episodes — mostly, and at the risk of sounding cheesy, that the Springs School motto of “Together We Make a Difference” is spot on. While the school staff was instrumental during those endeavors, none of them would have gone as well were it not for the participation of community members and parents. I have always advocated for opportunities that increase transparency and I believe that our public meetings and committees have repeatedly brought all interested parties together to find the best outcomes for these important decisions.

My years of experience, along with ongoing school board training, have made me very aware of just what the role of a school board member is. To some people’s dismay, I am a big believer in the school board staying in its lane — that of providing oversight, working on policy, hiring the superintendent, and not micromanaging things. Sounds very boring, I know, but the board sticking to its functions and allowing the administration and staff to stick to theirs is ultimately what makes any school run most smoothly. And the more smoothly the school runs, the easier it should be for everyone’s focus to be on the number-one goal of every school: educating our children.

Teaching is a hard job in general, and even more so when adequate funding is always in question. The teachers at Springs deserve fair compensation and the best professional development opportunities that we can give them. But despite the ever-present financial constraints that Springs has, our teachers and staff do a remarkable job of not just educating but uplifting our students. Our eighth-graders can leave Springs with their heads held high as they enter the high school, knowing that they have as much a chance to succeed there as the children from the wealthier neighboring districts. While board meetings can admittedly be a little dry, the best ones are when we have student presenters sharing their work with us and the community. We recently had visits from our robotics teams and from the Journalism Club. My heart swells with pride and joy every time I see the initiative our students take and the enthusiasm they have in their areas of interest.

Keeping our programming strong and relevant, representing all the stakeholders of our district fairly, providing transparency in governance, and always working toward improving communications are some of the items that are very important to me. I am fortunate to share these concerns with my fellow board members, who are a great team and easy to work with.

I am an independent-minded person who is not in the pocket of any special-interest group, although if the students are passionate about something, I will do my darnedest to provide it for them. If my community would still like for me to work on its behalf, I’d be delighted to do so.




Ideal Candidate
May 13, 2024

Dear Mr. Rattray,

The Springs Teachers Association is writing to express our support for the 2024-2025 budget and our endorsement of Dermot Quinn for the upcoming school board election. Our children deserve a budget that allows them to remain competitive with their peers in surrounding districts. As a longtime resident of Springs and a parent of students in the school district, Dermot Quinn, we believe, has a dedication to education and a proven track record in advocating for student and community members that make him an ideal candidate for this school board position.

Dermot Quinn is the embodiment of clear communication and transparency, vital traits for any school board candidate, and he is exactly what is needed at Springs School. With his unwavering commitment to open dialogue and accessible information, Mr. Quinn will ensure a fiscally responsible future in which every member of the community feels heard and informed, creating a school environment where diversity is celebrated and everyone feels respected and supported.

Please vote yes to the budget and support Dermot Quinn’s candidacy in the Spring School Library on Tuesday, May 21.




Springs Teachers Association


Knock, Knock
May 12, 2024

To the Editor,

With the Amagansett School Board already stating services won’t be cut, I can report that if children will be going from 45 minutes to 40 minutes of instruction on individual education plans, that will potentially equate to 36 fewer hours yearly of instruction for some students — one hour a week. Guess cutting teachers over luxuries does have consequences.

The school board brought to us an interim superintendent, Richard Loeschner, who is allegedly a numbers guy. I’m more of a document guy. He may like the number 18. As in the number 18 in his previous contract in Brentwood. I think I’m even more curious than ever about that “competency” clause. In my opinion, it should be implemented and fulfilled in its entirety here.

Thirteen is another number. As in the number of filings of reports seeking his removal. Most filed too late. The issue is, I don’t understand how you were still in Brentwood before your “retirement.” Did you only “retire” because, as the contract states, they didn’t respond to any request for an extension asked for in May? It would appear they let you save face, gave you a send-off, and you retired. Seventeen days later, you were signed here? Not even 24 hours after the Seth Turner resignation letter? Some retirement plan. Perhaps you were actually in negotiations in the summer around July. When you told Brentwood you wouldn’t be coming back. Any conversation or negotiation with our board with an active superintendent would actually now null and void your contract.

