If we can’t organize to stop the appointment of Steve Bannon, a known white nationalist, we’re not going to be able to do anything to stop Trump

bannondc2

Earlier this week, as we discussed a few days ago, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would be appointing Steve Bannon, the race-baiting head of Breitbart News, his chief White House strategist. And this, my friends, is something that we, as civilized people, who value things like civil rights and diversity, should do everything in our power to fight against. We just can’t afford to sit idly by and allow the man credited with bringing white nationalism into the mainstream under the banner of the “alt-right” to take a position of power in the same White House where the Emancipation Proclamation and Civil Rights Act were signed, and where, for the past eight years, our first black President has served our country with grace and dignity in the face of unrelenting racist attacks from the far right that Bannon has worked over the past half decade to empower and give voice to. This is a line that we absolutely should not cross as a nation. We simply cannot allow the man who bragged of creating “the platform for the alt-right,” to move into the White House, where he would not only have constant access to our President, but also likely establish Breitbart News as the de facto communications arm of our Executive branch. [Trump, as I’m sure you’ve seen, has broken with tradition and stopped communicating with legitimate press, and several people are speculating that we may see Breitbart News evolve as a state news agency, not unlike Pravda.]

This is the battle, I suspect, that will determine the course of our next four years, and possibly even the course of our lifetimes. If we allow them to win on this, I just don’t see how we’ll be able to stop them on anything else.

And I should state right up front that, yes, I know keeping Bannon out of the White House will be an uphill battle. As this isn’t an appointment that would require the “advice and consent” of the Senate, it’s not a situation where we would have any real, direct legislative leverage. We can’t just count on our elected Democratic representatives to filibuster, stall and obstruct on our behalf. No, we the people need to actively create so much pain for the Republicans that they have no choice but to back away from the nomination, for fear of derailing their larger legislative objectives. That means swamping their phone lines, shaming them at every opportunity for their connection to Bannon, and bombarding them on social media until they have no choice but to rescind the nomination just to make it stop.

For what it’s worth, though, it’s not hopeless. Or, at least, there’s a precedent. About seven years ago, as you might recall, the Republicans were able to successfully organize and drive Van Jones from the White House. And, in that instance, all Jones, who was Obama’s Green Jobs Czar, had done, was refer to Republicans “assholes” and suggest that now might be the time for us, as Americans, to get serious on the subject of race. And, if they can get someone forced out of the White House for that, then surely we can stop Bannon, a man who, according to Forbes, built Breitbart News into an online news company known above all else for reliably pushing stories that are “openly anti-women, anti-semetic, anti-progress, anti-immigrant, and anti-nonwhites”.

Bannon, for those of you who don’t know the history, was a Breitbart News board member when company founder Andrew Breitbart died unexpectedly of apparent heart failure in 2012. He then, at that point, moved into the role of executive chairman, where he made a name for himself by catering to white nationalists, and publishing articles with titles like “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage,” which, by the way, ran just two weeks after nine people were murdered in an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina by a confederate flag-loving white supremacist. [A former Breitbart News staffer has said that while Andrew Breitbanrt “despised racism,” all of that changed with Bannon took over and began “pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness“.]

Some political types who I respect very much have suggested to me that a coordinated campaign against Bannon, even if successful, wouldn’t accomplish much. Bannon, they say, would still have the President’s ear, and Breitbart would still likely become the administration’s press department. While I suspect they’re right, I still can’t help but think that, all things considered, this is the correct first move in this epic chess game we’ve just started. Not only is getting Bannon our of the White House the right thing to do, but it makes good strategic sense. While I’m sure we’ll be able to build alliances to fight the Trump administration on other issues, I can’t imagine that any of them would get the same kind of support that a campaign against Bannon would get. Bannon, after all, even by conservative standards, is an abhorrent human being, and I suspect that a broad coalition could be built for the purposes of limiting his role in the administration, a coalition that could help us going forward, as we fight on other fronts. [Bannon is so bad, even Glenn Beck thinks he’s “terrifying”.]

So, with all of that said, and with all due respect to Secretary Clinton, who said in her concession speech that, “We owe (Trump) an open mind and a chance to lead,” I am 100% of the belief that we need to put everything we’ve got into stopping this, his first appointment… While it’s true that half of those who voted last week cast their ballots for Trump, they did not vote for Bannon, and I cannot help but think that several, especially those Trump supporters in the Jewish community, might be persuaded to join us in this one particular cause, given Bannon’s well-documented history of antisemitism. While it might be difficult to build coalitions around more abstract issues, like tax policy, I think this fight is relatively straightforward. A man, who, in the words of Breitbart’s former editor-at-large, Ben Shapiro, “openly embrace(s) the white supremacist alt-right,” has no place in the White House, and I’d like to think a majority of Americans would agree.

