Team Trump Transmogrifies into the Swamp Thing
The establishment has eaten the White House, and yet I continue to read supporters of President Trump who desperately hold to the delusion that Trump is playing a game of 4-D chess — a game so advanced that no one else on the face of the earth can understand that Trump is winning.
Trump’s masterful chess moves supposedly convince his opponents he is losing at every turn, but these apparent losses are mere decoys, intended to distract his opponents from his true accomplishments and, most of all, from seeing the great drubbing they are about to receive … though no one knows what that is.
The establishment rules the game
Seriously? Can you honestly believe a cabinet overrun by Goldman Sachs will ever have your best interest at heart? Ever?
I believe those writers as well as the people who continue dogmatically to cheer Trump on at his rallies when they should be raking him over the coals for turning away from them, are living in and maintaining a fantasy bubble as big as the stock-market bubble. Trump’s turning was underscored with the recent termination of Steve Bannon, which leaves the White House almost wholly remade into an establishment wonderland where many of the top offices are either run by Democrats or by military brass.
That does not mean the left has stopped fearing Trump or that the establishment feels it has won the game and can now relax. Trump’s campaign openly threatened both the left and the establishment by garnering huge public support. Candidate Trump overtly threatened the military-industrial complex with all of his arguments against further US policing of the world and against the United State’s imperial attempts at nation building in the Middle East.
However, the notion that the establishment is about to lose in a clever fourth-quarter reversal of the game by Trump this year is ludicrous. This predicted surprise has been talked about for months. Though it hasn’t happened, Trump’s supporters will say that is just because Trump is still building toward his final masterful play … and then you’ll see. That’s how denial works.
The left and its anarchists along with establishment Republican politicians continue to push the game hard against Trump because they are leaving nothing to chance. They will do a full-court press to the finish, but clearly the momentum of the game is in their direction. Trump’s Goldman advisors, for example, have convinced him that banks need to be freed up again to gamble with their depositors’ money.
Goldman Sachs reportedly is now pushing to kill pesky investment-banking legislation created in Obama-era battering after President Donald Trump has made two company alumni his point men on financial regulation…. “The new team in Washington could not have come at a more important time for Goldman. The bank that received a $10 billion bailout from U.S. taxpayers in 2008 is looking to the Trump administration for another helping hand, this time from what Goldman sees as overbearing regulation exacerbating its current trading funk,”the Financial Times explained. Goldman’s securities-trading division has fallen on hard financial times. “Post-crisis regulation has curtailed the operation. In 2007 the bank’s net trading revenue from bonds, currencies and commodities peaked at $16.2 billion. Last year, notwithstanding some reorganization, the rough equivalent was $7.6 billion,” the FT reported, “The main culprit in Goldman’s eyes is the Volcker rule, a ban on banks placing market bets with their own money … a bulwark against future crises requiring public bailouts.” (NewsMax)
This month, Trump followed his GS buddies’ bidding and decided to bring the Volker rule under review. As far as I’m concerned the Volker rule did not go far enough. We should have gone back to Glass-Steagall. Stepping away from Glass-Steagall is where things really fell apart in the financial crisis that created the Great Recession. However, moving back in that direction is not where Trump’s review of the Volker rule is intended to go.
The establishment’s end game
Even though the establishment largely owns the White House now, they will still try to annihilate Trump politically. They want to take him out of the game so completely that neither he nor anything like him ever raises its squirrel-topped head again. It’s a two-pronged strategy: 1) win Trump over on everything they can to minimize damages and even use him to accomplish their bankster/military agenda, but 2) seek always to destroy him and his supporters anyway. The fact that they win a lot of what they want from Trump doesn’t mean they like him. He is still a loose canon, and his supporters are the greatest risk to their unfettered greed.
They will try to use Trump to demonstrate to all who support him that their cause is hopeless. They intend, if they possiblly can, to grind him and his cause into dust by every means possible in order to quell all future and similar attempts at rebellion, and they will use him as a scapegoat to show how badly things go when the masses don’t go the establishment’s way. Thus they want to destroy him into the dust in order to take his supporters down with him.
