Sunday, December 24, 2017

Do You Hate Trump? There's Someone Worse Who Might Be Elected President By The Trumpist Base, The Hobbits


Obama made it look like being president was so easy that anyone could do it. It's not and they can't. Seeing Trump win, makes every rich asshole think anyone can become president. Let's hope that isn't true either. How are you going to find a more attracting, if not attractive, headline than Is Steve Bannon Running For President? That's Gabe Sherman's title for his Vanity Fair feature this week. Sherman took a whirlwind tour around the globe with Bannon in November. It started in Tokyo where Bannon delivered a hard-edged anti-China speech at a conference for human-rights activists. "I’m not really a human-rights guy. But this is a chance to talk to them about populism." Bannon travels with an entourage, including an ex-Navy Seal body guard. He flies first class and stays in ultra-expensive 5 star hotels.

At his Tokyo event he told the crowd that "The elites in our country have been under a very false premise that as China became more prosperous and economically developed that there would be an underlying increase in democracy. What we found out over the last decades is the exact opposite has happened... The question has to be asked: Are the elites in the United States that stupid? Did they not sit there year after year after year and not understand what is going on? Or was something else going on? Were these elites either bought off or did they just look the other way? That question is going to have to be answered."

Bannon’s core message-- a clueless, corrupt ruling class (many of whom, of course, reside in blue states) has sold out American workers to a hegemonic China, and it’s up to a vanguard to take our country back before the world tips toward cataclysm-- is the same, whether he’s speaking to Alabamian Roy Moore voters or Chinese dissidents. But he adjusts his vocabulary to fit his audience-- here in Tokyo, he was in full prophetic mode.

Bannon is a voracious reader, who sometimes stays up until dawn powering through books, obscure journals, and news articles, scrawling notes in a pocket-size green diary as he goes (during our trip he used downtime to read a Robespierre biography). This was evident as he freestyled about Hillary Clinton, the opposition party media, artificial intelligence, Thucydides, Hollywood, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, the opioid crisis, Boeing jets, Brown University, Brexit, the Cloud, the Civil War, the Peloponnesian War, the American Revolution, the Great Depression, Churchill, Napoleon, Hitler, and J.D. Vance. “It’s not going to be O.K.,” he concluded ominously. “The world is on a knife’s edge. We have what I call a long, dark valley ahead, like the 1930s.”

The message is that the world needs saving-- but who’s going to save it? Looking around, it’s not hard to see Steve Bannon’s best answer. Four months ago, Bannon was a supporting player, with a whiteboard and telephone. Now he’s made himself the star-- not only the chief strategist but in many ways the candidate, the frontman of his own movement. With his motorcade, retinue of advisers, and security men, his Asia trip was a mirror of President Trump’s.

When he left the White House in August, Bannon said, “the Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over.” In private, Bannon told people he was disillusioned with Trump’s shambolic governing style. Trump, in turn, sees Bannon as a self-promoter. “The president views Steve as just a guy who works for him,” a White House official said. “Especially in light of recent news, for the country, the president’s best decision was firing James Comey. His second best decision was firing Steve Bannon, bar none.”

While the two men harbor contempt for each other that can ignite into rage, they can’t quit each other, either. Since Bannon left the West Wing, he’s had eight phone calls with Trump, most initiated by the president, according to a White House official. “The few conversations Steve and the president have had since he was fired this summer have primarily been opportunities for Steve to beg for his job back,” said the White House official. A Bannon spokesperson countered, “anyone around Steve since he left the White House can see he is very happy now out of the White House!

Bannon insists that his real opponent is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The G.O.P. establishment, as personified by Mitch McConnell, has not done a good job supporting the president’s agenda,” Bannon told me. During a recent speech he declared a “season of war” on the G.O.P. and he is drafting insurgent candidates to challenge seven of eight G.O.P. senators up for election in 2018. Bannon’s war is just ramping up. Through his nonprofit, Government Accountability Institute, he’s planning to release a Clinton Cash-style book that takes aim at the G.O.P. establishment in general and McConnell in particular.

