Author Archives: John Flannery

A Nation at Risk

Impeach_Trump_NixonImpeachment is a function of constitutional law – NOT politics – and the discipline is to consider whether the standards for impeachment have been breached.

The discipline necessary is to put partisanship aside and consider as Republicans did with Nixon, whether a chief executive has breached those standards, committed treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors.

In the case at hand, we have the principals including Mr. Trump admitting the offense, while lying about the material facts confirmed by an array of witnesses.

Worse, the specific offense we are examining is a combination of extortion and bribery in order to distort a 2nd presidential election. Continue reading

A Towering Tree Grows in Lovettsville

Tree_basswood_full

Some evening when you are walking near the Lovettsville Town Council, right across from Andy’s Restaurant, look up and observe a natural beauty, about 100 feet or more high, and take a pix of a friend standing next to it, to save some record of its majestic proportions.

If you look on the ground toward the north of the tree, on the same side of the street, you can see its younger offspring already climbing to the sky.

The means to identify a tree for expert and amateur alike is to study the leaves, the bark, the twigs, and the fruit.

The leaves are often the first and most reliable indicator. Continue reading

The Soil and Water Board – what we do!

And why I’d like to continue on the Soil and Water Board

NPR_Farm_horse_jpf2

Serving as Director of the Soil and Water Board is a public service.  It doesn’t pay anything.  It’s not a political stepping stone.  It is all about an issue that many of us think is critical and care deeply about – assuring the quality of our water and soil.

This is the reason I ran for this office four years ago, and why I seek re-election to continue another four years. I believe we have been making a difference for the better. I want to continue in that vein.

This job and the Board we serve imposes no regulations on any one. Participation is voluntary. We serve farmers and landowners by underwriting the cost of keeping their streams and creeks clean for the welfare of everyone. These waters make their way to the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay and, along the way, folks in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties drink that water.

The overall objectives of Soil and Water are straightforward. First, we seek to keep “nutrients” (waste) out of our waters. We underwrite the cost of fences to keep our livestock out of our waters, and subsidize troughs in the fields, and the necessary power and water lines. Second, we are similarly concerned to avoid soil runoff and erosion.  We preserve and protect our top soil because its loss takes a thousand years to replace.  That’s why we encourage buffers, cover crops, and tree plantings. Continue reading

Our Young Really Matter – and we should know that

Angelina Eades, Elizabeth Marcheschi, Maryam Khan, Malcolm Woehrle, and Kendall Briscoe

Angelina Eades, Elizabeth Marcheschi, Maryam Khan, Malcolm Woehrle, and Kendall Briscoe

When one looks into the character of the younger generation, it’s like looking into a mirror of a time long ago, a backward glimpse into who you were when younger.

On the other hand, but, more significantly, if you take the time, you are looking forward into the future, embodied in the young person before you, an exciting discovery, because this person will cut a different path through life, a life perhaps more dramatic and promising.

Does this person have the capacity to be a surgeon, a musician, a lawyer, someone who will make a difference, and to have influence, beyond his or her own life, affecting the community at large?

We speak of the promise of our “children” but, as a child of the 60s, I learned that, for many adults, that meant knowing your place, not rocking the boat, not really making much of a difference, not invoking what undeveloped gifts may still lay hidden to be revealed later.

Maryam Khan, a Wodbridge Senior, was motivated to make a difference, and to help Nicole Clark, organize the march from Lovettsville to Hillsboro to relieve the suffering that is cancer, and thinking to detect the signs early. Continue reading

Loudoun Responds – Supporting Clean Streams

Paddocks keep livestock and waste out of our creeks

Paddocks keep livestock and waste out of our creeks

The former Secretary of State Madeline Albright has said that what oil was to the last century, water will be to this century, in terms of quality and sufficiency.

We focus on the “nutrients,” the waste that flows into our rivers and streams, and then the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay.

On the other hand, we struggle to avoid and stem erosion, as it takes a thousand years to make rich top soil, so it’s nothing to waste.

Virginia has devoted a million dollars to Loudoun County to underwrite voluntary efforts by farmers and landowners to follow best management practices (BMPs) to keep the water clear and the soil rich close to home.

Days ago, at the last monthly meeting of the Loudoun County Soil and Conservation District, the Board authorized $580 thousand dollars to underwrite the cost of best management practices (BMPs) for Loudoun County farmers and landowners. Continue reading

The Insights of Senator Tim Kaine

Virginia’s US Senator Tim Kaine visited the rural lands in Loudoun County, and came by Leesburg in the early evening, to endorse local Loudoun candidates, and, among his observations, gave us a report on the ongoing impeachment inquiry from inside the belly of the beast.

No surprise, he said, telling those gathered to listen, and you may not be surprised to discover that the Senators don’t care very much for Mr. Trump.

But it is inconvenient to Republicans to risk Trump’s base, weighing that against the facts as they continue to develop. This is a challenge to any Senate Trial.

