Letters to the Editor: 01.18.18

Our readers' comments

Much Beloved

Wainscott

January 12, 2018 

Dear David,

The staff and board of directors of LTV are heartbroken by the sudden death of Bill Fleming — our friend and the host of LTV’s longest-running show.

Bill was an integral part of LTV. In 1986, he launched “The East End Show” on the then-fledgling public-access channel. In 2016, we celebrated its 30th anniversary. Bill’s large and generous personality was a natural for television. He interviewed hundreds of guests with engaging, funny, and astute talk on every subject imaginable — politics, baseball, the environment, black history, music, events, books, and the arts.   

Bill was deeply attuned to local politics and hosted LTV’s Election Night coverage for almost every election year including this past November.

It is impossible to imagine LTV without this remarkable and much-beloved personality who so enthusiastically volunteered his time and talent to highlight the life of our town. All of his shows from 1986 through his last show, on Dec. 21, 2017, are archived at LTV and constitute an extraordinary and unique overview of the last 31 years in East Hampton.

Bill’s live broadcast began at 6 p.m. on Thursday nights. Invariably, he would arrive with one minute to spare (to the great relief of staff and guests), clip on his microphone, and open the show with perfect ease.

We will miss him peeling into our parking lot at 5:59; we will miss his excellent humor and vast knowledge; we will miss his indefatigable spirit.

 

MORGAN VAUGHAN

Executive Director

GENIE HENDERSON

Archivist

Valor and Enthusiasm

Amagansett

January 14, 2018

Dear David,

We are happy to announce that the annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge at Main Beach raised over $10,000, an excellent start to our 2018 fund-raising season and an immediate benefit to the East Hampton food pantries.

There were 130 hearty — and possibly foolhardy — participants diving into the 37-degree water while their supporters shivered in the 18-degree cold to cheer them on. While the number of registered plungers was small compared to years past, their valor and enthusiasm made for a memorable moment!

We want to thank the East Hampton Ocean Rescue, East Hampton Hurricanes Swim Team, and the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter for organizing this annual fund-raiser, along with the individuals, businesses, and organizations that came together to make this fund-raiser a great success. And, as always, we are enormously grateful for the support of Mayor Rickenbach and the East Hampton Village Board for making the event possible.

Sincerely,

VICKI LITTMAN 

East Hampton Food Pantry

HOLLY REICHART WHEATON 

Springs Food Pantry

Add Your Name

Springs

January 10, 2018

Dear Editor,

Why is the snow that currently blankets the ground a respite? Finally no leaf blowers!

They whine and blast, exposing all of us to carcinogens, foul-smelling exhaust, dust, and allergens. They degrade the soil and remove habitat while chasing after every leaf, twig, and blade of grass. And according to the current East Hampton [Town] Code, they can do this from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every single day, 365 days a year. Yes, you were forced to listen to them on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. We have lost our right to retreat to the peace and quiet of our homes and yards even on weekends and holidays.

Don’t residents of East Hampton have a right to concentrate while working from home, enjoying a morning cup of coffee, evening glass of wine, winding down after a day at work, or just enjoying our yards? Don’t we have a right to be protected from a needless source of noise, carcinogens, and foul air?

Leaf blowers impact the quality of life and health for all living things. There are solutions. We propose working with landscapers and town government to find them.

Please add your name to the growing list of those who wish to address this problem by emailing us at: join-ehcalm@gmail.com.

Thank you,

CHRISTINE GANITSCH 

For Seven Others   

 

Terrible Insult

Amagansett

January 12, 2018

To the Editor:

The leaf blowers are a terrible insult to the otherwise quiet Amagansett and East End!

We would like them out.

MICHELLE STUART

The County Line

East Hampton

January 10, 2018

Dear Editor,

As laudable as encouraging the use of reusable bags for groceries and other purchases is, the 5-cent charge imposed by the Suffolk County Legislature raises key questions: Why can one get a free bag in Nassau County but pay for one in Suffolk? More important, why bear the cost of a County Legislature to decide the issue?

Another example is when the Suffolk County Legislature required a boat safety and licensing requirement for adults. Nassau County did not have this, so one had to determine where on Long Island Sound one was to see if this applied. Do safety concerns vary by county?

The same held true initially for hand-held cellphones, where your location on the Long Island Expressway made the difference between legal use and a fine. Subsequently, it became a statewide standard — a far better approach.

