Author Archives: John Flannery

Republicans Shut Down Gun Safety Legislative Session

Richmond_protest

“Moms demand action” drew red-shirted supporters from Lovettsville and across the Commonwealth to convene in Richmond for a special session ordered by Governor Ralph Northam to pass gun safety legislation.

They came in buses and cars on July 9, 2019, the day scheduled for the General Assembly to take action. Continue reading

The Fourth – What Independence Really Meant!

John Hancock signature as shown on the engrossed copy of the US Declaration of IndependenceThe Fourth of July is a pageant celebrating our independence from an Imperial nation that denied us self-rule, dignity and freedom.

It’s a time of marching bands, waving flags, capped with cloud-brushing, soaring multicolored flashes of fireworks, lighting the night sky, to the sound of oohs and aahs from crowds across the nation.

It evokes the language of the declaration hammered out in a hot Philadelphia Hall, striking and revising the words of Thomas Jefferson, setting forth who we believed we were as a nation aborning.

We must reflect upon the sentiments of that grand occasion, and how we may fulfill those worthy sentiments today when our independence is at risk from within and from without, including, according to intelligence sources and a Senate Committee, a foreign nation state, Russia, that interfered in our elections.

When we declared our independence, we said we believed that we are all “created equal.” We have struggled since to perfect that sentiment, but of late, persons of color, Muslims and women are treated as suspect by some.

We should respect the notion that “prudence” does dictate that “governments long established,” as ours, “should not be changed for light and transient causes,” but we watch critical functions in the Executive Department compromised or destroyed by Cabinet Officers and the Chief Executive.

Our declaration of independence declared, “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Continue reading

Isolated in a cage

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In your most imaginative and resourceful childhood, could you imagine what it would be like to be separated from your parents, and, perhaps for the first time in your life, think they can’t protect you, and find, in the best circumstance, that you’re helpless, hungry, cold, in a cage like you’d keep a dog at a pound, without hope that you’ll see your parents again if anyone knows who or where they are?

Politicians say these are not as bad as concentration camps.  Now there’s a standard as craven as any I’ve heard.

But this is a species of cruelty, no question about that, that comports all too comfortably with a kind of government that treats children this way.

So, this is Sunday, and it’s many years since I was a child and went to Mass in the Bronx every Sunday.  Indeed for a long time, I went to Mass daily, at 6 am, fasting as was the ritual then, before going to class.  The values were deeply imbedded in my soul.  I stopped when the values I cherished were not so evident in these places of “worship.”  I don’t go to church anymore – as Church I’ve found gets in the way of a spiritual experience.  But I still think about the charity that was at the heart of my religious upbringing.  I test friends and faux religious speakers by their acceptance of the sermon on the mount – a worthy set of values.

But where is that humane or religious sensitivity in the abuse of children at our southern border?

Echoing the words of the Sermon, if we are the salt of the earth, have we lost our savor, and are we destined to be trodden under the foot for having lost our way? Continue reading

MORE THAN A SAUNTER – the AT – 2,192 miles

A Fall view from the Appalachian Trail nearby

A Fall view from the Appalachian Trail nearby

Last Saturday, Lovettsville residents and citizens from across Loudoun County, indeed across Virginia and other states as close as Maryland and as far away as Georgia, traveled to Round Hill to celebrate the Appalachian Trail.

This time it was not about the toxic fracking gas pipelines that are crossing and compromising and desecrating the trail with erosion and pollution.

There was only a hint of the EQT and Nextra’s proposed 300-mile $3.2-Billion Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a pipe almost four feet in diameter, carrying dangerous odorless fracked gas from West Virginia that threatens the trail and the environment.

Work on the MVP pipeline

Work on the MVP pipeline

There was no talk about how there was a taking of the land by eminent domain, nor the legitimate complaints about the proposed pipe’s adverse effects including air pollution, soil erosion, groundwater contamination, terrible noise levels, lowered property values, and possible onsite accidents including gas explosions like has already occurred in Appomattox, Virginia.   Continue reading

Past Time To Act On Guns

Momsgunssign-sm

Many have found it particularly distressing given how little has been accomplished to assure citizens that they are safe from mass shootings and gun violence.

Moms, family and friends gathered to protest this past weekend – to demand action for a change.

In recent days, in Virginia Beach, a city employee killed 12 people and injured four more in a municipal building.

The killer carried two lawful .45 caliber handguns but he also had a silencer and an extended capacity ammo magazine.  The large magazine meant he didn’t have to re-load and could continue to shoot longer and kill or wound more innocents. Continue reading

The Wind That Blows

offtheedgeWhat’s lost in the current impeachment debate is the fundamental disregard for the law – like it can be ignored with impunity.

When in NY with friends, I offered up a passage from Robert Bolt’s “A Man for All Seasons” about why the law matters, why its disregard is not harmless but is devastating.

