Letters to the Editor: 03.28.13

Our readers' comments

Council Manager
    East Hampton
    March 19, 2013
Dear David:
    This letter is in response to an editorial that appeared in the March 7 edition of The Star.
    The League of Women Voters of the Hamptons, after a period of two years of intensive research into a council manager form of government, voted to adopt a position in favor of and advocate for this type of government for the town of East Hampton. Contrary to the statement in The Star’s editorial that “it could consolidate power and put residents at a greater remove from government,” the council manager form of government alleviates the time-consuming pressures of daily administration and running departments, allowing the council members more time to interact with the public and to form policy.
    The council manager form of government combines the strong political leadership of elected officials with the strong managerial experience of a professionally trained administrator. The town manager may make recommendations to the town council but authority for all policy determinations rests with the town council, as required by state town law. The town manager is bound by whatever action the town council takes.
    There is support by various groups and individuals within the town of East Hampton for this form of government. A very good example of how a town manager system can succeed is close at hand in the village of East Hampton, which has a village administrator, a position quite similar to a town manager. We believe if you took a second look at the merits of a town manager you might reconsider your current position and join the groups who do support it. We would be happy to meet with you to share the results of our in-depth study on the issue.
    Thank you.
    Health/Government Committee
    League of Women Voters of
    The Hamptons

Snappin’ and Attackin’
    East Hampton
    March 25, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    It would be so much fun to read the letters in The East Hampton Star written by some of the more stellar members of the East Hampton Democratic Party if they just weren’t so mean. These people are so over the top they remind me of those little dogs that just bite and growl and attack with no provocation other than they are so unhappy. Whether these little dogs have bad, decayed teeth or dirty and matted fur, or perhaps their nails are ingrown and digging into their paws, we have all seen such unfortunate beasts and we fret about their angst. 
    Take some of the letters from last week’s paper. As usual, a few of this Democratic coterie concentrated their attacks on Theresa Quigley. One writer in particular growled about Ms. Quigley’s law degree, yapping that New York Law School’s recent drop in ranking among law schools was a commentary on Ms. Quigley’s intellect. Her tirade got me to wondering about Chris Kelley, partner in Twomey, Latham and Shea, and former chair of the East Hampton Town Democratic Party. Did Chris Kelley read her letter and frantically check to see if his intellect was still intact? You see, Mr. Christopher Kelley graduated from New York Law School (not to be confused, as we were warned, with New York University School of Law, from which Rudolph W. Giuliani graduated). But I digress. In fact, another distinguished East Hamptonite, David Kelley, Chris’s brother and former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, also graduated from New York Law School. Snappin’ and attackin’ indiscriminately sometimes results in an unanticipated bite to one’s posterior.
    Then the writer, her head spinning and mouth snapping uncontrollably like something out of “The Exorcist,” tried to take a bite out of Bill Wilkinson, who before being elected Supervisor of the Town of East Hampton was senior vice president of human resources for the Walt Disney Company, a multibillion-dollar global company with 166,000 employees. In her snapping fit, the writer managed to denigrate every woman I know by saying Wilkinson’s position at Disney was a job that only a woman would take! Even worse, a woman without a college degree! Take that, you low-class, uneducated hussies. Snap! Snap! Snap!
    Attacking and hysterical Democratic lapdogs off their leashes and talking points always tell you what they really think of the “little people.” And in this case, the writer let us know just what she and the members of her Democratic coterie really think about hardworking administrative assistants with little or no college, who perhaps are struggling to feed their families. Heck, this one little writer is waging her own personal war on women.
    Yes, this year’s election is likely to bring some changes to the town. But unfortunately for humanity, some things and people and lapdogs do not change. I for one, and I suspect the recipients of the writer’s ire, will pray that whatever ails her mind and soul will some day be cured. 

Positive Contributions
    East Hampton
    March 18, 2013
Dear East Hampton Star,
    I support Joe McKinsey and the Dunes.
    East Hampton would benefit from a high-end rehab facility.
    It’s my understanding that your Feb. 20 article “Semi-Public Oddity” about Joe McKinsey and the Dunes did not portray the entire story. There were certain elements omitted. It was never mentioned that there is a similar “center” in close proximity to the Dunes that has wanted to open a drug/alcohol residential inpatient facility and outpatient center in the East Hampton area for years. Their efforts have been unsuccessful. There has been a steady drumbeat of negative and false publicity against the Dunes as a result. If you look closer you might find political and financial reasons for closing the Dunes, not practical or honest ones. They were always in compliance with the law as it was written. If the permits on the zoning matter were issued properly, how can a re-review be justified? Is it fair or necessary? All of this is a stretch to accommodate someone else’s needs and/or wants.
    Joe McKinsey is an honorable, forthright, and giving man. Whenever a family or individual is in crisis Joe is the person they call. And Joe never hesitates to help. He is a man of compassion.
    I feel that our town board and community should see the positive contributions the Dunes has made and will continue to make in the future.

