Friday, December 30, 2016

Is Steve Bannon Leading America to a 21st Century Crusade?


-by Alex Campbell

”Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they're blind to who we are and what we're doing.”
-- Steve Bannon, as quoted by Michael Wolff in an exclusive interview for the Hollywood Reporter.
So who is Steve Bannon and what is he doing?  The mainstream media have come close to calling him a white nationalist and the blogs are already there. I think the fairest treatment came from David Corn at Mother Jones:
Whatever he might believe, Bannon is a self-proclaimed ally of the alt-right...Lisa De Pasquale, a Breitbart contributor, on Monday said on the To the Point radio show that promoting the alt-right at Breitbart was "good for his business model." And the alt-right promotes white nationalism (if not white supremacy). So journalists who do not report that Trump has selected for a top spot in the White House an enabler of white nationalists—which certainly could qualify Bannon as a white nationalist himself—are doing the public and the truth a disservice. Thanks to Trump, a comrade of racists—many of whom are now cheering his appointment—is slated to help run the US government.
I don't know if Bannon is a white nationalist or not. Or just a garden variety anti-Semite as some in the press have tried to label him based on thin evidence from depositions of his ex-wife during divorce proceedings in 2007. A lot of people on twitter are saying yeah, maybe Steve Bannon is a racist neo-Nazi. And it is something I have read frequently on Facebook. So you never know because a lot of people are saying it. Personally, I don't think he is. But he might be. Because only he really knows. And maybe Richard Spencer. Ben Shapiro, who was formerly the editor-at-large at until he resigned in protest over the handling of the Michelle Fields/Corey Lewandoski incident had this to say about Bannon:
"I have no evidence that Steve’s an anti-Semite. I think Steve’s a very, very power-hungry dude who’s willing to use anybody and anything in order to get ahead, and that includes making common cause with the racist, anti-Semitic alt-right...I’ve been as critical of Steve Bannon as anybody in the media. I was the first critic of Bannon because when I left Breitbart in March, I specifically named Bannon as a nefarious influence at Breitbart, by name. And yet, I was forced last week to defend Steve Bannon. I think that he’s a terrible person. But because the left can’t just say, “This is a guy who made way for the alt-right, which is quite terrible, and he’s doing a real disservice to the nature of the country by doing so.” The left had to accuse him personally of racism and anti-Semitism, and they had to overstep. This is the big mistake.”
Lets posit that Bannon has just been playing footsie with some very hateful and evil racists because its good for his long term political goals. Not that it excuses his behavior but I can't answer the question of whether Bannon is or isn't a racist prick, because there is no real proof, just a lot of supposition out there on the internets. And as David Corn astutely pointed out, his behavior does make him an enabler of these people. For the sake of argument lets just split the difference and call him a white power sympathizer who is very, very smart and knows how to manipulate the media through his work with which was the defacto press organ of the Trump campaign.

Trumpists are quick to defend Bannon by pointing out that Breitbart is pro-Israel in their coverage and therefore there is no way that Bannon could possibly be anti-Semitic. And Breitbart has been vocal in their support of Israel. But I believe Breitbart’s editorial stance towards Israel has nothing to do with supporting Judaism and everything to do with suppressing another group of people on religious grounds.

Because you know who Steve Bannon really doesn't like? Muslims. He believes we are in the beginning stages of a global war with Islam and has made no secret of that worldview.

"And I believe we’ve come partly offtrack in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we’re starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism.

And we’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.

...[W]e’re at the very beginning stages of a global conflict, and if we do not bind together as partners with others in other countries that this conflict is only going to metastasize. They have a Twitter account up today, ISIS does, about turning the United States into a “river of blood” if it comes in and tries to defend the city of Baghdad. And trust me, that is going to come to Europe. That is going to come to Central Europe, it’s going to come to Western Europe, it’s going to come to the United Kingdom. And so I think we are in a crisis of the underpinnings of capitalism, and on top of that we’re now, I believe, at the beginning stages of a global war against Islamic fascism.

But I strongly believe that whatever the causes of the current drive to the caliphate was — and we can debate them, and people can try to deconstruct them — we have to face a very unpleasant fact: And that unpleasant fact is that there is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global. It’s going global in scale, and today’s technology, today’s media, today’s access to weapons of mass destruction, it’s going to lead to a global conflict that I believe has to be confronted today. Every day that we refuse to look at this as what it is, and the scale of it, and really the viciousness of it, will be a day where you will rue that we didn’t act.

