Levin: Anti-Semitism Charges Against Bannon ‘Absolutely Outrageous’-

Levin: Anti-Semitism Charges Against Bannon ‘Absolutely Outrageous’–58hf.,b58

Monday, on his radio show, Mark Levin argued that allegations of anti-Semitism against newly-appointed White House Chief Strategist & Senior Counselor Stephen K. Bannon are “absolutely ridiculous.”

Levin said that while he “strong disagreements” with Bannon’s support of the “nationalist/populist movement,” charges of anti-Semitism against “absolutely outrageous.” Levin continued, “He’s in partnership over there at Breitbart, the guy he has a partnership with, he’s a Jew. He’s been all Trump, pretty much, even though they pretended for Cruz.

Levin added that he does see evidence of anti-Semitism from President Obama in his treatment of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Levin also pointed to the establishment of Breitbart Jerusalem, which is headed by Aaron Klein, during Bannon’s tenure at the site.

 

source–mark levin, breitbart, aaron klein

GOP opts for short-term spending bill-

GOP opts for short-term spending bill–4hf.,b12-1

House Republicans on Thursday settled on a plan to fund the government through March 31 and avoid a final budget deal with President Obama.

Lawmakers decided during a closed-door meeting to back a path toward a short-term spending bill instead of a broad, year-end package. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) personally made the case for the short-term bill, pitching it as the preference of President-elect Donald Trump, according to multiple lawmakers.

GOP leadership had been eying a continuing resolution, rather than a massive omnibus funding the government for a year, since Trump’s election.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told reporters that Trump was driving factor behind the short-term spending bill – which his committee had largely opposed.

“The Trump administration had a desire to have an input on what’s in the spending bill when they take office,” Rogers said. “There was a deference to the Trump administration.”

House Republicans now have until Dec. 9 to pass a short-term bill, known as a continuing resolution, that will fund the federal government at current levels.

Rogers said there will be many “anomalies” to address in the bill, but GOP lawmakers said they believed it is the firm choice of their caucus.

“There’s a lot of strong support in there,” Rep Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) said while exiting the meeting.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, said he expected some additions to the short-term bill.

“It will not be a clean CR,” he said.

Several members have called for more defense spending as well as additional relief for flood victims. Rogers said Thursday he would personally push to complete the president’s request for supplemental war spending, which the chairman called “terribly important.”

Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) and others said pushing this year’s appropriations process into next March will make it tougher to write next year’s spending bills.

It will shorten the timeline for the appropriations process, which makes it even tougher as GOP leaders pursue a complex budget tactic called reconciliation.

“It makes it a challenge, but we’re working with the incoming administration right now, and that seems to be the preference of folks, so that’s probably the wisest idea,” Price said.

Several members, including Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores (R-Texas), said passing the short-term bill would allow members to leave Capitol Hill and return to their districts a week early.

 

source–the hill, sarah ferris, hal rogers, tome price, bill flores

‘Steve Bannon Could Be Wall Street’s Worst Enemy’-

‘Steve Bannon Could Be Wall Street’s Worst Enemy’–58hf,b58
Wall Street may find a testy relationship with Donald Trump‘s White House if comments by one of his senior advisers are any indication.

In a presentation Steve Bannon gave during a conference at the Vatican in 2014, the Trump confidant ripped into big banks and their role in the 2008 financial crisis.

He rued that no one ever was held accountable, which he said helped fuel populist fury and groups like the tea party, according to a transcript of his remarks that Buzzfeed published Wednesday.

Bannon ultimately would take the reins of the Trump campaign and will be the White House chief strategist when Trump is sworn in Jan. 20.

Wall Street may find a testy relationship with Donald Trump‘s White House if comments by one of his senior advisers are any indication.

Bannon back then approached the issue of bailouts that accompanied the crisis with a religious zeal as he spoke with the Vatican as a backdrop:

For Christians, and particularly for those who believe in the underpinnings of the Judeo-Christian West, I don’t believe that we should have a bailout. I think the bailouts in 2008 were wrong. And I think, you look in hindsight, it was a lot of misinformation that was presented about the bailouts of the banks in the West.

