Trump Just Quietly Replaced Our Nation’s Top Military Advisors With Steve Bannon

“A radical departure from any National Security Council in history”

Donald Trump’s executive order targeting refugees and immigrants may have only been the second most disastrous decision he made this weekend.


On Saturday, Trump quietly demoted the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director of National Intelligence from his National Security Council and replaced them with his controversial personal advisor, Steve Bannon. The JCS and DNI are the two leading adivsory positions on the council, making their demotion much, much more than symbolic.

The decision means the nation’s most vital national security decisions will now be filtered through a political appointee with ties to the Alt Right movement and who just a few months ago was running a highly partisan news web site. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, who have always sat in on NSC briefings, will now only attend meetings that directly involve, "issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed," according to Trump’s order.

The move sent shockwaves through the intelligence community and was blasted by prominent figures including Sen. John McCain and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, both Republicans.

“I am worried about the National Security Council. Who are the members of it and who are the permanent members?” McCain said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “The appointment of Mr. Bannon is something which is a radical departure from any National Security Council in history."

“I think pushing them out of the National Security Council meetings, except when their specific issues are at stake, is a big mistake," Gates added in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. "I think that they both bring a perspective and judgment and experience to bear that every president, whether they like it or not, finds useful."

The shocking decision further aggravates public and private tensions between Trump and the intelligence community. As Gates noted, it’s not unusual for members to be added to the NSC, but taking away two central voices, particularly the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is truly unprecedented and will limit the input of experienced voices advising Trump as he charts the nation’s course on international affairs.

Even more disturbing is that while much of the world rightfully focuses on Trump’s attempts to bar refugees and legal immigrants from entering the U.S., very little attention is being paid to the NSC move. It’s understandable on the surface, as the very human individual faces of refugees makes for a more emotionally compelling narrative than the complex rigors of federal bureaucracy. But however inflammatory, the refugee issue is likely to quickly sort itself out through court injunctions and a massive, growing public outcry. Meanwhile, there is almost nothing anyone can do about Trump’s decision to limit, and heavily skew, the level of expertise he allows to filter through the NSC.

And because those are the decisions that so often create refugees, rather than simply deciding where they can and can’t go, it should be all the more upsetting to people paying attention to how this new administration’s policies are already having an impact around the globe.

Articles
Creative Commons

National Tell a Joke Day dates back to 1944 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was having a meeting with Vice-President, Henry Wallace. The two men were tired and depressed due to the stress caused by leading a country through world war.

During a lull in the meeting, Wallace said, "Frank, to cheer you up I have a joke I'd like to share."

"Let's have it, Henry," Roosevelt replied while ashing his cigarette.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?" Wallace asked. "Not sure," Roosevelt replied.

"To get to the other side," Wallace responded.

Roosevelt laughed so hard that the bourbon he was drinking sprayed out of his nose and onto the floor of the oval office.

RELATED: A comedian shuts down a sexist heckler who, ironically, brought his daughters to the show

The joke was so funny, and did such a great job at lightening both their moods, Roosevelt proclaimed that every year, August 16 would be National Tell a Joke Day.

Just kidding.

Nobody knows why National Tell a Joke Day started, but in a world where the President of the United States is trying to buy Greenland, "Beverly Hills, 90210" is back on TV, and the economy is about to go off a cliff, we could all use a bit of levity.

To celebrate National Tell a Joke Day, the people on Twitter responded with hundreds of the corniest dad jokes ever told. Here are some of the best.

Culture

The Judean date palm was once common in ancient Judea. The tree itself was a source of shelter, its fruit was ubiquitous in food, and its likeness was even engraved on money. But the plant became extinct around 500 A.D., and the prevalent palm was no more. But the plant is getting a second chance at life in the new millennium after researchers were able to resurrect ancient seeds.

Two thousand-year-old seeds were discovered inside a pottery jar during an archaeological excavation of Masada, a historic mountain fortress in southern Israel. It is believed the seeds were produced between 155 B.C. and 64 A.D. Those seeds sat inside a researcher's drawer in Tel Aviv for years, not doing anything.

Elaine Solowey, the Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel, wondered if she could revive the Judean Date Palm, so in 2005, she began to experiment. "I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" Solewey said.

Keep Reading Show less
Science

There's been an uptick in fake emotional support animals (ESAs), which has led some airlines to crack down on which animals can and can't fly. Remember that emotional support peacock?

But some restrictions on ESAs don't fly with the Department of Transportation (DOT), leading them to crack down on the crack down.

Delta says that there has been an 84 percent increase in animal incidents since 2016, thanks in part to the increase of ESAs on airplanes. Last year, Delta airlines banned pit bulls and pit bull-related dog breeds after two airline staff were bitten by the breed while boarding a flight from Atlanta to Tokyo.

"We must err on the side of safety. Most recently, two Delta employees were bit by a pit bull traveling as a support animal last week. We struggled with the decision to expand the ban to service animals, knowing that some customers have legitimate needs, but we have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk," Delta told People regarding the new rule.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Liam Beach / Facebook

Trying to get one dog to sit still and make eye contact with a camera for more than half a second is a low-key miracle. Lining up 16 dogs, on steps, and having them all stare at the camera simultaneously is the work of a God-like dog whisperer.

This miracle worker is Liam Beach, a 19-year-old animal management graduate from Cardiff, Wales. A friend of his dared him to attempt the shot and he accepted the challenge.

"My friend Catherine challenged me to try to get all of my lot sat on the stairs for a photo. She said, 'I bet you can't pull it off,' so I thought 'challenge accepted,'" he said, accoriding to Paws Planet.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Americans on both sides of the political aisle can agree on one thing: our infrastructure needs a huge upgrade. While politicians drag their feet on high-speed rail projects, fixing bridges, and building new airports, one amazing project is picking up steam.

The Great American Rail-Trail, a bike path that will connect Washington state to Washington, D.C., is over 50% complete.

The trail is being planned by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit that is working with local governments to make the dream a reality.

Keep Reading Show less
Travel