The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby Rory » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:08 pm

Rory » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:06 pm wrote:My word. The lulz are great.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/stevenperlberg ... .hjRl96My6

Who knew letting foaming at the mouth anti Russia retards serious news access could be problematic

Mensch offers Times readers reason to trust her expertise: “In November, I broke the story that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court had issued a warrant that enabled the F.B.I. to examine communications between ‘U.S. persons’ in the Trump campaign relating to Russia-linked banks," she writes.

On Twitter, Times reporters lashed out.

“Please note that the NYT newsroom disagrees,” national security reporter Charlie Savage tweeted. Savage highlighted from his report this month knocking down the FISA claim: “To date, reporters for The New York Times with demonstrated sources in that world have been unable to corroborate that the court issued any such order.”


So the FISA stuff was bs? Great. Love it


Takes one hack to recognise another


Check out @donnabrazile's Tweet: https://twitter.com/donnabrazile/status ... 22721?s=09

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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:21 pm

why are you continuing to high jack this thread?

robertpaulsen has never done anything to you..why are you being so disrespectful to him? You should take your personal grudges/vindettas elsewhere...what is wrong with you ...grow up
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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:41 pm

FRIDAY, MAR 17, 2017 03:59 AM CDT
Decoding Steve Bannon: Is his hateful ideology rooted in family trauma — or is he just a creep?
A Wall Street Journal profile claims Bannon's ideas were shaped by the 2008 collapse. It might be a lot simpler
GARY LEGUM

Decoding Steve Bannon: Is his hateful ideology rooted in family trauma — or is he just a creep?
Steve Bannon (Credit: Jeff Malet, maletphoto.com)
A lot of journalists have been talking up a profile of Steve Bannon that the Wall Street Journal published on Tuesday. It is indeed a well-written deep dive into the “economic nationalism” and family background of Trump’s campaign CEO, senior strategist and supposedly all-powerful right-hand man.

And I believe barely a word of it.

The piece locates Bannon’s economic nationalism in the effects of the 2008 financial crisis on his father, Marty. The elder Bannon, a long-retired AT&T employee, had panicked as the value of the company’s stock cratered in October of that year. He made the snap decision to sell the shares he had been holding onto for decades and lost about $100,000 of his net worth.

In the aftermath, his son watched as the banks received financial bailouts while the government did nothing for his father. The younger Bannon’s anger drove him to become the tribune of forgotten, hard-working, middle-class Americans — men like his dad, who saw a lifetime of savings wiped out by the cosmopolitan elitists and technocrats who ran the financial world until it caved in.

I don’t want to cast aspersions on Marty Bannon’s story, though Kevin Drum does raise some smart questions about it. But as an origin story for Steve Bannon’s economic nationalism, it sits uneasily alongside his work as a filmmaker, a career he took up years before the financial crisis and in which he pushed a nativist, nationalist message all along.

It certainly does nothing to explain the gap between Bannon’s repeated denials of being a racist or a white nationalist and his track record of running Breitbart News as a racist hate site devoted to demonizing illegal immigrants, Muslims, African-Americans, feminists and every shibboleth of liberal identity politics.
http://www.salon.com/2017/03/17/decodin ... t-a-creep/

But mostly what caught my eye was this passage:

Steve Bannon says his ideology is less about Republicans and Democrats than about middle class versus elites — nationalists versus globalists. He says that explains his opposition to open borders, political corruption and what he views as political correctness.

So in response he has helped bring to power a presidential administration so awash in conflicts of interest that it will likely go down as the most corrupt in the nation’s history. He has aligned himself with a political party dedicated to an ideology that calls for fewer protections for people like his father — a party that wants to roll back every banking and financial industry regulation put in place after 2008 in order to prevent Wall Street from causing another meltdown like that which hurt Marty Bannon in the first place.

And the elder Bannon, by his own admission, got off easy. What about the millions of middle-class families who lost their homes and became destitute? What about the people who will lose their access to affordable health insurance or Medicaid if the president Bannon serves signs some form of the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill currently being battered around in Congress? How is Steve Bannon helping them?

Or take the budget blueprint unveiled by the Trump administration on Thursday. It calls for cuts that would be absolutely devastating to poor people in this country. But many of the programs that would get cut also affect the hardworking families Steve Bannon claims to care most about — people whose wealth never recovered from the Great Recession, families who have lost relatives to the nation’s opioid addiction crisis or whose children need the free or reduced-price school lunches that may now be eliminated.

These are the families who would have been considered middle-class back in Marty Bannon’s day. They always have needed more help than anyone acknowledged, which is why Vox called Trump’s budget blueprint “a fiscal manifestation of nostalgia politics.” They are the people Steve Bannon claims to want to help, through the vehicle of a plutocratic president whose budget priorities are clearly destructive to them.