Concern About the Dunes
    East Hampton
    March 18, 2013
Dear Editor:
    I represent a group of over 65 people (Citizens for the Preservation of Northwest Woods) who have expressed concern about the continued operation of the Dunes, a high-end drug/alcohol rehab clinic in a single-family house in Northwest Woods.
    I attended the zoning board hearing on March 12, where the board was being asked by the Dunes to overturn the determination by Tom Preiato, building inspector, that they need a special permit as a semipublic facility.
    Not surprisingly, all those speaking on behalf of the Dunes seemed to directly benefit financially from its very profitable operation (projected revenue of well over $5 million per year).
    However I was most disturbed by the comments made by Trevor Yoder, who is the owner of the house that the Dunes is renting. He claims to have attended the various meetings between the Dunes and town officials and further said that all of the details regarding the Dunes — 15 to 20 employees, 16 patients, extensive clinical services, etc., were told to Mr. Preiato, et al. However, none of this info was included in the two very short letters that the building inspector relied upon to make his decision in March 2010. The Dunes submitted a voluminous application detailing staffing, number of patients, and clinical programs to New York State to obtain their license in November 2010 (eight months later) and never shared that info with the building inspector.
    In response to hard evidence that the Dunes possesses a New York State controlled-substance  license for schedule II-IV narcotics (schedule II substances include oxycodone, methadone, morphine, codeine, and many others), Trevor responded by saying there is nothing on that list that isn’t in every medicine cabinet in East Hampton!
    Second to the Dunes, Trevor has the most to gain from their continued operation as they are paying rent of $450,000 a year with a $6,000-per-month option to buy.
    In another example, after listening to Jeff Bragman enumerate an exhausting list of clinical services that the Dunes advertises directly on its Web site, a proponent of the Dunes responded by saying he was very familiar with the Dunes operations and that they do not perform any of these services. Well, either the Dunes does provide these services, in which case the town and zoning board are deliberately being misled, or the Dunes does not provide these services, in which case they are seriously misleading their prospective clients.
    Needless to say, these comments do nothing to alleviate our concerns about the lack of candor surrounding the Dunes.

Dangerous Traffic
    East Hampton
    March 25, 2013
To the Editor,
    We woke up Saturday morning to discover someone had smashed into the side of my Corolla while it was parked overnight in front of our house. I couldn’t be more pleased. In fact, not long after discovering a dent large enough to cradle a Thanksgiving tur­key, I had reason to do my jumping, whooping, fist-pumping happy dance right there on the front lawn.
    For longer than the dozen years we’ve lived on Miller Lane West, our neighbors have been complaining to town officials about a dangerous traffic situation on Miller Lane, Miller Lane West, Miller Lane East, and Indian Hill Road. We’ve submitted two petitions, bearing 76 and 80 signatures respectively. In those petitions, and during several town board meetings, we’ve outlined the dangers using words any third grader could understand:
    Our neighborhood has become a popular shortcut around the traffic light at Cedar and North Main Streets. We’ve got too many speeding vehicles of all kinds and too many big trucks on our narrow residential roads. We have no sidewalks and no road shoulders in places. The situation is terribly dangerous, especially for the many children from Whalebone Woods and the Oak­view Highway trailer park who walk or ride their bikes and skateboards through our neighborhood as they go to and from the village.
    Get the picture? Apparently, it’s too complex for some town officials. Over the years, the responses to our requests for help have been a profound lack of interest, installation of a single stop sign that is ignored more than it is obeyed and has no discernable effect, a wild goose chase ending in a profound lack of interest, and a confused huffiness, as if we had been speaking Serbo-Croatian.
    The response from the current administration wins the award for the most ludicrous: An enthusiastic offer of help; a multi-pronged proposal reportedly endorsed by the town engineer, police chief, and highway superintendent, a unanimous vote by the town board to move said proposal to a public hearing followed by backpedaling so fierce as to qualify for the Tour de France.
    It would be hilarious if it weren’t endangering the lives of children.
    But I’m an optimistic person. Although the odds favored never finding the driver who smashed into my car and fled, I called the police on Saturday to file a report anyway. A very nice officer came to the house. He was caring, friendly, professional — a model of excellent community policing. After we’d exhausted the subject of my dented car door, I mentioned our neighborhood’s traffic problem. He expressed concern and then sat in his car to write up a report on my dented door.
    He’d barely had time to warm the seat before one of the most notorious of the reckless drivers to regularly terrorize our neighborhood, a blond guy in a monster truck, broke the sound barrier as he flew past our house. With a cop car sitting in our driveway, officer behind the wheel and fully alert.
    Read the police news if you want the details. A need for speed was apparently not this man’s only issue. Suffice it to say, I did the Mashed Potato, the Twist, and the Watusi — all at the same time, right out there on Miller Lane West.
    I’m enormously grateful that town police have said they’ll keep an extra-careful eye on our neighborhood from now on. They can park in my driveway any time they want. I’ll even make coffee.

