Matt Taibbi, The War in the White House
Months of palace intrigue have pitted the D.C. establishment and Jared Kushner against Steve Bannon – and made Trump more dangerous than ever.
It’s not quite Taibbi’s most famous attack, casting Goldman Sachs as a vampire squid –
The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.
but this teardown of the mess at the White House is pretty close, and Bannon and Cohn are both Goldman products:
The revelations of the past month show the Trump White House to be a kind of bizarro version of Real World or Amish in the City – a bunch of loutish out-of-towners granted undeserving residence in a classy downtown mansion wired in every corner for the world’s amusement. Ditsy Kellyanne Conway rubs her feet on the furniture, blabbermouth Sean Spicer loses battles of wits to Rob Gronkowski in the press room, and grandpa Rex Tillerson spends every episode hiding from the press, maybe behind the new gold drapes (they really changed the color of the Oval Office drapes). The remaining zoo animals are split in a perfectly disgusting caricature of the modern American political divide. On one side rests Bannon, a fascistic creep who represents the tens of millions of “deplorables” who rallied to Trump because he validated their zombie-movie fantasies about armies of wormy Mexicans staggering up the isthmus (“tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border,” as Trump put it).
Bannon hasn’t been fired, and Trump’s recent bleatings about rewriting trade deals are supposedly due to his continuing influence. But there are many reports that Bannon has lost influence to Kushner and former Goldman Sachs deputy Gary Cohn, a noted monster of the financial-crisis era who represents the opposite vile brand of American politics, a Wall Street kleptocracy that has spent decades robbing Main Street blind through bubble economics and sleazy asset-hoovering schemes like sub-prime-mortgage fraud.
If there’s a better metaphor for the depressing nonchoice of modern Western democracy than the intramural struggle for influence between these two arch-fiends, it’s hard to imagine. Bannon and Cohn, two bilious, overweight ex-Goldman bankers, now sit on either side of the throne, each whispering his respective villainous ideology into the president’s ears.
It’ll be backlash ethnic nationalism against sociopathic finance capitalism, foreigners-suck versus screw-the-poor, depending on Trump’s mood. That’s assuming the president hasn’t been distracted by some insane civilization-imperiling military adventure recommended to him by “adults” like Defense Secretary James Mattis, Homeland Chief John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Who’s really running things in the Trump White House? The more we hear, the less we seem to know, but none of the choices seem to be good. ‘Round and 'round the bowl we go; God knows when we will hit the bottom.