Bannon the Barbarian went bust
The recent termination of Steve Bannon by General Kelly is the clearest proof that the Goldman Sachs team and the military-industrial complex that Goldman loves to finance is winning. Bannon claimed he voluntarily stepped down, but I didn’t see Trump encouraging him to stay or ever speaking out favorably about him in recent months as supporters worried that Bannon was on his way out and as press leaks said the same thing.
Bannon is trying to shine up his image by presenting his move as empowerment:
“In the White House I had influence, at Breitbart, I had power,” Bannon reportedly said several times…. (Zero Hedge)
That’s true but only because Trump never did give Bannon a seat of power. Trump gave him a token position as Advisor in order to appear Bannon’s anti-establishment supporters. Bannon never had leadership over any department of government. All he ever had was the right to argue in the room and try to influence things. Now, he doesn’t even have that.
Despite his departure—voluntarily, he insists, though his resignation is reported to have been demanded of him—Mr Bannon says he will never attack his former boss. Yet Breitbart will caution Mr Trump to stick to the populist nationalist course Mr Bannon charted. “We will never turn on him. But we are never going to let him take a decision that hurts him.” The [Breitbart] website offered an early taste of this in its disparaging coverage of Mr Trump’s “flip-flop” decision to send more American troops to Afghanistan, which was announced on August 21st and Mr Bannon strongly opposes…. The very fact that Trump has veered away from populist policies suggests that the former top aide to the president has been “plainly diminished….” To their point, there’s been no clearer sign of Bannon’s waning influence over the president than Trump’s decision earlier this week to commit more troops to Afghanistan, which Bannon vehemently opposed. The Afghan troop surge is perhaps the clearest sign yet that Trump is taking a more moderate path advocated by his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his national-security adviser, HR McMaster. Breitbart, ostensibly at Bannon’s behest, has waged wars against both men, and it’s widely believed that its recent attacks on McMaster backfired, helping to hasten Bannon’s ouster.
Some Trump supporters are now writing that Bannon’s removal is just another 4-D chess move by which Trump has freed Bannon up to take an outside roll of greater power. I side with those who say it clearly is the last straw in shifting the White House to a pro-establishment staff where Stephen Miller looks like the only anti-establishment type left standing. If Trump truly wanted to make Bannon more powerful, he would have put him in General Kelly’s position. Instead, he chose to hire Kelly and follow Kelly’s lead by firing Bannon.
If Trump had placed Bannon in Kelly’s Chief-of-Staff position, Bannon could have torn through the White House’s embedded establishment like a white tornado, ripping it apart in every corner of the magnificent national mansion. Trump could have empowered Bannon to toss out all the Obama holdovers that Trump should have tossed, as well as all the GS alumni that Trump should never have appointed. Instead, Trump put the MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL ESTABLISHMENT in charge of his staff and let Bannon walk (or kicked him out).
So, to those who are writing that Bannon’s dismissal makes him a more powerful Trump team member, I say, “Way to keep the denial alive!” It is that kind of denial that got us into this economic mess and that keeps us in it. It is denial that keeps the two-party system in power because the voters on each side routinely deny the failure of their own side and blame all failure on the other side in order to avoid admitting they voted for someone who isn’t doing the job. This kind of “yellow-dog” support has kept the Democrats and Republicans in power for decades, regardless of how poorly they perform.
Denial keeps trickle-down economics to the smallest trickle imaginable as people of average means choose to maintain the fantasy that someday the flood gates will open and wealth will pour down upon them, too. After all, they wouldn’t want the government taxing away their capital gains when their glorious day in the sun comes … which it never does and never will under this leaden economy. Based on that fantasy, they hand the wealthy the lowest tax rates by giving them a special reduced rate ( called “the capital gains tax”) on the one form of income that the wealthy most rely on and that least often benefits anyone else. They don’t seem to realize that a lower capital-gains tax means other things get tax increases to make up the deficiency — their things.