Speaking of how the Trump administration is being viewed by the wider Jewish community, I’d encourage you to read the op-ed in yesterday’s Jewish Journal, signed by dozens of prominent Jewish historians, which suggests that we have to start building alliances and begin fighting back immediately. Here, from their letter, is the section most relevant to our discussion about Bannon. “We condemn unequivocally those agitators who have ridden Trump’s coattails to propagate their toxic ideas about Jews,” they say.”More broadly, we call on all fair-minded Americans to condemn unequivocally the hateful and discriminatory language and threats that have been directed by him and his supporters against Muslims, women, Latinos, African-Americans, disabled people, LGBT people and others. Hatred of one minority leads to hatred of all. Passivity and demoralization are luxuries we cannot afford. We stand ready to wage a struggle to defend the constitutional rights and liberties of all Americans. It is not too soon to begin mobilizing in solidarity.” [It’s estimated that 24% of Jewish voters cast their ballots for Trump.]

The bottom line is that this, I believe, is not only a fight worth having, but the best strategic shot we’ve got at building a significant movement against the Trump administration. And, in my estimation, if we can’t organize for this, we’ve got absolutely no chance when it comes to fighting Trump on more specific elements of his plan to “make America great again,” like instituting mass deportation programs and creating a national registry for Muslim immigrants. And every day we sit on the sidelines, licking our wounds, successful resistance becomes a little less likely. The normalization of Bannon and what he stands for has already begun in the press, and, you can be sure, it will only get worse. And we cannot allow white nationalism to become something that is acceptable in any form. We have to tear it out by the roots immediately, and demonstrate our willingness to fight it wherever it might show itself.

Thankfully, some of our elected officials are already fighting back. Over the past few days, since the announcement of Bannon’s position was made public, a number of Democrats in Congress have come forward to urge that President-elect Trump dump Bannon. Among those to come forward and join the Dump Bannon caucus so far are Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and Representatives John Conyers, Debbie Dingell, Dan Kildee, Brenda Lawrence, and Sander Levin, all of whom signed the so-called Cicilline letter, which “strongly urge(d)” Trump to consider the fact that he’s now a representatives of “millions of Americans from diverse backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities,” and “reconsider (his) decision.” [Video of Senator Harry Reid asking that Mr. Trump “rise to the dignity of the office” and do the right thing by rescinding the appointment of Bannon, can be found here.]

So, what can we do?

First, you can call your elected representatives and urge them to join the fight to “Dump Bannon.” [You can find the phone numbers for your elected officials here.] Call you Representative and both of you Senators. While, as I mentioned earlier, they don’t have a vote as to whether or not Bannon is appointed, they do have influence, and they should exercise that influence in this case. [You’ll find tips and strategies for how to engage with your elected officials here.] So, if you didn’t go door to door for Hillary, and now feel bad about that fact, this is something very tangible that you can do. You can call and express your anger over the appointment of Bannon to the President’s cabinet, and you can urge your friends and neighbors to do the same.

For those of you who have never called the office of an elected official, here’s a bit of advice from our friend Andy LaBarre, who used to be a staffer for John Dingell… “When you call any office,” he said, “you should simply yell.” He also advises that you keep it simple, as the people who you’ll be talking with are just keeping running tallies on what their constituents think about given issues. “When I was a Congressional staffer, some of the best calls I fielded were from folks who would lead by loudly and angrily stating: ‘No Amnesty!’,” LaBarre said, “They were the best because, right away, I knew 1. What they were calling about; 2. Their opinion on the matter; 3. Their intensity of opinion; and 4. That useful discourse wasn’t going to happen. They were efficient callers.” So keep that in mind. Be clear. Be efficient. And yell. [LaBarre also suggested that you not call Debbie Dingell, as she’s already out front on this. He suggested, instead, you call Tim Walberg’s office. Or better yet, reach out to his constituents, and have them call Walberg’s district office themselves.]

