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.

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.

Morning Paper, June 21, 2018

Good afternnon. Time to report on some of the interesting things I ran across in reading the papers this morning. I will do something I didn’t expect to ever do and that is to kick it off with the thing that caught my eye when I brought The Facts newspaper in from the rain this morning.

The Facts covers Brazoria County and does that very well. They leave most of the state and national news to the papers we read online offering just a few summary articles from wire services.

I used to cite their headlines in Facebook posts as confirmation of how boring life must seem to the younger folks from our area who go off to college, find life more exciting in the university towns and big cities, and only come back to Lake Jackson to bring the kids to visit their grandparents. It was just for fun.

I remember the front page story that Clute was getting a new car wash and another that Danbury was getting a new four-way stop at some corner – the kind of news that thrills the locals and leaves the young grads yawning. Here is an example from yesterday’s paper:  “BACH [a local nonprofit] to host rare Pearland fun day.” Fun in Pearland? Of course it’s rare.

But something very serious caught my eye today pertaining to the immigration fiasco and the role of an organization operating a site in Brazoria County – allegations that caretakers at the Shihloh Treatment Center were forcefully administering drugs to control the behavior of kids in their care, some of whom had been taken from their parents at the border.  The Facts had picked up the story from the Texas Tribune and run it since it pertained to the county.

That set the tone for the rest of my day and prepared me for the New York Times column by Charles Blow. He often helps me to deal with my own rage at the current administration because he expresses his own so well.

Maybe it was a coincidence but the First Lady visited the Texas border holding facilities this morning. She was graceful and caring in the comments I heard from her on television

Yet she caused quite a stir with the jacket she wore as she boarded the plane at Andrews AFB. She did not wear it when she got off the plane in El Paso. But by then social media had gone berserk about the fashion choice. Her office quickly tweeted that there was no hidden message in the jacket that said in big white letters across the back: “I don’t care. Do U?” The family, even at their compassionate best, seems to always come up with a Marie Antoinette moment for the public to feast on. Here are the thoughts of the Times fashion director and critic, Vanessa Friedman.

In another article, the New York Times offered an interesting demographic analysis relating to the changing race/ethnic patterns in the U.S. and the possible political implications. The article added data to my suspicion that the idea of a “blue wave” may be highly oversold.

There was, of course, much more in the news today, but these were a few of the things that caught my eye right away and accompanied my morning coffee – which was, by the way, Organic Congo Coffee from Equal Exchange. Buy some online. A dollar from every pound you buy goes to support the Panzi Hospital Project, one small thing you can do to make the world a little better.

Morning Paper, June 20, 2018

Back when FaceBook was a viable medium for honest people, I was the administrator for a group I called Morning Paper. The idea was simply to give people a place to share links to news stories they found interesting and have a chance to discuss them with their friends. I set it up as a “secret group” — that is the FB term for a group that a person enters by invitation. Only members can see the posts and comments. I tended to think of it as private rather than secret, a subtle but meaningful distinction.

Yes, it was an echo chamber to a certain degree but there were occasional disagreements and they were always discussed in a very civil and helpful way. It’s the thing I miss next-to-most about FB, just after the photos of my grandkids.

Today, LJ Citizen will begin posting links (and a few comments maybe) on the things I read in the morning papers. As a rule, I will not show the article but simply direct you to it should you decide to read it. So, let’s get started with the news of the day. I should mention that I subscribe to several publications that may limit your ability to open the stories if you are not a subscriber.

First from the New York Times, usually my first stop in the morning:

Probably the biggest story of the day, Continue reading “Morning Paper, June 20, 2018”