🇺🇸 Will ‘strong-willed’ Trump be held accountable? | UpFront (Headliner)

The US midterm elections could be seen as “a referendum” on President Donald Trump and on Tuesday night, the Democratic Party seized control of the House of Representatives and won a few governorships, while the Republican Party increased their majority in the Senate.

Radio Lab: What’s Left When You’re Right?

More often than not, a fight is just a fight… Someone wins, someone loses. But this hour, we have a series of face-offs that shine a light on the human condition, the benefit of coming at something from a different side, and the price of being right.

3 Part Series:

  1. British Gameshow features prisoner’s dilemma, which one contestant solves by promising to always defect.
  2. Enneagram 1 confronts uncooperative bike mechanic and potentially schizophrenic man, to the growing appreciation of possible Enneagram 9, who typically tries to go-along-to-get-along.
  3. Why is left-handedness a 90-10 trait?

In the Midst of Clerical Misdeeds, a Crucial Moment for the Laity

It is hard to overestimate the storm that is brewing. Only penance and a complete housecleaning can restore credibility and trust.

I hope our bishops, especially the highest ranking and those closest to the epicenter of the Archbishop McCarrick case, hear just how angry the faithful are. I think it is hard to overestimate the storm that is brewing.

.. If any of our prelates think this latest storm will soon pass, they should ponder the more likely case that these are merely the outer bands of a Category 5 hurricane that is closing in and will likely make landfall in Baltimore at the November meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

.. I have never seen people so serious and determined to take actions of their own. Frankly, as the faithful often remind us, their real power is the power of the purse—that and voting with their feet. I have usually dismissed plans to refuse to give to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal or other such collections as the threats of a few on the fringes, but I am now hearing such things from far more mainstream sources who say that it is the only way to get the bishops’ attention.

.. I have learned from Church history that reform almost never comes from the top; it comes from religious life and from the grass roots, from among God’s people. Please stay faithful to the Lord and His Body the Church. Pray as never before. Realize that the devil would like nothing more than for you to walk away from the sacraments.

.. feel freer than ever to confront Church leadership and insist upon reform

.. I encourage each of you to write personally to your bishop. It is not enough to sound off on social media or in comments sections on the internet. Be old-fashioned: write a physical letter to your bishop and request a written reply, at least acknowledging receipt. Be brief and charitable, but also be clear about the crisis of trust in episcopal and clerical authority and your deepening concerns over what this means if trust cannot be restored.

.. Remember, too, not every bishop or priest is equally to blame. Some are suffering as much as you are. However, no one, clergy or lay, should exempt himself from the task of summoning the Church to reform and greater holiness.

.. To those who are inclined to use financial withholding as an expression of concern, I ask that you remember that much of these collections go to help the poor. Please consider such a method as a kind of last recourse. Use it only if you must, and as a medicine not an expression of vengeance. I ask that you consider giving an equal amount directly to those who help the poor. Also, if you choose to do this, write to your bishop explaining what you are doing and why.

.. I am grateful that many lay faithful love the Church enough to be angry. Sometimes one must be angry enough to be willing to act for change and to persevere in that work. I hope you will honor your anger and use it to creative ends: to tirelessly demand real reform in all the ways God gives you to see. Be careful to target your anger and speak it in love and for the good of all.

Narcissistic Word Salad

Even if you are wise enough to avoid the C word, word salad will just take another turn.

You might ask the narc to stop treating you with disrespect. To which the Narc will answer:

“Disrespect? How interesting you use that word…remember that time you disrespected me in front of your teacher?”

To which you might reply:

“I was in seventh grade.”

And now the Narc has pulled you into their web:

“Of course it was seventh grade, but that just proves how disrespectful you’ve been your entire life.”

And if you are still crazy enough to imagine you can reason with the Narc, you might reply:

“I’d prefer to talk about our current relationship instead of events years ago.”

(Seems reasonable right?)

But the Narc will find a recent event to prove how you have shown a lack of respect:

“Okay, so how about the fact that you can’t even show up at your grandmother’s birthday dinner?”

Of course they leave out the fact that they planned the dinner on the spur of the moment, on another day that wasn’t even her birthday and you had to work that day. Be careful here, you might try to defend this by suggesting true respect would be to consult you before the party was set, but that will just take you down another rabbit trail which like all rabbit trails will lead you back to where you started.

All of the Narc’s circular reasoning and arguments are simply a distraction to make you wonder if you are the real problem, but let me state this plainly:

.. Bottom line:

The Narc needs a scapegoat and you have been selected. (Unlucky you.)

The ‘Good Old Days’ of the Trump Presidency

you can’t have it both ways. You can argue that all of the chaos is part of Trump’s strategy. But you can’t cherry-pick the chaos you like and claim the media is making up the rest.

.. I’ve talked to people in the White House. I’ve talked to congressmen and senators off the record. And I’ve talked to far more people who’ve talked to such people. They all say that things behind the scenes in Trump World are nuttier than Mr. Peanut’s stool sample.

.. Just this week, the president’s body man was ejected from the White House on a freezing cold day, and he wasn’t even allowed to get his coat (presumably, he knows stuff — because he was instantly hired by the Trump reelection campaign).

Trump fired his secretary of State over Twitter.

Roll back the clock another week or two, and you have the sudden resignation of Hope Hicks and the revelation that Rob Porter couldn’t get a security clearance because of credible allegations that he was an abusive husband.

