SHARE

Steve Bannon, avowed Leninist, has just been appointed to a permanent position on the Principals Committee of the National Security Council. How ironic! The National Security Act of 1947 reorganized the military, created the CIA, and set up the NSC to advise the president on national security matters. Meanwhile, according to The Daily Beast, Bannon once declared, “Lenin . . . wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” So much for a rational national security policy.

Aside from the Bannon irony, the new administration’s romance with Russia should raise a sardonic smile. The NSC was formed in 1947 in the early days of the Cold War. Its early role was to counter the threat posed by the USSR. Yes, the USSR doesn’t exist anymore, but does Vladimir Putin know that? What about all of his admirers in the Trump coterie, starting with the President himself, who “always knew [Putin] was very smart!”? Let us not forget former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort who is being investigated by the FBI for his ties to Russian officials. Or Trump’s foreign policy adviser and alleged Russian bagman, Carter Page, who changed a plank in the Republican Party platform to favor Putin for some reason that no Trump supporter can divine. Small mercies: these last two are not on the NSC — yet. But Trump’s National Security Advisor and NSC member, the rightly fired general Michael Flynn, has been investigated for his Russian ties by the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department, and the office of the director of National Intelligence. Wow!

So, back to the shake-up at the NSC. There has been a torrent of reaction to the change in the Principals Committee, mainly by sane people. What’s driving us crazy is the placement of Bannon on the committee and the removal of the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Really, though, setting aside for the moment the scary thought of Bannon anywhere near a decision on whether to push the button, how controversial are these changes?

The statute that set up the NSC also provided for two subcommittees, one on Foreign Intelligence and the other on Transnational Threats. But in 1989, President George H.W. Bush created a new subcommittee, the Principals Committee. He did this by what is called a National Security Directive. Every president since then has appointed a Principals Committee. This subcommittee to the NSC functions as “the senior interagency forum for consideration of policy issues affecting national security.” Fortune reported that this committee is “often the final step where policy is shaped before being presented to the president for sign-off.” So, its membership is a BFD.

Every president since Papa Bush has tweaked the committee membership — but there are some constants: The chair has always been the National Security Advisor. The Secretaries of State and Defense have always had a seat at the table. With the exception of President Clinton, the Chief of Staff has been on the committee. (So, Reince Priebus’s appointment should not be a surprise.)

But as to Trump’s committee membership, there are some shockers. First, there has never been a “Chief Strategist” on the Principals Committee. This indicates a politicization never seen before. Second, before Trump, every president but one has included the CIA Director or, more recently, the DNI and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the committee. One guess as to that president. Yep, you’re right: W, who removed them from the Principals Committee in one of his first acts in the White House, stating that they “shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.” I guess that “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US” didn’t constitute an “issue[ ] pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise,” at least as far as the scheduling secretary was concerned.

What we have here is a recipe for disaster. A know-nothing ideologue in the place of the (relatively) knowledgeable experts, and a president who can’t pay attention for more than five minutes at a time. Given what various Trump people have stated, I can imagine the worst of W’s decisions: black sites, torture, pillaging the natural resources of an ally. Those are, I guess, known unknowns. More frightening are the unknown unknowns.

Have a great day!

Mary Brigid McManamon is a Professor of Law at Delaware Law School. Nobody tell her she’s writing for Wonkette.

$
Donate with CCDonate with CC
  • Nounverb911

    Shouldn’t Bannon be referred to with his official title, President Bannon?

  • SmokinGood

    I told my English officemates about this Bannon quote as a rebuttal to their thoughts that Trump had no plan. They were visibly unnerved.

  • Latverian Diplomat

    “United States Subservient to Russia — USSR”
    — Vladimir Putin

  • Latverian Diplomat

    “Sorry, Dr. Quest, but a Muslim ban is the only way to keep blond, blue-eyed children like Jonny Safe.”
    — Racist Bannon

    • Gayer Than Thou

      OK, now you’re just fucking with my Mike Pence/Race Bannon/silver DILF fantasies. Which were already pretty fucked up to begin with.

      • Jeffery Campbell

        You are not alone, sir, in that.

  • Lefty Frizzell

    I’m pretty sure Lenin in his day did not want to destroy the establishment and then replace it with a bigoted, corrupt, incompetent kleptocracy.

    Bannon may see this as a small difference, but still, it’s there.

  • Nounverb911
  • Zippy W Pinhead

    Welcome aboard Mary! Just a helpful hint, we Wonketeers are quite fond of dick jokes, feel free to tell us your favorite…

    • Gayer Than Thou

      Geez, dude. She’s a law professor! Show some respect. It’s Professor Mary.

      • Suttree

        Does that mean that she will be looking over her glasses disapprovingly at me?

        • Gayer Than Thou

          And correcting the grammar in your dick jokes, probably.

          • Toomush_Inferesistance

            Still not wearing pants….

          • Zippy W Pinhead

            the pantless professor!

        • pstockholm

          I love when people here share their fantasies.

        • HolidayinCambodia

          She does to me, and it’s only been 31 years of dick jokes.

          • Suttree

            Haha! Nice. There’s nothing quite like that glare.

        • gedjcj

          Don’t tease me bro!

    • BadKitty904

      Do we have to wear pants?

    • HolidayinCambodia

      “Mary Brigid.” Dershowitz made that mistake, and she cut him a new asshole.

    • HolidayinCambodia

      “Mary Brigid.” And don’t you ever forget it.

  • Lefty Frizzell

    Remember – it’s not a “muslim ban”. It’s a ban on people coming from specific countries who just happen to be muslim.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      And not from a place with Trump investments.

