At the rate bodies are currently being hurled out of the White House, I just hope Melania isn’t about to join Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus and Anthony Scaramucci, on Pennsylvania Avenue.
I can’t say I expect to miss any of those guys. Spicer and Priebus both hail from the RNC and therefore are a part of what is generally regarded as the Washington swamp. As for Scaramucci, a New Yorker who couldn’t get through an entire sentence without dropping a few “F” bombs, he was never cut out to be a communications director for the White House. He seemed better-suited to be a mouthpiece for the Mob.
The best thing to be said for Scaramucci’s departure after just 10 days on the job is that, apparently, when Gen. John F. Kelly, accepted President Trump’s invitation to be his Chief of Staff, he held out for complete autonomy. That included the power to fire even those who were personal friends of the Donald.
The real test will be whether Ivanka and Jared Kushner will continue to have unlimited access to the Oval Office or whether, like everyone else, they’ll have to take a number.
A group that you and a few congressional committees should keep your eye on is known as FusionGPS. It was created by a few former reporters and editors affiliated with Roll Call and the Wall Street Journal whose mission statement describes Fusion as a commercial research and strategic intelligence firm.
But in truth, the guys simply decided to get rich quick by specializing in what they call opposition research, which consists of hiring themselves out to conduct dirty tricks on behalf of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the DNC, Russia, Venezuela or any other creeps, for that matter, who can afford their rates.
Despite its connection to foreign entities, Fusion has so far refused to acknowledge that they lobby on their behalf. They have also denied having anything to do with inventing the Trump-Russia dossier, which the Democrats used both during and after the presidential campaign to smear Trump by accusing him of engaging in everything from sex orgies to tax fraud to, for all I know, human sacrifices and bestiality.
I have heard that members of the Trump administration are eager to find out the sources of White House leaks. I can’t help wondering how sincere they are when Trump, himself, sat down once again for an hour with the fake news editors of the fake news New York Times, and the now-departed Anthony Scaramucci, allegedly Trump’s best friend, granted the Never-Trump New Yorker magazine a scatological one-on-one interview in which he savaged Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon.
It’s worth wondering why it is that Trump seems so eager to increase the circulation of the NY Times, CNN and MSNBC, while giving a cold shoulder to most conservative pundits and periodicals.
Karen McNeil, who somehow manages to survive living in Oakland, California, has sent me a basic blueprint for gaining and maintaining control of cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and, of course, Oakland.
Making a city poorer leads to political success for the engineers of that impoverishment. Employing rhetoric targeting the wealthy and increasing taxes leads inevitably to a flight of tax-refugees from the cities to the suburbs. This reduces political opponents on the city’s registration rolls, thereby consolidating an electoral majority for the anti-wealth party, aka the Democrats.
There are a couple of writers whose thoughts I like and admire without being a fan of their most important works. One of those is Shakespeare. I find it painful to sit through or even read one of his plays. I simply don’t find the dramas engrossing. Quite the opposite, they set off terminal yawning. But I can go through his words in a book of Bartlett’s Quotations and marvel at the quantity and variety of his incisive observations.
To a lesser degree, the same holds true for English novelist and poet C.S. Lewis. His best-known book is “Chronicles of Narnia,” which I have avoided on both the page and the screen because I am not a fan of fantasy literature. Still, I find his mind a wonderful place to visit.
Lewis (1898-1963) famously abandoned his religion as a young man only to later return to Christianity as a devout believer. His religion managed to permeate his convictions without turning him into a bore on the subject or a holier-than-thou scold. It was Lewis who observed: “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy and art. It has no survival value; rather, it is one of those things that gives value to survival.”
His was also the brain behind: “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”
“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down forests, but to irrigate deserts.”
“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”
“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”
“History isn’t just the story of bad people doing bad things. It’s quite as much a story of people trying to do good things. But somehow something goes wrong.” (Which is another way of acknowledging that even the best of us should factor in unintended consequences before trying to change the world to our liking.)
“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”
“If the entire universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning, just as if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Darkness would be without meaning.”
“What we call man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.” (Had Lewis not died 54 years ago, we would read that as a rebuttal to the propaganda promoted by the proponents of climate change legislation.)
“Some people write heavily, some write lightly. I prefer the light approach because I believe there is a great deal of false reverence about. There is too much solemnity and intensity in dealing with sacred matters; too much speaking in holy tones.” (I suppose it goes without saying that I agree, which explains why I saved it for last.)
A wiseacre friend sent me a mock-up of a movie poster that used the one that publicized the 1998 film “Saving Private Ryan” as its model. Referencing the current brouhaha over the Army’s nutty transgender policy, this one is titled “Changing Ryan’s Privates” and in the roles formerly played by Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Ted Sizemore, we now have Caitlyn Jenner, Kristin Beck and Chelsea Manning.
I’ll conclude with a Facebook posting attributed to Bill Cotterell, a reporter who retired in 2012, after 50 years in the newspaper game.
“A number of prostitutes in Nevada, where brothels are legal, have organized as ‘Hookers for Healthcare’ to oppose any attempt to repeal ObamaCare by Senate Republicans.
"This poses a real quandary,” wrote Cotterell. “I don’t know whom to believe. I mean, on one side, there’s this small group of immoral people who every day debase themselves by doing anything, no matter how disgusting and depraved, to satisfy the desires of the men who give them money.
"And on the other side, we’ve got a bunch of hookers.”
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