Team Trump Transmogrifies into the Swamp Thing

by David Haggith, The Great Recession Blog:

The establishment has eaten the White House, and yet I continue to read supporters of President Trump who desperately hold to the delusion that Trump  is playing a game of 4-D chess — a game so advanced that no one else on the face of the earth can understand that Trump is winning.

Trump’s masterful chess moves supposedly convince his opponents he is losing at every turn, but these apparent losses are mere decoys, intended to distract his opponents from his true accomplishments and, most of all, from seeing the great drubbing they are about to receive … though no one knows what that is. Even the removal of Steve Bannon is being touted by a few Trump supporters as a strategically brilliant covert play.

The establishment rules the game

I believe those writers as well as the people who continue dogmatically to cheer Trump on at his rallies when they should be raking him over the coals for turning away from them, are living in and maintaining a fantasy bubble as big as the stock-market bubble. Trump’s turning was underscored with the recent termination of Steve Bannon, which leaves the White House almost wholly remade into an establishment wonderland where many of the top offices are either run by Democrats or by military brass.



All of this comes amid a Democrat takeover of the West Wing, with Republicans being pushed out of the White House. National Security Adviser and three-star Army Gen. H.R. McMaster purged a number of Trump-backing Republicans from the National Security Council, while ex-Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman and now former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was replaced by retired four-star Marine Gen. John Kelly, the old Secretary of Homeland Security. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and his wife Ivanka Trump—as well as National Economic Council director Gary Cohn—have all seen a rise in prominence in the West Wing. They—McMaster, Kelly, Ivanka Trump, Kushner, and Cohn—are all Democrats. (Breitbart)



Successfully seizing almost all of the reins of power in the White House does not mean the left has stopped fearing Trump or that the establishment feels it has won the game and can now relax. Trump’s campaign openly threatened both the left and the establishment by garnering huge public support. Candidate Trump overtly threatened the military-industrial complex with all of his arguments against further US policing of the world and against the United State’s imperial attempts at nation building in the Middle East.

However, the notion that the establishment is about to lose in a clever fourth-quarter reversal of the game by Trump this year is ludicrous. This predicted surprise has been talked about for months. Though it hasn’t happened, Trump’s supporters will say that is just because Trump is still building toward his final masterful play … and then you’ll see. That’s how denial works.

The left and its anarchists along with establishment Republican politicians continue to push the game hard against Trump because they are leaving nothing to chance. They will do a full-court press to the finish, but clearly the momentum of the game is in their direction. Trump’s Goldman advisors, for example, have convinced him that banks need to be freed up again to gamble with their depositors’ money.


Goldman Sachs reportedly is now pushing to kill pesky investment-banking legislation created in Obama-era battering after President Donald Trump has made two company alumni his point men on financial regulation…. “The new team in Washington could not have come at a more important time for Goldman.The bank that received a $10 billion bailout from U.S. taxpayers in 2008 is looking to the Trump administration for another helping hand, this time from what Goldman sees as overbearing regulation exacerbating its current trading funk,” the Financial Times explained. Goldman’s securities-trading division has fallen on hard financial times. “Post-crisis regulation has curtailed the operation. In 2007 the bank’s net trading revenue from bonds, currencies and commodities peaked at $16.2 billion. Last year, notwithstanding some reorganization, the rough equivalent was $7.6 billion,”  the FT reported, “The main culprit in Goldman’s eyes is the Volcker rule, a ban on banks placing market bets with their own money … a bulwark against future crises requiring public bailouts.” (NewsMax)


This month, Trump followed his GS buddies’ bidding and decided to bring the Volker rule under review. As far as I’m concerned the Volker rule did not go far enough. We should have gone back to Glass-Steagall. Stepping away from Glass-Steagall is where things really fell apart in the financial crisis that created the Great Recession. However, moving back in that direction is not where Trump’s review of the Volker rule is intended to go.


