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.

 

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.

Walls Never Work

Duolingo provides free online language courses. I don’t know the people behind Duolingo but they seeme to be moved by a passion that really doesn’t include becoming digital billionaires even though they are in the process of developing one of the most effective and liberating products I have encountered during my years as an internet citizen.

Now they have produced a thirty minute video that places the need for language education in a very human context in our troubled world.

Watch this video, Texans, and you may be moved to take a language course. If you are a native English speaker, I would suggest Spanish. Give it twenty minutes a day without fail. That minimal investment of time will not allow you to become proficient, particularly if you don’t have a person to speak with periodically. But stay after it anyhow. When you do have a chance to use your new language, you will have a real head start.

The people in this video have moved away from wars in their native countries: from Syria to Iraq; from Iraq to Turkey; and Turkey is not the most secure and friendly place these days. They could be moving again. Would you blame anyone for looking toward America as a land of freedom and opportunity? And wouldn’t they be great Americans?

The ability to study new languages has been a key to their survival. Take a look.

 

Liberty Muses about Her Job

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From the Flickr collection of Yiannis Theologos Michellis offered as public doman. https://www.flickr.com/photos/zoonyzoozoodazoo/

 

They knew from the very first
this would be a job
only a woman would do.
Standing through the seasons
in this harbor over a hundred years
offering what we French call hospitalité.
This wasn’t for haute cuisine and wine.

I was put here, an immigrant myself,
to welcome refugees
from famine and oppression,
asking only that they do their part
to protect the ideals and way of life
that moved always
in the direction of freedom.

Sometimes my presence
served to remind this
congregation of immigrants
that only a few can call
this their native land – and they never
owned the land so much as respected it
and kept it friendly to all creatures.

History knit us together in community
when natives and newcomers rose up,
fought together and died to remove
dictators from power –
declared enemies of liberty.

I don’t know if I can bear
this flame much longer.
He makes his home here now,
and would build a wall,
cage the children who would
give us the next generation of freedom.

For all I have seen from here,
watching the towers in flames,
seeing the bodies falling –
none of it drove me to fits of crying.
But lately, seeing the dream of democracy
reduced to a cruel
farce staged by and for one vain man –
I am so alone out here.

And I weep for you.