The Dark Prince Whispering In The King’s Ear: Iago, Bannon, and Fontaine

The Dark Prince Whispering In The King’s Ear: Iago, Bannon, and Fontaine


Leonard Zwelling

As Frank Bruni noted in the New York Times on Wednesday, February 1, it was hoped that Jared Kushner would serve as the thoughtful, rational balance to the bomb throwing alt-right Prince of Darkness that is Steve Bannon. Nice try!

It is pretty obvious by now that Bannon, a non-Senate approved underling with a permanent seat on the National Security Council, has the President’s ear and other parts as well, although I have no idea why. My guess is disruption. Trump and Bannon are street fighters and consider themselves not part of the ruling elite. They have now risen to power. Like Nixon, they rage only less secretively.

It seems that disruption is the watchword of the Trump Administration thus far. That is neither surprising nor particularly concerning as that is what those who voted for Mr. Trump wanted to take place along the sixteen blocks between the White House and Capitol Hill. What some of us had hoped for was that cooler heads would also have a say and modulate the crazies just a wee bit. Well, not yet.

The travel ban (yes, the President called it that), the rapid attempts to ditch the ACA (now the GOP has a plan? Where were the Republicans for the past 7 years?), the enormous pressure being placed on the Senate to approve cabinet nominees who are unqualified, and the Holocaust Day message that had no reference to Jews are pretty good examples of the Bannon touch. As subtle as a hammer!

So, as Mr. Bruni asks, where is Mr. Kushner? He’s out on the town with his wife Ivanka who has been memed now as the new Marie Antoinette.

There is one bright spot in that Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have decided to vote “no” on the approval of Betsy DuVos to head the Education Department. Now if just one more Republican hard risen to the occasion (too bad, she couldn’t have made it without her Pence), we could have saved the country from a billionaire dilettante who probably has never been near a public school, although she says she has volunteered in one.

Talk about public school, that would include MD Anderson, which is part of the state university lest anyone forget.

I fear the Trump equivalent was installed on top of Pickens over five years ago and he has a Bannon-like figure whispering in his ear as well. That would be Dan Fontaine.

As far as I can tell, Mr. Fontaine is the main spokesman for MD Anderson now so why won’t he tell us what his role was in the installation of the various computer systems including EPIC and his plans to alleviate the ever hemorrhaging budget of the world’s number one cancer center—for now. Where is the money going? To the moon, I expect.

For the life of me, I cannot believe that an electronic medical record being installed all over the country has selectively crippled the most prominent cancer center in the land. How did that happen? Whose fault is it anyway?

Someone has been whispering in Ron DePinho’s ear and the president subsequently made some dreadful choices in hiring, laying off and in budgeting.

Is that DePinho’s Bannon I see? Or his Iago?

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