Fundamentally, I do not believe the standards on these issues should depend on which side of the county line you reside or travel. Surely our local villages and town and the state are sufficient to decide such matters.

The Suffolk County Legislature has 18 members. With salaries, support, district offices, etc., this costs us close to $11 million per year. Particularly now that state and local tax deductions are limited by federal tax law, we should demand greater efficiency and cost effectiveness in government. Getting rid of this superfluous body would be a great start.

FRANK MORGAN

Killing Pesticide

Springs

January 15, 2018

Dear David:

Honeybees need our help. Bees pollinate approximately 75 percent of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the United States. Without bees, many of the food crops we rely on would simply die off.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded a far-ranging study, which contained an assessment by E.P.A. scientists that neonicotinoid pesticides, including thiamethoxam, posed significant dangers to the survivability of honeybees, birds, and aquatic life.

Inexplicably, on the same day this assessment was issued, the E.P.A. also released a proposal that would permit a dramatically expanded use of the bee-killing pesticide thiamethoxam. If approved, the E.P.A. would allow the harmful pesticide to be sprayed directly on wheat, barley, corn, sorghum, alfalfa, rice, and potato crops, greatly increasing the exposure to already at-risk honeybees. Of course, the E.P.A.’s proposal for increased use of the killing pesticide direct benefits the agrochemical giant Syngenta. 

The European Union and Canada are already taking steps to limit or ban neonicotinoid pesticides due to the negative impact on pollinators. Where is our self-proclaimed environmental champion, Lee Zeldin? Silent. If he were the leader he claims to be, he would be on the floor of the House urging the passage of legislation prohibiting the expanded use of these chemicals and preventing grave harm to the environment and our food supply.

Sincerely,

CAROL O’ROURKE

Our Killing Fields

East Hampton

January 10, 2018

To the Editor:

 Re: Jan. 5, 2018, “Animal Rights Activist Jailed”

Those who know Bill Crain, a.k.a. Dr. William Crain, professor of psychology at City University of New York, know him to be a man committed to nonviolence, a man of deep principle. As founder and head of the East Hampton Group for Wildlife, he and members of his organization have for years fought against the annual slaughter of wildlife in our area and appealed for compassion for the voiceless, innocent creatures who inhabit our woodlands and are beloved by so many. 

Over the years, Bill has politely faced the indifference and ignorance of numerous village and town boards that have continued to cater to a vocal minority of hunters who live here, among a sea of nonhunting residents and visitors to our community by ever-expanding hunting rights and areas, even inviting strangers to come and enjoy our “killing fields” so long as they have a “license to kill.” 

During hunting season people are afraid to hike the trails, walk in the woods with their children and pets, and residents are forced to endure the horrific, nonstop sound of shotgun blasts and the sight of wounded, dying animals. We glorify killing! We justify war, and the destruction of millions of innocent lives, people and animals, in hypocritical defiance of the very religions we espouse and say we practice! And our children are exposed to such violence from the time they open their eyes. Socially sanctioned hunting is a desensitizing pastime that kills more than 100 million beautiful, defenseless animals each year. 

Surely there are better ways to bond with our children and buddies. 

“There’s no such thing as an ethical hunter! Forget hunters’ feeble rationalizations and trust your gut feelings: Making sport of killing is not a healthy human behavior.” (Exposing the Big Game.wordpress.com)

“Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is, and do something about it, whether the victim is human or animal, we cannot expect things to be much better in this world. We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity.” (Rachel Carson) 

So which side of history will you be on?

ZELDA PENZEL

Member East Hampton Group for Wildlife

 

The Place to Be

East Hampton

January 14, 2018

To the Editor:

I would like to invite the seniors from our community to come to the center. Now that winter has arrived and it’s cold outside, this is the place to be. Having lunch with your friends and neighbors is just the thing to do. 

Every day after lunch there are different events. Monday they play an opera, also cards; Tuesday, Bingo; Wednesday, morning knitting, afternoon bridge; Thursday, Bingo; Friday, yoga after lunch. Stop by and pick up a menu and activity schedule. 

JULIA KAYSER

What Else Is Lurking?

