Monday, November 14

Who is Steve Bannon? Here are my crib notes.

 If you’re like me and you haven’t paid much attention to the CEO of Trump’s campaign until now, here’s some background information about Steve Bannon, the man Trump has named the chief strategist and senior counselor to his new administration.

  •       Early in his career he was a naval officer in the Pacific Fleet and stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.[1]
  •     After naval service he worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department[2] and later launched his own investment bank. (Ironically, in one particular deal he acquired a stake in the show “Sienfeld”…though his ex-wife later quoted him in a sworn court declaration as saying “he doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiney brats,’[3]”)
  • After a stint as a Hollywood producer, he became executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC – an alt-right website that publishes articles with titles like (this is not a joke):

“Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”

“The Solution To Online ‘Harassment’ is simple. Women Should Log Off”

“There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women, They Just Suck At Interviews”

“Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew”

“Big Trans Hate Machine Targets Pitching Great Kurt Schilling”

“Planned Parenthood’s Body Count Under Cecile Richards Is Up To Half A Holocaust”

“Lesbian Bridezillas Bully Bridal Shop Owner Over Religious Beliefs”

From what I can tell, women are the biggest targets of Breitbart News, though it is Breitbart’s racism and anti-Semitism that is getting the most criticism in the press (even more sexism). If you read these articles, they are (if you can believe it) more insane than the titles suggest they will be.

Breitbart is misogynist, racist, white nationalist, anti-gay and anti-Semitic and this man was their executive chairman until very recently.

The New York Times reports that Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness in early January 1996, after his then-wife accused him of domestic abuse[4].

We have entered a political moment where nearly any statement or action by a political figure, no matter how hateful or violent or divisive, is being excused. Trump voters had one thing right – the mainstream media and the political establishment will not hold them accountable. Not voluntarily. Most of them are already pushing for a return to “business as usual” and “giving this a chance”.

We, the people, must find ways to make our voices as loud (louder?) as those of our new reality-TV government and our existing corporate media. And we must force them to reckon with the oppressiveness of the Trump administration without apologizing for it or smoothing it over.

This is a new phase where we need to study and develop how to do that. We can’t leave it to anyone else. History is full of good information. But I think we will also need to innovate and improvise.



[1] From his Wikipedia page
[2] ibid.
[3] The Guardian, “Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon denies anti-Semitic remarks”
[4] New York Times, “Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief, Stephen Bannon, Faced Domestic Violence Charges in 1996”

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