The primary insurgents Bannon has tried to recruit, dubbed “The League of Extraordinary Candidates” by Breitbart, is a ragtag band including former Arizona State Senator Kelli Ward; Blackwater founder Erik Prince; mega-donor Foster Friess; and Danny Tarkanian, son of U.N.L.V. basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, all of whom inarguably fall far short of Bannon’s stated populist principles.

And now Roy Moore’s Alabama Senate candidacy was threatening to implode. When I met Bannon at John F. Kennedy Airport, an hour before boarding the Tokyo flight, he’d turned the first-class lounge into a makeshift war room. A few days earlier, the Washington Post published allegations that Moore had pursued romantic and sexual relationships with teenagers in the 1970s while he was an assistant district attorney. One woman told the paper he molested her when she was 14-- and he was 32. Moore’s initial response had been a disaster. He came across as evasive during a radio interview with Sean Hannity. A chorus of Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, were calling on Moore to end his campaign; the Republican National Committee severed all fund-raising ties. Most worrisome for Bannon, the White House put out a statement that Moore should leave the race if the allegations were true.

The situation, and the various arrayed forces for and against Moore, closely resembled two earlier crises Bannon had weathered with Trump: the release of the Billy Bush tape and the aftermath of the white nationalist march in Charlottesville. In both, Trump ultimately followed Bannon’s tactical playbook-- doubling down at all costs-- with large success in the first instance and a highly questionable result in the second.

Bannon huddled over his BlackBerry firing off e-mails to Breitbart reporters he’d dispatched to Alabama to discredit the Post story. “I got my two best guys down there,” he said while waiting for Moore campaign chairman Bill Armistead to call. Bannon’s orders: deny, deny, deny. “One of the things I realized during the campaign is that, like in the military, it all comes down to one or two decisions in the heat of battle,” he said. “You have to double down.” In Moore, he knew he had a less capable candidate. (His first choice had been Alabama congressman Mo Brooks.) “I’m gonna tell Judge Moore to do his thing,” Bannon said. “They’re not cut out for this, though.”

Bannon let the White House know that he wanted Trump to back Moore. But Trump seemed reluctant at first. White House political director Bill Stepien reportedly told Trump to stay out of the race. The conventional wisdom was becoming that Moore was done, and that Bannon was wrong this time.

Bannon's frenetic pace is part of his strategy. “I realized if you’re not out there for the hobbits, you’re not in their lives,” Bannon said, using his affectionate moniker for Trump voters. During the week I traveled with him from New York to Tokyo to South Florida, for what was Bannon’s first major profile since leaving the White House, he made a half dozen speeches to conservative groups, hosted Breitbart’s talk-radio show, and helped market a new biography Bannon: Always the Rebel. Inside the right-wing echo chamber, Bannon is lionized as a conquering folk hero. Well-wishers flock to snap selfies, press the flesh. At one event I chatted with an elderly man waiting his turn on the receiving line. “If I could ask him one question, it would be, why aren’t you president?’”
That has at least been a passing thought. In October, Bannon called an adviser and said he would consider running for president if Trump doesn’t run for re-election in 2020. Which Bannon has told people is a realistic possibility. In private conversations since leaving the White House, Bannon said Trump only has a 30 percent chance of serving out his term, whether he’s impeached or removed by the Cabinet invoking the 25th amendment. That prospect seemed to become more likely in early December when special counsel Robert Mueller secured a plea deal from former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Bannon has also remarked on the toll the office has taken on Trump, telling advisers his former boss has “lost a step.” “He’s like an 11-year-old child,” Bannon joked to a friend in November.

While Bannon praised Trump during our conversations-- he said he’s the best orator since William Jennings Bryan-- he doesn’t deny he was unhappy in the White House. “It was always a job,” he said. “I realize in hindsight I was just a staffer, and I’m not a good staffer. I had influence, I had a lot of influence, but just influence.” He told me he now feels liberated. “I have power. I can actually drive things in a certain direction."