Wainscott

January 14, 2018

Dear David,

There is a serious health issue knocking on the door of residents, especially in the Wainscott area, affected by the contamination of their well water. I just received a letter from the Health Department regarding the final results of water testing done in August. There are two listed compounds, which I have never used. I requested a retest of my well but was advised that due to the newly released expansion of the contaminated area, it is not feasible. The Health Department and water resources have expanded the test area. The question is why, what else is lurking now south of the original area? Unfortunately, there are part-time residents who may not be aware and need to be contacted for tests to identify all the affected wells.

The Wainscot Citizens Advisory Committee meeting Saturday was packed with residents concerned with the water issue. Town-supplied bottled water is appreciated but is not the answer. Looking at the bottles under tables is not the most appealing sight, but helps.

Reports from New York State remarked that use of this well water is at your own peril. Finding the source is not a remedy, but a pointing finger. P.O.E. [point of entry filters] is a Band-Aid that requires a monthly maintenance at approximately $100 per month. The health recommendation is, two in line series of two cubic feet of carbon each in case the P.F.O. and P.F.O.A. contaminants “get through the primary filter.” Not very assuring.  That is why it is referred to as “slippery.”

The wheels of government turn slowly and the town board has put in place a request from the Suffolk County Water Authority to present a cost analysis. They have to wait for the results of a corporation that they have no control over. Spring is fast approaching and the installation should begin. The government has a primary responsibility to protect and ensure the residents’ health and safety.

We have bonding for subsidized housing, land purchases, airport issues; no one gets poisoned from these endeavors. The recommendations of what is a safe level varies from state to state. Zero is the only safe level. No one knows the residual effect but that it stays in the body for up to 12 years. Cancers are an end result. The installation of public water must be the top priority. A secondary benefit is that hydrants installed will assist our first responders’ ability to protect us!

In Westhampton, they put in public water as fast as they could. A friend of mine and his entire extended family all have some form of autoimmune diseases as a result of exposure. As soon as the information is presented, bonding should be put in place as the primary solution and the cause second. I am sure the town board is not sitting on their hands but time is of the essence. The health and safety of the residents should be the immediate focus. The other bonding projects should be put on hold until this is addressed. We need help from the state and county, and we should contact them to assist the town immediately

In addition, what chemical was sprayed along the railroad right of way to defoliate the land and what was sprayed at the gas company’s installation on Wainscott Harbor Road just north of the highway? This nonselective herbicide will no doubt enter the aquifer. An investigation is warranted!

Yours truly,

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

 

One of Their Own

Springs

January 15, 2018

Dear David:

I find it highly nervy that our local Republicans, soundly defeated in the recent elections, are pushing for one of their own to be appointed to the vacant position on the town board.

In the times when the Republican Party had some morals it might have been a feasible idea. But I have not seen anywhere that the East Hampton Republicans are dissociating themselves in any shape or form from the (take your pick) moronic, sexist, racist, lying, conniving, corrupt, dangerous buffoon in the Oval Office and his disgustingly sycophantic followers. And, by their silence, they have forfeited any right to public office. 

I am certainly not Republican, but, oh, for the times of Reagan or the Bushes in Washington! Yes, they got us in unnecessary wars, they brought the country close to economic disaster, not once, but twice, but somewhere they had principles.

REDJEB JORDANIA

 

Something to Cheer

East Hampton

January 9, 2018

To the Editor:

For all the controversy over the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the expansion of the 529 College Savings Plan is something to cheer about. Families with disabled or blind children may now transfer money to tax-favored 529 ABLE accounts from 529 College Savings accounts. The 529 ABLE accounts may be used for many of the expenses incurred for care of the disabled or blind person.

The 529 College Savings program may be very helpful in improving the financial well-being of those closest to us. The success and expansion of the program may warrant a closer look. As always when looking into your specific circumstance, please consult a tax professional. 

Long-term optimism is the only realism!

All the best in 2018!

DAVE ASTORR

Disasters Will Grow

East Hampton

January 9, 2018

Dear David:

A record was set in 2017 for environmental disasters in the United States. Sixteen separate disasters with more than a $1-billion price tag, costing us $306 billion in total. These big numbers are hard to understand. Just for comparison, this is more than half of the defense budget for 2016. We are involved in wars and have aircraft carriers full of jets all over the globe, so that is a lot of money. It is frequently stated that no one disaster can be pinned on climate change. But everyone understands that the cumulative effect of climate change will be that unless we deal with it, the bill for disasters will grow, year after year, to a vanishing point of fathomless destruction.

