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Recently, Forbes, the Economist, and Thinkprogress, did articles on Trump’s threat to cut the ACA’s cost sharing reduction payments (CSRs) if the AHCA isn’t passed.

Make no mistake, the POTUS and his administration have chosen to use the threat of cutting off, immediately, the access of our most vulnerable populations to healthcare as a bargaining chip if he does not get what he wants.

Nor is there any chance I’m misunderstanding Trump’s administrations intent. In an interview with The Economist in May, Trump was very definite: “There is no Obamacare, it’s dead. Plus we’re subsidizing it and we don’t have to subsidize it. You know if I ever stop wanting to pay the subsidies, which I will,” Trump said. “Anytime I want.”

Trumps administration has made good on their promise to destabilize the ACA in spades. Committing to only paying the CSRs one month at a time is another tactic designed solely to continue this destabilization. Sean Spicer explained even further when he said “We committed to making them last month, and that’s as far as we will go at this time, We’re not committing to them this month.”
“But Spicer then signaled that the “dynamic” will change if the Senate passes a health care bill. The bill on the table — which was written in secret by Republican senators and hasn’t been subject to a hearing — is in some ways harsher than the House version that would result in 23 million Americans losing their health insurance. But unlike the House bill, the Senate version continues to temporarily provide tax subsidies for consumers to buy health insurance on exchanges, albeit ones that are much less generous than Obamacare.
“If we can pass health care overall, then that changes the dynamic,” Spicer said. “It will ultimately be up to the president to decide.”

Access to healthcare, educating those we serve on how to use their healthcare, and providing them with the necessary supports to understand what their medical practitioner is telling them is a huge part of my work world. My CKF staff eats, lives, & breathes healthcare and the intricacies of both the ACA & proposed AHCA because I need them to be fully informed experts for our clients; I’m no slouch with this either.

Knowing what I do professionally, and as a Holy Ghost filled seasoned saint who does my best to walk my talk, I need Trump’s “Christian” supporters to explain to me exactly where in the Word it says blackmail and subjecting those least able to afford CSR cuts and the loss of their healthcare is remotely Christ like.

The latest “Trump is led by God to hurt the poor” fiasco, which came out on the Jim Bakker show this week, I think is the most ashamed and embarrassed I have ever been by and for people who call themselves a pastor. Paula White held that record previously, but, Jim Bakker and Frank Amedia just laid her support of Trump in the shade.

If you haven’t listened to, or read, what these two pathetic excuses for “men of God” said you need to. They remind me of Eli’s sons because their lies are defiling the house.

You cannot extol what Donald Trump does and says as a result of the gifts of wisdom, discernment, and him repeating what God downloads into his head. As if this heresy isn’t enough, Amedia calls North Korea, and their mentally & emotionally unstable leader out and challenges them; unbelievable.

Anyone reading this who honestly believes Bakker, Amedia, White, Trump, and all the others of their ilk, are being led of the Lord: shut up, don’t say a word, unfriend and block me as fast as your little fingers can type because I refuse to tolerate your willful ignorance of the Spirit, the Word, and the neglect of those very people that Christ said, “whatever ye do to the least of these you do to me”.

Don’t waste your time, or mine, by calling me out as being un-Christian because I’m intolerant. I’ve got news for you, being intolerant of hatred, of those who incite violence, bigotry, racism, misogyny, greed, treason, and abusing those in poverty, those who are most vulnerable is something I’m willing to take my chances with God on.

Christ ran the money changers out of the temple because they brought greed and avarice into his house. When we don’t call these things out: We. Are. Complicit. When, as believers, we cover those who commit these vile, unseemly, forbidden acts with the skirt of the church and under the guise of doing God’s work -we are in danger of hellfire and damnation.

Finally, Christ was a brown skinned Middle Easterner who was a refugee, who fed the hungry, healed the sick, hung out with low lifes, and didn’t have a job. If this administration wouldn’t let him in the country how on earth can they let him in their hearts.

Here’s the link to the video:

http://proudemocrats.com/2017/07/11/trumps-christian-advisor-says-donald-is-getting-downloads-straight-from-god-video/

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Americans have seen corporate influence surge, in both elections and the crafting of policy, since the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision of 2010, which granted corporations the right to influence the outcome of elections.  While corporations still cannot contribute directly to candidates the Supreme Court’s ruling opened the floodgates by allowing unlimited funds to be channeled into efforts to elect or defeat candidates by corporations; indirectly giving them and the lobbies they power political influence individuals are simply incapable of mustering.