And don’t stop there. If you’re a member of a church, or any community of faith, bring people together around this issue and organize. Write letters to the editor. Put #DumpBannon signs in front of your house. Organize a #DumpBannon parade around your neighborhood. Tag you elected representatives on social media with posts about Bannon, demanding that they join the Dump Bannon Caucus, if they haven’t already. [While all of our Democratic Representatives in Michigan have come out to say that Trump should dump Bannon, I’ve yet to see any of our nine Republican Representativesn take a stand. So call Tim Walberg, Candice Miller, Fred Upton, and all the rest of them, and demand the stand up against bigotry and racial violence. And call your Democratic Reps as well, asking them to do more.] And, if you have other ideas as to how we mobilize people against Bannon, leave a comment here, and let us know. The more ideas, the better.

As for why this is important, I wanted to share the following clip with you from an article that I just read on Vox:

…For a long time, our society marginalized these hateful views by being clear that they were not normal. We all collectively understood that there were certain behaviors that were not okay, certain things that decent, civilized people in a modern society did not do to each other. Those norms are now being shattered.

When Trump ran for president, he gave these people a voice. He told them they had been stymied by “political correctness,” and it was perfectly appropriate for them to say all the things they had been told not to say. He shattered norms. Bannon, the man who ran Breitbart.com, built up its viewer base “by catering to the alt-right, a small but vocal fringe of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and Internet trolls,” (I’m quoting here from National Review, not some lefty site). He is now the top adviser to the president of the United States. Please take a minute to let that sink in.

And, I know I don’t need to tell you this, but people are already suffering the consequences of this Bannonization of America. Among other things, it’s being reported that a Muslim man was set on fire today in Houston, and, here, in Ann Arbor, a University of Michigan student was reportedly made to remove her hijab under threat of violence. These kinds of events are really happening, and they will only get worse if Bannon is accepted into the White House. If we legitimize what he stands for, it’s the end. And we cannot allow that to happen. We have to fight back against the normalization of these radical, dangerous views with everything that we’ve got. We need to stop this insanity now, before it’s too late. America, and what it stands for, is too important.

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40 Comments

  1. Stormfront Warning
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Stormfront on Steve Bannon’s appointment: “It doesn’t get any better than this”

    http://deadsp.in/KaYu0Zh

  2. Stormfront Warning
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    American Nazi Party chairman said he saw Bannon hiring as proof Trump might be for real.

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/14/politics/white-nationalists-on-bannon/index.html

  3. Stormfront Warning
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Bannon’s ex-wife: “He didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews”

    http://hill.cm/p3ySdUC

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/11/15/update-more-400-incidents-hateful-harassment-and-intimidation-election

  5. Kim
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    We can also boycott Trump products and protest the companies that sell them.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-related-businesses-boycotted-2016-11/

  6. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    I don’t think I’ve ever bought any of these things.

  7. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    The story about the guy who got paid $3500 to protest Trump was fake.

    “You mentioned Trump, and you’ve probably heard the argument, or the concern, that fake news somehow helped him get elected. What do you make of that?

    My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”

    Remember how conservatives were sending those stories around like truth?

    I do.

  8. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    “Why? I mean — why would you even write that?

    Just ’cause his supporters were under the belief that people were getting paid to protest at their rallies, and that’s just insane. I’ve gone to Trump protests — trust me, no one needs to get paid to protest Trump. I just wanted to make fun of that insane belief, but it took off. They actually believed it.

    I thought they’d fact-check it, and it’d make them look worse. I mean that’s how this always works: Someone posts something I write, then they find out it’s false, then they look like idiots. But Trump supporters — they just keep running with it! They never fact-check anything! Now he’s in the White House. Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it. And that feels [bad].”

    lol

  9. wobblie
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    the Democrats elite are capitulationist. They threw Van Jones under the bus to make nicy nice with the Republicans. They could tell Trump if he hires Bannon they will filibuster every cabinet appointment until Bannon goes. But they won’t, same with the Islamophob Flynn, who will require Senate confirmation. Protests in the street are our only recourse. Targeted protest and boycotts against businesses and institutions which back Trump would be best.

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Wobblie– the representatives working inside the system of a democracy are supposed to be ‘capitulationist’ aka compromisers, negotiators. No elected official functions as a true activist. They would get no work done. They are not ‘elites’ but people with critical institutional knowledge and accountability to their constituents. Their job is not to express their personal political beliefs. The GOP obstructionism created gov’t disfunction and gov’t disfunction only serves the GOP. It doesn’t serve the Dems or the people. Activism is absolutely necessary– pressure from the outside. I’m just really tired of people, left and right, not understanding that democracy (or a representational republic) is a mediation process. No one gets everything they want. It’s not winner takes all. Even for Trump.

