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The Meltdown of the Immature Child and the 2024 Elections

Sean Hannity: Trump is a bats--- crazy person

We are witnessing the meltdown of the immature-child loser former president right before our very eyes. People who listened to Mary Trump about her uncle with the emotional maturity of a three year old should not be surprised. People who think of him as an adult may be surprised.

Hard to believe but I first starting blogging about our immature child president over five years ago.

Tom Hanks versus Our Immature Child-President August 8, 2017

Tom Hanks and Donald Trump, Round II March 16, 2020

My conclusion was fairly simple. Through no fault of his own, he is locked into same age Tom Hanks was before he became Big but without the maturity. No surgery, no drug treatment, no therapy can alter that fact. He has been an immature child since the day his father put him in military school in the vain hope that he would grow up. He is an immature child now. He will be an immature child on the day he dies.

I am hardly the only person who recognized that he was an immature child.

“PRESIDENT IS STILL A CHILD…” (Headline NYT July 8, 2020): YES! YES! YES!  July 9, 2020

“He is and always will be a terrified little boy,” according to Mary Trump. Exactly. Every decision he makes should be understood through this prism. And it’s only going to get worse for him. The real world is closing in on him in every judicial decision, every poll, and every coronavirus death. Imagine the shock the terrified little boy will experience that first time the jail doors slam on him at Rikers.

Now nearly three years later, he can hear the prison doors as one indictment will follow after another.

For example, Maggie Haberman wrote and spoke about Trump as an immature child. She wrote that some saw nefarious ends in Trump’s behavior, while others “believed he was operating with the emotional development of a 12-year-old, using the intelligence data to get attention for himself.” In an online interview on January 22, 2023, for new book Confidence Man, I asked her:

“Mary Trump says her uncle is an immature child with emotional maturity of a three-year old. Paul Krugman calls him a 14-year old. How do you prepare for an interview with and report on such a person who craves attention more than anyone you have ever covered?”

The last phrase was built on Haberman’s own comment earlier in the interview (not by me) that he craves attention more than anyone she has ever covered. In her reply, she said “Excellent question” and suggested ways of making the conversation about his early days in New York City to create a mood and setting before turning to today and politics.

How often have you heard the phrase “adults in the room” applied to the situation in his White House? We the People could rest easy secure in the knowledge that there were adults in the room who would prevent him from going off the rails. Then one by one Team Normal disappeared to be replaced by a series of whack-a-doodles like Séance Sydney and Ridiculous Rudy and even more dangerous threats to democracy in America like Steve Bannon.

But now those people are facing their own legal jeopardy. Executive privilege no longer applies assuming it ever did. Remember the mantra: everyone who defied a subpoena will be called to testify.

In this new legal world for Trump, what does he have to look forward to?

What Do Putin and Trump Have to Look Forward to? November 13, 2022

2023: The Year of Indictments December 22, 2022

We need to keep in mind that the Congressional referrals [by the House Select Committee] were hardly a surprise. People were just waiting for them to happen. There is a lesson here for Jack Smith: no surprise actions. Keep the people informed. Give us time for your actions to percolate in our brains so when the moment comes any anger will have been diffused.

 Trump has nothing to look forward to for the rest on this year and in 2023, the Year of Indictments. And there is more to come.

 Finally the real world is catching up with the alternate reality in Donald Trump lives.

Alternate Realities: Science Fiction and the 2020 Election November 11, 2020

A Star Trek episode, The Squire of Gothos (Trelane), predicted January 20, 2021 back in 1967. In that episode the adult alien squire figure really is an immature child in the body of an adult. Here are some lines from an earlier blog (May 24, 2019) that still resonate today….

 [T]he pivotal moment comes when Trelane’s parents show up and put a stop to all of his “games”… Immediately, Trelane’s speech patterns change, going from superior and jovial scoundrel to a cranky little boy whose mommy and daddy are telling him it’s time to put his toys away and take a nap. Despite all of his blusterings and exhilaration of the hunt, Trelane protests that he’s just playing around, makes excuses, and even whines that he never gets to have any fun….[T]his call[s] to mind images of a young child being told it’s bedtime right in the middle of playing with its toys.

 Exactly our present situation. Now the adults have shown up.

Mr. Spock: For the record, Captain, how do we describe him? Pure mentality? A force of intellect? Embodied energy? Super-being? He must be classified, sir.

 Captain James T. Kirk: Then a small boy. And a very naughty one at that.

 Mr. Spock: It WILL make a strange entry in the library banks.

 Captain James T. Kirk: But then he was a very strange small boy.

All the talk about whether the hush-money case is too small to be the first indictment and one where the Manhattan District Attorney could lose miss the point. Simply with the threat of a criminal indictment looming over him we have seen a rapid degeneration in his language, both verbal and body. There is no more talk about how he would enjoy the perp walk where he would be the center of attention. Quite the contrary, the reality of a criminal indictment of him as an individual is starting to sink in. He can see his lawyer who helped him commit the crime of Margo-a-Largo being forced to testify… to be followed by a criminal indictment. He can see that the Fulton County massive criminal indictment is imminent. He can see that people close to him in the White House from his Vice President to his Chief of Staff are going to be forced to testify. He probably can see that his Congressional co-conspirators, Steve Bannon, and others will be forced to testify as well. Do you think any of them will take a bullet for him? Do you think any of them will be pushed under the bus by him?

Every day will squeeze him more. And if he lashes out in Waco or elsewhere as he did in threatening the Manhattan District Attorney, that simply means more charges added to the obstruction.

Bone-spur Boy is not a brave person. He lacks the right stuff to go into the arena unless it is a rigged professional wrestling arena, rigged professional political wrestling arena (Waco), or a cleared-out Lafayette Square. There will be no Howard Baker moment. Instead the legal Dorothys will throw buckets of water on the wicked witch of the White House West Wing as his Flying Monkeys are picked off one-by-one until there is no one left to defend him and he is all alone. If you think he is unhinged now, then there is more to come.

Shakespeare and Indians

Tlingit-Unangax̂ artist and musician Nicholas Galanin created "Never Forget" based on the famous Hollywood sign

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” These words uttered to Paul Newman in the movie Cool Hand Luke (1967) have become part of American folklore. They attest among other things the challenge in effective communication. As anyone who writes or speaks in public (and even in private settings) knows that while you know exactly what you mean by your words, the reader/listener is quite capable of reading/hearing something totally different. The issue then may become one of trust: Is there sufficient trust between the two of you so that you can resolve the miscommunication or do you both go your separate ways sure that you heard or read right and let the difference become a sore point that festers possibly even into violence?

You talkin’ to me?


The Universal Translator in Star Trek

The universal translator is a beloved device of science fiction such as in Star Trek. It instantaneously enables people of different worlds to perfectly understand each other. In theory, it could work as well between beings of the same world who speak different languages.

Even more miraculously, the device requires only a few words to work its magic. All one needs to do is say the equivalent of “Hello, my name is John Doe” and the device comprehends the entire culture. It knows that Alexander Graham Bell invented “hello” so he would have something to say when using the phone and why Henry Stanley said the now-awkward, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume.” Through this device all cultural nuance vanishes as it precisely translates the words of one language and species into the American English of the 1960s or 1980s-1990s depending on which Star Trek series you are watching.

Sometimes the translation does not work. Times change. In the Whales movie (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), Kirk says at the goodbye moment with the 20th century scientist now in his present and her future: “like they say in your century, I don’t even have your telephone number.” If the movie were made today, would the comment even be about telephone numbers? Remember “when you’ve got mail” did not refer to the Post Office and was something exciting?

In a Star Trek Voyager time-travel episode (Season 3, Episode 8-9: “Future’s End: Parts 1 & 2”), Tom Paris, supposedly conversant on 20th century America, learns that he is not quite as familiar with 1996 vernacular as he thought. He keeps flubbing the references and terminology of the American past. Perhaps most famously, in a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, the Enterprise encounters a people who speak in metaphors and not physically literal. The universal translator is useless.

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra in Star Trek: The Next Generation

The captains of the two species share an experience which each one explains in their own language: Picard tells the story of Gilgamesh in our narrative format while the alien uses metaphors and symbolic language to express beings who are alone and then who join together as brothers in face of a common foe. The new metaphor Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra then joins Gilgamesh and Enkidu at Uruk. These examples highlight the challenges in effective communication between species and between time periods of the same species.

These science fiction examples are relevant because it is perhaps with Europeans and Indians that we have the most tragic close encounters of the third kind in human history.


“To be or not to be, that is the question?” Shakespeare posed a fundamental question of identity through the character of Hamlet. The question is known far and wide.