The stock market generally and bank stocks in particular have been in strong rally mode since Trump defeated Hillary Clinton last week, though the market and bank shares pulled back Wednesday. However, the relationship could be strained between the president-elect and the financial community.

At the conference, the former Goldman Sachs investment banker was asked about poverty and proceeded to riff on the role banks played:

The 2008 crisis, I think the financial crisis — which, by the way, I don’t think we’ve come through — is really driven I believe by the greed, much of it driven by the greed of the investment banks. My old firm, Goldman Sachs — traditionally the best banks are leveraged 8:1. When we had the financial crisis in 2008, the investment banks were leveraged 35:1.

After diagnosing the conditions that led to the crisis, he talked about the fallout, or lack thereof, for the financial engineers who helped drive up risk and create the Great Recession but never really had to pay the price:

Particularly the fact — think about it — not one criminal charge has ever been brought to any bank executive associated with 2008 crisis. And in fact, it gets worse. No bonuses and none of their equity was taken. So part of the prime drivers of the wealth that they took in the 15 years leading up to the crisis was not hit at all, and I think that’s one of the fuels of this populist revolt that we’re seeing as the tea party. So I think there are many, many measures, particularly about getting the banks on better footing, making them address all the liquid assets they have. I think you need a real cleanup of the banks balance sheets.

The Republican Party raised eyebrows at its convention in July, a month before Bannon joined the Trump campaign, when it approved a plank to reinstitute the Glass-Steagall law that separated commercial and investment banking.

Bannon advocated breaking up the financial supermarkets during his Vatican speech:

In addition, I think you really need to go back and make banks do what they do: Commercial banks lend money, and investment banks invest in entrepreneurs and to get away from this trading — you know, the hedge fund securitization, which they’ve all become basically trading operations and securitizations and not put capital back and really grow businesses and to grow the economy.

Big bankers and hedge funds, he said, “have never really been held accountable for what they did [and that] has fueled much of the anger in the tea party movement in the United States.”

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment or to challenge or validate Bannon’s remarks.

 

source–breitbart, cnbc, jeff cox, buzzfeed, eamon javers,

 

 

7 Reasons Why Clinton Lost & Trump Won-

7 Reasons Why Clinton Lost & Trump Won–47hj.,b43

During her Saturday conference call with donors, Hillary Clinton blamed FBI Director James Comey’s late hits on her email fiasco for costing her critical votes from college-educated white women and thus the election.

In a contest decided by a mere 112,000 votes across three states, that may be true. Two days before the election, a top Clinton adviser told me he was all but certain that those suburban women would put her over the top. They didn’t know yet that Comey’s third outrageously improper statement—the one reiterating his exonerating July statement—would actually depress turnout by reviving the meme that both candidates suck. Meanwhile, Donald Trump got to end his hate-filled campaign just where he wanted it—on emails.

The first thing to understand is that Trump didn’t really win the election, and I’m not talking here about his loss of the popular vote. It’s more accurate to say Clinton lost. About 6 million fewer voters turned out this year than in 2012, with around two-thirds of the no-shows being Democrats. Millions of other Democrats voted only in down-ballot races. In Michigan, where Clinton lost by around 13,000 votes, some analysts estimate that 90,000 Democrats left the top line blank.

Like most other journalists, I missed the depth of Clinton’s weakness with older white Democrats who don’t eat brunch.

So did “Ada,” the Clinton algorithm named for Ada Lovelace, the 19th-century British noblewoman who did some of the early thinking behind computers. Every day, Ada spit out not just the status of the race in every state but which candidates and surrogates should be dispatched to which counties. Ada—and the aides slavishly devoted to her—was at least partly responsible for Clinton not visiting Wisconsin even once during the fall campaign. Both Ada and Clinton lost there.

Bill Clinton, who had argued (often in vain) for months for more attention to blue-collar voters, sensed trouble. On Election Day, I spoke with a Clinton friend who had seen him backstage the night before at the final rally in Philadelphia. She said he was nervous.

