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Letters to the Editor: 01.03.19

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 22:34

Five-Star Experience

Sag Harbor

December 26, 2018

Dear David,

Last night, Christmas Eve, I had the pleasure of joining my youngest and newly engaged son with his fiancée and two of my very dear friends for dinner. We met at 5:15, as planned, at Phoenix Chinese restaurant in Wainscott. Funny, how Chinese food and Christmas have almost become a tradition within Jewish communities, regardless of where they are located!

My son and his “to be” arrived a bit early. Nothing was on the table — no plates, silverware, chopsticks, glassware, etc. No big deal.

(I should preface this letter by stating that we have become very regular customers, dining there at least once a week, especially during the summer season.)

As the minutes passed, the number of people entering the restaurant was clearly becoming unmanageable. There were two waitpersons on who were responsible for clearing the tables, seating the customers, taking the orders, clearing the tables and then, doing it all over again. Overwhelmed is clearly an understatement!

One of the waitpersons was also the sushi chef!

As the moments passed, you could see the impatience growing among the once patient customers, so much so that it became verbal. It was really almost fun and funny! I was very happy and compliant when asked if I could share my hot mustard and extra glass of ice water! After all, “the spirit of Christmas.”

It was truly not funny. You could see the great angst growing among those either already seated or waiting to be! Either position at that point was not an enviable one!

Back to paragraph two, we have had nothing but experiences that were no less than perfect at Phoenix. Last night’s debacle was just a lesson in preparation. It was obvious that no matter how many people dine on Chinese delicacies on Christmas Eve, the key word is preparation. Always be prepared, just in case. Just in case you are presented with a situation such as the aforementioned, be certain that you are prepared.

Bottom line is that the food was delicious, the service was gracious, as always, and those who did not walk away got to enjoy a delicious meal.

In case you are asking yourselves, “Why did this woman see the need to write this letter to the editor?” The answer is quite simple. Those who own, manage, and run the day-to-day operations are the nicest people who you could hope to meet. The food is absolutely fresh and delicious. Every time that we have eaten there has been a wonderful five-star experience!

So just in case you heard about this Christmas Eve so-dubbed “debacle,” please remember having read this letter.

Happy and healthy new year!

LINDA B. SHAPIRO

Mark the Date

Springs

December 31, 2018

To the Editor,

Thanks to Larry Penny for once again covering the annual Montauk Audubon Christmas Bird Count (East Hampton Star, Dec. 27, 2018). For the record, it could not have happened without the efforts of my co-compilers Angus Wilson and Brent Bomkamp, and, of course, the 41 hardy souls who actually counted the birds!

Larry’s column was based on a draft of the compilation and so contained a few omissions and errors. Nine bald eagles (a high for this count) were seen this winter, and the common ravens (seen only four times in the almost 90-year history of the count) were not seen in the Accabonac area but rather in Montauk itself. Also noteworthy were the 13 (!) northern saw-whet owls, a number that far outstrips previous years.

If anyone’s interest is peaked, mark the date for next year’s count: Saturday, Dec. 21. You, too, can participate by joining one of the territory teams (there are six) or by counting the birds in your backyard at your feeders and in your yard. Stay tuned.

KAREN RUBINSTEIN

Animal Foods

East Hampton

December 27, 2018

Dear Editor,

With the glow of Christmas barely behind us, we look forward to the new year and the customary New Year’s resolutions: Reduce social media, reduce weight, and, this year, reduce animal food consumption.

One-third of consumers already report reducing their consumption of animal foods. Hundreds of school, college, hospital, and corporate cafeterias have embraced Meatless Monday. Even fast-food chains Chipotle, Denny’s, Panera, Subway, Taco Bell, White Castle are rolling out plant-based options. 

A dozen startups, led by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are creating healthy, eco-friendly, compassionate, convenient, delicious plant-based meat and dairy products. Meat industry giants Tyson Foods, Cargill, and Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods have invested heavily in plant-based meat development. So have a number of Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and PayPal pioneers.

According to the Plant-Based Foods Association, plant-based food sales have grown by 20 percent in the past year, 10 times the growth rate of all foods. Sales of plant-based cheeses, creamers, butter, yogurts, and ice creams are exploding at a 50 percent growth rate. Plant-based milks now account for 15 percent of the milk market. 