Oddly enough, any extension in Brentwood hasn’t yet been produced. But that’s the norm. Just like responses to my Freedom of Information Law requests here haven’t been, either. So much for 20 days. We’ll be passing 30 this week.

In principle, I will be voting no on Tuesday May 21. I hope you join me in sending the message: teachers over luxuries, education over extracurricular activities. Unless I’m proved wrong with my appeal and the school needs its previous “country club” moniker reinstated. The board already put this school in a downward spiral, as neighboring districts like Montauk are allegedly trying to create what you seek to dismantle. Knock, knock. What do you call a unicorn who has no horn? A donkey.

Still here,



Love of Country
May 13, 2024

Dear David,

It was a bummer to read Jonathan Wallace’s letter (“Tragedy Repeats,” May 6) in last week’s edition. He’s got it all wrong and, as a woman, being on the receiving end of persistent mansplaining is truly no fun at all. But there is actually something much worse than mansplaining and that is watching women’s fundamental rights being stripped away in state after state in this country. It is truly a gut punch and makes me laser-focused on the upcoming elections where the fate of so many of the freedoms that we all hold dear are at stake.

On June 25, Democrats will have the opportunity to vote in a primary and choose a congressional candidate who has a real shot at defeating Nick LaLota in the November general election. Unfortunately, New York’s First Congressional District has been out of reach for Democrats since Lee Zeldin defeated Tim Bishop in 2014. So even though the fight for control of the House in 2024 runs through New York, our district was written off and left out of the conversation entirely. But that all changed when former John Avlon — CNN analyst, author, and presidential historian – announced his candidacy in February bringing national attention to the race. After getting to know John, the East Hampton Democratic Committee is confident that he can win back the seat and is proud to endorse his candidacy. We believe that his rational policies and strong convictions will galvanize Democratic, Independent, and even Republican voters across the district who are tired of divisive politics and long for a return to civility and bipartisan solutions. And it’s undeniable that he brings much-needed attention and just a little bit of star power to our forgotten district.

Knowing him only from CNN, I was initially skeptical, but John immediately won me over the very first time we met for coffee. Every conversation we’ve had since then has only reinforced my initial impression of John as being highly intelligent, well informed, articulate, and a genuinely good guy. I’ve been to his house in Sag Harbor for a meeting. It was modest and instantly recognizable to me as a parent as a comfortable, lived-in family home. He is a moderate Democrat, a bit more to the center on some issues than I am, but whenever I’ve pushed back on his positions, he listened respectfully and responded thoughtfully and knowledgeably. John radiates real, old-fashioned patriotism and love of country and this is never clearer than when he recounts his experience writing the eulogies for hundreds of fallen firefighters and police officers after Sept. 11, 2001. John will represent our district well in Congress. He will be a problem-solver and seek bipartisan solutions while holding the line on our core values of freedom and democracy. His campaign will be opening an office in Southampton tomorrow evening at 6:30, where you can hear from John and learn how to get involved. Please email [email protected] for additional information and to R.S.V.P.



Beautiful Galaxies
May 13, 2024

To the Editor,

Sky conditions, clear and calm (perfect).

I opened the dome and powered up the 24-inch telescope. After a successful alignment, I went right to work observing some of my favorite objects. First up was M-57, the Ring Nebula in Lyra. I hit the “go to” button and with a sigh of relief watched the scope move in the right direction. When it stopped, I looked in the low-power eyepiece and received my reward. The Ring was in the field of view. This object, known as a planetary nebula, is compact and can handle a lot of power. Tonight it was able to handle all I could throw at it! Each time increasing the power, it grew larger and larger; at the highest power, of about 1,000 magnification, I could see two lobes 180 degrees apart from each other, flaring off the doughnut-shape ring. I was able to glimpse the central star that is commonly seen in photographs.