A better clue to Bannon’s economic nationalism might be found in a speech he gave to a Tea Party rally in 2010:

Now I ask you, why would you be discontented with a system that provides socialism for the very poor and the wealthy, and a brutal form of capitalism for everybody else?

Seven years later, he is a champion of a presidential administration that will keep socialism for the wealthy while sticking everyone else, including the middle class he claims to love, with that same brutal form of capitalism.

There may be some logic to the results flowing from Bannon’s nationalist economic ideology that eludes me. But maybe journalists do the public a disservice when we try to discern its roots as if they had some rational basis. Maybe it is much simpler than that. Maybe, as David Foster Wallace once said about another older and incoherent white man, he’s just an asshole.
http://www.salon.com/2017/03/17/decodin ... t-a-creep/
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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby kool maudit » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:55 am

Mensch is a discredited neocon. Having joined this forum in the Bush era, I never imagined her likes would be treated with but contempt here. Strange bedfellows I guess.
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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby 82_28 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:36 am

I always associate the name Rory as male. I don't fucking know. But let everyone drop this. Just like you SLAD, who I've come to your defense many times, don't turn the tables. Water off a duck's back.
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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:44 am

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Let Bannon Be Bannon!
David Brooks


Steve Bannon, the Prince of Darkness, outside the White House in February. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
I continue to worry about Steve Bannon. I see him in the White House photos, but he never has that sprightly Prince of Darkness gleam in his eye anymore.

His governing philosophy is being completely gutted by the mice around him. He seems to have a big influence on Trump speeches but zero influence on recent Trump policies. I’m beginning to fear that he’s spending his days sitting along the wall in the Roosevelt Room morosely playing one of those Risk-style global empire video games on his smartphone.

Back in the good old days — like two months ago — it was fun to watch Bannon operate. He was the guy with a coherent governing philosophy. He seemed to have realized that the two major party establishments had abandoned the working class. He also seemed to have realized that the 21st-century political debate is not big versus small government, it’s open versus closed.

Bannon had the opportunity to realign American politics around the social, cultural and economic concerns of the working class. Erect barriers to keep out aliens from abroad, and shift money from the rich to the working class to create economic security at home.

It was easy to see the Trump agenda that would flow from this philosophy: Close off trade and immigration. Fund a jobs-creating infrastructure program. Reverse the Republican desire to reform and reduce entitlements. Increase funding on all sorts of programs that benefit working-class voters in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Many of us wouldn’t have liked that agenda — the trade and immigration parts — but at least it would have helped the people who are being pummeled by this economy.

But Bannonesque populism is being abandoned. The infrastructure and jobs plan is being put off until next year (which is to say never). Meanwhile, the Trump administration has agreed with Paul Ryan’s crazy plan to do health care first.

Moths show greater resistance to flame than American politicians do to health care reform. And sure enough it’s become a poisonous morass for the entire party, and a complete distraction from the populist project.

Worse, the Ryan health care plan punishes the very people Trump and Bannon had vowed to help. It would raise premiums by as much as 25 percent on people between 50 and 64, one core of the Trump voter base. It would completely hammer working-class voters whose incomes put them just above the Medicaid threshold.

The Trump budget is an even more devastating assault on Bannon-style populism. It eliminates or cuts organizations like the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that are important to people from Tennessee and West Virginia up through Ohio and Michigan. It cuts job-training and road-building programs. It does almost nothing to help expand opportunity for the working class and almost everything to serve defense contractors and the national security state.

Why is Bannonism being abandoned? One possibility is that there just aren’t enough Trumpians in the world to staff an administration, so Trump and Bannon have filled their apparatus with old guard Republicans who continue to go about their jobs in old guard pseudo-libertarian ways.

The second possibility, raised by Rich Lowry in Politico, is that the Republican sweep of 2016 was won on separate tracks. Trump won on populism, but congressional Republicans won on the standard cut-government script. The congressional Republicans are better prepared, and so their plans are crowding out anything Bannon might have contemplated.

The third possibility is that Donald Trump doesn’t really care about domestic policy; he mostly cares about testosterone.

He wants to cut any part of government that may seem soft and nurturing, like poverty programs. He wants to cut any program that might seem emotional and airy-fairy, like the National Endowment for the Arts. He wants to cut any program that might seem smart and nerdy, like the National Institutes of Health.

But he wants to increase funding for every program that seems manly, hard, muscular and ripped, like the military and armed antiterrorism programs.

Indeed, the Trump budget looks less like a political philosophy and more like a sexual fantasy. It lavishes attention on every aspect of hard power and slashes away at anything that isn’t.