One answer frequently is overlooked. “I am that I am, that is the answer.” In the King James Version of the Bible translated approximately the same time as Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, the name of deity Yahweh who Moses encounters at the burning bush is translated as “I am that I am.” The validity of this translation of the Hebrew has been questioned by biblical scholars. The Hebrew appears to be in the third person and not the first person. It seems more likely that the not-so-universal translators of the King James Bible were influenced by the cultural values of their own time. One should not be surprised by this. All biblical translations are not alike.

The consequences of this failure in translation are not limited to the ivory tower. In fact, the translation is not so much a failure as an expression of fundamental English values. The English are an “I” people. They brought that perception with them to what became the United States. There they encountered people colloquially called Indians who had a different value system. The tragic result was that even when people thought they were successfully communicating with each other, they were not. Those miscommunications continue to this very day. As best I can tell, there is little hope in the foreseeable future that each peoples will learn to speak the same language or even try to understand each other.


The initial failure to communicate occurred over land. The Europeans brought to this country a value system based on “I.” I own this piece of land. I have a deed attesting that I own this land. The “I” could be an individual human being or an individual corporation. It meant that through a treaty [which later would be broken anyway] you Indians who owned the land sold it to me and/or my corporation. The land was purchased and not taken from you. It now belongs to me.

As is comparatively well-known today, this perception did not match how the Indians understand the transaction. They did not come from an “I” society with deeds. The European concept of land ownership was foreign to them. Typically, today, this is understood to mean something along the lines of “we grant you permission to use the land.” In this scenario, “use” did not mean permanently settle in farms and prevent us from using it anymore the way it did to the Europeans. There was a failure to communicate. So while land treaties may look nice and official, they never meant the same thing to both parties. Of course, one can make the claim that even based on the European meaning of the terminology, the treaties never meant for long to the Europeans what the treaty expressed anyway.


Mascots and logos were the subject of a recent blog (Should Chief Daniel Nimham Be Honored or Erased?, December 14, 2021). As I mentioned in it, one lesson learned by me in studying the current controversies, is the difference between Indians and Americans on the choices made for  logos or mascots. Americans frequently choose an individual. It doesn’t even have to be an historical person, it could be a fictional one. By contrast, the Indian images were more pictorial or metaphorical and not of an individual.

Jean M. O’Brien (White Earth Ojibwe) in a virtual talk through the Vermont Historical Society (January 19, 2022) spoke about statues to Massasoit. He was the grand sachem of all the Wampanoag Indians. He met with the Pilgrims. As best I can tell the statues of him she showed are part of the New England culture and not the Wampanoag tradition. Have you ever seen statues by Indians to one of their own? For example, the statue to Chief Nimham mentioned in an earlier blog is being done by the municipality of Fishkill and not the Stockbridge Indians. Again, different cultural values.


O’Brien also spoke about the word “native.” The topic came up as an objection to non-Indian New Englanders saying they were “native New Englanders.” In her opinion that was an improper use of the term.

In this instance she is exactly right and exactly wrong. “Native” in the American sense, refers to where you as an individual were born. No matter where one may travel in the world, you can always identify yourself as a native of your birth place. In American, I am a native New Yorker and a native American.

By contrast, “native” in the Indian sense used by O’Brien refers to a people, a people who have been on the land for 500 generations or 10,000 years. It is not based on individual birth. Based on her definition, the Tuscarora will never be native New Yorkers in American since they migrated to New York; the Cherokee will never be natives of Oklahoma in American since they were forced there; and the Apache will always be Native Canadians since they migrated from there to what became America.

In my opinion, Indians would be better served if they dropped the term “native” for “ancestral.”  Americans rarely even use the term “native” and when they do they are referring to their place of birth. One may ask, what exactly do Indians gain by referring themselves as “Native Americans” to the exclusion of the American meaning? Consider the 14th Amendment to the Constitution:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.

Birth place of the individual in the United States makes us American citizens. So again, one may ask, what is the value added to Indians in claiming that only they are native to America and that Americans born here are not?

One final example highlights the dilemma of the failure to communicate through different meanings of the same term. In her talk, O’Brien suggested that non-Indigenous people (her only use of that term instead of Indian in her entire talk) refer to themselves as “Settlers.” American ancestors can be identified as settlers, immigrants, and colonists, but Americans in the present do not use such terms to refer to themselves as individuals (unless they are an actual immigrant as an individual). Americans as settlers refers to an action taken by an individual and not a genetic trait passed on from one generation to the next forever. Here again, one may ask how does it benefit Indians to refer to Americans in the present as non-native settlers? It sounds more like Woke run amok.

In these casual examples at the conclusion of her talk, O’Brien demonstrates the failure to communicate is in full swing. Her suggested terms simply add fuel to the fire in the culture wars. They are fine as long as she is preaching to the choir. Even though she is a calm and reasonable person, her suggestions are not words of healing, they are words of war.

In a previous blog I suggested the centennial of the 1924 Indian Citizenship Act provided an opportunity for Indians and Americans to have a conversation about what it means for an individual Indian to choose to be or not to be an American citizen and on the relationship between Indian Nations and the United States.

The Onondaga Nation and the Haudenosaunee have never accepted the authority of the United States to make Six Nations citizens become citizens of the United States, as claimed in the Citizenship Act of 1924.  We hold three treaties with the United States: the 1784 Treaty of Fort Stanwix, the 1789 Treaty of Fort Harmor and the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua. These treaties clearly recognize the Haudenosaunee as separate and sovereign Nations. Accepting United States citizenship would be treason to their own Nations, a violation of the treaties and a violation of international law, as recognized in the 2007 United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (THE CITIZENSHIP ACT OF 1924 by Onondaga Nation, June 7, 2018).

We also should add language and vocabulary to the mix. On the other hand, I am well aware of the fact that no such conversation will occur and the culture wars will continue and even worsen.

“In a marriage, almost never do a husband and wife have the same language. The key is we have to learn to speak the language of the other person,” Dr. Gary Chapman quoted in the NYT 2/13/22.

William Shatner, Captain Kirk, and Mike Pence: Together At Last

William Shatner at 90

William Shatner, Captain Kirk, and Mike Pence were joined together on October 13, 2021 at 8:00 PM ET in an unprecedented combination of science fiction and history. Shatner was shown on CNN with obvious Trekkie Anderson Cooper who has been having the time of his life. At the same time on the cable network Heroes and Icons, was showing Star Trek as part of its normal six-day a week schedule of:

8:00 Star Trek
9:00 Star Trek: Next Generation
10:00 Deep Space Nine
11:00 Voyager
12:00 Enterprise.

It’s not only Friends and Law and Order which are on all the time!

The Mike Pence reference is to the Star Trek episode being shown that night.


As is turns out, while William Shatner was boldly going where no 90-year old had gone before, he already had been old before. In the episode “The Deadly Years” shown on December 8, 1967, in the second season, the humans on a planet had experienced a rapid aging. When I say rapid, I mean rapid. People were growing old right before our eyes. Look at this picture of how the Hollywood make-up artists envisioned the old Captain Kirk.

Captain Kirk at 90

The entire episode is based on the aging officers of the Enterprise growing too old to fulfill their responsibilities.

The contrast between the actual actor at age 90 in 2021 and the aged character in the 1967 episode is truly remarkable. As you watched and listened to current version, you saw no one like the TV character. Of course, truth be told, in his physical mobility and mental necessities, he didn’t much resemble many people of his age today either. Imagine if back in 1967, he could have seen a picture of what he would really look like when he reached 90!


Shatner made an extremely casual comment in an interview with Cooper prior to the flight that is easy to overlook. He waxed poetic about his expectations of seeing the majesty of space and the oasis of earth from the rocket window. He would be like a kid with his face pressed against the window not wanting to miss a moment of the experience. Perhaps he was contrasting himself with people who never look up from their gadgets. Today, it’s only real if it is on a screen.

Then Shatner said, “I don’t want to see someone looking back at me” when I am looking out the window. Such an expression seems eminently reasonable. It would be quite shocking if when gazing out into the dark vastness of the universe, suddenly from outside the ship, there was someone looking back at you. While your faced was pressed against the window on one side, imagine the horror if someone or something also was pressed against the window but from the outside.

Nothing else was said about that comment during the interview. But Shatner the actor had had exactly that experience once before. It occurred not on Star Trek but on The Twilight Zone. The episode was “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” shown on October 11, 1963, four years prior to his becoming old before his time on Star Trek.  The episode has become one of the more famous ones in Twilight Zone lore. It even has been retold. Part of what is so fascinating now is to see the limitations in special effects compared to what exists today.

Another fascination is how the show becomes such a terrifying story. It was confined to the passenger section of a plane and the mind of a person recently released from a mental treatment facility following a nervous breakdown. Now he is seemingly recovered and being escorted home by his wife. All I can say about the episode, is that when I first saw it I was terrified. Kudos to Rod Sterling and company for crafting a tale that scared the hell out me. And the scariest moment of all [SPOLIER ALERT] occurred when William Shatner stared out the window on the wing of the plane and saw something staring back at him.

