Letter From New York 05 23 2016 Letter From New York Thoughts from the train north from Baltimore…

It is Monday morning and I am riding an overcrowded train from Baltimore to New York after spending the weekend there visiting friends.  At one point I thought I might end up sitting on the floor but found a seat at the very front of the train.

Outside ruined building pass; we are somewhere just north of Philadelphia.  Exotic graffiti adorns them while the sun blasts down.  Beyond the ruins lie bedraggled row houses that probably will someday be gentrified.  What contrasts we have in this country.

Baltimore is in a resurgence, at least near the water, where my friends live.  We dined on Saturday night at Peter’s Inn, a wonderfully, quirky little row house restaurant, rough around the edges with handwritten menus, food arriving in the order that the chef has prepared it which is not necessarily the way you ordered it.  Good chill martinis and a nice little wine list, friendly people and that wonderful thing called “atmosphere” that has not been scrupulously concocted but which emerges from the quirkiness of the place and people.

It was a time of sitting around and visiting with Lionel and Pierre and my friend Allen Skarsgard, with whom I had some long philosophical conversations over the weekend.  We had known each other in the long ago and faraway, reconnecting just enough that we can mark the present without dwelling in our past.

There was, of course, talk of the brutal politics of this election cycle.  I don’t remember a question that was asked on MSNBC on Sunday morning but recall the response:  it’s 2016, ANYTHING can happen.

So it seems.

As it seems all over the world.  A far right candidate is deadlocked with his rival in Austria.  If Herbert Norber of the right wins, it will be the first time a far right candidate will have won a European election since the end of Fascism, a warning shot across the bow of the world.

Troubling for Hillary are national polls, of which we have several a day it seems, that have her potentially losing to Trump.  They have Bernie beating Trump by 10.8 points.

Predictions are that a “Brexit” from the European Union will spark a year long recession.  The drive for a British exit from the European Union is, at least partially, being driven by anti-immigration and nationalistic feelings in the country.

Is this a bit like what the 1930’s felt like? 

In the meantime, Emma Watson of “Harry Potter” fame and fortune is playing Belle in a live action version of “Beauty and the Beast.” Somehow that seems comforting to me this morning.

In Syria, IS has claimed the responsibility for killing scores in that poor, broken country in areas considered Assad strongholds.  A suicide bomber killed many Army recruits in Aden, Yemen.

And a drone strike killed the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mansour, who opposed peace talks.  His death was confirmed by Obama, who will be the first sitting President to visit Hiroshima, struck by the US with an atomic bomb in !945, a move which forced the Japanese to move to surrender.  He has been in Viet Nam, where he lifted a fifty year old arms embargo, a move to help counter the rise of China in the South China Sea.

Moves and counter moves, the world is in play.  It always has been.  It just took longer in other times for the moves to be made and to feel their repercussions.  Now it’s almost instantaneous.

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