The Trump health care and budget plans will be harsh on the poor, which we expected. But they’ll also be harsh on the working class, which we didn’t.

We’re ending up with the worst of the new guard Trumpian populists and the old guard Republican libertarians. We’re building walls to close off the world while also shifting wealth from the poor to the rich.

When these two plans fail, which seems very likely, there’s going to be a holy war between the White House and Capitol Hill. I don’t have high hopes for what’s going to emerge from that war, but it would be nice if the people who voted for Trump got economic support, not punishment.

For that, there’s one immediate recipe: Unleash Steve Bannon!
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/17/opin ... annon.html



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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby 82_28 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:58 am

I saw Brooks on the teevee the other night and he was making sense. Always hated the fucker, but I was like who is this liberal mouthpiece? Think about it. David Brooks is now further to the left of what is going on. That is saying something.
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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:01 am

every thinking person hates bannon and trump

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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:14 am

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Steve Bannon's Sad, Desperate Crusade
John Saward
JOHN SAWARD
Mar 19 2017, 11:00pm
More than a prophet or a mastermind, Trump's strategist is just an angry, bitter dreamer.

The world is a pitch-black graveyard and only Steve Bannon can save you. This is the man's fantasy. He dreams of terror so there can be vengeance, of rubble so there can be a man pulling people from it, of conspiracies and cabals of diabolical elites so that he can expose them, one by one.
You can hear it in the death rattle of an inauguration speech he wrote for Donald Trump, you hear it in his bigoted wolf howls from the fringes years ago, the website he operated like a haunted hayride, the hip-hop themed Shakespeare adaptation about gangs and pornographic descriptions of handguns.

You hear it in all the trash movies he made before he became White House advisor. Generation Zero, Bannon's delirious 2010 documentary about the decay of American ideals, features, within its first six minutes: scenes of robbery; fiery plane crashes; heavy rain; emoji-faced men with their tongues wagging at money; handshakes in back alleys; incinerated houses; the boat sail-sized dorsal fin of an approaching shark. A sun explodes, and then, a Black Panther flag, flown proudly. The advancement of black people, you see, is analogous to the death of a solar system.

The black people in the documentary are shown looking either militant or shirtless, seething menaces or tribal caricatures. Women in aprons are revered; women dancing provocatively are admonished. In Bannon's vision, family dinner tables, spaceships, and foxholes are the only honorable places in the world; everywhere else is a pit of hedonism and laziness. Social freedoms will bring us to ruin if we let them go any further. Over an ominous orchestra, accompanied by footage of Vietnam War protests, one interview subject denounces the 60s as a "therapeutic movement that with enough education, with enough good intentions… the world as we knew it had no limitations, that we could have internal peace, internal beauty, internal niceness everywhere." (Bannon himself was a "Jerry Brown liberal" and a Grateful Dead fan in college. For what that's worth.)

Happiness is a poison, destruction is purifying. We must aspire only to the calluses of war, and the quaintly conservative morals of women pouring whole milk for men loosening their ties. In his America, there are no participation trophies; your only reward is a hard-earned sigh and a shit sofa.

These are Bannon's purest impulses and juvenile hypotheses wrung into a bucket and left to ferment.

Bannon wants all of this to play with the majestic terror of an avalanche, but it feels instead like your uncle holding a flashlight under his face telling ghost stories. It is ethno-nationalist bathroom stall graffiti shined up to look like crystal-ball prognostication. Even his attempts at a lucid thesis (title cards before each segment; "experts" in bowties offering weak corroboration) are drowned out by bombast, clumsy musical cues, and frenetic celebrations of the apocalypse.
It is an incoherent film, even as racist evangelism goes, but it is instructive in this way: These are Bannon's purest impulses and juvenile hypotheses wrung into a bucket and left to ferment. Maybe you'll say, "You dope, that's the point, this is a manipulation, don't you see?" But it is not even a sales pitch—no one could be converted or persuaded by this; this is a tirade, a mantra as prison tattoo.

None of this would be remarkable were Bannon not, through his own orchestration and the public fascination with dangerous men, being made into a kind of wicked, mythological shaman. He uses five-dollar academic words with an oh-this-old-thing? nonchalance, he cites obscure philosophies, he proudly references little pockets of pseudo-intellectual radicalism. He mentions Satan and Darth Vader as aspirational models. He assigns his transition team books to read.

The New York Times, in a piece that marveled at his "abrasive brilliance," could barely contain itself. He plays an "ideological game of chess," "three dimensional chess," he's an intellectual conman. TIME poses him on its cover like Rodin's The Thinker, if the Thinker ate only beef gristle and condensed milk.