Once this Twilight Zone shot was terrifying

Kudos also to the 90-year old Shatner for joining together The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, and his voyage into space.


The Mike Pence connection takes a little explaining. While Anderson Cooper was giggling, Heroes and Icon was showing the Star Trek episode “Bread and Circuses” which originally aired on March 15, 1968. In that show, Captain Merik and his crew from his spaceship are missing. The Starship Enterprise crew locates the crew on a planet governed by a 1960s version of the Roman Empire. So if you channel surfed, you could flip back and forth between Shatner and Cooper and Captain Kirk and a Roman Caesar in an earthlike world of 1960s technology where Rome never fell.

Mike Pence has been no Captain Merik from Star Trek “Bread and Circuses.” Will he be a hero now? (William Smithers)

Does this missing Captain look familiar to you? Does he bear a passing resemblance to anyone today?

Back on October 3, 2019, more than one year before the 2020 election and January 6, I wrote a blog entitled “Will Mike Pence Become a Profile in Courage?” The issue then was the second impeachment due to the attempted extortion of the Ukrainian President.

On the planet, Captain Merik sells his soul to the Roman Emperor, to Caesar and not to Christ. It is not an exact match to V.P. Mike selling his soul to his Lord and Savior, the chosen one, blessed be his name, but it is close enough.  Pence’s performance in the Cabinet meeting where he thanked God for enabling him to share the same space-time continuum as The Donald will forever define him. In its own way, it is even more pathetic than Captain Merik’s abject submission in the TV show.

 Be that as it may, both Mike and Merik have violated their oath. Merik has violated the Prime Directive by interfering in the planet and sharing knowledge of the existence of the Federation of Planets along with the awareness of a superior technology to that a 1960s country possessed. Vice President Brown Nose has been submissive in his behavior but whether he has crossed the line or not is another issue…until the current scandal

Now he faces a moment of truth. He was present during the violation of the Constitution and the cover-up. What will he do? He was part of it. Will he tell the truth? He has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution.

In the Star Trek episode, Merik redeems himself. In the moment of truth, Merik rescues Kirk and Co. enabling them to beam back to the Starship Enterprise and escape the clutches of the imperial order. He pays for that decision with his life. Sometimes being a profile in courage can be fatal. Just because you demonstrate the right stuff to go into the arena does not mean you will survive the ordeal and emerge a victor. In the TV show, Merik did not.

What will Mike Pence do? He prides himself on his Christian values. Will he tell the truth? He prides himself on never dining alone with a woman who is not his wife. Will he tell the truth? He prides himself on his integrity. Will he tell the truth? He thinks he is part of God’s plan. Will he tell the truth?


He will not rise to the occasion.

He will not be a profile in courage.

I returned to this issue in blog from January 7, 2021, the day after the attempt to steal the election, overthrow the Constitution, and attempt to hang Mike Pence. I concluded that blog with the wishful thinking that “The country needs him to be the hero and not a zero” and hope that he would be one. True he did not go along with the 6-step program insisted on by the Hitman, but that is not enough. His last chance to be a profile in courage will occur when he is subpoenaed to testify before the House Committee about his involvement in January 6. The odds are Pence will remain true to character and fail his country once again.

Alternate Realities: Science Fiction and the 2020 Election

Pirate Spock in an Alternate Reality

We are a storytelling species. Sometimes the stories we tell take place in the future. Those stories are really about the present. Our actual ability to accurately predict the future (no one predicts the past!) isn’t very good. Remember 2001 A Space Odyssey? Now that year is known for 9/11 and there is no Pan Am yet alone flights to the moon. We are approaching the time when Arnold will return back to the past to terminate us. So it goes.
But as it turns out, science fiction can be very good at telling stories about us without the science. I am always amazed about how well the stories of Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry work in our present decades after they were written, told, and filmed. Consider the current presidential election.


Stargate (1994) and Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007) were a movie and TV series about intergalactic travel through a device called a Stargate. It was discovered about a century ago in Egypt and then transferred to Colorado (I don’t recall seeing how that happened.). By dialing this device, we created connections to destinations throughout the galaxy and could be whisked there in an instance.

Many adventures followed. There were aliens, war, and technology running the gamut from superbeings to the primitive. Fortunately everyone in the galaxy spoke American English without the need for a universal translation device and all computers were compatible.

But by far the most incredible thing of all was that the Stargate was kept secret. Here we have the most incredible device ever used by human beings and no one new about it. That is no one except for the hundreds of people who worked at the very secret military installation and the politicians who voted on the appropriations to fund the operations. It wasn’t the multiple saving-the-earth-from-doom scenarios that were the most fantastic part of the show; it was the idea that so many people could keep such a massive secret for so long.

How about stealing an election? What would it take in the real world to actually steal an election? How many people would be needed? How would you determine in advance exactly from where the votes should be stolen and how many you would need to steal? How would you fund the effort? For that matter, how exactly would you organize the theft?

The truth of the mater is, people are not good at keeping secrets. True we still don’t know why a President of the United States made an emergency visit to the hospital last year. One day we will. But a Deep State conspiracy to steal an election requires a great deal of planning to say nothing of secrecy.

That is why I think Joe Biden should issue the Steal the Election Challenge. He should challenge Trumpicans to show how they would steal the election. He should ask Trumpicans to present their ideas on how they would secretly steal votes in their own polling place, in their own municipality, in their own county, and in their own state. The winners in each category for devising the best way to steal the maximum number of votes in secrecy would be awarded a prize and be given vacation time in the soon to-be-empty Trump hotel in Washington, DC. Fox talk show hosts are not eligible to participate but, of course, they could advise their minions how to succeed.

Remember secrecy is the key. No one must know that you stole the votes. You can’t just run out the back door of a polling place, circle back to the front, change your shirt and cap, re-enter the polling place, and then vote again. Some intelligence is needed to devise a secret method. Each contestant has the option of stealing the election by adding illegal votes or removing legal votes. OK, Trumpicans, this is your moment to put your money where your mouth is and show America what you’ve got.


Parallel universes are a tried a true technique much beloved of science fiction writers. Both Stargate SG-1 and Star Trek partook of this device. Perhaps the most famous of the alternate universe shows is the beloved episode of “Pirate Spock” with a beard. Sometimes a show has only one alternate universe, sometimes there are an infinite number although not all can be shown at one time. Part of the fun of these episodes is in the writing. These alternate realities provide abundant opportunities to show slight differences that are of great fun for the viewers who are well-versed in the way the world is supposed to be. Sometimes even the world you think is the real world turns out to be the alternate one enabling a character to die in the real world and then be replaced by a counterpart from the alternate reality before that world is destroyed. As I said, parallel universes stories can be great fun when done well.
Unfortunately, in our world, alternate realities don’t work so well. Consider our present situation.

In the real world, our immature child president in the body of man and with the emotional maturity of a three-year old conned people into thinking he was a successful businessman who would fight for them even though they were disgusting to him and he didn’t care about them. After living his life as pond-scum slime and becoming the biggest individual financial loser in the history of the United States, he assumed an adult job and completely failed in his management of a viral epidemic that is now raging stronger than ever. Then We the People told this narcissist that playtime was over and it was time for an adult to take the position of President: MAKE AMERICAN ADULT AGAIN. Now the toddler would have to face the music in court case after court case, investigation after investigation, and have to answer the questions of Adam Schiff. It’s no wonder the immature child being told he can no longer play adult would have a hissy fit and threaten everyone around him.

Meanwhile, in the alternate reality, the Deep State stole the election from our Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name. The Joe Biden family crime syndicate led by a senile demented person with one foot at death’s door and the rest of his body in a nursing home, masterminded the greatest fraud in American history. I think this makes the fourth or fifth greatest fraud and corruption in American history all of which have just occurred and have been exposed by Hannity. He is fighting for us and for America to keep us safe from anarchists and terrorists and the only way he could lose the election if it was rigged..

This two realities can not coexist. There is no come-let-us-reason-together possibility. Instead we are watching the birth a new “Lost Cause” myth that will reverberate in American history for years to come. Certainly until the 2024 election when THE LOSER runs from prison to regain what is rightfully his: recognition as the greatest president in American history. There still is no Howard Baker and watching all these wannabees who sold their soul so they would become the chosen one in 2024 is sad (Which Trump Will Run in 2024? [August 26, 2019]). They should think about 2028 instead.


A Star Trek episode, The Squire of Gothos, predicted January 20, 2021 back in 1967. In that episode the adult alien squire figure really is an immature child in the body of an adult. Here are some lines from an earlier blog (May 24, 2019) that still resonate today.

1. Spock slaps the face of the immature child who has enormous power

Mr. Spock: I object to you. I object to intellect without discipline; I object to power without constructive purpose.

