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Week's End Thoughts & Reflections, August 25, 2018

Wednesday morning at Trader Joe's the young cashier asked about my Human Rights Watch tote bag. I told her a little bit about the organization. She wrote down the URL for HRW's website and said she would check it out. Maybe I recruited a new human rights activist!

Resist Trump Tuesday, August 21, 2018

My cranky ankle and foot seem to be getting better slowly but slowly. Wishful thinking has me hopeful that maybe I will be ready for a short test run by next Saturday.

Thursday afternoon I enjoyed a happy hour rendezvous at Pambiche with two friends and former colleagues from the office. It was a lovely, sunny afternoon, temperature in the seventies, perfect for sitting outside even with the Glisan Street traffic at rush hour. Pambiche is bright and festive, as Cuban restaurants always seem to be, good for the spirit. Wine, good conversation, good friends. Good times.

Of course I had to mention the foot and ankle woes. One of my companions enthusiastically showed me the Vionic sandals she was wearing which alleviated her plantar fasciitis. They have great arch support. She wears them all the time when at home. Okay, only anecdotal evidence, but she is a retired MD, an OB-Gyn, and one of the smartest people I know. I would have recommended her without hesitation to any woman I knew looking for an OB-Gyn. She might not be an authority on feet.

I figure it is worth a try, so I ordered a pair Thursday evening. They are scheduled to arrive Tuesday. I'll provide a status update next week.

We enjoyed, well, endured, another week of hazardous air conditions and haze due to wildfires raging throughout the Pacific NW. T-Bone pointed out that we did not experience hazardous air conditions and haze daily before marijuana was legalized. Just saying.

Kellyanne Conway, alternative facts. Rudy Giuliani, truth isn't truth. Almost sounds like there is a White House book group devoted to studying the French postmodernists, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, and the rest of that wacky bunch.

Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Your oft humbled scribe heaved a sigh of relief when the Manafort verdict was announced. One can imagine the screeching that would have spewed from the scoundrel in chief and his running dog lackeys if the jury had failed to convict on any count. The report that a single juror was responsible for the jury's inability to reach a guilty verdict on ten of the eighteen charges came from a juror who said she is a strong Trump supporter. She wanted Manafort to be not guilty, but the evidence was overwhelming. This speaks to the strength of the prosecution's cause. And the juror deserves our respect.

Manafort's attorneys and the scoundrel in chief have made much of the fact that Manafort would not have faced criminal charges if not for the Mueller investigation. They neglect to mention, maybe it does not figure into their way of thinking, that this does not mean he is innocent, only that he would have gotten away with his crimes. Matthew Yglesias at Vox wrote a nice piece on this topic: The Mueller investigation is showing how badly we’ve failed to prosecute white-collar crime.

Manafort, Cohen's guilty plea, immunity for Trump World's financial gatekeeper Allen Weisselberg and tabloid magnate David Pecker, he of the unfortunate surname that has spawned a cascade of lame cracks on social media...Is the Trump regime imploding? Or was the week just business as usual for a regime that brought the stench of corruption and venality into the White House with it?

The Guardian reported an interesting tweet from Bret Stephens, very conservative columnist for The New York Times and a "never Trumper":

"I’ve been skeptical about the wisdom and merit of impeachment. Cohen’s guilty plea changes that. The president is clearly guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. He should resign his office or be impeached and removed from office." (Ben Jacobs, Senior Republicans hesitate to criticise Trump after Manafort and Cohen verdicts)

I don't want to attach too much significance to this. There is no sign of any congressional Republicans crawling into the sewer to retrieve the integrity and principle they flushed down the toilet long ago. But Stephens is pretty well to the right. Maybe his turn is an indication of something in the air.

Many tributes came John McCain's way this week. This one from Mark McKinnon is as good as any I have come across: You Honored Our Deal, John McCain. I’ll Honor Your Legacy.

McKinnon has served as principal media adviser for hundreds of campaigns for candidates, companies, and causes. He is a cofounder of No Labels, a non-profit organization dedicated to bipartisanship, civil discourse, and problem solving in politics, and he is Texas co-chair of the Freedom to Marry Campaign.

In 2008 McCain asked McKinnon to work on his presidential campaign. McKinnon agreed to do so with one caveat. He had met Senator Barack Obama and though he disagreed with much of Obama's politics, he liked him and thought his candidacy would be good for the country. McKinnon told McCain he would step out of the campaign if he ended up running against Obama.

McCain thought this was odd but assented, maybe because it did not think an Obama-McCain contest was likely to happen. To make sure McCain remembered, McKinnon wrote a memo to senior staff of the campaign outlining the agreement.

When the time came, McCain had forgotten the deal. McKinnon showed him the memo. McCain hugged him and said, "Thanks for helping me get here. It would be very un-McCain-like not to keep my word, so God bless you and good luck."

Keep the faith.

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