    • Zippy W Pinhead

      Unless it’s a Christian majority country, then you can be as terroristy as you want, no questions asked…

      • Usedtobeyellerdawg

        If you come from a Christian majority country, you’re not ‘terroristy’, you’re ‘lone wolfy’.

  • Suttree

    It is not very comforting that Chimp Mcstaggers was the only other pretzlenut to do some of this shit.

    • VagendaofNastyWoman

      He would not allow Karl Rove near the NSC because he didn’t want the perception that a political advisor (hack) was making life or death decisions involving the military.
      Who’d a thunk that W would look like a model of integrity compared to anyone else?
      Except for Daddy Bush, each Republican seems to get worse than the one before them.

      • Celtic_Gnome

        And everyone thought Devo was just a band from Akron.

  • Michael R

    Why can’t we get behind the cloning of Steve Bannon to produce a master race ?

    https://s23.postimg.org/nf20rmki3/steve_bannon_fugly.jpg

    • Gayer Than Thou

      I believe cloning would require viable cells and I think I read on the internet that enough alcohol and cocaine will damage your genetic material.

      • Suttree

        I’ve been using it as birth control for 20 years now.

    • BadKitty904

      Is the world ready for an army of Otis-the-Town-Drunks?

    • o’look Skwerl!

      His DNA is impotent.

    • (Major_Major_Major)ly_Pissed

      Because his Russian overlords are concerned about the world vodka supply?

  • Gayer Than Thou

    Well, A) I feel a little weird making dick jokes about this story written by a lady law professor (whom I assume we are paying in Exposure Dollars), not that that will stop me. And 2) I feel a little weird about how the country is going in the toilet and I’m somehow in the position of trying to defend most established agents of the military industrial complex. And III) I feel a little weird about the idea of neo-Nazi alt-Leninists.

    • Martini Ambassador

      I read that whole paragraph expecting a dick joke at the end and nada, zip, zilch.

      I am disapoint. And terrified, but I’m doing a good job of suppressing that right now.

    • SmokinGood

      I think we all know that shit has gotten far too real when we find ourselves siding with Dick Fucking Cheney against the current occupant of the WH.

      We are fucked.

    • Toomush_Inferesistance

      It’s easy: Steve Bannon is a pustulous dick!…(not very hard)….

    • alwayspunkindrublic

      Bannon-like a lot of Republicans-has a hard time keeping his totalitarians straight.

    • Lance Thrustwell

      And I feel a little weird all the time. Let’s all get weird together.

      • Gayer Than Thou

        You say that, but when I showed up in your bedroom at 3:00 a.m., you got all mad about it.

    • alwayspunkindrublic
      • Lance Thrustwell

        Comrade, I have true understanding. Communism and Socialism are same thing. Fascism is like Communism and Socialism but more complex and more murder. America is land of free. Any questions, watch Fox News, where all is made clear.

    • OneYieldRegular

      Pol Pot and Dear Leader, I suppose, could be considered neo-Nazi alt-Leninists. But bqwhtevwr, it ain’t good.

    • HolidayinCambodia

      Make all the dick jokes you want. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years, and she just married me, again, last year.

      • Gayer Than Thou

        Wait, what? You’re a celebrity! Kind of!

    • aureolaborealis

      If your weird feeling last more than four hours … *

      * dick joke.

  • Cousin Itt de La Résistance

    First, there has never been a “Chief Strategist” on the Principals Committee.

    There’s never been a president who writes on a Big Chief, either.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      “I meant to say Cheap Strategist. Seriously, Bannon works for peanuts. It’s almost as if he’s in it just as some insane bid for power.”
      — Donald Trump

    • BadKitty904

      There’s never been a Russian puppet as President, either. Coincidence?

    • Flashman

      Never been an apostrophe on the Principals Committee, for that matter.

    • OneYieldRegular

      “Trump-Boy? Trump-Boy! What’re you doin’ behind that locked doah?”

  • Nounverb911
    • BadKitty904

      Laws don’t apply to a dictator.

      • h4rr4r

        Assuming we still have a Judicial Branch they apply to this whitehouse.

        • BadKitty904

          “Assuming”.

        • Kellyrpayne

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !sr321c:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          !sr321c:
          ➽➽
          ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash871ShopStreamGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!sr321c:….,……..

    • Cousin Itt de La Résistance

      Bannon, forced to be publicly accountable. Now there’s an alt-reality teevee show.

    • Rick Hill

      Coming out with a work around in 3…2…1….

    • laughingnome

      They will back down before they put him in front of the Senate.

    • Mr. Blobfish

      Trump will say Bannon won’t partake but will anyway.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      How does the WH Chief of Staff get onto it then?

    • Pissed de Résistance

      Like that’s much of a hurdle lately.

    • YoBunnyBunny

      Somehow a Senate confirmation does not inspire much confidence that he won’t be confirmed…

    • HolidayinCambodia

      Yeah, we saw this tweet after we had already sent in the piece.

      Don’t trust the Republicans in the Senate to grow a spine now, when they’ve showed no sign of doing so yet.

  • Latverian Diplomat

    “You might think that is meanest, stupidest bigot in the US, but I’m the one who thinks he’s a genius.”
    — Donald Trump

    • BadKitty904

      Says the second meanest, stupidest bigot in the US…

      • Gayer Than Thou

        I think Twitler might in fact be the most stupidest bigot in the US, not that I am really following this season of NBC’s Biggest Bigot.

  • BadKitty904
    • alwayspunkindrublic

      No, we’d rather spend 8 years talking about Obama’s imaginary communist relatives than Trump’s KKK daddy, who’s “service” in the war effort consisted of getting fat government contract to build housing for returning soldiers.

      • BadKitty904

        “President” Trump, Son of a War-profiteer, Slumlord, and Bigot.

