Week's End Thoughts & Reflections, August 18, 2018



For much of the summer I anticipated I would kick off today's birthday

celebration with a long run, maybe even go for 15. Alas, I am laid low by ankle and heel woes. I know, I'll make the day a good one anyway and try to be patient on the running front, not my strong suit. Resist Trump Tuesday 8/14/2018

The day should not pass without taking note of the passing of Aretha Franklin. She was a giant.


Aretha Franklin sings "Think" in The Blues Brothers

Deadline has a nice interview with Blues Brothers director John Landis: John Landis, Who Directed Aretha Franklin’s Only Two Movies, Remembers Her ‘Blues Brothers’ Turns.

She was lovely with me. The only thing that made me uncomfortable with Aretha was, for some mysterious reason – I think because I was the director — she insisted on calling me Mr. Landis. I would say, Aretha, please call me John. She would say, "OK, I will. Mr. Landis."

Landis reminds us that John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd's intention with the movie was to exploit their celebrity of the moment to focus a spotlight on rhythm and blues artists who were being forgotten at a dark time when disco was ascendant.

FBI agent Peter Strzok was fired this week, ex-CIA director John Brennan's security clearance was revoked, and the president has his sights on the security clearances of nine other former intelligence and law enforcement officials who have been critical of the regime. David Brooks on PBS Newshour opined that Trump is politicizing something that should not be politicized but that the action does not rise to the level of other transgressions by the president. I would not argue with that.

I take heart from the public response by many former intelligence military officials, more than 60 at last count, who have rebuked the president for this action. Retired admiral William H. McRaven, who oversaw the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, told Trump in an op-ed he "would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency" (Admiral Who Oversaw Bin Laden Raid: Revoke My Security Clearance, Too, Daily Beast, August 16, 2018).

Maybe there is some hope that law enforcement, intelligence, and military people will resist the president if he goes completely off rails. I know, how much more off the rails could he go? A sobering thought.

Omarosa Manigault Newman is a lightweight on all counts who in no wise rates the news reports and analysis spawned by her book and public statements. She is no more reliable and no less a scoundrel now that she is on the outside of the White House pissing in than she was when on the inside pissing out.

I do not share in the wild-eyed speculation, bordering on obsession in some quarters, about whether Trump is on tape uttering the forbidden word. The president remains the regime's scoundrel in chief. Another transgression more or less changes nothing.

Matt Lewis, a conservative of the Reaganite stripe, reminds any of us who need reminding that Manigault Newman is not the only gem the regime brought into the swamp (Did I Join a Movement That Naturally Attracts Extremists and Kooks?, Daily Beast, August 15, 2018 ):

Take, for example...Trump’s former senior adviser, Steve Bannon, who studies obscure Italian fascists and insists on wearing multiple layers of clothing yet doesn’t seem to own a comb or a razor.

... And even Stephen Miller’s own uncle thinks he’s a schmuck.

Looks like the scoundrel-in-chief's big military parade is off. It will cost too much because liberal DC politicians want to gouge the feds on the security budget. That's the official line from the White House at any rate. The scoundrel in chief plans to use this lemon to make lemonade, saying ,"Now we can buy some more jet fighters" with money saved by the parade's cancellation. As my old college pal put it, "If we need more jet fighters, what kind of dumb son-of-a-bitch would spend the money instead on a parade?" I don't know. How many kinds of dumb son-of-a-bitch are there?

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke leaves me spluttering yet again with his charge that environmental terrorist groups bear responsibility for the wildfires raging across the West (Umair Irfan, Ryan Zinke’s claim that “environmental terrorists” are to blame for wildfires, explained, Vox, August 17, 2018). What kind of a dumb...

Dueling takes on Elizabeth Warren's proposed Accountable Capitalism Act come to us courtesy of Kevin D. Williamson at National Review (Elizabeth Warren’s Batty Plan to Nationalize . . . Everything, August 16, 2018) and Matthew Yglesias at Vox (Kevin Williamson’s unhinged attack on Elizabeth Warren’s corporate accountability bill, explained, August 17, 2018).

Williamson and Yglesias are bright guys and good writers usually worth reading even when we disagree with them. On this topic one of them comes off as a screeching harpy.

Williamson:

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has one-upped socialists Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: She proposes to nationalize every major business in the United States of America. If successful, it would constitute the largest seizure of private property in human history.

...

To propose such a thing for sincere reasons would be ghastly stupidity. To propose this program for narrowly self-serving political reasons is the sort of thing that would end a political career in a sane and self-respecting state, which Massachusetts plainly is not and has not been for some time.

Yglesias:

As someone who tries to follow progressive policy development trends pretty closely, I was struck to see Thursday morning that Kevin Williamson had an article in National Review describing “Elizabeth Warren’s Batty Plan to Nationalize . . . Everything.” Williamson turns out to be referring to Warren’s proposed Accountable Capitalism Act, which I wrote about on Wednesday and which does not involve nationalizing anything at all.

...

Warren is proposing a large change, and it might be a bad idea. But it’s simply not the case that codetermination systems lead naturally to tyranny or imminent economic collapse. And it’s simply not the case that she is proposing the nationalization of all American business. (Or of any American business.) Indeed, a critical part of the appeal of the idea is precisely that it directly empowers middle- and working-class employees without asking them to trust the wisdom or competence of a large new government entity.

Williamson responds to Yglesias in Answering My Critics.

On a lighter note, Obama photographer Pete Souza seems to be having a grand time trolling Trump. Sam Wolfson at The Guardian provides some amusing examples of Souza's photos and comments: Photographic memory: Pete Souza trolls Trump with just the right Obama photos.

Memo from the Editorial Desk

The note about Kevin Williamson's response to Yglesias was added after this piece was published.

Keep the faith.

#CurrentAffairs #Miscellany

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David Matthews

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