How does that affect us now in East Hampton? The two biggest hits are our federal taxes spent for disaster relief and our insurance bills. Insurance companies calculate what they charge all of their customers to cover the costs of their losses. So when a house is destroyed in Houston, insuring your dry house in East Hampton becomes more expensive. If the house isn’t insured, and the owner becomes destitute, your taxes pay to shelter and feed the family. Destroyed businesses put people on unemployment. A drought in California, where most of our vegetables are grown, makes the price of vegetables go up at our I.G.A. We all pay for all disasters.

The recent “tax cut” is projected to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion, another one of those big numbers we glance over without understanding. For context, the federal budget for 2016 included almost exactly that amount for Medicare and Social Security combined, the two so-called entitlements that Republicans say we could not afford even prior to the tax cut. Eighty percent of the benefit of that tax cut is going to make the well off better off. The Kochs, the Mercers, and the Trumps can buy another oceanfront mansion, and maybe you’ll have a job for a while building it or maintaining it on Further Lane. Your plan for Social Security and Medicare in old age? Sorry. We spent that money on a Maserati for Ivanka. And, besides, we need more military money to keep the millions of climate refugees out of the country.

This sounds stupid, but it is not an accident. It is a plan. It is a Republican strategy called Starve the Beast. Google that phrase. It will explain the strange phenomenon of Republicans railing against deficits when Democrats are in power, and expanding deficits when they are in power. Maybe you’ll decide you have been conned in a variety of ways. Don’t feel bad, Americans. Not your fault. They own the media and the message. How were you supposed to know, when there are so many great things to binge-watch on TV, the text thing on your iPhone is driving you nuts, and, did you hear, Al Franken goosed some poor woman without consent? (Oh, the horror of it!)

DON MATHESON

Time to Rethink

East Hampton

January 14, 2018

Dear David:

We are at a critical turning point bordering on a critical tipping point. The challenges before us at this time are complicated and serious, calling forth for a completely new way not only of tackling them but a completely new way of seeing them. Buckminster Fuller so aptly put it when he said you never change things by fighting the existing reality. 

To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. The thinking that brought us to this point in time cannot be the same thinking to move us forward in a coherent way. Life is pushing at us quickly now as the past and all it represents is fading and as the “new” is yet to be revealed and created in all its uncertainty. We are at a point requiring a complete re-defining of who we are and that pursuit requires relentless faith, courage, and imagination. 

I believe it is time for us to dream again. I believe we have fallen into a dangerous slumber precipitated by fear, apathy, and sheer exhaustion. This moment calls for deep contemplation and the willingness for all of us to really go within and not only answer some critical questions but more important begin to imagine what might be possible. It’s time to rethink how we want to live in the short time we are given on this amazing planet. 

A meaningful life is not a popularity contest and the fact that we are upset is a very positive thing as it begs us to re-evaluate, ask questions, and create anew. I ask myself daily: Who says we can’t have affordable health care for all and why on earth do we not have the same access to health care as our representatives in Washington, D.C.? 

Who says it’s impossible for every individual to have work that he/she can be proud of which contributes to any given community with a sense of pride and accomplishment? Who says it’s impossible for any one of us to have affordable housing (whether we rent or own),  a home we look forward to returning to after a meaningful day’s work? Who says it’s impossible for every man and woman to be able to put a healthy meal on the table for his/her family? Who says that our time with family and/or friends comes second or third to a six-day workweek? Who says that a college education cannot be free and/or affordable to anyone who wants to rise up, contribute, and be something in this world? Who says that a five/six-day workweek is normal with the meager compensation of a week’s vacation after years at a job which many have little passion for?

Let these questions begin as they usher in others. 

What in the world has happened to the notion of quality of life? At what point did our elected “leaders” stop representing the needs and wants of their constituency and at what point did we give them permission to do so. There is something very wrong here. At what point did our representatives cease to lead with conscience and vision? And at what point did we lose sight of possibility and living fully?

The fact that we are waking up and yearning for something different is a good thing. If you’re not depressed something is very wrong with you. As we see in our own communities and across the world, the view of us and them, me or you, is not, nor has ever been, sustainable. We can only move forward together, for divided we truly fall. And at the end of the day, when all is said and done, are our differences that much greater than what truly connects us to our humanity?

