Saturday, December 2, 2017


The US Senate has voted (Republicans versus Democrats) a tax bill few had an opportunity to read. The GOP has a Pavlovian reflex whenever the word tax cut comes up. They do not even take the time to debate or analyze, they follow their Pied Piper of Hamelin and prefer not to smell the rat!

Trump's former disgraced National Security Advisor finally admitted lying to the FBI. This new (not unexpected) twist comes at a most inauspicious moment for an administration which looks besieged and incoherent. The White House of booby- trapped cards circles the wagons, in vain.

The Secretary of State is openly ridiculed, waiting for his exile. He is losing clout and face by the day.  Few will notice the difference if he were to leave, since diplomacy is done now by Twitter.  In one week, Trump was able to offend the UK and the Netherlands. He had to swallow how Egypt rolled out the red carpet  for Russia and was looking at a loss for finding a rebuke to "Little Rocket Man". He is supposed to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel next week.  Any move should be part of a comprehensive, final agreement. In deciding a move now he might well jeopardize America's standing with i.a. Jordan and Morocco.

America, under this uninformed and intellectually lazy president, appears to be in the curse of  Steve Bannon, an unaccountable pseudo-intellectual and Leninist poseur (interesting analysis by Thomas Chatterton Williams in the Dec. 4 New Yorker about the French origins of the white-nationalist rallying cry). His populist, nativist message stands contrary to the "real" country which remains a melting pot of immigrants, diversity and talent. True, all those qualities are under siege but one feels that the impatience with the present permanent chaos is reaching a point of reckoning. Contrary winds are starting to get the better of the brush fires that have been lit and that are dangerously close to consuming liberal values, openness and diversity. The mood in the country is sour, but people are getting tired of this permanent warfare against all which most stand for.

Trump pays for playing up to his base by losing support from his allies and from the "other" America.  He risks ending up being seen as Putin's minor avatar, without the cunning brio of the Russian model.  By letting the last scandal pay for the previous one, and on and on, he is just another John Law or Bernie Madoff:  the maker of a Ponzi scheme. The Republicans will pay a high price for having contributed to the election of a president who came with so much overweight baggage!

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