Serious Noise Problem
    Sag Harbor
    March 25, 2013
To the Editor:
    I attended the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council/Pilots Association meet­ing on March 12. It was the helicopter industry’s outreach to East End communities. The meeting was also attended by managers of Gabreski and Republic airports; they both demonstrated how, by carefully directing helicopter routes to their airports, they have all but eliminated noise complaints.
    Not so for Jim Brundige, East Hampton Airport manager. All he did was acknowledge that he had a serious noise problem and offered no solution other than that they were working on it.
    Two helicopter pilots in attendance questioned Mr. Brundige about concerns that the Jessups route selected by Dominick Stanzione was unsafe. Mr. Stanzione had personally redirected controllers to send 80 percent of inbound and outbound air traffic over one route, and did so without consulting other town board members and despite safety concerns voiced by air traffic controllers, pilots, local officials, and citizens affected by the route!
    Yet, after eight months of continued protest by all concerned, nothing has been done to correct this arbitrary, capricious, and dangerous decision by Stan­zione.
    He has placed the town of East Hampton at risk for liability if there is an accident, he has made the town vulnerable to lawsuits by towns and villages affected by the route, has made the town the poster child for noise pollution across the entire country, and has diminished the wonderful asset known as the Hamptons. All of this for what purpose?
    I ask the good citizens of East Hampton to let Mr. Stanzione and the board know that it’s time East Hampton Airport returned to being a responsible good neighbor. The noise problem needs to be resolved immediately.

Two Different Things
    East Hampton
    March 22, 2013
Dear David,
 I regularly attend the East Hampton School District Board of Education meetings. I have no doubt in my mind that Gina Kraus is an outstanding classroom teacher and it seems this is where she could be doing the most good for our children. Being an outstanding classroom teacher and an outstanding administrator are two different things. The last board of education meeting was attended by many parents in support of Gina Kraus. Yes, they said she was wonderful, outstanding, and caring with children, having had their children in her classroom.
    We the public need to realize that the board and the superintendent do not make decisions in haste, but give much consideration to all matters concerning personnel, and in many cases have to make very difficult decisions in order to bring the very best educational leadership to the East Hampton School District. I support the decision of the board and the superintendent. I hope that Gina Kraus will remain at the John Marshall School as a classroom teacher, where children can benefit from her wonderful teaching skills.

Forward-Looking School
    East Hampton
    March 12, 2013
Dear Sir or Madam,
    I write to you regarding my experiences at the Ross School. I joined the Ross community as a teacher and boarding house parent last August. For 23 years I had taught at very fine, yet traditional, private schools. I was ready for a change, and I searched for a school that took an outside-the-box approach to education. I was intrigued by Ross’s core values, its integrated spiral curriculum, by the fact that it is a lab school where teachers and students are encouraged to experiment with, and experience, new ideas and approaches to learning, and by its very strong internationalism. Indeed, I was strongly drawn to the vision that Ms. Courtney Ross and her late husband had when they founded this school.
    I have not been disappointed since my arrival; on the contrary, my Ross experience has exceeded my expectations. The faculty are dedicated educators, while the students are energetic, talented, and creative. The curriculum extends far beyond what one would expect; students take courses in the arts and wellness too. They are global citizens, and they are aware of issues that affect us locally and worldwide. I have been enormously impressed by the richness of their imagination, which is evident every day, but was especially on display when the seniors shared their projects with the community.
    Ross is truly an international school. Many of our M-Term courses take students to Ethiopia, Italy, Thailand, China, and the Galapagos Islands, to name a few places. Just as significantly, the rest of the world comes to Ross — one need only witness the large number of students from China, Korea, Germany, and Russia, among others. This range of nationalities makes not only our school, but our local community diverse, vibrant, and interesting. It is also an excellent way for people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds to share ideas, and reach a greater level of mutual understanding and respect.
    For the first 18 years of my career I taught at the college level. I can say unequivocally that Ross prepares its students well, academically and socially, for higher education. This is a forward-looking school that equips young people for the challenges of the 21st century. I am eager to continue being a member of this community for many more years.
    Yours truly,
    Spanish Teacher and House Parent
    The Ross School