After savoring that for a few minutes, I moved to M-27, the Dumbbell Nebula in Sagitta, a tiny constellation just below the Northern Cross. Like the Ring, the Dumbbell is a star that has reached the end of its life, throwing off its outer shell of gas, forming the beautiful puff clouds that we see through telescopes. The central star, known as a white dwarf, is becoming inactive and eventually dies out. As I crank up the power, more and more detail becomes available, and I’m totally blown away by the beautiful hourglass shape.

The next object chosen is one of my favorites. The Veil Nebula in Cygnus, the Swan (NGC 6960). Similar to a planetary nebula, this is a supernova remnant, where at the end of the massive star’s life, it violently explodes, shining as bright as an entire galaxy for several weeks and producing massive clouds of heavy elements, such as carbon, oxygen, platinum, and gold. Without such events, life could never be processed, because the planets and all life are made up of these heavier elements. What’s left of the superdense star depends on its mass, either forming a neutron star, the size of a city (a teaspoon of it weighing as much as Mount Everest) and spinning rapidly (as fast as 700 times per second) or, if the gravity is intense enough, the star is crushed completely and disappears Like a cosmic magic trick into a black hole, through space and time, to where we do not know. Possibly producing a wormhole into a parallel universe where dark matter may exist?

The infamous Veil Nebula exploded 10,000 years ago and has produced a shell of gas 100 light years in diameter. As for observing it, you better have a large telescope, because the Veil is quite dim and spread out. The Veil is too big to fit in the field of view and so must be viewed piece by piece, trying to follow it in a large circular pattern, some sections being brighter than others. A medium-low power eyepiece coupled with an oxygen three filter produced the prettiest wispy images.

There are two more objects I want to view tonight before calling it quits. A pair of spiral galaxies both lying at the end of the Big Dipper’s handle. To see spiral structure of M101 was a bit of a struggle, but I got it done. I was wondering if twilight was looming, so I quickly turned to M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy. It was as if someone had flipped a switch and turned up the brightness! The heavenly view of the spiral arms stretched out in a beautiful pinwheel pattern, brightly filling the field of view. I then observed the elusive Satellite Galaxy and connecting arm (NGC 5195) that circles the Whirlpool, its fossil light traveling through space for some 30-million years before finally entering my eye. I then heard the birds begin to sing, signaling twilight was about to break, so I called it quits. I snuck back into bed, knowing tomorrow would be a good day to be alive.

I’ve been viewing the heavens with a telescope here from East Hampton for 45 years now. Unfortunately, light pollution is a serious problem and continues to worsen. The simple pleasures in life are being swept away by a wasteful society that leaves lights on when they’re totally unnecessary. Some institutions even leave them on throughout the day. I don’t understand why so many people are afraid of the dark. After all, it’s the most peaceful time of day.



A White Elephant
East Hampton
May 13, 2024

To the Editor,

Reading last week’s announcement issued by the East Hampton Town Board about saving $4 million by 2R Architects making corrections to their outlandish design and material choices, it is time to closely examine the utilization of our current senior center in an effort to judge the proposed gargantuan, ill-conceived new building.

Let me start by saying a new senior center is very long overdue. Not because of its limited capacity but rather the flagrant neglect of Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who was responsible for the Human Services Department over the last 12 years both in East Hampton and in Montauk. The East Hampton senior center is literally falling apart. It is a disgrace for any taxpayer-funded building to be allowed to deteriorate into such dangerous disrepair. These conditions are the result of gross neglect by an elected town official who ignored her responsibilities to residents and town-owned property.

My intention as a gerontologist involved with the design of buildings for older adults over the last 50 years is to have a series of Letters to the Editor pointing out why the current misdirected senior center project will turn into a white elephant.

The proposed senior center is currently draining taxpayer dollars due to myriad errors and total lack of experience in such design by 2R Architects. The firm hasn’t saved the town $4 million, as Supervisor Burke-Gonzalez erroneously proclaimed. They have cost the town in time and money with each and every correction they are forced to make on their impossible design. They should deduct correction costs from their fee. Moreover, they are preventing the development of a suitable senior center by wasting everyone’s time.