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    *’representative republic’ although representational isn’t all wrong if you consider gerrymandering.

    The SPLC link above has no incidents in MI because they don’t work actively here. Most incidents reported out here have been verified and police reports filed. This one from yesterday. Police report filed. The man ahd injuried and the pepetrator shouted pro-Trump statements under questioning: http://michiganradio.org/post/man-allegedly-yells-trump-during-attack-cab-driver

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    This portrait of Bannon from a Breitbart insider is telling and backs up the view that Breibart will becomes Trump’s Pravda. Breitbart has already purged all non-Trump loyalists. My guess is all other news outlets will be denied access. For Bannon this is still about controlling the message by controlling the right wing media. Win or lose for Trump, he felt he had that cornered. With the win, it’s only more so. This presidency is still a media event. There will be good operas and plays made from this Caligula-level shit.

    http://www.dailywire.com/news/8441/i-know-trumps-new-campaign-chairman-steve-bannon-ben-shapiro

  13. Demetrius
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Normally, we understand that the role of the opposition is not always just to obstruct the will of the majority party, but also to find areas of mutual agreement and compromise if/when possible.

    The question people need to be asking themselves is this: Politically – are we still in “normal” times? And, if so – is compromise on proposed legislation or administration appointments merely a routine stance undertaken by the “loyal opposition” … or is it collaboration?

  14. Max
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I think there is a reason that he made Bannon the very first appointment – he’s a smoke screen. Everyone will be so up in arms about this one appointment that they won’t pay any attention to other questionable appointments. Bannon will step aside in a few weeks to a month, take the reigns of Breitbart and still have just as much influence.

  15. M.A.M.
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    We’re going to have to start a campaign to dump Flynn as well. He is fucking terrifying!

    http://www.vox.com/2016/11/17/13673280/mike-flynn-trump-new-national-security-adviser-russia-isis-obama-clinton-turkey

  16. M
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I agree with you, Max. The fact that he announced that appointment first may have been done very purposefully, to make all of his other selections look acceptable in comparison. That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t fight it. We should fight the other ones too. Essentially this is what life will be for the next four years. It will be one long, endless fight. I hope everyone caught up on their rest during the Obama years.

  17. Kassandra
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I agree and called Walberg. They advised the president can appoint who he chooses, but took my info. Was entertaining reaching out to the U-M students to get on the phones too.

  18. conspiracy theorist
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Has it ever been suggested that Bannon had a hand in Breitbart’s death?

  19. Brian B.
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    At first I thought the bannon appointment could be a ploy to get more support for a slightly less abhorrent appointment instead, but then I remembered that that was exactly what I thought about trump and bush at the start of the primaries. This isn’t a ploy, this is running the table, this is a government takeover.

  20. Meta
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    “Jeff Sessions Was Deemed Too Racist To Be A Federal Judge. He’ll Now Be Trump’s Attorney General.”

    The man who President-elect Donald Trump will nominate as the 84th attorney general of the United States was once rejected as a federal judge over allegations he called a black attorney “boy,” suggested a white lawyer working for black clients was a race traitor, joked that the only issue he had with the Ku Klux Klan was their drug use, and referred to civil rights groups as “un-American” organizations trying to “force civil rights down the throats of people who were trying to put problems behind them.”

    Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), an early Trump supporter who has been playing a major role on the Trump transition team, met with the president-elect in New York on Thursday. A former aide to Sessions is managing the Justice Department transition. In a statement, the Trump team said the president-elect was “unbelievably impressed” with Sessions.

    On Friday morning, several outlets reported that Trump had offered Sessions the attorney general position.

    J. Gerald Hebert remembers Sessions’ time as the top federal prosecutor in Mobile, Alabama, well ― and is stunned that an Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a possibility. More than three decades ago, Hebert was in his 30s and working on voting rights cases for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. He was based in D.C. but spent time in Alabama working with Sessions, who was a U.S. attorney in Ronald Reagan’s administration.

    “He was very affable, always wanting to have a conversation, a cup of coffee,” Hebert told The Huffington Post earlier this week. “Over the course of those months, I had a number of conversations with him, and in a number of those conversations he made remarks that were deeply concerning.”

