The Monday Morning Teaser

It’s another week where I have to chose between talking about stuff of substantial importance (like the shocking new estimates of the death toll of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico) and outrageous notions coming out of the White House (like the President’s lawyer making us think about Trump pardoning himself by declaring it “unthinkable”).

Everything that was off last week (the North Korea summit, the trade war with everyone from China to Canada) is on again this week. Does any of it mean anything? Are we witnessing the bumbling of an administration that can’t figure out what it wants? Or is it like the aikido master who makes you react to so many feints and bluffs that you fall over without being touched?

I don’t have an answer to that question, but I’ll try to stay on my feet for another week.

White House rhetoric about the Mueller investigation has been building up, and I’m left with the feeling that one side or the other is about to do something major. The White House might be anticipating a move by Mueller: a presidential subpoena, a new set of indictments, a preliminary report. Or it might be laying the groundwork for it’s own bold strike: a wave of pardons, firing Mueller or Rosenstein, naming a second special prosecutor to investigate the investigators. Or maybe the rhetoric is just rhetoric and doesn’t mean anything at all; who can say? It could all be another aikido feint.

I don’t know what I can do about any of that, but I thought I’d get out in front of Mueller’s eventual report by setting down my own general ideas about impeachment. When the report comes out, Trump critics like me will be strongly tempted to adjust our definitions of impeachable offense to match whatever was found. I’d prefer not to do that, so I want to get my basic principles into words now. That post “What is impeachment for?” should be out shortly.

The weekly summary should be out around 11 EDT. It will cover the Hurricane Maria estimates, the on-again trade war, and the bizarre claims Trump’s lawyers make in a recently leaked letter. I’ll use the Roseanne Barr/ Samantha Bee controversy to revisit one of the Sift’s more useful articles “Slurs: Who can say them, when, and why“. And I’ll point to a lot of significant events that haven’t been getting the attention they deserve: the rollback of Dodd/Frank restrictions on the big banks, Illinois’ long-delayed ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, Trump’s attempt to force power companies to burn more coal, and a revolutionary new way to generate power with natural gas. And then I’ll close with the world’s tallest bonfire.

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