        • alwayspunkindrublic

          Of course, that would’ve made him even more popular with the mouthbreathers. We are so fucked.

          • puredog

            I think that brevity demands that we all now simply adopt the acronym WASF. Certainly as useful as AOTK.

          • BadKitty904

            Only if we let ourselves be. WE are the majority.

            We just need to get organized and get busy.

      • House0fTheBlueLights

        as long as they weren’t Black.

  • alwayspunkindrublic

    America: Where you can go from being a spouse-abusing white supremacist conspiracy loon to the most powerful man on the planet, with one easy trick. Is this a great country or what?

  • Toomush_Inferesistance

    So are there folks in the fourth estate tracking down Bannon’s ties to Russia or not? I’m on the board for the day I get to call all these fuckers the word “traitor”, and my day is soon….

  • Lance Thrustwell

    Thank you Ms. Mcnominam McManaminom MahnaMahna professor lady. Wonkette, always legit, is gettin’ even more legit! For realz, yo.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      fwiw, disqus doesn’t support del, use the s tag instead.

      • Lance Thrustwell

        Gotcha, fixed.

    • HolidayinCambodia

      You sound like a telemarketer. That’s how we could distinguish between someone who knew us and someone who didn’t, back in the days before universal caller ID.

  • Bill D. Burger
    • Celtic_Gnome

      That cartoon makes him look too respectable. Of course, it is a cartoon, so there’s that.

  • Rick Hill

    Right now it’s not just that the Dems need to step up for what is right. If they don’t they will soon be stripped of all power and the republicans will only be enablers in the end of our Republic.

  • Lefty Frizzell

    A couple of scenarios, still unlikely, but just don’t seem quite so far out there now:

    Trump will question muslims’ right to vote.
    Barry, Hillary or both will be arrested on some, aha, trumped-up treason charge.

    • Brendan_M

      But before the coup is complete, Trump will fall down some stairs and break his neck, and we will all laugh and laugh and then cry because President Pence, but at least he won’t be a Russian agent.

      • Rick Hill

        Yeah but preznit pence would have no problem jailing the gays, the liberals, the Jews, the gypsies, the fornicators….

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      They’re holding the Hillary arrest for when they need another shock event to cover something up.

  • Bill D. Burger
    • Toomush_Inferesistance

      APANITF!….

    • Pissed de Résistance

      If my dog had a face like that I’d…

      • (Major_Major_Major)ly_Pissed

        Put it in a burlap sack with some rocks and go for a boat ride?

        • Pissed de Résistance

          First off, take it to detox…

  • TJ Barke

    I think he’s more of a nihilist than a Leninist.

    • Oblios_Cap

      I think that he’s more of an obnoxious asshole than anything else.

      • LesBontemps

        Well, there’s no arguing with empirical evidence.

        • (Major_Major_Major)ly_Pissed

          Unless you’re on the house science committee.

          • Biel_ze_Bubba

            Unless you chair the house science committee.

            fify

        • Oblios_Cap

          Clearly!

      • OneYieldRegular

        Okay, split the difference: an obnoxihilist.

    • Crystalclear12

      I was thinking idiot.

      • TJ Barke

        It’s dangerous to assume that. Yeah his worldview is stupid, but he’s clearly devious.

  • LesBontemps

    “Lenin . . . wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too.

    Lenin was all about “democratic centralism,” which was effectively an authoritarian model designed to throttle counter-revolutionary dissent to keep it from destroying the state. So Bannon apparently knows as much about Leninism as he does about every other aspect of governmental policy and practice.

    • Lizzietish81

      I was going to say, Lenin was also looking to take apart hundreds of years of Tsarist rule, not a Republic.

      • LesBontemps

        That too, also.

    • Lefty Frizzell

      I did “Russia in Revolution, 1905-1917” for history “O” level (UK school exams in 70’s). A lot of the material was taken from US journalist John Reed’s coverage, if I recall correctly (look, it’s 40 years, OK!) from the trenches and back at the founding of the St Petersburg Soviet. Hell of a story, that’s all I’ll say about it now, and Bannon is not fit to tie Lenin’s shoes.

    • laughingnome

      Lenin believed in revolution led by elites – Revolution from the top and center – I guess that’s what we’re getting.

  • Bill D. Burger
    • Rick Hill

      KaC looks like she’s thinking “Blah…blah…blah…when do I get paid?”

      • House0fTheBlueLights

        My take was that she was trying to figure out what face would be appropriate in a situation like this. She looks like a sorority girl who has somehow found herself on a Grand Jury and is clueless to the point of pissing her pants.

  • cheetojeebus

    Word is research has already begun on enbiggining appendages.
    http://bit.ly/2fJFIeA

    • Suttree

      Is that New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-lago?

    • Martini Ambassador

      Yesterday’s oversexed “spinsters” are today’s MILFs?

    • dxyseilc

      “Doktor Horror?” Well, that’s interesting. There’s only one other person who spells Doktor that way. Look, I don’t mean to imply that it’s Dok Zoom’s secret Nazi alter-ego, I’m just asking questions. People are saying things. It’s on the internet.

      • Historicat

        It’s more proof that we’ve slipped into an alternate universe.

      • Celtic_Gnome

        Um, we don’t say alter-ego anymore. It’s alt-ego.

    • JustPixelz (((Ω)))

      Say … you know who else is called “Doktor”?

  • Oblios_Cap

    I guess I’d better join the Party and get on the inside track. Except that I look terrible in brown. And the only way I wear a sheet is as a toga.

    • John Resistant Tovarich Smith

      The toga’s fine, just get the hat right.

  • anwisok

    Welcome, Ms McManamon! Very nice analysis. Clear, direct and highly informative. Thanks. But: needs moar dick jokes!

