An unshackled Steve Bannon grabs Breitbart like a jagged, broken beer bottle, and begins lunging at his perceived enemies

When Steve Bannon was fired this past Friday, after serving eight month’s as the President’s chief strategist, Trump tried to put a positive spin on it, suggesting that Bannon was destined for bigger and better things as private citizen, unshackled from the constraints of Washington, and once again able to take on the “fake news” from the helm of Breitbart News, the website he, by his own admission, had imagined as “(a) platform for the alt right.” And I’m sure that’s what Trump was hoping would happen. I’m sure he was hoping that the far-right propagandist would immediately go after the mainstream media for, among other things, their reporting on the situation in Charlottesville, where hundreds of armed white supremacists took to the streets to, in the words of former KKK leader David Duke, “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” leaving one anti-fascist protester dead. It would appear, however, that Bannon had more immediate plans — to attack those in the administration who, in his opinion, had worked to push him out, while, at the same time, reestablishing himself as a “populist hero,” and the patron saint for white nationalism in America… Following are just a few headlines from Brietbart at this very moment.

For what it’s worth, it isn’t exactly a surprise that Bannon went on the attack like this. He, after all, had told the Weekly Standard, as he was leaving the White House, the following: “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” he said. “I feel jacked up… Now, I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons.” And, it would seem that those weapons are pointed, at least for the time being, squarely at Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who he’s apparently been referring to collectively as “Javanaka” behind their backs for some time now, as well as White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who he believes is, among other things, too soft on Islam. [There’s another article on Breitbart today titled, “H.R. McMaster Endorsed Book That Advocates Quran-Kissing Apology Ceremonies.”]

As for where all of this is headed, your guess is as good as mine. If I had to bet, though, I’d say there’s something to the speculation that Bannon, with the money of Long Island hedge fund billionaire Bob Mercer behind him, may decide to move past Breitbart, which, by the way, has lost nearly 2,600 advertisers, and start a new television network to rival Fox. [Bannon, according to Axios, “believes Fox is heading in a squishy, globalist direction as the Murdoch sons assume more power.”]

While he didn’t get into any detail, Bannon told the Weekly Standard, “I am definitely going to crush the opposition.”

As for why Bannon was let go now, I suppose it’s possible that, in the wake of Charlottesville, General Kelly, and others in the administration, felt it was time to get rid of him, as he was perhaps more closely aligned with the white nationalist movement than anyone else in the White House. It’s also possible, I’m thinking, that it has something to do with the fact that, on the same day Bannon was fired, a meeting was taking place at Camp David to discuss our military options in Afghanistan – a meeting where Bannon was angling to take on members of our national security team… Bannon, according to press reports, was backing a plan by Blackwater founder Erik Prince to privatize the war… At the last minute, though, McMaster blocked Prince from attending the meeting, and Bannon was fired. Could it be that our military leaders and intelligence officials had finally had enough of Bannon and his uninformed geopolitical theories, and decided that his plotting with Prince to privatize our American military presence in Afghanistan crossed a line? If I had to guess, I’d say it was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Regardless of why he was forced out, you can bet that we’ll now be hearing a lot more from Steve Bannon, who, having lived for eight months inside the belly of the beast, now seems singleminded in his desire to use his accumulated knowledge to, in his words, push for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

So, if you’re at all sensitive by nature, you might want to turn away for a while. I think it’s going to get bloody.

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Richard Spencer told by MSU that he and his fellow Nazis are not welcome in East Lansing

Yesterday, Michigan State University confirmed that the National Policy Institute, a fascist think tank led by white supremacist Richard Spencer, had requested the opportunity to have Spencer speak on campus. Today, the university’s president, Lou Anna K. Simon, issued the following statement, making it clear that he and his organization are not welcome.

“After consultation with law enforcement officials, Michigan State University has decided to deny the National Policy Institute’s request to rent space on campus to accommodate a speaker. This decision was made due to significant concerns about public safety in the wake of the tragic violence in Charlottesville last weekend. While we remain firm in our commitment to freedom of expression, our first obligation is to the safety and security of our students and our community.”

This, by the way, comes the day after both Texas A&M University and the University of Florida uninvited Spencer from their campuses citing safety concerns in the wake of what happened in Charlottesville.

The proposed event in East Lansing, according to reporting by Lansing City Pulse was to have been co-hosted by “the Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas and the white nationalist group Identity Europa,” the first of which was just recently launched by 2009 MSU graduate Kyle Bristow, who can be seen in the image above with Spencer. [Richard Spencer is a board member of Bristow’s Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas. Other board members, according to Lansing City Pulse, Include “people like California attorney William Daniel Johnson, who in 1985 proposed a Constitutional amendment to revoke the citizenship of every non-white person in the U.S; Jason Robb, son of the national director of the KKK; and Ryan Sorba, a writer who claims that being gay is a ‘hoax’.”]