Trelane: Oh, Mr. Spock, you do have one saving grace after all: you’re ill-mannered [nasty cutie-pie]! The human half of you, no doubt?

2. The parents of the immature child who has enormous power return to restore order and take the child home.

Trelane’s Father: Trelane! Stop that nonsense at once!

3. Kirk classifies the immature child for the Starfleet record.

Mr. Spock: Captain.

Captain James T. Kirk: Mr. Spock. Still thinking about Trelane, is that it?

Mr. Spock: For the record, Captain, how do we describe him? Pure mentality? A force of intellect? Embodied energy? Super-being? He must be classified, sir.

Captain James T. Kirk: [thinks a moment] God of War, Mr. Spock.

Mr. Spock: Well, I hardly find that fitting.

Captain James T. Kirk: Then a small boy. And a very naughty one at that.

Mr. Spock: It WILL make a strange entry in the library banks.

Captain James T. Kirk: But then he was a very strange small boy.

Keep in mind that the description below from a Star Trek fan site was not written about our immature child president.

The Squire of Gothos when mommy and daddy show up [Fan site caption]
[T]he pivotal moment comes when Trelane’s parents show up and put a stop to all of his “games”… Immediately, Trelane’s speech patterns change, going from superior and jovial scoundrel to a cranky little boy whose mommy and daddy are telling him it’s time to put his toys away and take a nap. Despite all of his blusterings and exhilaration of the hunt, Trelane protests that he’s just playing around, makes excuses, and even whines that he never gets to have any fun….[T]his call[s] to mind images of a young child being told it’s bedtime right in the middle of playing with its toys.

Exactly our present situation. Now the adults have shown up. It’s bedtime at Rikers for THE LOSER.


Star Trek: The Antidote to Anne Applebaum’s Twilight of Democracy

On August 24, 2020, NYU John Brademas Center and NYU Votes presented an online discussion between two ex-Republicans:

Anne Applebaum, Staff Writer at The Atlantic; Senior Fellow of International Affairs and Agora Fellow in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; author, Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism

Moderator: Max Boot, Columnist at the Washington Post; Global Affairs Analyst for CNN; Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations,

The topic was Applebaum’s new book:

In the United States as well as around the globe, democratic institutions have begun to deteriorate, while authoritarian movements continue to gain traction. Anne Applebaum, journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, argues that this trend should come as no surprise given the “seductive lure of authoritarianism.” In her new book, Twilight of Democracy, Applebaum focuses on the surrogates who enable autocracy.

What role do writers, academics, journalists, and other members of the cultural elite play in the ascent of nationalist rule? To what extent are these figures propelled by ideology versus their own financial or political gain? And what patterns emerge when we observe weakening democracies across the world from the U.S. to Poland?

During the conversation, Boot noted Applebaum’s fairly pessimistic view on democracy’s fate. The book definitively states that we are living through the twilight of democracy right now; there is no question mark in the title. She is not raising a question about the present, she is making a statement about it and it is a negative one.

In her response, Applebaum left some room for hope. She declared that she doesn’t do predictions. However if her book is a statement on the present twilight of democracy, then there is no real need of predictions: the dye is already cast. Applebaum considers it irresponsible for people in her generation to be pessimistic because that is not fair to the younger generations. Her book should be treated as a warning and not a prediction. Democracy could die but it is not inevitable that it will die. She asserts that decisions made now can affect the outcome. Her responses suggest the title should have ended with a question mark. I wonder who made the decision for the bolder more shocking title.

Boot followed up by inquiring from where does the threat to democracy emanate and what is the appeal of authoritarianism? Applebaum responded by raising the issue of uncertainty. People prefer something more predictable and certain for the future compared to the fragile and unstable world in which we live. As a result people are distressed over future.

Earlier in the discussion, Applebaum had mentioned two specific events leading to the current uncertainty particularly for conservatives like herself but not only for them. The first followed the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. That was a triumphal moment for a generation of conservatives, a time of great optimism. Unfortunately the complacency in the 1990s afterwards was misplaced. The result was a loss of certainty in the inevitability of democracy.

She did not specifically refer to the current situation in this discussion. For the President of the United to be subordinate to the Russian leader who has a free hand to violate American presidential would have been a shocking concept after 1989 had it even occurred to anyone.

The second date was 1999 especially for Republicans but also for all Americans. The country went from celebrating what had happened in the decade just ending to a world where we often are no longer talking to each other. Along those lines, the article “Our Love Is Forever, as Long as We Vote the Same Way” in the Sunday Styles section of the NYT (August 30, 2020) reports on this very issue in a quite personal way. Dating companies now are obligated to include a line on political preferences given the impossibility of pro- and anti-Trump people to talk to each other. Once upon a time Mary Matalin and James Carville were the example of an unusual political couple. Now George and Kellyanne Conway are the mystifying couple. They recently had to take a timeout from politics for the sake of their children, their family, and their marriage AND THEY ARE MEMBERS OF THE SAME PARTY!

Applebaum added that in this new millennium people feel disappointed with what has happened for themselves, for their country, or both. Drawing on her own experience, she observes that the Polish thought the transformation of democracy would be better than it had been for themselves in their career and their country. She concluded that when you really feel disappointed, it can lead to radicalism. People become angry, convinced that there is nothing left to be done, that democracy has failed. Consequently disruptive change is needed.

There was more to their conversation than presented here. Still the major points are clear. The old order of the Cold War is over. Regardless of one’s position in that confrontation, it provided clearcut alternatives. You had a decision to make about where you stood. That decision provided meaning and purpose in life. Now everything seems up the air. Uncertainty dominates. Fear follows and that can lead to bad things. Very Bad things. Not to worry. Only I can save the country.

People deal with uncertainty in multiple ways. One way is to create certainty in the mind. For example, pilots train on simulators. They practice again and again. They learn how to recognize a dangerous condition. They learn what should be done in a perilous situation. They practice, practice, practice until it becomes so ingrained that that they can even land a plane ON the Hudson River if its engines are clogged with birds. The police practice and practice as well but not for dealing with the mentally ill, domestic disputes, or facing intensely emotional and overwrought people in a crowd.

At the end of the movie Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson exhibits another form of mental preparation. After the successful landing of John Glen in a risky space flight, the Kevin Costner character asks her if we are ready to go to moon. She replies, “We’re already there.” She had seen the future in her mind again and again and was quite confident that it could be reached in the real world. The only question was when that world was going to catch up to her mind.

Imagining the future is one way of preparing for. We live in dystopian times so it is not surprising that our science fiction reflects these circumstances. We see a future of hate not hope, nightmares not dreams, conflict not peace. The more overwhelmed we are by the present, the more willing we are to accept drastic solutions, solutions that won’t work but which may give peace of mind for the moment without the use of drugs.

Science fiction like those simulators can help prepare us for the future. It has the possibility of generating hope. The one that did that in a way no other ongoing series did was Star Trek. The show was not just about special effects or entertaining stories. It expressed a confidence about boldly going where no one had gone before, about a confidence in facing the unknown, about a willingness even eagerness to engage the future. All these attributes and desires are lacking in a world where we have the dark carnage relentlessly promulgated by the Trumpicans and the relentlessly toppling of our past by the Woke.

We are not a Starship Enterprise country today. We cannot communicate with each other yet alone live with each. The intensity of distrust and hate ratchets ever upward making our time the twilight of democracy. Kirk’s hero was Lincoln, a name used and abused today by people who are full of malice and reject America’s vision as the last best hope of humanity. Neither candidate seeks to inspire us; we are a country without vision. Still even people who are not science fiction fans know the message of Star Trek. I suspect they yearn for a candidate who can overcome our fear of fear itself with the message that best is yet to come.

What Tucker Carlson Meant to Say

"My function is to destroy that which is not perfect." (Words from Star Trek, Image from the Twilight Zone)

Opening narration

This is the face of Ramos Clemente, a year ago a beardless, nameless worker of the dirt who plodded behind a mule, furrowing someone else’s land. And he looked up at a hot Central American sun and he pledged the impossible. He made a vow that he would lead an avenging army against the tyranny that put the ache in his back and the anguish in his eyes, and now one year later the dream of the impossible has become a fact. In just a moment we will look deep into this mirror and see the aftermath of a rebellion in the Twilight Zone.

The Twilight Zone episode The Mirror was shown on October 20, 1961. In a Central American dictatorship, Ramos Clemente (modeled after Fidel Castro), and his four lifelong confidants, stage a successful revolution against the regime of General De Cruz. Clemente faces down De Cruz and revels in his victory, but the deposed general says that Clemente will soon learn the consequences of ruling by force. De Cruz also tells Clemente that his ornate mirror has the ability to reveal enemies in its reflection.