    • (Major_Major_Major)ly_Pissed

      It was long on insight, but a bit short on profanity.

      • Thaumaturgist

        Ah, but Mary Brigid McManamon is a good Irish name.

        • (Major_Major_Major)ly_Pissed

          ‘Tis

        • Celtic_Gnome

          And, if her family’s anything like my mother’s, she went through life as Mary Brigid because there were so many Marys in her extended family.

    • HolidayinCambodia

      I’ll try that in the next piece. Just be aware, I’m the dick-joke-maker in the family, so if there are any (unlikely, extremely likely to be vetoed), they’ll be mine and not hers.

  • o’look Skwerl!

    Bannon will need to be confirmed by the Senate in order to sit on the Council. Press this point home.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/3021

    • VagendaofNastyWoman

      Here’s where a Democratic Senator could do a REAL filibuster. Just stand up there for hours and read Breitbart out loud, including the comments sections.

      • TJ Barke

        That might do permanent harm to their soul…

        • Nockular cavity

          Hmm. The Devil might sue, for doing damage to his property.

    • cheetojeebus

      I think they dodge that b/c he’s on the Principals Committee?

      • Zippy W Pinhead

        unfortunately, it may be the same loophole that allows the chief of staff

        • cheetojeebus

          Of course who are we kidding, if they did have to vote on him, Mcfuckwadturtleheadedassmunch would muster the votes needed.

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      Today’s postcards to my Senators: Hold up other confirmations until Bannon is off the Principals committee, or at least hold out for Senate confirmation of Steve Bannon to sit on it

    • DahBoner

      That is not TrumpLaw. Dismissed with malice!!1!1!

  • snark-lurker

    All these distractions make it easy to blow off investigating the Russian invasion of our voting system, Trumps fiduciary ties to Russia and his peeps communications with Putin before and after the election.

    Oh: and Comey’s possibly illegal actions.

    • Bill D. Burger
      • Good_Gawd_Yall

        No, I’d describe it as “sickened”.

    • Stulexington

      Yes, lets burn the school down, that’ll keep people from figuring out I cheated on that test.

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      See my comment on a prior thread about “shock events”– the immigration EO was cover for something….

  • Crystalclear12

    This shit is getting scary.

    Sorry, meant terrifying.

    • Rick Hill

      Why not both?

  • Alexander Stallwitz

    I am calling it now…..a nuclear weapon will be deonated in the middle east. Trumpy and Bannon are itching to start a second crusade. They will not rest until every Musilm hates America and the Middle East is a warzone.

    • Rick Hill

      I’m thinking they are laying the groundwork for a complete takeover of our country and need a huge crisis to get it going.

      • laughingnome

        Someone’s been studying Lenin and Hitler at the White House.

        • DahBoner

          Someone in the White House is Lenin and Hitler.

      • Alexander Stallwitz

        After 9/11, the government was accused of deliberately provoking terroritst attacks. there was a memo that the Bush Administration wanted to do this very thing. Trumpy and his ike might be doing this very same thing.

        • Thaumaturgist

          There also was a rumor that Bush was behind 9/11. If true, the Bush 9/11 gambit would have been the only Bush operation that turned out the way he wanted.

          • Alexander Stallwitz

            I dont believe that Bush caused or knew about 9/11. he did exploit it for his own purposes. Bush was itching to take out Iraq. 9/11 gave him a excuse. In 500 days, there is a passage that Bush wanted to invade seven countries in 5 years. Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. We were spared this because Iraq went so badly and become a quagmire. it had to be put on hold

    • Swampgas_Man

      I’ll go you one better/worse: Nuke goes off in California, blamed on Muslims. They get rid of a lot of people who hate them, and get the cause for any damn thing they ever want.

      • Alexander Stallwitz

        The fact I cant say that is impossible is really scary

    • Michael Smith

      I’m probably over-influenced by the podcast I just listened to about the War for the Black Hills, but I wonder if they think that they can do to the Middle East what Americans in the 19th century did to the West?

      • Alexander Stallwitz

        thats very possible, The Right I think is very comfortable with building a American Empire. and Trumpy and his ike arent the first group of white people who thought they could run the world better than the natives Trumpy might be acting all friendly to Russia because they want divide the world up between them and the US.

        • Alternative Pony Ron

          The Usurper / Bannon may think that’s what they’re getting out of this. But once Pooty gets what HE wants he’ll roll over his erstwhile allies without a second’s thought.

  • laughingnome

    Trotsky is rolling over in his grave.

  • OneYieldRegular

    I think one can safely predict that when Bannon reaches the Trotsky-Stalin fork in the road, he’ll keep to the right.

  • Carpe Vagenda

    Thanks. That was useful.

  • laughingnome

    The Russian pivot seems to me to be about the Christian White civilizations against the Islamic brown civilizations. Bannon and Putin are teaming up in an alliance against Islam. Russia, being a lot closer to the conflict zone, has been trying to get us involved for years. They now have their allies in the Trump White House.

    • Pissed de Résistance

      Russia has a fair bit of experience flattening Islamic strongholds. Grozny, Aleppo… They couldn’t quite get their game on in Afghanistan though.

      • laughingnome

        IF we were on their side in Afghanistan they may have been able to flatten, though Afghanistan could probably stand up to the entire world if they wanted to.

        • Michael Smith

          Yeah the only way to conquer Afghanistan would be to treat it like the American frontier. Kill or “remove” everyone who lives there that doesn’t belong to your culture, criss-cross it with your culture’s infrastructure and give your people huge incentives to repopulate it and erase its history.

          • pstockholm

            So you’ve been hacking Bannon’s email again?

