You don’t need to dig too far under the surface to find a disturbing connection between the ideologies of Donald Trump and some of the more troubling elements in American society.
Here’s a scenario that everyone who values a free press and its importance to a democratic and free society should be alarmed at. It was only a few weeks ago at the end of January when Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, ramped up the attacks started by the president on the media by saying it had been humiliated by the election outcome and should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”
He even went as far as to say that the media was in the minds of his boss and himself just like an opposition party. Now while there is little or no doubt that most politicians have a tense relationship with the press, not being able to see it as a valuable part of our free society indicates there is a problem with the Trump White House and its version of democracy.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Bannon rarely gives interviews to outside journalists unless they work for Breitbart News which was the media machine that he ran until recently. It’s all more evidence that Trump and his cronies are trying to control what Americans hear and the message they get. If we go back just a little farther, we can see how Trump appointing Bannon just shortly after the election drew the fire of people who noticed his racist leanings.
Even the New York Times reported on November 14 about the turbulence around the appointment of Bannon and how senior Democrats as well as civil rights groups and even some Republicans were vocal about the fact they feared that Bannon would bring anti-Semitic as well as racist and nationalist viewpoints to the White House.
Of course, by now everybody understands how Bannon’s former association with Breitbart News could be used by itself to indicate his racist leanings. But just in case you missed it, let’s go over a few of the high points although there are too many to mention in one article including:
These quotes from a Mother Jones interview from August 2016:
“Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the Alt-Right? Maybe,” he said. “Are there some people that are anti-Semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the Alt-Right that are homophobes, right? But that’s just like, there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements.”
These are some of his views as quoted from major credible publications:
Earlier this month, Bannon was interviewed by people at the Guardian which is a respected UK publication. They quoted him from an online radio interview with Breitbart News saying that there would be a war over the islands in the South China Sea in the next 10 years and another major conflict in the Middle East as well.
According to the online publication Romper, Bannon has also said some derogatory things about black Americans in general and those that are poverty-stricken and find themselves on the wrong side of the law too. For example, it would appear from one of his own blog posts that he draws a clear distinction about who’s right and who’s wrong when it comes to the many altercations the police and the black community are having. Here is just a portion of something he wrote in July 2016:
“What if the people getting shot by the cops did things to deserve it? There are, after all, in this world, some people who are naturally aggressive and violent.”
Of course, there are many more examples that you can choose from but I think the point here is clear. Steve Bannon might be a racist and he’s one of the chief advisers to our new president. Bannon’s connections to the Alt-Right are a matter of public record, but it serves our purposes here to draw a connection so that we can close the loop at the end of this article and make our point.
If you’re looking for a credible news agency to make the connection between Bannon the Alt Right, you don’t need to look any further than one of the most respected and reputable magazines in the United States, Time.
In fact, they posted an in-depth article/expose just several days after Trump was elected that drew a straight line between Bannon’s right-wing views and less than liberal leanings. Following are a few of the highlights that should disturb everyone who wants to see a fair and just society:
- Bannon was born into a Democrat family to be heading towards a productive all-inclusive liberal lifestyle. He even attended Harvard but eventually became a banker at Goldman Sachs. For those of you that don’t remember, Goldman Sachs was one of the investment banks that started The Great Recession of 2008 which almost brought the world economy crumbling to its knees.
- About a decade ago, Bannon started making movies that would show his ultra-right leanings about figures like Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.
- He boasted to Mother Jones magazine and other publications about his views which many people consider Alt-Right.
So now that those links have been clearly drawn, here’s a few words on the Alt-Right and what you need to know about that organization and why it’s dangerous to the America that we all know and love.
CBS news reported not long ago that Bannon’s former satellite radio show often focused on jihadist Islamic fascism and how Bannon felt we were at war with it. That is a problem because as we’ve already seen, any group on the far right using the media to its advantage can draw in vulnerable followers.
White Supremacy groups appear to be organized at least in the way they harass the ethnic groups they don’t like. For example, major media outlets have pointed out the fact they often parentheses around the names of Jewish journalists and writers to draw attention to their ethnic origins.