When Clemente begins using the same repressive tactics used by the deposed dictator De Cruz, a rift develops between him and his four friends, now the heads of the government. A particular point of contention is Clemente’s order for mass executions of prisoners he has declared to be enemies of the state. The purification of the new order requires the cleansing of the impure.

When Clemente looks into the mirror, he sees visions implying that all four of his confidantes are plotting to assassinate him. They are cleansed and the revolution is purified.

Finally, Clemente is approached by a priest who asks him to end the executions. Clemente refuses, saying that as long as he has enemies the executions will continue until the country is purified. Clemente takes one last, long look in the mirror…and sees only himself. He picks up his pistol and throws it at the mirror, smashing the glass. “The last assassin,” he says, “and they never learn…they never seem to learn.”  The country is purified at last.

Closing narration

Ramos Clemente, a would-be god in dungarees, strangled by an illusion, that will-o’-the-wisp mirage that dangles from the sky in front of the eyes of all ambitious men, all tyrants—and any resemblance to tyrants living or dead is hardly coincidental, whether it be here or in the Twilight Zone.

If there is a Twilight Zone episode about purification, then there must be a Star Trek one too. The episode is “The Changeling” first broadcast on September 29, 1967.


The Enterprise investigates a distress call. The cause of the distress is an object that identifies itself as “Nomad”, and refers to Captain Kirk as “the Creator”. It was a space probe launched from Earth during the early 21st Century. Its original mission was to explore the galaxy and seek out new life, but it had been reported destroyed.

Now Nomad’s new mission is to seek out and eliminate any “biological infestation” that it deems imperfect. The change occurred after Nomad had collided with a meteor, was severely damaged, and then wandered through space. It finally coming into contact and merged with a powerful alien probe designed to obtain and sterilize soil samples from other planets. Nomad partially integrated the agricultural mission directives, interpreting them to mean “sterilize imperfections”. When Nomad declares that its directive is to sterilize imperfections it allows no exceptions. Kirk points out that Nomad itself is imperfect, since it has mistaken Captain Kirk for its true creator Roykirk. Seconds after Nomad is transported from the ship, an explosion is detected and Nomad is no more.

In the Star Trek episode as in the Twilight Zone, the one who seeks destroy imperfections or who leads the revolution dies.

Once the purification process begins there is no real off switch. Consider the situation in the Peoples Republic of Seattle. The President of the United States had called upon people to liberate their states (from Democratic governors). He operated under the naturally short-sighted thinking that only his people would do the liberating and not the other side. Welcome to the real world.

One might think that the Seattle autonomous zone was about George Floyd. Perhaps it was at first but that is not how purification works. Moe’ Neyah Dene Holland, a Black Lives Matter activist in Seattle said:

We should focus on just this one thing first. The other things can follow suit. Because honestly, black men are dying and this is the thing we should be focusing on. 

The reference is to the expanded agenda of purifications which had been identified. First, three demands were posted on a wall. Then five were posted on a fence. Then there were 39 online. That’s the way the purification process works. Where does it end?


The next target for purification has been the Confederates. With police reform, there has been a legal process at the local, state, and federal level to pass new laws and make changes. The same has applied to Confederates regarding the naming of military bases, the removal of statues, and the changing of street names. But some people also have taken the purification process into their own hands and acted independently of the law. Statues have been toppled. That’s the way the purification process works.


At first glance, Columbus would seem to have nothing to do with George Floyd or police reform. You are wrong. Once it is started, purification just keeps going and going and going. Columbus like the Confederates already has been under attack. Cleansing actions have been undertaken in multiple states to remove the presence of Columbus. The current situation provided an opportunity to further act to cleanse the country.

Ironically, in the village where I live, the march on May 25 to protest police brutality began in Columbus Park. The park is located not that far from Columbus Ave. The march against police brutality stayed focused on the issue of the police. To the best of my knowledge there was no call to rename the park or the street on which Spanish-speaking people live. Nor has there been any indication of traumatized people stressed out for living with the Columbus name. At some point, these people are going to have to be educated in the steps required to purify the village of Columbus. The questions of racism and genocide will be raised time and time again until every statue, every street, every building has been purified of the Columbus name. That’s the way the purification process works.


Albany, N.Y. Mayor Kathy Sheehan has announced that the city will be taking down the statue of Philip Schuyler because he was a slave owner. Dr. Alice Green, Executive Director at the Center for Law and Justice, said: “He enslaved them, he devalued them, and the lesson for young people is that: Why are we glorifying people who treated us that way?”  An objection was raised by former state legislator and city historian Jack McEneny:  “Philip Schuyler is one of the people who… if we didn’t have him, we would’ve lost the battle of Saratoga.” In response, Dr. Alice Green, said: “I don’t believe in censorship. I do believe if somebody wants to glorify Philip Schuyler… they should, but not on my government property.”

There are other examples glorifying Philip Schuyler. One is the nearby Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site located on state property and operated by the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation. Another is the Schuyler House, Philip Schuyler’s country house, located near the Saratoga battlefield and owned and operated by the National Park Service.  What is the basis for removing the statue but keeping state and federal ownership of his houses? Why should taxpayer money be used to support the homes of a slave owner? Shouldn’t these houses be privatized? One thing always leads to another. That’s the way the purification process works.

What about Schuylerville, the village where the Schuyler House is located? Shouldn’t its name be changed?

What about the streets with the name of a slave owner? Just as the name “Columbus” must be purged as part of the purification process, so too must the names of all slave owners be eliminated from America’s streets and buildings. This process too is already underway especially at colleges where buildings have been renamed. However it has not yet been extended to the individual street names. Systemic racism means simply removing a statue is not enough. All vestiges of slavery need to be removed. Those street names have to go if the town is to be purified of the reminders of slavery. That’s the way the purification process works.

A reporter in Albany asked, do all the slave-owner named streets have to go along with Schuyler including those named after the founders of the city and the country.

Yes, said Derek Johnson, who is black and represents the South End on the Albany Common Council. “If we’re going to be consistent, all of them should be changed,” Johnson told [reporter Chris Churchill]. “Right is right.”


A bigger problem is Schuyler’s daughters. They appear in the musical Hamilton as one of them married Alexander Hamilton. The daughters were all beneficiaries of white privilege. What are they doing on Broadway in positive roles? Shouldn’t they be removed from the musical? If seeing a statue is traumatic what does that make seeing living examples of these daughters of white privilege singing and dancing before an appreciative audience? What does that make the people who pay to see them? “Who will the story?” the musical famously asks. The real story is one of slavery and not that of Hamilton. That’s the way the purification process works.


Then what about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington who also appear in the musical. Imagine the trauma experienced by the black actors performing in the role of an author of the Declaration of Independence and the father of the country. Doesn’t that qualify as cruel and unusual punishment? Both founding fathers already have been under attack. Seventy-five-per-cent-white Sally Hemmings has become a cause célèbre as a black person in the life of Jefferson. Washington has been attacked for tracking Ona Judge Staines. How can the country be purified if slave owners are the people who founded it? They and the country they created have to go. That’s the way the purification process works.


The birthday of the slave country is July 4. The Declaration of Independence was written by people who owned people. The purification of the United States demands that the people be liberated from a country based on racism. Indeed, The New York Times received a Pulitzer Prize for showing that America is a slave-based country. The newspaper also identified the birthday of the new country to be created: 1619.


Just as the birthday of the country needs to be changed, so too the governing document needs to be scrapped. It is the product of racist slave owners. The purification of the United States demands that the people be liberated from a governing document based on race.

Systemic racism cannot be eliminated as long as the birthday and governing document of the country are based on racism. Instead of celebrating the 250th anniversary of the United States, the country needs to be cleansed of its sin. A new country based on 400 years should be created. Only then will the purification be completed. That’s the way the purification process works.

I am not saying this scenario will happen. I am not saying that people in Politically Correct Command Central have a plan and are deploying the politically correct people (PCPs) to implement it. I am not saying there even is such a command center. I am not saying that the people protesting for police reform [a subject to be addressed in a future blog] aren’t patriotic Americans who want the country they love to live up to its ideals. I am saying the purification process described here is a logical conclusion to the forces that now have been unleashed. There really is no way to tell where this process will stop. We need a new national narrative for the 21st century.


When Will the Borg Assimilate Hong Kong?: Is Resistance Futile?

Is Resistance Futile for Hong Kong? Is It Futile for the Federation? (

The Borg were a fearsome enemy in the Star Trek universe. They were in numerous episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation and Voyager. They always appeared as the dominant power on the verge of assimilating the starship crews into their collective. Their tag line was “Resistance is futile.” Yet somehow the starships not only did resist but did so successfully. Resistance was not futile.

Everything about the Borg was the antithesis to the Federation of Planets and therefore to the United States of America. We prefer the stylistically sleek and sexy lines in our cars, our ships, and our planes. By contrast the Borg vessel is a clunky metallic cube of no aesthetic appeal whatsoever. They are a society devoid of art in any shape or form except dull metallic grey.

