Lazy Saturday ReadsPosted: August 19, 2017
I’m completely exhausted–mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I’m sure I’m not alone. Trump in the White House is utterly toxic. The poison he spews every day is so draining. How will it end? Will he ever go away and leave us alone?
He’s certainly isolated now. All but one of his original top advisers in the photo at the top of this post is now gone. Only Pence remains. Domenico Montenaro at NPR: What Trump’s Increasing Isolation Could Mean For His Presidency.
There has been a pattern — that if anyone gets too much attention for being influential, they become a target. Remember when U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was getting lots of positive attention for how she spoke out on Syria?
“Does everybody like Nikki, because if you don’t—,” Trump said. “Otherwise she can easily be replaced, right?”
And there was Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who stood awkwardly behind the president when he spoke at the Boy Scouts Jamboree last month, when Trump said: “By the way, are you going to get the votes? He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better. Otherwise I’ll say, ‘Tom, you’re fired.’ I’ll get somebody.”
(Nevermind that Price had relatively little influence in getting those votes.)
Two days later, the health care bill failed. Price is still on the job, but in an effort to separate himself from Congress and hold onto his base, Trump began to lash out at congressional Republicans, especially Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell.
Translation: Trump is all about Trump.
The ousters at the White House, taken together, amount to a Trump purge. It’s the president asserting himself and saying no one is above No. 1.
A little more:
What’s left in the White House is Trump’s family, “globalists,” like former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, and the generals, including Chief of Staff John Kelly, who has orchestrated much of the shakeup. The latter two are arguably part of “the swamp” his base so detests.
But that’s not to say any of them become ascendant for an extended period. Kelly has already been on the cover of Time, hailed as “Trump’s Last Best Hope.” What happens if the magazine credits him for righting the ship, or the narrative becomes that the Pentagon is dictating policy?
The narrative that really seems to irk President Trump is one of the “adults” leading him around like he’s a “child.” ….
Anything’s possible. Nothing is normal. So don’t be surprised if in another seven months, the country is looking at a completely new White House again — though Trump is running out of people who will take jobs in his administration.
Trump is runs the White House like an alcoholic father terrorizes his family. I can’t even begin to imagine what having him as a parent must have been like. No wonder his children are so soulless.
Two points of view on Bannon’s banishment:
The New York Times: Steve Bannon, Back on the Outside, Prepares His Enemies List.
Stephen K. Bannon has always been more comfortable when he was trying to tear down institutions — not work inside them.
With his return to Breitbart News, Mr. Bannon will be free to lead the kind of ferocious assault on the political establishment that he relishes, even if sometimes that means turning his wrath on the White House itself.
Hours after his ouster from the West Wing, he was named to his former position of executive chairman at the hard-charging right-wing website and led its evening editorial meeting. And Mr. Bannon appeared eager to move onto his next fight.
“In many ways, I think I can be more effective fighting from the outside for the agenda President Trump ran on,” he said Friday. “And anyone who stands in our way, we will go to war with.”
Among those already in Mr. Bannon’s sights: Speaker Paul D. Ryan; Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader; the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and Gary D. Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs who now directs the White House’s National Economic Council.
“The president was buoyed to election by capturing the hearts and minds of a populist, nationalist movement,” Alex Marlow, Breitbart’s editor in chief, said Friday evening. “A lot of it was anti-Wall Street, anti-corporatist, anti-establishment. And now we’re seeing that a lot of these guys remaining inside the White House are exactly the opposite of what we told you you were going to get.”
Sarah Kendzior at Fast Company: Steve Bannon May Be A Bigger Asset to Trump Outside The White House Than In It.
In 2016, Bannon described himself as a Leninist. When a Daily Beastreporter asked what that meant, Bannon replied: “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
That was Bannon’s goal before he became a federal employee, funded by U.S. tax dollars. But Bannon’s views did not change when he became Trump’s chief strategist. In his February speech to CPAC, Bannon said his objective was to “deconstruct the administrative state” and that many of the injurious incompetents who fill Trump’s cabinet–the EPA head who opposes environmental protections, the HUD secretary who opposes public housing–”were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction.”
Bannon sought to destroy the United States as we know it from both from within the White House as Trump’s advisor, and from outside it, back when he was the editor of white supremacist outlet Breitbart. Bannon sought to build a movement, not serve our government. In many ways, he succeeded: his white nationalist views became sanctioned at the executive level, and the US government is chaotic, understaffed, and weaker on the global stagethan at any point this century.
What is essential to realize is that, despite reports of a feud, Trump shares much of Bannon’s dark outlook. Trump spent his business career eagerly anticipating both social and economic disasters. “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy,” Trump said of the housing crash in 2006. Before that, Trump spent decades exploiting the damaged economies of towns like Gary, Indiana and Atlantic City, leaving them as bad or worse off than when he arrived. In 2014, Trump openly longed for the U.S. to “go to total hell” and cited riots as necessary for true American greatness–words that should worry all of us as we head into this tense weekend. Over the past two years, Trump has rarely condemned his white supremacist supporters who attack ethnic and religious minorities; at one point, he offered to pay legal fees for violent fans.
Click on the link to read the rest.
There is a so-called “free speech” rally in Boston today. I hope it won’t be too ugly.
Wesley Lowery at the Washington Post: Thousands expected at Boston ‘free speech’ rally and counter-protest.
BOSTON – City officials expect a gathering of thousands of participants and counter-protesters on Boston Common on Saturday afternoon for a “free speech” rally set to include speeches from several far-right political figures – prompting fears that the event could turn violent.
More than 500 police officers will be on hand for the rally, slated from noon until 2 p.m., according to a permit granted earlier this week. The gathering comes just one week after a chaotic rally of far-right political groups including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and Klan members in Charlottesville, Va. left dozens injured and one woman dead after a neo-Nazi plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
Organizers in Boston said today’s gathering is not in solidarity with white nationalists, but police have installed new surveillance cameras around Boston Common and have put restrictions on the rally – such as a ban on backpacks, sticks and other potential weapons – in hopes of preventing violence. Local activist groups have planned a massive counter-protest and march.
“We don’t want a repeat of what happened in Charlottesville,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said at a news conference on Friday. “Boston is too united. We have a city that doesn’t tolerate hatred and bigotry.”
Boston Herald: Ku Klux Klan to attend Boston rally.
Massachusetts members of the Ku Klux Klan reportedly are headed to Boston Common for the so-called Boston Free Speech Rally this Saturday, but a rally organizer said he doesn’t want the event “hijacked” by white supremacists.
“I know some of our members from the Springfield area are going,” said Thomas Robb, national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “I’m assuming members in the Boston area are going.”
Robb did not provide details on who or how many members would attend the rally, but said they would be inconspicuous while supporting the rally.
“I don’t think they’re going to cause a disturbance,” Robb said, adding that Knights from different areas went to the Charlottesville rally. “Our members don’t stand out, they don’t walk around giving Nazi salutes, they might be your next door neighbor or Cub Scout leader.”
Now there’s a scary thought.
I saved tons of links for today, so I’ll give you the rest as headlines only.
The New Yorker: Carl Icahn’s Failed Raid on Washington.
Vanity Fair: Please God, Save Gary Cohn from Himself.
Palm Beach Post: Five more charities pull out of Mar-a-Lago events.
Julia Ioffe at The Atlantic: The Road to Radicalism in Charlottesville.
This guy is speaking in Boston today. Berkeleyside: Kyle ‘Based Stickman’ Chapman charged with felony in connection to Berkeley rally.
What stories are you following today?