What Was Steve Mnuchin Thinking? Three Possibilities
Whatever Mnuchin was trying to do, he did not succeed in it, instead stoking market fears and sowing confusion. Perhaps the clearest takeaway is that Mnuchin and Trump’s Treasury lacks the expertise to communicate clearly and forcefully with the markets—no surprise, given how few experienced financial operatives Trump has hired and how many experienced non-political civil servants have fled Treasury during this administration.
If they’re communicating this poorly in the absence of a crisis, just imagine how disastrously they might perform in the presence of one.
With support from Steve Bannon, a medieval monastery could become a populist training ground
Inside the stone walls of the Trisulti monastery, for more than eight centuries, monks have lived in quiet seclusion, praying, reading and concocting medicinal remedies with herbs from the surrounding forest.
But now, only one 83-year-old monk remains. A longtime chef-gardener still lives there, as well, along with several dozen feral cats. The other resident at Trisulti is the newcomer: a 43-year-old Briton who is one of Stephen K. Bannon’s closest associates in Europe and who hopes to transform the monastery into a “gladiator school for culture warriors.”
One recent morning, Benjamin Harnwell, the Bannon acolyte, grabbed his ring of keys and moved from one building to the next, through hidden passageways and into frescoed rooms, where he said the next mission at this site was about to take form.
The symbolism is explained here:
Daniel Larison/American Conservative urges Korean peace a different way:
Daniel DePetris urges the Trump administration to prioritize peace in Korea over its dead-end pursuit of disarming North Korea:
Instead of limiting these inter-Korean initiatives by insisting on an immediate denuclearization that will not occur, Washington should encourage—and when appropriate, assist—its South Korean allies in continuing to make progress.
The Trump administration’s North Korea policy has been failing from the start because it insisted on making North Korean disarmament its first and perhaps only real goal. Since North Korean disarmament isn’t happening, holding inter-Korean rapprochement hostage to that unrealistic goal isn’t doing anyone any favors. The U.S. should be willing to waive and even lift sanctions on North Korea when doing so helps South Korea’s policy of engagement.
President Moon is the only allied leader who has made any substantive headway in negotiations with Kim Jong-un, and his diplomatic efforts should have Washington’s full support. Those efforts have yielded more positive results in a year than more than a decade of futile nuclear sanctions have achieved. Pompeo’s fixation on “final, fully verified denuclearization” should be set aside as the distraction and obstacle that it is, and the U.S. should get out of the way our South Korean ally as it works to find a modus vivendi with its neighbor
Nancy Pelosi Zaps Trump’s Latest Version Of His Border Wall As A ‘Beaded Curtain’
She scoffs at president’s morphing concrete barrier as she lashes him for “ fear mongering” over immigrants
Pelosi scoffed in an interview published Tuesday: “First of all ... he says, ‘We’re going to build a wall with cement, and Mexico’s going to pay for it.’ While he’s already backed off of the cement, now he’s down to, I think, a beaded curtain or something.”
As for Mexico paying for a wall, budget director and incoming acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said in an interview on ABC Sunday that “you and I know it cannot work exactly like that.” He conceded that the Department of Homeland Security “can’t actually spend money from Mexico; we have to get it from the Treasury.”
Pelosi, likely to become House majority leader after newly elected Democrats take office, also ripped Trump in the interview as a “fear monger” stirring up unfounded worries of immigrant “terrorism” and disease. “He’s using scare tactics that are not evidence-based, and it’s wrong,” she told USA Today.
Get used to hearing Democratic voices and opinions in the new year. Far superior to Paul Ryan’s lame “I haven’t read the tweets”. And a pro tip to media: If you don't present the shutdown as Trump's doing, you're not doing it right. Be accurate when you bring Democrats into the picture. It's not up to them to compromise. That's your prejudice writing.
Blame Anybody but Trump
For the president, self-love means never having to say you’re sorry.
For the last decade, I have been writing an end-of-the-year column recalling memorable examples of blame shifting during the previous 12 months. At first these compendiums featured various public figures, including Barack Obama. But then Donald Trump took up residence in the White House, providing such a rich trove of examples that no one else could compete.
Although Trump had never held public office before he was elected president, he outdoes professional politicians in his obstinate refusal to accept responsibility for any problem or failure. For Trump, as these highlights from 2018 show, self-love means never having to say you're sorry.
Election deflection. "If Republicans were to lose control of the House on November 6th," the Associated Press asked the president on October 16, "do you believe you bear some responsibility for that?" His response: "No, I think I'm helping people." When A.P. reported that Trump "won't accept blame" for losing the House, he denied that he had denied responsibility, calling it "FAKE NEWS." After the elections, Trump blamed Republican losses on candidates who had failed to show him sufficient "love."
DACA dodge. Trump said he favored citizenship for people who entered the country illegally as children, who had been protected under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. But he said he would support a legislative fix only if it included border wall funding, penalties for sanctuary cities, and a sharp cut in family-based legal immigration—conditions he knew Democrats would never accept. Then he claimed "Democrats are nowhere to be found on DACA."
Kidnapping credit. The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy of prosecuting all illegal border crossers, including those accompanied by children, resulted in widely condemned family separations. The president blamedDemocrats for "the horrible law that separates children from there [sic] parents."
‘What if someone was shooting?’
More than 4 million children endured lockdowns last school year, a groundbreaking Washington Post analysis found. The experience left many traumatized.
School shootings remain rare, even after 2018, a year of historic carnage on K-12 campuses. What’s not rare are lockdowns, which have become a hallmark of American education and a byproduct of this country’s inability to curb its gun violence epidemic. Lockdowns save lives during real attacks, but even when there is no gunman stalking the hallways, the procedures can inflict immense psychological damage on children convinced that they’re in danger. And the number of kids who have experienced these ordeals is extraordinary.
Robert Schlesinger/NBC THINK:
Trump doesn't care about governing or being re-elected. He only cares about being popular with his base.
The shutdown and the wall are Trump’s latest performance, aimed at his base in a show of strength and devotion to it and it alone.
“But we live in communities where most of our manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas, opioids are ravaging our communities, our families are coming apart,” they added, according to Ayres. “And we were faced with a choice between a man who said he’d help us and a woman who called us deplorable. What the hell did you expect us to do?”
But while Damn the other voters, full speed ahead! worked against Hillary Clinton (with both her quarter-century of Republican-primed baggage and the campaign’s take-the-Midwest-for-granted strategy, not to mention James Comey’s and Vladimir Putin’s fingers on the scale) it hasn’t produced much beyond thrashing and smashing in office. Is it likely to carry Trump to victory again in two years?
“It’s either rewriting the rules of politics or it is spectacularly self-destructive politically,” says Shesol. But early signs point to the president getting burned by the Trumpster fire he has so gleefully stoked.
Age-old debate: Is it politically smart to call people who act deplorably—or who tolerate those who do—deplorable, even if you are correct? There is no right answer, and there are many ways to implement whatever your answer is.
Regardless, the core base is white evangelicals; everything else is in flux.
By the way, the shutdown is real:
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