Posts Tagged ‘Rick Perry’

Letter From Claverack June 1, 2017 And they wonder why…

June 1, 2017

Thunderstorms pummeled the Hudson Valley last night.  This morning is as sweet a morning as one might wish.

The sky is a color of blue for which I cannot find a word; sweet, clear, refreshed from the rain.  The sharp green of the trees outside my window almost glow in the sunlight cascading down in an almost magic morning.  It is not hard to imagine that across the creek woodland nymphs are gambling in delight.

A big mug of strong coffee is at my side and jazz is playing, upbeat and uplifting.

A letter has been fermenting in my mind the last few days, ever since a couple of my friends who are supporters of Donald Trump questioned me on why he has had such a vitriolic reception as President?

I found myself surprised by the question.

It surprised me they did not understand; didn’t see what I see and I need to remember we are all individuals who are interpreting current events in different ways.

We have a President who didn’t win the majority vote and is still the President of the country, an event that has happened twice in this century, brief as it has been, and that has made a lot of people angry, uncomfortable and questioning our Founding Fathers’ wisdom in setting up the Electoral College.

We have a President that doesn’t seem to know the truth.  We like our Presidents to at least sound like they’re telling the truth.

We don’t like them saying things that are verifiably not true, things that are conflations of their own imaginations.  People notice things like that. It does not breed respect.

His Inauguration speech depicted an America which inspired despair, not hope.  His picks for almost every office inspires deep concern for many people.  Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA? Rick Perry as Secretary of the Department of Energy, the department he couldn’t remember in a debate that he wanted eliminated.  Sort of a come down from people like the Ph.D.’s who were running it before.

NOTHING this President has done is very Presidential.

In his European trip, he may have handed the mantle of the leader of the Free World to Angela Merkel.

He is picking a trade fight with Germany but not addressing the real issues and potentially hurting workers in the South, where German car companies have been manufacturing.  People who elected him may be the victims of this fight.

If he repudiates the Paris Climate Accords, he will link us with Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not agreeing and will be doing another thing that will cede leadership to China, which remains steadfast in its support.  And is capitalizing on it.  China’s Premier is in Europe right now, cozying up to Merkel.

If we are disrespectful, it is because this man has given us so little to respect – from my point of view and that is not the point of view of everyone. I acknowledge that.

My family was Republican.  The first President I remember is Dwight Eisenhower.  Wow.  Dwight Eisenhower then.  Donald Trump now.  Is it any wonder I shiver at night?

Weeks ago, I texted one of the smartest people I know, an Independent, who has voted both for Republicans and Democrats, not married to a party.  I asked him what he thought of Trump.  There was no response, until this weekend.

He said: I used to think Trump was just a jackass but he seems to be a jackass and an idiot.

Our White House is occupied by someone who seems a jackass and an idiot who is being unfaithful to the people who elected him.  Everything he has proposed is supportive of his class and destructive to the people who elected him.

He is bringing the Billionaire’s Boy’s Club to the White House.  He’s not cleaning out the swamp. He’s enlarging it.

Bucking a long-standing tradition, he hasn’t, still, released his tax returns.  His aides have “forgotten” meetings with Russian officials during the campaign.  His sons have contradicted him in terms of his financial relations with Russia.  There are all kinds of dangling Russian connections that are, at best, unseemly, and, at worst, criminal and maybe treasonous.

So, I shiver at night and tremble when he speaks.

This is all, of course, my humble opinion.

And thus, I do things that are very hygge to comfort my soul, make me feel at one with the universe, and give me a smile, such as enjoying and savoring the view out my window, like enjoying this cat on display on Main Street in Catskill, where I was doing some errands yesterday.


Or enjoying this reflection by Thomas Pesquet, a French astronaut, as he readies himself for his return to earth.  See it here.





Letter From New York 07 05 15 Civilized things in an uncivilized world…

July 5, 2015

Well, at last there is a sunny day! I am sitting at the dining room table at my friends’ apartment in Baltimore and sun is pouring down on the deck. It’s been sunny all day! And I’m just delighted.

As many people have been doing, I have been watching what has been happening in Greece. It seems the Greek people are voting “no” in the referendum that was held today – at least that is what the early opinion polls are showing. And now we will wait to see how it plays out this week. Will the European Central Bank give fresh funds to Greek Banks, who will probably run out of cash this week? Will a deal be done or is this Greece’s farewell to the Eurozone?