The plant-based New Year’s resolution requires no sweat or deprivation, just some fun exploration of your favorite supermarket and food websites.

Sincerely,

EDWIN HORATH

Women’s March

East Hampton

December 29, 2018

Dear Readers, 

If you are thinking of joining the women’s march this January, in New York City, you might want to read the front-page article of The New York Times on Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. Shocking is the word. As a hint, I will tell you that the “guards” of the parade will be “members of Islam,” and the infamous Louis Farrakhan is the guiding theorist for the leaders. Check it out. You can’t make this stuff up!

Yours truly, 

NAOMI SALZ

 

Crucial Issue

East Hampton

December 30, 2018

Dear David,

I wish to give my strong support to East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and the town board for their efforts to create affordable housing at two sites in the town. Thanks to them, 2018 is closing on a positive note regarding this crucial issue.

I think many readers of The Star would agree that affordable housing is one of the most important challenges we face on the East End. With ever-rising values of real estate, opportunities for working people to find decent housing options are rapidly shrinking. 

I would also like to encourage Supervisor Van Scoyoc and the board to join the effort to create affordable housing with East Hampton’s ambitious energy goal of 100 percent of annual community-wide energy consumption in all sectors (electricity, heating, and transportation) with renewable energy sources by 2030.

Ways to increase the environmental sustainability of the planned affordable housing include building energy-efficient units and making sure sustainable mobility options (public transportation, walking, and cycling) from the housing to employment centers are as attractive as possible. 

In The Star’s article from Dec. 20, Supervisor Van Scoyoc, the planning board chair, Job Potter, and the housing director, Tom Ruhle, emphasized the need to keep affordable housing projects in the pipeline given their long lead time. I commend them for their efforts and encourage them to make that pipeline as robust and as “green” as possible. The town’s working people and our environment depend on it.

Sincerely,

JONAS HAGEN

Landing Site

East Hampton

December 30, 2018

David,

On Dec. 24 the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee wrote a letter to the town board concerning the Deepwater Wind farm project.

While it is understandable that the Wainscott C.A.C. should speak for the residents of Wainscott, the most recent data as to the extent and future development of the offshore, continental shelf wind farm sites indicate this project is no longer just a limited project, by one company, to supply limited energy to East Hampton. It is an industrial scale project, which will ultimately supply vast quantities of electricity to Suffolk, Nassau, and New York counties. That means that any landing site in East Hampton, including Hither Hills, will require massive infrastructure, including overhead power lines running through the town and new extensive substations. 

Previous experience in the Village of East Hampton, Montauk, and Amagansett has shown that PSEG and LIPA will not bury these landlines (village), will expand substations into historical districts (Amagansett), and will locate peak demand generators in flood plains (Montauk) without regard to the objections of the community.

It is therefore incumbent upon the Wainscott C.A.C., the other citizens committees, and the East Hampton Town Board to take the position that any landing spot for this massive industrial scale project should be closer to where it will supply demand in western Suffolk County or Nassau and not land anywhere in East Hampton.

Further, it is evident that while the undersea cables contemplated are resistant to salt water, no consideration has been given to the sea level rise data available from various federal agencies which clearly indicate that no long-term infrastructure projects should be contemplated in areas that sea level rise and a combination of sea level rise, erosion, and storm surge flooding would inundate.

Given that the landline cables are not resistant to sea water and the vaults near the ocean where landlines are spliced together are likely to be flooded or permanently under water within the useful life span of the project, this global warming sea level rise aspect of the project must be considered.

Any selection of any landing site should have taken these factors into account.

Apparently this has not happened with regard to the Wainscott site. 

Sincerely,

PAUL FIONDELLA

Hoodwinked

Wainscott

December 31, 2018

Dear David,

Recent reports that Rhode Island put a “Whoa” on the wind turbines due to marine life being damaged. Yet, not here and the question is why not? Did Deepwater Wind ever have the financing for this project when they sat with town officials and threw an $8 million chip on the table?

The question is, what didn’t they tell our officials at the time? Did they disclose the impending sale to a foreign country, a few months down the line? Did they lie by omission? It is not like selling tomatoes from a road stand. The question is when did Deepwater Wind enter into negotiations to sell?