But it is in the organization of the societies where the two ways of life demonstrate the most marked contrast. In the Borg, everything is the collective. There is no individuality. Once a being has been assimilated into the collective, individuality is lost. The Borg have no individual possessions or thoughts. They have a perfection in the order of the collective. They have banished individuality from their cubes and lives.

The dialog between the societies based on the starship and cube models express this difference. In the early episodes, the Borg spoke in a single voice that was a composite of all the voices of the assimilated beings in the hive. They had designations not names. In one episode, a Borg liberated from the collective became known as “Hugh” from “you.” In a longer running thread, the Borg who joined the Voyager crew by accident went from having a designation Seven of Nine for her place in the hive to being named Seven. The ongoing thread of this series focused on the travails and pitfalls of her becoming an individual, of being in touch with her humanity, of connecting to her childhood before she was assimilated.

I thought about the Borg when reading about recent developments in Hong Kong. I did so triggered by the title of an article “Can Hong Kong’s Resistance Win? (NYT July 14, 2019, the day the American President formally launched the culture wars against disloyal traitor Americans of color). Part of the article made me wonder if the author had the Borg in mind when contrasting China and Hong Kong.

If human beings have other wants or needs ⸺ like independent thinking, free expression or person happiness ⸺ well, those are things for our rivals, the Western democracies to pursue. The West’s production model is less efficient than ours. Ours has “Chinese characteristics.”

In these words, one may witness the Borg/Federation conflict in earthly human form.  In the TV series resistance was not futile. Will the same be true for Hong Kong?

In this confrontation one should recognize that China has its own Hannitys and Huckabees. It has its own propaganda machine that even surpasses Fox. The Chinese and the Trumpicans both get their news from a single source – the government-approved propaganda machine. However Americans have alternatives with the Fake News outlets. In fact they are earning record profits. Fox and the President mention the other news sources if only to belittle them. By contrast, China has no homegrown alternative to the official propaganda outlet.

However that does not mean the Chinese are not graduates of the Laura Ingraham School of Spin. As one Chinese professor said in support of the Chinese government against the Hong Kong Spring:

They are obviously actors, not Hong Kong citizens.  

Ingraham could not have said it better herself. In fact, she has said it. Something about children separated from their families at the border having a camp-like experience. And all those supposed “high school” students after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

One danger for the Chinese government is that the longer the Hong Kong Spring continues, the greater the demands are likely to be. For the moment they are contained to specific grievances relating to specific proposed laws and the actions of the police against those participating in the Hong Kong Spring. But over time, the stakes rise.  A protester climbed a flagpole, removed the Chinese national flag, and flung it into the water. Another protester than unfurled a flag in support of Hong Kong independence. Shades of Evacuation Day on November 25, 1783, at Bowling Green when a Dutch American climbed the British-greased flagpole, tore down the British flag, and raised an American flag. As the Chinese protester said:

We’re losing our freedom little by little. Those who don’t support Hong Kong independence will have no choice but to become Chinese.

The call for independence ratchets up the division and makes cooperation more difficult. It also suggests a distinction between the Chinese people and the Hong Kong people, as if two different races or ethnicities are involved.

Back in 2018, before all the current commotion began, a new bridge was opened that linked Hong Kong and Macau.  A prescient article “New Bridge Brings ‘That Kind of Tourist’ to Hong Suburb” (NYT, November 24, 2018, print edition) highlighted that difference. In the first month, nearly one million mainland Chinese crossed over into Hong Kong with the corresponding reaction by the locals to what our president would call an “invasion,’ even if they do return home after a day of shopping. The authors noted:

It’s an early sign that it will take more than a 34-mile megastructure to overcome the resentment that is festering between Hong Kong residents and mainland Chinese.

The article reports that activists who claim Hong Kong has a unique identity that needs to be protected are called “localists.”  They advocate for independence, an increasingly taboo subject. The localists differentiate themselves from mainland Chinese. They do so by employing derogatory language. They call the mainlanders “locusts” [not “animals’] and “invaders.” By American standards, these localists in support of Hong Kong independence are using racist language. They compound the derision by referring to the people of China as being from “Chee-na” instead of “China.”

Pro-Chinese people understand the insults and have responded in opposition to such castigation of mainland Chinese. As one individual said:

We’re all Chinese people with yellow skin. Why are you discriminating against your own people? 

So the pro-freedom and independence people use demeaning language to belittle and mock the locusts who invade their land and overwhelm their communities. The pro-government people refers to the Asian people of color as “yellow.”

Nonetheless, the position of our government on the Hong Kong Spring is clear. Our transactional President who alienates allies prefers authoritarian leaders to freedom seekers. The message the Chinese government should deliver is “Love it or Leave it!”  And if the residents of Hong Kong do decide to leave it, they cannot come here.  They are not Norwegian. They are people of color. And we are full up. So where should they go? What country would welcome them in the face of China’s wrath if they did? Taiwan?

At this point, no one knows how the story of the Hong Kong Spring will end. The Chinese government has the option to accede to the demands of the protesters and simply wait. After all, in 2047 by treaty the two-system approach will cease. China will then be legally allowed to absorb Hong Kong into the mainland collective. Of course, people living in Hong Kong today know about 2047. Many of them will be alive then. So even though 2047 is 28 years away, for the localists the protests now may be the last opportunity to preserve their freedom. The stakes are high and they have nowhere to turn for help. Perhaps in this real-world drama, resistance is futile and the Borg collective trumps the desire of those who want to be free.

Hudson Yards versus Hudson Valley: Where Is Your Field of Dreams?

Hudson Yards (Max Touhey, Curbed NewYork)

Earlier this spring the Manhattan skyline changed rather dramatically. As the front page of the New York Times put it: “A Gleaming Behemoth Rises, for Better or Worse”(print edition March 15, 2019; online title Hudson Yards Is Manhattan’s Biggest, Newest, Slickest Gated Community. Is This the Neighborhood New York Deserves?).   It’s called Hudson Yards. Do you think there will ever be an historical society there? What kind of place is it?

Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for the paper, was fairly critical of this addition. To the publicity that the Hudson Yards was inspired by ancient Indian stepwells, Kimmelman asserted, it is about as much like them as Skull Mountain at Six Flags Great adventure is like Chichen Itza. Space does not permit a full expression of his criticisms so I will present only some summary comments that go the heart and lack of soul of the complex.

Over all, Hudson Yards epitomizes a skin-deep view of architecture as luxury branding. Each building exists to act as a logo for itself. The assortment suggests so many crowded perfume bottles vying for attention in a department store window display….

It is, at heart, a supersized suburban-style office park, with a shopping mall and a quasi-gated condo community targeted at the 0.1 per cent. A relic of dated 2000s thinking, nearly devoid of urban design, it declines to blend into the city grid….

Hudson Yards glorifies a kind of surface spectacle ⸺as of the peak ambitions of city life were consuming luxury goods and enjoying a smooth, seductive, mindless materialism.

The best feature of the complex is the 1100 feet high observation deck. It will have bleachers next year raising the height of one’s view even more. And that view is spectacular. You can practically see all creation. From there one can gaze upon the most magnificent vistas of New York imaginable…because from there you cannot see the Hudson Yards!

Kimmelman compares Hudson Yards to the beloved Rockefeller Center of Christmas tree fame and the new edifices are found wanting in almost every way imaginable. It’s not a place where Jane Jacobs would live, where organic communities will be nurtured, or where a community historical society will take root.

In the New Yorker, Hudson Yards is the Hotel California of New York, Alexandra Schwartz lambasts “unremitting artificiality” of the place. This supposed “neighborhood of the future” is a high-end corporate park enclave sustained by $6 billion in tax breaks, more than Amazon sought for its failed attempt to locate in Queens.  Schwartz even mocks the seeming triumph of urban reimagination as the “embodiment of this narcotic nowhere-ness” the nearby High Line exemplifies: a beautiful highway that has sliced through a living neighborhood, Robert Moses style, leaving luxury buildings in its wake.” Hell’s Kitchen has character, Hudson Yards has superficial slick size.

A subsequent article Hudson Yards: A City Within a City: New York’s newest neighborhood drew inspiration from Battery Park City, but is filled with 21st-century twists by C. J. Hughes in the New York Times, specifically notes this dichotomy using the 20th-century Battery Park City in lower Manhattan also along the Hudson River for comparison.

While Battery Park City may embody the lessons of urbanist Jane Jacobs, who favored short blocks [as in her beloved Greenwich Village], Hudson Yards can feel derived from her opposite, the master builder Robert Moses, whose approach was often big and muscular.

Hudson Yards is located in New York but is it really part of New York? Where does it belong?

