Vienna Time

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What Donald Trump And George Costanza Have In Common

“… kids can spot a phony a mile away.” – Fred Rodgers

There was a Seinfeld moment in the Rose Garden yesterday. Aficionados of the hit comedy series know there is a scene that pertains to every life situation, and yesterday the President proved it in the Rose Garden when he boasted he would testify under oath that he never asked former FBI Director James Comey to pledge his loyalty, a scene taken from the “Book of George.”

Would the President testify under oath that he never asked James Comey to pledge his loyalty? Would he deny he asked the FBI Director to find a way to let go of the Flynn investigation? Both of these conversations conveniently occurred in private, the first during a one-on-one dinner the President arranged, the second after a meeting in the Oval Office when the President held Comey back to talk privately. During the second encounter even Jeff Sessions and Jared Kushner hung around awkwardly before they were excused.

Of course he would testify under oath! Why wouldn’t a man who maintains thousands of people were bused in to New Hampshire to vote against him; a man that claimed the unemployment rate under the previous Administration was as high as 42%; a man who was the last holdout to spread the unfounded rumor that President Obama wasn’t a native-born American citizen, but from Kenya, testify under oath that the lead law enforcement official in the nation who served under two Presidents, is a liar?

The question isn’t will he testify, but rather will Americans put party and ideology aside and objectively believe this man is telling the truth. In the end, the question of truth will be decided by the special prosecutor.

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Regressive in the White House

“Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear a word you say.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

A few years ago my wife and I traveled to the French Alps and hiked a glacier below Mount Blanc. On our way down the mountain were markers indicating the level the glacier once reached going back more than a century. The most stunning thing I found was how fast the glacier had disappeared in recent decades. Scientific data and climate change experts attribute accelerated melting of glaciers and polar icecaps, and consequently rising sea levels, to greenhouse gases caused by carbon emissions. The reason they have melted so quickly in recent decades is because of burgeoning industrial activity, therefore environmental regulations to limit greenhouse gases were enacted to protect the environment and preserve our planet.

In yesterday’s grand spectacle in the Rose Garden the businessman occupying the White House pulled our country out of the Paris Agreement. In his meandering speech he made several flagrantly false statements. One was that he would renegotiate the terms of the agreement which he no doubt knew could not be done. But his most egregious lie was when he said he is committed to a clean environment, this in the same week he signed an Executive Order removing emissions rules for power plants, limits on methane leaks, a moratorium on federal coal leasing, and the use of social cost of carbon to guide government actions. This is an action of someone who is completely opposed to a clean environmental.

To this businessman in the White House everything is about dollars and cents, even at the expense of the environment. He has no long-term vision and doesn’t believe in science. He appointed a climate change denier, a man who sued the Environmental Protection Agency fourteen times, as the Agency’s head, the cabinet position charged with keeping our air and water safe and advising the president on environmental matters. One of his first actions was to remove climate change data from the EPA website, essentially keeping the American people in the dark regarding scientific data pertaining to the environment. At the same time he spreads the administration’s self-interested and largely false narrative about the cost of a clean environment to our economy and jobs. There is no denying the cost of transitioning to any new technologies, but this administration conveniently omits the other half of the equation, which is the number of jobs being created in the green energy industry (the future) and presenting a long-term strategic view.

China is the world’s leading producer of solar energy systems, they are also the leading producer in wind energy. The Trump administration is positioning America to be mining coal for decades to come while shielding environmental impact data from the communities they serve.

After decades of partisan paralysis and catering to special interest, the idea of a businessman in the White House was appealing to many Americans (though not the majority,) but America got the wrong businessman. This businessman is running our county the same way he ran his business, by walking away from contracts he entered, stiffing contractors, not fulfilling financial obligations and filing for bankruptcy six times. The difference is that now he’s stiffing our allies and making a fool of our nation on the world stage. In four short months he’s turned America from a world leader to an embarrassment.

This administration isn’t good for our nations’ s future. They are not good for our families, children and grandchildren. And they are certainly not good for our planet.

Send a message with your vote. Get them out before it’s too late.

The Enablers

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508 Days Until Mid-term Elections
November 6, 2018

Get them out!