This doesn’t pass the smell test. Were our officials hoodwinked or outright lied to? Now we learn the real truth, that the size is near double the capacity and that excess will be sold to western locations, including New York City and possibly Westchester. Splice boxes, (20) 40 x 10 x 8, buried on narrow roads. Turbines larger than first described. Substations  constructed in Wainscott that will add to ecological destruction.

Yet, our officials have not revoked their tacit approval. Community and fishing industry objections disregarded? Why? Because Albany wants this? Look at the failures of other grandiose brain lapses that have cost us billions. Green energy is noble, and it is proven that solar is less costly, more efficient, and not as ecologically devastating as these monster turbines. Solar fields can be hidden from view.

So kill two birds with one stone. Close the damn airport and put solar in its place. Eliminate the quality of life disruption; stop the lead and carbon emissions that will improve air quality and danger it poses. Improve the water quality that is now being investigated by the State Department of Environmental Conservation. Then focus on the sand pit and proposed commercial monstrosity, and is also the subject of the D.E.C.

Why aren’t the community protestations a priority? Three board members still voted for this destruction. Our semi-view of a so-called rural way of life ship has sailed away.

Our elected officials seem to have closed their eyes to the consequences we will suffer. Stop this madness and let us decide what is good for us. Shall we recognize that western Suffolk and Nassau County are moving here?

Yours truly,

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

Climate Catastrophe

East Hampton

December 21, 2018 

To the Editor: 

My second letter to The Star on the “climate catastrophe” movement stirred a response from Don Matheson. I could not have hoped for a purer example of the typical response to any challenge to climate catastrophe claims: 1) extended ad hominem attack on “deniers” as Exxon mouthpieces 2) allegation that “top scientists” all line up with the climate catastrophe movement 3) emotional charge that “deniers” “don’t care about our grandchildren” 4) not a single argument or fact about climate science — not one.

In the same issue, a letter of mine quoted the legendary scientist Freeman Dyson on the “gross exaggeration” of climate catastrophe claims, intolerance of any dissent from these claims, and the utter unreliability of the “general climate models” that produce long-range climate prophecy. 

But Exxon is not writing these letters, I am, and my only possible financial connection with Exxon is through the hose Schenk Fuels uses to fill my tank. As a retired foundation executive and science journal editor, I have no financial stake in any view of climate. But I have looked at the arguments.

My stake in this controversy is that I live in East Hampton, which has raced ahead of Long Island and New York State in embracing the “global warming/climate change” hypothesis to steer planning. Montauk is contemplating moving an entire section of its commercial district to higher ground. The latter may be unusual, but East Hampton’s policies on carbon emissions are the same as those of thousands of localities where the politics of environmentalism have gone local. 

The environmentalist chant is “Hurry, your last chance, don’t let your children down.” What do you do personally when someone is trying to panic you into a life-changing decision? Our towns have everything to gain by slowing their dash to carbon political correctness.

It is tough to challenge “climate change catastrophe” (my label), not because the science is rigorous, but because its apostles represent themselves as literally saving the world. Here is Sir David Attenborough: “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilization and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

He is not a barefoot, bearded prophet carrying a poster: “The end is near! Repent!” He is making opening remarks at the recently concluded Katowice, Poland, climate summit attended by some 60,000 delegates.

Tough as it is to deviate from climate catastrophe orthodoxy, we at least should be aware that our elected representatives work hand in hand with environmental organizations and under intense pressure of the kind to which Attenborough resorts. Most of these organizations are motivated by an antagonism to economic growth and development that long predates the climate catastrophe movement. Take the Nature Conservancy, for example. Increasingly, it acquires land after government policies — and its own scare campaigns about coastal resilience — have driven down prices or caused prime coastal real estate to be abandoned. Government and land trusts like the Nature Conservancy have acquired up to 100,000 “easements,” forever preventing development of 18 million acres of land. 

The State of New York, in the grip of politicians long ago sold on climate catastrophe and lobbied relentlessly by green organizations, churns out plan after plan to push local governments. To stick close to home, let me discuss just claims about rising sea levels, a panic button of the environmentalist movement and key to the Nature Conservancy’s coastal resilience schemes. 

What motivates me is the observation that the anti-growth, anti-development environmental worldview tends to dominate government from the federal down to the local level. Environmental ideology, interpretation of the science, policy prescriptions, and crusading attitudes monopolize discussion. Who, reading the mainstream media, would guess there exists powerful, science-based, highly credible opposition to the climate catastrophe hypothesis?