    After Sessions was nominated to be a federal judge in 1986, Hebert appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about these remarks. It was unusual for a career DOJ lawyer to testify about a judicial nominee’s character, and Hebert said at the time that he did so with “very mixed feelings,” telling senators he considered Sessions “a friend.” Hebert told them Sessions had “a tendency to pop off” and that he was “not a very sensitive person when it comes to race relations.”

    Read more:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-attorney-general-jeff-sessions-racist-remarks_us_582cd73ae4b099512f80c0c2?

  21. anonymous
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Trump is stocking his administration with white nationalists
    It’s not just Steve Bannon.

    https://thinkprogress.org/trump-is-stocking-his-administration-with-white-nationalists-d47a221ca122

  22. Robert Reich by proxy
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Trump has picked Kansas Rep. Michael Richard “Mike” Pompeo to direct the CIA – with power over surveillance, manhunts, counterterrorism and targeted killing operations. Pompeo was elected to Congress in 2010 as a Tea Partier, with strong financial backing of the Kochs. He opposes abortion even under conditions of rape or incest, and rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.
    On international matters, Pompeo supports the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs and believes all remaining impediments to surveillance of American citizens should be removed. He has called for Edward Snowden to get the death sentence. He says Muslim leaders who fail to denounce acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam are “potentially complicit” in those attacks. He opposes closing Guantánamo Bay detention camp. (After a visit to the prison, Pompeo said the prisoners who were on hunger strike, “looked to me like a lot of them had put on weight.”) And he’s a fierce critic of the Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.
    The idea that Michael Pompeo will become America’s chief spook should send shudders down the spine of every American.

  23. anonymous
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    People are calling for a general strike on Friday, January 20, 2017.

  24. Posted November 18, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I hear you, Mark, but you yourself said it will be very difficult to stop this travesty. So I don’t know if it’s fair to judge our future abilities based on this as a litmus test.

    From what I’ve read, Trump is employing classic spouse-batterer tactics to keep everyone on their toes and afraid of him. It’s not hard to do, and he’s done his work. Any Republican who stands up to him will be shot down, possibly ruining their career. How many are willing to do that? To have this be their sword to die on? (I would hope all of them would stand up to this racist, misogynist UGLY ASS motherfucker but I know they won’t.) I even read an article about how Obama and his staff were basically tapdancing around Trump because they didn’t want to alienate him further or cause him to shut down or get defensive.

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    ““I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.
    Shocked, I asked him what he meant.
    “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/22/steve-bannon-trump-s-top-guy-told-me-he-was-a-leninist.html

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s working. or rather we are working. Hard to know if it will work. It has been suggested callers just identify as a concerned citizen. If you are registered GOP, that is even better.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/paulmcleod/clinton-supporters-hit-congress-with-a-tsunami-of-phone-call?bftwnews&utm_term=.ux7xM3kN6#.ekPPw8Gay

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile Trump supporters protest Starbucks by spending lots of money at Starbucks: http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/18/living/trump-cup-starbucks/

    Trump supporter thought his coffee took too long due to anti-white discrimination…

    How did we lose?

  28. Bob
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Because we cut and paste links all day

  29. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Oh Bob… If I write, you don’t like it. If I post links, you don’t like it.

    When is the last time you posted something that was not a personal attack on me?

    Not that I care. I find your attention emboldening. I may just have to post more…

  30. Bob
    Posted November 19, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I just feel embarrassed for you.

  31. Jean Henry
    Posted November 19, 2016 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    ditto.

  32. President Obama
    Posted November 19, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Focus, people.

  33. Oliva
    Posted November 19, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    “And every day we sit on the sidelines, licking our wounds, successful resistance becomes a little less likely.”

    So, yesterday late afternoon there was a rally on the Diag. We went, hoping for big crowds (there wasn’t a big crowd) and a sense of unity standing up against hate. It turned out to be an SDS-sponsored rally, which would be fine, is fine, but some of the talk went crap-ward (while apparently a big Confederate flag was being displayed along Main Street), alienating some people, who obviously came for one reason and left because of another. Why start in about Clinton being another war politician right now? Why the rant against neoliberalism when so many people in that ever-more-exclusive (excluding) town would not want to pay thousands for their smartphones or really admit all the ways they, and all of us, benefit from what is neatly packaged as the demon of “globalization”? Things are so much more complicated–but also in key ways very basic. Economics is bound up with race in such complex and awful ways in this country–not to mention women’s roles and rights, the realities of so many threatened and marginalized groups–but the upshot is kind of simple: the dominance of bigotry, the power of intimidation and cruelty over actual lives, while a lot of comfortable enough people just go along with their lives.

