Saturday, January 28, 2017

Making the NSC Great Again! (Now with 100% more neo-Nazis!)

In case the whole "idiotic visa restriction for entire countries except the ones that Donald Trump does business with!" thing that mike posted below wasn't idiotic enough for you, here's today's REALLY stupid thing:

Today's executive order removed the CIA director, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs from their permanent seats on the National Security Council (they will only attend meetings when their "area of expertise" is required...) and replaced them with...

(wait for it....)

Steve Fucking Bannon.

These really are the fucking mole people...


  1. What he is doing with the NSC is putting together a spin room and dirty tricks privy council. This will be his real inner Cabinet. Kind of like Nixon's closest aides during Watergate, or Lenin's Sovnarkom. The only national security discussed will be how to make Trump look good and how to blame everything bad on Obama, or Congressional Democrats, or the Clinton Foundation, or anyone else on his enemies list.

    Trump is the yuuugest recruiter for Daesh and al-Qaeda. He is their enabler. But he will get a free pass even in the event that they strike again in America or inspire someone to do it for them. Won't matter if the terrorist is from a country not on Trump's list. The blame has been laid well in advance. And that blame will be reinforced by Steve Bannon, the 21st century Goebbels.

    They should rename the NSC and call it the Trumpet Ensemble, or DonJon's Star Chamber, or . . . ?

  2. I thought that there were statutory members of the NSC and I would have have guessed that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was on the list of permanent members.

    Do these changes signal more or less adventurism by the USA? If it means slightly increased terrorism and no new wars, that is a net win. But if we get a new war *and* increased terrorism, ick!

    1. My problem with this, Ael, is that it doesn't really do anything to give us an idea of what direction this might take the NSC, other than in the general direction of "more neo-nazi conspiracy-theory, less boringly conventional Great Power military/intelligence shenangains".

      My take on the typical positions of the DNI and the Chairman is that they are seldom "hawkish" in the sense of pushing for war. Obviously they see those things through the lens of their specialties, so the Chairman sees geopolitical problems through the lens of military utility and the DNI through the lens of spying. So the Chairman may be relied on to give a military solution (or the lack of one, if that appears to be the case) while the DNI is likely to push for more spying.

      Bannon, OTOH, is just a fucking goon whose specialty is ginning up wingnut (and, worse) support for racist and xenophobic policies. HE can be relied on to push whatever policies will frighten and anger the wingnut base and make them push for more racist and xenophobic policies. As Mike points out, he's the Julius Streicher of Trumplandia.

      So there's every probability that less DNI/CJCS and more Bannon means more racist and xenophobic geopolitics from this administration.

    2. Trump shows that he has little clue about how subordinate his powers are to laws made by Congress, but this doesn't seem to be such a case.
      The (amended) law only gives the Chief of Staffs a "may" seat.

      See section 101(7)(e).
      In fact, the composition of the NSCs of the past doesn't seem to be terribly well-aligned with the NSC composition as imposed by the law.

    3. No argument that this is within the legal power of the President, Sven. The point is that it's just...stupid. If you want to make smart foreign policy and geopolitical decisions you need the views of the "subject matter experts", even if the subject you're debating may not be, say, direct military action. Perfect example was Eric Shinseki's attempt to bring the Bushies to reality about what the manpower of their Mess-o-potamia really meant once the inevitable conventional war was won.

      My understanding is that's pretty much the whole IDEA of the NSC; to provide the Chief Executive the best informed and widest-ranging advice on whatever action he's contemplating.

      There's a valid case to be made (as Ael did) that the DNI and the CJSC may not provide that advice.

      There's NO case to be made for Steve Fucking Bannon providing anything but the intellectual equivalent of swamp gas.

    4. "If you want to make smart foreign policy and geopolitical decisions you need the views of the "subject matter experts", even if the subject you're debating may not be, say, direct military action."

      Thinking about that statement a little more I'll go even further. I'd add: "you need the views of the widest and most diverse possible group of "subject matter experts"

      The problem I see in a LOT of D.C. decision-making is the "Washington Rules" syndrome; the people advising on the decisions tend to be from a small inbred group with very similar outlooks. "War works", "more rubble, less trouble", "strength = respect, weakness = bullied". The effect is the "if all your tools are hammers..." approach to problems.

      This action on His Fraudulency's part is exponentially worse, tho. At least the CJCS isn't a Trump partisan and, at least in theory, the DNI comes from the "intelligence community" and can both be counted on to represent their own constituencies. Bannon - aside from being a meeching slimy Nazi bastard and human slime mold - is a Trumpeter, an echo chamber for the Dear Leader. He's useless other than, as noted, promulgating policies designed to simultaneously placate and inflame his old-white-racist-reactionary followers.

    5. Clearly, you need to have subject matter experts in the room. The fiasco over the weekend was made much worse by the horribly unclear drafting of the EO. Malicious incompetence is still incompetence and your adversaries will exploit it.

