Editor’s note: In case there is yet a reader out there unclear on the meaning of the term schlemiel, here is a description from an online dictionary:
That didn’t take long. Donald Trump took office less than two weeks ago, and he has just about run the table. It’s an astounding score:
But the defining moment for Mr. Bannon came Saturday night in the form of an executive order giving the rumpled right-wing agitator a full seat on the “principals committee” of the National Security Council — while downgrading the roles of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence, who will now attend only when the council is considering issues in their direct areas of responsibilities. It is 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.
Naive as I am, it was my tendency to consider the Joint Chiefs as critical to national security and for inclusion in the NSC. Apparently I have been mistaken. With the chairman of the JCS out and right wing nut job Steve Bannon in, it may be worthwhile to review Mr. Bannon’s qualifications for the job:
Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Pacific Fleet and stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.
All right! Special assistant to the CNO would give Bannon a heads up regarding what is required for his new post. The Wikipedia entry for Steve Bannon provides additional insight:
Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness in early January 1996, after [second wife Mary Louise] Piccard accused Bannon of domestic abuse. The charges were later dropped when his now ex-wife did not appear in court. In an article in The New York Times, Piccard stated her absence was due to threats made to her by Bannon and Bannon’s lawyer:
Mr. Bannon, she said, told her that “if I went to court he and his attorney would make sure that I would be the one who was guilty”… Mr. Bannon’s lawyer, she said, “threatened me,” telling her that if Mr. Bannon went to jail, she “would have no money and no way to support the children.” … Mr. Bannon’s lawyer … denied pressuring her not to testify.
Piccard and Bannon divorced in 1997. During the divorce proceedings, Piccard also stated that Bannon had made antisemitic remarks about choice of schools, saying that he did not want to send his children to The Archer School for Girls because there were too many Jews at the school and Jews raise their children to be “whiny brats”. Bannon’s spokesperson denied the accusation, noting that he had chosen to send both his children to the Archer School.
OK. That’s some tough cookie. Bannon is not the kind of person to let Kim Jong-un push him around. Mr. Bannon has since been married and divorced for a third time. A look at Breitbart News provides a further look. Under Bannon’s leadership we saw such as this:
Breitbart News is a divisive right-wing opinion and news outlet, known for offensive headlines like “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew,” “Trannies 49 Xs Higher HIV Rate,” and “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the site promotes racist, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant ideas, and it has been accused of white nationalism, a movement that opposes multiculturalism and believes in the supremacy of the white race. Bannon, who is on leave from Breitbart, d his ideology to Mother Jones as “nationalist,” but not necessarily white nationalist. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke called Bannon’s selection “excellent,” and Peter Brimelow, who runs the white nationalist site VDARE, called it “amazing.”
Here is a typical Breitbart News headline: “BIRTH CONTROL MAKES WOMEN UNATTRACTIVE AND CRAZY” I think I got that. An additional item from the Cosmopolitan article is worth noting:
7. HE SAID PROGRESSIVES VILIFY CONSERVATIVE WOMEN BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT “A BUNCH OF DYKES.”
During a 2011 radio interview, Bannon said women like Ann Coulter, Michele Bachmann, and Palin threaten the progressive narrative.
“That’s why there are some unintended consequences of the women’s liberation movement. That, in fact, the women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England,” he said, referring to historic women’s colleges. “That drives the left insane and that’s why they hate these women.”
Obviously, Mr. Bannon has some issues, and his place at the table for the NSC is of concern to many, including this writer. Other than that, Donald Trump’s actions these first few days on the job have been exemplary. Actually not:
LONDON — The British Parliament on Monday hosted an extraordinary debate over whether to ban U.S. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump from visiting the United Kingdom.
The debate, which was triggered by an online petition that described Trump’s comments about Muslims as “hate speech,” did not produce any binding decisions. Authority to ban someone from the country rests with the home secretary, not with Parliament. But the exchange gave British lawmakers an unusual chance to weigh in directly on U.S. politics.
Those are some headlines that are not soon to go away. I am vague on my history, but it has been maybe 212 years since we were last at war with Great Britain. Maybe it’s time to toss some more tea into Boston Harbor.
You know what? I haven’t gotten around to the whoop-de-doo falling out of President Trump’s precipitous action to halt travel from certain countries with which he has no current business dealings. I will save that for another post. It’s almost time for my dinner.
Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.