It’s time for a brand-new politics. A politics of you and me. Labels based on fear and separation are dangerous and this whole left and right vocabulary serves no one. No more red states vs. blue states. We need to grow up from our distractions, denial, and grandiosity. This is not who we are as a people. The voices of hate and despair are loud. The voices of love must get louder. We are one team with a shared unity that must transcend our differences. That is the American dream and it is time to dream again, and we can do this one community at a time. Let our vision and actions be guided by wisdom as we realize a you-or-me community is not sustainable.

And when we allow this transformation to occur, a whole new world opens up for everyone. Suddenly everything is possible. We have something to wake up for in the morning. We are passionate again about life and living. Life takes on new meaning and we are happy to be alive. We cannot change the entire world at the same time but we can begin one community at a time, and I say let’s be that beacon, that new beginning, for communities across the nation to follow suit, to remember that we together can accomplish anything, for ourselves, for our children, and for the planet. 

We are a stunning community of everyday people committed to making a difference — fishermen, farmers, doctors, teachers, policemen and women, firefighters, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, carpenters, builders, inventors, landscapers, lawyers, to name just a few that make up this astounding community of ours.

Together, let’s come to the table, listen to one another as we’ve never done before, and with honesty and commitment define the wants and needs of this community, collectively coming up with solutions to issues that preserve quality of life for all. We are the leaders and the change-makers who determine what we want our quality of life to look like. We can do this. We will do this. We are running for Congress this time. Taking it local to global one community at a time.

BARBARA LAYTON

Just Two Sentences

East Hampton

January 15, 2018

To the Editor,

Lee Zeldin released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s proposal to open United States waters to offshore oil drilling: “I support an energy strategy that secures American energy independence and drives down costs. On Long Island, however, our waterways are our way of life, and drilling off of Long Island is unacceptable and counterproductive to the well-being of our communities.”

That something as catastrophic as oil drilling off our beaches merits just two sentences from Mr. Zeldin is deeply troubling. He devotes more time to posting lengthy defenses of Trump when he says something offensive. Suggestion for Mr. Zeldin: Let someone else take on the herculean task of explaining what Trump really meant and spend your time more productively, fighting for the people of the First Congressional District. 

We need a representative who is a leader, who champions our interests, and who rallies and sways the opinions of fellow representatives; we don’t need a representative who issues a tepid press release on a critical issue and then fades into the background.

CAROL DEISTLER

Makes Much Fanfare

Springs

January 8, 2018

Dear David,

A slickly produced mailer from Lee Zeldin appeared in my mailbox this week. It touted our congressman’s supposed record in “safeguarding our environment.” Mr. Zeldin has been very adept in pulling the wool over voters’ eyes about his actual environmental record. I have often heard from environmentally progressive friends that “Lee Zeldin is at least good on the environment.” Wrong! The League of Conservation Voters has scored him at 8 percent for 2016 (the most recent scorecard they have produced) and only 11 percent for his lifetime score.

On his flier, Zeldin touts his concern for “access to clean air and clean water.” Really? Then why in 2016 did he block protections for clean water (House Roll Call Vote 468), approving riders that expanded exemptions to the Clean Water Act to allow more dumping of pollutants into waterways and blocking the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean water rule? (Luckily, the Senate did not vote on the riders, so they didn’t pass.)

And, talking of the E.P.A., why did Lee Zeldin vote in 2017 for H.R. 1430? This Orwellian-named HONEST Act endangers public health by making it very difficult for the E.P.A. to use the best available science. Does he think his East End constituents will benefit from blocking good science about the health effects of pollution?

But Lee Zeldin’s attack on the E.P.A.’s ability to carry out its mission didn’t end there. He also attacked its integrity by voting for H.R. 1431, the E.P.A. Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017. This horrific act weakens conflict-of-interest protections, thereby enshrining industry shills while barring real scientists from E.P.A. advisory panels. It also allows industry to prolong what is already a very long scientific review process so that important public health and environmental protections get even more delayed.

Now back to Zeldin’s claim of “ensuring access to clean air and clean water.” In 2017, he voted for the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017 (H.R. 953), which ended Clean Water Act safeguards protecting communities from toxic pesticides. Specifically, pesticides now can be more freely discharged directly into water bodies. That vote passed with Lee Zeldin’s help. (It seems like Mr. Zeldin has an antipathy for clean water protections. He also voted in 2017 to undermine environmental reviews on water projects with his yes vote on H.R. 1654, which also passed with his help.)