All right, so take rising sea levels. Most readers will be surprised to hear that there is a Non-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (N.G.P.C.C.), established by the nonprofit Heartland Institute and other nonprofits. For years, the N.G.P.C.C. has produced major reports to comprehensively challenge U.N. and U.S. government research. These reports, like the “official” ones, call upon the work of hundreds of scientists, economists, and policy analysts.

Jay Lehr, science director of the Heartland Institute, and Tom Harris, executive director of the Canadian International Climate Science Coalition, published an article, “The Clever Ruse of Rising Sea Levels.” It summarizes multiple substantial research reports presented by N.G.P.C.C. at international conferences like the one this month in Katowice, Poland. The authors are blunt: 

“For the past 50 years, scientists have been studying climate change and the possibility of related sea level changes resulting from melting ice and warming oceans. Despite the common belief that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere could result in catastrophic sea level rise, there is no evidence to support this fear. Tax monies spent trying to solve this non-existent problem are a complete waste.”

They write: “The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States updated its coastal sea level tide gauge data in 2016” at the request of the Obama administration. “These measurements continue to show no evidence of accelerating sea level rise.”

Measurements were locations along the West Coast, East Coast, Gulf Coast, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico, as well as seven Pacific Island groups and six Atlantic Island groups — some 200 measurement stations. To take but one example: “The longest running NOAA tide gauge record of coastal sea level in the U.S. is in New York City at Battery Park. Its 160-year record shows a steady sea level rise of 11 inches per century; a steady, unchanging sea level rise rate whether temperature has been rising or falling.”

And “data for California coastal locations” [show that] measured rates of sea level rise vary between four inches and nine inches per century. NOAA data provide assessments with a 95 percent confidence level at all measured locations.”

“In contrast to these steady but modest real-world rising sea level rates, the U.N.I.P.C.C. claims that sea levels all over the world will almost immediately begin rising far faster than before. Not only do NOAA records contradict such claims for U.S. and selected island coasts; this pattern of steady but modest sea level rise is being observed all across the world, despite rising CO2 and fluctuating average global temperatures.”

“The U.N.I.P.C.C. and its supporters are not able to provide convincing evidence to support their concerns about dangerous warming-driven sea level rise, as rising temperatures have rarely pushed sea level rise beyond one foot per century.”

And finally: “There is no correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and sea level rise. The steady but modest rise in sea level pre-dated coal power plants and SUVs and has continued at the same pace even as atmospheric CO2 concentrations rose.”

None of this, obviously, denies the reality and risk of coastal erosion, which is a reality (as are rising land masses on other coasts a reality). What is disputed is that the cause of coastal erosion is raising sea levels brought about by increasing CO2 levels and the consequent warming. (To note in passing: Deforestation, land development, and faulty land management are cited as large-scale causes nationwide of coastal alterations.) 

Are government officials around America exposed to this alternative take on the climate debate? Mantras of the environmentalists are “this is settled science,” “97 percent of climate scientists agree,” and, of course, “deniers” are callously endangering the future of our grandchildren.

Go back and read what they said in the 1950s about the “population bomb” causing famines by the year 2000. Read the report of the Club of Rome on the “limits to growth” exhausting most natural resources by the year 2000. For that matter, see Al Gore’s hilarious falsified prophecies about global warming. The global warmers hadn’t learned, back then, to push their predictions out to 2100.

WALTER DONWAY

 

Totally Confusing

Amagansett

December 30, 2018

Dear David,

I have now read two letters written by Lou Cortese to The Star attacking, by name, two productive community people. My thoughts are what is this person trying to prove? He is a newly elected member of the Democratic Committee, so could it be he wants to be the hero for the current Democratic Town Board and/or the Dem Committee? Or maybe he wants to show the community that he is really smart and he knows how to use lots of SAT words. If one has to prove this in a letter it means he really doesn’t feel this way. 

It is totally confusing to me as to his purpose in writing these letters. I believe that the one thing that stands out is that he is the champion of the “sh_t stirrers” game and not very evaluative. If he were evaluative, he would have been addressing the criticism, not attacking the character of the critics. I guess the criticism has found its mark.