    Near the rally, at campus bars on a warm November evening, the throngs of people not in the Diag were cheerfully sharing beers and happy conversation, watching basketball on big screens.

    Some of what we need so badly–to think better, be better, evolve, get over our damn selves–we can learn so much from people like Toni Morrison (newyorker.com the other day, not to mention her large body of work) and the HAMILTON cast, who had that brave, true, earnest message for Pence last night. With thanks to Mark too for not stopping, for bringing us along.

  34. Jean Henry
    Posted November 19, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    There is speculation that Pence attending Hamilton was an attempt to draw fire, to move the news cycle away from the Trump U settlement and the appointees.

    We have to remember the opposition is run by trolls now. Everything they do is calculated to draw negative response that may serve their interest. I’m pretty sure Pence wanted to be booed or worse.

    In that context, the Hamilton cast response was even more wise. We need to take the high road still. I know many here will find that position coming from me amusing, but you guys aren’t actually the opposition. Not in my mind, anyway.

  35. Meta
    Posted November 21, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    “Did 500 Jewish Protesters Scare Steve Bannon Away From a pro-Israel Gala?”

    Did several hundred Jewish protestors thwart Steve Bannon’s attendance at the annual gala of the Zionist Organization of America?

    The controversial former chairman of Breitbart News and recent Donald Trump appointee as chief strategist and senior counsel was expected at the ZOA dinner in New York Sunday night.
    He had even told someone close to the ZOA that President-elect Trump might also come, ZOA President Morton Klein told Haaretz. But in the end both Bannon and Trump were no-shows, leading Klein to speculate that it was the protesters who led Bannon to stay away.

    Roughly 500 to 600 people came to protest the fact that Bannon, who oversaw an online publication replete with misogyny, racism and, some say, anti-Semitism, now has one of the most powerful positions in the country.

    They stood outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in midtown Manhattan chanting, “No, no, no, Steve Bannon he must go,” and “No Bannon, no ZOA, no fascist U.S.A.,” and holding aloft signs saying “Fire Bannon” and “Bannon is treyf,” or unkosher.

    While their chants could be heard a full long city block away, inside the hotel, 1,200 elegantly dressed dinner attendees — including 300 students — dined, schmoozed and listened to speakers.

    Read more:
    http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/u-s-election-2016/1.754293

  36. Meta
    Posted November 21, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    One possible good thing about Trump’s presidency, it might bring togehter Jews and Muslims.

    The head of the Anti-Defamation League has vowed to sign up to a Muslim registry if it is established by Donald Trump.

    Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the ADL, told an antisemitism conference in New York he would register as a Muslim if need be.

    “If one day Muslim Americans will be forced to register their identities, then that is the day that this proud Jew will register as a Muslim,” Greenblatt said.

    Read more:
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/18/jonathan-greenblatt-muslim-registry-database-trump

  37. Jean Henry
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    This seems like an idea worth spreading. Seems to be taking hold 26,000 ppl committed right now.

    Join in and send a postcard directly to Trump! Here are the basic instructions to participate:

    ** IMPORTANT – Don’t mail your card until NOV. 26th **

    1. Get a postcard from your state – any picture that represents your state.
    2. In the message section, write this simple message: NOT BANNON!
    3. Sign your name if you wish
    4. Address it as follows:
    Donald Trump
    c/o The Trump Organization
    725 Fifth Avenue
    New York, NY 10022
    5. Affix a stamp – you can use a 35 cent postcard stamp, or a normal letter stamp.
    6. Take a picture of your postcard that you can share on social media on Nov. 26-28th
    7. Drop it in the mail between Saturday, Nov 26th and Monday, Nov. 28th to create a concentrated avalanche of postcards.
    8. On Nov. 26-28th, Tweet and share the heck out of your photo using the hashtags #postcardavalanche #stopbannon

    https://www.facebook.com/events/235432800204102/

  38. Rat
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Your point about Jews being positioned to step in an tip the scale against the white supremacists was echoed in today’s Washington Post.