Corporate personhood uniquely distorts political process in that a corporation is dedicated to one purpose and as such is not bound by moral and ethical constraints.  The constitutional rights of a corporation should be extremely limited. Concerning corporations, Justice Elena Kagan wrote, “Few of us are only our economic interests. We have beliefs. We have convictions. Corporations engage the political process in an entirely different way, and this is what makes them so much more damaging.”  Should corporations ever be granted all of the rights of an individual the consequences would change America’s social and political landscapes completely  as unlike individuals, corporations tend to have bottomless pockets, their influence is far reaching both in distance and time,  and they never die meaning they have undue political clout not available to the average American.

The Supreme Court’s decision essentially gave corporate “persons” the same first amendment free-speech rights as biological humans, this is an unfair gift as the gulf between a corporate “person’s” resources and those of an individual, or a grassroots group, are unequal. The purpose of a corporation is to provide a profit to its members whether that profit is financial or influential. When corporations dictate the policy of Congress and the judicial system the best interests of American citizens are not served; the rights of the individual are in fact subjugated for the profit of the corporate “person”.

Corporations are not people, they are tools and a tool does not dictate to the artisan how it will be used. Crony politics has elevated corporations above their tool status and given them creative license which diminishes the rights of living, breathing, feeling, human beings. A corporate “person” has no soul, no conscience, no concept of right and wrong, and if they have been endowed with enough money and the members have enough influence, there is no higher power they recognize or answer to.  Individuals who come together for a common purpose and incorporate are not a bad thing. As individuals, they maintain the rights which have been constitutionally granted to them however when we grant a corporation those same constitutional rights the balance is unjustly weighted on the side of the corporation. By virtue of the vast resources a corporation has access to granting full constitutional rights to a corporate “person” makes the American dream of a level playing field impossible to attain.

We the People, that’s us, that’s you and me regardless of our political affiliation, must come together  and demand  an amendment to the Constitution which makes it clear the rights protected by the Constitution of the United States of America are the rights of natural human beings and not corporate “persons” because money and influence do not equal free speech.  Move to Amend (https://movetoamend.org/wethepeopleamendment)  is spot on when they say, “Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidates own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure. Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed. The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.”

It’s time we take our government back and say no to the corporations which have usurped the political process; a corporation is not a person, you and I are  –we are “We the People”.

So, let me be sure I got this right:  A 65 year old man, a 59 year old man, and an 84 year old nun (this already sounds like a bad joke) break into a nuclear weapons complex in an act of peaceful civil disobedience. They get three to five years in prison and have to do restitution and be probies afterwards.  That’ll be a serious bitch on their social security, frankly I’m surprised the judge didn’t order their SS garnished but that’s probably only because he didn’t think of it, amateur.  I can’t even seriously discuss just how much training a security force needs to stop an 84 year old nun from breaking into what is supposed to be a top notch national security complex. Yeah, I’d be pretty ticked to get my gun toting butt kicked by three card carrying senior citizens too but hey, I’m touchy.

Am I the only one who has serious issues with the so called “secure facility” gettin whupped on by a bunch of geriatrics??? I’m thinking the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge has a security problem which is a whole heap bigger than three peaceful old folks trespassing during an act of civil disbedience.  Let’s be clear here,  three people, with no intent of doing harm took part in an act of civil disobedience and did so knowing their actions would likely put them behind bars; elders which believed in the moral and ethical rightness of what they stand for enough to act on it in hopes of a better future for the world’s children.  Fine, they knew what they were doing and what the consequences might be.  According to U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar, he sentenced “the Oak Ridge 3” as he did because he was concerned the demonstrators showed no remorse and he intended their punishment to be a deterrent for other activists. To Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Theodore’s mind, the true crime these three committed is that they “destroyed the ‘mystique’ of the “Fort Knox of uranium.” Once again a government agency gets it’s fingers slammed in the barn door and hopes to deflect their incompetence by essentially sentencing three good people to what amounts to life in prison because they destroyed the myth of a government agency’s awesome super powers.  I hate to spring this on Mr. Theodore but there isn’t much about our current government agencies which hasn’t already been tarnished and usually the tarnish comes via their own stupidity, but I digress.