By the way, a local architect designed a beautiful, functional new senior center as a gift to the town. Supervisor (then town board member) Kathee Burke-Gonzalez dismissed it out of hand without consultation from anyone. That should ring alarm bells throughout the town.

Let me start my examination with my own experience at the center. I have been attending the East Hampton senior center since I was in my 40s. For the first 20 years I was a guest; now I am an elder.

I have always enjoyed the company of my elders. My “day care” prior to entering school in the 1950s was provided by my great-aunt, who was 78 when I was born, and my grandmother, who was 73. I spent the majority of my days with them and their elder peers before I entered kindergarten. During that time, my parents were building their respective businesses. As a result, I had an atypical upbringing. I loved it.

I lived on the West Coast after I received my Ph.D. in behavioral gerontology. Prior to that, I designed the first “memory care” units in the nation. I started my own business, Alzheimer’s Care Management Systems, in 1980. Every summer, Thanksgiving, and Christmas I visited my parents for vacation. During my stay I accompanied my father to the senior center, the very same one I now regularly attend. As a result, I have witnessed attendees’ aging in place over time. I may have the longest experience there of anyone.

Let’s start looking at what is needed in a new center by looking at average attendance. The dining room’s legal capacity is 54 people. On Mondays and Wednesdays, there is usually about half the capacity. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there is nearer to three-quarters capacity due to afternoon bingo. Although those numbers are dwindling as a new generation, baby boomers, demand more challenging and sophisticated activities. Recently, on Fridays, bridge and mah-jongg groups play after lunch. They do not necessarily have a meal first.

There are many other competing outlets for healthy “senior” activities without the stigma of a “senior center.” Area libraries offer a plethora of daily classes, weekly educational lectures, contemporary and vintage movies, and intergenerational programs. Moreover, there are Zoom classes, churches, Guild Hall, and so on. The competition is fierce. The point of these gatherings is, first and foremost, socialization. Making new friends when you’re over 50 is very challenging for both men and women. Being able to join a welcoming, active group is a starting point.

On average, there are approximately 40 attendees for lunch on any given day. The average age of attendees is mid-80s.

Clearly, only an infinitesimal number of eligible older adults in East Hampton attend the senior center. No one in my peer group would even consider joining. We are the active elders of the community. However, for me, aside from my professional life, being with elders is my comfort zone. Always has been.

The few people who attend the existing senior center begs the question, why build such a gargantuan new center for so few people? Wealthy baby boomers moving into the community post-Covid-19 use their second home intermittently. They come here to impress their peers, not brag of their use of age-related community services.

Make this town board justify building a 22,000-square-foot senior center. Remember, the design is almost twice the size of the Nassau Coliseum. It’s up to us. Taxpayers, unite! Stop the insanity now before this administration hemorrhages more of our tax dollars because of both their ignorance and arrogance!


The main arena at Nassau Coliseum is 44,000 square feet, surrounded by an exterior metal building structure of 416,000 square feet. Ed.


Would Be King
East Hampton
May 13, 2024

Dear David,

Forget the wall-to-wall sordid Stormy voyeurism that captivates the media. Focus on the facts pertinent to the character and competence of the man who would be king.

Against the backdrop of a billion-dollar loss on Trump Hotels and Casinos, it’s been noted that only fathomless incompetence as a businessman can explain losing that much money in a business where the odds favor the house in every game. Turning to his self-proclaimed mastery as a builder, he claimed $671 million in losses on his Chicago tower, the last thing he ever built, which he then shifted into another front business and claimed another $168-million loss. This is being called by tax experts a double dip, illegally taking the same loss twice. Easy to see why he wanted to kneecap the Internal Revenue Service when he was president. Swindlers resist oversight, and as president you can fire them.

The myth of his business acumen comes more clearly into focus year after year. It boils down to hundreds of millions in inheritance, dramatized by years of studio lighting of him scowling into the camera and pretending to fire people who never really worked for him in the first place. Millions of viewers mistook for reality the equivalent of a grown man playing a child’s game, pointing his finger at a playmate, saying, “Bang, bang, you’re dead.’

