Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

I smell a distinct odor of treason

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Written by LeisureGuy

19 September 2019 at 1:36 pm

Trump’s communications with foreign leader are part of whistleblower complaint

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Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima, and Shane Harris report in the Washington Post:

The whistleblower complaint that has triggered a tense showdown between the U.S. intelligence community and Congress involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, but his direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed. It raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information and may further strain his relationship with U.S. spy agencies. One former official said the communication was a phone call.

[Gap continues to widen between Trump and intelligence community on key issues]

The White House declined to comment. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and a lawyer representing the whistleblower declined to comment.

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern,” a legal threshold that ordinarily requires notification of congressional oversight committees.

But acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to share details about Trump’s alleged transgression with lawmakers, touching off a legal and political dispute that has spilled into public and prompted speculation that the spy chief is improperly protecting the president.

The dispute is expected to escalate Thursday when Atkinson is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee in a classified session closed to the public. The hearing is the latest move by committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) to compel U.S. intelligence officials to disclose the full details of the whistleblower complaint to Congress.

Maguire has agreed to testify before the committee next week, according to a statement by Schiff. He declined to comment for this story.

The inspector general “determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent,” Schiff said in the statement released Wednesday evening. “The committee places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress.”

The complaint was filed with Atkinson’s office on Aug. 12, a date on which Trump was at his golf resort in New Jersey. White House records indicate that Trump had had conversations or interactions with at least five foreign leaders in the preceding five weeks.

Among them was a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the White House initiated on July 31. Trump also received at least two letters from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during the summer, describing them as “beautiful” messages. In June, Trump said publicly that he was opposed to certain CIA spying operations against North Korea. Referring to a Wall Street Journal report that the agency had recruited Kim’s half-brother, Trump said, “I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices.”

Trump met with other foreign leaders at the White House in July, including the prime minister of Pakistan, the prime minister of the Netherlands, and the emir of Qatar.

Trump’s handling of classified information has been a source of concern to U.S. intelligence officials since the outset of his presidency. In May 2017, Trump revealed classified information about espionage operations in Syria to senior Russian officials in the Oval Office, disclosures that prompted a scramble among White House officials to contain the potential damage.

Statements and letters exchanged between the offices of the DNI and the House Intelligence Committee in recent days have pointed at the White House without directly implicating the president. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 September 2019 at 8:24 pm

The End of the Roman Empire Wasn’t That Bad

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James Fallows looks on the bright side in his article in the Atlantic. Following this article, James Fallows collected reader responses in several posts in his Atlantic blog, and those are worth reading as well. You can find the links to the earlier posts at the start of his most recent post of reader responses. I found all to be of interest.

It’s time to think about the Roman empire again. But not the part of its history that usually commands attention in the United States: the long, sad path of Decline and Fall. It’s what happened later that deserves our curiosity.

As a reminder, in 476 A.D., a barbarian general named Odoacer overthrew the legitimate emperor of the Western empire, Romulus Augustulus, who thus became the last of the emperors to rule from Italy.

The Eastern empire, ruled from Constantinople, chugged along for many more centuries. But the Roman progression—from republic to empire to ruin—has played an outsize role in tragic imagination about the United States. If a civilization could descend from Cicero and Cato to Caligula and Nero in scarcely a century, how long could the brave experiment launched by Madison, Jefferson, and company hope to endure?

The era that began with Rome’s collapse—“late antiquity,” as scholars call it—holds a hazier place in America’s imagination and makes only rare cameo appearances in speeches or essays about the national prospect. Before, we have the familiar characters in togas; sometime after, knights in armor. But in between? And specifically: How did the diverse terrain that had been the Roman empire in the West respond when central authority gave way? When the last emperor was gone, how did that register in Hispania and Gaul? How did people manage without the imperial system that had built roads and aqueducts, and brought its laws and language to so much of the world?