Education for Me, Too
    East Hampton
    March 22, 2013
Dear Editor,
    When I saw the letters in support of Courtney Ross in this week’s paper, I felt that I should have written, too. I have taught at Ross for 14 years, years of innovation and intellectual development for the school and for myself.
    Who knew that algebra was invented in Baghdad in the 800s when Europe was still using Roman numerals? Teaching math at Ross has been an education or me, too. Integrating all subjects in historical context is fascinating.
    In addition to working with an incredibly intelligent, caring, and creative faculty, I have also been privileged and thankful to have other members of my family teaching at Ross, too. Ms. Ross has provided meaningful, challenging employment in this community and enabled young people to stay here and work together to educate local, and global, students.

Mosquito Management
    East Hampton
    March 22, 2013
Dear David,
    In regard to Stuart Vorpahl’s letter in last week’s Star titled “The Most Deadly Critter‚” which discussed Suffolk County Vector Control’s use of chemical pesticides to control mosquitoes in East Hampton, bravo Stuart! Thank you for your research, and thoughtfulness in composition.
    The debate on the safety of methoprene and other chemical pesticides is ongoing. With disparate views from all sides, it is hard to imagine that a consensus can be reached. I am no longer interested in arguing with Suffolk County Vector Control whether these chemicals are good or bad. I will stand my ground and say that they are bad, and vector control will continue to spray our community and state that they are good.
    It is interesting to note that over four million taxpayer dollars funded Suffolk County’s 2007 long-term plan for mosquito management, which happens to call for a 75 percent reduction in the use of chemical pesticides over a 10-year period. And here we are, some 6 years later, with no reduction in sight. I wonder, if the chemicals are as safe as they say, why would they have included in their plan the goal of reducing pesticide usage by 75 percent? Is there something they are not telling us? Recommendations from Suffolk County’s Council on Environmental Quality asked that methoprene use be restricted in saltwater wetlands, but the county uses it there anyway.
    In any event, my solution to this quandary is to help Suffolk County achieve their mosquito management goals as outlined in their plan. How can we assist vector control to achieve its goals while reducing or eliminating the use of chemicals like methoprene and sumithrin in East Hampton? How do we protect the public from mosquito-borne diseases while also protecting the environment? Well, the answer came right out of Mr. Vector Control’s mouth when he went before the East Hampton Town Board last fall and convinced them that his chemicals are safe.
    He told the town board that they can stop Suffolk County from dousing our wetlands with chemicals if the town were able to reduce the mosquito population. How can the town achieve this miraculous feat? The adoption of an integrated pest management program can reduce or replace the use of chemical pesticides to control mosquitoes. Integrated pest management also happens to be part of Suffolk County’s long-term plan, but they choose to only spray chemicals.
    As an East Hampton Town Trustee, I recently composed a letter that the trustees sent to Suffolk County Vector Control, informing the county that the trustees disapprove of the use of methoprene for mosquito control. We requested that resources be swiftly allocated to implement integrated mosquito management techniques in East Hampton.
    Many months ago I gave Supervisor Wilkinson a draft plan, titled “Just Say No to Methoprene: Integrated Pest Management for Mosquito Control in East Hampton.” It discusses mosquito awareness and education as well as guidance for mosquito management, without dousing us in chemicals. Simple stuff here, town board. Implement an integrated mosquito management plan that will reduce mosquitoes to a level where vector control will not find the need to spray our community with chemical pesticides. That is, of course, if Mr. Vector Control was truthful in stating that if we reduce mosquitoes, he won’t spray. If that is the case, then the town board may want to review my draft plan, or come up with one of their own — and they should do so quickly, because vector control will most likely start spraying here by midsummer.
    And what about the distinction between nuisance control and disease prevention? If anyone watched Mr. Vector Control’s presentation, you would have heard opening remarks relaying frightening information about Triple E (EEE) and the dire need to spray chemical pesticides to prevent this horrific disease. Although a third of all people who contract EEE die from the disease, only five human cases have been reported in New York State from 1964 through 2011, and none were reported on Long Island. Nationally, about six cases are reported each year. As for West Nile virus, serious neurological infection occurs in less than 1 percent of infected people. Fourteen people were infected with West Nile virus in Suffolk County last year, and thankfully, there were no deaths. Not to marginalize these cases of disease in humans, but vector control needs to be honest if the use of pesticides is for nuisance control or disease prevention.
    Talking about nuisance control, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is holding a public hearing regarding the Long Island Pesticide Use Management Plan on Wednesday, at the Suffolk County Community College Riverhead campus starting at 7 p.m. They have been discussing this plan since 1998, and are now opening it to public comment. If you read the draft (which can be found online) you will see that the recommendation is to study more and discuss more.
    I wonder what needs to be discussed and studied more, since our groundwater, the same water that millions of people across Long Island consume, currently contains 117 pesticide-related chemicals. Did you know that millions of pounds and hundreds of thousands of gallons of pesticides are used every year across Long Island? Like it or not, “our” government is supposed to protect our air, water, food, and soil, and if you ask me, they are failing.
    Who exactly is the D.E.C. protecting, when after 15 years of discussion and study, and the fact that over 100 pesticide-related compounds are in our sole source of drinking water, the D.E.C. still has no intention of banning any pesticides? Keep in mind that these chemicals not only seep into our groundwater, but eventually end up in our ponds, harbors, and bays. What effects will all of these chemicals have on our marine and freshwater ecosystems, which are intrinsically important and also essential to our local economy and way of life?
    No more excuses, D.E.C. — and no more years of study. It is unacceptable for the D.E.C. to allow the continual proliferation of chemicals into our water and our children’s water. It is time for the D.E.C. to protect us and our ability to enjoy drinkable water in the coming years. Please join me in demanding that the D.E.C. step up and do their job, or step down and let someone else do it for them. I hope to see many East Hampton residents at the D.E.C. public hearing in Riverhead on Wednesday (April 3). And by the way, East Hampton, please encourage our town board to Just Say no to methoprene!
    For the health and safety of the people and the planet,