(That is Plan Trump. More of the same trickle-down baloney … only on steroids this time … coupled with a return to bankster deregulation because we all know that banks just aren’t making enough money anymore.)
To continue to support Trump when you see such blatant erosion of your goals is to cheer him on for joining the other side. He needs, instead, to hear the rebellion of his base loud and clear. Nothing would strike fear into Trump’s boastful heart so much as seeing his cheering base turn on him for turning away from them. He feeds on adulation, and seeing his only supporters turn strongly the other way would send a chill to his bones that just might stiffen his spine to actually support their cause.
But, for now, Trump is losing at almost every turn with his failed pledge on Obamacare being his greatest failure to lead. His own party in Congress is increasingly more and more against him. A true leader finds brilliant ways to get congressional members in his own party to join his agenda. I don’t see Trump succeeding at building any support within congress. A president ultimately has to inspire others toward his cause, sell the cause, encourage others to join the cause. Trump’s base and his support in congress is slowly fading. It would do far better if, instead of fade, it became outraged. The one advantage of a president who needs constant adulation is that you can move him by taking that adulation away. He craves it, and he’ll do what he needs to to get it.
For some reason, his base does not see that putting Goldman Sachs in charge of most of the government and the military in charge of the rest does not match up with anything Trump’s campaign promised. They prefer the 4-D chess explanation. Why should such such a huge positions of GS and GI in government be ignored or explained away as clever illusion on Trump’s part, as if Trump secretly scores against the banksters by putting them in charge of whole departments of government.
Please show me Trump’s secret accomplishments against the banksters of Wall Street.
Trump’s fundamental failure is leadership
The very fact that Trump chose to put the establishment almost entirely in charge of his government from the outset — while stuffing Bannon into a non-authoritative role as advisor — proved beyond all doubt for me that the establishment rules. Trump was either a fool to put the alligators in charge of the swamp, or he was just a Trojan horse from the outset, raised like a lightning rod by the establishment so they could draw all anti-establishment rebels to him and destroy them all in one great flash. And now the alligators have moved Bannon out. I’m not saying Bannon won’t keep up the fight, but there are only a few people left in the White House who have any desire to thwart the establishment.
Trump’s bumbling management of his own government — his inability to control his own staff and keep them from leaking for half a year as well as his need to fire the people hehired one after another — reveal that he has hugely overstated his personal claims of great leadership ability.
Great leaders don’t install people who are worthless or who are liabilities against their own cause. Great leaders don’t have to constantly undo their own hiring mistakes because great leaders hire the right people to supervise departments, for doing so right out of the gate is the first and most important job of any leader (<I>building the team</I>). Until you’ve built your team, you haven’t even begun to lead, much less play in the game, and Trump’s team has been a series of self-admitted mistakes and even disasters. Some of his feistiest players have even quit on him.
I cannot recall any president who has fired so many of the people he hired so quickly and who has ridiculed so many others that he appointed. Trump leads like an overgrown baby by throwing public tantrums about his own appointed team members in order to try to cajole them into doing what he wants, as if he is too inept to realize that attacking his own team publicly only reduces their potency in the highly public forum they must operate within and demoralizes the entire team.
Trump annoints powerful people into high places and then tweets them to death in order to diminish their power, as if he feels any prestige they gain threatens him. Strong, confident leaders are not that easily threatened by the successes of their own team members. A good leader empowers his team and exults in any praise that comes to the team as a result of any one player. Name me any great historic leader who routinely used public shame in order to rein his own appointees in the direction he wants them to head.
The presidents team is supposed to be a team of people who all, in their own right, are great leaders because they must lead all the departments of government. What great leaders would submit themselves to working for someone like Trump who chooses to publicly shame them as his approach to team communication?
Great leaders are confident, so they don’t worry about who gets the credit. What they care about is getting the job done. They are, in fact, proud of seeing their own team members get recognition because it proves they have chosen great people for the job. They don’t try to diminish them for getting all the press coverage.
