What Will It Take?

If the president’s performance today at the press conference in Helsinki isn’t recognized for what it is by Republican leaders, America’s democratic legacy and leadership in the world is seriously at risk.

Where are you Congressman Randy Weber? I have only you to count on to help correct this situation. It’s not as if there is some single mistake or transgression. He has committed numerous “high crimes and misdemeanors” since taking office – and probably some treason and bribery, as well.  Your voters have a decision to make in November.

In my opinion, the highest of his high crimes is his daily violation of his oath of office.

If you feel he abides by this oath, I invite you to comment and leave your argument.

This was a day of shame for all Americans, most especially the ones who voted for him. To those folks, this is a bandwagon you should abandon to save your conscience, your reputation and your self-respect.

 

“The Music Man” Opens to Full House at The Center

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Close to four hundred packed into the Freeport LNG Theater at The Center for the Arts and Sciences last night to see Brazosport Center Stages’ production of Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man.” Director Wes Copeland tried his hand at a summer musical for the first time and did himself proud.

There were the usual outstanding music and acting performances that you can always expect from Brazosport Center Stages’ productions. What pushed this one over the top was dance. Melodie Steiner took a few trained dancers and a lot of other people who seldom even try a two step on a Saturday night and brought the stage to life with the art that doesn’t get much mention in community theater productions. Of course, there were a few really good ones, dance majors who are off from college for the summer. But most of the folks on stage learned their steps during the last few weeks from Melodie, a local dancer and dance teacher. Now you should call her choreographer, too.

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Of course, there was the music man himself, Tony Stewart, an Angleton ISD choir director. And would I ever be able to convince you that Angleton ISD librarian, Rachael Welsh, played the role of Marian, the librarian? They were exceptional.

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And no report on this show would be complete without noting the comic talent of the Pick-a-Little Ladies and their own dance instructor, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, played by the inimitable Judi James. She was suitably imperious for her role as the First Lady of River City and plenty funny for the folks who came to see The Music Man do his magic with the children of River City.

42469947455_154ddd2768_kJudi is second from left in the above photo. You won’t want to miss her performance.

There are five more shows: tonight at 7:30, a Sunday matinee (July 15), and another round of three performances next weekend.

Make your reservations at The Center ticketing website.

Finally, Something Republicans and Democrats Can Agree On

If you spend a few minutes watching the president perform for adoring crowds, you will see second rate television performer dying at the microphone but who doesn’t know it because he has picked a crowd designed to deliver applause.

The act could be excused if he were delivering his insults as part of a television entertainment. It cannot be excused when he has been handed the power to lead a great nation.

I live and worship with Republicans and I know them to be good and loving people. I hope they are listening to George Will and Steve Schmidt; they need to vote for Democrats at all levels of government until he is out of office and our legislative systems have been fairly apportioned. When we have accomplished those things I suppose they should continue to honor their fundamental values and go back to voting for Republicans. But first we must restore checks and balances in our government. This is a project that calls for statesmanship and citizenship of the highest order.

And, to my Republican friends who join us in this enterprise, stay committed to a two party system. Neither party does well without an effective and loyal opposition.

Madeleine Albright: An Interview in The Guardian

This is one of the most interesting articles I came across today. Madeliene Albright, the former U.S. Secretary of State has a new book, Fascism: A Warning. She was interviewed by Andrew Rawnsley of The Guardian. Check out the interview here in The Guardian.

Ms. Albright does not offer us much comfort. From the interview:

“The things that are happening are genuinely, seriously bad. Some of them are really bad. They’re not to do with Trump; it is the evolution of a number of different trends. All the various problems that we have, they can’t be solved by simple slogans. But it’s easier to listen to some simple slogan.”

Yet simple slogans seemed to be what a significant number of voters responded to in 2016.