Even pieces of ostensible criticism reach, almost unfailingly, a passage of barely hidden astonishment, writers gazing at his references to the ancient Roman working class or Thomas Cromwell like they just peeked inside the Matrix. He is, in a way, a journalist's dream prompt: His mysterious biography invites investigation; his mongrel-like appearance a paradise for vivid similes; his appetite for literature just like theirs. So what should be an attack on an irredeemable charlatan instead becomes something closer to fascination. Writing about Bannon tends to be studiously impartial, analytical, even as his worldview is dismissed as an absurdity.

This is wrong. Bannon can be a disheveled maniac and only that—there doesn't need to be a revelation or nuance or anything beyond a bloodshot sack of demented ambition, no matter how high he ascends. He is not a Svengali, he's a shipwrecked banker who washed ashore and wound up the president's ventriloquist. Hate is still just hate, no matter how intricately ornamented it is with Ronald Reagan idolatry. Bannon is like if the tire mud flap with the giant-breasted silhouette got a library card.

Watch VICE News's interview with white Nationalist Richard Spencer:


wants to be the intellectual, strategist bomb-thrower," Newt Gingrich once said of Bannon.

But there is a problem. None of this genius is evident in practice; none of it at all. He talks with boot-stomping bluster about fighting jihad, pulling apart the European Union, and generation-defining infrastructure projects, but it's a lie, a myth, an infomercial scam, uprising at a low-low price. He is not a seer or a policy savant or the Wizard of Oz. He is capitalizing on a storied American tradition: acquiescence to angry white men trying to rid a sacred land of immigrants, Jews, and women who don't meet medieval standards of obedience. He is politics as banging-on-a-locked-bathroom-door.

Trump's most Bannonesque executive orders were crafted with crazed delusions but in toothless, vague language, and then passed to Trump with no counsel from relevant agencies. The "travel ban" was vicious in its intent, but so poorly designed it resulted in bedlam countrywide before it was ultimately halted by federal judges. (According to one report, Bannon welcomed the chaos and protests, which seems less like a tactical maneuver than the cackle of a madman.)

Everything he does feels reckless and improvised, wired to blow, the pandemonium fallout of a lunatic trying to operate a complex machine. He outlined a plan to "deconstruct the administrative state" in late February, but then privately urged Trump to reconsider the Affordable Care Act repeal, realizing such a move's catastrophic political ramifications. Inside Bannon's White House there are rampant leaks, paranoia, cellphone confiscation, and in response, only toddling incompetence or indiscriminate rage. This is not the work of an architect, but a vandal after he's sped over the edge of a cliff but before the stolen car smashes into flames at the bottom of the canyon.

He's a symbol not of American strength but American grievance, the most prominent of a gang of has-beens and vigilantes and huckster losers.

While at Breitbart, Bannon said, "It's war. Every day, we put up: America's at war, America's at war. We're at war." And last month, reveling on stage at CPAC, he said of Trump's underdog victory, "We were outgunned, out-manned."

When Bannon was in the Navy, his ship was never once involved in combat, and now he rhapsodizes about war like it were a woman who loved him once. He's a symbol not of American strength but American grievance, the most prominent of a gang of has-beens and vigilantes and huckster losers, men like revenge fantasist Michael Anton, who once compared the 2016 election to the Flight 93 passengers who rushed the cockpit on 9/11. (Anton, a former George W. Bush official, now works in the Trump White House.) Bannon is a man who in the daylight carries himself as a sophisticate, making offhanded remarks about William Jennings Bryan, but then he says, "We're clearly going into, I think, a major shooting war in the Middle East again."

He is a chest-thumping nativist as aroused by aggression as anyone he's ever classified as barbaric. No one talks like he does besides high school football defensive coordinators, Sergio Leone henchmen, and horny 24-year-olds. He is selling tantrums as a revolution, a venom-belching mercenary imagining himself as a pioneer, regurgitating something about Fourth Turnings and New World Orders as if they were literal prophecy. Talking erotically about battle strategies against China doesn't make you a brilliant warrior; sometimes it just means you're a punk riding a helicopter.

He strokes his chin and tries to make calculated judgments like, "(Traditionalists) believe that at least Putin is standing up for traditional institutions." But that's only an academic pose. In emails, he writes, "I've got a cure for mental health issue(s): Spank your children more." His frequently-used justification for limiting immigration in America is a 70s novel about a fleet of 800,000 impoverished Indians, led by a man named "turd eater," who he eats actual shit, seeking refuge in France. He carries himself like a noble avatar of Old American ideals, but he spent the three years before he allied with Trump dodging landlords, income tax, and claims of voter fraud.

