A new commentary every
Wednesday - February 1, 2017
Rome was not built in a day
The search for the originator of this catch phrase turned up more names than there are stones in the Coliseum in Rome. It is one of a score of Medieval French folk sayings mentioned by author John Haywood in 1538 and as late as 1895 by Swiss linguist Adolph Tobler.
I suggest the title above could be an excellent rejoinder to those who support the many hurried executive actions of our new President— in particular the "Bad Dude" ban that supposes that Muslims, particularly those Iraqi interpreters and Syrian refugees who have been in the immigration pipeline for months, even years, mean to do us harm.
It is puzzling that Saudi Arabia, the country from which most of the jihadists of the 9-11 attacks using civilian jet aircraft came, is not included in the ban of Muslims from seven countries and yet Iraq, the country we have joined as an ally in the fight to destroy the cutthroats of the Islamic State, is. What is this anomaly all about?
The weekend brought even more cheap thrills, when the Whitehouse announced that Stephen (Steve) Bannon, chief strategist and Senior Counselor for President Trump's election campaign has been invited by Trump to take a permanent seat on the National Security Council's Principals Committee.
For a few hours it appeared that the President had put the Director of the CIA in limbo, then in the next breath reinstalled him in the NSC as Trump rearranged the many pawns on the Intelligence chess board at blinding speed, proving that the Presidential Executive Order pen is far quicker than the media.
Although it appears that the role of some of the nation's top military and intelligence officers is beclouded, Press Secretary Sean Spencer attempted to clarify their positions; at last count described as being "invited" to attend National Security Council meetings when their expertise is needed. This announcement was further modified by a later announcement from Trump who stated that the brass uninvited earlier were welcome to attend NSC meetings whenever they like. Left unsaid is whether their input would be solicited or welcomed.
As for Bannon, I stumbled upon one of his editorials five to ten years ago, when someone forwarded me a copy of one published in the ultra-rightwing Breitbart News website for which he was Editor. It had to do with a supposed surreptitious meeting of unidentified world leaders in the Austrian Alps who had—according to Bannon—set in motion the attempted takeover of all democratic governments, worldwide. My memory of the expose' is that the meeting should have been convened in a coo-coo clock factory. Not one governmental agency for any country, not one news agency, not one reporter, bought the story of Bannon's secret cabal.
I never heard of Bannon again until he popped up as the principal guru in the Trump campaign, which explains many of our President's troubling beliefs, beginning with his downgrading of the Military Chiefs of Staff in the NSC this past week and the installation of propagandist Bannon, who probably thinks his role is to run the paramount intelligence apparatus—a chore for which he is ill prepared.
And now, with a newly appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions waiting in the wings for Congressional confirmation, we had to witness a Monday Night Massacre; the firing of the top federal law enforcer, albeit a temporary one, who refused to obey—on constitutional grounds—Trump's order to ship refugees back to the seven countries from which they fled.
What we have is chaos; trying to do too much, too quickly. It reminds me of the comedian team of the 1940s and 50's: Abbott and Costello, doing their "Who is on second?" routine.
-Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Mencken
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