Well, my hopes for an adult in the room fell short of expectation. McMaster is long gone. Mattis is still there, but basically invisible, having been frozen out of the inner sanctum. Kelly is hanging on by a tweet. Grumbles about replacing him have been filtering out of the oval playpen since June.
I'm coming to a point where I just don't care. I'm beginning to believe that when 88% of Republicans polled approve of how this administration is dealing with Russia, we are in deeps and serious democracy weeds. Judy Woodruff, in welcoming Amy Walters of Cook Political Report and Susan Page of USA Today to the PBS News Hour discussion on the Helsinki Summit approval ratings, said:
And let’s show the audience some numbers. Among Democrats, the approval rating for the president is what you might expect, only 9 percent. Among independents, 36 percent approval over the president and how he handled the Russia meeting. Among Republicans, it’s sky-high, 88 percent.I am greatly confused by this. I thought the denizens of the GOP were supposed to be the ultimate patriots, unlike the liberal left. I thought these guys understood Putin is a dictator. Okay, I get the racist approval part, and the white supremacist part, but elevating Putin? Can you imagine what apoplexy that would have occurred if President Obama was standing there going, "Yay, Vlad!" ?
There's not much to say about a country where a significant population seems to think this kind of behavior abroad is okay, not to mention paying off Playmates you were screwing after your wife had a baby. These guys seem to not have any moral dilemma with this stuff.
So, in the episode below, I missed the mark about how the junta would happen. I had way too much faith in General Kelly's ability to teach, instruct, and instill a sense of statesmanlike practice into the West Wing. My naïveté was showing, like a slip that's an inch too long. So the reign of toddler goes on. After toying with North Korea, he dumped Li'l Kim for his new BDF, Vladie the Not-So-Benevolent-Despot.
And now that he's invited Vladie over for a play date, he's eyeing a new best dictator friend: Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. He had very strong words for him this week.
Kinda reminds me of that time he said this about Li'l Kim: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening … and as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before."
I think that was just a little "save the date" notice for Mr. Rouhani, dontcha think?
Li'l Kim, Vladie the Not-So-Benevolent-Despot, President Ayatolla Rouhani....hmmm. I'm betting his next play-pal will be either Rodrigo I-Never-Met-A-Critic-I-Couldn't-Kill Duterte or possibly Nicolas What-Problems? Maduro.
Maybe I'll have better luck with this prediction.
#2: It's Not A Coup, It's A Junta
August 28, 2017
Let me make this as simple as I possibly can.
The current president knows jackshit about foreign policy. He knows even less about American civics. It’s highly unlikely he’s ever read the Constitution of the United States unless someone gave him the Classics Illustrated version.
Currently, there are three generals running the west wing: Chief-of-Staff Gen. John Kelly (Ret.,) Secretary of Defense, Gen. James Mattis (Ret.,) and National Security Advisor, Lt Gen. H.R. McMasters. There are also 7 members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Since Kelly has come on, there seems to be a general house-cleaning going on. The big alt.right faction has gotten the jackboot on the way out the door: Bannon is out, Mooch is out, Gorka is out. That didn’t stop the toddler-in-chief from giving the Charlottesville raiders the thumbs up.
But then he gave an almost cogent speech on Afghanistan…which was a180° turn from his campaign platform…you remember, the one where he castigated President Obama for remaining in Afghanistan? Clearly not written by him. Too sane sounding.
Sane didn’t last long. He was back to weird the next day.
So while there may be adults in the room, there seems to still be a lack of toddler control.
Which may, in turn, be a smoke screen. While the toddler is saying incredibly stupid things either while sitting on the can or standing at the podium, all attention is focused on him.
Example: Pardoning Sheriff Joe Arapio was not only bizarre, it was a giant distraction from the real news of the day – Hurricane Harvey. At today’s press conference with Finnish President Shauli Niinisto, the toddler blurted out why he announced the pardon when he did:
Actually, in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they were normally...
It’s all about him. And he doesn't know the difference between a pardon and a commutation.
Interestingly, former sheriff Arpaio was pardoned before he was sentenced. A pardon dismisses the crime that has been committed; it is an admission of guilt. A commutation shortens the sentence. Presidents are loath to give pardons; they mostly give commutations. This is how one respects the law. The toddler dismissed the idea that Joe Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court, which means the court told him to stop doing something, in this case established racial profiling, and he ignored that court order. The pardon dismisses the rule of law.
We are watching the slow, systematic collapse of the United States government. I'm not sure We, the People, can do much except prepare for the possibility of the degradation of the rule of law.
Which makes forming a junta even more fascinating. Is there an expectation of further degradation of the rule of law?
I want to believe Kelly is attempting to protect the three branches of government and ultimately, the Constitution. I want to believe he is setting the pieces in place so if the toddler runs off the rails, the government will be able to shore itself up and pull itself back together. I want to believe they will do the right thing to keep fascism from our streets.
I want to believe this, but on the other hand, John Kelly is surreptitiously moving the pieces around the chessboard. Pay no attention to the guys behind the curtain?
Have you ever seen a good junta? I'm not sure they exist.
Or, then there's the other scenario: the junta is in it for the power. Is Kelly positioning himself to lead a takeover of the United States, wresting the government from the tatters of democracy while putting himself in charge of the new order?
Now is the time we should be paying very close attention to the guys behind the curtain; otherwise, when we figure it all out, it might very well be too late.
The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Nice People didn't speak out in Nazi, Germany, because, after all,
it was none of their business.
Don't be a nice person.