Speaking to the crowd at CPAC this February, Bannon recapped Election Day in one barely-punctuated sentence: "The campaign was the most chaotic—by the media's description, most chaotic, most disorganized, most unprofessional, had no earthly idea what they were doing, and then you saw them all crying and weeping that night on—on the eighth."

These are Bannon's obsessions, made clear in every word about him that burbles from Washington, in every years-old unearthed interview, in the narratives of his documentaries that play like histrionic cartoons. He is a man who revels in the torment of his enemies and in Wild West provocation, Bannon bare-chested piloting a chariot to save mankind, men descending from rope ladders draped in American flags, belting Christian hymns, a violence he can sell as divine and romantic and essential, because it is a violence he only needs to participate in theoretically, in his dreams, an ego-drunk invention.

Sand off the affectations, and what is left? Here is a man in the final act of his life with nothing to show for it but hysterical propaganda. So he makes a new war. He makes another movie. This movie is real, though, and this is like lava in his veins now. He gets to play his fantasies out and he's fallen in love with demolition, and the president is a man who just wants to have his name in flashing neon above the wreckage. He thinks he's some mix of Socrates, Rambo, and Sun Tzu, but instead he comes across like someone who might be wondering, at any moment, What if we microwaved that stray cat over there?

There is nothing more dangerous on this planet than a man who is terrified that people are laughing at him, that his intrepid walks on runways do not look triumphant but instead like he missed the last train. He waited his whole life for this moment, to look grizzled on television—grizzled in that regal, Norman Rockwell, smells-like-an-old-baseball-mitt way—but he just looks like a scavenger, old and beaten. Sometimes what looks at first like the weathered wrinkles of a wise man is really just a layer of grime that you could spray off with a hose.

He is like every other man with a wine-glass delicate ego, fighting with Tyrannosaurus fury against the possibility that his reach has exceeded his grasp. America is not in peril, but he is, and there's nowhere left to hide now.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/stev ... te-crusade
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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:19 am

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THE MOOD WAS JUBILANT TWO DAYS AFTER THE NOVEMBER 2016 ELECTION at a Washington, D.C., panel co-hosted by two powerhouse conservative thinktanks—the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

In his opening remarks, Heritage president Jim DeMint rejoiced that Donald Trump’s election had “preserved our constitutional republic.” Panelist John Yoo, a Berkeley law professor best known as the architect of George W. Bush’s justification for torture, drew laughs with feigned surprise at the audience size. “I thought everyone at Heritage was working over at transition head quarters,” Yoo quipped. “I asked the taxi cab driver to take me to Trump transition headquarters, and he dropped me off here.”

Indeed, Politico reported in November that Heritage, based in D.C., had become “a crucial conduit between Trump’s orbit and the once-skeptical conservative leaders who ultimately helped get him elected.” By Heritage’s own account, “several dozen” of its staff members worked on the transition team, and Trump used its recommendations for his list of potential Supreme Court picks.

Vice President Mike Pence, the head of that transition team, has deep ties to the foundation. In 2006, Heritage co-founder Paul Weyrich, a mentor of Pence’s, said of him, “Nobody is perfect, but he comes pretty close.” In early December, Pence gave the keynote speech at a Heritage event (held at Trump’s D.C. hotel) to honor its biggest donors. He promised that the Trump administration “is now and will continue to draw on” the institution’s work.

Heritage defines its mission as creating “an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish.” It has an annual budget of about $100 million and a staff of about 90 “experts” who hold such pseudo-academic titles as “research fellow’ and “policy analyst.” One example is libertarian economist Stephen Moore, a Trump advisor and a Heritage “distinguished visiting fellow.”

Heritage’s ties to the administration have received relatively little press. With its academic gloss, it may seem benign set against the extremism and zaniness that dominate the headlines: a press secretary only marginally less bizarre than the Saturday Night Live spoof of him; a key advisor who embraces the role of Darth Vader; cabinet picks who have promised to abolish the institutions they lead; executive orders that stigmatize Muslims and violate the Constitution; attacks on the press as “the enemy of the American people”; and on and on.

Yet a grim reality underlies the White House circus. Trump’s election is the culmination of a radical right-wing movement that began with the founding of Heritage in 1973. “We are different from previous generations of conservatives,” Weyrich said in the early 1980s. “We are radicals, working to overturn the present power structure of this country.”

Trump is that movement’s best hope yet for achieving its great dream of gutting government. Heritage isn’t an appendage of the Trump administration’s radicalism. It’s the heart of it. Trump is just a tool

BACK TO THE FUTURE

We’ve been here before. When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, Heritage published a 3,000-page opus, Mandate for Leadership, that gave the new administration some 2,000 specific policy recommendations. The overarching goals were cutting taxes and dramatically reducing the size of the federal government. Reagan not only took the advice seriously, he distributed copies to his cabinet.