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Patriot

“… kids can spot a phony a mile away.” – Fred Rodgers

IMG_4214

                  Patriot

Arbiter of the airwaves, his
voice full of anger and rage

spews righteousness
skews the meaning of Patriot

bestowed upon those who march blindly
to 140 taps of a nationalist’s finger

backdoor broker with democracy’s foe
while ignoring the council of allies

and rebuking science for profit
while poisoning the environment

turning a back to the indigent,
unwelcoming the persecuted

over those who left limbs on foreign soil
and care enough about liberty to question

the belligerent attack on the constitution
and mockery of Liberty and Justice for All

leaving me to ponder
his meaning of Patriot.

IMG_4212

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Hypocrit-in-Chief on the Environment

I’d been out and about on Earth Day weekend and when I got my hands back into the soil today I couldn’t restrain myself any longer. I’m talking about the disingenuous 116-character tweet the Hypocrite-in-Chief sent out on Earth Day, a lame attempt at showing support for the environment:

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More outlandish than his hypocrisy is that 74,648 of his followers liked it and 14,163 retweeted it. As a public service to those whose knowledge of the president’s position on the environment is based on his 116-character tweet I feel obligated to share the actions he’s taken since he took office:

– Appointed a man who openly rejects scientists’ consensus on climate change, Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, the main guardian of clean air and water, and then slashed the EPA budget by 31%.
– Ordered the EPA to remove the climate change page from their website, an order that was later rescinded.
– Cut Department of Energy programs that focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
– Slashed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the primer climate science research agency by 17%.
– Appointed a budge director, Mick Mulvaney, who called climate change a waste of money that the administration will no longer fund.
– Slashed the Department of Interior by 12% which affects protection of National Parks, including cutting $120 million for land acquisition required to protect against development that threatens clean air and water in parks.
** to put this funding into context, the combined budgets of the EPA, and Departments of Energy and Interior are less than 1.5% of the federal budget. By comparison the Department of Defense is 16%. ($46 Billion vs $490 Billion)

Katharine Hayhoe is a conservative Christian climate scientist whose mission is to persuade nonbelievers about climate change. In an interview with NPR she talks about the misinformation coming from the White House regarding climate change. Listen to the interview with Katharine Hayhoe here.

It takes considerable effort to coordinate and write legislation to achieve the measures the president has taken against the environment. It takes roughly 30 seconds to tap a 116-character tweet. I’d have more respect for the President if he’d just say what he is: A hypocrite.

I leave you with photos I shot las year on hikes in the Rocky Mountains and Mount Rainier, two of the nations many natural treasures that deserve to be protected for future generations.

 

 

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Poet’s Rebellion

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 11.27.48 AMPoets often kid one another that their work is saving the world, but the role that poets played in Ireland’s independence 101 years ago today is no joke. The Easter Rising of 1916 in Dublin, Ireland was also known as the Poet’s Rebellion because it was led by six patriotic poets and other men of letters including actors and teachers. The group, backed by Irish nationalists and socialists marched in Dublin and seized the General Post Office where they read the “Proclamation of Independence” which read in part:

“In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom. … The Irish Republic is entitled to … the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman … cherishing all of the children of the nation equally and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.”

The rebellion led to the execution of fifteen of the protestors but was the beginning of a civil war that created the Free Irish State. William Butler Yates memorialized the movement in his poem “Easter 1916.”

Easter, 1916

William Butler Yates
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
                     *
That woman’s days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our wingèd horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
                     *
Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone’s in the midst of all.
                     *
Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse—
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

 

 

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Birthday of Irish Literary Icons

“If you have the words, there’s always a chance that you’ll find the way.” – Seamus Heaney

Today is the birthday of two iconic Irish poets. Seamus Heaney, born in 1939 was a native of Northern Ireland. Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past.” He began publishing poems in the 1960s about ordinary things like potatoes and bullfrogs. Here he reads “Digging.”

Samuel Beckett, born on this day in 1906, was known mainly as a playwright and novelist. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969, and like Bob Dylan didn’t go to Stockholm to accept the award because he didn’t want to give a speech. Beckett moved to Paris in 1937 where he befriended another Irish ex-pat, James Joyce, who he helped with Finnegan’s Wake when Joyce’s eyesight began to fail. He moved to a farm in rural France during the Nazi occupation and worked for the French Resistance.

Literature, resistance and everyday miracles.

 

 

 

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