Not surprisingly, the idea of Bannon as a political figure, let alone a presidential candidate, inspires ridicule and venom from the Republican establishment. The Wall Street Journal editorial page called Bannon’s roster of candidates a bunch of “cranks and outliers.” Former McConnell chief of staff Josh Holmes said Bannon is a “white supremacist.” Stuart Stevens, a veteran of five Republican presidential campaigns, told me that Bannon is “an odd, strangely repulsive figure who is trying to use the political process to work through personal issues of anger and frustration.” He added, “like many people in their first campaign, he confused his candidate winning with the fantasy voters supported him.”

Bannon is even less popular with voters than McConnell

A prominent Republican described Bannon’s crusade as a vanity exercise doomed to fail. “I think there was a lot of rage when he was in the White House,” the Republican said. “Steve had to subsume his ego to Donald, who Steve thinks is dumb and crazy. With Steve, it’s not about building new things-- it’s about destroying the old. I’m not sure he knows what he wants.” As evidence, he pointed out the recent Virginia governor’s race, where Republican Ed Gillespie got crushed by nine points running on a Bannon-esque platform defending Confederate monuments and inciting fear over illegal immigrant crime. “The issues didn’t just fail, they failed miserably,” the Republican said.

...Billy Bush Weekend cemented Bannon’s bond with Trump. But when Trump became Mr. President-Elect, on another plane, the relationship became much more complicated. Trump was deeply galled that the media portrayed Bannon as the wizard behind the curtain. “I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late,” Trump told the New York Post. “I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve. I’m my own strategist.” (In fact, Trump had known Bannon since 2011). In July, Bloomberg Businessweek journalist Joshua Green published a best-selling book, Devil’s Bargain, that gave a substantial amount of credit for Trump’s win and overall vision to Bannon. Trump tweeted in response: “I love reading about all of the ‘geniuses’ who were so instrumental in my election success. Problem is, most don’t exist. #Fake News! MAGA...”

Meanwhile, Trumpworld, which had been unified by the shared goal of defeating Hillary Clinton, cleaved into warring factions within hours of Trump’s unexpected win. On election night, Bannon said he disagreed with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump over the content of Trump’s victory speech. Kushner and Ivanka wanted it to strike a tone of unity, whereas Bannon wanted to keep up the attack. “I didn’t think it was the right time to talk about uniting,” he said. “I think some of that stuff comes off as phony.”

The battle intensified in the White House. On one side was a group of advisers Bannon dismissively dubbed “the Democrats,” comprising Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Gary Cohn, and Dina Powell. On the other were the nationalists: Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller, Sebastian Gorka, and Peter Navarro (Kushner’s camp called them “the crazies” or “Breitbart”).

The nationalists prevailed in the early days of the administration, as Trump signed a flurry of executive orders on trade and regulations from a list of campaign promises Bannon had scrawled on a whiteboard in his West Wing office. “You had to be a disruptor and keep people on their back heels. That’s why we were doing three E.O.s a day,” Bannon explained. “I told Reince that if you slow down, they’ll pick us apart with the palace intrigue stuff, which is what they really want to write.”

On the afternoon of Friday, January 27, the White House announced a travel ban barring immigrants from eight Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, including all Syrian refugees. It sparked protests at airports nationwide. Bannon explained this was by design. “Why did we drop the travel ban on a Friday evening? Because the resistance is our friend,” he told me. “Our thing is to throw gasoline on the resistance. I love it. When they”-- the Democrats-- “talk about identity politics, they’re playing into our hands. Because you can’t win [elections] on that.” I asked Bannon about the charges he’s cultivated white supremacist groups. “These guys are beyond clowns,” he said. “It’s the left media that makes them relevant because 25 of them show up, and it’s like a hundred cameras. They’re losers."

The backlash to the travel ban proved to be a political and legal disaster for the White House and Bannon’s standing in it. As courts blocked the ban and Trump’s poll numbers sank to historic lows, Bannon’s enemies, led by Kushner, moved to marginalize him. (Bannon aided Kushner’s cause by installing himself on the National Security Council, which infuriated Trump, the White House official said.) To Bannon, a former Naval officer who worked his way into Harvard Business School and Goldman Sachs, Kushner was a callow elitist in way over his head. “He doesn’t know anything about the hobbits or the deplorables,” Bannon said. “The railhead of all bad decisions is the same railhead: Javanka.” According to a person close to Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law viewed Bannon as a leaker at best, and a racist at worst.