For all that, Reagan had only modest success. His tax cuts were an easier sell than deep cuts to federal programs, which met stiff resistance in the Democratic-controlled House. By the end of the Reagan era, the federal government had actually grown, and domestic discretionary spending had increased at roughly the rate of inflation. While Reagan had promised to abolish the Department of Education, for example, overall spending on the department rose about 30 percent.

Much of this history has been forgotten or forgiven by the Right in the haze of idolatry that envelopes Reagan. But in 1988, libertarian scholar Sheldon Richman summed up the far-right’s disenchantment in an essay titled “The Sad Legacy of Ronald Reagan.” He noted, “The number of free-market achievements by the administration are so few that they can be counted on one hand—with fingers left over.”

And yet, with the help of Reagan, Heritage’s vision won out in another way: It came to define the GOP’s ideology and messaging. It translated conservative Christians’ fears and prejudices into a positive message: American freedom was in danger and needed to be protected. Every manner of dogma, religious as well as libertarian, could be smuggled into the public sphere under that banner. Republican politicians have slashed social supports for the most vulnerable, hollowed out the middle class and enriched the rich, all in the name of American liberty.

ANOTHER WORD FOR NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE

In 1973, Weyrich, a 30-year-old Republican strategist wunderkind, cofounded both the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that writes right-wing bills for state legislatures. The beer baron Joseph Coors provided seed money for the projects.


Paul Weyrich, pictured here at his Washington office in 1986, co-founded the Heritage foundation. (Photo: Susan Biddle/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Weyrich’s dogged institution-building was driven by a burning vision: Organize evangelical Christians into a powerful voting bloc, reinvent the Republican Party and radically reconstruct the nation. In the late 1970s, he used anger over encroachments on “religious liberty”—namely, the liberty to deny African Americans entrance to religious private schools—to mobilize the Christian Right. His efforts propelled Reagan to victory in 1980 via another organization Weyrich cofounded, the Moral Majority.

Weyrich, who belonged to a Catholic sect, spoke a language of personal responsibility that resonated with evangelicals. He believed that individualism was the heart of the Judeo-Christian tradition and its great nemesis was the growth of government. “In all of the teachings of the New Testament, you never heard Jesus Christ say that it’s the responsibility of society or it’s the responsibility of government to take care of this,” Weyrich told the PBS show Frontline in 1996. “He always said, ‘It is your responsibility.’ When he talked to the rich man, he told the rich man it was his responsibility to divest himself of some of his riches to help the poor and so on. It was never a case of asking government to intervene.”

Yet Weyrich knew that building a conservative movement powerful enough to reshape the country would require reaching beyond a base of conservative evangelicals. The key, he wrote in the mid-1970s, was to present conservatism “in moral terms … packaged in non-religious language.”

Reagan, who had a sunny demeanor and was friendly with evangelicals, was the perfect vehicle. He may not have slashed the federal government, but the avuncular Reagan was a master storyteller who brought evangelical Christians together with free market capitalists by defining America’s greatness as its love of freedom. The godless Soviet Union and the godless, bloated U.S. federal government posed a double-barreled threat to that freedom. The great challenge for the conservative movement was to return power to the freedom-loving states.

That rallying cry has meant different things to different members of the right-wing coalition. For religious conservatives, freedom means getting the government out of their lives. Heritage has for years been knee-deep in the religious liberty crusade of the Christian Right. Its online publication, The Daily Signal, which claims to have more than 2 million readers, spotlights what it considers outrageous government intrusions on Christians’ rights, especially their right to discriminate against LGBT people. These stories often involve the travails of fundamentalist bakers, florists and wedding planners.

For libertarians and corporate conservatives, freedom means low taxes and little or no regulation. When the influential libertarian economist Milton Friedman died in 2006, Heritage posted a tribute to him on its website, claiming that “his powerful insights” had “saved millions or billions of people from decades of oppressive statism.”

SEIZING THE HELM

For Heritage, the early years of the Obama administration were pivotal. By its own account, it “led the intellectual fight against Obamacare … even when the Washington establishment urged otherwise.” Through this crusade, it became tightly linked with the Tea Party. It also became much more directly engaged in elections, founding an electoral politics unit, Heritage Action, in 2010. Heritage Action spent $550,000 in 2013 targeting Republican House members who wouldn’t agree to oppose any government funding bill that included money for Obamacare. In 2013, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) resigned to become Heritage’s president, touring the country taunting “moderate” Republicans who balked at a government shutdown.

