Everything is political in a banana republic

Another example:

Two board members have since departed. David C. Williams, the vice chairman, left in April over concerns that the Postal Service was becoming increasingly politicized by the Trump administration, according to two people familiar with his thinking. Ronald Stroman, who oversaw mail-in voting and relations with election officials, resigned in May.

One of the remaining members, Robert M. Duncan, is a former Republican National Committee chairman who has been a campaign donor to Trump.

In accusing the administration of politicizing the Postal Service, the president’s critics point to a recent decision to send a mailer detailing guidelines to protect against the coronavirus. The mailer, which featured Trump’s name in a campaignlike style, was sent in March to 130 million American households at a reported cost of $28 million.

According to Postal Service emails obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act, Trump was personally involved.

And then there’s this headline:

A day after Trump floated delaying the presidential election, which he cannot do, the White House condemned Hong Kong for delaying its election

But is this really a surprise? This is an administration where Trump encourages Xi Jinping to put Uighers into concentration camps while his aides pretend to criticize the policy.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to use the power of the presidency to boost the value of his family’s real estate holdings:

But shifting the FBI headquarters to the suburbs would clear the way for redeveloping its current site, a prime property ripe for shops, restaurants, high-end apartments — and a luxury hotel. That luxury hotel would compete with another one a block away on Pennsylvania Avenue: the Trump International, which, in 2018, provided the president’s company with a substantial chunk of its revenue.

What’s the nation’s hotelier in chief to do? Following his personal intervention, the government announced that rather than moving the FBI, it would raze the building and rebuild on the same insecure, too-small site, which would force thousands of FBI staffers to move permanently to facilities in Idaho, Alabama and West Virginia. As for the cost, including to relocate more than 5,000 FBI headquarters personnel for years while construction was underway — well, no one could provide an estimate of that.

When I used to argue that it’s not a good idea to have a mentally unstable person with his finger on the nuclear trigger, people reassured me that Trump was surrounded by sober military experts like General Mattis and General McMaster. Now Trump has gotten rid of those two and is surrounding himself with people as paranoid as Jack D. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove. You might argue that Congress would never approve the Tata appointment, and that’s true. But quaint formalities like Senate approval are so 20th-century. This is the age of authoritarian nationalism, so Trump’s going to appoint General Tata anyway, despite his being too bizarre for even the Republicans in the Senate.

Do you think this guy plans to preserve the military’s traditional non-partisan stance?

In several tweets from 2018, Tata said that Islam was the “most oppressive violent religion I know of” and claimed Obama was a “terrorist leader” who did more to harm the US “and help Islamic countries than any president in history.” Following the publication of this story, Tata deleted several of his tweets, screenshots of which were captured by CNN’s KFile.

Tata, in one radio appearance, speculated the Iran deal was born out of Obama’s “Islamic roots” in an attempt “to help Iranians and the greater Islamic state crush Israel.”

Tata also lashed out at prominent Democratic politicians and the media on Twitter, such as California Reps. Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi, who he said “have always been the same violent extremists.”

Not that it matters, but Obama is Christian, not Muslim.

Donald Trump surrounded by delusional paranoid military leaders in his second term. Hey, what could go wrong?



5 Responses to “Everything is political in a banana republic”

  1. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    3. August 2020 at 11:38

    Trump’s first term, while a clown show, didn’t really do irreparable harm. A second one, with no brakes? Then I’d have to change my usually optimistic “presidents don’t matter much” priors.

    Thankfully, Biden is significantly farther ahead of where Clinton was 4 years ago. But a lot can change, and the ongoing urban unrest could play right into the Reps hands like it did in 1968.

  2. Gravatar of Skeptical Skeptical
    3. August 2020 at 12:18


    A lot could certainly happen between now and election day, but I seriously doubt the ‘urban unrest’ will have a similar effect to what occurred in 1968. Speculative, but my worthless 2 cents:

    The middle class flight from cities makes this much less relevant. For all the think pieces and digital ink spilled, the demographics of cities now vs 1968 are simply not very comparable.

    The battleground is the suburbs, and if suburban moms are unaffected by the disorder then I don’t see why it would necessarily affect their voting patterns.

    Secondly, Nixon could credibly put the blame on the Dem administration and cast himself as a change agent. Harder to run this play in 2020 as an incumbent.

    But we’ll see

  3. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    3. August 2020 at 15:45

    spend a few decades loosening labor markets and tightening property markets and you will reap a poisonous harvest.

    You have a nut like Trump, and you have Biden proposing to “end the era of shareholder capitalism.”

    You have the Donks pretending that police brutality is what is holding down poor Americans, and you have the ‘Phants blaming welfare.

    Good luck everybody.

  4. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    3. August 2020 at 18:45


    I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but in this always online and social world (especially now that we are on our screens literally more than ever), all the images of the urban violence are being watched in the suburbs every day. Trump is no dummy when it comes to negative campaigning, and he will hammer the Dems with this hard.

    Biden’s polling and betting markets leads are still substantial, but have started to come down a bit over the last week. It ain’t over.

  5. Gravatar of Matthias Görgens Matthias Görgens
    5. August 2020 at 00:02

    Benjamin, in what sense have labour markets loosened?

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