Any chance of Bannon and Kushner salvaging a working relationship collapsed over Kushner’s role in the decision that many see as the possible linchpin of Trump’s downfall. In early May, Bannon and Kushner tangled over Trump’s plan to fire F.B.I. director James Comey.

Over the weekend of May 6 and 7, Bannon was in Washington when Kushner, Ivanka, and Stephen Miller accompanied Trump to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the decision to fire Comey was finalized. The White House announced Comey’s dismissal on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 9. Bannon was furious when he found out. “It’s the dumbest political decision in modern political history, bar none. A self-inflicted wound of massive proportions,” he later said. Bannon believed the Russia collusion case was meritless, but he blamed Kushner for taking meetings during the campaign that gave the appearance the Trump team sought Putin’s help. “He’s taking meetings with Russians to get additional stuff. This tells you everything about Jared,” Bannon told me. “They were looking for the picture of Hillary Clinton taking the bag of cash from Putin. That’s his maturity level."

...In late July, Trump replaced Priebus with John Kelly and gave the retired four-star Marine general a stated mandate to bring the warring West Wing factions to heel. Among Kelly’s first orders of business was firing communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Another, according to White House officials: telling Bannon he needed to go. Bannon told me he always planned to leave by the one-year anniversary of joining Trump’s campaign, and he told Kelly on August 7 he wanted to resign.

Whatever the case, Bannon said he knew Trump might try to control the narrative of his departure, so he told Kelly not to tell Trump. But later that night, Bannon said Trump called him after learning of the decision from White House lawyer John Dowd. Bannon said he told Trump he wanted to attack his G.O.P. detractors from the outside. “I said the establishment is trying to nullify your election,” he recalls. “Forget the Democrats. We got our own thing with the three committees” investigating Russia collusion. According to Bannon, Trump was reluctant at first to let him leave. And the threat of Bannon turning Breitbart loose on Trump and his family loomed. “He was very nervous about it,” Bannon said. “He just fuckin’ knows I’m a junkyard dog, and I was pissed at the time.” Bannon said Trump told him he needed to think about it.

Trump’s instinct to stoke racial conflict delayed Bannon’s departure. During the weekend of August 12, neo-Nazis marched through Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting “Jews will not replace us” to protest the removal of Confederate monuments. During clashes with counter-protesters, a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd killing a 32-year-old woman named Heather Heyer and wounding dozens. Trump fanned outrage by blaming the violence on “many sides.” Kushner and Ivanka implored him to apologize, and other members of the administration contemplated resigning. Bannon told the president on a phone call that apologizing would never satisfy the critics. “I said it’s not enough and it’s too late. Nothing you can say could be good enough.”

As the uproar over Charlottesville grew louder, Bannon quietly plotted his next move. White House officials say Bannon tried calling Trump and lobbied members of Congress to pressure Trump to change his mind. On Thursday, August 17, he held a five-hour strategy meeting with billionaire mega-donor Robert Mercer at his Long Island estate. That same day, the American Prospect published a remarkable score-settling interview Bannon had given to its editor Robert Kuttner. The fact that Bannon spoke to a magazine aligned with the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party got people’s attention. But what likely got Bannon fired were his comments that there was no military solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis. The remark sent the stock market tanking. If Trump understands one thing, it’s money, and he approved Bannon’s dismissal. That night, Bannon left his office for the last time, taking nothing with him.

When news of Bannon’s exit broke on the afternoon of Friday, August 18, he was already back to work at Breitbart’s Washington headquarters, a stately row house blocks from the Capitol known as the Breitbart Embassy. Staffers showered him with a hero’s welcome. “I don’t think Trump understands how dangerous Steve is. He just runs in and conquers shit, like Charlemagne,” a Breitbart journalist told me at the time.

That night, Bannon signaled to Trump he was going to continue the wars he waged in the West Wing from the outside. “Now I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons,” he boasted to the Weekly Standard.