The establishment’s end game


Even though the establishment largely owns the White House now, they will still try to annihilate Trump politically. They want to take him out of the game so completely that neither he nor anything like him ever raises its squirrel-topped noggin again. It’s a two-pronged strategy: 1) win Trump over on everything they can to minimize damages and even use him to accomplish their bankster/military agenda, but 2) seek always to destroy him and his supporters anyway. The fact that they win a lot of what they want from Trump doesn’t mean they like him. He is still a loose canon, and his supporters are the greatest risk to their unfettered greed.

They will try to use Trump to demonstrate to all who support him that their cause is hopeless. They intend, if they possiblly can, to grind him and his cause into dust by every means possible in order to quell all future and similar attempts at rebellion, and they will use him as a scapegoat to show how badly things go when the masses don’t go the establishment’s way. Thus they want to destroy him into the dust in order to take his supporters down with him.


Bannon the Barbarian went bust


The recent termination of Steve Bannon by General Kelly is the clearest proof that the Goldman Sachs team and the military-industrial complex that Goldman loves to finance is winning. Bannon claimed he voluntarily stepped down, but I didn’t see Trump encouraging him to stay or ever speaking out favorably about him in recent months as supporters worried that Bannon was on his way out and as press leaks said the same thing.

Bannon is trying to shine up his image by presenting his move as empowerment:


“In the White House I had influence, at Breitbart, I had power,” Bannon reportedly said several times….  (Zero Hedge)


That’s true but only because Trump never did give Bannon a seat of power. Trump gave him a token position as Advisor in order to appear like he’s listening to Bannon’s  own anti-establishment supporters. Bannon never had leadership over any department of government. All he ever had was the right to argue in the room and try to influence things. Now, he doesn’t even have that.



Despite his departure—voluntarily, he insists, though his resignation is reported to have been demanded of him—Mr Bannon says he will never attack his former boss. Yet Breitbart will caution Mr Trump to stick to the populist nationalist course Mr Bannon charted. “We will never turn on him. But we are never going to let him take a decision that hurts him.” The [Breitbart] website offered an early taste of this in its disparaging coverage of Mr Trump’s “flip-flop” decision to send more American troops to Afghanistan, which was announced on August 21st and Mr Bannon strongly opposes…. The very fact that Trump has veered away from populist policies suggests that the former top aide to the president has been “plainly diminished….” There’s been no clearer sign of Bannon’s waning influence over the president than Trump’s decision earlier this week to commit more troops to Afghanistan, which Bannon vehemently opposed. The Afghan troop surge is perhaps the clearest sign yet that Trump is taking a more moderate path advocated by his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his national-security adviser, HR McMaster.Breitbart, ostensibly at Bannon’s behest, has waged wars against both men, and it’s widely believed that its recent attacks on McMaster backfired, helping to hasten Bannon’s ouster.



Some Trump supporters are now writing that Bannon’s removal is just another 4-D chess move by which the maestro, Trump, has freed Bannon up to take an outside roll of greater power. I side with those who say it clearly is the last straw in shifting the White House to a pro-establishment staff where Stephen Miller looks like the only anti-establishment man left standing. If Trump truly wanted to make Bannon more powerful, he would have put him in General Kelly’s position. Instead, he chose to hire Kelly and follow Kelly’s lead in firing Bannon.

If Trump had placed Bannon in Kelly’s Chief-of-Staff position, Bannon could have torn through the White House’s embedded establishment like a white tornado, ripping the establishment from every corner of the magnificent national mansion. Trump could have empowered Bannon to toss out all the old Obama holdovers that Trump should have tossed, himself, as well as all the GS alumni that Trump should never have appointed in the first place. Instead, Trump put the MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL ESTABLISHMENT in charge of his staff and let Bannon walk (or kicked him out).

So, to those who are writing that Bannon’s dismissal makes him a more powerful Trump team member, I say, “Way to keep the denial alive!” It is that kind of denial that got us into this economic mess and that keeps us in it. It is denial that keeps the two-party system in power because the voters on each side routinely deny the failure of their own side and blame all failure on the other side in order to avoid admitting they voted for someone who isn’t doing the job. This kind of “yellow-dog” support has kept the Democrats and Republicans in power for decades, regardless of how poorly they perform.