Can you imagine a football coach or team owner who gets upset because some of his team members are becoming stars in their own right and getting all kinds of press for leading the team? That’s exactly what a good coach or team owner wants.
The defensive guard
Bannon says his new role is to rally the base:
“I can rally the base, have his back. The harder he pushes, the more we will be there for him.”
But I think the base is, first, going to have to rally its president and push him in order to get him do do the things they want.
To those who write in defense of Trump’s manifold failures and outright capitulations to the establishment, I say, “Dream on! Keep the denial alive! The establishment is counting on your ability to do so! It is what keeps them in power at every turn — your gullibility, your willingness to believe this time is different, your willingness to believe that wealth someday will trickle down to you if you give the wealthy all the breaks, and especially your willingness to believe in a false messiah or maybe just the establishment’s own Trojan Trump. It is not Trump who has the establishment fooled in a game of 4-D chess. It is the establishment who has YOU fooled.”
To the rest, of Trump’s supporters who are growing a little restless, it is time to start voicing your great displeasure to Trump, spelling out how much you hate the fact that he has put GS in charge of his government, stating clearly that you don’t like the dismissal of Bannon, and writing bluntly that you are angry that he is putting the military-industrial complex in charge of half of his government. You need to put him on notice! Demand more!
Remind President Trump that Candidate Trump repeatedly stated that the US needs to get less involved in the Middle East. While Candidate Trump said we need to get out of Afghanistan, President Trump has just decided to double down
What happened to less involvement in Afghanistan and the Middle East? Was Candidate Trump just an airhead, spouting off vain ideas that Trump supporters are now going to excuse? Did he get schooled so that he knows we must now fully engage in Afghanistan in order to stabilize it? Is it going to turn out better this time than it did under Bush, who was also strongly pro military?
Look, I was never against chasing Al Qaeda across Afghanistan and deposing the Taliban who gave them safe harbor, but Trump is now threatening greater engagement in North Korea, deeper and more intensified engagement in Afghanistan, while still apparently aiming for regime change in Syria. Even with North Korea, I don’t know that there are any other options because another nuclear empowered tyrant does not make the world safer.
Nevertheless, all indications are that the US is moving toward greater military involvement around the world, not less. With top military brass in control of a number of departments and in charge of all top staff as the Chief of Staff, I don’t see any prospect that Trump is going to follow through on his campaign promises of reduced military involvement in the world.
At the same time, Trump seems to be backing away from building more peaceful relations with Russia, and he has put Goldman Sachs in charge of everything financial.
So, I ask, will there EVER be a point where enough is enough for Trump supporters and they start writing to the president to ask him whatever happened to Candidate Trump? When will Trump’s rallies start to turn around and quit stoking him with endless indulgences and praise? When will his rally attendees ball him out for giving away the farm?
Because Trump craves the applause of his supporters, they are the only ones who have power to steer him in the right direction. Rather than rallying the supporters behind Trump, I want to rally them to demand Trump become the president he said he was going to be.
I don’t think we could possibly have a White House more wholly owned by the swamp than this present one. Even Obama didn’t have as many GS suits and military brass running the show. Is this what you voted for? It certainly isn’t anything like I thought an anti-establishment White House would look like … but then I never thought Trump would deliver an anti-establishment White House. I predicted he’d more than likely turn out to be a Trojan horse for the establishment or, in the very least, their scapegoat, and either of those look more and more likely with each passing month. Trump may stick a finger in the eyes in the press in order to stay in the spotlight, but the establishment now owns the White House.
It’s time to make your disapproval heard loud and clear at Trump rallies, which Trump goes to for his own personal refueling. It’s time to make it known in letters. Speak up now if you are ever going to move your candidate in the direction you intended for him to go because, as it stand right now, Goldman Sachs and the military own the White House, lock, stock and smoking barrels.
But, when you call the White House to start campaigning to get Candidate Trump back, don’t be surprised when they answer, “Kushner, Cohn, Kelly and Munchkin” because those are the people in charge now.