There are some disturbing parallels here between the way Bannon’s supporters try to get their message across and the similar methods that were used by the Nazis in the years before World War II. For example, research tells us that Mein Kampf, the doctrine of Adolph Hitler, was clear about the fact that propaganda needed to be spread out as far as possible to the public so ideas would grow.
The history and what many consider to be this White Supremacist leaning in the American government goes far back in the Republican Party to people like William F. Buckley Jr. He founded The National Review which was considered on the fringes at the time and after he died in 2008 there was no one to replace them on the far edges of the GOP. Then along came the Tea Party and the rise of Breitbart News which led to the situation that we have today.
When Andrew Breitbart died in 2002, Steve Banoon stepped into the vacuum that was left.
How We Got Here and Why We Need to Be Afraid
As CBS reports, many of the followers of this new Alt-Right championed by Bannon see themselves on the political fringes and not mainstream enough to be accepted by the general American population. That means, they have a new platform and as Bannon became increasingly tied together with Trump, a new political stage that would champion their radical and White Supremacist views.
Milo Yiannopoulos is another one of the names that we need to mention because his stint as the editor of Breitbart news highlighted some of the more deplorable aspects of the Alt-Right and its beliefs.
- Even though Yiannopoulos is an openly gay man, he called his first speaking tour the Dangerous Faggot tour. One of the catchphrases that he developed around this time was that feminism was a cancer and his focus on offending liberals and other inclusive people has gained notoriety in the movement.
- As recently as February 10, a Washington Post article reported the LGBT community was in fact up in arms over Yiannopoulos and his version of free speech was in their opinion hate speech.
However, we should go back to Steve Bannon and the obvious things that should disturb all clear minded Americans about his leanings. Here’s a pretty famous quote from his ex-wife Mary Louise Piccard, to refresh your memory about how racist her ex-husband is:
“The biggest problem he had with Archer [School for Girls] is the number of Jews that attend. He said that he doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiney brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews.”
There, now that that we have refreshed your memory, let’s move on to why it is so important for us to make sure we understand how dangerous the White House can be with Steve Bannon as an influence.
First off, it’s important to keep in mind that some of the most influential news organizations in America are noting the fact that Bannon is having an influence on policy. For example, Foreign Policy, has even recently reported that it has become clear who is making the policy decisions in the White House based on careful analysis of the track record so far.
According to an intelligence official who didn’t want to be named in an article that appeared in this reputable publication, there is a predominance of Bannon’s opinions in meetings and little room for dissenting opinions. That same intelligence officer preferred to remain anonymous for fear of retribution also said there was an appalling lack of the normal kind of paper trail that you would find in such meetings.
So now that we’ve set the stage by carefully plotting and connecting all the dots in this Trump/Bannon cabal that is leading the whole country away from our original values, it’s important to point out exactly why we should be so concerned about specific actions.
Of course, first and foremost is the immigration ban that pinpoints people from seven countries, a few of which Trump even has business dealings in, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
If you want to know what’s going on in the story behind the story, you need to look a little deeper than just the surface narrative. With the case made that Steve Bannon has White Supremacist ties and that he is influencing White House policy, it’s important to dig a little further.
Case in Point
Here’s a case in point. There have been reports last month in The Intercept that in fact the FBI has secretly been keeping a dossier on White Supremacy and how it has been influencing and infiltrating American law as far back as 2015. The online publication is standing by a story that in fact an FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, notes some of the following facts:
- Some of the investigations by the FBI that centered on White Supremacists have shown there are active links to law enforcement.
- The problem goes all the way back to an FBI report from 2006 that raises alarms about the infiltration of these groups in law enforcement and how that can affect outcomes.
If you understand the implications here, you can see clearly how the stage has been set as far back as a decade ago with the infiltration of White Supremacist groups to this nation’s most cherished law enforcement and other organizations.
Now we can fast-forward all the way to this month and under the administration of Donald Trump and how some of these groups were removed from the terror watch list. It’s reasonable to conclude that there is a behind the scenes effort here led by people like Bannon and Trump to bring White Supremacist ideology right into the oval office.