Sir Thomas More’s son in law, Roper, instructs More to just say he’s devoted to a faith More did not embrace, and thus to save himself.

This is the exchange -

Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake. Continue reading

End the Development Mania!

trafficDON’T DEVELOP EVERY SQUARE INCH OF LOUDOUN – that’s what the developers want – and some Supervisors are trying to figure out how they can serve these masters of dystopia and fool us all into thinking this is the best we can do, and that they did the best they could with a difficult set of facts. Nonsense!

This kind of thinking will ravage our community already suffering from density, traffic jams and a loss of lifestyle.

There are 45,000 homes in the existing pipeline.

We don’t need these – and we don’t need anymore.

The communities from one end of the county to the other have said STOP THIS DEVELOPMENT.

We get a head nod – like we’re being heard – they say we’re being heard – but we are “instructed” by our reps that we just have to have more housing.

So much for representative government.  We said no but they bow to the arrogant development community that wants more, greedy, not satisfied with what they already have.  They want more.

We are overrun with lies and deceptions about “what we need.”

SEND A MESSAGE TO THE BOARD – lean on them – say “WE WANT NO NEW HOUSES.”  Enough already.

Tell our Supervisors if any of you vote to bring on new houses, then we vote to have new supervisors – to over-ride what you’ve done to destroy this county and our way of life – and we do this without regard to party – as this is about how we live where we live.

If you’re really our friends, elected to represent those of us who live here, then hear what we’re saying, and if you really care for us – stop this boondoggle right now.

As for my friends and neighbors, tell everyone who will listen to you at the water cooler or a parent teachers meeting, that each of us citizens in Loudoun County is going to demand that any candidate for the board say where he or she is on this issue.

Let’s make it crystal clear that we really mean what we’ve been saying for years – at every step of this manipulative “evolving” process that has tried to get us to bow to what we know is wrong.

If a candidate for the board doesn’t have the right answer, cashier him or her.

If the candidate has the right answer, support him or her.

Let’s make this hard for the developers who care not at all what we say or may suffer and make this easy for us.

Let’s get to work!

High Time To Impeach?

Inaug_Capitol_at_dawn2

Our Chief Executive, Donald Trump, has been under investigation, starting with the 2016 presidential campaign, when he was a candidate, for selling out the nation to the Russians to get elected.

Perhaps, in exchange, Trump was expected to ease sanctions against Russia should he get elected.

Russia’s digital black jobs and widespread high tech deceits were contrived to influence the election entirely to Trump’s benefit.

Former FBI Director Comey refused to assure Trump he was not under investigation, nor would he give Trump’s security adviser Mr. Flynn a pass for concealing talks that Flynn had about sanctions with the Russian Ambassador.

Trump fired Comey because of the Russian investigation, and said so.

After 22 months, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who picked up where Comey left off, had a lot to say about Russia’s misconduct, but reserved his most forceful analysis for 10 instances of obstruction by Mr. Trump.

Mueller wrote a road map for the U.S. Congress to consider possible impeachment.

Remember how Shakespeare wrote of a ruler’s corrupting influence on a nation state.

Hamlet said, “The time is out of joint; – O cursed spite.”

He continued, “That ever I was born to set it right!”

Our time is “out of joint” and we must very soon “set it right.” Continue reading

An American Tragedy – Donald Trump

It was about a month after Donald Trump was “elected” President by the electoral college, and not by a popular vote.

I was swimming laps at the Ida Lee pool in Leesburg, and had stopped to retrieve a kicking board from the pool deck.

Trump_king3The woman, the next swimming lane over, said, “I used to love listening to the news.”

I could think of no words to ease her dismay.

A moment passed, and she continued, “I’ve gotten rid of my TV.”

Across the nation, our friends and neighbors have found different ways to cope with a President who is a brute.

On twitter today, a friend said that she played Jimi Hendrix’s “All along the Watchtower” over and over, shouting the lyrics, “There must be some kind of way outta here” given there’s “too much confusion” and “I can’t get no relief.”

Millions deal with the psychic pain of the Trump presidency by shutting Trump out of their consciousness. Continue reading

Farms Fight to Prosper Despite Residential Development

A controversial proposed residential development model in Western Loudoun

A controversial proposed residential development model in Western Loudoun

In recent days, Chairwoman Phyllis Randal said, “The [Loudoun County] Board of Supervisors ha[s] made it a priority to preserve our farmland and support those who are putting their land to great use.”

A recent USDA report concluded that, as of 2017, Loudoun County had 1,259 farms covering 121,932 acres.

There is good and bad news in this USDA report.

The bad news is that the number of farms are shrinking and we are losing acreage.

The good news is that there is an uptick in farm income, even as there is a loss of farm acreage and despite a serious reduction in federal funds that previously supported Ag in Loudoun County.  Continue reading