Bannon vows a daily fight for ‘deconstruction of the administrative state’ (Washington Post link): The reclusive mastermind behind President Trump’s nationalist ideology and combative tactics made his public debut Thursday, delivering a fiery rebuke of the media and declaring that the new administration is in an unending battle for “deconstruction of the administrative state.”
Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist and intellectual force behind Trump’s agenda, used his first speaking appearance since Trump took office to vow that the president would honor all of the hard-line pledges of his campaign.
Appearing at a gathering of conservative activists alongside Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Bannon dismissed the idea that Trump might moderate his positions or seek consensus with political opponents. Rather, he said, the White House is digging in for a long period of conflict to transform Washington and upend the world order.
“If you think they’re going to give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken,” Bannon said in reference to the media and opposition forces. “Every day, it is going to be a fight.”
Bannon has emerged in the minds of many Trump opponents as a mysterious and menacing puppeteer, portrayed as a harrowing Grim Reaper on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” He is best known for being the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, a conservative news site. Bannon once called Breitbart a “platform” for the alt-right, a small movement whose adherents are known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic and sexist points of view.
Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland said Bannon is a “dangerous person driven by an authoritarian ideology who, I fear, has more influence than anyone in the administration.”
“This is a mean, vicious, intolerant group,” Strickland continued. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my political life.”
Stephen Bannon molded Breitbart into a far-right sledgehammer. How it will be wielded in the Trump era? (Denver Post link): A few days after Stephen Bannon was named chief strategist in President Donald Trump’s White House, one of his best-known proteges praised him on British television.
“I am a gay Jew and he made me a star,” Milo Yiannopoulos, the frequently profane Breitbart.com columnist and cyber provocateur, told a Channel 4 interviewer in November.
While Bannon oversaw the Breitbart News Network, Yiannopoulos built an enthusiastic fan base for his caustic writings. One article proclaimed that birth control makes women “stupid and unattractive” and argued against contraception because “we need the kids if we’re to breed enough to keep the Muslim invaders at bay.” To him, most women are “hysterical hypercritical harpies towards their boyfriends and husbands the vast majority of the time.”
He co-wrote a column that praised the intelligence of white supremacists, and he got banned from Twitter after taunting African-American actress Leslie Jones, who he said looks like “a black dude.”
Bannon, however, has never wavered in his support for Yiannopoulos. “Bannon believes in Milo,” the site’s editor in chief, Alexander Marlow, said in an interview earlier this month. “He dedicated time and resources – both personally and with his businesses – to expanding Milo’s brand.”
The various white-nationalist, anti-Semitic, misogynist, and transphobic rhetoric that Yiannopoulos emits is transparently crafted to "get attention" and provoke backlash, the thinking goes—so why give him the satisfaction? One answer to that is that unlike truly fringe figures like David Duke, Yiannopoulos does have a constituency—his Facebook page has 2 million followers—and his supporters include the president of the U.S. and some of the president's top advisers.
To wit: Before joining the Trump campaign, White House senior adviser Steve Bannon was the publisher of Breitbart, the far-right site on which Yiannopoulos posted much of his most infamous work, e.g. the column in which he wrote that American women should stop taking birth control because they need to "breed" in order to "keep the Muslim invaders at bay."
Said Yiannopoulos of Bannon in a Washington Post piece: "He made me a star." Bannon has praised Yiannopoulos' work as "valuable." (Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart on Tuesday.)
In July, the Trump campaign held a Reddit AMA that was exclusively open to members of The_Donald, a subforum rife with anti-Semitism, white supremacist ranting, and various other forms of hate-speech garbage. (At the time, I noted that the word c*** had been used on The_Donald 458 times.)
The_Donald's most prominent member was Milo Yiannopoulos, who'd just been banned from Twitter for inciting harassment of black actress Leslie Jones. Trump answered questions from only 12 users of the many who submitted comments; one of them was Yiannopoulos.
Just-ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn called Yiannopoulos "brave" and said he was a "phenomenal individual" at a November conference for young conservatives.
In February of this year, Trump tweeted a threat to revoke the University of California–Berkeley's federal funding because it had canceled Yiannopoulos' appearance on campus when protests against him turned violent.
With all these fans at the top levels of government, it seems like this Milo guy might just land on his feet!
Incidentally, some of the other users from whom Trump took questions during the Reddit AMA had previously used the The_Donald forum to refer to a high-profile victim of an alleged sexual assault as a "little whore," to refer to multiracial Daily Show host Trevor Noah as "filth from South Africa," and to refer to Black Lives Matter marches as "chimp outs." Again—these are the people Trump made time to take questions from during an exclusive campaign Q&A event.
We dumped about 2,000 tons of sewage in the White House on Jan. 20, and it's going to take a long time to clean it all out.
Steve Bannon Cited Italian Thinker Who Inspired Fascists (The New York Times link): Those trying to divine the roots of Stephen K. Bannon’s dark and at times apocalyptic worldview have repeatedly combed over a speech that Mr. Bannon, President Trump’s ideological guru, made in 2014 to a Vatican conference, where he expounded on Islam, populism and capitalism.
But for all the examination of those remarks, a passing reference by Mr. Bannon to an esoteric Italian philosopher has gone little noticed, except perhaps by scholars and followers of the deeply taboo, Nazi-affiliated thinker, Julius Evola.
“The fact that Bannon even knows Evola is significant,” said Mark Sedgwick, a leading scholar of Traditionalists at Aarhus University in Denmark.
Evola, who died in 1974, wrote on everything from Eastern religions to the metaphysics of sex to alchemy. But he is best known as a leading proponent of Traditionalism, a worldview popular in far-right and alternative religious circles that believes progress and equality are poisonous illusions.
Evola became a darling of Italian Fascists, and Italy’s post-Fascist terrorists of the 1960s and 1970s looked to him as a spiritual and intellectual godfather.
They called themselves Children of the Sun after Evola’s vision of a bourgeoisie-smashing new order that he called the Solar Civilization. Today, the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn includes his works on its suggested reading list, and the leader of Jobbik, the Hungarian nationalist party, admires Evola and wrote an introduction to his works.
More important for the current American administration, Evola also caught on in the United States with leaders of the alt-right movement, which Mr. Bannon nurtured as the head of Breitbart News and then helped harness for Mr. Trump.
“Julius Evola is one of the most fascinating men of the 20th century,” said Richard Spencer, the white nationalist leader who is a top figure in the alt-right movement, which has attracted white supremacists, racists and anti-immigrant elements.
Mod: I think it is time that some of our conservative friends opened their eyes and took a good hard look at what they are defending.