An Early Morning Walk
    March 17, 2013
Dear David,
    One of our leading animal advocates argued that being on the beach with one’s dog is not unlike a “religious experience.”
    I have just returned from an early morning walk on Napeague area beaches and I would like to see a few “parishioners” banned from Mass!
    To wit: The response from the owner of an aggressive, snarling little black dog, “Oh, he’s just a healthy male!”
    And then: the response from the owner whose dog, without provocation, attacked mine, “Oh, this dog is impossible!”
    And certainly, the response from an on-beach driver whose running-alongside dog had just left a huge excremental deposit, a raised middle finger.
    I propose excommunication with a large fine and an ARF permanent tattoo: “My dog is fine. I am a jerk!”
    I intuit your accord,

Applause and Cheers
    March 23, 2013
Dear Editor:
    It was a sad day last Monday evening. There we were, it was a little after 8 p.m., and the last note of a truly wonderful nearly three-year jazz experience had come to a close.
    It seems that Jed and Leslie Feldman, the owners of The Pizza Place, opposite the Kmart mall in Bridgehampton, had gotten tired after over 20 years of cooking, serving, and cleaning the delightful restaurant, and decided to sell it. But what does that have to do with jazz? Everything! In the back nook of the restaurant, just big enough for the musicians and about six or seven small round tables, wonderful music spontaneously flowed every Monday evening. Local and sometimes visiting great players popped in — jazz violinists, a great family of horns, guitars, accordions, drummers, all hosted by two excellent artists, Don Stein at the piano and Dennis Raffelock, vocalist/bassist. The evening always featured a wide variety of vocalists, ranging from a genuine chanteuse to way-out scat artists.
    I started to attend these sessions over a year and a half ago, and it was clear that the people there felt like a family. When you came in everybody waved or said hello, and then, unlike other local jazz venues, we all settled down to a serious swinging evening with little if any conversation. Just applause and cheers.
    Those of us who had the good fortune to discover this gem will miss it and I am sure they all join me in thanking Leslie, Jed, Don, and Dennis for a wonderful time and wish them good luck .