    “Why Jews have a special obligation to resist Trump”–

    A platform so explicitly bigoted may be unprecedented in modern American politics, but it isn’t new to Jews. Many of us are alive today because, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents fled government persecution in Europe and other parts of the world. The United States allowed our families to find refuge here, and we built institutions to strengthen our ability to counter anti-Semitism and to work together toward social justice for all.

    Jewish communal organizations have always worked with both Democratic and Republican administrations to make progress on the issues we care about, such as funding social services, supporting Israel and protecting civil liberties.

    And we’ve already seen signs that some members of our community will treat this administration no differently. Several congratulated Trump on his victory; some expressed their faith that he would make good on his victory speech promise to “bind the wounds of division.”

    For many Jewish organizations, it will be tempting to “move past” the disturbing policy goals and divisive rhetoric we heard during the campaign from Trump and his team and to engage in business as usual with the new administration. But if we take the president-elect at his word — and we must — we can’t afford business as usual. Now is the time for principled opposition, not accommodation.

    At many points in our history, the Jewish community has fallen into the trap of believing that we can protect ourselves by proximity to power: by being the “Court Jew” or the shtadlan charged with lobbying the governments of medieval Europe on behalf of Jewish subjects. We thought that these relationships and “special” positions would protect us.

    But they don’t protect us. Over the past year, we have watched as Trump’s campaign trafficked in blatant anti-Semitism alongside racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, ableism and Islamophobia. He has empowered white supremacists and provoked a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan.

    Trying to conduct business as usual with the Trump administration could prevent us from joining with other threatened groups to protect our neighbors. Jews know that when one minority is vulnerable, we all are vulnerable. If American Muslims will be targeted and those entering the country from elsewhere forced to “register,” if immigrants will be torn from their families and their homes, if women are assaulted as access to justice disintegrates, policies that attack Jews could be next. Jewish history and values demand that we step up and act in opposition.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/11/21/why-jews-have-a-special-obligation-to-resist-trump/

  39. M
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    The New York Times has a great, in-depth piece today on Bannon. Two things struck me. 1. He man not be a racist, but has no problems manipulating them in order to get what he wants (i.e. Trump elected). 2. His style, which I’d refer to as drunken uncle, was carefully cultivated over time to make him appear as someone who wasn’t a Harvard MBA and investment banker.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/27/us/politics/steve-bannon-white-house.html

  40. Kat
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    They interviewed a lot of people for that article who swore Bannon was not a racist, but then there was this:

    Ms. Jones, the film colleague, said that in their years working together, Mr. Bannon occasionally talked about the genetic superiority of some people and once mused about the desirability of limiting the vote to property owners.

    I said, ‘That would exclude a lot of African-Americans,” Ms. Jones recalled. He said, “Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.” I said, “But what about Wendy?” referring to Mr. Bannon’s executive assistant. He said, “She’s different. She’s family.”

10 Trackbacks

  1. […] few days ago, I posted something here asking that people call their elected representatives in Congress and express their anger over Presi…. In the post, I included a number of links to sites where people could find contact information for […]

  2. […] interested to know what the Trump supporters in you family make of the fact not only that our President-elect has selected a known white nationalist to be his chief White House strategist, but that, since the election, we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of incidents of […]

  3. […] here’s Trump’s address, in case you’d like to send him a note about Steve Bannon, the white nationalist who he’s tapped to be his chief White House strategist, or anything else that strikes […]

  4. […] the press, in violation of established protocol. He’s also appointed the CEO of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, to be his chief White House strategist, which would seem to indicate a desire on his part to […]

  5. […] to sneak voter suppression laws through the state legislature during a lame duck session, or an announcement by the President-elect that he’ll be giving a white supremacist an office in t…, but you could argue that it’s even more important, as the way our district boundaries are […]

  6. […] we’ve talked quite a bit about Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon in the past, and the charges of anti-Semitism that have dogged him these past several years, I […]

  7. […] not suggesting, by sharing these stories, that Bannon isn’t a threat. He clearly is. The more time that goes by, though, the more I think it’s possible that his hubris and utter […]

  8. […] theory has always been that Trump couldn’t afford to dump his white nationalist strategist Steve Bannon because he held the keys to the so-called alt-right. The thinking was that Trump, as long as he had […]

  9. […] As for why this is happening now in America, one can only assume it has something to do with the fact that, as we’ve discussed before, Trump came to power in large part thanks to the support he received from Steve Bannon’s Breitb…. […]

  10. […] and the members of the GOP, who should act swiftly to remove members of the racist right, like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, from the White […]

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