In October 2013, the Tea Party and Heritage succeeded in shutting down the federal government for 16 days. But the shutdown achieved little aside from tanking the GOP’s approval ratings and stirring bitter feelings toward Heritage among the party’s less radical members. In the fall of 2013, Mickey Edwards, a former representative from Oklahoma and founding trustee of Heritage, told The Atlantic that its activist turn was “destroying the reputation and credibility” of the foundation.

But with Trump’s election in November, Heritage—an institution that defines freedom as the elimination of government—has become a key power broker in Washington and found an administration willing to further its agenda. At the Conservative Political Action Conference in late February, Trump advisor Steve Bannon said that the administration’s priority was the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

It’s the old Tea Party push for a government shutdown, by other means.

Heritage’s impact will be felt in the Trump administration’s budget proposal, expected in mid-March. Last year, Heritage published a blueprint for bringing the federal budget into balance that calls for reducing spending by $10.5 trillion and cutting taxes by $1.3 trillion over a decade. It aims a wrecking ball at virtually every law, program and institution that defends the environment or promotes green energy. It calls for opening up “all federal waters and all non-wilderness, non federal-monument lands to exploration and production” to fossil fuel, mining and other commercial interests. According to Greenpeace, Heritage received at least $780,000 from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2012, and more than $5.7 million from foundations associated with fossil-fuel industrialists the Koch brothers between 1997 and 2014.

The Trump administration is widely expected to adopt much of that blueprint as its own. Paul Winfree, the former director of Heritage’s Institute for Economic Policy Studies, was named the White House director of budget policy. Heritage noted in late February that Winfree is “expected to play the starring role in drafting Trump’s first budget. … The proposal will likely include deep spending cuts at domestic agencies.” According to Politico, Trump plans to cut the Environmental Protection Agency by about one-fourth, or roughly $2 billion.

The Heritage influence can be seen in non-budgetary ways, too. Speaking at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in early February, Trump said he would “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, an IRS rule that prevents nonprofit organizations, including churches, from endorsing political candidates. The call to repeal it has been a consistent theme of Heritage. A September 2016 essay in The Daily Signal argued that pastors “should be accountable to God alone, not the IRS, for what they say behind the pulpit.”

FREEDOM ISN’T FREE

We can only guess at the havoc of the coming gouging of the federal budget, but several red states provide a clue to what “freedom” looks like in practice.

The Tea Party helped propel a Republican landslide in the 2010 midterm elections. It picked up 19 new statehouse chambers, giving it 55 overall and full control in 25 states. That takeover cleared the way for ALEC—Heritage’s state-level sister organization—to push through right-wing legislation.

States like Kansas and Wisconsin get most of the spotlight: Kansas because its governor, Sam Brownback, very proudly and aggressively made his state an experiment in “economic freedom,” and Wisconsin because the ALEC model cuts directly against its long tradition of progressivism. But Indiana, in its own quiet way, has been at the cutting edge of this rightward push under its last two governors—Mitch Daniels, who served from 2005 to 2013, and his successor, Mike Pence.


Then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Heritage darling, plugs his controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act at a press conference on March 31, 2015. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

In 2011, through ALEC’s influence, Indiana became the first state to prohibit its cities and towns from raising their minimum wages. About 20 states have followed its lead. And in 2012, Indiana was at the leading edge of a new wave of union-busting “right-to-work” legislation. The laws allow workers to benefit from union representation without paying union dues.

Pence was likely thinking of these reforms, and of the cut in the state income tax he spearheaded, when he proclaimed in 2014 that Indiana was “blazing a trail for low taxes, balanced budgets and economic freedom in the Midwest.” In truth, Indiana was blazing a trail to the bottom. The state’s poverty rate rose by more than one third from 2007 to 2013, and the median household income declined nearly 11 percent. Indiana performed worse than any neighboring state on both counts.

One of Pence’s proudest achievements as Indiana governor was a budget surplus: Indiana closed the last fiscal year $2.24 billion in the black. That surplus came from Indiana’s failure to invest in public resources and institutions, which is to say, in the future. In the 2014-15 fiscal year, for example, its public health budget was just $12.40 per capita, or 46th in the nation—down from $17.43 per capita, and a rank of 37th, two years earlier. In 2015, it ranked in the top 15 in rates of tobacco use, obesity, diabetes and physical inactivity among adults. In a January 2017 Gallup and Healthways report on U.S. wellbeing across the states, Indiana placed 47th, based on a range of indicators that included financial, community and physical well-being.

Indiana’s fall from bad to worse illustrates the cycle of dysfunction that takes hold in states that apply the Heritage- and ALEC-driven model of economic freedom. Public investment declines, even as government passes laws to curb unions and suppress wage growth. The low wages hollow out the tax base, which means there is less money for public investment, which worsens things like public health and education. Their sad condition is then used to justify applying “free-market” reforms to the public sector.