We learned that Donald recently convened about 25 top fossil-fuel executives at Mar-a-Lago and offered to roll back all the legislation designed to slow climate change for a billion dollars in campaign contributions. Even these guys, who for 40 years have been paying for disinformation on the subject, were shocked at the brazenness of it. Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer for the Bush administration, called it a prosecutable solicitation of a bribe.

Thanks to the fainthearted delay in prosecution by Merrick Garland, and the success of Mitch McConnell in stacking the courts with right-wing zealots, the courts won’t save us from this charlatan. The Supremes seem poised to declare the president above the law. Forty-one indictments evaporate in smoke. We’ve just learned Judge Aileen Cannon, presiding over the classified documents case, has been enjoying free trips to fancy resorts with the Federalist Society, the same group responsible for stripping women of their right to control when they bear children. We’d been giving her credit for simple incompetence, but no. It seems she’s bent or brainwashed by the tiny minority that now drives the top end of our legal system. After months of delay, she layered on more delay last week, assuring that this open/shut case won’t get to trial before the election.

If you still think this guy will “hire the best people” note that his daughter-in-law is running the Republican National Committee. Florida, emulating the Saudi royal family in terms of who will rule, this week named Trump’s entire family, including in-laws, to the delegation to the Republican convention. Melania, exposing a dollop of common sense, begged off on behalf of her 18-year-old son.

Many Republicans who are aware of Trump’s failings justify their intent to vote for him with the claim liberals are taking the country into “socialism.” Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney have fought every liberal program that came down the pike. But they’ve also seen the inner workings of government, the threats to be dealt with domestically and internationally, economically and militarily, and the basic competence and character necessary to keep the fragile human machinery functioning. Romney has stated on CNN that he won’t vote for Trump over Biden. Ryan, an Ayn Rand libertarian, announced he will vote for Biden. Up close and personal with government and with Trump and Biden, they’ve walked away from a party sucked into a conman’s cult, and had the courage to say so. Wikipedia’s list of prominent Republicans against Trump, top-heavy with insiders from his own administration, is pages long. This has never happened before. Trust them.



May 8, 2024

Dear David,

Claire Hunter, it’s time for you to put your dictionary away as you have used up all your big words (“Deplorable Rhetoric,” Letters to the Editor, May 2). Be advised the world is not black and white with a slight touch of gray. Be careful of your name-calling, as you have no idea of who I am or what I stand for.

What’s your concern about my remarks being inflammatory? And “contributing” to exactly what community?

I have sympathy for all involved in this horrific war. I have full sympathy for the students who are doing their best to get an education but are being stopped in a form of total brutality, by outsiders. Outsiders being paid big money to undermine students and do their best to brainwash and radicalize as many as they could. An extremely rich, violent agitator with many a.k.a.’s is always first on the scene. He is estranged from his family, which doesn’t seem to bother him as long as he is the first one on the scene.

It troubles me, Ms. Hunter, to see a professor or teacher rant as loud as they can that Hamas is so correct in their terrorist acts.

I suggest you read other letters to the editor on this subject and try to comprehend what they said. I would really like to know whose letter you read, as I did not condone the savage attack, but I believe Israel has the right to completely defend itself.

In God and country,



How Pitiful
May 8, 2024

To the Editor:

How pitiful that often-self-identifying outside agitators have infiltrated or were invited to join the tent protesters at Columbia and at other universities. How disappointing that many students have welcomed nonstudents who would direct rehearsed rhetoric and advocate for the takeover of private space, interrupting graduation, invoking clichéd, inapplicable 1960s analogies and who refuse to differentiate between civilian populations and terrorists. How educationally bereft that complexities such as divestment find their simplistic way onto placards hoisted for media attention. And what a lost opportunity for students to command their own force, band together as a kind of Students Without Borders to go where they are needed to support by word and deed humanitarian efforts.