What really burns me about this fiasco? The verdict of guilt, not just of tresspassing but of “destroying the mystique” of our government’s ability to protect America’s assets and her people; a verdict which mocks  all of us who have had to pay and pay and pay for the misdeeds committed by corporate jokers. Where was the will to judge harshly Wall Street, the banking industry, all of the collateral business entities involved, and the political cronyism which had evil intent and and led to horrific consequences for millions?  The bad guys, and gals, who trashed the US economy, impacted the world economy, and left those of us least able to afford the bill to pay the piper they danced to have walked away scott free with impunity. Those who brought about our latest economic crisis were aided and abetted by the politicians we elected to serve our best interest but whom the Wizards of Wall Street bought and paid for. The financial debacle of 2008 cost the American people billions –we”re still paying and will contintue to pay for years to come the cost of this folly. The guilty, who acted solely out of greed and avarice, who believe only in the almighty dollar, did not receive even a slap on the wrist and yet these three who believe so strongly in Christ’s teaching and acted in their belief have been egregiously punished.  What about the mystique of financial security, fair political process, and justice the Wall Street crowd robbed the American people of Mr. Theodore?  Judge Thapar, do you believe we should have made an example of the Wall Street Thieves Guild?  God knows those responsible for the 2008 crash have given you have grounds to be supremely concerned since not a one of them has shown one iota of remorse; don’t you think future masters of finance should look on this current batch miscreants with horror because the punishment meted out to them has been harsh enough to stand as a prime deterrent to future financial hijinks?

The Boston Tea Party was an act of civil disobedience; sheltering Jewish children during the Holocaust was an act of civil disodedience; tearing down the Berlin Wall was an act of civil disobedience; a black woman sitting on bus was an act of civil disobedience; protesting nuclear proliferation and WMD’s was an act of civil disobedience; a carpenter healing a blind man on the Sabbath was an act of civil disobedience; an act of civil disobedience is to those in power something to fear. Megan and her friends are walking their talk and willingly paying the unjust price, it’s pretty clear their boss is a carpenter. Mr. Theodore, Judge Thapar, and all the rest of y’all in charge of justice and government in this case, here’s a little heads up, you ain’t workin for the same guy.

Cheers,
Laurie-Ann

Photo courtesy of Knoxnews.com

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/18/nun-nuclear-plant_n_4811373.html

The 99 Percent and Romney’s 47 percent, I’m a member of both these groups; nearly everyone in the country instantly recognizes the significance of these numbers and what they symbolize. I don’t believe in idle complaining about the one percent or the politicians they have bought and paid for, particularly when the well being of my family and I are the currency. My introduction to healthcare.gov and the travesty which has been made of the Affordable Care Act last week have not turned me against the President and Obamacare but what I learned galvanized my determination to become part of the solution.  I want to share with you the letter I sent to Sen. Elizabeth Warren concerning my experience.

Senator Warren & Staff,

You and your staff have consistently spoken up for those of us who have small voices politically. I’m grateful and appreciate knowing there is at least one elected official who truly has the best interests of the people at heart. Your work on behalf of those of us with ungodly student loan burdens was what spurred me to become a “Warrenite”.  Your caring and outspoken defense of us small folk gave me the confidence to share my story.

I have a job interview Dec 5th with Teach for America. The last thing on the planet I want to do is go to that interview with no front teeth. Have you ever had a dental abscess? The pain is unbelievable, when it finally bursts you understand for the first time in your life the age old mystery of why dogs lick their butts; it’s to get the taste of road kill out of their mouth.  My quip likely made you laugh but the reality of no health, dental, or vision insurance is anything but.

I was fortunate,  I went to a dentist last week who had compassion on my situation. He only charged twenty bucks for my xrays then prescribed the cheapest antibiotics and pain medication available so I can attend my interview with my front teeth; December 6th he is pulling them.  You see, ONE root canal and crown is over 1400 dollars but it only costs a hundred to have a tooth pulled. I have two abscessed teeth which would cost almost three thousand dollars to keep and that ma’am is as impossible for me as it is for those butt licking dogs to sprout wings and fly. I’ve laughed and said the instant you walk into someone’s office and open your mouth and the folks behind the desk see bad, or no teeth, your IQ immed drops 40 points. My comment is funny in the sad way only the disadvantaged can truly know.

 The DCCC has sent repeated emails out in the last week asking for donations to help ensure the future of Obamacare. Ma’am for myself, and millions like me -the very people the affordable care act was designed to help; I can’t keep my teeth in my own mouth let alone help folks, who make more in one month than I do all year, put teeth in legislation which has already failed me.