    • Michael Smith

      Yeah, I think that’s what’s happening. Russia has dreamed for eons of resurrecting the Eastern Roman Empire. That’s why they were fierce rivals with the Romans’ successor – the Ottoman Empire – for virtually that empire’s entire existence. The Ottomans have been gone since 1921, but Russia was distracted by its revolution that decade, and the Middle East got carved up by Western Europe. After WW2, we took that mantle from Western Europe.

    • pstockholm

      Weird. Logically, the Russians should be concerned with the Chinese rolling them back to the Urals, as many have prophesied. I thought they were a nation of chess-players?

      • Michael Smith

        Yeah, but they’re also a nation of multi-taskers.

        • pstockholm

          Or prisoners of their own miscalculations and corruptions, like everyone else, which is more what history demonstrates.
          Not really buying that they are all that strategically brilliant. They have no plan for when the oil runs out, the elite is preoccupied with their kleptocratic maneuvering, they have not understood the benefits of a Western style, middle-class based, more or less tamed capitalism, which will cost them in any kind of long game, especially since the Chinese grasp that principle, even if they apply it imperfectly for now.
          So, a bear with clay feet, but still dangerous.

      • Pissed de Résistance

        Russia
        Total nuclear weapons: 7,300, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
        Number that are operational: 1,790
        Number retired/awaiting dismantlement: 4,490
        Total nuclear tests, approximately: 715, according to the Arms Control Association.
        First test: August 1949
        Most recent test: October 1990

        China
        Total nuclear weapons: 260
        Number that are operational: 0, according to the Federation of American Scientists. All are in stockpile.
        Number retired/awaiting dismantlement: 260
        Total nuclear tests, approximately: 45
        First test: October 1964
        Most recent test: July 1996

        http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/fact-sheet-who-has-nuclear-weapons-how-many-do-they-n548481

        • Red Bird Resistance Engineer

          China is not a military threat because they don’t have as many nuclear weapons?

          • Pissed de Résistance

            Absolutely correct, in the giant scheme of things. UK, France or even Israel could fuck China up in a big way if they decided to.

        • pstockholm

          Yeah that’s now.
          How long would a major push to get a modern nuclear force take them, if they prioritized that? 10 years?
          How will the relative economic strengths of Russia and China look in 10 years? 30?

          • Pissed de Résistance

            It would take them approximately forever if Russia launched a first strike of say 100 ICBMs in the next couple of years.

        • Alternative Pony Ron

          We used to be afraid of the Marching Chinese. Their military might still constitute a kind of threat, should they wish to deploy it. But to me it looks like they’ve chosen to be economic warriors. It’s cheaper – hell, it eventually makes a profit – and if you’re clever your enemies can be tricked into defeating themselves.

      • laughingnome

        The Chinese, in recent history, are not aggressive empire builders. They strike at neighbors when threatened but withdraw. And, they’ve become such an economic power recently they have enough influence and power without pushing westward. Russia doesn’t see them as a threat, but Russia does see a threat from their western (NATO) and southern borders ( ISLAM).

        • pstockholm

          Yes I am aware of that, but note that neither NATO nor Islamic countries and populations pose actual existential risks to Russia. Despite the paranoia in the Kremlin.
          Yes they have the example of mid 20th century German existential threat, but, not all that recent, really. They are fighting the last war in their minds. The world has changed quite a bit since then.
          Certainly Vietnam and Mongolia, not to mention the Tibetans and Uygurs, would beg to differ about Chinese imperialism.

          • Alternative Pony Ron

            RECENT history. It’s hard to remember that this was a half century ago, when Mao the revolutionary was in charge. The current leadership are no moderates, but they’re also aware that China is now a genuine world power and is poised to replace the US if they’re wise.
            And I don’t see Russia’s concern being about threats to their borders. I do think that NATO and the Middle Eastern nations are in the way of their ambitions, though.

  • Pissed de Résistance

    I knew this was going to suck, but did anybody really think it would be this bad two weeks ago?

    • laughingnome

      Nope.

      • Pissed de Résistance

        Me either.

        • ViveLaRésistance

          Nope. I didn’t realize there was this level of suckiness in America. And I was born cynical.

    • Bub the Hoohah! loving Zombie

      This is worse than I expected. But history has a way of surprising us.

      • HolidayinCambodia

        I think that’s a quote from someone in August 1914.

        • Bub the Hoohah! loving Zombie

          Very possibly

    • Thaumaturgist

      You liberals are just hyperventilating. If you’d just watch Fox News you’d understand that. Fox doesn’t cover this seditious stuff. It’s like all Americans are Good Americans.

    • msanthrope

      Yes. I figured that respect for the rule of law would be out the window right away.

    • Alternative Pony Ron

      I had a feeling it might. What stuns me is how fast they moved. This was PLANNED.

  • Msgr_MΩment
  • Michael Smith

    This is an opportunity about which Bannon could have only dreamed a few years ago. He is now in a position to make 4chan-style fascism the unquestioned policy of the most powerful nation on Earth. He accomplished this simply by using his skills as a “new media” rabble-rouser and combining them with those of Trump – whose main interest his entire life has been conspicuous wealth and worldwide notoriety.

    America’s political system lacks a traumatic ideological coup in its past. Many other powerful nations have safeguards to prevent them from happening again. The only safeguard here is a belief that the public would never support tyranny, based on the uniqueness of the American character. That this belief is a potentially fatal illusion has become appallingly obvious. However, our resistance is not futile, and we might be able to prevent this potentially terminal cancer from spreading to every section of American government and society.