As the Greeks were voting, US warplanes were striking at Raqqa, the “capital” of the IS Caliphate. It was intended to cripple the group’s efforts to move military resources further into Iraq or Syria.

IS has been active in Sinai, at least fifty are dead there. From there, they have heaved some missiles into southern Israel.

An evangelical church in Nigeria lost six worshipers today when a suicide bomber attacked.

Donald Trump is riding a populist wave with his remarks about Mexican immigrants, causing consternation among Republican candidates. Rick Perry has found him offensive and others are working to distance themselves from him. He may be a train wreck but he’s ahead in the polls, believe it or not.

The Pope arrived in Quito today on a trip to Latin America, the continent where he was born. He will be in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay but not his native Argentina. He will be bringing the church to the poor. It is seen by some as a test of his ability to keep the faithful within the church. Roman Catholicism has been losing to Protestant Evangelicals in many parts of the continent.

While warplanes were attacking Raqqa and the Greeks seemed to be voting “no,” little Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge was christened in the country, on her Great-Grandmother’s estate at Sandringham, at St Mary Magdalene Church, where Diana, Princess of Wales, was christened in 1961. It was a nod to the Princess’s paternal grandmother as were some of the music choices and the fact that a cousin of Diana’s was named as one of the godparents. Princess Charlotte has five of them.

Afterwards, Queen Elizabeth II served champagne and tea at her palace. 3500 came out to greet the newly christened Princess. It was a pretty day; with young Prince George wearing an outfit that was very similar to the one his father wore to Prince Harry’s christening.

All was very civilized and far from the chaos in other parts of the world.

Taking a cue from the civilized behavior of the Cambridge’s, I am planning to finish this, sip a martini, shaken, not stirred [as I am writing, I am also half watching a Sean Connery Bond movie, “Diamonds Are Forever”] and then head to the Thames Street Oyster House for a civilized dinner.P

Letter From New York O6 04 15 An evangelical mess, among other things…

June 4, 2015

I am traveling down to DC on Amtrak, having five meetings in DC tomorrow before heading up to Baltimore for a weekend with friends. It is grey and gloomy again today, which has been the theme of this week’s weather. It doesn’t do much to keep the spirits up. I am yearning for a little sunshine though I think I have a couple of days more of this before the weather changes.

What isn’t changing is the growing numbers joining the Republican race for the Presidential nomination. Rick Perry, who ran in 2012, has thrown his hat back in the ring, hoping he will not open his mouth and insert his foot as much as he did last time.

Chafee of Rhode Island has joined the much smaller list of contenders for the Democratic nomination.

It will be an interesting nomination season, particularly on the Republican side as there are more to come. Jeb Bush will make an announcement on June 15th. Allee all outs in free!

As I was scouring some websites today, there was a quote from George Soros about his concern that we are on the brink of WWIII, certainly not a happy thought. And that remark was underscored by a Czech NATO officer, musing about what might happen if Russia overwhelmed the Baltic States. Could that result in a use by the West of nuclear weapons?

Even the whisper of WWIII should give us a major case of the willies. The sad thing is that the whispers are there as the global situation deteriorates. I have a slight case of the willies as I ride the rails into the nation’s capital.

The bright hope that infused the world at the end of Communism has grown dim. Can we bring back the light if we all clap loudly enough, the way Tinkerbelle is saved in Peter Pan?

US military leaders and ambassadors are being called to Stuttgart by Pentagon Chief Ashton Carter, to discuss preparedness in the face of Russian aggression. Ukrainian President Poroshenko warned of all out war with Russia as fighting renewed in the rebel east, near Donetsk. It appears the last suburb of that city has fallen to the rebels.

Meanwhile, Putin is going to be visiting Pope Francis on June 10. Think Francis can talk any sense into the man?

In what is shocking news, if true, is that the Red Cross, which raised half a billion dollars for Haiti relief, has apparently spent very little of that in Haiti and has built only six homes instead of the thousands it promised.   It seems unbelievable though the Red Cross is being very quiet about what they actually spent there, which is raising suspicions.

I’ll have to find another charity to donate to, I guess.