The historians’ view appears to be that they managed surprisingly well. “It is only too easy to write about the Late Antique world as if it were merely a melancholy tale,” Peter Brown, of Princeton, wrote in his influential 1971 book, The World of Late Antiquity. But, he continued, “we are increasingly aware of the astounding new beginnings associated with this period.” These included not only the breakup of empire into the precursors of what became modern countries but also “much that a sensitive European has come to regard as most ‘modern’ and valuable in his own culture,” from new artistic and literary forms to self-governing civic associations.

In his new book, Escape From Rome, Walter Scheidel, of Stanford, goes further, arguing that “the Roman empire made modern development possible by going away and never coming back.” His case, in boiled-down form, is that the removal of centralized control opened the way to a sustained era of creativity at the duchy-by-duchy and monastery-by-monastery level, which in turn led to broad cultural advancement and eventual prosperity. The dawn of the university and private business organizations; the idea of personal rights and freedoms—on these and other fronts, what had been Roman territories moved forward as imperial control disappeared. “From this developmental perspective, the death of the Roman empire had a much greater impact than its prior existence,” Scheidel writes. He quotes Edward Gibbon’s famous judgment that Rome’s fall was “the greatest, perhaps, and most awful scene, in the history of mankind”—but disagrees with the “awful” part.

Might the travails of today’s American governing system, and the strains on the empire-without-the-name it has tried to run since World War II, have a similar, perversely beneficial effect? Could the self-paralysis of American national governance somehow usher in a rebirth—our own Dark Ages, but in a good way?

Naturally my hope as an American is that the national government starts working better. And what I’ve learned from living through crisis cycles from the 1960s onward, plus studying those of the more distant past, is to always allow for the rebound capacity of this continually changing culture.

But what if faith in American resilience is now misplaced? What if it really is different this time? I’ve been asking historians, politicians, businesspeople, and civic leaders to imagine 21st-century America the way historians like Brown and Scheidel imagine late antiquity. How will things look for us, duchy by duchy and monastery by monastery, if the national government has broken in a way that can’t be fixed?

Governmental “failure” comes down to an inability to match a society’s resources to its biggest opportunities and needs. This is the clearest standard by which current U.S. national governance fails. In principle, almost nothing is beyond America’s capacities. In practice, almost every big task seems too hard.

Yet for our own era’s counterparts to duchies and monasteries—for state and local governments, and for certain large private organizations, including universities and some companies—the country is still mainly functional, in exactly the areas where national governance has failed.

Samuel Abrams, a political scientist at Sarah Lawrence, has been leading a multiyear national survey of “social capital” for the American Enterprise Institute. Among the findings, released this year, is that by large margins, Americans feel dissatisfied with the course of national events—and by even larger margins, they feel satisfied with and connected to local institutions and city governments. “When you talk with people, across the board they are optimistic about their own communities, and hopeful about their local futures,” Abrams told me. The AEI team found that 80 percent of Americans considered their own town and neighborhood to be an “excellent” or “good” place to live, and 70 percent said they trusted people in their neighborhood. Does this mainly reflect self-segregation—people of common background or affinity clustering together? “That’s been exaggerated,” Abrams said. “America is less monolithic, and more functional at local levels, than people think.”

In Escape From Rome, Scheidel writes that “a single condition was essential” for the cultural, economic, and scientific creativity of the post-Roman age: “competitive fragmentation of power.” Today, some of the positive aspects of fragmentation are appearing all around us.

Five years ago, after writing about a “can do” attitude in local governments in Maine and South Carolina, I got an email from a mayor in the Midwest. He said that he thought the underreported story of the moment was how people frustrated with national-level politics were shifting their enthusiasm and their careers to the state and local levels, where they could make a difference. (That mayor’s name was Pete Buttigieg, then in his first term in South Bend, Indiana.) When I spoke with him at the time, he suggested the situation was like people fleeing the world of Veep—bleak humor on top of genuine bleakness—for a non-preposterous version of Parks and Recreation.

At the national level, “policy work is increasingly being done by people with no training in it, and who don’t care about it, because they’re drawn into national politics purely as culture warriors,” I was told by Philip Zelikow, of the University of Virginia, who worked as a national-security official for both Presidents Bush. “There’s a fiction that mass politics is about policy.” The reality, he said, is that national-level politics has become an exercise in cultural signaling—“who you like, who you hate, which side you’re on”—rather than about actual governance. Meanwhile, the modern reserves of American practical-mindedness are mainly at the local level, “where people have no choice but to solve problems week by week.”