Sincerely,

RONA KLOPMAN 

Personal Attacks

East Hampton

December 31, 2018

Dear David:

From Wikipedia: “The first law of holes, or the law of holes, is an adage which states that ‘if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.’ Digging a hole makes it deeper and therefore harder to get back out, which is used as a metaphor that when in an untenable position, it is best to stop carrying on and exacerbating the situation.”

Democratic committeeman Louis Cortese is apparently unfamiliar with this principle. Infuriated because Bonnie Brady and I, both of us devoted Democrats, criticize the town board majority of Peter Van Scoyoc, Sylvia Overby, and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and the leadership of the Democratic Committee, he wrote a letter attacking us with what he himself now describes as an “epithet.” Having been publicly called out for his behavior, Cortese doesn’t stop digging, he digs faster, doubling down, reiterating his personal attacks, and covering up with a falsehood for good measure.  

Specifically, in a letter three weeks ago, he describes me and Bonnie Brady as “S—t Stirrers” or “SS.” Allow me to quote Mr. Cortese: “S—t Stirrers (SS): those who manipulate events to cause trouble for other people for their own self-serving interests. . . . An SS is like Darth Vader in a way. They’ve been blessed with intelligence but have decided to utilize it in support of the dark side.” 

The dark side? Really?

This past week, Cortese, squirming about in his efforts to excuse his bad behavior, essentially demanded that I explain again the basis for my criticism of the town board and Democratic Committee leadership by claiming that I am “so inaccurate” and “way off base.” He shall have his wish. I will do so next week, in exquisite detail. 

Today, however, I shall stick to Mr. Cortese. I don’t want anyone to miss a bit of what he wrote last week. 

Mr. Cortese offers us the following excuses for himself: 1. He “hesitated” before sending his initial nasty-gram because he didn’t want to be a “s—t stirrer” himself (but then he courageously overcame his alleged discomfort and sent it anyway). 2. In fact Bonnie and I deserve his epithet, so he just had to do it. 3. He used the abbreviation SS purely “for the sake of convenience” and “not as a subliminal reference to the Nazi SS troopers.” 3. He did in fact intend to analogize us to the evil Star Wars character Darth Vader (and Star Wars storm troopers I suppose?), but, he says, “it was in a sort of complimentary manner.” 4. Invoking Bonnie Brady into the “s—t stirrers hall of fame” was not a smear on the “sanctity of the fishing industry” or upon “her commendable cause,” but due to her “strong tendency (one of her methods) to stir s—t for the sole purpose to scold.” 5. He did not write his nasty letter as “a representative of the Democratic Committee to which I belong, just as Gruber did not write his letter as a representative of that same committee, to which he belongs as well.” 6. “He hopes that he is wrong in his suspicion that [Gruber’s] thirst for power has been self-corruptive to the point of inextricably driving him to the dark side.”

As they say, You can’t make this stuff up. 

Cortese’s falsehood? I did not suggest, as he claims, that he was attacking the fishing industry by attacking Bonnie Brady. As I did say, he attacked her because she stood up at the Montauk hamlet study hearing to say that those in Montauk who had to work for a living and then take care of family had not had sufficient opportunity to participate in the hamlet study, with the result that the study did not adequately reflect their concerns. This, Cortese described as a “bloviated screed.” Montauk residents in the audience applauded her (I was there), which Cortese described as “the most distasteful part of it.” Oh, the horror! 

As a Democratic Committee member, Mr. Cortese is an elected leader of the Democratic Party in East Hampton, as am I. When he speaks publicly, it reflects upon the party for good or ill. It is impossible to listen to his disparagement of Bonnie Brady and the Montauk residents who agreed with her and not hear Hillary Clinton’s invocation of “deplorables,” or for that matter, Mitt Romney’s invocation of the “47 percent of the American people” whom he deemed to be parasites. 

Does Louis Cortese, with his evident contempt for working people in East Hampton (how dare they applaud Bonnie Brady?) belong on the Democratic Committee? Sadly, he does, because he finds plenty of company for his views there. Any committee member who wishes to distance herself or himself from Cortese’s odious sentiments is welcome to do so. 

In everything that I say publicly, I am always conscious that I speak as a representative of the Democratic Party. I know that I will be understood that way, and I want to be understood that way. If Mr. Cortese is concerned that his utterances do not reflect well on the Democratic Party, he should stop digging the hole he is in rather than imagining that an elected leader of the party can put that role on and take it off at will.

