Sunday, March 5, 2017


With new improved ending (h/t Jordan for making me revise it)

Charles Boyer as Stephen Bannon snatches the President's Daily Briefing out of the dainty hands of Ingrid Bergman as Donald J. Trump in the classic thriller. Via uafairbanks
Or not exactly, the Ingrid Bergman character was a sweet and deserving lady, not a violent emperor, but you know what I mean. Struggling through the trees of yesterday's long post, I wasn't clear what kind of forest we were contemplating, but I see now that it belongs to this family of stories.

Everybody gaslights Emperor Trump in one way or another, in fact. It's the only way you can live with him, he doesn't have garden-variety human relationships. You have to whisper him into modeling some kind of simulacrum of a relationship that you can work with.

Jared Kushner works to keep him calm (after years of experience with his own father's terrifying rages), everybody from Mark Cuban and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Senator Schumer tries to goad him into fits, with considerable success. Bannon, though, is the most sinister in the current circle: He wants the Emperor's total dependence, toward the realization of his own video-game Ragnarök fantasies and delusions of grandeur, and he works for it every day, with murmured promises and threats, feeding his anger and paranoia. "I'm the only one who understands what you're suffering, Mr. President." "Don't leave yet! I don't want to be alone!"

But Trump's crazy, and it's never secure. After yesterday's explosion, when Trump condemned him to temporary exile for Mar-a-Lago with Reince Priebus, Bannon worried about what Kushner (in the Joseph Cotten role?) might be able to accomplish, spending an unusual Shabbat at the Emperor's side while Bannon seethed, impotent, in Washington. It was to maintain his influence through the weekend that Bannon messsengered him that sheaf of printouts from Friday's Breitbart News offerings—including the rundown of Obama's enormous conspiracy against him. As if to remind him, I'm still here watching while you're golfing, guarding you from your ruthless, superhuman enemies. (Trump's fear and hatred of Obama, the thing that draws him to such figures as Putin and Flynn and Sessions, is by now practically his strongest emotion.)

With spectacular results that could be hastening the coming of Act III, as this topic takes over the discourse, always implicitly why is Trump so freaked out by this (probably imaginary) story of surveillance? What does he think Obama knows about him?

One of these days, he's going to be so frazzled he'll tell us, the way ancient ratfucker Roger Stone just told us how he worked with WikiLeaks to exploit the stolen DNC emails in the campaign last year:


Professor Cole wonders, at the end of his very fine piece,
What puzzles everyone is why Trump thinks he has to get this information from Rush Limbaugh or an alt-NeoNazi rag. He is the president. He could just ask for a briefing on the probe, if there was one.
Maybe because Bannon's worked to make him more afraid of getting an answer than he is of not knowing? Sadly, no.

It's because, as he's explained very clearly, he knows better than the briefers, who are also corrupt, and, worse, boring, whereas Breitbart is very stimulating and spends a lot of time saying how great he is.

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