Please find below the letter I sent to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence concerning the choices he, other elected officials made, which resulted in my lack of affordable insurance and healthcare.  I campaigned for, voted for, and still believe in the vision POTUS and likeminded elected officials had for our country’s health care.  I respectfully am asking that your staff would take the time to read my letter, and the healthcare.gov help desk transcript following. It is my sincere hope that it will touch someone in your office who will share with you what policy which does not see individual faces has been allowed to do.

I know the power of one small voice, of what many small voices joined together can do. I will not be quiet, I refuse to accept the position elected officials have chosen to put me in.  I am one of the 99%, one of Mitt Romney’s 47% and I will be heard.

Dear Gov. Pence,

           The transcript of the conversation I had with the help desk at healthcare.gov, following the body of this letter, took place Friday, Nov. 11, 2013 when I went to healthcare.gov to sign up.

Currently healthcare.gov refers you to the Kaiser Family Foundation Calculator to get an idea of insurance costs while you are waiting for your ID to be validated. There appeared to be a HUGE glitch with the Kaiser Family Foundation Calculator and the information on their website as the calculations revealed I am at 67% of the poverty level and ineligible for both Medicaid and subsidies.

My annual income (I work as an intern 40+ hours per week) is $7680. My insurance premium would be $6454 per year leaving me 1226 dollars to live on for the rest of the year. Does 84.3% of my annual income to pay for my insurance seem more than a little outrageous to you? It certainly does to me.  I’m 53 and working as an SCA intern in Texas, Mr. Pence, so I can have both insurance and a roof over my head as I have not been able to find a job in Indiana which will allow me to do both as well as pay for my student loans.

Since the conversation recorded in the transcript below I’ve learned when Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the law included two ways of getting subsidized or no-cost health coverage. The first was expanding Medicaid to anyone who earns up to 133 percent of the poverty level, which is about $15,300 for a single person. The second is tax credits to cut insurance premiums, which are available to people earning between 100% of poverty and 400% (about $11,500-$46,000 for a single person). People eligible for Medicaid would be required to sign up for Medicaid, anyone else could go on the exchanges; mostly because it costs less money to cover someone through Medicaid than to subsidize private health insurance.

This arrangement was thrown out of whack when the Supreme Court ruled on the law last year. In addition to upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Court said states didn’t have to expand Medicaid, which was a pretty big surprise. Indiana and Texas are among the more than 20 states that aren’t doing the expansion.

A perverse result of this ruling is that people who earn less than poverty in those states aren’t eligible for any help paying for their health coverage. To be sure, people are free to pay full price for the insurance, in theory, but as my case, who could afford that? My meager consolation:  individuals who earn up to 133 percent of poverty in states that aren’t expanding Medicaid are exempt from the individual mandate to get health coverage, so we won’t have to pay a fine in addition to being uninsured.

 What has happened to the Affordable Care Act is not the fault of POTUS or the whole of Congress; it’s a result of the way the Court ruled and the decisions made by elected officials in those states. I’m one of the folks with a pre-existing condition Obamacare would have helped, now I will fall between the cracks because of the Medicaid issue.

 Kaiser’s calculator wasn’t wrong  –your choice condemned myself, and millions of others like me, earning LESS than the poverty level to no insurance, no subsidies, and no hope.  Perhaps, this is the worst thing republican elected officials have done to people like me, people who work over forty hours a week and make less than the poverty level -you have stolen our hope.

I would appreciate it greatly if you had the moral courage of your convictions to tell me to my face, in front of the media, that basic health care is an entitlement and that I don’t deserve health care.

 Sincerely,

Laurie-Ann Curry

Transcript from Help Desk at Healthcare.gov Nov. 11, 2013:

“[1:51:12 pm]: Thanks for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Please wait while we connect you to someone who can help.

[1:51:16 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.

[1:51:26 pm]: Welcome! You’re now connected to Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat.

Thanks for contacting us. My name is Steph. To protect your privacy, please don’t provide any personal information, like Social Security Number, or any other sensitive medical or personal information.

[1:55:19 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Hello Steph, Thought I would check in and ask it anyone else has questioned the Kaiser Family Foundation Calculator? It cannot be right, at least I hope there is something wrong with it! My annual income is 7680.00, the KFC is saying I don’t qualify for tax credits (Indiana)  and my insurance at the silver level will run 6654/year since I am at 67% of the poverty level; girl that is over 80% of my annual income

[1:56:11 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Tell me that they are having issues please, please, please

[1:57:06 pm]: Steph

have you filled out the application through the marketplace?