...Bannon’s own transformation from political adviser to a quasi-politician has also transformed Breitbart; it’s become a site that promotes his campaign. On the day of Bannon’s Tokyo speech, his name appeared in seven different headlines on the homepage. In December, Bannon signed a deal to host Breitbart’s daily satellite radio show. His message, however, isn’t quarantined inside the right-wing media bubble. That’s because Bannon has a canny ability to cultivate mainstream journalists.

...The siege on Roy Moore’s campaign continued. The previous day, Ivanka Trump told the Associated Press “there’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children.” Bannon was incredulous she’d make the comment. “What about the allegations about her dad and that 13-year-old?” he said, referring to the California woman who alleged Trump raped her when she was a teen (the suit has since been dropped.) “Ivanka was a fount of bad advice during the campaign.”

Bannon was eager to get Trump on the phone. He told me Trump’s presidency was at stake. His theory was that, if McConnell succeeded in forcing Moore out, it would open Trump up to having every sexual harassment and assault allegation against him relitigated in the court of public opinion. “It’s a firebreak,” he later said.

Bannon’s eyes were circled with dark rings and his ruddy nose was approaching Rudolph-level red. But on his campaign schedule there was no time to slow down. We climbed into a pair of black Suburbans and rolled out.

An hour later Bannon boarded a Hawker 850 private jet at Teterboro Airport bound for Florida. He was due in Palm Beach to deliver a keynote speech at Restoration Weekend, the annual gathering of right-wingers hosted by former New-Leftist-turned-conservative provocateur David Horowitz. “The thing about Restoration Weekend,” Bannon had told me earlier, “is you got a lot of Jewish Palm Beach matrons who used to be superhot. They were all left-wing in the 60s. That was before they locked down successful Palm Beach business guys. Now they’re hardcore. You half expect them to throw their panties at Horowitz. They’re all Trump people.”

A pilot climbed aboard and sealed up the door. “We got a planeload of patriots,” he said.

The engines whirred, and as we taxied towards the runway, Bannon explained why, despite his competition with Trump, he needs to defend him at all costs. “Trump’s at war with the permanent political class in D.C. I have this whole theory about the nullification of the 2016 election by the Democrats, the opposition party and the Republican establishment,” he said. “Can you believe they had that Senate committee meeting that talked about the president’s ability to use nuclear weapons? It’s unreal!”

Once we’re airborne I asked Bannon how the presidency had changed Trump. “He’s much more moderate,” Bannon said, sipping a Fiji water. “He’s an accommodationist. Trump’s tendency is to always get Maggie Haberman in there. He reads the New York Times. To him that’s the paper of record.” For a presidency defined by Twitter, Bannon said Trump has a limited grasp of new media. “He doesn’t go online. That’s a huge thing. I mean Orrin Hatch”-- who’s 83-- “goes online! Trump reads printouts.”

Bannon paused and looked out the window. “I was born down there,” he said, pointing at the hazy Virginia coastline below.

Bannon’s blue-collar upbringing and conservative Catholic faith undergird his populist ideas. He argues that his platform of economic nationalism has been misrepresented by critics that label it racist. Cutting immigration and erecting trade barriers will help people of color by tightening the labor market, thereby raising wages. In the White House, he argued to increase tax rates on the wealthy and has problems with the G.O.P. tax plan (although he ultimately supports it). Bannon also argued to end the country’s decades-long entanglement in Afghanistan and spend the money at home. “You could rebuild America! Do you understand what Baltimore and St. Louis and these places would look like?” And he told me he thinks the government should regulate Google and Facebook like public utilities. “They’re too powerful. I want to make sure their data is a public trust. The stocks would drop two-thirds in value.”

Raheem Kassam, a former adviser to Nigel Farage who now edits Breitbart London and travels in Bannon’s entourage, told me, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bannon and Bernie campaigning together in a couple years."

