Richard Rohr Meditation: Be Peace and Justice

.. we do not “do” acts of peace and justice as much as our lifestyle itself is peace and justice.

.. By “living on the edge of the inside” I mean building on the solid Tradition (“from the inside”) but doing it from a new and creative stance where you cannot be co-opted (“on the edge”) for purposes of security, possessions, or the illusions of power.

.. Evil tends to hide even more in systems and institutions than in individuals.

.. This approach guards against the most common criticism of religion in general and social-justice work in particular, which, frankly, has tended to produce many negative, oppositional, and judgmental people—from reactionary conservatives to limousine liberals.

The Tragedy of James Comey

James Comey is about to be ubiquitous. His book will be published next week, and parts may leak this week. Starting Sunday, he will begin an epic publicity tour, including interviews with Stephen Colbert, David Remnick, Rachel Maddow, Mike Allen, George Stephanopoulos and “The View.”

.. Yet anybody who’s read Greek tragedy knows that strengths can turn into weaknesses when a person becomes too confident in those strengths. And that’s the key to understanding the very complex story of James Comey.

.. Long before he was a household name, Comey was a revered figure within legal circles.
.. But he was more charismatic than most bureaucrats — six feet eight inches tall, with an easy wit and refreshing informality. People loved working for him.
.. If you read his 2005 goodbye speech to the Justice Department, when he was stepping down as George W. Bush’s deputy attorney general, you can understand why. It’s funny, displaying the gifts of a storyteller. It includes an extended tribute to the department’s rank and file, like “secretaries, document clerks, custodians and support people who never get thanked enough.” He insists on “the exact same amount of human dignity and respect” for “every human being in this organization,”
.. Above all, though, the speech is a celebration of the department’s mission.
.. Many Justice Department officials, from both parties, have long believed that they should be more independent and less political than other cabinet departments. Comey was known as an evangelist of this view.
.. Comey sometimes chided young prosecutors who had never lost a case, accusing them of caring more about their win-loss record than justice. He told them they were members of the Chicken Excrement Club
.. Most famously, in 2004, he stood up to Bush and Dick Cheney over a dubious surveillance program.

But as real as Comey’s independence and integrity were, they also became part of a persona that he cultivated and relished.

.. Comey has greater strengths than most people. But for all of us, there is a fine line between strength and hubris.

Why Donald Trump’s tweets are only going to get worse

Like others who feel frustrated by their day jobs, the president vents on social media.

Trump is tweeting like a crazy old man for three reasons. First, he has little choice but to spend the next six months or so — at a minimum — on thorny issues that have little upside for him:
  1. North Korea,
  2. a longer-term lift of the debt ceiling, funding the federal government,
  3. dealing with the “dreamers.”

All of these issues will require him to make compromises that are necessary but are of little benefit to him. In these circumstances, Twitter can function as a venue for him to blow off steam.

Second, in dealing with all of these issues, Trump will have to do things that will alienate the parts of his base that believed in him. In the past week, we have seen the likes of Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham and Mickey Kaus go ballistic about the possibility of a deal on the dreamers. The easiest way for Trump to counteract any criticism he gets from Trump-friendly pundits is to feed his base some form of red meat. Tweets about Hillary Clinton could do the trick.

.. Third, Trump possesses such an oppositional personality that he needs to find ways to rebel against the constraints that John F. Kelly has placed on his White House staff. As his sycophants depart, Twitter is the one place where he can quickly get a similar hit of flattery.

.. Yes, most of his tweets are outrageous, but they are also toothless. Some might argue that simply shrugging off deranged tweets is normalizing the Trump administration. The thing is, we are only nine months into the lamest administration in modern history. Outrage needs to be conserved as a resource for the important stuff.
.. It is a little more surprising to see him squander the one tool he mastered during the presidential campaign. Back in January, his bravado on Twitter seemed genuinely menacing. In the run-up to Inauguration Day, he could tweet at a company and its stock price buckled.
.. What has changed in the past nine months is that Trump has been proven to be a weak and feckless president.
.. At this point, when Trump promises or threatens on Twitter, no one believes him. As he acts more and more hysterical online, he will further erode his ability to use social media to set the agenda.

Trump Stomps Planet Earth

Trump once pointed out a dozen six-foot-high speakers by the pool at Mar-a-Lago blasting classic rock and said: “You know, when I moved here to Palm Beach, nobody wanted me around. And I love cranking this music as loud as I can because it bugs the heck out of all of these so-and-sos and I love it.”

It is a familiar pattern. “He wanted to get out of Queens to come to Manhattan,” O’Brien said. “He wanted to be accepted by the real estate class in Manhattan, but then he thumbed his nose at them.” He wanted to run for president as a Republican and get the G.O.P. establishment’s approval, but then he thumbed his nose at it.

.. As Mark Landler and Michael Shear reported in The Times, Cohn, the president’s chief economic adviser, had told reporters in Sicily that Mr. Trump might be coming around. “His views are evolving” on climate change, Cohn said. “He came here to learn. He came here to get smarter.”

That smarted and made Trump want to blast classic rock.

.. Then the president read an interview with Emmanuel Macron in a French newspaper, bragging about how he had prepared to give Trump an Iron Man grip because it was “a moment of truth” showing that he “won’t make small concessions, even symbolic ones.”

.. “Hearing smack-talk from the Frenchman 31 years his junior irritated and bewildered Trump, aides said. A few days later, Trump got his revenge. He proclaimed from the Rose Garden, ‘I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.’”