[2:00:27 pm]: Laurie-Ann

yes, I’m waiting on income verification. Herein lies the issue, alot of folks here at the Park, I work for the NPS, have used the KFFC to see where they would be and they all, to a person have been screaming bloody murder that Obamacare is crazy, girl I am in Texas, can we say repub????? I voted for POTUS because I believe in this but if my results are typical y’all have a problem and need to not send folks to KFFC

[2:01:23 pm]: Laurie-Ann

ID verification is what I am waiting on not income, sorry

[2:02:40 pm]: Steph

its okay, well with the marketplace we can give you options about health insurance

[2:04:45 pm]: Laurie-Ann

I understand that. What I am essentially asking is do the powers that be understand what people are seeing when they go to look prior to signing up are causing much grief and bad press

[2:05:15 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Unless it really is going to take over 80% of what I make to pay for insurance

[2:06:35 pm]: Steph

we are trying to make it where every one can get health insurance

[2:08:30 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Steph, have you actually taken the time to really read what I have sent to you? If you have and what you have posted in return really is what cs is telling people like me I thank you for your time but this plan is in trouble

[2:10:04 pm]: Steph

i personally dont know how the plans are i can only give general information. i cant see what you are seeing

[2:11:31 pm]: Laurie-Ann

This is EXACTLY what the KFFC site says after I input my information “Because your income is equal to 67% of the poverty level, you will not be eligible for tax credits in the exchanges. Tax credits are only available to people who make between 100% and 400% of the poverty level. Keep in mind that these results are estimates and you can still apply for exchange coverage if you are interested in receiving a tax credit. The information below is about unsubsidized exchange coverage:

Household income in 2014:

67% of poverty level

Maximum % of income you have to pay for the premium, if eligible for a subsidy:

None

Health Insurance premium in 2014 (for a silver plan, before tax credit):

$6,454 per year

You could receive a government tax credit subsidy of up to:

$0 per year

(which covers 0% of the overall premium)

Amount you pay for the premium:

$6,454 per year

(which equals 84.03% of your household income and covers 100% of the overall premium) “

[2:13:43 pm]: Steph

i have no control over what the insurance companies charge if i did i would make it affordable for every one who needs insurance

[2:14:30 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Sweetie, I understand you don’t have all the answers but will you please pass along to your supervisor that there may well be serious issues with the Kaiser Family Foundation Calculator site healthcare.gov sends us to. Anyone in their right mind will immed see the information cannot be correct, 7680-6454= leaves me 1226 dollars to live on for the rest of the year, honey there is a PROBLEM

[2:15:41 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Alright, thank you for your time. You are not hearing what I am saying and I do not know how to make it plainer. Have a good day and I hope I have not stressed you out, I appreciate what you do.

[2:16:22 pm]: Steph

yes ma’am i will pass it along and thank you for your time to contact us “

Carmel, Indiana’s Mayor James Brainard, has been appointed to President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Change. Below is the letter I wrote and sent to the Mayor earlier today.  I invite everyone reading this to take a few minutes to write, not only to Mayor Brainard, but each member of the Task Force on Climate Change encouraging them to take decisive and meaningful action on climate change issues.   It only takes ten percent of the population to come together in one mind and one accord in order for a whole society to change how they think and what they do. We can effect positive and lasting change, as I tell the Mayor in my letter our children and grandchildren’s future is worth sacrificing for. http://tinyurl.com/ny3knm8 is a link to an article which lists each member of the Climate Change Task force and where they are from. If you don’t know what to tell the members of the task force feel free to use my letter as a template.

Cheers,

Laurie-Ann

Dear Mayor Brainard,

I was pleased to read a fellow Hoosier had been appointed to the President’s task force on climate change, congratulations on your appointment. As a trained Climate Reality Leader, environmental educator, and some one engaged in public service, I cannot stress enough how important taking strong action to curb anthropogenic climate change is to our children and grandchildren’s future.

I responded to a post by climate denier John Crimmins, who posted at IndyStar.com (http://tinyurl.com/kngwnhy) in the comments on the article the Indianapolis Star wrote announcing your appointment.