...If you look back at the long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam, I believe that our forefathers kept their stance, and I think they did the right thing. I think they kept it out of the world, whether it was at Vienna, or Tours, or other places… It bequeathed to use the great institution that is the church of the West. And I would ask everybody in the audience today, because you really are the movers and drivers and shakers and thought leaders in the Catholic Church today, is to think, when people 500 years from now are going to think about today, think about the actions you’ve taken-- and I believe everyone associated with the church and associated with the Judeo-Christian West that believes in the underpinnings of that and believes in the precepts of that and want to see that bequeathed to other generations down the road as it was bequeathed to us, particularly as you’re in a city like Rome, and in a place like the Vatican, see what’s been bequeathed to us-- ask yourself, 500 years from today, what are they going to say about me? What are they going to say about what I did at the beginning stages of this crisis?”
--Steve Bannon speaking via webcam to the Dignitatis Humanae Institute's Third International Conference on Human Dignity, 2014
Make no mistake, beginning January 20 of next year, Steve Bannon will be the second most powerful person in America next to Donald Trump. He will be the second most powerful man in the White House (sorry Mike Pence and Reince Priebus) and have de facto control of the most influential media operation on the right (sorry Fox News) which he can use as a propagandist tool to lather up his rabid low-information readers. Bannon took a leave of absence from Breitbart when he joined the Trump campaign and according to current White House ethics rules he should have no contact with the site once he is officially part of the administration. However, Trump can waive these ethics rules and given the fact that Breitbart’s Washington Bureau is run out of the basement of the D.C townhouse where Bannon lives, I think the likelihood of Bannon not giving the overall direction to Breitbart’s operations going forward are slim to none. Even if Bannon or the Breitbart D.C. team move for cosmetic reasons.

In addition to his work making the "leading platform for the alt-right" (his own words), Bannon has also produced and directed several agitprop documentaries. There is one film in particular that Bannon made called Generation Zero that I believe sheds light on his current world view. Sean Hannity loved it so much that he devoted an entire hour of his show towards it:

Generation Zero ostensibly examines the causes of the economic collapse of 2008 and posits that cultural changes beginning in the 60's led to the bank failures and completely lets Wall St. off the hook. A dubious proposition in my book. The emotional climax of the film turns to William Strauss and Neil Howe's generational theory to make the case that we are entering a period of great turmoil which they call the "Fourth Turning.” According to their theory, other Fourth Turnings have coincided with the following events in American history-- the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II. The fact that Bannon believes we are in the "beginning stages of a crisis" (his words from 2014) means that in his world view, events on the scale of WW II are just beginning.

Historian David Kaiser, who appeared in the film and was interviewed by Bannon had this to say about his experience on the film last month in Time magazine:
A second, more alarming, interaction did not show up in the film. Bannon had clearly thought a long time both about the domestic potential and the foreign policy implications of Strauss and Howe. More than once during our interview, he pointed out that each of the three preceding crises had involved a great war, and those conflicts had increased in scope from the American Revolution through the Civil War to the Second World War. He expected a new and even bigger war as part of the current crisis, and he did not seem at all fazed by the prospect.

I did not agree, and said so. But, knowing that the history of international conflict was my own specialty, he repeatedly pressed me to say we could expect a conflict at least as big as the Second World War in the near or medium term. I refused.

Apocalyptic rhetoric and apocalyptic thinking flourish during crisis periods. This represents perhaps the biggest danger of the Trump presidency, and one that will bear watching from all concerned citizens in the months and years ahead.
Make no mistake about it, the United States of America will be expanding the conflict in the Middle East. Trump has tabbed retired US Marine Corps General James Mattis as secretary of defense. This quote from a speech in 2005 sums up his feelings about war in the Middle East: "Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling." Michael Flynn, another retired general from the US Army will be the National Security Adviser and is openly hostile to Muslims. He recently tweeted, "Fear of Muslims is rational."

You don't bring these people into your administration because you are expecting peace in the world. You bring them in to make war.

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At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bannon is, at best, indifferent to the harm that abject hate does to a society and is willing to appease them to further his own career.
At worst, he's a Julius Streicher type, though less overt about it, passing as an innocuous white supremacist.

Everyone who says we're essentially mired in a crusade (vs. islam and arabs) is correct. We've been there since 9/11, which was the goal of bin laden.

We're also goose-stepping toward a race war here, thanks to those appeased and encouraged by bannon and drumpf.

And thanks to some really scrambled alliances in the Mideast, we could end up at war vs. Russia and even Turkey via Iran or Syria.

So we could be fighting ISIS *WITH* the Russians and Iran but also AGAINST Assad and the Russians and Turks...

With someone like Bannon and his evangelical hatreds pulling the strings on the putin puppet drumpf, and given drumpf's stupidity, racism and lack of interest in anything that doesn't suck his tiny dick, we may end up at war somewhere against ourselves... and we'll still lose.

At 2:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the problem is truly Islamic fascism, are we too assume the Herr Herr regime will cancel Obumma's recent hefty arms deal with Saudi Arabia, close our embassy there and deport their diplomatic team from the US? (arms to Islamic fascists:

Re: Anti-Islam crusade starting after 9/11, as per Anonymous @ 12:00PM, above.

A quick perusal of article at the link, below, should convince the reader that our modern day crusade against Islam has been underway, and, of course, under reported, for several decades prior to 9/11. One could easily make a case that 9/11 was the response to that crusade.

John Puma


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