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Neil Young, After Losing Home to Fire, Denounces ‘Unfit Leader’ Trump as ‘the Denier’

“It really is time for a reckoning with this unfit leader,” Neil Young wrote of Donald Trump Sunday. This time, Young’s wrath wasn’t just brought on by the president’s continued unauthorized use of “Rockin’ in the Free World,” which the musician had railed against less than a week ago. Young has lost the Malibu home he shared with his wife, Daryl Hannah, in the devastating fires. Seeing Trump blame the deadly calamity on the state of California itself set him toward writing a response, not in the form of a tweet but rather a 300-word essay that he published on his website, Neil Young Archives.

“California is vulnerable — not because of poor forest management, as DT (our so-called president) would have us think,” the longtime environmental activist wrote on his website, Neil Young Archives. “As a matter of fact this is not a forest fire that rages on as I write this. We are vulnerable because of Climate Change; the extreme weather events and our extended drought is part of it… Our temperatures are higher than ever here in our hottest summer on record. That has not helped. DT seems to be the Denier. (I’m holding back and not using the word liar just because it rhymes with denier.) It really is time for a reckoning with this unfit leader. Maybe our new Congress can help. I sure hope so.”

Young ended the essay by writing, “Imagine a leader who defies science, saying these solutions shouldn’t be part of his decision-making on our behalf. Imagine a leader who cares more for his own, convenient option than he does for the people he leads. Imagine an unfit leader. Now imagine a fit one.”

Young was hardly the only celebrity responding to Trump’s tweeted assertions that the fires could be attributed to California’s bad management, although he might have been the first so directly affected by the firestorm. “This is an absolutely heartless response,” Katy Perry tweeted back to Trump. “There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters.” Rod Stewart posted, “Mr. President, while people’s homes are burning, while lives are being lost & while firefighters are risking their lives, California needs words of support & encouragement, not threats or finger pointing & accusations. Where is Winston Churchill when you need him?”

Just days earlier, immediately prior to the midterm elections, Young had used his first (and, to date, still only) Instagram post to let the free world know just how he felt about Trump using one of his signature songs as a staple at campaign events, despite his beseeching the president to stop.

“DT does not have my permission to use the song ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ at his appearances,” Young posted. “Legally, he has the right to, however it goes against my wishes. I made this perfectly clear, after he played it in a media moment to announce his candidacy. I asked him then, in a widely shared, public letter to cease and desist. However, he chose not to listen to my request, just as he chooses not to listen to the many American voices who ask him to stop his constant lies, to stop his petty, nasty name calling and bullying, to stop pushing his dangerous, vilifying and hateful rhetoric. This man does not represent the character of the people in the USA that I have come to know and love. I’m Canadian so I can’t vote in the States, but if you can,take this great opportunity to make your voice heard,and vote!”

The loss shared by Young and Hannah, his wife of a few months, is not the first time the musician has been hit by a Malibu fire. In October 1978, Meeker Mansion, the home where he’d lived while recording albums like “Zuma” in the mid-‘70s, burned to the ground in an arson fire. A Malibu recording studio where Young had worked, Indigo Ranch, was destroyed in a 2007 fire.

Young’s website, Neil Young Archives, currently offers all of his decades of music for free, although it will move to a subscription model later in the year. The song title listed as the No. 1 streamed song by fans over the weekend seemed to suggest their reaction to all the tragedy hanging in the air: “Helpless.”

Young’s statement Sunday appeared in a newspaper-like section of his website that he calls the NYA Times-Contrarian (under the headlines “BIG WINDS BLOW. Extreme, Unseen & Dire. That’s What Climate Change Looks Like” and “ZUMA hit by Giant Fire & Wind as all living things seek shelter”). His statement in full:

“Life everywhere is affected by these fires. Residents of Malibu have brought their animals to the beaches for safety, shelter and companionship.

“California is vulnerable – not because of poor forest management as DT (our so-called president) would have us think. As a matter of fact this is not a forest fire that rages on as I write this. We are vulnerable because of Climate Change; the extreme weather events and our extended drought is part of it.

“Our temperatures are higher than ever here in our hottest summer on record. That has not helped. DT seems to be the Denier. (I’m holding back and not using the word liar just because it rhymes with denier.) It really is time for a reckoning with this unfit leader. Maybe our new Congress can help. I sure hope so.

“California is a paradise for us all. A gift, we are sad to not be able to defend it against Mother Nature’s wrath. We love California. We are not ill-prepared. We are up against something bigger than we have ever seen. It’s too big for some to see at all. Firefighters have never seen anything like this before in their lives. I have heard that said countless times in the past two days, and I have lost my home before to a California fire, now another.

“Hopefully we can come together as a people to take Climate Change on. We have the tools and could do it if we tried. There is no downside.

“Imagine a leader who defies science, saying these solutions shouldn’t be part of his decision-making on our behalf. Imagine a leader who cares more for his own, convenient option than he does for the people he leads. Imagine an unfit leader. Now imagine a fit one.

“Look around.

NY”

 

 

 

 

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