Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Someone Get Me Rewrite!

Sometimes you need a good editor to make your writing better. I was a good editor, but it’s not easy improving your own text, ergo the thankful acknowledgment by many a revered author to his or her editor. That’s a longwinded way of saying I just realized that a cutesy paraphrase of a biblical saying included in a posting two weeks ago could have been sharpened by an editor. 

Concerning the controversy over the status of monuments to Confederate generals and soldiers, Columbus and other notables, I wrote, “In a variation on what Jesus said, let he who is without sin be memorialized with a statue.” 

Reading that line today I believe it would have been better if I had written, “In a variation on what Jesus said, let he who is without sin be cast in stone.” 

Behind the Scenes: Now that Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have been indicted in a federal probe linked to the election of Donald Trump, I was wondering, why is it that just those two were named in a scheme to launder foreign money and evade taxes? Are we to believe that Manafort and Gates had the smarts and wherewithal to hide their activities without the aid of lawyers, accountants, bankers and others, perhaps a few real estate agents, who might have provided counsel on how to circumvent without detection federal law? 

I know, you’re probably saying they were caught, so it proves, or at least strongly suggests, they acted alone. I think not. I am waiting to see who else might be entangled in their web of deceit.

Meanwhile, for an eerily revealing behind the scenes look at the dynamics of Manafort, his family, and his alliance with Trump, there’s hardly any more enlightening read than the emails his daughter, 31-year-old Andrea Manafort Shand, exchanged with friends from March through August 2016: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/paul-manafort-daughter-trump-texts_us_59f748b6e4b03cd20b832fe0.

Kelly Turns Green, as in spoiled or rotten. There are few better feelings for a journalist than to be proven correct in an assessment of a character. I feel good that my repudiation of John F. Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff and by many accounts the White House executive looked to as ballast to Trump’s excesses, is being confirmed by Kelly’s own actions.  

Having been shown to be a dissembler of truth when it came to the controversy involving the death in Niger of Sgt. La David T. Johnson and Trump’s condolence call to his widow, Kelly’s appearance Monday night on the Laura Ingraham show on Fox News reinforced his jaundiced view of history. Asked about removing plaques of George Washington and Robert E. Lee from a church in Alexandria, Va., Kelly said,

“I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man. He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

Historians have excoriated Kelly for his depiction of followers of the Confederacy and the idea that failure to compromise resulted in war. Here’s a sample:  http://wapo.st/2gRznMq?tid=ss_tw-bottom&utm_term=.b8f3e02ab210. 

Let’s look at his evaluation of current loyalties, specifically his comment that “It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today.” 

Has Kelly been asleep during the repeated assault by states, almost always Republican controlled, to push back against federal laws and regulations in the interests of “states’ rights”? Individual states have fought against the legalization of abortion rights, environmental safeguards, worker benefits, national parks and monuments, voting rights, gender equality and civil rights.

Indeed, a central plank of Trumpism is a dissolution of federal power in favor of state authority. 

Retired Marine Corps general John F. Kelly may have been a solid leader of men in battle but he is a flawed advisor and gatekeeper to the equally if not more flawed leader of our country.