“Mr. Crimmins, I’m a native born Hoosier, I have spent the last several years doing contract work across the country. Indiana is one of the states which is located in a very special water abundant area. I spent a year in Alaska, followed by a year in Nebraska, six months in Maine, and this past six months in Far West Texas; areas where climate change and water issues are far more visible to the eye than back home. John, climate change has always occurred and will continue to do so, but this change has happened GRADUALLY in geological time. Human beings have altered the equation -speeding up a natural process by highly unnatural means. We forget the holocene was a very unique moment in planetary history. a very rare moment. Human beings are the most plastic, no pun intended, species on the planet which means we have been able to exploit highly marginal areas/niches. The majority of the worlds population resides in in these marginal areas and will continue to bear the brunt of accelerated climate change’s costs. Again, 97% of all climate scientists agree climate change is occurring and that the unnatural acceleration is anthropogenic in nature. 19 oncologists say you have stage 3 colon cancer, 1 says you don’t; tell me, who are you going to believe? 97% is consensus”

Mayor Brainard, I have spent the last six months watching towns in Far West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico drain every drop of water from their wells, their towns are bone dry; they have to have water trucked in. Farmers and land owners who see this with their own eyes but still have water in their aquifer are choosing to sell their precious, precious fresh water to the frackers to be used in extracting oil in the most unsustainable way possible. Black Water Draw, New Mexico used to be home to a lake, irrigation drained the last drop of water from the lake in 1974 but few paid attention to the warning sign.

Here at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, where I serve as the Community Outreach & Public Relations specialist, eight of Texas ten tallest mountains can be found raising majestically up from the floor of the Chihuahuan Desert. Guadalupe Mountains is a hiking park, there’s no road wending through the mountains and canyons, if you climb your way up the mountain trails to the top of this ancient Permian reef you can experience first hand what the Chihuahuan desert was like twelve thousand years ago. There is a forest up there, mountain lions, black bears, and other forest dwellers live in this sky island. It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact just a few thousand years ago much of the Chihuahuan Desert looked like our mountain top oasis.

When I served at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in 2011 I was shocked to see the retreat of Alaska’s glaciers. I nearly fell over when I read a news article in which a climate denier stated boldly “there are more glaciers in Alaska now than ever before”. You see, it simply isn’t true, what has happened is the massive ice sheets have retreated back up the valleys so far that they leave little pockets of snow and ancient ice, remnants which are quickly disappearing themselves. If you ride the White Pass & Yukon train from Skagway up to the top of the mountain you might experience a short stop while hikers disembark so they can hike up to Laughton Glacier. A two mile or so hike is required from the tracks to the glacier’s edge; most folks don’t make it to the glacier itself as it is a rather daunting hike but most of those who do don’t recognize the dirty, debris filled, nearly black snow as a glacier. Roughly one hundred years ago Laughton Glacier flowed under the railroad track, now it’s a memory.

When I first came to Guadalupe Mountains National Park in June of this year I couldn’t figure out what town I was seeing at night from the park housing compound. Highway 62/180 curves around the Guadalupe Mountains hiding the lights of Carlsbad, New Mexico from view; It was possible I was seeing Black Water Village or Loving but I didn’t realize they were so good sized, in fact they’re not. The thousands of lights flickering down the valley are the flares of fracking wells hidden from view in the draws and arroyos of Far West Texas during the day. Fracking flares are lights the desert darkness doesn’t comprehend and are an incredible danger to a already fragile ecosystem.

Mayor Brainard, big oil, big business, men and women like the Koch’s, cannot be trusted to police themselves. These people and entities have spoken, it has been their money and their influence which has done the talking; talking which has cost the rest of us dearly. President Obama, yourself, and the other members of the Climate Task Force, have what is perhaps the most important job in the history of humanity. Framing the war on climate change in terms of a David and Goliath scenario is not hyberbole. I have seen with my own eyes ranchers sell their children’s future in the form of a water station for frackers, when the town ten miles over is bone dry. I’ve watched Nebraska farmers cry because the Platte’s trickle wasn’t enough to irrigate their fields. I’ve watched lawsuits over water rights in Nebraska be sent back east for a fair trial and when I was in Maine those lawsuits, which will eventually effect every single American at the grocery, never raise an eyebrow or receive more than the obligatory legal notice in the paper.