Finding the Light in the Cave of Political Darkness

Of course I do my best to survive the Trump years by consulting America’s most credible media. It helps to have online subscriptions to the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Facts, and the Houston Chronicle. I feast on MSNBC with a nightly visit from, at the minimum, Rachel Maddow. I switch over to Fox sometimes to get a taste for their coverage of some particular event.

But on the side of human contact, I am mostly limited to very apolitical spheres of friends in theater and church. These are both holy places in the sense that we agree to love theater and love God without bringing up Trump. I try to imagine that people who can be so good and so generous in those areas must surely vote as I do. Surely.

Well, not so fast. Hard data shows me that the people I live with in Brazoria County actually voted about 60% for Donald Trump in 2016. My precinct in Lake Jackson favored Trump over Clinton by 69.2% to 23.6%. So you can see that one’s ability to have normal neighborly relationships can turn on staying quiet in most social venues.

But then, a couple of weeks ago, an old friend from my more active organizing days called and asked me to come to a meeting of folks who were interested in participating in the local party’s writing project – an effort to put enough letters in the mail to local media and our representatives in Congress to at least make the point that they do not own a consensus mandate. He called just after I had seen news of the administration’s criminal treatment of asylum seekers at our southern border. For the last few years I have declined involvement because of some health limits, one being depression of that special political variety. But that day my anger and grief had hit the point that I was moved to say yes.

I am so glad I did. Seven or eight of us met Saturday over burgers at Fuddrucker’s and spent the morning making some plans for the writing project but, more importantly, we had that human contact that makes all the difference in making change. I feel a little more like a citizen today and a little more efficacious.

Thank you René Martinez for calling me and giving me the opportunity to hang out with your small group of literate, justice-loving, and totally enjoyable Democrats.

My Republican friends are probably longing for contacts like these. Should any of you wander onto this site, you are welcome to join the party and have a burger with us and learn to think and write like a Democrat. Yes, to do both at the same time.

Independence Day 2018 Passes

The 243rd year of the republic is underway and the country’s somewhat democratically elected leader proves every day to be so fully incapable of the job as to endanger the future of mankind on the planet.

I count his lack of understanding the complexities of policy as incompetence. Add to that his boorish behavior and a host of probable criminal, if not treasonous, activities that are being investigated by a special counsel and I think there is sufficient reason for impeachment and conviction by the Senate.

And then there is immigration. Our sense of justice and stewardship of our world’s resources carry a moral requirement of a willingness to share. But, more than that, our history demonstrates that immigration has been the world’s gift to America of productive and loyal citizens. To take such an extreme stance against immigration is an act of national disloyalty even before we try to account for its immorality.

Of course, I know that impeachment isn’t likely to happen. Somehow the God-fearing Republicans in Congress fear something called “Trump’s base” more than they fear God. Commentators who don’t particularly fear the so called base still treat it as something real and reasonable to fear if you are running in any area that leans Republican.

But let’s take a look at the base. It seems to hang in at around 40 percent or less in national polls. That’s not a majority. It should be of little concern if our House of Representatives had been fairly apportioned. It looks a bit more impressive in Trump’s public appearances. However, what they really are is an audience. And what he is, is a performer. And a bad one at that. You can make your own judgment of that audience based on what you see behind him on the screen when he speaks at one of his occasional rallies.

I cannot speak respectfully about this base since it expressly stands for ideas and policies I find reprehensible. Those quiet members of this base, i.e., those who pretend to oppose him so as to make themselves appear less blameworthy while secretly voting to support him have God and their grandchildren to answer to.

I live with this quiet base in Lake Jackson on a day to day basis. Some of them are my friends. I am very well aware of that. But all I have to say to them is that they should be ashamed. There is no moral justification for supporting the Trump policies and administration.

There isn’t much to say that isn’t said hundreds of times each day by reasonable people and I have, therefore, not added a lot here on the subject. Lately, though, his irrational and uninformed actions relating to trade and our alliances are forcing issues to a more dangerous level than ever.

Congress, Representative Randy Weber, it is time to be rid of him. Now.