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Today's Commentary --- Paul Manafort update: What can we do? --- RIP to the Night Tripper, Dr. John --- The censorious policies of YouTube ---- Trump is sincere about this -- House Democrats vote to give themselves a raise --- President Trump gives Nancy Pelosi a nickname -- Tariff threat pays off --- Evening Edition -- Daily Verse
Since writing about the ruling to transfer Paul Manafort from a minimum-security federal prison for nonviolent offenders in Pennsylvania to the notorious Rikers Island state prison in New York, I’ve received many responses from horrified readers asking, “Isn’t there anything we can do?”
Rikers Island is consistently on the list of the ten worst prisons in the U.S., and for years, many have been calling for it to be shut down. For a 70-year-old, nonviolent, white-collar criminal who is no threat to anyone to be sent there is shocking. I wanted to know more about what this really will be like for Manafort and turned up an article about his transfer by someone who spent a year there himself.
RIP to the Night Tripper, Dr. John
By Pat Reeder
“Huckabee” writer and resident pop culture guru (http://www.facebook.com/hollywoodhifibook)
I’m sad to report the death of legendary New Orleans musician Dr. John (Mac Rubennack) of a heart attack at 77. Like Louis Armstrong, he had a voice that was rough and limited in range, but instantly recognizable. In an era when music is sinking into mediocrity and soulless, robotic technology, Dr. John provided one of the few priceless connections to the great traditional soul music of America.
He grew up in New Orleans in a musical family, but never studied music until his teens (and he was kicked out of the church choir.) But he loved the jazz of Armstrong and King Oliver, and early rock and R&B performers such as Little Richard. By the time he was a young teenager, he was playing with the famous Professor Longhair. He claimed he adopted his flashy, voodoo-inspired Dr. John “The Night Tripper” persona from the famous voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, but it’s also reportedly based on Dr. John, a spiritual healer he knew who came to New Orleans from Haiti. He originally created it as a character for another musician to play, but when that guy dropped out of the project, Mac became Dr. John and never looked back.
Something you might not know: while he’s most associated with the Big Easy and his own Southern gumbo of rock, blues, jazz, soul, Cajun and other musical styles, in his early days, he was an ace session musician with the famous L.A. hired guns, the Wrecking Crew. Rubennack played on records by everyone from Frank Zappa to Sonny & Cher. He claimed he had to leave New Orleans because D.A. Jim Garrison cracked down on all the bars, strip clubs and whorehouses where he played.
Even after he became famous, he continued playing with countless other stars, both as duet partner and session player, including Rickie Lee Jones, the Rolling Stones, Neil Diamond, B.B. King, Carly Simon and James Taylor. His duets often appeared behind movie credits. He won six Grammies, and he’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Since we also recently lost another unique link to the great music of past, Leon Redbone, here’s a video of Dr. John and Leon doing their great rendition of “Frosty the Snowman” from Leon’s classic “Christmas Island” LP:
And here’s Dr. John’s biggest hit, “Right Place, Wrong Time,” performed live with special guest, Eric Clapton.
The censorious policies of YouTube
By Mike Huckabee
I told you about YouTube demonetizing conservative satirist Steven Crowder under their “hate speech” policies because a liberal writer he made fun of complained that his feelings were hurt. Crowder warned that this leftist censorship march through social media would keep coming for more and more content makers. But this one is truly ridiculous.
Under their new policy banning “videos that promote or glorify Nazi ideology, which is inherently discriminatory,” YouTube has yanked “Triumph of the Will,” the 1935 film on the Nuremburg Rallies by German female director Leni Riefenstahl.
“Triumph of the Will” is a famous piece of Nazi propaganda glorifying Hitler. But it’s also widely acknowledged as a cinematic masterpiece of sorts, a primer in how to create iconic images and sequences that sway crowds. It’s been taught in film schools for decades, not to promote Nazism but to teach the art of filmmaking. Those who argue for removing it from YouTube claim it doesn’t include proper “context.” But is it up to YouTube to assume every viewer is a naïve child who needs every video to be carefully explained with lots of PC rhetoric so it won’t influence the viewer in negative ways, even films that everyone knows are historic relics? What’s next, will they remove Keystone Kops movies because they promote dangerous driving?