Whether or not Louis Cortese believes it, my sole purpose, having invested a small fortune and a vast amount of time and energy in trying to elect Democrats, has been and continues to be to realize here in East Hampton the Democratic Party’s historical aspiration to an economically, environmentally, and socially just and inclusive society. I have nothing else to gain. Power? Power over what? So, yes, Mr. Cortese, your hope is vindicated, because your suspicion about me is your own delusion.

I criticize the town board and corrupt behavior of Democratic Party leaders not in spite of my public role, but because of it. I want fellow Democrats and everyone who is not a Democrat to know that good Democrats are not blindly loyal, and elected Democrats will not be allowed to remain inert, indifferent, and ineffectual in the knowledge that Democrats will support them regardless. I absolutely refuse to do so. 

The belief of Democratic elected officials that they need only satisfy party bosses Kelley and Frankl, that they can mouth the words and do nothing useful because Democrats don’t really care, leads directly to their complacency. And their complacency lies at the root of their failures — to be discussed. I expect elected Democrats to keep their promises to the public. If they don’t, I will speak out about it no matter what Louis Cortese has to say. Let him wail and hurl epithets. 

Mr. Cortese concludes by inviting me to “come back to the Jedi side, David. The force (of good) needs you.” Mr. Cortese may imagine himself in a movie fantasy, bathed in god-like light in the midst of a Manichaean struggle between the forces of light and darkness. I have less grandiose ambitions. I want to live in a place that does right by its people, all of them, not just the wealthy and privileged. 

Sincerely,

DAVID GRUBER 

 

Vote Them Out

Springs

December 31, 2018

Dear David,

It seems that the Democrats are very unified in getting rid of President Donald Trump. In 2009, a senator stood on the floor and so eloquently asked for $46 billion for wall and border security. Now in 2018 he’s busy lying because Trump wants the wall. Schumer has amnesia; not only Schumer, include Obama, Hillary, Biden, and Pelosi.

American taxpayer money is paying these fools’ salary, if Trump didn’t ask for money for security and the wall, I bet it would be on the table. Sick and tired of this nonsense, this country needs to be safe, these politicians need to work for the country not for their party.

Let’s vote them out, get rid of the 12 and more working as senators and congressmen. This is not supposed to be a lifetime job. Protect the people of America.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

 

Unhinged Universe

East Hampton

December 31, 2018

Editor:

As the new year begins the picture of the country is of a place that is almost completely unhinged. No longer tethered to a political or economic reality that has us functioning as a nation with similar needs and goals. We need to reset our vision to one that includes all of the American people and regain a worldview that is beneficial to both the rest of the world order and to ourselves.

Perhaps the last election will begin that process. It will at least halt the nation’s descent into cannibalism and self-loathing. Incoming Dems need to put forth a program that will bring us back to the harsh realities of our economic collapse and our political idiocy, reattaching the nation to a set of principles that will benefit the entire population, not just a small elite.

Fabricated relevance is the essential key to our unhinged universe — grossly exaggerating minor issues into major problems; i.e., Mexican illegal immigrants are rapists based on the arrest of several males for rape. Yet the incidence of rape is significantly higher in the U.S. than in Mexico. And the incidence of rape by dark-haired evangelical males is even higher. Are we not better off, #MeToo-wise, having more illegal Mexican males? Can we, in all good conscience, allow evangelical men to travel outside the country without some notification on their passports?

So the statement about Mexican illegal rapists has virtually no basis in reality and is completely fabricated. 

We have been unhinged since the early 1980s, but the decline in well-being was not always as evident as it is now. Of greater consequence is that the past two years have been a period of nearly total distraction — distraction on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis, which allows virtually no issues of consequence to be dealt with. Stabilizing the economy, the banks, our education system, infrastructure, and our position in the world have all been ignored in favor of immigration, walls, trade wars, Kavanaugh, etc., none of which have any relevance to our basic needs as a country. 

The 5 or 10 percent of truth in these issues is no basis for their dominance of the political and economic landscape. They are mostly fabricated illusions to deflect the public from issues that actually affect their lives.

The 5 or 10 percent of the time that the president tells the truth, blending with the 5 or 10 percent of the issues on which we are focused, defines how completely unhinged we are as a nation; searching for relevance and meaning in a make-believe world where all the screws have fallen down the rabbit hole.

NEIL HAUSIG

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