    American history is replete with racial and ethnic hatred, and when clever demagogues remember to trot out the “hard evidence” of urban crime, terrorism, and unfair economic competition with “real Americans,” these currents can and have threatened to deluge the culture. But previous storms of near-genocidal fury have dissipated due to resistance – often from intellectuals and the charitable religious, and from the naturally limited attention span of the hysterical masses. But the masses have never before been instigated and beckoned onward by the President of the United States. I think we are living in one of the most perilous moments for human freedom in American history, and, thanks to American military and nuclear power, also in world history.

    Therefore, we must not allow the magnitude of the stakes to drive us to despair. Trump and Bannon are smart in their way, but are far from untouchable. We need to figure out how they made this happen, and figure out whether there is a way to stop it and prevent it from happening again. And then we need to do it – quickly.

    My opinion is that we need to – somehow – show Trump supporters that he is destroying American democracy (and that, despite the existence of one President Obama, they should care about democracy) and that he is a serious threat to American safety. Nothing we have shown them so far has come close to accomplishing this. They don’t care that he abuses women, and they don’t believe it. They don’t care about his ties to Russia. And they absolutely abhor us – the liberals – because we are smarter than them and aren’t afraid to show it. In this atmosphere, they would be willing to watch this country burn, if it means they have a few seconds to watch us suffer before they die. And men like Steve Bannon are responsible for this. For taking gullible – but otherwise often compassionate, family-loving, warm-handshake-having Americans – and turning them into vicious monsters.

    We should be able to figure out a way to reverse that, if its not too late.

    • NastyBossetti

      How do you convince people who hate you for no good reason, and for whom facts don’t matter?

      • laughingnome

        That’s the question.

      • Michael Smith

        Maybe you have to pretend you’re one of them.

        • Red Bird Resistance Engineer

          By bleaching my skin and wearing colored contacts?

          • Michael Smith

            Yeah my plan is definitely still in the beta phase.

      • jw

        As much as it sucks, it’s a slow, painful process that requires not acting in kind, if you actually want to know. Like not hitting at your child when they enrage you.

      • BlissfulScribbler

        You don’t. Considering Trump supporters’ paltry numbers, complete lack of work-ethic and organization, terminal stubbornness, and nihilistic degeneracy, literally anything is a more worthwhile use of an ambitious leftist’s time. The same goes for the Herculean effort that is dealing with the bullshit spectacle leftists, i.e. the shitheads who got themselves so worked up about Hillary and the DNC last year that they’ve come around to believing bullshit ideas that declare Trump’s movement an important ‘working-class’ phenomenon etc.

        • NastyBossetti

          This is kind of where I have landed. I am more interested in the many, many people who weren’t engaged at all, and how to get them engaged.

    • pstockholm

      It would be nice if we could show Trump supporters this, and we have to try. But we are in fact a majority, and I don’t see any sign of movement in the right direction on the part of Trumpanzees. So I’m still thinking it will come down to, first, numbers, blue states, possibly some conservative SC members; and down the road, which way the military goes if it gets that far.

    • BMW

      “He is now in a position to make 4chan-style fascism the unquestioned policy of the most powerful nation on Earth”

      Trump couldn’t make him Secretary of Pwning N00bz because Trump thinks that’s his job.

    • laughingnome

      We have to shut it all down. Meaning, everyone who can, get in the streets. They’ve brought chaos from above, they need to be answered with complete refusal. Dems have to stop all confirmations that they can. Also, no Supreme Court addition by this administration. If sensible Republicans want to join us, fine. But I can’t see that they will at this point, except for a few exceptions.

      • pstockholm

        Yes.
        The flaw in your logic is “Dems have to stop all confirmations that they can.”

    • ViveLaRésistance

      I agree, but I live amongst Trump supporters. Until they personally suffer from these policies for an extended period of time, they will not be convinced. And even then they will blame it on Obama, or Warren, or the Clintons or some other liberal bogeyman. I wouldn’t waste much energy on Trump voters.We should focus on motivating, activating and mobilizing those who hate what Trump/Bannon stand for but have been sitting on the sidelines. Not just marching and protesting, but calling, emailing, and – for the love of Pete – VOTING RESPONSIBLY.

      • pstockholm

        Are there really people on the sidelines? Who are potential voters and allies? I’m more seeing people on the sidelines as lacking the imagination or empathy to see what is happening, and assuming it won’t catch up to them.
        And if there are such people what is to say they don’t flip the other way?
        So I’m also counting on the majority that already exists. Welcoming anyone else but not counting on them.

        • lroom

          Anyone still on the sidelines at this point are too stupid to be reasoned with anyway.

      • disqus_lWwzrwNaw6

        You’re exactly right. These Republican bastards represent about a quarter of the adult population–the fanatical ones even less. The problem on the other side is non-voting, not right wing ideology. America is a center-left nation, if you look at the reputable polling on attitudes toward the role of government, the safety net, democratic governance, and civil rights. The majority must be mobilized. Maybe even can be.

        It’s just that the good guys have been asleep at the switch for roughly 40 years.

        Time to wake up.

    • Red Bird Resistance Engineer

      The shorter version of this is that old white Americans would rather destroy a country than see black and brown people inherit its wealth. And to act like this country was never governed by that way of thinking is dishonest. American was founded on racial animosity.

      • Michael Smith

        Then I guess we are in no worse a position than ever before?

      • aureolaborealis

        If my family is anything to go by, there are a lot of young white Americans who, lacking much in the way of education or skills, still manage to make a decent living, but feel that their inability to buy that REALLY expensive new truck to carry their gas-powered toys around is due to immigrants, minorities, liberals, feminists, academics, societal decency, etc., etc.
        Which is to say that these are the only things holding them back from personal greatness — not the failing out of high school, the opioid addiction, the lusty embracing of mean-spirited ignorance and stupidity, etc.

