Clippings: “Distractions” (Aug. 24, 2018)

————————————–QUOTE OF THE DAY———————————————–

“What greater form of patriotism is there than the belief that America is not
yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation
can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation
to more closely align with our highest ideals?”

-Barack Obama, speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Selma march

—————————————————————————————————————–

Distractions. I think sometimes of these lines from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets:

Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
That blows before and after time…

Readers of these Clippings know that I pay close attention to
conservative writers, whether I agree with them or not. One such writer
has called our attention to the way media commands our attention with scandals,
which may amount to endless distraction (actually part of Trump’s purpose).
On this point, see conservative writer Chris Buskirk, “Scandals” (Article attached).

But, against Buskirk, I do not believe that Michael Cohen’s guilty plea is a
distraction at all: it’s a federal crime and Cohen’s attorney now says he will not accept
a pardon from Trump. See “Can Michael Cohen Bring Down Trump?” at:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/22/opinion/michael-cohen-donald-trump-robert-mueller.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20180822&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=1&nlid=20387967emc%3Dedit_ty_20180822&ref=headline&te=1

ICE. America’s unfolding immigration tragedy has led to calls to abolish
ICE, which leaves many of us with questions. For answers, we need to look
more deeply into this agency with its long-running inferiority complex, vast statutory
power, and now chilling new directives from the top. See Franklin Foer’s incisive
analysis about “How Trump Radicalized ICE” at:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/09/trump-ice/565772/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=magazine&utm_content=20180816&silverid-ref=MzMzMjAxOTMyOTM0S0

(Thanks to Marcia Witrogen Singer for sharing this article with me)

From the Borowitz Report: “Putin Reportedly Close to Firing Giuliani”–

“According to a source, Putin allowed Trump to hire Giuliani because ‘it’s
important to let Trump think that he has some autonomy from time to time,’ but now
the Russian President has apparently determined that ‘enough is enough.’ ”

For full article, and more laughs, see:
https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/putin-reportedly-close-to-firing-giuliani