Mark Greenberg
Life-long Progressive Who Got Woke

The Donald Gets Squishy

I did not support Donald Trump’s candidacy for the presidency. He was certainly not conservative, I blanched at his suggestions that Barack Obama did not possess an American birth certificate and every time I saw his face, all I could hear was that damned O’Jays song that was the theme for The Apprentice. To me, he was an East Coast, Wall Street financier — he would donate to Democrats when it suited his needs and they held power, and would be just as comfortable doing the reverse.

Trump’s Like Mike!

He was like Mayor Mike Bloomberg — wealthy beyond comprehension, conservative to the extent it meant protecting his wealthy and liberal if it meant his particular brand of social engineering.

Gun control, no excessively huge Cokes, stay away from the salt, make sure the caloric content of every permutation of burger, pizza, or taco is clearly posted and make sure every office is equipped with as many $20,000 Bloomberg terminals as possible.

But Trump vanquished his Republican challengers and then he woodshedded Hillary Clinton in spite of Barack Obama having leveled the agencies of government against him, in spite of the FBI’s having – apparently — paid a highly questionable, “oppositional research” group to compile a “dossier” on Trump, in spite of the National Intelligence infrastructure (headed by the increasingly indictable James Clapper) — possibly — seeking FISA warrants on the basis of this scurrilous dossier, and in spite of a Special Counsel being named as a direct result of this convoluted conspiracy directed by figures in the government who despise Trump…..he remains in office.

Despite his survival, and the surprisingly pleasant unwinding of the Obama agenda without much assistance from Congress, Trump seems comfortable surrounding himself with people most like himself: his family, of course, but also squishy, Wall Street-oriented Republicans who tend to favor a “wink and nod” approach to border enforcement, who favor seeking United Nations — or EU-sanctioned approval for foreign policy initiatives and who tend to sweep the transgressions of the Democrats and the Obama administration under the rug.

Gary, Jared, and H.R.

Steve Bannon’s departure from the West Wing is an enormous loss for the president, regardless of what you may think of Bannon. He stood in stark contrast to the Gary Cohn, Jared Kushner and H.R. McMaster line of thinking that was beginning to dominate the White House.

No references to “radical Islamic terrorism,” according to McMaster.

Jared Kushner’s ridiculous naivete shared with Obama’s former Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, who stated in her lunatic justification for the US abstention on Resolution 2334 on December 23, 2016, after Trump had won the election: “…President Abbas and his party’s leaders have made clear their opposition to violence, terrorism, and extremism….”

And Gary Cohn, the Goldman Sachs veteran, who is a proud Democrat and would be quite at home in a Hillary Clinton administration, had no issue openly criticizing his boss’ comments about Charlottesville, but had not a negative comment — before or since — about the assaults perpetrated by Antifa or the cowardly behavior of the police that day as they cowered behind their barriers, did not separate the groups and, consequently, were participants in the actions that occurred.

Gary seems to have missed all that.

The Purge

The Son-In-Law and his Cronies have successfully purged Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and their insurgent allies from the West Wing. Now the Son-In-Law returns to the Middle East seeking an agreement for Trump that has eluded others far more savvy than he. But, my, how things have changed and poor, rich Jared is so far out of his element that he seems like a high school senior sent to negotiate a bargain with Mao Tse Tung.

President Abbas announces that payments will continue to martyrs families until the day he dies. Yahya Sinwar of Hamas announces in Gaza that ties with Iran are now “fantastic”, having once amounted to $50 million per month before Hamas abandoned Bashar Assad in Syria; Israeli satellite imagery was released displaying an Iranian missile facility in Syria that bears a striking resemblance to an existing facility near Tehran; discoveries of huge natural gas fields in the Mediterranean; the threat of Shi’ite hegemony in the region, Qatar’s playing both sides against the middle, the Sunni confusion about whether a secretive Israeli alliance is worth the threat it presents to the Iranians and their proxies; and, the structured, pre-planned confrontation with Israeli authorities over unsubstantiated claims that the “status quo” arrangement governing The Temple Mount was being uprooted.

The Son-In-Law seems to have been stunned into silence over this last issue by the same magical spell that also seems to have struck the King of the Hashemites, 43rd generational direct descendant of Muhammad. Both could have intervened in short order in a very direct fashion and tamped down the passions that were spiraling out of control, but neither acted with any sense of urgency.

And doesn’t this encapsulate the likelihood of any peace agreement occurring during a Trump administration?

The Flip and The Flop

He promises to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem. Let’s just hold off on that for a bit because we don’t want to piss off Tillerson’s friends, the Saudis.

He commits to American taxpayers that their money will no longer be used by corrupt Palestinian “politicians” to pay compensation to the families of martyrs and those serving sentences in Israeli prisons. But that funding to the Palestinian Authority has not stopped and they refuse to wind down those payments.

Trump promised to help bring an end to UNRWA, the UN agency solely dedicated to Palestinian refugees. No other refugee community in the world has its own dedicated agency. Like so much else associated with the Palestinian cause, however, it spreads anti-Semitic hatred in its schools, it employs members of terror organizations and the UN itself in 2015 found that terror organizations in Gaza used three empty UNRWA schools as a weapons cache. Trump has just renewed the US pledge to continue funding UNRWA at $300 million per year.

During a speech at an AIPAC Policy Conference during the campaign, Trump said of the JCPOA: “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran. I have been in business a long time. I know deal-making and let me tell you, this deal is catastrophic – for America, for Israel, for the whole Middle East.”

But the Trump administration has certified – twice – that Iran is largely in compliance with JCPOA and, according to Rex Tillerson, the US was working with “the other parties to that agreement, our European allies, in particular, to ensure we are fully enforcing all aspects of that agreement.” That does not sound like impending dismantlement.

Bannon – and, frankly, most who support Trump – advocated the embassy move. Supported the immediate termination of American taxpayer funding for the Palestinian “Martyrs Fund”. Advocated the elimination of UNRWA and the incorporation of the Palestinian refugee under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Expected that the Iranians should be sanctioned, excluded from the international banking system and isolated with their brothers in North Korea as serial international pariahs who should not be rewarded with incentives or inducements to be “welcomed” into rational society.

A fundamental disconnect has emerged between the points Candidate Trump espoused when he was surrounded by a vastly different group of advisers than those that surround him now. The Globalists that occupy key posts in his Cabinet, augmented by Ivanka and The Son-In-Law, clearly objected to the gruff elbow-throwing approach of insurgents Bannon and Gorka, assisted by outside counselors like John Bolton.

It will be our loss, ultimately, because there will be no change in the status quo. John Koskinen will continue to run the IRS (how is that possible?), Jared Kushner will be dispatched to Ramallah to discuss who knows what with Abbas, Chuck Schumer will never lift a bipartisan finger to assist Trump to get 60 votes on anything, Robert Mueller will seek an indictment against Michael Flynn and Paul Manfort on some charge, so the tele-repellant Adam Schiff can run for Senate in California whenever Diane Feinstein retires.

And the easily-offended Gary Cohn will submit his letter of resignation when it becomes clear that Republicans do not want to work with him on tax reform, dealing Trump yet another self-inflicted legislative blow, blaming it on the President’s and his supporters’ xenophobia as he boards the Hampton Jitney.

About the Author
Professionally, Mark Greenberg comes out of the world of New York Media. He was a member of the management team that started MTV. He turned down a job at ESPN to move to Austin to raise his family of four boys in a more rational atmosphere. He was also a member of the bicoastal media elite that he critiques on a regular basis.
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