While I don’t want to link to Bristow’s website, here’s a clip from a recent post about how, in the wake of Charlottesville, the far right is under attack. It would appear that, like some of the commenters on this site, Bristow believes that the deadly chaos in Charlottesville was orchestrated by what Trump would call the “alt-left” in order to justify a crackdown against the civil rights of Nazis.

I’d like to ramble on for a few hours about freedom of speech, and why I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t extend to Nazis, but I’m falling asleep. So, instead, I’d like to leave you with this clip from a recent National Review piece by Kevin D. Williamson titled “Angry White Boys.” [Thank you, Jcp2, for making me aware of it.]

…What does an angry white boy really want?

“A girlfriend,” comes the mocking answer, and there’s probably more to that than mockery. The proprietor of one of the nation’s premier websites for neo-Nazi knuckleheads advised his colleagues in Charlottesville that, after the protest — which included a murder — “random girls will want to have sex with you.” I ran this proposition past a few random girls, and I suspect that the apfelstrudelführers are going to go home disappointed. There are many shades of white, and Mom’s-basement white is the least popular crayon in the box.

Of course we should mock them, criticize them, lament them, and, in the case of James Alex Fields Jr., the trust-funder from Ohio charged in the death of Heather Heyer, prosecute them. What does James Alex Fields Jr. want? A transcript of a 911 call from his mother describes him beating her after she told him to stop playing a particular video game. She is disabled and uses a wheelchair. That wasn’t the only 911 call she made in fear of her son.

The angry white boys do not have a serious political agenda. They don’t have any straightforward demands like the Teamsters or PETA do, and they do not have a well-developed ideological position like the Communists do, though it would be inaccurate to say that they lack an ideology entirely. Their agenda is their anger, an anger that is difficult to understand. Middle-class white men in the United States of America in anno Domini 2017 have their problems, to be sure. Life is full of little disappointments. But their motive is not to be found in their exterior circumstances, which are pretty good.

Maybe too good: A great many of these young men have an interest in evolutionary psychology and evolutionary sociology — they like to think of themselves as “alpha males,” as though they were living in a chimpanzee troop — but it never occurs to them to consider their own status as rejects and failed men in that context. Online fantasy lives notwithstanding, random girls do not want to have sex with them. How do we know this? Because they are carrying tiki torches in a giant dork parade in Charlottesville. There’s no prom queen waiting at home. If we credit their own sociobiological model, they are the superfluous males who would have been discarded, along with their genetic material, by the pitiless state of nature. The fantasy of proving that they are something else is why they dream of violence and confrontation. They are the products of the soft liberal-democratic society they hold in contempt — and upon which they depend, utterly. James Alex Fields Jr. is angry at the world, and angry at his mother, probably for the same reason.

What does an angry white boy want? The fact that they get together to play dress-up — to engage in a large and sometimes murderous game of cowboys and Indians — may give us our answer. They want to be someone other than who they are. That’s the great irony of identity politics: They seek identity in the tribe because they are failed individuals. They are a chain composed exclusively of weak links. What they are engaged in isn’t politics, but theater: play-acting in the hopes of achieving catharsis. Their online personas — knights, Vikings, reincarnations of Charles Martel — will be familiar enough to anybody with a Dungeons and Dragons nerd in his life. But sometimes, role-playing around a card table isn’t enough: Sometimes, you need a stage and an audience. In the theater, actors and audience both can forget ourselves for an hour or two. Under the soft glow of the tiki torches, these angry white boys can be something else — for a night…

[note: The Southern Poverty Law Center has a fascinatingdossier on Kyle Bristow.]

Posted in Civil Liberties, Michigan, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 78 Comments

My hate mail from the Fox News viewers of Michigan

A few days ago, a friend of mine in San Francisco, in an attempt to better understand how Facebook’s ad targeting system works in practice, invested a few dollars and boosted a recent article of mine about Trump’s response to the white nationalist terrorist attack in Charlottesville. As I understand it, he specifically targeted Fox News watchers in Michigan, but not in either Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti. Well, I’m sure this won’t come as any surprise to you, but they’re weren’t exactly receptive to my interpretation of events. Here, for those of you who might be interested, are a few examples of what these folks had to say in response…

Now, in somewhat related news…

Do you remember just a few days ago, when Donald Trump, in an attempt to explain why it had taken him more than 48 hour to condemn the deadly Charlottesville attack, said with a straight face, “When I make a statement, I like to be correct… I want the facts“? Well, apparently something’s changed between last week and this week. Almost immediately after news broke concerning this afternoon’s incident in Barcelona, Donald Trump took to Twitter to label the action a “terror attack” and condemn it. And, then, for good measure, he went one step further, suggesting that we might have better luck fighting jihadists, if, like General Pershing, we started executing suspected terrorists with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood. Of course, as you might guess, there’s no evidence that Pershing did any such thing, but I don’t suspect that really matters much to folks like the ones we just heard from above… So much for waiting until you have all of your facts right.

Posted in Marketing, Media, Michigan, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Having attempted unsuccessfully to convince us that his sympathies don’t lie with Nazis, Trump returns to racist form

Yesterday, we saw a focused, scripted Donald Trump attempt to put our minds at ease and convince us that, despite what it might have looked like in the days following the attack on Charlottesville, he really shares our believe that white supremacists are repugnant. Well, as that particular speech didn’t yield the results that our President was hoping for, we saw a dramatic, off-the-cuff return to form today. Following, if you haven’t seen it, is video of Trump once again addressing the press on the white nationalist terror attack in Charlottesville. As you’ll notice, he’s no longer talking about the Nazis in question being “repugnant.” No, he’s now saying that their ranks include “some very fine people.” What’s more, he’s returned his original talking point from the day of the murder about “both sides” being to blame, ignoring the fact that only one side came armed for war and then committed murder. He even goes so far as to put himself in the shoes of the Nazis, saying, “What about the alt-left that came charging at us.” [He would, moments later, correct himself, but the slip was telling.]

And, yes, you did just hear Trump, in that video above, compare Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson to the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Oh, and did you hear that part where he said that he didn’t condemn the white supremacists earlier because, he likes to… get this… have all the facts before he speaks on a subject? “When I make a statement, I like to be correct,” he told members of the gobsmacked press. “I want the facts.” [This coming from the man who popularized birtherism and continues to maintain the guilt of the so-called “Central Park Five” with absolutely no evidence to support the claim.]

One last thing. If anyone ever asks you to give and example of how the Republican and Democratic parties are different from one another, here’s a great example. Virginia’s Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, told white supremacists on Saturday, “There is no place for you in America.” Donald Trump today told us that, contrary to what we might think, there are actually “some very fine people” among the folks attending your average white power rally.

That’s right. You apparently don’t have to be a repugnant neo-Nazi to attend a neo-Nazi rally. You might just be a fine American exercising your god given right to walk alongside touch-wielding, heavily-armed individuals calling for race warfare.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Donald Trump and American’s “cherished history” of white supremacy

As we discussed yesterday, included in Donald Trump’s scripted comments about the domestic terrorist attack that left one woman dead and nineteen injured over this past weekend in Charlottesville, was the phrase, “cherish our history.” It’s something that stood out to me when I first heard the President say it, and it’s something that I’ve kept coming back to over the past 24 hours, wondering how it found its way into a speech ostensibly intended to prove definitively that our nation isn’t, as it appeared in the immediate aftermath of the attack, being led by a full-blown white supremacist.

It is, I don’t think anyone can deny, a phrase intended as a gift to those in the white nationalist community who had set their sights on Charlottesville after a decision had been made by members of the town’s city council to take down a statue of Robert E Lee that had been erected in 1924, at a time when the “Invisible Empire” of the KKK was gaining traction across the American South. My guess is that it was either Steve Bannon or Stephen Miller, both of whom have significant ties to the white nationalist community, who suggested that the phrase be tacked onto the end of the sentence about how we should all love and respect one another.

“We must love each other, respect each other, and cherish our history,” Trump read from the teleprompter.

And, make now mistake, Trump meant the history of the fascists, not the antifascists, when he said “our,” the same way he meant “us” when he said to the press earlier this afternoon, “What about the alt-left that came charging at us – excuse me – that came charging at the, as you say, alt-right?” These neo-Nazi fascists are his people. He’s one of them. And there can be no more denying that.

And that’s why he can’t afford to lose them. That’s why, after being coerced into rebuking the members of his white supremacist base, he had to immediately say that he was thinking of pardoning racist sheriff Joe Arpiao. And, you can bet it’s why the phrase “cherish our history” was added. It was, in their estimation, just enough of a racist dog whistle to keep the far right from abandoning them, while not inviting more anger from the non-racists of America, who were still upset that the president had suggested that “both sides” – the racists and those who oppose them – were equally to blame.

At any rate, for the past several hours, I’ve found myself in this weird space, humming the song “Cherish” by The Association, while images flash though my mind of klansmen anonymously terrorizing communities, young black men being lynched, and the birth of the American Nazi party… I’m admittedly not a very good graphic designer, so you’ll have to excuse my craft, but here are a few of the images that came immediately to mind when thinking about this cherished history of President Donald Trump and America’s white supremacists.

Posted in Civil Liberties, History, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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