Letter From Claverack 05 15 2017 Messy in the life politic…

As I ride south on the train, white caps lap at the island which hold the ruins of Bannerman’s Castle, a building designed in the 19th Century to look like a medieval European fortress, purposed for holding ammunition and which began its slide to ruin when the ammunition blew the building up.

It’s one of the sites on the journey down into the city, where I am going today for a doctor’s appointment, a lunch and afternoon drinks with my friend, Ann Frisbee Naymie, in from Vancouver, British Columbia.  Back in the day, we worked together at A&E in Los Angeles before life took her north of the border.

Across from me now is the citadel of West Point, the redoubt of American military might. The Catskills are covered in the verdant green of spring and the sun is attempting to break through the clouds which have hovered over us for several days now.

Riding in the café car on a train that has no café, people sit at the tables working; Stephen sleeps and there is a quiet.  Most of us in here know each other: we are Empire Regulars, folks who ride this line enough that we are on the email list which informs us of all train developments.  It’s been busy this past week as Amtrak is planning repair work on several tunnels in Penn, which may result in some trains going in and out of Grand Central.  Whatever happens, it will be messy.

Messy, too, is the life politic.  Some Republican Senators seem to be backing away from Mr. Trump, alarmed by his “inconsistencies,” a few shocked by his weekend threats to fired FBI Director Comey that he should hope there were no “tapes” of their conversations.

Republicans still support him though his overall ratings remain low, 39% in a WSJ/NBC poll, not low enough for mass defection but low enough for wariness.

A friend in California, a Trump supporter, is convinced Trump has a plan.  This presidency seems improvisational and some improvisations go well and others…

If we didn’t know the definition of ransomware before the weekend, we are likely to know it now as hundreds of thousands of computers around the world have been infected with the “Wanna Cry” virus, locking them down until a ransom in bitcoin has been paid or a workaround is found.  China is a mess today because of it; their use of pirated software making them especially vulnerable.  Britain’s National Health took a blow as did the German national rail company.

That pudgy, pouty, unpredictable little man who is North Korea’s dictator, fired a rocket into the Sea of Japan, ending in the water not terribly far from Vladivostok.  I doubt Tsar Vladimir is amused. But who knows?  It may serve his purpose to look away.

And President Xi of China is finding that North Korea is more of a headache than he’d like these days, as he announces a new “Silk Road” to knit together some 60 countries with hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investments.

We are gliding through the stretch of towns that line the Hudson, bedroom communities, passing by Metro North stations, all of it testifying to the hum and thrum of New York City, not far away now.

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