Based on my own experience I could give a hundred examples of this attitude from around the country, virtually none of them drawing national attention and many of them involving people creatively expanding the roles of libraries, community colleges, and other institutions to meet local needs. Here is just one, from Indiana: The factory town of Muncie is famed as the site of the Middletown sociology studies a century ago. It was the longtime home of the Ball Brothers glass-jar company, since departed. It is still the home of Ball State University, steadily growing. Like other manufacturing cities in the Midwest, Muncie has battled the effects of industrial decline. Among the consequences was a funding crisis for the Muncie Community Schools, which became so severe that two years ago the state took the system into receivership.

Last year, Ball State University became the first-ever public university in the country to assume direct operational responsibility for an entire K–12 public-school system. The experiment has just begun, and its success can’t be assured. But getting this far involved innovation and creativity in the political, civic, financial, and educational realms to win support in a diverse community. “I was talking with a state senator about the plan,” Geoffrey S. Mearns, who has been president of Ball State since 2017 and is a guiding force behind the plan, told me this year in Muncie. “After listening for 15 minutes, he said, ‘You’re crazy. Don’t do this. Run away.’ After another 15 minutes, he said, ‘You’re still crazy. But you have to do it.’ ”

This craziness and commitment keeps a culture alive. A new world is emerging, largely beyond our notice.

Even when the formal ties of the Roman empire had broken, informal links . . .

Continue reading.

And do read those posts of reader responses. Very interesting.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 September 2019 at 8:38 am

Best medical system in the world: Private Equity Is Working Hard to Keep Surprise Medical Bills High

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A mailer sent to New Hampshire voters telling them how horrible it will be if surprise out-of-network billing is banned. – New York Times

Kevin Drum gives another example of The Best Medical System in the World™ at work:

One of the most outrageous aspects of American health care is surprise out-of-network billing. Most people, if they go to a hospital that’s “in-network,” quite reasonably assume that this means “the hospital’s doctors are in-network.” But that’s not the case. Sometimes hospitals contract with doctors who aren’t part of your insurance network, and these doctors can charge whatever they feel like. Your insurer won’t cover this—that’s what out-of-network means—which means that when you get home you’re likely to be greeted by a $40,000 anesthesiology bill.

This is obviously bad, and both Democrats and President Trump favor legislation to end it. However, there’s one group that thinks out-of-network billing is just fine: the private equity firms that own the medical groups that specialize in out-of-network care.

But this presents a problem: how do you make it sound bad to prohibit surprise out-of-network billing? Hmmm.

Here’s the answer: Attack the ban as “rate setting” by “big insurance companies.” Then add some scary stuff about not being able to see your doctor anymore and “profiting from patients’ pain” and you’re all set. Who wants to involved with anything like that?

But the best part of this particular attack ad comes at the very end: “Put Patients Before Profits.” How Trumpian! The whole point of out-of-network billing is to allow doctors to make lots of money at the expense of their patients. But who cares? You just say the opposite and then get huffy if anyone suggests you’re being a wee bit untruthful.

Out-of-network billing is hardly limited to . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

17 September 2019 at 1:52 pm

The New Kavanaugh Reporting Shows How Far Trump’s Control Goes

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Dahlia Lithwick in Slate:

It’s already been widely noted that the New York Times buried breaking news about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged tendency, as a college student, to touch people with his penis when intoxicated. On Sunday, when the Times ran a forthcoming book excerpt from its own reporters, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, it not only put the news in its Opinion section, it also placed the details of the second allegation in a remote paragraph under an appallingly random headline: “Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not.” Don’t even get me started on the grotesque tweet that accompanied the excerpt (which had to be deleted and then apologized for), or the editor’s note that popped up Sunday night to clarify that the story had previously failed to mention, “reports that the female student [whom Kavanaugh allegedly touched with his penis] declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident.” The entire debacle detracts from what is, by all accounts, a deeply researched and reported book.