Big oil and other traditional energy providers have essentially been allowed to run amok, it will be no easy task to rein them in. You are one of twenty six elected officials who are in the unique position of being able to fell Goliath. Do well by us, do not be intimidated or bought off by these so called “captains of industry”. I hope and pray that this climate task force will be the men and women my grandchildren need you to be in order for them to have a future which is positive and bright. Writing this letter to you publicly is enough to cost me my job and any future employment with a government agency. My children and my grandchildren are worth that sacrifice, and so many more. Mayor Brainard, be the David the world needs you to be.

Sincerely,

Laurie-Ann Curry

Snorkeling in Far West Texas

A fun article I wrote for the National Park Service’s Fossil Day page. If you are a hiker, backpacker, or trail rider and you haven’t yet been to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, come and explore over 80 miles of wilderness trails, eight of the ten tallest mountains in Texas, spectacular fall colors, and of course snorkel a far west Texas sea.

My Brothers Keeper

The wolf came again tonight. I think he only comes when the hunt has failed for a few days and the pains in his belly drive him past the fringe of the little wood behind the house. The neighbors two black labs, Mischa, and I are the only ones who ever notice him. I’ve christened the labs owner “Crabman” since he scuttles back and forth from the car to the house to the dog run. I suspect the only time he man walks is when he escapes to the fenced backyard to play frisbee or fetch with his beloved dogs and provide them belly rubs. The instant his wife appears he shrinks back into his shell and the dogs ears and eyes fall in unison with the man, they are brothers in their fear of her. Crabman’s nickname is even more apt than the casual observer of the neighborhood is aware. His wife shrieks like a fishwife at her husband’s dogs when they explode with one of their occasional evening barking fits. Whichever I hear first, Fishwifes shrill shrewing of “shut the f*** up you **d d***ed mutts” or the labs excited barking as nights ink flows down days leavings, dripping from the naked canopy to the waiting snow crust, I know the wolf has come.

Whether it’s genetic memory from the days this little strip of wildness was part of the country’s largest contiguous forest, when the wolf would have come with a pack to call at whatever passed for a door or the disengagement most humans have for the world outside of ourselves, my landlady’s and neighbors disinterest in the wood have made co-conspirators of the three dogs and I; as no one else in the houses flanking the little wood peer out in the darkness as dusk’s dimness slides into what passes for dark in Bangor.

I wonder about the wolf, I never see two, only one shadow gliding from the woods scrubby fringe to the berry brambles in the backyard then on up to the apple tree when he is satisfied, that like it is to so many other things, the city is oblivious to his presence. There is something about the wolf which says it’s a male. When we first met I thought he was a coyote and was well enough pleased to welcome such an unexpected guest to “my” garden but then he rose to his full height, turned to look at me, and I knew that like me, he was not what he first appeared to be. Wolf sniffs ever so delicately under the apple tree for a few seconds then digs one apple from it’s snowy resting place with quick flips of his right paw, perhaps wolves are handed as he never uses his left paw to break the crust and bring his treasure to the surface. He snatches his supper up and trots to the bramble sliding through the canes with practiced grace; the thorns slide down his thick winter coat never breaking the skin and he quickly eats. He repeats this process for each apple, he ate five tonight. I think he would have liked to sate the pangs in his belly even more but my landlady came home, wolf knows exactly where to melt into the shadows so the SUV lights never catch him. Shortly thereafter Crabman let the labs out and wolf’s disgust with the dogs yammering is palpable. He doesn’t bolt for the wood when anyone pulls into one of the drives anymore since he knows by now he is invisible to them; they get out of the car and walk to their respective doors never looking up, never looking out. Tonight he sat between the apple tree and berry patch for several minutes watching me as I watched him. It occurs to me as we take each others measure that I too have grown a thick coat over the years and life’s thorns seldom bring blood on me either; far better to be wolfs sister than Crabman’s and the labs. If wolf doesn’t deign to claim me as kin he at least does not see me as a threat. Like the harbor seals and otters at Dyea, he has become accustomed to my presence. He no longer runs when I open the window to see him better and hear his footsteps on the brittle snow. My landlady tells me she sits in front of her wood stove and watches the flames dance because she longs be in the wilderness, to camp, be a part of nature. I resist the urge to tell her no matter what humans would like to think we are a part of nature, it is absurd to think we are apart from that which created us nor do I suggest she enjoy what she has in her own backyard. I refuse to betray wolf and the others who come to “my” apple tree, best they stay invisible to those who don’t see, Me and mine take care of family and wolf is brother to me.