You would think that if Mr. Zeldin really cared about the environment on the East End, he would be on the forefront of congressional efforts to combat climate change. Wrong! In spite of the fact that new predictions forecast nine or more feet of sea level rise this century — putting our coastal properties at risk of going under water — our congressman voted in 2017 for H.R. 2019. That law slashes critical investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency and prevents government from assessing the real risks and costs of climate change. 

Bizarrely, Mr. Zeldin also voted to quash an amendment that would have protected our National Ocean Policy. This means, for example, that it will be much harder for different constituencies like fishermen, conservationists, and local communities to have a place at the table when ocean development issues are decided. 

To put this in current context, if Trump’s just-announced plans to drill for oil and gas offshore from our Atlantic coastline go forward, the ability of ocean communities to weigh in on those frightening plans got weakened by Mr. Zeldin’s vote (the bill passed). Zeldin makes much fanfare about opposing offshore oil drilling, but in 2017 he cut off his constituents’ power to influence the policy at the knees.

This is just a snapshot of Lee Zeldin’s awful environmental record. (Check out the League of Conservation Voters to learn more.) We need a real environmental defender as our congressman, not one like Lee Zeldin who talks a good game while stabbing our environment in the back.

FRANCESCA RHEANNON

 

Duel of Dunces

Springs

January 15, 2018

Dear David:

An erroneous warning of an imminent missile attack terrorized Hawaiians earlier this week. For those of us of a certain age, we spent an unforgettably fear-filled two weeks in October 1962 thinking that nuclear war was just around the corner after it was discovered that the Soviet Union was intent on installing a missile base in Cuba. Fortunately, an overaggressive Nikita Khrushchev was matched by a cool and composed John F. Kennedy.

Now, some 55 years later, we have evidence yet again of the ability dueling leaders have to instill terror in their constituents. Thankfully, the missile warning was a false alarm, but one can only hope that Mr. Trump has learned a critical lesson. For the past year, he has needlessly provoked the North Korean government, and the ensuing duel of dunces as to whose nuclear button is bigger has put our entire nation on edge, ts fearing that one or the other would start a nuclear cataclysm. 

The abject fear shown by our Hawaiian friends in response to the missile warning is proof of the terror Mr. Trump has instilled in all of us. One can only hope that he can see (or be taught in single syllables or pictures) the scope of the emotional toll his irrational actions have taken on the fabric of our nation.

The real alarm this should trigger in the rest of us is that because any such lesson will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears, we should all scream enough is enough. It’s time for our congressional leaders to hear our alarm and finally stand up and insist that Mr. Trump desist.

Unfortunately, we in East Hampton are represented by one of the more spineless members of Congress. In defending Mr. Trump’s latest racist bullying, Mr. Zeldin has yet again demonstrated that his sycophancy knows no bounds. We deserve real leadership in Washington, not the condescension Mr. Zeldin showers on us on an all-too-frequent basis.

Sincerely,

BRUCE COLBATH

 

Forced Immigrants

Montauk

January 14, 2018

Dear David,

As the most mentally stable and genius president ever in American history, I am sure President Trump is aware that the biggest shitholes experienced by Africans from the 16th through 19th centuries were the slave quarters on plantations and farms in the Americas established by white masters after kidnapping, enslaving, and selling these people in order to make big profits. There is little doubt that these forced immigrants would have much preferred to have stayed home in Africa.

Currently, many Americans would agree that the biggest shithole in the United States is in Washington, D.C.; it is called the White House, and I believe that Trump or his keepers there might be in charge of formulating and defining national and foreign policies — if any actually exist.

It is entirely appropriate that the best media shitshow takes place in the White House. Of course I am alluding to the White House press conferences hosted by the congenial Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has developed the rareability to lie even more frequently than Spicey himself. I truly appreciate the professionalism of the White House press corps who, to date, have not broken out in rounds of laughter after a Huckabee explanation of what Trump really meant to say in an early morning tweet.

I read in Breitbart News last week that the senior White House adviser Stephen Miller is drafting an executive order to rename the White House Braunes Haus in honor of the beloved and much misunderstood Fuhrer. I am awaiting word from Fox News to discern whether this is a true fact or fake news propagated by the elitist and liberal mainstream media to make Trump look worse than he really is.

Cheers,

BRIAN POPE

 

Bad Four-Letter Words

Plainfield, N.J.

