The latest manifestation of the Trump Administration’s extreme and open corruption came to light last week when the jack-booted, goose-stepping, fascist white supremacist Steve Bannon was given dispensation to run the right-wing propaganda site Breitbart while on the government payroll. In essence, this means that US taxpayers will be footing the bill.

Bannon wasn’t the only one to profit from Donald’s largess. Last week, the Washington Post reported that the Trump White House had granted “ethics waivers” to seventeen of his appointees – four of whom are former lobbyists. In addition to Bannon, beneficiaries include Reince Priebus and Kellyanne Conway.

The White House also granted a “blanket waiver” to all executive office appointees, allowing them to communicate directly with the media. This is what has given carte blanche to Bannon, allowing him to determine the content and messaging of an openly pro-Trump, anti-democracy, anti-immigrant, racist white supremacist website – while he is being paid generously by We, the People.

Aside from the fact that we are all now being expected to pay for the spread of pro-Trump lies and distortions (allegedly, Trump himself was paying Breitbart for those services during his campaign), this is especially disturbing because ever since the Trump Crime Family began infesting the White House, Donald has surrounded himself with virtual neo-Nazi white nationalists. These so-called “advisers”  have been setting the tone for US foreign policy.

We have been seeing the consequences: accusing NATO members of being deadbeats, pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Accordridiculing the mayor of London over the recent terrorist attacks for not being a fear monger, and insulting important allies. Like Grima Wormtongue in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings, the white nationalists have been whispering in King Trump’s ear, telling him what he wants to hear – drowning out wiser counsel he might receive from more experienced, cooler-headed advisers who actually know a thing or two about diplomacy and foreign affairs.

The consequences are being suffered here and abroad. At home, the poison of white nationalism continues to spread like a malignant cancer, even into progressive bastions like the Pacific Northwest. Abroad, Trump’s actions at the behest of Bannon and his ilk are alienating our allies, isolating the US, and putting the nation well on the road to becoming a pariah state. We as a nation are likely to see the effects of Trump’s actions for years to come, and it may take decades to repair the damage.

Meanwhile, the slow-motion train wreck continues, aided and abetted by a bloated toad-like creature who labors under the delusion that he is somehow “genetically superior” because of his pale skin. What’s more, Bannon gets to continue collecting a government paycheck while actively working to undermine everything that our government is supposed to stand for.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.