Bye, bye Bannon

The latest casualty in the Trump fun house is Steve Bannon.  I do not know why he has been fired.  Several sources talk about his views or what he will do next or his latest interview, but none of them will tell me what is different between the Steve Bannon of last week and the Steve Bannon of today, except that he has his old job back (The American Prospect, The Telegraph, The Atlantic, The Globe and Mail, NYT).  So, who’s next?  Hard time killing floor blues.

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Race wars – a new Hope

If there were one thing we could count on Donald Trump to do, it was unite the business community.  After all, he was one of them!  He could speak their lingo, make the deals, talk the talk, do the thing.  It kind of worked, I guess, for a while.  Then, he just got too racist.  See, you can be openly racist in America.  And, you can be a highly visible corporate CEO.  But, you can’t be both.  You can’t even hang out with racists, even when they are the president of a country.  It’s just bad press.  It hurts sales.  So Trump’s CEO buddies are backing out of the white house.  Nothing personal, really, they just don’t want to be associated with the current administration.  It’s bad for business.

Meanwhile, Trump found a lovely (and very loyal) fashion model to join his team as communications director.  I can do no better than to end with a quote from the furthest right-wing news source I know of, the Daily Caller, to describe the virtues of this new white house addition:

“My father makes people earn his trust,” Ivanka told The New York Times about Hicks in an interview for a June profile. “She’s earned his trust.”

Trump reportedly loves that Hicks can read his moods and execute her job accordingly with professionalism. “Her most important role is her bond with the candidate,” his former campaign manager Paul Manafort told The NYT. “She totally understands him.”

Hicks did not respond to a request for comment.

Charlottesville

Donald Trump held a press conference in which he dearly wanted to talk about his plan to save the country by allowing critical infrastructure to flood (once a developer, always a developer), but the pesky press kept hammering away at his reaction to the recent White Supremacy rally in Virginia.  Trump seemed determined to share blame for the recent violence equally between both violent extremists and non-violent non-extremists.  Most coverage seemed unsympathetic to his arguments.  I’ll venture to say that this is Trump’s first real domestic crisis (coming on the heals of his first foreign crisis).  Whether this fiasco will become eclipsed by his next bit of antagonistic buffoonery or metastasize into his own Hurricane Katrina remains to be seen.

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Although it’s little comfort for the rest of us, if the rise of the neo-nasties in Trump’s America is a harbinger of greater devastation, at least there are a few billionaires with plans to survive.

Locked and loaded

Well, I suppose it was just a matter of time, but it does seem as if North Korea won the Korean War today.  They have now achieved their goal of creating, not only working ICBMs that can reach the United States, but nuclear weapons small enough to fit on them.  Those who take comfort in the idea that the United States will do more damage to North Korea than North Korea will do to the United States in a nuclear exchange miss a fundamental point, namely that North Korea will survive and the U.S. won’t.  Picture North Korea.  Now picture North Korea after the apocalypse.  About the same, right?  Either way, Kim Jong Un will be the last surviving North Korean.  Now picture the U.S. after losing a few major cities.  They can’t even rebuild New Orleans after a flood or Detroit after some factories shut down.  Can you imagine how quickly the economy will tank after a nuclear war?

In response to the news, the president of the United States pulled some Un-like rhetoric out of his posterior.  Then the leader of North Korea pulled some Trump-like rhetoric out of his own. Remember when the North Korean leader was the only crazy one?

After that, the news just gets weirder, so, we may as well get it out of the way.

Good night and good luck.

Seth Rich

It’s a bit dizzying trying to keep pace with the relentless headlines decrying the latest bizarre controversy that Trump has stumbled into.  (The current best offer is the Seth Rich affair.)  It’s not that this stuff isn’t important.  It’s just that Trump seems to be a black hole of impropriety.  Nothing he gets caught doing sinks him.  Granted, he isn’t getting anything done.  Granted it’s all very amusing.  But, every ‘ah-ha’ moment seems to get brushed off as more ‘Trump being Trump,’ no matter how far he lowers the bar.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m simply writing this blog for my future self.  At some point, I’ll have a hazy memory of these things happening and I’ll wonder, “Did that really happen?”  And, then, I’ll look back through this mess and find the link and say, Yup!

So, headlines will come and go.  What I find more compelling are original sources as they become available.  For example, Politico just released a transcript of a Wall Street Journal interview that Trump did on the day of his failed health care repeal vote.  This was also a few days before he hired John Kelly and fired Anthony Scaramucci.  I hope the world will do it’s best to record every utterance of Donald Trump for the rest of his life.  Trying to figure out what he’s saying is just so much fun.  I don’t know if this was the best passage from the interview, but it seemed pretty good to me:

TRUMP: And today we’re having a big vote, and we’ll see what happens. But today’s vote is big, because once you get in – once you’re allowed to talk a lot of –

BAKER: But we can’t expect any more staff changes in the immediate – in the immediate future?

TRUMP: No, I don’t think so.

BAKER: No?

TRUMP: But I’m very happy with Anthony. I think Anthony is going to do amazing.

Thunderbolt and lightning

John Kelly, the guy who replaced the guy that Anthony Scaramucci had fired, just fired Scaramucci.  Scaramucci lasted 10 days.  This is the John Kelly who threatened to leave the administration when James Comey was fired.  So much firing!  Fortunately, the president assures us that there is “No WH chaos!”  How reassuring.

Meanwhile, the GOP seems to have given up trying to dismantle the American health care system for the moment.  But, when will they give up on TrumpHis lies are getting weirder and weirder.

Very, very frightening.

In range

What’s different today?  Reince Priebus leaving the White House?  John Kelly coming in?  John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski briefly breaking ranks with their party to join civilization in the fight for health care?  Yes, sure, and those things would have been notable if not for the fact that, for the first time, North Korea can bomb most of the United States.  Furthermore, the US can do nothing about it beside make the usual empty threats and postures.  Less than a month ago, North Korea tested a missile that could reach Alaska and Hawaii.  Some folks on the continent probably comforted themselves with the thought that North Korea was far from having a missile that could reach them.  Some now are speculating that North Korea is far from having a missile that can reach the US with a nuclear warhead.  Meanwhile, North Korea’s ambition continues apace.  Their goal is clear–to have the capability of setting off nuclear bombs in the United States.  Nothing, it seems, will stop them.  And, today, they just passed a very important threshold.  Today, the US mainland is truly in range.

And the US administration is falling apart.