Bannon as Bond villain

It’s not fashionable to even listen to Steve Bannon these days, and I don’t know why you’d invite him to your festival.  But when I read or listen to interviews with him, I always feel I’m gaining insight.  Much like a Bond villain, he seems to delight in revealing his plans.  Consider a moment at 17:05 above:

Third is the deconstruction of the administrative state.  It’s the reason Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are on the Supreme Court.  They’re not social – they’re not about abortion or gay marriage, these people are about the Chevron exemption, they’re about deconstructing the administrative state.

I think he means Chevron Deference, which I had to look up.  A lawyer friend defined it for me:

It emerged from a case called Chevron U.S.A Inc vs Natural Resources Defense Council:

Congress amended the Clean Air Act in 1977 to address states that had failed to attain the air quality standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) (Defendant). “The amended Clean Air Act required these ‘non-attainment’ States to establish a permit program regulating ‘new or modified major stationary sources’ of air pollution.” During the Carter administration, the EPA defined a source as any device in a manufacturing plant that produced pollution. In 1981, after Ronald Reagan’s election, the EPA, which was headed by Anne M. Gorsuch, adopted a new definition that allowed an existing plant to get permits for new equipment that did not meet standards as long as the total emissions from the plant itself did not increase. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental protection group, challenged the EPA regulation in federal court, which ruled in the NRDC’s favor. Chevron, an affected party, appealed the lower court’s decision.

Bottom line, the Court ended up ruling the EPA could make its rules and they wouldn’t intrude too much.

But wait one second: Gorsuch?

It was this woman, mother of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch!

3-5-1981 President Reagan meeting with Anne Gorsuch EPA Administrator-Designate in oval office

How about that!

It gets a bit complicated after that and I’m afraid above my paygrade, but it seems Gorsuch The Son doesn’t care much for Chevron Deference.  His tone on the topic tends to veer towards the sarcastic:

Under Chevron the people aren’t just charged with awareness of and the duty to conform their conduct to the fairest reading of the law that a detached magistrate can muster. Instead, they are charged with an awareness of Chevron; required to guess whether the statute will be declared “ambiguous” (courts often disagree on what qualifies); and required to guess (again) whether an agency’s interpretation will be deemed “reasonable.” Who can even attempt all that, at least without an army of perfumed lawyers and lobbyists? And, of course, that’s not the end of it. Even if the people somehow manage to make it through this far unscathed, they must always remain alert to the possibility that the agency will reverse its current view 180 degrees anytime based merely on the shift of political winds and still prevail.

One can’t but wonder: does any of this have to do with his mom?

Just think it’s interesting that Bannon says they don’t give a fig about social culture war issues.  Remember that Bannon and Kellyanne Conway are more or less hired guns for the Mercer family, of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund.

I wonder if Brett Kavanaugh will get through, or if they’ll have to find a different person to help dismantle the administrative state.

As always we welcome your comments!

 


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Weak, weak, weak

The Trump era will end when a Democrat can get in Trump’s face and confidently say this.  American politics is not structured for this kinda face to face thing so maybe it won’t be until 2020.

Jump to 3:42 in this director’s cut to see the almost sexual excitement that explodes when Blair drops the word “weak”:

Sherrod Brown is the Dem who physically resembles Blair here the most, imo.

Once a confident Democrat is calling Trump weak to his face, the fight will enter the pattern laid out by Randall Collins:

How does violence sometimes succeed in doing damage? The key is asymmetrical  confrontation tension. One side will win if they can get their victim in the zone of high arousal and high incompetence, while keeping their own arousal down to a zone of greater bodily control.

Trump will enter a state of high arousal and high incompetence.  Collins continues:

Violence is not so much physical as emotional struggle; whoever achieves emotional domination, can then impose physical domination. That is why most real fights look very nasty; one sides beats up on an opponent at the time they are incapable of resisting.

Unfortch a US president in a state of high arousal and high incompetence has a non-zero chance of ending human life on Earth, so that also must be weighed.


When tyrants tremble sick with fear and hear their death knells ringing

we used to listen to this record when I was a kid.

when friends by shame are undefiled

also a good line.

The first was the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, which led, ultimately, to the ousting and gruesome lynching of the Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi. Afterward, many people who interacted with Putin noticed how deeply Qaddafi’s death troubled him. He is said to have watched the video of the killing over and over. “The way Qaddafi died made a profound impact on him,” says Jake Sullivan, a former senior State Department official who met repeatedly with senior Russian officials around that time. Another former senior Obama-administration official describes Putin as “obsessed” with Qaddafi’s death

reported Julia Ioffe for the Atlantic in February 2018.


Montenegro in the news

Montenegro in the news:

made me think of:

Gatsby is finally telling his backstory to Nick:

       “Then came the war, old sport. It was a great relief and I tried very hard to die but I seemed to bear an enchanted life. I accepted a commission as first lieutenant when it began. In the Argonne Forest I took two machine-gun detachments so far forward that there was a half mile gap on either side of us where the infantry couldn’t advance. We stayed there two days and two nights, a hundred and thirty men with sixteen Lewis guns, and when the infantry came up at last they found the insignia of three German divisions among the piles of dead. I was promoted to be a major and every Allied government gave me a decoration–even Montenegro, little Montenegro down on the Adriatic Sea!”

Little Montenegro! He lifted up the words and nodded at them–with his smile. The smile comprehended Montenegro’s troubled history and sympathized with the brave struggles of the Montenegrin people. It appreciated fully the chain of national circumstances which had elicited this tribute from Montenegro’s warm little heart. My incredulity was submerged in fascination now; it was like skimming hastily through a dozen magazines. He reached in his pocket and a piece of metal, slung on a ribbon, fell into my palm. “That’s the one from Montenegro.” To my astonishment, the thing had an authentic look.

“Orderi di Danilo,” ran the circular legend, “Montenegro, Nicolas Rex.”

“Turn it.”

“Major Jay Gatsby,” I read, “For Valour Extraordinary.”

#teammontenegro


Henry Adams to young FDR

Henry Adams with dog Marquis from Wikipedia

Young man, I have lived in this house many years and seen the occupants of that White House across the square come and go, and nothing that you minor officials or the occupants of that house can do will affect the history of the world for long.

Believe he said this to FDR when Frank was assistant secretary of the Navy.  Quote from Old Money by Nelson Aldrich.


Checking in on: UK politics

If you enjoy English weirdness as I do jump to 8:17 here to watch the insane reaction Emily Thornberry, PM for Islington South and Finsbury gets for her joke: