Category Archives: Steve Bannon

After The Rebel….Breitbart Canada

My sense is that the Rebel is swirling round the drain. Canadaland reports that Kory Teneycke, ex of Harper’s PMO and ex of Sun newspapers was the guy who spoke to the English chaps who are suggesting Ez may not be entirely straight with his contributors’ money. That’s a lot of fire power to send to calm a couple of disgruntled contract workers. Ez says he’s being blackmailed. Could be.

The resignations continue and it is not at all obvious who would be interested in climbing on board the heavily listing Rebel.

The brand has become pretty toxic pretty quickly.

At the same time, the need for a Canadian, right of center, media outlet is apparent. There has been talk of Breitbart Canada for several years but there was little movement, in part because The Rebel had effectively occupied the niche. Now? Well, Bannon is back and looking to expand Brietbart’s influence. Ez has to be looking for a way out and his few remaining assets are a mailing list, some You-tube subscribers and some video equipment. Buy those assets, say good-bye and good luck to Ez but retain him as a consultant for a six month grace period, then look around for some decent presenters and some smart, “not a Nazi” rightie, journalists. Voilà, Breitbart-Canada.

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Bannon out, Swamp wins

If you go back and read this blog you’ll find that, at best, my support for Trump per se was lukewarm. The negative reason for my support was that I thought and think that Hillary is a crook and would have made a terrible President. But the positive reason really came down to the fact I liked Steve Bannon and thought he had a pretty clear grasp of what has been going wrong in the US.

Now he’s out. Jumped or pushed? No doubt we’ll find out in due course. But it is the end of any chance of a usefully disruptive Presidency. Without Bannon Trump will become an increasingly conventional President. Any chance of actually changing the largely corrupt Washington culture vanishes.

Which means we are left with Trump and no good reason (other than at least he’s not Hillary) to support him. The markets surged on the announcement. (Update: and then fell back) More business as usual. No danger of disruptive change. In fact, with Bannon gone, there will be next to no pushback to GOPe policy or lack thereof.

Now the Trump administration will continue to careen from screwup to screwup but without even the possibility that there will emerge constructive change as well as endless goofs. Worse, the focus of the Whitehouse will switch to preserving the Trump Presidency which will mean a strict policy of risk avoidance. No doubt many of my American friends will welcome a renewed commitment to not rocking the boat. It is much less terrifying to simply sink beneath the waves of bureaucratic and political corruption without making too much fuss.

On the upside, as my son pointed out to me, with Bannon gone, I can join in the fun of mocking the orange vulgarian secure in the knowledge that whether he stays or goes, nothing is going to get any better in America and there is every chance things will get a great deal worse.

(Update for a pal: At a guess the Sage of Minnesota will be wrong as to Trump’s departure by Labour Day, it will probably be worse than that. Essentially, with Bannon out of the White House, Trump will remain President in name only. He’ll sign what is put in front of him, make the occasional, well-scripted speech and behave himself. He will become increasingly “Presidential” and his press will improve. But he will actually accomplish nothing at all.)

Upper Date: Steve Bannon himself is thinking along the same lines as he says in an interview with The Weekly Standard:

Bannon believes that those who will now try to influence Trump will hope to turn him in a sharply different direction.

“I think they’re going to try to moderate him,” he says. “I think he’ll sign a clean debt ceiling, I think you’ll see all this stuff. His natural tendency—and I think you saw it this week on Charlottesville—his actual default position is the position of his base, the position that got him elected. I think you’re going to see a lot of constraints on that. I think it’ll be much more conventional.”

 

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Losing Faith

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To be honest I have found Faith Goldy a bit much on The Rebel. Cute as a button but a little over the top.

And she made a rookie mistake speaking to The Daily Stormer in Charlottesville. Pretty dumb but, perhaps, understandable given that an idiot had just killed someone behind her.

But Ez, champion of free speech, takes this as an excuse to fire the woman. He’s scrambling on all fronts, he’s lost his cruise, his access to the new leader of the PC’s, he’s being “extorted” by a couple of Brits and his staff list is dwindling by the hour. So, of course, the smart move is to fire one of his most engaging reporters.

Ez needs to be in front of the camera and let smart people run the business. But, I fear, it is too late for that. Holed below the waterline The Rebel is going down.

Pro-tip Ezra. Saying “fuck” a lot does not make you tough. As I say to my boys, it makes you stupid. The audio is out there and, I fear, you sound like a suburban kid trying to use foul language to sound tough and hip. You are neither. I realized that when we had our wee moment vis a vis Richard Warman’s bluster and your capitulation. The f-bombs were flying and I was bemused. I knew you could do better but, sadly, you didn’t.

Faith was very nice. Forgiving. Down right Christian about you firing her for simply speaking.

You are about to be pushed into a very dark place. Unfairly for the most part. But arrogance and hubris are their own rewards. You never understood Breitbart’s essential truism that culture is upstream of politics. You wanted to be political without the plinth of culture.

And now you’re done.

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I Claudius: Whitehouse edition

My theory about Canadians commenting on American politics is that we need to focus on the entertainment values. Politically there is nothing we can do and we have lots of stuff to deal with at home.

That said, the Trump Whitehouse is brilliant. It is the classic clash of insiders versus outsiders. But it is also a three or four way battlefield over style. Reince Preibus is the consummate, slightly geeky Washington insider with great connections on the Hill and in the still shell shocked Republican Party. Steve Bannon is an outsider who actually reads books and thinks about policy stuff. And now, in the great tradition of pro Wrestling we have Anthony Scaramucci aka “The Mooch” who has had direct access to Trump from day 1 and speaks his language far better than the wussy Preibus or the, relatively speaking, cerebral Bannon.

When Trump took office Preibus was made Chief of Staff to make the trains run on time. I think it is fair to say that his hooks into the Republican Party and connections on the Hill have barely made the trains run at all. Worse, there have been a series of judgements by Trump which would have benefited from some savvy counsel as to timing and tone – Comey, the Special Prosecutor, some position on healthcare – which they clearly did not get.  As well, the message coming out of the White House has been, to put it charitably, diffuse. Trump, himself, seems to be settling into much of the role of the President; what he is not doing is effectively using the power of the Presidency to push his agenda. And that lands at the Chief of Staff’s door.

Preibus is a bit of a “pleaser”. He has had to be in his various roles with the Republican Party. A Chief of Staff is never a pleaser. He’s the guy who gets what the President wants done with a minimum of fuss and bother. The nature of the position is not conciliatory, it is actually pretty brutal. The Chief of Staff sets up the field so that the President can do what ever conciliation is required. Preibus is simply not up to that job.

Neither is Bannon. Because Bannon’s function is to develop the policy concepts and the strategy to “Make America Great Again”. In many ways Bannon should not be operational at all. In his own way, Bannon is a policy guy and it is always a bad idea to bring a policy guy into the rough and tumble of getting stuff done.

So, right now, my bet is that Trump sees The Mooch as a clear threat to Preibus. Along the lines of “Do your job Reince or The Mooch will throw you over the top rope.” I would say Preibus has about a month, call it to Labour Day, to prove he can get the trains back on schedule or over the top rope he goes.

In all of this the Trump children and assorted in-laws play the role of the Roman Emperor Augustus’s children and relatives. They may be important, they may not but they have no independent power, only influence. For the players, like The Mooch, Bannon and Preibus, the Trump children are, at best, temporary allies.

If you are an I Claudius fan the Trump White House is showing great promise of engrossing entertainment. And, best of all, it is driving the Democrats and the left into a perpetual tizzy.

My bet is that Trump will back whoever can show him results and a resolute sense of direction. Right now the foul mouthed new guy seems willing to kick butt and take names. We’ll see how that works out.

Update: Republicans just defeated their own “skinny healthcare repeal”. That train is not only late, it’s derailed and that is the sort of thing a Chief of Staff does not let happen.

Upper Date: So Preibus was out last week and today The Mooch vanishes as quickly as he came on the scene. Rumour has it that The Mooch was kicked at the request of General Kelly, the new Chief of Staff. Stay tuned.

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The Reveal

05744777I have not written much about Trump post election. Quite honestly, up until he took the Oath of Office, I could not quite believe that the elites arrayed against him would not come up with something to avoid the accession of the Cheeto vulgarian. I guess they just don’t make elites like they used to and there it is, President Trump.

Smart people on the right have noted: 1) in his first week Trump has “flooded the zone” with Executive Orders, appointments, website changes and tweets, almost all of which producing outrage, apoplexy and scorn from lefties and liberals, 2) it turns out that the elite media have been successfully bypassed by the Trumpians by the simple expedient of largely ignoring it, 3) it appears that Trump proposes to keep most of his campaign promises, 4) perhaps most importantly, unlike his predecessor, Trump intuitively understands the real power of the White House is not about intelligence briefings and budget planning, it is about getting things done.

Getting things done, impressing his agenda on the United States and the world, is all about using the full tool kit of the White House. Probably the most powerful tool in that kit is the allure of the White House itself. An invitation to have a cup of coffee with the President of the United States is irresistible to almost anyone in the world, (except the President of Mexico, apparently, but I suspect this is mainly posturing). It is particularly attractive to members of official Washington on both sides of the aisle. For an incoming President, making time to shake hands with potentially useful Congressmen is a force multiplier. So is sitting down with the captains of industry and union leaders.

While the pussy capped ninnies paraded in the streets about just what an awful man Trump is, Trump was in the process of building his own bully pulpit. (“Bully” in the sense Teddy Roosevelt used that word.) He is also making it very clear, particularly to the press, that he is indifferent, if not actively hostile, towards negative opinions of his person or work. He and his staff are not even pretending to take the mainstream media seriously which seems to be resulting in ever shriller and therefore credibility destroying efforts on MSM’s part to demonise Trump and all his works.

After a week of President Trump a bit of an outline is emerging: “Do what you said you were going to do.” “Use the power of the White House to build up a bit of a favour bank.” “Ignore the media when not actively making fun of them.” “Behave seriously but enjoy the office.” If Trump can keep it up he may have a shot at being a genuinely great President.

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Steve Bannon

The defeated left is going all in on Breitbart’s (and soon the White House’s) Steve Bannon.

The smears are as fact free as they are nasty and it is a direct and simple challenge to Trump. People like Harry Reid and Elizabeth Warren are slagging Bannon and threatening not to co-operate (as if) with Trump.

So now Trump gets to decide: keep Steve or underbus him in the face of a determined lefty smear. I think it is an easy decision; but it will also be a telling one. If Trump backs his pick he wins bigly, if he waivers, even slightly, he will have created a huge problem for himself and his Presidency. We should know how this turns out by the weekend.

If you want to read what this notorious “anti-Semite” and “racist” and white supremacist thinks go read his remarks to a Vatican conference on poverty.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/lesterfeder/this-is-how-steve-bannon-sees-the-entire-world?utm_term=.jgq2dB2Wq#.tw3ywEyX5

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