In fact, trustworthy newsroom organizations like Reuters are reporting that Trump’s plans specifically are looking to install racial profiling against Muslims and remove the kind of White Supremacist groups that have been responsible for various violent actions in America over numerous years.
If you need to tie these loose ends together even more tightly, we can go back to another credible news organization in the Huffington Post and dig into the well of racist episodes that have spiked in Trump’s first few weeks in the White House.
When you consider these glaring examples, it’s easy to see the case that our current president has been a supporter of the White Supremacist movement for years.
- The Huffington Post reported that in the weeks after Trump’s election, there were over 900 hate related incidents in the United States. The Southern Poverty Law Center also reported that in nearly 40% of those incidents, the President’s name was invoked and at least one of his campaign slogans was used.
- The Anti-Defamation League told the New Yorker during the same timeframe that there had been a troubling spike in the number of cases of harassment and violence.
- Finally, there’s the case of Ghazala Khan who spoke at the Democratic National Convention with his grief-stricken wife by his side. The couple stood under a poster of their son who was killed defending American values and Trump later criticized the grieving mother for not speaking while she was on stage.
However, the proof is in the pudding as they say and everything circles back to the fact that Trump is clearly focusing his attention on Muslim groups and people who practice Islam when some of the real criminals will be left to roam at large.
Now, back to the Southern Poverty Law Center to tie everything up in a neat little bow. These respected people have done their research and are saying that White Supremacist and hate groups are multiplying in the United States. What’s even more concerning is the fact that the group reports their rise in the numbers can be tied to the election of Donald Trump.
Here’s a few statistics that should help you to understand what’s going on:
- The actual numbers speak for themselves. Back in 2015 there were 892 hate groups in the United States and numbers have risen to 917.
- During the year that Donald trump campaigned to be the president of the United States, the number of anti-Muslim groups increased. The numbers once again speak for themselves rising to 101 from 34 in that time when Trump threw his hat into the ring. It’s clear that the trend has been building for quite some time and whether the new president is fanning the flames or not, hate groups have been given a new platform in the United States.
Finally, much has been said about fake news and bad statistics in the general reporting being done these days. That’s why I decided to end this article by paraphrasing some information that I got from Time magazine, one of the most respected publications in American journalism.
The publication reports that Donald Trump’s focus for the Countering Violent Terrorism anti-terror program will in fact only focus on Islamic terrorists and ignore some of the White Supremacy groups that we have in our country. In fact, there are reports of the White Supremacists being gleeful over the fact that they feel more empowered to express their opinions.
Consider what the group Stormfront posted:
“Oh my goodness. Is this for real. Amazing my government no longer targets me as the enemy.”
It would seem that the federal government is trying to portray a message that only Muslim terrorists are responsible for death and destruction but the facts tell a completely different story. Consider these numbers. Of the 372 terror -related murders in the years from 2007 to 2016, 74% were carried out by extreme or right-wing groups. Since 2001, 45 police officers have been killed by homegrown terrorists and of that number 34 were murdered at the hands of right-wing extremists.
Focusing counter terrorism efforts solely on Islamic extremism is a profound mistake but there’s something lurking just under the surface if you tie all the facts together that I have presented here. It’s important to keep in mind that Islamic terrorism and the horrible incidents in places like Orlando and San Bernardino are stark reminders that we need to be vigilant against this kind of imported violence. No one disputes that and by no means are we saying here that awareness should change.
However, there is not just one kind of extremist movement that should be focused on to keep Americans safe. Violent White Supremacist groups and ideologies have been responsible for mass murder in Charleston, South Carolina, Wisconsin and a variety of other different places.
It’s important to understand that we need to focus our efforts on all violent extremist groups and Trump seems intent on placing the blame for this kind of behavior on the fringe elements of Islam. When one adds to the fact that members of his inner cabinet seem to come from right-wing ideologies and could very well bring that kind of thought into the White House, it’s time for every American to stand up and be counted for the real values that make our country great.
Finally, here’s a quote from the president himself that seems to sum everything up. For those of you who are keeping score it comes from Marie Claire magazine.
“One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don’t go into government.”