        • Red Bird Resistance Engineer

          Exactly. I know i sound like a mean shrill when I say stuff like that but it is true. I’m still waiting to live in the great American melting pot I was promised as a child.

          • Alternative Pony Ron

            I think our strength as a nation Up Here is because we took a different path: we welcomed the Others, but didn’t insist that they become Just Like The Ones Who Already Lived Here. Yes, there’s pockets of resentment, like Bissonnette and his ilk, but there’s no widespread support for them nationally. At our best we celebrate and appreciate the ones unlike ourselves who have added to the country.
            Would this have worked in the US? I don’t know. The fact of institutionalised slavery warps EVERYTHING. Maybe there’s a deep-seated fear of the Other, because the most numerous Others were once property and the secondmost ones were ruthlessly exterminated.
            What does that DO to a people?

          • Red Bird Resistance Engineer

            You’re right. Canada is different. Canada had legal slavery too at one point but didn’t follow the same path as the U.S.

          • Alternative Pony Ron

            It doesn’t get talked about Up Here. It’s one of those bits of our history we are rather ashamed of – which has made discussions about other problems, like human trafficking, very awkward and difficult.

    • jw

      It’s not just the Right. The vocal Left has been led to believe that insults and sarcasm are the bedrock of change. If Colbert mentions it, it’ll work out. Based on what reality people? I think a lot of people with actual humanitarian values have no idea which way to turn because there is not a single resonant voice of rational, moderate liberalism in the entire country that simply explains exactly why it is that letting poverty overwhelm a third or more of a population might have overarching negative consquences.

  • pstockholm

    I think Bannon probably meant McCartney, it’s an easy thing to mix up.

    • laughingnome

      No, McCartney wrote the love songs, not Revolution.

  • DahBoner
  • goonemeritus

    Judged by the yard stick of our Countries destruction Mr Bannon is kind of kicking ass.

  • Crank Tango

    Yeah, but has he even destroyed a government before? It’s not like he has much experience…

    • disqus_lWwzrwNaw6

      It really only takes the one time.

  • Bebecca

    This is a serious question. Why does Bannon want to destroy America? What is his end game? The republicans want the wealthy to become wealthier (everything they do is motivated by that) but that doesn’t seem to be his motive; evil for the sake of evil?

    • pstockholm

      A vision of a white, Christian, patriarchal, socially conservative “civilization” spanning North America and Eurasia, and presumably eradicating anyone not deemed worthy, and presumably with mechanisms to distribute the wealth more or less evenly to the “worthy”. Not sure what his position on slavery is. Or how he squares dynamic capitalism with that vision.
      Yeah it’s bonkers. Just like the last time. Which will be our saving grace.

    • Edith Prickly

      I’m not sure he has motives, just a bottomless well of spite and resentments.

    • disqus_lWwzrwNaw6

      See his zany, blood-chilling, heart-stopping, church militant speech at the Vatican.

      http://the-american-catholic.com/2016/11/18/remarks-of-stephen-bannon-at-a-conference-at-the-vatican/

      This is holy war, “war of civilizations,” the-filthy-son-of-a-bitch-may-be-batshit-crazy-but-he-now-runs-the-fucking-country-and-has-access-to-nukes stuff.

      Defcon 1, in short.

      If there were such a thing as a patriotic Republican in Washington–and evidently, as we are finding, there is not–somebody would be stepping in right now.

      The fucking Democrats can’t do a thing. Only McConnell and Charles Koch and those bastards.

      Or maybe a cabal of generals. Fuck.

      • disqus_lWwzrwNaw6

        Mind you, they’re all determined to take down constitutional order and democratic governance. This is what the Republican Party is all about: this has been Charles Koch’s ambition since he was a wee boy with a Nazi nanny (really, by the way).

        But McConnell and Koch and the generals are considerably less likely than Bannon to take down our way of life with nukes and mass violence. Thus the lesser of two evils, while genuinely, corrosively, gut-rottingly evil, is still the lesser of the two.

      • aureolaborealis

        If you look at what’s happening in ISIS, which is the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant …

        Great attention to detail, there, whisky-pig.

    • Up In Smoke O’hontas

      Maybe he wants to destroy America so he can have all the bourbon to himself? Although, by the looks of him I’d say he’s kept a few distilleries open in Kentucky single handed…
      But yeah, probably safe to just go with the evil.

    • Mehmeisterjr

      What was Ted Bundy’s end game?

    • MeerkatsRMammals

      I’ll take “Evil for the sake of evil” for $200, Alex.

  • Thaumaturgist

    If you let the DNI and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on the principals committee, you’re going to get advice you don’t want to hear. Better to surprise them with a fair accompli.

  • Mehmeisterjr

    “Lenin . . . wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

    So who plays Stalin to Bannon’s Lenin?

  • The Wanderer

    A know-nothing, rabid white supremacist ideologue who may have never gotten higher than Lieutenant in the US Navy.

    FIFY

    • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

      Did they find Jabba’s military records?

      • The Wanderer

        Funny thing that – the USN is “having trouble” getting this asshole’s DD-214.

        • Alternative Pony Ron

          Have they checked the ‘dishonorable discharge’ folder?

  • C4TWOMAN
    • HolidayinCambodia

      Actually, much better than that.

      Trump is to Putin as 9/11 was to Osama bin Laden: Successful beyond his wildest dreams.

      • ryp

        Let’s hope they end up the same way.

  • Hellhathnofury Demme

    Ok, so I’m feeling paranoid this morning and this is just the place for an article titled:
    “The immigration ban is a headfake, and we’re falling for it.”
    https://medium.com/@jakefuentes/the-immigration-ban-is-a-headfake-and-were-falling-for-it-b8910e78f0c5#.4rzevsylb

    • Unmutual Tetsu Kaba

      Yet what happens if we ignore it? As I told my husband when he worried that protests would become violent and be used as a pretext for martial law, “what choice do we have?” We need to fight evil everywhere we can. We can’t all go to every demonstration, write all the letters, make all the calls, give all our money; but we all need to do what we can.