There’s not much evidence that that notion is more than a fantasy. Not only because of Bannon’s pariah status on the left, but also because it’s difficult to reconcile Bannon’s homilies about helping minorities with a worldview that America is a Western European, Judeo-Christian culture that must close its borders and build a wall at a time when the immigrants are brown-skinned people. “My theory, our philosophy, is that we’re more than an economy. It’s one of the reasons the Republicans and the Paul Ryans of the world and Paul Singers got off track with this Ayn Rand Austrian economics where everything’s about the economy. Well, it’s not the economy. We’re a civic society with borders and values.”

When he’s talking up the virtues of strengthening civic bonds he sounds like Robert Putnam. But Bannon’s Breitbart mobilizes its readers by taunting the left, and can often seem to be the entirety of his program. Rage-stoking is not populism, and politicians Bannon has backed mainly seem interested in pissing off liberals, rather than passing legislation that fundamentally makes America a more equitable society. After all, before Bannon found Trump, there was Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.

Bannon said his candidates aren’t wing nuts, they’re just regular people. “They’re not blow-dries,” he said. “I don’t want the Marco Rubios that have been in the R.N.C. since they were 9 years old with a briefcase. It’s all bullshit. Our guys can be a little rough around the edges. They’re gonna say some crazy shit, O.K. You know why? Because people are going to identify this guy’s real and he’s a fighter."

...Moore’s loss further damaged Bannon’s standing with Trump. “The president was annoyed Steve lost the Alabama seat to a Democrat because Steve thought he was a big shot,” a White House official told me. Meanwhile, Bannon’s critics gleefully framed Alabama as proof that Bannon’s political acumen has been vastly overstated. “Mr. Bannon is for losers,” the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote. Steven Law, the head of the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund, released a statement: “Not only did Steve Bannon cost us a critical Senate seat in one of the most Republican states in the country, but he also dragged the president of the United States into his fiasco.”
Two days after Moore’s defeat, I met Bannon for breakfast in New York before he headed back to Tokyo to give another anti-China speech. A bearded bodyguard sat nearby with a pistol tucked into his waistband. Despite the setback, Bannon was in high spirits. “Dude you don’t know the firestorm that’s coming,” he said, picking over a crumb muffin and sipping coffee. “The civil war will go to an even higher, more intense level.” Bannon said McConnell, in his machinations against Moore, revealed that G.O.P. elites are aligned with Democrats against the deplorables. “The G.O.P. establishment would rather have control and give up seats to the radical progressive left."

He insisted his Senate candidates in 2018 will be fully vetted to avoid another Moore. He pointed out Montana State Auditor Matt Rosendale, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, and Kevin Nicholson, an Iraq combat veteran with degrees from Dartmouth and Harvard Business School, who’s running in Wisconsin. As we talked, news broke that Paul Ryan is possibly not going to run for re-election in 2018. Bannon saw this as another victory, a sign that the field was tilting in his favor. Bannon said his allies in the House Freedom Caucus will have “a huge role” in picking the next speaker.

And Trump, having flirted with the establishment, has come home. Since Charlottesville, Trump has governed almost exclusively for Bannon’s base. For all the tsuris Bannon causes the president, the two need each other. “He momentarily has lapses when he’s convinced by people around him in the White House to do ridiculous things like support Big Luther Strange, another genius move by Jared,” Bannon said. “But look at how many things he approved right after Alabama to get us back on board. I think the establishment has to understand something. Their day of running the Republican Party is over."

Moore’s defeat could well be the Waterloo of Bannon’s movement, though it’s far too soon to tell. In his view of history, it’s always 1933, but he projects an unrelenting optimism about his own future and those of his projects. It’s a salesman’s gift, one he shares with Trump. Create enough chaos, and the world will re-align. Or it won’t.

As the White House sinks deeper into scandal, along with Roy Moore’s crushing defeat, it’s hard not to see Trump and Bannon as survivors huddled together on a shrinking spit of dry land. Meanwhile, with 2018 looming, even Bannon recognizes the Democrats’ growing strength. “The reason the Democrats did so well in Virginia is because they’re angry. Anger gets people to do things. I admire that,” he said.