I can’t remember the last time Trump humiliated his attorney general, but it feels like we’re due. There was also some stuff about executing drug dealers and calling Chuck Todd a son of a b****. Oh, and there was that stuff about how trade wars are good.

..  Trump loves controversy but hates confrontation. That’s why he wants to force Sessions to quit

  • That’s why he fired James Comey while the FBI director was giving a speech in California, and it’s why he wanted to
  • fire Rex Tillerson while the secretary of State was in Africa.
  • .. when Democrats are in the room, Trump tells them he’d go for comprehensive immigration reform and preens about how he’d like to “take the guns first, go through due process second.”

.. Recently, people close to Mr. Trump say that he has begun to feel more confident that he understands the job of president. He is relying more on his own instincts, putting a premium on his personal chemistry with people and their willingness to acknowledge that his positions are ultimately administration policy, rather than on their résumé or qualifications for the job.

My friend and chicken-wing consultant Steve Hayes argues that Pompeo is in fact “the real Trump whisperer.” He reports:

“I’ve seen a dozen times when Pompeo has talked the president out of one of his crazy ideas,” says a senior administration official involved in the national security debates.

Let that sink in. It’s not quite as reassuring as it sounds. If Haberman is right, then even if Pompeo had success in the past constraining Trump, he might not be able to going forward, given how Trump is more inclined to let his freak flag fly.

.. One of the great divides on the right these days is over the question of whether the policy wins of the Trump administration occurred because of Trump or despite him.

With the possible exception of Ted Cruz, I don’t think any other Republican would have

  • moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem,
  • opened ANWR to drilling, or
  • pulled out of the Paris climate accords and
  • TPP (though I think the TPP move was a mistake).

Most of Trump’s policy successes, however, have been accomplished thanks to party and movement regulars in the administration and in Congress

  • Judicial appointments have been outsourced to the Federalist Society and Mitch McConnell, thank God.
  • Tax reform was Paul Ryan’s baby.

I am generally baffled when people say, “He’s gotten so much accomplished.” From where I sit, so much has been accomplished despite him.

He also gets “credit” for the fire sale of conservative credibility on countless conservative positions and arguments

.. The GOP’s tax-cut message did not have the salience Republicans hoped

.. Trump is increasingly toxic in normally Republican-friendly suburbs. His rallies may energize the GOP base — but they energize Democrats more.

.. Many of his preferred policies and most of his antics divide Republicans, while they unite Democrats.

.. Let’s also assume Mueller doesn’t find evidence of “collusion” that directly implicates Trump but that he does find enough to land Jared, Don Jr., and Michael Cohen in the dock. Paul Manafort is already looking at spending more than two centuries in jail.

What happens when

  • Democrats get subpoena power? What happens when
  • they start drafting articles of impeachment? What happens if
  • Mueller reveals that Trump isn’t really as rich as he claims and that
  • his business is mostly a Potemkin village of money-laundering condo sales? What happens
  • if Stormy Daniels — or the retinue of super-classy ladies reportedly looking to follow her lead — releases embarrassing pictures of the president?

How do you think unconstrained Hulk Trump reacts? Heck, how do you think the beleaguered skeleton crew at the White House behaves? Everyone is gonna lawyer up

Normal administrations are crippled by zealous investigatory committees; is it so crazy to think that Donald Trump might not show restraint?

Might he be tempted to give the Democrats the store to hold off investigations, impeachment, whatever? Everyone defends the Jerry Falwell Jr. caucus on the grounds that they have a “transactional” relationship with Trump. Well, what if other transactional opportunities take precedence?

..  in the next couple of years, a tsunami of tell-all books and more-in-sorrow-than-anger reputation-rehabilitating memoirs will probably come out.

.. “character is destiny.” And I’ve never been more confident that that destiny is coming, and it won’t be pretty.

 

The Mueller confrontation that Republicans were trying to avoid has just arrived

Up until this point, Republicans had given Trump the benefit of the doubt that he wouldn’t launch a constitutional crisis. From their perspective, why take action and cause a confrontation with the president (and jeopardize their agenda) if they don’t absolutely have to?

Now they may have to.

.. He even hinted in a July interview with the New York Times that he’d fire Mueller if the independent investigation started looking into his finances.

.. Firing Sessions is one of the clearest paths for the president to get rid of the special counsel, who technically answers to the Justice Department. And that got some Republicans’ attention.

“There will be holy hell to pay,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) warned Trump via reporters in July of what would happen if the president fired Sessions. A few weeks later, two pairs of bipartisan senators unveiled legislation to protect Mueller

.. “I can’t imagine any administration taking a move like that,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters in October.

.. But this revelation is more concrete than news over the summer. Trump didn’t just think about firing Mueller, he moved to do it. According to The Post’s Rosalind Helderman and Josh Dawsey, discussions were had and meetings were held by his aides to try to get him to back off.

.. Or, they just might not be interested in a confrontation with the president.

.. There is no serious bipartisan bill to protect Mueller in the House of Representatives either, where some vocal Republican lawmakers are instead saying Mueller should step down because of what they allege are various levels of bias.

.. Democrats involved in Congress’s Russia investigation were so worried by Republicans’ shrugs about protecting Mueller that in December Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, gave a speech warning a “constitutional crisis” would happen if Trump fired Mueller while Congress was gone.

.. But either way, the confrontation with the president that Republicans were trying to avoid has just landed on their doorstep.