By the way, I only link to this article to give you the facts of the story. I think that you can assume the slant of the story from the way the writer tries to compare “Triumph of the Will” to Fox News. How come this article is allowed to be posted online without any “context” provided to let the reader know not to take the author’s opinions too seriously?
Fortunately, the latest censorious policies of YouTube (whose parent company Google is also making free speech news by firing employees for expressing conservative views) are drawing wider attention, including the attention of Congress.
Trump is sincere about this
By Mike Huckabee
To those who claim that President Trump’s pro-life views are not sincere, take a look at the Administration’s latest action regarding federal funding of research on tissues harvested from aborted babies. You know, that practice that Planned Parenthood denies is a profit center? Read the whole thing, and especially note this part:
“According to Fox News, officials inside the Trump administration say decisions like these mark the administration’s ‘wider’ pro-life agenda — and they come directly from the Oval Office.”
You can tell Trump is sincere about his pro-life beliefs because he doesn’t just pay them lip service. For over two years, he’s put them into action in the form of policies and stood up to a tsunami of fury and criticism from the media and the pro-abortion lobby.
Now, here’s how you can tell when a politician has no principles and will tell you whatever you want to hear to get elected: when just one day of criticism is enough to make him do a complete 180 on his deep, sincerely-held beliefs on the sanctity of life.
House Democrats vote to give themselves a raise
By Mike Huckabee
House Democrats have no end of ideas for how to spend your tax money, most of them pretty stupid, but this one takes the prize: they think they deserve a “modest” $4500-a-year pay raise. They already make $174,000 a year, but they claim that hasn’t been adjusted for inflation since 2009 (I assume they’re referring to their own inflated sense of worth.) This article ponders the vexing question of just what they’ve accomplished to deserve a raise.
Okay, it’s a trick question: they haven’t accomplished anything. On the other hand, when you consider what it is that they want to accomplish, maybe the fact that they haven’t done any of it is worth a pay raise.
President Trump gives Nancy Pelosi a nickname
By Mike Huckabee
Some political analysts believed that by praising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi early on, President Trump was sending a signal that he was willing to work with her and the Democrats to get some things done they both agreed on, like spending on infrastructure. But when she chose to start their meeting by attacking him until he walked out, those hopes for any bipartisan accomplishments apparently went out the window.
Pelosi has reportedly been telling Democrats that she wants to see Trump “in prison” (no surprise: “progressives” always want to see their political opponents in prisons; it’s a hallmark of socialism. Jail first, fill in the charges later.)
Some pundits believe that was actually just a form of leftist virtue-signaling to let her unruly charges know that, yeah, she hates that rapscallion Trump, too – why, so much that she thinks he oughta be in prison! – so maybe they won’t turn on her when she squashes their politically-suicidal dreams of doomed impeachment trials.
If she’d hoped to escape the rising political heat with that strategy, she didn’t count on how Trump would react. At the link is his response, which tells us two things (aside from the fact that Trump enjoys toying with her):
1. He doesn’t expect the Democratic House even to try to accomplish anything between now and 2020 other than attacking him and passing leftwing bills that are DOA in the Senate, so no more attempts at bipartisan outreach.
2. Things just reached Defcon One level: he gave Nancy Pelosi a nickname! And man, is it perfect.
Tariff threat pays off
President Trump’s threat of tariffs worked: it’s reported that Mexico has agreed to send 6,000 National Guard troops to its border with Guatemala to stem the flow of illegal migrants across Mexico and into the US. Mexico also reportedly agreed to a major overhaul of asylum protocols, to require asylum applicants to seek permanent refuge in the first country they arrive in after fleeing their home countries, which means not more using Mexico, which offers asylum, as a stepping stone to the US.
Incidentally, this is how asylum is supposed to work. It’s for people who are in danger if they stay where they are and need to go to the nearest safe place. You’re not supposed to leave the place that’s dangerous, travel a thousand miles across another country, sneak into a third country, and then if you’re caught, declare that you’re seeking asylum, even though that’s how we’ve allowed the system to be gamed. That’s not “seeking asylum,” that’s just relocating.
Evening Edition - June 7
By Mike Huckabee
A wrap-up of all the news you might have missed yesterday!
Daily Verse (NIV)
"For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."
– Acts 18:10
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