But the real sin unearthed by the excerpt isn’t that there was a second account, that another former Yale student allegedly remembers seeing Brett Kavanaugh behave in disturbing and inappropriate ways. The real sin is that this former student, Max Stier, went to Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and then the leadership of the Senate, way back in the fall of 2018, to try to tell them what he remembered. And the real sin is that the FBI never investigated it. Indeed, the FBI didn’t talk to any of the 25 individuals given to them by Debbie Ramirez’s lawyer, or any of the multiple witnesses who came forward to the FBI of their own volition (including a former roommate who believed Ramirez and published his own account of Kavanaugh’s college behavior in Slate). But the FBI didn’t talk to these people because the FBI never even spoke to Brett Kavanaugh about the alleged events. The FBI never spoke to Christine Blasey Ford, either. The FBI did interview Ramirez last October and found her “credible,” but then just left it at that. According to the new reporting, an agent told her lawyers that “We have to wait to get authorization to do anything else.” They did not get that authorization, and they did nothing else.

We know all of this because we lived through it. We knew all along that the FBI “investigation” was a sham, a diversion used by three Republican senators to provide cover for their later decision to confirm Kavanaugh to the highest court in the land. Yes, these senators asked for further investigation after Ford testified, but the scope of the so-called inquiry was limited to 10 witnesses and needed to be over in a week, so it never had much hope of being a real investigation. The White House and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee so roundly constrained the investigation that the two main witnesses themselves were never questioned.
Only those who had allegedly witnessed sexual assaults were evidently deemed worthy of questioning. And the FBI felt it had no inherent authority to do an investigation into anything that wasn’t criminal—and even if it had such authority, the FBI knew it was, in effect, working for the White House.

Even as the FBI worried internally that this shamefully thin investigation would erode the credibility of the agency, it felt constrained to do anything else, so it did nothing else. We knew all of this last September, because that’s when NBC reported that the FBI had failed to contact over 40 people who came forward with material information about Kavanaugh, including several who had begged to be interviewed. And we now know that Coons, himself a member of the Judiciary Committee, asked for the FBI to investigate a third claim, and it failed to do so.

Despite this laughably brief and shoddy inquiry, Senate Republicans used it to say the case was closed. As Pogrebin and Kelly note, in the wake of no investigation of Ramirez’s claims, Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, concluded, “There is no corroboration of the allegations made by Dr. Ford or Ms. Ramirez.” Of course there was no corroboration. There was no investigation.

Unsurprisingly then, in the time since the FBI’s “investigation,” new books have uncovered multiple people who were told of the assault on Ramirez at the time and a possible third assault that was never even considered by the FBI. As time goes on (another Kavanaugh book is in the works), there will be more stories, and there will be more corroboration. As this is reported, Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will cry “witch hunt” because, they will say, there was already an investigation—and the only thing more suspect than a lone accuser is a fistful of them. Also, as Kavanaugh was quick to tell us himself last October, if there is more than one accuser, we should dismiss them because it was “a calculated and orchestrated political hit” meant to avenge the Clintons.

The lesson that we should take away from this whole sad state of affairs is that every arm of the federal government formally works for Trump. Recall that the second highest honor given out at the Justice Department—usually reserved for prosecutors who triumph in major litigation—was awarded last week, by Attorney General Bill Barr, to the team that shepherded the Kavanaugh confirmation. Like the FBI, the DOJ works for the president, which perhaps explains why his first tweet on Sunday demanded that “the Justice Department should come to his rescue.” And in the event that you missed it last week, in voting to allow Trump’s wall to be constructed, thus allowing the DOJ to leapfrog over federal courts in a way that almost never happens, Trump’s Supreme Court is increasingly acting as a tool to enforce his whims and fancies, and doing so at high speeds, without bothering with intermediate court review.

