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We wouldn't buy a used car from this guy, much less national security advice


We bet you're every bit as thrilled by this news as we are: Saturday, "President" Trump signed an executive order elevating former Breitbart head and Nazi-whisperer Steve Bannon to a place on the "principals committee" of the National Security Council, the first time a political advisor has ever been given a regular spot on the committee that advises the president on defense and security. While he was at it, Trump's order also downgraded the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to part-time status on the council; they'll only be required to attend meetings that specifically deal with their areas of expertise. Those masters of understatement at the New York Times called the executive order "a startling elevation of a political adviser, to a status alongside the secretaries of state and defense, and over the president’s top military and intelligence advisers." We don't see what could possibly go wrong there.

The TrumPeople insist this is no big deal, since everybody already knows Bannon is one of the most important people in TrumpWorld, and in fact his elevation was planned out by Trump's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, the lunatic general guy who believes in Pizzagate, as part of a plan to "streamline" the NSC and make it more "efficient." Like, by cutting out a bunch of noisy "experts" and getting the political guy who was already going to be pulling Trump's strings in charge where he belongs. If you're into such things, the Times story also has a lot of stuff about how Bannon's new role may signal a loss of influence for Flynn in the constant snarl of infighting and madness that is the Trump administration, even before everyone is confirmed.

Besides, Steve Bannon is the best choice for NSC -- he, like Trump, definitely knows more than all the generals, because

“Well, he is a former naval officer,” Mr. Spicer said of Mr. Bannon on ABC’s “This Week.” “He’s got a tremendous understanding of the world and the geopolitical landscape that we have now.”

He added, “Having the chief strategist for the president in those meetings, who has a significant military background, to help make, guide what the president’s final analysis is going to be, is crucial.”

Maybe he could come up with a plan to defeat ISIS too!

The usual crowd of "people who know things" from previous administrations said this was not a good thing. Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton's former chief of staff and Barack Obama's defense secretary and CIA head, said,

The last place you want to put somebody who worries about politics is in a room where they’re talking about national security [...]

I’ve never seen that happen, and it shouldn’t happen. It’s not like he has broad experience in foreign policy and national security issues. He doesn’t. His primary role is to control or guide the president’s conscience based on his campaign promises. That’s not what the national security council is supposed to be about.

In other words, Panetta is a hater and probably a loser as well. Karl Rove, George W. Bush's top political advisor, wasn't allowed to attend NSC meetings by Bush's last chief of staff, Josh Bolten, who explained at a conference in September that since a president's decisions with the NSC “involve life and death for the people in uniform,” they shouldn't be "tainted by any political decisions." But come on, it's always political, isn't it? Bannon is a lot more fun for Trump to have around than a bunch of generals and State Department staff. Who needs generals when you're already smarter than the generals anyway? Besides, said press secretary Sean Spicer on one of the shows this weekend, Barack Obama's political advisor, David Axelrod, used to sit in on some NSC meetings, so why not give Bannon a permanent place? It's exactly the same.

Robert Gates, who also served as CIA director and Defense Secretary for Obama, said the decision to exclude the DNI and Joint Chiefs chairman from meetings except when their departments were involved was "a big mistake," adding that their input was valuable to presidents "whether they like it or not." And Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, boiled her opinion on the move down to a simple, very accurate Tweet, which she followed up with a couple of others expressing concerns that this was one hell of a way to run a railroad:

Several National Security Experts on Twitter replied that Rice had blamed a YouTube video for Benghazi, so what does she know, HAW HAW! Sean Spicer, taking a much more moderate tone, called her comments "clearly inappropriate language from a former ambassador." See? Measured and appropriate language from the guy who was sent out to yell at journalists about the size of the inauguration crowd.

Oh, and let's not make too much about that little detail with Mike Pence chairing the NSC meetings now and then, because we all knew running the government would be his job, while Trump would be Making America Great Again.

Now don't worry about the DNI and Joint Chiefs chair being downgraded to "optional," said Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, on "Meet The Press" Sunday, because they'll both be "included as attendees anytime that they want to be included." White House staff will probably even find a chair for them, though Priebus couldn't guarantee it wouldn't be that one weird chair where the gas piston loses pressure suddenly and makes the person sitting in it sink eight inches all at once while everyone else at the conference table laughs and laughs.

So the guy who bragged about making his website "a platform for the alt-right" (but definitely not "Nazi" or "racist," because that hurts their feelings) will now be a constant source of input on national security, and that is very definitely no big deal, OK? If you complain about it, Bannon will personally call you to bitch about it. And now he may be able to follow that up with a drone strike.

[NYT / WaPo / CNN]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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