Clppings: “Illusions to Avoid” (Sept. 11, 2018)

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“It felt like we were walking along the edge of the cliff perpetually … Other times,
we would fall over the edge, and an action would be taken… This was no longer a
presidency. This is no longer a White House. This is a man being who he is.”

-Rob Porter, former White House Staff Secretary (reported by Bob Woodward in Fear)

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Trump’s Disapproval: At a High Point. “President Trump’s disapproval
rating has hit a high point of 60 percent, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News
poll that also finds that clear majorities of Americans support the special counsel’s Russia
investigation and say the president should not fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”
(Washington Post, Aug. 31, 2018)

Illusions to Avoid. Hoping for impeachment? Is it possible that 67 Senators
would vote to convict Donald Trump? Does anyone think that scenario is likely? What
about the much-discussed 25th Amendment? For an examination of that illusion, see
“How Donald Trump could tweet his way out of a 25th Amendment challenge” at:
https://us-mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=8o9dsnakvv6qd#7012703528

Avoiding illusions in no way diminishes the seriousness of the issues here:
Trump has signaled that he wants to see the politicization of criminal prosecutions.
See “Donald Trump Just Committed a Fully Impeachable Offense” at:
https://www.thenation.com/article/donald-trump-just-committed-a-fully-impeachable-offense/

If impeachment and the 25th Amendment are not plausible lines of action,
that leaves political mobilization. See “This is the first wave of an invasion’”examining
how, channeling their anger, progressives are staging their own tea party-style revolt:
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/05/midterms-elections-progressives-democrats-809109

For a compelling example of what the Buddhists call “skillful means,” see
“How Robert Mueller Outfoxed Donald Trump” at:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-robert-mueller-outfoxed-donald-trump?source=articles&via=rss

For another example, see “Alex Jones Said Bans Would Strengthen Him.
He Was Wrong” at:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/04/technology/alex-jones-infowars-bans-traffic.html

Bad Behavior. Don’t ever doubt that bad behavior in high places can
become a model, and an inspiration, for everyday folks: “The scary examples
of the Trump effect” (Article attached) at:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-trump-effect-is-debasing-the-presidency/2018/09/07/e6c95aea-b1ff-11e8-aed9-001309990777_story.html?utm_term=.d522f3e6cb56

An Occupied Capital City. Anne Applebaum has written incisively about
recent developments in Eastern Europe. When we consider to drift toward neo-Fascism
in Poland and Hungary, not to mention to continuing shadow of Putin’s Russia, her
observations are entirely on target: “Washington feels like the capital of an occupied
country” (Article attached) at:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/washington-feels-like-the-capital-of-an-occupied-country/2018/09/07/d116d40c-b2b3-11e8-9a6a-565d92a3585d_story.html?utm_term=.6bd3027dbc7c

For another historical perspective, see “The Violence at the Heart of Our Politics” at:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/07/opinion/sunday/violence-politics-congress.html