Consider the view of Sebastian Modak, a New York Times reporter assigned to visit every place on the “52 Places to Go in 2019” list (New, Strange and Familiar, It’s Still New York, print edition April 7, 2019; I Walked the Length of Manhattan. Here Is What I Found.

My parents live in Dubai and the only way I’ve learned to like that superlative-obsessed, chrome-and- steel glass city is by gravitating toward the polyglot migrant communities that built the city and the scant traces of the pearl-diving beginnings that haven’t been swallowed up by the drive to build, build, build. To me, Hudson Yards is New York City trying to be the Dubai I’ve always avoided….

Getting back to the Hudson River Greenway was a relief, and entering Central Park made me ecstatic.

In another article (It’s Really Two Malls in One, print edition April 11, 2019; At Hudson Yards, One Mall for the Rich, and One for Everyone Else in New York Times, reporter Jon Caramanica takes to task all those people who have been comparing Hudson Yards to Dubai: “That’s a grave insult to Dubai [!]”

Two different lifestyles are being contrasted here. One is high above the river and for the very rich people; the other is at the street level where the real people live. As the superstar cities from Manhattan to San Francisco increasingly cater to the rich, the stratification increases. Sometimes it reaches a point where normal people cannot even afford to live in the city anymore.

In science fiction, the dichotomy takes on extreme forms. H. G. Wells wrote The Time Machine (1895) about time travel to the future but reflective of his present. The future division of beings into Morlocks and Eloi were a projection of the two classes he encountered: the one who struggled with ceaseless physical labor often underground while the other surface-dwelling leisured class was capable of producing nothing. In the Star Trek episode “The Cloud Minders,” once again there two classes of people. The Troglites mine the earth doing the physical labor while the intellectuals reside above it all in Stratos, a luxurious metropolis which literally floats in the sky. New York did extend the subway to reach Hudson Yards, but I cannot help but wonder if that is more for the people who work there then who live there. How did Gene Rodenberry know? In effect, these Hudson Yard residents are part of a global community like Spectre and not a local or national community.

At the same time that Hudson Yards was garnering unfavorable publicity, Hudson Valley was reaping more positive press. The article “An Instant Community in the Catskills” is about how people created an instant community in the Catskills. It’s about a group of people from the city who all bought homes in a tiny Catskill hamlet. According to the reporter, almost everyone in the group said they have richer social lives and deeper bonds as a result of having bought homes in Sullivan County. Critical to that result was having a sense of community in a place where none of them had lived before. In this case, they brought a community with them and then became part of the larger local [native or indigenous] people who lived there.

A similar pattern occurred in Hudson, NY, according to “Is the Hudson Valley Turning Into the Hamptons?” In this example it was a case of Brooklyn moving north to an Amtrak stop on the Hudson. However, the article serves as a cautionary tale about what the Hudson Valley maybe losing if it replicates West Manhattan aka the Hamptons.

As it turns out even the commuting suburb of Westchester where I live has become part of the story. Once upon a time, post-World War II and Korean War veterans and families moved north in great numbers from the city to find a piece of the American Dream. When they did so, they cut their home ownership or rental ties to the city. A new trend is for people to maintain their city residence while acquiring a second home in Westchester or Connecticut. In a “Close Escape from New York,” a broker exults:

There is the assumption that you have to go far away for it to be wild and natural. But we have areas where, thanks to rocky outcroppings, lakes and streams, you swear you are in New Hampshire.

One such person waxed poetic in her love of her new dwelling in Connecticut:

It was the stone walls that got me. You pass over the Saugatuck River, and there is this little house in Wilton where the road turns from two lanes to one, and when I see it, all of the tension from my neck and back falls away. We see woodpeckers; we see hawks; we see deer. But we don’t see people, and we don’t hear them. It’s a true escape. For us it’s a refuge.

Just as Central Park is for the city dwellers in the example cited above.

Another person making the move to Pound Ridge in Westchester shared similar views.

With young kids, it can get harder to travel. So we created our own Shangri-La up here. The benefit of the location is unbeatable.

The reporter observed of a third couple: “They longed to wake up in nature, by the water, for longer than a weekend.

Or as the couple said:

I feel much healthier out here. It feels good just to breathe fresh air.

Perhaps it is James Earl Jones, resident of Pawling in Dutchess County and supporter of the Friends of the Great Swamp in Putnam and Dutchess Counties who said it best:

For it is money they have and peace they lack.

And all these locations have historical societies too. We need to belong in time as well as space.

Hudson Yards is glitzy, glamorous, and soulless. It appeals to the 1% who want to be above it all living lives of conspicuous consumption. Meanwhile, the real people seek a connection with nature and community. Keep these thoughts and observations in mind when seeking to understand the true issues at stake in the culture wars between Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Tikkun Olam. Repair the World.

Star Trek (b. 9/8/66) to 9/11 and Beyond

Flight 93 (Courtesy of the Georgian Inn of Somerset)

America, let’s roll.

Independence Day (Courtesy of Amazon)
Independence Day (Courtesy of Amazon)

President of the United States: Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in this history of mankind.

Mankind — that word should have new meaning for all of us today.

We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore.

We will be united in our common interests.

Perhaps its fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom, not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution — but from annihilation.

We’re fighting for our right to live, to exist.

And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice:

“We will not go quietly into the night!

We will not vanish without a fight!

We’re going to live on!

We’re going to survive!”

Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!

The Battle between the Forces of Light and Dark (Courtesy of YouTube)
The Battle between the Forces of Light and Dark (Courtesy of YouTube)

President of the United States: “Get off my plane.”

“Our Banner in the Sky” (Courtesy of Olana)
“Our Banner in the Sky” (Courtesy of Olana)

Ben Franklin: “Now I have the happiness to know that it is a rising, not setting sun.”

There is much that needs to be done

Unfinished Business (Courtesy of Jonathan Bachman, Reuters)
Unfinished Business (Courtesy of Jonathan Bachman, Reuters)

And even more that we can do.

West Point Cadet Alix Idrache 2016 commencement (Photo by Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant/ Army)
West Point Cadet Alix Idrache 2016 commencement (Photo by Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant/ Army)

We may fail; we have no guarantee of success
But a destiny awaits that only We the People can fulfill.

Earth Rise (Courtesy of NASA)
Earth Rise (Courtesy of NASA)

For as this vibrant ball of blue sails the celestial void,
We stand on the shoulders of the giants of the past.

Their strength supports us.
Their vision guides us.
Their example inspires us.

Freedom's Torch (Courtesy of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation)
Freedom’s Torch (Courtesy of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation)

Freedom’s torch has been passed anew
Testing whether any people so conceived and so dedicated
can long endure the terrible terrors that threaten our time.

We face this challenge to our future

Not in fear but with faith
Not in doubt but with determination
Not in confusion but with confidence

The light of liberty shines brightly,
A beacon of hope to those who cling fast to its ways.
The light of liberty shines brightly,
As last best hope of earth continues on its rendezvous with destiny.
The light of liberty shines brightly,
As the multitudes who have become one in liberty boldly go forth to build a better tomorrow.
The light of liberty shines brightly,
A ray of death to doers of evil who seek to validate their passport to paradise through the massacre of the innocent.

When the document that defines us is amended so more may participate, the journey continues.
Be the Dream!
When the opportunities for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are strengthened, the journey continues.
Be the Dream!
When we remember that the eyes of the world are upon a city on a hill, the journey continues.
Be the Dream!
When a person becomes an American by Choice, the journey continues.
Be the Dream!

In the millennia to come, when the sun still rises on the glory of America,

When people note this time, this place, and this generation,

When the rebirth of Ground Zero has become a pilgrimage point for the planet,

People will say with quiet dignity and solemn pride as we have in the past and do in the present about those who met the challenges of their times, that

we saw wrong and tried to right it,
we saw suffering and tried to heal it,
we saw war and tried to end the need for it,

That we did not waiver, we did not tire, we did not falter, we did not fail, and
That government of the people, by the people and for the people did not perish from the earth.

That is my prayer for America.
Sully on the Hudson (Courtesy of Values.Com)

Sully on the Hudson (Courtesy of Values.Com)

These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

2001 Space Odyssey (Courtesy of Taste of Cinema)
2001 Space Odyssey (Courtesy of Taste of  Cinema)


Empire State Presidential Elections (2016): A Day in Infamy

Pearl Harbor: The Original Day in Infamy

New York has not always been the Empire State. When the United States was first constituted, the nation’s first capital was New York City (meaning Manhattan). During the American Revolution, Washington spent more time in this state than in any other. New York, the city that he had abandoned, remained an elusive target even though physically fixed. He constantly hovered in the vicinity hoping to be able to dislodge the British but he never succeeded in doing so. Now he returned to the city as president of the country.

