Sunday, April 9, 2017

Week 67: "Bannon vs. Kushner"

Dear Readers,

It has been an incredibly eventful week. For all past newsletters (and more), make sure to go to the blog at

Military Action

This week, our president took the first military action of his term in office. He decided, on a whim, that he was incredibly outraged by Bashar al-Assad’s latest actions and bombed a Syrian air base. There’s much debate to be had as to whether this was a sound move and whether the president was justified in his actions, but that doesn’t really matter when we consider the reality behind the situation. Yes, Assad is a horrible leader who deserves to be challenged. But Trump has been generally undisturbed by this, instead casting the Syrian people as villains by not letting them into our country. Now he suddenly gets very angry at Assad and before pursuing any other diplomatic actions uses force. This is never allowable, especially considering just how messy the situation in Syria is right now. Regardless of whether it was the right thing to do, it was done with such haste and such ineffectiveness (the base was in operation just days later) that it’s hard to justify.

Good Riddance

Steve Bannon was finally kicked off the National Security Council this week, representing an unexpected shift in Trump’s attitudes toward Bannon. This is a seen as a ploy by Jared Kushner, who has emerged as a rival to Bannon recently. Bannon’s replacement on the Council was none other than intellectual heavyweight Rick Perry (he even has glasses!) which is disturbing, since I thought we were done with him when he was, you know, indicted. But I suppose Dancing with the Stars can fix everything. Either way, Bannon has less power now and that’s a good thing, though it is telling that events in Syria happened right after Bannon was kicked off, so we’ll see what effect it actually has.

Gorsuch Confirmed

It took a “nuclear option”, but Neil Gorsuch is all ready to swear in as a Supreme Court justice. When the Democrats (stupidly) filibustered the confirmation of Gorsuch, Republicans changed Senate rules so that a simple majority is required to override a filibuster for a Supreme Court confirmation (this rule already existed for other confirmations). I don’t believe this is a good or bad change, but it is definitely what Democrats deserved for delaying the confirmation process with a political ploy (since it was losing fight no matter what), especially since Gorsuch is an immensely qualified justice. Either way, we have a ninth justice again, which is a positive development regardless of your politics.

“Work It Out”

As I mentioned earlier, Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner have gotten in a huge feud recently. Trump has refused to take a side, but demanded they work it out and stop publicly feuding. Both men are very close to Trump’s ear, and have been throughout, and while Bannon is more wicked and dystopian, he’s also much more intelligent. So opponents of the president will likely be rooting hard for Kushner (or for the feud to continue and the ship to sink completely) while supporters may be torn or inclined to prefer Bannon. It’s a meaningful feud, either way, since we know Trump listens a lot to those close to him.


The French election is just two weeks away, and some serious debates are starting. At the second national debate, an unlikely star emerged - Philippe Poutou. A mechanic running on a far-left ticket, he insulted every major candidate on the stage and positioned himself as an outsider, and it paid off. He “jumped” from 0.5% to as much as 3%, and, more importantly, got some serious news coverage. Meanwhile, Francois Fillon, once seen as a favorite to reach the runoff, is now in serious danger of slipping to fourth place following numerous scandals. Leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon has surged recently and has a chance of overtaking Fillon, although it will now almost definitely be Macron and Le Pen in the second round.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to reply or comment or whatever you kids do nowadays.

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