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The Brain Trust

I spend most of my sleepless nights listening to BBC on the wireless as they used to call the radio and it is fitting as we seem to be traveling back in time and not in any good way.

1984 by George Orwell is on the best seller list but I suggest Andrew Jackson by Jon Meacham and Nixonland or Nixon's Secrets or any of the books by Robert Caro about LBJ (sadly there are some relevant comparisons but at least LBJ understood governance);  throw in Animal Farm to balance out the fiction portion.    And of course read any material on Alzheimer's or Dementia as I truly believe that our President is exhibiting some of those symptoms.

So now you have a reading list and it should keep you busy in the next 4 years as both a lesson and distraction as watching or listening to news in real time is akin to living in the Twilight Zone.

I have never heard or seen anything like this and it is simply bizarre to the level of discourse, the contradictions, the blame seeking, bomb throwing, and deflections passed as "alternate truths" I have a sense of foreboding that rivals any episode of said show as at least we had Rod Serling to remind us that fiction was always stranger than truth, until now.

The UNELECTED current Prime Minister Theresa May arrives today to model isolationism and protectionism to the newly elected President who seems to think that despite the fact that he won is there despite his oddly unsubstantiated allegations of Voter Fraud and that his most largest concern was crowd size at this Inauguration, a very important measure of success in office clearly, polls and opinions not so much or then again he would not have won so go figure.  Again a contradiction in terms that somehow explain, validate or excuse what will be the most unusual Presidency in history.  And she arrives despite an internal briefing memo that misspells her name three times  confusing the PM with a  Porn Actress.  Hmm coincidence?

I have tried to understand who is the brains behind this operation.  The Trump Organization was easy as the constant stories of how those finally met the deal maker, passed a gauntlet of his children as the keepers of the gate.  Then when finally admitted the meeting was brief and largely about Trump showing them his trinkets, prizes, awards and what have you then they were promptly ushered out and all deals were then in the hands of the children and Trump's legal crew.  All very in house and very small scale despite the fact of the grand scale of which he bellows or belies to the media.

This pattern emerged this week with David Muir of ABC and his interview with the President in the White House. The grand tour followed by the waving of the letter Obama left as is custom but this is the new trinket du jour and clearly beats Shaq's shoe.  But the actual interview was again short on specifics and long on accusations and promises that will go as many have before under-delivered.

I have tried to figure out the Brain Trust in the White House and the children are rarely in the picture or in prominence as we have seen through the very travels of his first week unless they are the ones clapping at varying speeches, another clear departure from custom - the applause meter.

In Nixon's administration we had the "mans" - Halderman, Erlichman and his personal relationship with Bebe Rebozo.  There were more voices in Nixon's ear than his head which may have been a part of the problem there.

LBJ relied on ego but he had perhaps a more complex and complicated relationship with advisers than many have had before or since and hence why Caro's books are in fact books on LBJ as it takes more than one to understand that man.

Reagan had the most essential guardian, Nancy, but he too had a trust of advisers who were called the Kitchen Cabinet.  Some did move onto and into White House jobs but they were clearly protective and guarded about how those who met Reagan and diligently protected him from exposing the truth about his health to those outside of the inner circle.

Then we have of course the Bush's which we know with W. it was Dick Cheney, with Obama it was Valerie Jarrett but with Trump it is not the in house family, it is the White House family which seems largely Pence. 

I think that Trump's larger group are a confusing lot already in conflict with themselves and their place at the table and in turn with how to run a Government.  Add to that a man who the word "no" is akin to that of a two-year old and the subsequent temper tantrum that follows when the word is issued.

This is the new America and it is not great.

Mike Pence Pulls President Trump’s Strings

Gail Collins
The New York Times
JAN. 26, 2017

Do you think Donald Trump is just Mike Pence’s puppet?

Interesting idea, right? Particularly since the very idea would make our new president totally nuts. Hehehehe.

And it’s possible. Trump is not a man who concentrates on policy issues. So far, the parts of the job that have obsessed him most are crowd size and vote size. And yeah, the wall. But there has to be somebody behind the scenes deciding the non-ego questions. Pass the word that it’s Pence.

The best early evidence is reproductive rights. Not an issue Trump seemed all that interested in during the campaign — you generally had to sort of poke him to bring it up. Yet one of the first things he did as president was to sign an order that will eliminate American aid to international health programs that provide information on abortion.

Every Republican president since Ronald Reagan has issued the order, which is often referred to as the global gag rule. But Trump’s seems much worse. The Reagan-Bush-Bush version covered family planning programs. Trump’s targets global health in general.

So when it comes to combating the Zika virus in South America, we’ll only be helping organizations that are willing to order their staffs never to bring up the fact that abortion exists. We’re talking about a potential loss of billions of dollars in American aid.

I know some of you are having trouble giving the president credit for anything right now. But this doesn’t sound like him.

If a woman Trump knew was pregnant and learned she had a virus that could cause terrible brain damage to the fetus, his immediate reaction would not be barring everybody from mentioning the word abortion. The only politician who would behave like that would be someone who had spent his entire career trying to impose his deeply held conservative religious values on people who had different beliefs.

That would be Mike Pence. This is the guy who, as a member of Congress, co-sponsored a bill that would allow hospitals to deny abortions to pregnant women who would die without the procedure. Whose war against Planned Parenthood when he was governor of Indiana led to the closing of five clinics. (None of them did abortions. They did, however, provide testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and one of the counties where a clinic was closed suffered a big H.I.V. outbreak.)

Pence, by the way, also voted against the Lilly Ledbetter act for equal pay for women. He once argued that having two working parents would lead to “stunted emotional growth” in children. In 2006, he said same-sex couples were a sign of “societal collapse.” I am just mentioning this for you to remember the next time you hear people say they hope President Trump is impeached.

Trump was once very vocally pro-choice. When he became politically ambitious, his attitude went through a dramatic change — in terms of evolution, it was as if a little amoeba floating in the ocean suddenly turned into a killer whale. In 2016 he went all the way over the deep end and told Chris Matthews on MSNBC that he thought once abortion was illegal, women who got them should be punished.

He backtracked on that one. “I’ve been told by some people that was an older line answer and that was an answer that was given on a, you know, basis of an older line from years ago on a very conservative basis,” he explained.

Obviously that doesn’t make any sense, but you do get the general idea that Trump was getting his talking points from someplace other than his deepest heart.

The early Trump administration, however, looks as if it’s being run by somebody who can’t wait to jump into the abortion fray. Republicans in Congress are working away on defunding Planned Parenthood — an organization Trump once said he admired. And the Affordable Care Act, which guarantees women’s right to get birth control coverage in their health insurance, is of course target one.

“Women who are economically stressed and counting on those benefits are so frightened,” said Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood. Richards said Planned Parenthood clinics are fielding desperate calls from women who want to get birth control while they can — many of them opting for IUDs under the theory that they’ll need something that could last four years.

They also ask what they can do to fight back. She’s telling them to call their senators, or member of Congress, and show up if their legislator holds a town hall — possibly wearing one of those pink hats.

All that makes perfect sense. But given the kind of guy Donald Trump is, I propose you also spread the word that the president has only gone on this anti-reproductive rights bender because he’s under Mike Pence’s thumb.

How do you think he’d feel about being referred to as Lap Dog Trump? Let’s go for it.

This post first appeared on Green Goddess VV, please read the originial post: here

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The Brain Trust


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