Earning Less Now
    East Hampton
    March 20, 2013
Dear Editor,
    My brother, now 15 years old, holds a youth custodial savings account at Suffolk County National Bank in East Hampton with a balance just over $1,000. This is money that he has accumulated through birthday and Christmas gifts since he was a young kid. To prevent him from frivolously spending his money he was encouraged to open his account and “forget about it.”
    Needless to say, he never expected that the Suffolk County National Bank would reach into his account and start spending his money for him. On an account currently earning $1.29 (or 0.10%) in yearly interest, my brother has been charged, without notice, $60 annually for inactivity. In other words, S.C.N.B. is charging him 60 times what he is earning on an account designed as a safe alternative to the underside of one’s mattress.
    The claim from the teller was that the account owner (of a youth savings account) was likely dead or had moved away and thus, the bank would charge the owner until their balance was eroded to zero. “After all, the bank has to make money,” he asserted. Surely they are earning less money now that the account is closed.
    What happened to the idea of a bank that would help you protect your money and maybe even call you to see if you are still alive rather than ensure they suffocate you with fees?
    Hudson City Savings does not charge such a fee, nor does Bridgehampton National Bank, or Apple Bank. I urge everyone to open the statements you could have filed away and be sure that you, or your children, are not being robbed by S.C.N.B. under the guise of a “dormant account” fee. If you are, I’m sure that Hudson City, Bridgehampton National, or Apple would love to hear from you.

Nonessential Spending
    March 19, 2013
To the Editor:
    While President Barack and Michelle “Let Them Eat Cake” Obama go on lavish vacations, we cut back our driving to save the budgeted gas allotment for the month. While the president has spent a million of our taxpayer dollars on golf trips, we cut back on new clothes and shoes to live within our means. While the president and his wife travel with a large entourage on multiple vacations a year (separate plane for the dog?!), we try to figure out if we can afford plane tickets to the family reunion. We are more responsible with our money than the government, and certainly our president, shows that they are.
    As we tighten our belts, let’s see a few items that could be eliminated, or certainly cut back considerably: Corporation for Public Broadcasting subsidy, $445 million (look, this is a free enterprise system, they make millions off of Elmo, Big Bird, etc.); Amtrak subsidies, $1.565 billion; economic assistance to Egypt, $250 million; United States Department of Agriculture sugar program, $14 million; U.S. Agency for International Development, $1.39 billion. And why aren’t they requiring the collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees — $1 billion? Why are they allowed to continue to work, why not put a lien on their paychecks? We’d go to jail if we failed to pay up.
    These are not the most egregious, wasteful pork that could be listed. Research into bacon, mating habits of this insect or that fish — when times are tough, as they currently totter on the edge of financial disaster, we should be curtailing the foolish, nonessential spending. We should not be almost $17 trillion in debt, with $3 trillion in interest for 2012 wasting away our tax dollars, and with another $6 trillion proposed for the upcoming year.
    This is insanity. Let’s not continue down the road of Greece or Cyprus. Watch what is happening to the euro all across Europe. Demand accountability from local, state, and federal government legislators. Stop Spending!

How Did We Get Here?
    Sag Harbor
    March 25, 2013
Dear David,
    The empire has fallen but many are still in denial as we continue to look for scapegoats among many local controversial issues. Obviously the bottom line is money. We’re all broke, states too. A valid question might be how did we get here?
    We live in a culture embedded in prestige and pride. We’re number one, our claim to fame a superpower by name that sells 79 percent of the world’s weapons, up from 60 percent for years, called the death lobby. Oddly enough, the United Nations just completed a treaty to regulate international trade in conventional weapons, quickly objected to by the United States. Profit before people’s lives, our own and others’, all over the Middle East, mostly innocent civilians much like us. Is there any wonder why we are fighting multiple wars? Sending drones everywhere, sovereign nations forced into war given no choice or voice? Perpetual war or addition?
    A lesson learned from every war: People who go to war start to resemble their enemy. Have we forgotten, or in denial? Did we not take over Saddam Hussein’s torture chambers at Abu Ghraib, and then search the world over for nations that approved torture? Ludicrous and unAmerican. Eighty percent of us disagree!
    Last but not least, were we not born into a lottery with no control over our place of birth? It could have been in Iraq, Pakistan, or Afghanistan. If so, are we now confronting our dark side or shadow, a place we choose not to see called plausible deniability?
    In peace, not war,