Saturday, February 4, 2017



What a week it’s been! Like a diabolical infant colossus suffering from projectile diarrhea, Dear Leader Trump spent the last few days giving the rest of the world a taste of the foul be-shittening that Americans have suffered since his inauguration. 

Last week, for instance, he threatened to send military troops to "deal with" Chicago's crime problem; this week, we learned that he leveled similar threats against Mexico. Last week, he put federal employees on notice about their social media habits; this week, Iran was put on notice over a successful missile test (and by the way, congratulations, guys!). And of course, this week, we learned that during his call with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, Trump complained about a deal to accept twelve hundred refugees as the "worst ever", and said the call itself was the day's "worst by far". Last week, of course, Trump was busy being America's worst President ever, by far.

So you see how they all connect.

Not that choosing targets farther afield helped bolster Trump's approval ratings at home. In fact, the opposite seems to have happened, as everyday, more Americans appear to be waking up to the reality of this shared nightmare. One indicator of this is the fact that it's taken Trump exactly 8 days to slide into majority disapproval status... something no President in living memory managed to do before serving at least a few hundred days.

Whether Trump's historic plunge in popularity was entirely due to the fallout from the disastrously incompetent roll-out of his unconstitutional "Ban on (some) Muslims"--up to and including White House spokeslizard Kellyanne Conwoman's use of the (fictional) Bowling Green Massacre as justification for it--or whether it was something else, pollsters have yet to determine.

For instance, Americans may have been expressing their displeasure at Trump choosing to fill the Supreme Court vacancy stolen from President Obama with Neil Gorsuch, a 40-something Scalia clone who started a Fascism Forever club back in his prep school days. Of course, he now says he was kidding--which I suppose makes his college years some sort of perverse performance art project--so I'm sure it's okay. I mean, I'm sure no Republicans would have complained if, say, Justice Sotomayor had chosen to write "Viva la Reconquista!" in her high school yearbook, then spent her college years working to make Texas and California part of Mexico again... right? 

And by the way, what the fuck was up with that handshake?!

Unfortunately, most Americans couldn't care less who sits on the Supreme Court. So that probably isn't what caused Trump's approval ratings nosedive. Could it be because they discovered that Trump's plan to bestow "religious freedom" upon America involves creating "wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious objections to same sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity"? This, in the same week that he asked Jerry Fucking Falwell Jr to head up "a White House task force on reforming higher education"?!

Sadly, that probably wasn't it. It's far more likely folks didn't appreciate the way Trump used the 65th annual National Prayer Breakfast to put on a clinic for how to be a flaming asshole, by attacking Mark Burnett--who had just introduced him--and mocking ratings for The Apprentice ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced him as the show's "boss", prompting this response from Arnold:

Then again, Americans love them some drama, so maybe the drop in Trump's popularity is just blowback from that botched Navy SEAL raid in Yemen.

What's that you say? You haven't heard about that botched Navy SEAL raid in Yemen? The one that led to the loss of SEAL Team 6 member William Owens and a $300M Osprey? The one that killed scores of innocent civilians, despite initial Pentagon claims of "no civilians killed"? The one that Trump okay'd over din-din? The one that was undertaken "without sufficient intelligence"? The one he didn't bother overseeing from the White House Situation Room, despite being in the White House at the time? The one described as "a disaster" by multiple government officials? The one that some Trump loyalists tried floating a "Blame Obama" tactic over, before having that tactic decisively slapped down, forcing them to switch narratives midstream and declare "Mission Accomplished!"? 

Yes, that botched Navy SEAL raid in Yemen.

It should be noted, however, that in the midst of all that human wreckage, Trump did at least get to fulfill one of his most beloved and oft-repeated campaign promises. He got to "take out" the family member of a suspected terrorist! That's exactly what happened when a bullet ripped through 8-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki's neck at some point during the raid. After reportedly suffering for two hours, Nawar was reunited with her big brother (and fellow American citizen) Abdulrhaman, who was killed alongside their father, accused Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar, in a drone strike authorized by the previous administration, back in 2011. 

So, you know, at least something about this raid went right.

As for all the countless things that went wrong--including the non-stop farrago of lies about the op put out by the Trump administration, up to and including the bizarre release/retraction of a video they tried to claim was captured during the raid--surely we'll get to the bottom of things after a few hundred million dollars' worth of overlapping Congressional investigations. I mean, thank goodness the Benghazi hearings set such a high bar in establishing precedent for how to deal with this sort of thing. I can hardly wait to watch the fireworks on C-SPAN!

Hey! What's Trey Gowdy up to these days, anyway? I hear that dude is a real Rottweiler.


1. Politico's Adam Wren sat through all the “documentaries” put out by the de facto US President Steve Bannon this week so you wouldn’t have to. So what did he discover? Well... let's just say that there are those who seem to think that Bannon is some kind of evil genius. Turns out they're half right.

2. Who knew that, back in the days before you could tell he was dying of long term alcoholic liver toxicity just by looking at him, de facto US President Steve Bannon was involved in Biosphere 2?! The folks at Motherboard have the inside scoop. You won't learn much about the project itself, which was "written off largely as a stunt, and not very good science to begin with", but what it tells us about one of the most powerful people in the world "could be the greatest finding of all."

3. Speaking of Bannon’s intellectual pedigree, were you aware that he's long been obsessed by a book touting a peculiar theory of history? As Linette Lopez explains in this Business Insider report...
In the book, authors William Strauss and Neil Howe theorize that the history of a people moves in 80-to-100 year cycles called "saecula." The idea goes back to the ancient Greeks, who believed that at a given saeculum's end, there would come "ekpyrosis," a cataclysmic event that destroys the old order and brings in a new one in a trial of fire.
This era of change is known as the Fourth Turning, and Bannon, like Strauss and Howe, believes we are in the midst of one right now. 
According to the book, the last two Fourth Turnings that America experienced were the Civil War and the Reconstruction, and then the Great Depression and World War II. Before that, it was the Revolutionary War. 
All these were marked by periods of dread and decay in which the American people were forced to unite to rebuild a new future, but only after a massive conflict in which many lives were lost. It all starts with a catalyst event, then there's a period of regeneracy, after that there is a defining climax in which a war for the old order is fought, and then finally there is a resolution in which a new world order is stabilized. 
This is where Bannon's obsession with this book should cause concern. He believes that, for the new world order to rise, there must be a massive reckoning. That we will soon reach our climax conflict. In the White House, he has shown that he is willing to advise Trump to enact policies that will disrupt our current order to bring about what he perceives as a necessary new one. He encourages breaking down political and economic alliances and turning away from traditional American principles to cause chaos. 
In that way, Bannon seems to be trying to bring about the Fourth Turning.
Knowing that a guy who believes all of the above--and who also believes that Sarah Palin, the Duck Dynasty guys, and Donald Fucking Trump are the best America has to offer--is now de facto President of the United States of America is enough to set even the stoutest knees to knocking. I think I speak for every sane human being on Planet Earth when I say: "Cirrhosis, don't fail us now!"

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