Philadelphia was still the premier city of the land. It remained so for a few more decades but then the torch was passed to a new powerhouse. New York became the Empire State during the 1820s. One might associate the timing with the completion of the Erie Canal (the bicentennial of its construction begins in 2017). However even before, the handwriting was on the wall for all to see. Immigrants poured into the state from overseas and from New England. Emblematic of the change was Tom Cole’s relocation from Philadelphia to Manhattan and the birth of the nation’s first art form which was named after the Hudson River.

As an emerging political power, the Empire State immediately became involved in presidential elections. The Virginia Dynasty had reached its end. The jockeying for position in the 1824 election witnessed the transition from the first party system of Federalists and Republicans to the second party system of Whigs and Democrats. Donald Ratcliffe’s new book, One-Party Presidential Contest: Adams, Jackson and 1824’s Five-Horse Race was the topic of a session at the annual conference of the Society for the Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) on July 24 which I attended.

In hindsight, that election served as a preview of the 1828 election. The winning ticket then consisted of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. Van Buren succeeded Jackson as president taking office in 1837, the first New Yorker to become president of the United States. Jackson and Van Buren formed the first diverse ticket for the white male voters of early American history. Jackson was Scotch-Irish and Van Buren was Dutch. Based on the racial classification system today, they both would be classified as dead white men. However, in their world, they represented two constituencies not previously in national office. They lived in a world where people knew if they were German Palatines, Scotch-Irish, French Huguenots, Congregational English, Anglican English, and so on. Together, Jackson and Van Buren shattered the Virginia/Massachusetts dominance of the presidency.

Prior to be coming president Van Buren served as governor of New York. His lived at his home in Kinderhook, Columbia County, for 21 years and was buried in the Dutch Reform Church cemetery nearby. His home is now a National Park Service historic site.

The Dutch ancestry continued with two famous and distantly-related Empire State presidents, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt. These two well-known luminaries need no introduction for their impact on American history. Both Roosevelts served as New York State governors before becoming president as did the less well-known Grover Cleveland. There are three National Park Service sites for Teddy in New York: his birth place in New York City, his home for decades in Long Island, and the Buffalo site where he was unexpectedly inaugurated following the assassination of McKinley. Franklin and his wife Eleanor have homes, cottages, and the first presidential  library in Hyde Park where he grew up and was a local historian.

It seemed as if Roosevelt would be succeeded in the next presidential election after his death by another New York State governor. Millions of people went to sleep on election night thinking that Thomas E. Dewey had defeated Harry Truman generating one of the most famous newspaper headlines in American history. His defeat in 1948 was his second one. In the 1944 election, two New Yorkers from Dutchess County, the current governor and the former governor, squared off against each other, the only time such an event occurred in American history.

The 1944 election represented the height of Empire State presidential elections. Another prominent New York State governor, Nelson Rockefeller, repeatedly sought the nomination without ever attaining it. Because of fluke circumstances probably never to be repeated, he did end up becoming Vice President under Gerald Ford. Rockefeller’s home never became a National Park Service historic site but the Rockefeller-initiated Historic Hudson Valley operates his Kykuit estate.

Governor Mario Cuomo, the famed Hamlet on the Hudson, appeared on the brink of declaring his candidacy on multiple occasions but never announced. If elected he would have become the first Italian and Ellis Island president. To date their never has been either.

Governor Elliott Sptitzer had ambitions of becoming the first Jewish and Ellis Island president but that vision was abruptly curtailed. As it turn out, Brooklyn-raised Bernie Sanders was the first Jewish candidate to win a presidential primary in a national party election even though the party establishment actively worked against him.

Governor Andy Cuomo has ambitions to become president but the chance to even seek the nomination seems unlikely. The opportunity for a white ethnic whose ancestors arrived at Ellis Island seems to have come and gone without it ever happening. The best way for someone of Italian ancestry becoming president appears to be if that person arrived not via Ellis Island but on a jet from Latin America where the ancestors first had migrated.

This brief survey brings us to the election of 2016 where once again there are two legal residents of New York State running for president of the United States. These two candidates share much in common. Neither one ever was governor of the state as were the previous New York presidential candidates. In fact neither one has ever held any political office of executive power in New York or anywhere else: never a mayor, never a town supervisor, never a county executive. Now in the Medicare years of their lives, for the first time, suddenly they want the buck to stop with them with the promise that it won’t be bankruptcy #8 or #18 or #118 or from Wall Street. It’s not as if they won D-Day or rescued the Winter Olympics either. They share a lack of experience in real-world executive political decision-making. Let’s gamble.

The National Park Service will be hard-pressed to select a house or home for winner. The Democratic candidate has no real home. She has no ties to Illinois and her youth and no ties to Arkansas which was a stopover on the way to where she really wanted to live. At present, she has a home in Chappaqua for legal purposes so she can return to the beltway which is the only place she ever wanted to live. From 1993 to 2025, unlike George Washington from 1775 to 1783, she will have spent more time in Washington than New York by far. In fact, she will have spent such little time living in New York she probably doesn’t even have to pay New York State income tax even for speeches given in the same neighborhood where Washington presided. By default, the National Park Service may have to operate the infrequently used house best known for hosting a server that exposed her to be a recklessly careless liar where she was tested and failed at crisis management. As the cherry tree is for George Washington and the log cabin is for Abraham Lincoln, so the server will become the symbol of the woman who never tried to achieve on her own. Everyone will take a selfie there. That should be some NPS tour.

Our two Empire State presidential candidates share even more in common.

* They have the highest unfavorables of any two candidates in American history.
* They are the most disrespected by people of their own parties.
* They aren’t remotely capable of being the nation’s comfiter in-chief.
* They aren’t remotely capable of healing the wounds that divide us.
* They aren’t remotely capable of rising to the occasion.

NYT (8/4/16): “Allies [of the Democratic candidate] remain skittish and say that by many measures, Mrs. Clinton is a weak candidate with a muddled message who faces an electorate in which a majority of voters do not trust or like her. But Mr. Trump’s inability to seize on his own party’s convention and emerge a more disciplined candidate has eased early concerns that he could appeal to a broader electorate in the fall…[A political consultant] has pointed out that no candidate has come out of a convention with unfavorable ratings as high as Mrs. Clinton’s and gone on to win the White House. But unlike most candidates, Mrs. Clinton faces a fall contest against an opponent who is even more disliked.

Teaching this election will be a nightmare future teachers will try to avoid.

Our two Empire State presidential candidates are not identical. Since everything you need to know you can learn from Star Trek, it is appropriate to turn there for insight. In the episode, the Children Shall Lead, the children on an outpost are rendered orphans but display no trauma over the horror of losing their parents. The cause is a beast called “Angel” by them and named Gorgan. The richly-costumed sleekly-haired human-looking monster is skilled in exploiting their   pain to service his gain. He dominates them and in the ways of science fiction takes control of the Starship Enterprise.

Not to worry. Kirk’s dedication to the spirit of Star Trek prevails. His hero and role model is, after all, Abraham Lincoln. He takes back his ship. He takes back his crew. He returns the Enterprise to its rightful path. He defeats the monstrosity that has temporarily commandeered them. In the final showdown between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, Kirk calls on the deceived children to see the ugliness of the monster who led them astray. He tells them:

Without you children he’s nothing.
The evil remains within him.
Look how ugly he really is.
Look at him and don’t be afraid.

With each phrase, the children see more and more of the truth and the image of the monster becomes uglier and uglier. In the end, Gorgan is revealed as the grotesque monster he always was underneath his superficial exterior. As befitting his debased nature, when exposed for the disgusting ugly incarnation of evil that he is, his parting words to his former admirers who now spurn him are:

Death to you all!
Death to you all!
Death to you all!

Who knew this story set in the 23rd century really was about 21st? What happens if the party of Lincoln seeks to take back its party from ugliness? What happens if non-elite heterosexual white males who love their country and are in pain catch on that they are being slicked, conned, hustled, flim-flammed, bamboozled and lied to by a staggeringly ignorant narcissist who just as easily would rip them off at his phony university for their desire to live the American Dream as he would for their vote?

Consider now the words of the Democrat/Republican Roosevelts from the time when the Empire State produced presidents who were giants:

We stand at Armageddon…
And have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Contrast those words of American history with the teeny-tinies today:

It’s midnight in America.
Jabber, jabber, jabber, I am a woman. Jabber, jabber, jabber, I am a victim. Jabber, jabber, jabber, it’s my turn now. Jabber, jabber, jabber ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

The election between a junior high-school smart-aleck and a high-school good-little mean girl guarantees that our next president will not be a thinking adult. For generations to come, Americans will have to explain how we allowed to occur this self-inflicted day of infamy.
NYT (8/3/16): “It all has left her [a voter] uncertain of which candidate, if any to support.

“No. Next question.”
“I’m really praying that between now and November there’s some clarity, that somebody shows some leadership.

The Final Balloon Drop