Most Absurd
May 9, 2024

To the Editor,

Well, I have resisted responding to your weekly columnist, whose letters are always last each week! I played golf with him, in a thrown-together foursome at the Sag Harbor Course about 15 years ago, and did not respond to his comments and discussion then. But I just have to comment on the following paragraph in this week’s paper:

“Antisemitism is the simplest of all. It is a derivative of deranged Christian political theology, for whatever reasons, and only our churches can terminate the problem. Discussions of student antisemitism with respect to Gaza are just a means of blocking the real issue.”

He never mentions this or any other religion in an entire letter. It is one of the most absurd, inaccurate, ignorant, and distorted things I have ever heard! And totally untrue, particularly with what he is referring to. We all know that the prime source of the current rise in antisemitism, and actually a prime source in the past 1,500 years, has to do with an entirely different “religion” practiced now by two billion new inhabitants of all civilized countries in the world! I sincerely doubt that Christianity, also a victim of the same other religion, has much to do with the problem now!


Clarity and Delusion
East Hampton
May 12, 2024

To the Editor,

When Trump was president, his performance in real terms — growth, prosperity, America’s well-being in the world — was mediocre at best. Yet, despite the numerical and political calculations, he declared his term in office to be extraordinary. The gap between delusion and clarity, a problem that has existed forever, is a pivotal question in the coming election.

Improving the quality of life in real terms is the truest marker of political success. It’s all meat and potatoes, dollars and cents. There is no psychological trickery. You aren’t better off because someone else is worse off. There is no relativity function except in comparing where you are to where you could have been. The size of your neighbor’s house doesn’t change the size of yours.

When Reagan took office in 1980, he created an enormous issue around welfare cheats: absentee fathers, double-dipping mothers ripping off the system. Stealing our tax dollars and living the high life. People bought the story and thought Reagan was their protector. When it turned out that the story was 95-percent bull, Reagan was long gone. All the tax dollars disappeared and no one got a break who didn’t always get a break.

Yet, people felt better and re-elected him. He stood up for the American people by giving them someone that they could feel superior to. Yet, on the meat and potatoes side, he gave them the biggest screwing in the history of our country, where screwing the people was a highly developed art form.

The welfare-cheating scam really didn’t affect much of the population. Even though hardly anyone cheated, we felt that the country was being protected. The poor whites and people of color on welfare, not counting seniors, would have loved a better life with more money, decent housing, etc. But the system didn’t provide that life and it was cheaper to keep people on welfare than to create jobs, housing, etc. Welfare was a viable option, politically as well as financially. Sharing the crumbs but never a whole slice.

How could we not trust the president on that issue? Yet, we couldn’t.

The meat and potatoes measure for Reagan’s eight years was a negative 30-percent income loss for 75 percent of the population. A lot of wealth either disappeared or shifted elsewhere.

Trump’s meat and potatoes measure is the addition of $8 trillion in debt (the largest deficit in our modern history).

In the New York City trial, Trump paid off a hooker for fear that she would sully his reputation. Already known as a serial rapist who paid for sex in one form or another, a misogynist, and a kinky guy (who enjoyed golden showers) — why would he pay someone off? Trump’s delusion was that people cared about his sexual predilections. His mind was so fogged (lack of clarity) that he believed he had to break the law to save his butt. Which was never on the line. His clarity/delusion gap was nonexistent. He was an idiot.

So, Reagan’s welfare scam and Trump’s trial conundrums are simply cover for their more insidious designs: How to make the wealthy wealthier and screw everyone else.

The American people are like freebasing junkies in the second hour of an all-nighter. After the first hit, it’s all downhill until you finally pass out. In the morning, you are foul-smelling and broke. Yet, the only thing you remember is the pleasure of that first hit and you are first in line when your coke dealer sets up shop.

Clarity and delusion. One and the same.



On Fifth Avenue
May 13, 2024

To the Editor,

While Michael Cohen worked for 10 years as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and “fixer,” he once said he’d “take a bullet for” Trump.

And of course, Trump himself once bragged that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

So, I sure hope that Trump and Cohen don’t accidentally run into each other on Fifth Avenue during a trial lunch break this week!


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