      • Hellhathnofury Demme

        It can seem impossible.
        I like this from the article, and it seems to be agreeing with you:
        “Do protest, but be very wary of going home feeling like you’ve done your job. You haven’t.”

      • Ants In My Eyes Johnson

        Protests don’t need to be violent to be a pretext for highly restrictive laws against protesting – or martial law. The new administration is making their own reality, it’s up to us to all work together and overpower them before this mess gets too rooted to dump.

    • Oginikwe
  • Johnny Norris

    Nicely done, Professor. Those of us who study history have an obligation to keep pointing out, every day, that this shit just ain’t normal and cannot be made normal by using the word normal, or by falsely comparing Trump’s idiotic orders with things that other presidents have done.

  • Stulexington

    Interestingly enough, the nepotism choice seems to be one of the voices of reason. Trump only goes off the deep end batshit insane when his son in law is off taking a break from the Honest Don.
    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/01/jared-kushner-is-fcking-furious-about-reduced-role-and-has-lost-7-lbs-since-inauguration-day-report/

    • LucindathePook

      Trumpie’s breakdowns always coincide with Shabbos.

  • Tovarich Cock Blockula
    • MeerkatsRMammals

      “You haven’t seen the last of me… Well, the first of you turns my stomach!” much how I feel about the current administration ;)

      • HolidayinCambodia

        Where are you from son?

        Nairobi. Isn’t everyone?

  • Tovarich Cock Blockula

    a president who can’t pay attention for more than five minutes at a time.

    You give him far too much credit. 45 seconds MAX!

  • Incoming (AKA Large) Ham

    This is the kind of shit that leads to military coups.

  • Celtic_Gnome

    Thank you for that thoughtful discussion, Mary. We here at the National Security Review Board appreciate your insight and wisdom.

    • HolidayinCambodia

      “Mary Brigid.” LOL

  • MeerkatsRMammals

    Everyone knows Trump had no prior government experience. He shouts from rooftops about how “smart” & “genius” he is. If he’s really so SMRT, why isn’t he surrounding himself with folks who actually know what the fuck they’re doing? While W was the stupidest (until now), he at least had people who knew how to run things slightly more legal & such. Putting an alcoholic Nazi sympathizer in charge of national security will not end well.

    • HolidayinCambodia

      Hey, he tried to hire Professor McManamon about a year ago, and she turned him down.

    • Celtic_Gnome

      I think you’re giving W too much credit. His smart picks were made by career Republicans who understood how incompetent he was and didn’t want him burning the place down. Unfortunately, Fuckface von Clownstick isn’t their puppet, and they have no control over him.

      • MeerkatsRMammals

        I didn’t wanna give him any credit at all, actually…so thanks for clearing that up ;)

  • Randy Riddle

    Obviously, we must destroy the NSC in order to save it. Obviously.

  • Manhattan123

    I fear there’s not enough booze in the world to get me through the next four years.

    • Alternative Pony Ron

      Don’t give up. Keep emptying those bottles – we need them for Molotov cocktails. Thank the gods that gasoline is cheap!

    • sgt. jmk of the résistance

      They’ll keep making more…don’t worry!!

  • Oginikwe

    Bannon’s just protecting their payday.

    Donald Trump, Russia, And Rosneft: Vladimir Putin Oil
    Mystery — Shares Sold To Mystery Buyer Once Offered As Trump Bribe, Dossier
    Says: http://www.inquisitr.com/3935723/donald-trump-russia-golden-shower-pee-tape-vladimir-putin-rosneft-oil-steele-dossier-bribe/

    CEO of Russia’s state oil company offered Trump
    adviser, allies a cut of huge deal if sanctions were lifted: http://www.businessinsider.com/carter-page-trump-russia-igor-sechin-dossier-2017-1

    How Russia sold its oil jewel: without saying who
    bought it: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-rosneft-privatisation-insight-idUSKBN1582O

    • gamera23

      Didn’t Trump turn that down so he can think he’s telling the truth about not having deals in Russia? (Just with Russian mobsters connected to Putin in the USA on money laundry nights)

      • Oginikwe

        What on earth makes you think that Trump is concerned about the truth about anything? LOL!

        • Tiny kaiju

          Or that he remembers the truth for more than a minute.

  • Johnnymoreno

    Then there was the time that Bannon’s pants LITERALLY caught on fire, while he was drafting a speech for Trump.

    Those were simpler, more innocent times.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/304586-trump-campaign-executives-pants-literally-caught-on-fire

  • ResistanceFighterCaptainHowdy
  • Alternative Pony Ron

    So this is what existential terror feels like.

    Good to know.

  • hvdv

    How I have missed the unknown unknowns.

  • Lazslo Anton Zapotec

    Ya can’t suspend the US Constitution without a really huge incident. And if you have loyal people who know what they are doing in those principles meetings they might actually stop that incident before it happens. The GOP learned a lot after 9-11.

    • azeyote

      using fear to take away the rights of the people is not new – but people still fall for it – and for republicans its all they’ve got –

      • Lazslo Anton Zapotec

        Sad but often true. Sooner or later Americans will wise up though. After all – how can anyone be afraid of Bannon and his remarkable resemblance to the South Park cartoon character Eric Cartman? All grown old without ever having grown up.

Previous articleBarack Obama Clears His Throat
Next articleThat Time Jeff Sessions Asked Sally Yates If She Would Follow An Unlawful Order And She Was Like ‘Nah’