During one conversation this fall, Bannon seemed to accept that his campaign might not succeed. But he said people are mistaken if they equate losing elections with failure. “I’m not a political operative,” he said, “I’m a revolutionary."

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At 9:40 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

“I’m not a political operative,” he said, “I’m a revolutionary."

Yeah whatever Steve.

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like he sees himself in the same way hitler saw himself. Hitler had quite the populist message too. He didn't mean most of it either.

At 2:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trump is but the first of many.

The Republican fascists have been dragging the DINO-Whigs to the right for decades. Obamanation was a mild form of Trump if one is honest. HER! would have been more extreme, since HER! just might aspire to be a war hawk like Maggie Thatcher was. Trump is overt. Pence will initiate the American Inquisition. Bernie has been neutered.

With the DINO-Whigs sabotaging anyone from center-right leftward, fascist totalitarianism is all we are going to be allowed. Corporations are in charge, and they will not tolerate losing that power. Only the rise of another party which is more attuned to the needs of actual humans can alter this course, and the DINO-Whigs passively cooperate with all the GOP voter suppression efforts underway. The courts are being packed with corporatist lackeys, and the Law (to quote a seasonal Dickens) "is a ass".

I hoped all of my life that positive changes could happen peacefully. I no longer believe that to be possible.

At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:30, amen. And there is no "might aspire" about it. $he was openly hawkish, looking for a war.

The Ds are so bad it gets Rs elected. The Rs hurtle toward naziism. Then the Ds get elected as a reflex and refuse to change anything, normalizing all the Rs did before and even expanding much of it.
lather, rinse, repeat.

Lesser evilism, the abridged version.

At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trump and Bannon ARE despicable subhuman garbage. But you have to admit that they perfectly represent the third of the electorate, the hobbits, that religiously support people like them.

There are two-thirds of the electorate who should be able to render their numbers moot politically. But half of them never vote because there isn't anyone nor a party worth voting for. The other half only vote against the hobbits' candidate out of desperate hope that the lesser evil will somehow morph into a slight improvement. This practice makes them insane by Albert Einstein's definition.

So you have one third who are Nazis yearning for a fuhrer; a third who are demonstrably insane; and a third who don't play in a rigged game.

You gotta admire the money for their virtuosity in orchestrating this shit show over the past 5 decades or so. You have to also recognize the Nazi third, having the weakest character possible in humans. You also have to recognize the insane third for being so easy to manipulate into voting against themselves every time.

Is the money THAT good at this? Or are American voters that bad?

IMO, both.

At 1:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is the money THAT good at this?"

Yes. It is.

Remember, 8:46, that corporatism has had the research of psychology working for them, and have since the 1920s. Woodrow Wilson let the Evil Jinn out of the bottle to sway US public opinion into going to war in Europe after having just won election on the platform slogan of having kept the nation out of it. It's a fascinating tale of the manipulation of otherwise reasonably intelligent people into taking an action they strongly opposed not long before.

Maybe Teddy Roosevelt should have gone hunting instead of making the Bull Moose roar and preventing Taft from winning.

The agents of propaganda Wilson unleashed used and abused Freud's research, aided and abetted by Freud's evil nephew "Fast Eddie" Bernays, who then created both modern media advertising AND Public Relations (read: lying and tricking people into believing things that aren't true).

Billions have been spent studying what makes people tick and how to sway their decisions into a profitable outcome. Unless one becomes aware of at least some of their methods and learns to counter the sway, one has no idea that they are not the ones in control of their own thinking.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

At 6:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:03, yeah. My questions were meant to be rhetorical.

I started reading studies back in the '70s looking at the "gene pool" consequences of the fact that stupid people had been out reproducing the smarter people since the '50s (at least). While few then and almost none now can handle the math, if the stupid breed at double the rate of the smart for x (currently 4 or 5) generations, their genetic deficiencies will proliferate by the square of the smarter (at 4 generations where stupids have 4 kids and smarts have 2, it's 256 stupids vs. 16 smarts).

Is it any wonder, then, that americans are such easy prey for those who can afford to exploit them?

Clinton, cheney, obamanation and trump look pretty inevitable in this light, don't they.


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