      Also, while Mr. Bannon is a slimy Nazi bastard, he isn't at all stupid. He *did* get Trump elected when nobody (including Trump himself) expected it. I suspect that he is able to think circles around most of the company Trump keeps.

      Evil and stupidity are independent variables.

    6. Stupid is relative, Ael I am a terrific geologist, a fairly good amateur historian, and well-informed on a reasonably wide range of subjects.

      On higher math, modern art, and the tactics of cricket I am as dumb as a stump.

      So while I might not be unhelpful as part of a geology roundtable or a military history forum you'd be a fool to put me on a football rules committee or a medical ethics forum.

      Bannon's "credentials" include a known penchant for fabulism, fascist propaganda, and lying to serve his slimy ends. To bring him into a committee intended to provide broad, well-informed, diverse geopolitical information is the structural equivalent of placing Charlie Manson on a panel debate over private morals. You can't ever feel confident that what you're getting will be unbiased or untainted and he's so whack there's even a problem detecting when he's lying because he's a REALLY good liar.

      So at least in this case, it's both evil - Bannon - and stupid for Trump, if he's trying to get good policy advice.

  3. The Trumpster's new foreign policy for America:

  4. And for Trump's actual National Security Advisor, Mad Mike Flynn, that is a disaster also IMHO. Perhaps worse than the skag from Breitbart. Flynn took bucks from the Russkies. His family has business dealings with Turkey. Wants to lock up political enemies.

    Bannon after all is only on the NSC to try to make sure NSC decisions are in tune with the right wing base and the Teatard librul haters.

  5. Chief,

    I say this not as a defense of Trump or Bannon or any of their ideas. I say this for the collective sanity of the group here and the country at large (or whoever cares to look), this NSC shuffle looks much less sinister than its media treatment.

    It looks very similar to the NSC document created by President Bush.
    Here is the current President's:
    Here is President Bush's:

    The critical piece here is that both include the phrase which has some news outlets screaming that he's cutting out the military:
    "The Director of Central Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed."
    which is now being trumpeted as a 'demotion' worthy of all the outrage.
    I don't like Bannon anywhere in the White House, let alone the NSC, but I'm not sure I can see much more than partisanship and general Trump prejudice for the ire this has drawn.

    PF Khans

    1. It draws ire, PF, because a very badly informed, impulsive, arrogant man is working to remove the voices on the NSC that might tend to tell him that he's being arrogantly, impulsively, ignorantly stupid and replacing them with his syncophants, suck-ups, conspiracy theorists, fabulists, and (in Bannon's case) fascists.

      You'll note that it will be Flynn and Trump who will decide when the issues pertain to the CJSC and the DNI (and the director of the CIA). You wanna bet all the money in your pocket against all the money in mine that those two precious pearls will use sound judgement on that one?

      So is this more than "partisanship and Trump prejudice"? No, probably not. Does this display of partisanship and Trump prejudice make it MORE likely that His Fraudulency will get bad advice from sketchy people on issues of national security?


      So for that reason alone it deserves all the stick it's getting, IMO.

    2. Generals and admirals would have told him no such thing.
      I also think it's a myth that they point out the limits of military effectiveness reliably. Petraeus promised Obama that AFG can be won in 18 more months with a "surge" instead of admitting that the army has no means to pacify and stabilise AFG within any reasonable budget and timeframe.

      I also don't see why a top spy needs to be in the NSC, and strongly suspect that foreign countries have no such spy community representative in their NSC equivalents. The spies shall deliver their dossiers in time and be available for phone calls during a NSC meeting, there's no need for more involvement.

      Furthermore, Flynn is a Lt.Gen.(ret.) IIRC, so he's already a military ingredient to the NSC regarding cultural and institutional bias as well as experience and knowledge background.

      I agree that the NSC story is such a big deal because Trump is not trusted with the military power under his command, but the same move wouldn't have irritated most of the same people if Obama had done it in 2008.

      Last but not least; I doubt that "advice" matters much regarding Trump. "Manipulation" on the other hand will matter a lot. He's an empty bucket on all matters that Fox News hasn't covered, so Pence et al can easily manipulate him by being the first to feed him well-selected info in a digestible format.

    3. Regardless of the value of the military and intelligence chiefs' advice, I think we can agree that replacing that with Bannon is NOT a step in the right direction.

      And unfortunately Flynn is little better; he was booted for letting his whacko notions and his bureaucratic ineptitude.

      So whether he's being advised or manipulated, Trump will be poorer served by these changes.

  6. Apparently Bannon gets his national security advice from disgraced Blackwater mercenary Erik Prince.

    1. That's brilliant. The Joe Goebbels of Trumpsylvania getting his geopolitics from the Arnaud Amalric of Baghdad. Can't see how THAT ends badly!