Under Pence, Indiana was, naturally, at the forefront of the push for public-school privatization. It has the most robust voucher program in the nation—using taxpayer dollars to send students to private schools.

While Indiana’s right-to-work law passed before he took office, Pence did his part to advance ALEC’s wage-suppressing agenda. Pence consistently opposed any increase to the state’s $7.25 minimum wage. The Indiana Institute for Working Families calculated in 2015 that a hike to $10.10 would benefit about one-fourth of the state’s workforce. And in 2015, he pushed to repeal a law in effect since 1935 that mandated “prevailing wages” on construction projects, usually in line with union wages. In signing the repeal, Pence said that wages should be set by the marketplace.

The federal equivalent of that wage-protection law is the Davis-Bacon Act, which passed in 1931 and has long been in the crosshairs of conservatives, including Heritage.

THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION

The hollowing out of states like Indiana has been a major victory for the Right. As Heritage and its allies move to bring the same radical project to the federal level, the court of public opinion will be progressives’ most powerful tool.

“Freedom” may resonate with Americans as a slogan, but they hate the Right’s version of freedom in practice. When Trump tapped Pence as his running mate, he was among the most unpopular governors in the nation, with an in-state approval rating in the 40s. And when Trump threatened to repeal Obamacare, protests erupted. “They thought [repeal] was a slam dunk,” says Liz Ryan Murray, policy director for People’s Action, a progressive nonprofit. “They didn’t understand: People will fight for this. And I think the same thing will happen as the magnitude of these cuts becomes apparent.”

A vast amount needs to be done— by the grassroots, by the independent media, by the Democratic Party and by every other resource we can muster— in the realm of simple storytelling and education. The federal budget is a convenient target for demagogues because most Americans have little to no idea how it’s actually spent. PBS and NPR, for example, are about 0.01 percent of the budget. In surveys, people estimate they’re about 5 percent.

Progressives might take a page from Citizen Action of Wisconsin (CAW), which released a progressive “alternative budget” in advance of Gov. Walker’s own proposed budget. The goal, says CAW executive director Robert Kraig, is to make the case for “big investments that would strengthen every community across Wisconsin and improve opportunity for everyone.”

“We’re experimenting with trying to change the debate,” Kraig says. “The research is really clear that the way progressives often talk about problems with government actually undermines people’s regard for government and makes them feel hopeless and disengaged. So there needs to be a healthy dose of aspiration: What could we achieve?”

However the budget fight plays out, the most critical insight from the past half century of U.S. politics may be that conservatives have both a story and a long-term vision that lets them take losses in stride, fortified with plenty of funding. The movement originated in the aftermath of what seemed like conservatism’s collapse through the 1950s and 1960s. Among Weyrich’s greatest gifts, said Ed Feulner, the former president of Heritage, was an “unerring eye for spotting the path to victory in the midst of seeming disaster.”

Heritage’s use of an ideological cipher like Trump to carry out an agenda that seemed hopelessly stuck just four years ago is the latest example of the movement’s resilience. If Trump is impeached and removed from office, they will be happy to have Pence.

If there is much to rage against in the Right’s agenda, there is also a perverse element of hope for progressives in the story of its 50-year ascent. The seeds of long-term success, it turns out, can take root and grow in the midst of seeming disaster.
http://inthesetimes.com/features/trump_ ... ation.html
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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:37 am

Image


Image

Image
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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:12 pm


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HelSaMSy8HY

This has some really good info, particularly Bannon's career before Breitbart. The revelations about IGE and sexual abuse was new to me (or if I read it before it didn't make an impact before, doing a little research I see there is an RI thread from years ago) and I didn't know IGE morphed into Affinity Media. Also, the charge against GAI being a front for the Koch brothers to launder money to Breitbart was especially damning.

Rory, you know that I am your friend, but I have to say that seemslikeadream is right about your activity as it pertains to this thread. If you want to write about what a loon Louise Mensch is, by all means start a thread about it. I know you're not a troll; please try to stay on topic in your future posts here.
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby 82_28 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:45 pm

Damn that is really "good", Rob. What a fuckface he is. The entire administration must be removed and thrown in jail for treason. Keep Pence he will be toyed with like a cat and a ball of yarn. I think.
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby Grizzly » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:32 pm

Empire Files:Abby Martin Exposes Steve Bannon
If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: The Festering Darkness That is Steve Bannon

Postby PufPuf93 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:33 pm

The Abby Martin clip on Steve Bannon is well worth the time to watch.

I had zero idea of Bannon's not so recent past.

Yuck.
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