IN PRAISE OF JAMES COMEY
Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea. Well, the big news for me this week was former FBI Director James B. Comey’s public testimony before Congress. I watched the entire proceedings and I have my own observations.
They come from perspectives of growing up with law enforcement and working with police and the courts in three states. I’ve also run two small political campaigns and received a national award for editorial journalism. I say that because if you’re like me, an opinion is nice. An INFORMED opinion is worth the time.
Mr. Comey’s credentials are impeccable and he is definitely one species of “Washington Insider.” He has, for the most part, navigated the slippery (and sometimes slimy) slopes of Capitol Hill adroitly and with both his ethics and his patriotism intact. He served two presidents (one of each party) well before he ran afoul of the third.
Because Trump has proven to be both enigmatic, reality challenged and unpredictable, Mr. Comey’s behavior and the means he used to protect both himself and the public’s right to know was appropriate. Trump complains about leaks after putting an iron mask on the Potomac media when the most appropriate response would have been absolute candor.
I did not and do not see this as Comey v Trump. I see it as yet another example of the “raging bull in a glass shop” behavior that has characterized Trump as a human being for seven decades. That’s a long time to be obnoxiously megalomaniacal and habits that old are nearly impossible to break. So Former FBI Director James Comey joined the ranks of other senior Washington, DC officials in essentially saying, “Chill, Donald. You can’t legally do that, dude.”
I admire Mr. Comey, as I admire my mayor, my governor, my two US senators and my Congressman. It is precisely because of individuals like these that even the most maladroit hand on the helm of the Ship of State can’t sink the flipping boat.
I’ve also learned something pretty important, I think. When people speculate about the motives of others, it is usually a revelation about the options they themselves might entertain under similar circumstances.
And on that note, then, folks? Have a great week, gang, and thanks for the ear. Rusty
THE PAST WEEK’S HEADLINE NEWS AT A GLANCE
AROUND THE WORLD
CASCADIA (Northern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia)
OCEANA & POLYNESIA
IN THE WAKE OF THE LONDON ATTACK
Last week was gloomy for the capital of the UK, when just a few days before elections the London attack at Borough Market happened.
Like the recent drama in Manchester, this too seems only to have united people. London thrives because of its multiculturalism so it should be no surprise that the days following tragedy, people on streets were even more polite with each other.
The results of Parliamentary elections though were a surprise. Labour leader Jeremy Corbin was very consistent in his election campaign, so no party could win a majority. This only means that more negotiation and cooperation will be needed but on the other hand ability to choose is a fundamental for democracy.
That’s all for this week, Mishka. Take care and peace be with you.
Olya Bereza, who was born in the Soviet Union, now lives in Ukraine and is fluent in English, Russian and Ukrainian. She is a degreed psychologist with a background in international marketing and personnel management. For comments on this please go here.
HOW TO SALSA
by Dac Collins
Around sunset, heavy clouds hang sweating over the ancient, living buildings of La Habana. With this sweat comes heat, an impressive sort — one that builds as the sun dips down over the Gulf of Mexico.
It is the rainy season and while the grey water-laden clouds continue to perspire, even heavier now that the light is fading, two Yanquis sit under the tin roof of a tiny bar sipping mojitos. They watch as a three-piece band plays Chan Chan, paying respect to the Buena Vista Social Club, a place as well as a group of musicians who, though now mostly absent from the physical realm, remain living legends on the island.
The two Americans are having a hard time keeping their eyes off of one another. They talk little, taking in the surreal scene unfolding around them. A drop of sweat dives off the tip of his nose and into the cocktail, falling somewhere between the hierba buena and the rim of the glass. She dabs at her forehead with a bandana.
Then it happens—somewhere in the middle of the song. The lead singer rakes a flat pick across six nylon strings and yells, “para macané”, his voice rising like an arrow towards the clouds rumbling overhead. His shot is true and they unleash their burden on the scene, thousands of water balloons bigger than ’52 Chevies all popping at once. The two waiters on shift jump into action.
One runs outside to bring in a vacant table. The other scrambles for the tarps that are rolled up and draped over the side of the roof. He tries to unfurl the tarp that shelters the side of the bar facing the Atlantic. He fumbles with a knot. The testy double-overhand tightens its grip while the rain attempts to drown him, but he keeps struggling, embattled with a stubborn four-inch piece of twine. His friend recognizes his plight and runs for a knife. The twine doesn’t stand a chance.
Meanwhile, the musicians scramble to the center of the bar. Moving, they never miss a beat. They play even louder to compete with the raucous sound of water crashing against weary metal.
Their tempo quickens, the bongo player’s pedal-driven cowbell intensifying with the rain. The man on the tres picks away while the singer on his left, eyes closed, looking upward, yells the name of another tiny town in the campo.
Then the three musicians, who have likely never had the opportunity to leave this bizarre landmass, finally get their chance. They slide out into the rain, leaving a melody in their wake as the storm picks them up and guides them upward by the smalls of their backs.
Now floating somewhere between Havana and the heavens, they all follow in perfect time. They mirror her thunderous hip shakes and her quick, torrential footsteps, dancing on the rupturing clouds underfoot.
Editor’s Note: Dac and his friend are both fluent in Spanish and she has visited Cuba before. This was Dac’s first experience and what you read is an excerpt from notes he took. We’re preparing a more journalistic treatment which will provide some windows on this Caribbean island nation, from a source I personally know. RM
IN CASE YOU MISSED THIS
BUSINESS & TRADE
CLIMATE CHANGE & THE WEATHER
ESPIONAGE, TERRIORISM & WAR
TRUMP & COMPANY
We depend on each other for our survival. In terms of the threats we all face from climate change, national boundaries have no meaning. Looking at our small blue planet from space no such boundaries can be seen. This is the reality today. On this World Environment Day we have to think of the environment in terms of the welfare of the whole of humanity.
OUR SCIENCE SECTION, ABRIDGED
Indeed. Robot Cars Can’t Count On Us In An Emergency And here’s another “be still my beating heart” moment because I live here. Self-Driving Cars Could Soon Be Tested On Washington Roads
We totally agree with this. Why All Animal Lovers Should Care About Bumblebees Being Endangered
How do you say, “Good morning, Dave” in Japanese? Japan To Launch Self-Navigating Cargo Ships ‘By 2025’
THE GREEN BEAT
BEST OF THE NET
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ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
This is absolutely heart-warming. Dolphins Rush To The Glass Once They Hear Incredible Violinist Playing Music For Them
If this doesn’t warm your heart, it’s because you don’t have one. After Losing Her Leg To A Landmine, This Elephant Got The Best Gift Ever From An Amazing Surgeon
I believe this because it makes sense. Extinction Of Larger, Fruit-Eating Animals May Hasten Deforestation And Climate Change
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
YOU GUYS THINK WE MAKE THIS STUFF UP
The Northstar Journal reaches readers in 22 countries. Admittedly a demographic rainbow, they share a strong, passionate and proactive desire to help make our world a better place. We are proud to serve them as a resource in that regard.
Until next week, take care, stay well and God Bless. RM/OB