Just to recap then, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 September 2019 at 1:20 pm

Director of National Intelligence Tells Congress to Fuck Off

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The US seems to have totally lost its way. Kevin Drum writes at Mother Jones:

A few days ago the inspector general for the intelligence community notified Congress of a whistleblower complaint that was both credible and a matter of “urgent concern.” Rep. Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, naturally asked the Director of National Intelligence to provide a copy of the complaint, as required by law. The DNI told him to pound sand. Now Schiff is pissed off:

As Acting Director of National Intelligence, you have neither the legal authority nor the discretion to overrule a determination by the IC IG. Moreover, you do not possess the authority to withhold from the Committee a whistleblower disclosure from within the Intelligence Community that is intended for Congress.

….Your office, moreover, has refused to affirm or deny that officials or lawyers at the White House have been involved in your decision to withhold the complaint from the Committee….The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials. This raises grave concerns that your office, together with the Department of Justice and possibly the White House, are engaged in an unlawful effort to protect the President and conceal from the Committee information related to his possible “serious or flagrant” misconduct, abuse of power, or violation of law.

Accordingly, due to the urgency of the matter and the unlawful decision by your office to withhold from the Committee an Intelligence Community individual’s credible “urgent concern” whistleblower disclosure, the Committee hereby issues the attached subpoena compelling you to transmit immediately to the Committee the disclosure, in complete and unaltered form, as well as to produce other related materials.

The acting DNI, unsurprisingly, is claiming that the whistleblower complaint contains confidential and privileged information, which means he’s not required to turn it over. This has become the Trump administration’s go-to move, despite the fact that, . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

13 September 2019 at 6:50 pm

If Trump Were an Airline Pilot

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James Fallows writes in the Atlantic:

Through the 2016 campaign, I posted a series called “Trump Time Capsule” in this space. The idea was to record, in real time, what was known about Donald Trump’s fitness for office—and to do so not when people were looking back on our era but while the Republican Party was deciding whether to line up behind him and voters were preparing to make their choice.

The series reached 152 installments by election day. I argued that even then there was no doubt of Trump’s mental, emotional, civic, and ethical unfitness for national leadership. If you’re hazy on the details, the series is (once again) here.

That background has equipped me to view Trump’s performance in office as consistently shocking but rarely surprising. He lied on the campaign trail, and he lies in office. He insulted women, minorities, “the other” as a candidate, and he does it as a president. He led “lock her up!” cheers at the Republican National Convention and he smiles at “send them back!” cheers now. He did not know how the “nuclear triad” worked then, and he does not know how tariffs work now. He flared at perceived personal slights when they came from Senator John McCain, and he does so when they come from the Prime Minister of Denmark. He is who he was.

The Atlantic editorial staff, in a project I played no part in, reached a similar conclusion. Its editorial urging a vote against Trump was obviously written before the election but stands up well three years later:

He is a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar. He is spectacularly unfit for office, and voters—the statesmen and thinkers of the ballot box—should act in defense of American democracy and elect his opponent


The one thing I avoided in that Time Capsule series was “medicalizing” Trump’s personality and behavior. That is, moving from description of his behavior to speculation about its cause. Was Trump’s abysmal ignorance—“Most people don’t know President Lincoln was a Republican!”—a sign of dementia, or of some other cognitive decline? Or was it just more evidence that he had never read a book? Was his braggadocio and self-centeredness a textbook case of narcissistic personality disorder? (Whose symptoms include “an exaggerated sense of self-importance” and “a sense of entitlement and require[s] constant, excessive admiration.”) Or just that he is an entitled jerk? On these and other points I didn’t, and don’t, know.

Like many people in the journalistic world, I received a steady stream of mail from mental-health professionals arguing for the “medicalized” approach. Several times I mentioned the parallel between Trump’s behavior and the check-list symptoms of narcissism. But I steered away from “this man is sick”—naming the cause rather than listing the signs—for two reasons.

The minor reason was the medical-world taboo against public speculation about people a doctor had not examined personally. There is a Catch-22 circularity to this stricture (which dates to the Goldwater-LBJ race in 1964). Doctors who have not treated a patient can’t say anything about the patient’s condition, because that would be “irresponsible”—but neither can doctors who have, because they’d be violating confidences.

