Sturm und Drang

I’m sure we’d all like a break from politics, and particularly Trump, for a few days. But there is just too much going on to let it all go unremarked. Some of it is the crazy-clown chaos that we’ve already become inured to, some is hardball politics being played at a dangerous level, and some is actual news that everyone should be concerned about.

In the chaos category, you’ve got Devin Nunes, a truly pathetic and ineffectual lapdog, stepping down from his duties as Chairman of the House Russia-Trump investigation. His completely unprofessional sycophancy finally did him in.

At first glance, this seems like a positive thing because this guy was not going to do the job. The problem is that this means an elevated role for Trey Gowdy, so we’re replacing an ineffectual lapdog with a psychotic bulldog. You may remember the angry, hyper-partisan Gowdy as Hillary Clinton’s tormentor in the Benghazi “hearings”, which, by the way, led to her ultimately-fatal email problems. Gowdy did as much to sink Hillary as Comey, Wikileaks, and, of course, Hillary herself. Listen to him for five minutes and you’ll conclude he’s just nuts.

gowdy

Then you’ve got Steve Bannon losing his seat on the National Security Council. Apparently he butted heads with Jared Kushner once too often. This is a blow to hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer and daughter Rebekah, who will have reduced influence and access now. Again, there is a cloud that comes with this apparent silver lining – Bannon will be replaced by Rick Perry of all people. Here we seem to be going the other way: from psychotic bulldog to ineffectual lapdog. Oh, well. The frying pan or the fire.

In the end, it will apparently be Kushner who calls the shots in the NSC area, too. Add it to his already impossible responsibilities: straightening out that pesky Israel/Palestine kerfuffle, negotiating trade deals with China, leading the SWAT team to re-organize the entire federal bureaucracy, fixing Iraq, solving the opioid crisis, etc. What am I leaving out?

kushner

In addition to being our shadow president, the woefully unqualified Kushner is also our shadow Secretary of State. Turns out Rex Tillerson couldn’t be less interested in the job. He flies home early from meetings because of “fatigue”, refuses to take the press with him (unprecedented!), and never makes a single statement about international affairs or foreign policy. Not that surprising, really, since he has no diplomatic experience whatever (and, no, heading an oil company does not count), and only took the job to please his wife.

Meanwhile, Kushner is making the high-profile trips and is being advised by Henry Kissinger. Unlike all the other Trump appointees, however, son-in-law Kushner can never be fired, no matter how incompetent. Unless Ivanka fires him, that is.

Back on Capitol Hill, Mitch McConnell has done what we knew he would – gone nuclear. How do we know Neil Gorsuch is not the right person to be a Supreme Court Justice? Simple – he didn’t bow out of this process when he saw that getting the job would mean permanently politicizing the legislature. And how do we know Mitch McConnell is a partisan hack? Well, just ask yourself: if a sitting democratic president was under FBI investigation for collaborating with the Russians to undermine our elections, would Mitch McConnell think it was OK for him to nominate a Supreme Court Justice who will remain on the court for decades?

Tired yet? I’ll just give you one more small story – Syria. Yesterday Trump did what he repeatedly warned Obama never to do, and what he predicted Obama would do if his popularity dropped – attacked Assad’s Syria. Of course, it also should be said that he blamed Assad’s poison gas attacks on Obama for not taking military action as well. As always with Trump, he’s on record as strongly advocating all sides of an issue – that’s how come he’s always “proven right”! And, as always with Trump, the one over-arching principle is “The Buck Starts Here”.

Remember Trump’s brilliant solution to the ISIS problem? No? He gave the generals 30 days to come up with a plan to quickly defeat them (Or what? He’ll fire them all?). That was seventy days ago. The man-baby may not realize this, but any attempt to punish Assad is tantamount to direct aid for ISIS. That’s one of the many reasons why the Syria problem is intractable, and why Obama didn’t do what Trump has now done. There are no good guys in this movie.

I’m sure there were a lot of factors that went into Trump’s impulsive decision – how to improve his record-low approval ratings (ratings always go up after military action), how to counter the claims he’s Putin’s puppet (attacking Assad is attacking Putin), how to show he is now responsible and prove it’s not just words.

But, really, what is the point of giving advice to others when you do the opposite yourself? Here’s a tiny sample of advice Trump gave Obama for your enjoyment. Have a nice day.

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