Tim said we have to do the right thing, because no one is above the law, because the constitution sets forth what we are to do, what we must do to meet our obligations under the law and constitution. Continue reading

The Political Horror

As low a creature as we have known and suspected Trump and his corrupt allies to be, the daily revelations show him to be so much worse, so devoted as he is to unrelenting brutish abuses of power almost unimaginable and historically unprecedented in breadth and degree in the American experience.

If it’s possible to make it worse, it is compounded by a never ending stream of false denials and slanderous blame shifting, and threats of false arrest and civil violence.

The contrast of a man once a lawman and a hero mayor making a fool of himself in this theater of the absurd underscores the separation Trump and this mouthpiece Giuliani seek to achieve – to disrupt the public dialogue based on facts and reason and replace it with dark fantasies of a deep state and false righteous “heroic” exertions for we the people when what they are doing is nothing of the sort, only the big lie to dodge once again the consequences of their crimes against our government and its people.

We are truly in a time of political horror that can’t end soon enough for the political health of the republic and its people.

As a nation, we must demand all hands on deck to end this nightmare from which we struggle to awake.

Impeach by Halloween.

Convict by Christmas, throw him out of office and begin the criminal trials as soon as logistically possible.

Any elected representative allied with Trump is the true enemy of the people.

The time to act is now.

THE 2020 ELECTION MAY BE FIXED – just like in 2016

Fixed-election

The House Speaker and many other Dems talk about winning a presidential and congressional election. But they don’t seem to consider the critical fact that the Russians invaded the last presidential election with hacking software and have had years since to refine their electoral attacks. Worse, the Senate Majority leader and the Republican Caucus refuse to put safeguards in place – like a paper trail. Impeaching Mr. Trump, the beneficiary of Russia’s manipulations, is a big step in the right direction to avoid this electoral disaster – if it happens sooner rather than later.

Special Counsel Bob Mueller said that the Russians didn’t just target individuals in the Clinton Campaign. They also targeted persons and entities involved in the elections themselves.

Their victims were targeted. They were the persons and entities involved in the administration of the elections, that is, state boards of election, secretaries of state, county governments and those who worked for these entities.

Nor was that the end of it, the Russians also went after the private tech firms that made the hardware and wrote the software for voter registration and electronic polling stations. The Russians did this right through the election. Continue reading

Statement on the Loudoun County Public Schools “Equitable” Assessment

Our County is discussing a report about how “equitable” are our Loudoun County Public Schools.

The Report says that we have not been “equitable” or “sensitive.”

After all this nation has gone through on civil rights, how is it possible that Virginia still is trying to figure this out at this late date, so long after the war between the states?

Eric Williams, the Superintendent of our billion dollar school system, concluded that the school staff has “a low level of racial consciousness and racial literacy.”

Amazingly, the report says, in this day and age, that “people are unclear and fearful on how to participate in conversations about race, let alone respond to racially charged incidents.”

I taught High School for several years in the late 60s and 70s.

There is nothing mysterious about how to be fair and impartial to students unless you are neither fair nor impartial.

The Report makes it clear that there has been disproportionate discipline for students of color but especially African-American students.

Students reported that they were the targets of “racist comments and acts of violence from both their peers and teachers.”  Not just other students but their own teachers.  What kind of teacher treats a student this way?

And here’s the rub.  “Nothing happens!”  So, the aggrieved students report.

White kids use the n-word and deny they did.

Persons of color are humiliated about their skin color and their hair.

One student said the teacher “told me to go back to my country.  I was in shock, I was born here.”

This is not computer science.

This is common sense.

Sanction the students who use the n-word or threaten other students with assault or abuse.  These offenses are serious infractions and there must be punishment up to and including expulsion.

The teacher who told a student to go back where he came from, well that case is simple, fire that teacher.  The teacher and student will both learn something from such punishment.

If persons can get away with this kind of misconduct without any rule or regulation or discipline that punishes their misconduct, we can expect more of the same.

The schools must act firmly and quickly so that this misconduct ends now.

This report is a shame and a disgrace – it scars the reputation of this County and its citizens.

We have to clean up this mess and now.

Fire in the House

image1I’m originally from a neighborhood in the South Bronx. 143rd and Willis avenue was our first neighborhood. My Dad was the super for the building. We lived in what I described in a grammar school essay as a “picturesque” tenement. My dad said I was mistaken to use the word picturesque – I disagreed. My Dad was amused.

As these apartments were packed one on the other, 4 stories high, they were possible fire traps and there were notable tragedies for those tenements with no way to escape.

I think Congress is presently more like a tenement, hardly picturesque, my Dad I’m sure is nodding agreement from the hereafter, and our Republic is going up in flames for congress’ failure to follow its oath and to act In the manner dictated by our constitution.

My Dad who was a carpenter, electrician and a plumber often said a poor workman blames his tools.

The founders gave our Congress the tools to restrain a chief executive with a monarchical bent.

But our Congress doesn’t even use the tools the founders created for just this kind of circumstances.

Again about tenements. What saved tenements from the fear and danger of fire were fire escapes that not only could and did save families.

(Incidentally, these fire escapes, for us kids, was like having open air balconies – as good as any populating the elevator towers on the east side silk stocking district – it was our place of freedom and, yes, escape.) Continue reading