• Wednesday, December 26, 2018 2:06am
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The exchange rate

The holiday week leading up to New

Year’s has special meaning. The day

after holy Christmas, we celebrate the

wholly mercenary observance of

Exchange Day.

It’s not an official holiday in the

United States, but it should be, like

Boxing Day is in British Commonwealth

countries and other outposts of

civilization. You remember the British

Commonwealth, don’t you? That was

the worldwide collection of countries

under the influence of England, before

the demise of the U.K. — a downward

slide that is nearly identical to what the

U.S. is undergoing now.

That was long before Brexit, where

the demagogues successfully played

on the latent hatreds of the Brits in

order to commit financial suicide by

trying to pull away from the rest of

Europe. Again, it’s uncannily similar to

Americexit, a term I just made up to

describe how our current leadership is

trying to lead us to oblivion by removing

us from the rest of the planet.

As usual, I’ve digressed. This is

about returning unwanted merchandise.

President Donald Trump is dumping

a whole year’s worth. Actually,

sometimes he’s the dumper, but often

he’s the dumpee. No matter that Trump

decided to terminate him early, Gen.

Jim Mattis — who had gone on to be

President Trump’s secretary of defense

and was considered by nearly everyone

to occupy the ever-shrinking corner of

reason in the Trump solar system —

got tired of his expert advice being

trashed, and either the sudden decision

to pull out of Syria or the pullout

planned for Afghanistan was enough to

push him over the edge. We know what

motivated him because he made it clear

in his resignation letter:

“Because you have the right to have

a Secretary of Defense whose views

are better aligned with yours on these

and other subjects, I believe it is right

for me to step down from my position.”

The only way he could have been

clearer is if he had told the president

what he could do with himself.

By the way, Mattis is not the only

one. Even many of Trump’s fellow

Republicans are in an uproar over

Trump’s impetuous moves. Still,

POTUS will take great comfort in

knowing that his autocrat role models

Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip

Erdogan wholeheartedly approve.

Mattis, however, is bailing. He’ll soon

be followed out the door by John

Kelly, another retired Marine four-star

whose brass was tarnished. Kelly has

reached his limits as White House

chief of staff, and while he didn’t enjoy

the universal adulation that Mattis

accumulated, the two of them will do

their Semper Fi bye-bye at the same

time, retreating from the battles they


They’re trailing a three-star out the

door. H.R. McMaster left in April

2018, after he ran afoul of the capricious

emperor Trump. Let us not forget

that he replaced another one, Michael

Flynn. Gen. Flynn was sooooo last

year, unless you count his indictment

by Bob Mueller, who’s investigating

alleged Trump campaign Russian collusion.

Flynn is currently singing like a

songbird to avoid prison time.

This has not been a good year for

generals, particularly if you include

attorneys general, like Jeff Sessions.

By the way, did you know that the

proper way to address an AG is “General”?

One can assume that he’ll retain

the title even though he’s now a former

one. Of course, he’s a former senator,

too. What does etiquette dictate is the

proper honorific?

Speaking of damaged goods, they

have slimed his cabinet full of holes.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is the

latest to slither out of industry’s pockets.

But he allegedly got greedy, just

like Scott Pruitt at the Environmental

Protection Agency.

Right now we are in the throes of

still another partial government shutdown,

widely blamed on Donald

Trump’s rash untrustworthiness. This

doesn’t figure to improve until he’s the

one who’s being exchanged.

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