The rescue operation for the Eastern Star, the Yangtze cruise ship that capsized, has come to an end and it is now a recovery operation. During the day, dozens of bodies were brought to the surface. A hole has been cut in the hull of the vessel and the grim work continues.

Allegedly a group of grieving relatives who got too nosy were beaten by local police and shuttled into a building and told they were not to talk to the press.

It is the 26th anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. Leaders of the protest are no closer to returning home than they were when they went into exile. I will pause for a moment of silence in memory.

Former FIFA Vice President, Jack Warner, of Trinidad and Tobago, has announced his is going to spill the beans about the wrong doing in the football organization. Let the chips fall where they may, he says. And it will be interesting to see where the chips do fall.

Also falling was the stock market, rattled by Greece missing a payment, down by almost 171 points. Greece and the EU are playing a game of chicken. Let’s hope no one gets hurt. Because if someone does, it is not going to be good for the rest of us.

It’s not a good day to be a Federal Employee. The records of four million US government employees got hacked today. No word on who done it but employees were warned to check their credit reports and keep a watchful eye out for fraudulent activity.

I am not a great fan of Piers Morgan but he did a devastating article about the Duggar molestation scandal, which can be found here:

It’s an evangelical mess.

Letter From New York August 29, 2011

August 29, 2011

Or, as it seems to me…

Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning…

Saturday morning when I woke up, the sky to the east of Claverack Cottage was painted a pale primrose red and I thought of the sailor’s warning. I had taken the 5:45 train out of Manhattan on Friday, headed north, to batten down the hatches, so to speak, for the storm of the century.

I filled my bathtub with water so I could, if needed, flush the toilets. I took, with the help of young Nick from Hudson, things off the deck and piled them in the shed. Turned over the Adirondack chairs and the heaters so they couldn’t blow over in the wind. Bought bottled water and checked to make sure I had enough batteries for my flashlights and pulled out the emergency suitcase with the wind-up radio. I was as ready as I could be.

It was not quite the storm of the century. New York City made it through pretty unscathed, though a friend told me there were downed trees everywhere. Large parts of New Jersey were under water according to Governor Christie. And we got off easily because it was so bad in North Carolina, according to CNN.

I am at the cottage and not sure when I will get back to New York as the trains aren’t running though things should be better by Wednesday latest.

So there was Hurricane Irene. Earlier in the week there had been an earthquake that rumbled things from North Carolina up to Maine. I was sitting in an Italian restaurant and didn’t feel a thing but most of New York did. In the restaurant, cell phones went off. It started a round of stories at every table of earthquakes experienced, mostly in California.

Jokes abounded toward the end of the week. Earthquake. Hurricane. Michelle Bachman. Rick Perry. Could we not interpret these as portends of the end of times? Probably. Perhaps it is the end of times. Certainly some evangelical Christians are saying these ARE the end of times. The Mayan Calendar ends next year around my birthday and there are those who believe that because the Mayan Calendar goes no further, it means we all will hit the wall.

Me? Well, it could be the end of times. I frankly don’t know. Can’t do much about it if it is the end of times. I am, right now, along for whatever the ride is.

Sometimes I think about that on very rough airplane flights. I’m there. I’m can’t do much about it; I am on for the ride.

But in the meantime, I am caught in the fact I am alive and death has not taken a holiday lately. My friend Chris Doyle, written about last week, is still gone. Another friend, Susan Panisch, once an executive at a network I dealt with, died last week, after the earthquake but before the hurricane. Well one day, diagnosed with lymphoma another, dead in three weeks. Will miss her.

Carolyn Chambers, once my boss, then my friend, gone too. Cancer also. Time takes our friends and colleagues, our relatives, our co-workers. It takes everyone, eventually, including ourselves, who live as if we will live forever even though we really know no one gets out of here alive.

But we do our best to live as fully as we can, at least I hope we do.

Though sometimes we don’t, just because we think we will live forever. I had a conversation with a friend this week; he had asked a favor of me. I told him I was glad to do it. I told him he was a remarkable human being. He was taken aback that I said it but I also felt the beating of the wings of the angel of death and did not want to leave unsaid what we so often leave unsaid, the beauty of the people we know and love.

Take heed of that, fellow travelers. Don’t look at someone’s casket and say: I wish I had told them.

Send flowers while people can still smell them.