Also, a flat ban on at-a-distance diagnosis doesn’t really meet the common-sense test. Medical professionals have spent decades observing symptoms, syndromes, and more-or-less probable explanations for behavior. We take it for granted that an ex-quarterback like Tony Romo can look at an offensive lineup just before the snap and say, “This is going to be a screen pass.” But it’s considered a wild overstep for a doctor or therapist to reach conclusions based on hundreds of hours of exposure to Trump on TV.

My dad was a small-town internist and diagnostician. Back in the 1990s he saw someone I knew, on a TV interview show, and he called me to say: “I think your friend has [a neurological disease]. He should have it checked out, if he hasn’t already.” It was because my dad had seen a certain pattern—of expression, and movement, and facial detail—so many times in the past, that he saw familiar signs, and knew from experience what the cause usually was. (He was right in this case.) Similarly, he could walk down the street, or through an airline terminal, and tell by people’s gait or breathing patterns who needed to have knee or hip surgery, who had just had that surgery, who was starting to have heart problems, et cetera. (I avoided asking him what he was observing about me.)

Recognizing patterns is the heart of most professional skills, and mental health professionals usually know less about an individual patient than all of us now know about Donald Trump. And on that basis, Dr. Bandy Lee of Yale and others associated with the World Mental Health Coalition have been sounding the alarm about Trump’s mental state (including with a special analysis of the Mueller report). Another organization of mental health professionals is the “Duty to Warn” movement.

But the diagnosis-at-a-distance issue wasn’t the real reason I avoided “medicalization.” The main reason I didn’t go down this road was my assessment that it wouldn’t make a difference. People who opposed Donald Trump already opposed him, and didn’t need some medical hypothesis to dislike his behavior. And people who supported him had already shown that they would continue to swallow anything, from “Grab ‘em by … ”  to “I like people who weren’t captured.” The Vichy Republicans of the campaign dutifully lined up behind the man they had denounced during the primaries, and the Republicans of the Senate have followed in that tradition.


But now we’ve had something we didn’t see so clearly during the campaign. These are episodes of what would be called outright lunacy, if they occurred in any other setting: An actually consequential rift with a small but important NATO ally, arising from the idea that the U.S. would “buy Greenland.” Trump’s self-description as “the Chosen One,” and his embrace of a supporter’s description of him as the “second coming of God” and the “King of Israel.” His logorrhea, drift, and fantastical claims in public rallies, and his flashes of belligerence at the slightest challenge in question sessions on the White House lawn. His utter lack of affect or empathy when personally meeting the most recent shooting victims, in Dayton and El Paso. His reduction of any event, whatsoever, into what people are saying about him.

Obviously I have no standing to say what medical pattern we are seeing, and where exactly it might lead. But just from life I know this:

  • If an airline learned that a pilot was talking publicly about being “the Chosen One” or “the King of Israel” (or Scotland or whatever), the airline would be looking carefully into whether this person should be in the cockpit.
  • If a hospital had a senior surgeon behaving as Trump now does, other doctors and nurses would be talking with administrators and lawyers before giving that surgeon the scalpel again.
  • If a public company knew that a CEO was making costly strategic decisions on personal impulse or from personal vanity or slight, and was doing so more and more frequently, the board would be starting to act. (See: Uber, management history of.)
  • If a university, museum, or other public institution had a leader who routinely insulted large parts of its constituency—racial or religious minorities, immigrants or international allies, women—the board would be starting to act.
  • If the U.S. Navy knew that one of its commanders was routinely lying about important operational details, plus lashing out under criticism, plus talking in “Chosen One” terms, the Navy would not want that person in charge of, say, a nuclear-missile submarine. (See: The Queeg saga in The Caine Mutiny, which would make ideal late-summer reading or viewing for members of the White House staff.)

Yet now such a  person is in charge not of one nuclear-missile submarine but all of them—and the bombers and ICBMs, and diplomatic military agreements, and the countless other ramifications of executive power.

If Donald Trump were in virtually any other position of responsibility, action would already be under way to remove him from that role. The board at . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 August 2019 at 7:32 pm

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