 January 13, 2018 

To The Star:

I’m not surprised that a man as crude as Donald Trump called several foreign nations “shithole countries,” but I am shocked that American President Trump blithely said such a vile thing. To me, he has completely justified my view of him as:

“T-RUMP, King of the Rumps, Rear-Ends, Butts, Assholes, and now Shitholes — with an even bigger mouth and tinier brain than the extinct T-Rex, king of the dinosaurs.

Maybe (but not really!) President Trump didn’t mean to say “shithole countries,” but rather intended to compliment “This whole country” of Haiti. But somehow his “genius” brain reversed the initial “T” and final “S” of the word “This,” thus inadvertently turning it into “Shit.” I’d sell that copyrighted excuse to Sarah Huckabee Sanders for the right amount of money; and if you believe it, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue both claim they do not recall hearing President Trump saying “shithole countries,” and I assume that’s because Cotton had a wad of cotton stuffed into his ears, and Perdue had his ears stuffed with pieces of Perdue chicken.

President Trump’s verbal use of the phrase “shithole countries” now raises the philosophical question as to whether or not his potentially subsequent written use of that phrase, during one of his infamous Twitter “Tweetstorms,” would constitute a “Shitstorm?” So, according to Donald Trump, it’s not okay (for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to say any of these seven words — fetus, diversity, vulnerable, entitlement, transgender, science-based, or evidence-based, but it is okay for him to publicly say shithole —- even though shit is one of the five four-letter words that George Carlin once included in “The Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV.” Now that President Trump has “legitimized”(?) the public use of shithole, I wonder how long before he will be saying and/or Tweeting Carlin’s other “bad” four four-letter words: “f***hole” (not “foxhole!)  “p***hole,” “c***hole),” or “t***(hole)”?

RICHARD SIEGELMAN

State of Anarchy

East Hampton

January 14, 2018

Editor:

When capitalism goes off the rails it becomes anarchy. Anarchy is defined as the utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government in the best case or a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority in the worst. Capitalism by nature will always turn to anarchy because the nature of greed in humans far outweighs the nature to nurture.

In democracies, however we define them, the multiparty system maintains a certain level of integrity as long as a majority of the elected politicians believe in the fundamental constraints and rules that harness the lust for profits at the expense of the society. Asbestos, lead-based paints, tainted drinking water, contaminated meat and fish products are all part of these constraints or regulations. The costs of dealing with these issues is in the hundreds of billions, yet we have determined that dealing with them is less expensive than not doing so. Obviously easy choices, but less so in the context of our current government.

American anarchy is the cult of the individual or the corporate entity at the expense of society in general. The breaking down of societal protections that are anathema to unfettered capitalism, but which provide a framework for the collective well-being rather than individual profit.

American anarchy is thinking that we have attained a state of grace that needs to be protected rather than a graceful aspiration to something not yet attained. The irrational pursuit of wealth based on the egocentricity of accumulation leaving a grotesque wake of inequality and eventually even longer lines for food stamps.

The country finally has a president and a majority party that represents everything repugnant and offensive in its history: a phantasmagorical, historical vision that we are the most moral, the most virile, and the purest of people in the greatest country in the world. To be so staggeringly oblivious to our history is the underpinning that allows for our present state of gracelessness. The rest of the world may be the scum of the earth, but we are hardly better.

World Wars I and II were responsible for the deaths of approximately 100 million people over nine years. The United Nations was created to make sure that the world would never disconnect this way again. Except that nuclear weapons changed the landscape and once they were applied (Hiroshima and Nagasaki), the new potential terror was now the capacity of killing millions in a few days.

Anarchy at its worst, especially with the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the rise of non-state terrorism, became more real and scary. A government could do what it wanted to its own people but the constraints and controls that nations placed on their own interactions were the only real protections that prevented some form of catastrophic slaughter.

We never really got the far-reaching implications of dropping the bombs. The problem of thinking that the world was static in a time of monumental shifts is a bit difficult to fathom. Letting the cat out of the proverbial bag and having no idea where it went.

During the election, concerns were raised of having Trump’s fingers on the buttons. He has not demonstrated that those concerns weren’t legitimate. As we move toward a greater state of anarchy and America First, the world cringes at the thought that we are the only real bomb throwers and that the reserved contemplative leadership that dropped the bomb has been replaced by a version that is substantially more unhinged.

NEIL HAUSIG