But no one anticipated the carnage. Obama lost working-class whites to Mitt Romney by a 26-point margin in 2012. Hillary Clinton lost them to Trump by an astonishing 39 points—even worse than Walter Mondale did against Ronald Reagan in the 1984 landslide. Meanwhile, Trump outperformed Romney in Republican rural counties in the Rust Belt.

The question is why, and the answers are not fully available in exit polls, which by definition tell us nothing about the half of all registered voters who don’t exit their polling places because they never entered them to begin with.

So it makes sense to assess the impact on the election of longer-term, often unquantifiable dimensions of American political life, listed here in rough chronological order:

Talk Radio

The geographical divide in American politics is stark. Rural counties now deliver lopsided totals for Republicans that approach Democratic tallies in black neighborhoods.

We often forget that the conservative cultural context begins with talk radio, which is still influential with older voters. American elites who live in cities can’t fathom how much driving most Americans do. Nearly every day for the last 25 years, tens of millions of rural and suburban voters have climbed into their cars and trucks and heard Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Michael Savage, and others trashing Clinton.

  1. Missed Pivot to Jobs

The single biggest domestic failure of the Obama administration—the record Clinton ran on—was its inability to win passage of a major infrastructure program to employ millions of workers building roads, bridges, and airports.

In 2009, Obama was dismayed by the absence of enough “shovel-ready” projects to help inject hundreds of billions into the economy quickly.

To make matters worse, neither Obama in 2008 and 2012 nor Clinton in 2016 was creative enough to frame the issue correctly. Clinton had a strong and specific economic program for workers left behind by globalization—and exit polls showed voters narrowly favored her on the economy—but her jobs message never cohered properly. Instead of running on “Rebuild America” or “Kitchen-Table Agenda,” or some other easy-to-understand program relentlessly repeated, à la Trump, she spoke wonkily and in lists about “investments,” many of which were family-friendly proposals (e.g. family and medical leave) that working-class male voters care less about than jobs. And when Trump self-destructively said last year that “wages are too high,” Clinton failed to wring it around his neck, as she did with his other gaffes.

Rigged Primaries

After Bernie Sanders gave Clinton a full-throated endorsement at the Democratic National Convention, the media dropped the story line about whether millennials and other Sanders backers would close ranks behind her. Millions did, but plenty of others went to the Green Party’s Jill Stein or Libertarian Gary Johnson, or stayed home.

Blue-Collar Billionaire

There’s a retrospective tendency to make the winner into a good candidate. Trump was a bad one, and not just because he slimed so many people and gave Clinton so much ammo. He constantly distracted attention from his message with intemperate tweets and various other stunts. And he lost all three debates.

But Trump did have a more resonant message than Clinton this year, tightly focused on trade, terrorism, and immigration. The irresponsibility of his positions did nothing to detract from their power. When he said that he would “be your voice,” voters responded, though in lesser numbers than voted for John McCain or Mitt Romney.

Trump didn’t spark a revolution or even ride a wave of popular anger into office. He just got the right votes in the right places by breaking rules of behavior that voters eventually deemed irrelevant to their lives.

Sexism

Some form of conscious or unconscious sexism must have played some role in why she was seen as the less trustworthy candidate when practically every word out of her opponent’s mouth was a lie.

In a time of relative peace and prosperity—with a president over 50 percent in popularity—the much-noted “anger” on the Republican side was mostly anger at Clinton. “Lock her up!” is an extraordinarily harsh political chant, especially when the FBI has cleared her of legal culpability.

Clinton’s team was disappointed that more women didn’t flock to her banner and that the gender gap in 2016 didn’t widen much from previous elections. The impact of the Access Hollywood tape and its aftermath (when a dozen women accused Trump of sexual assault) dissipated fast, even among women who claimed they were appalled by it. While many women simply didn’t care for Clinton or her family, or were driven by issues like abortion, millions of others effectively chose to cast their lot with their husbands—and their assumed economic privileges—over equality for themselves and their sisters and daughters.

Racism

Clinton’s consignment of half of Trump’s supporters to the “basket of deplorables” was arguably her worst gaffe of the campaign. Insulting voters—as opposed to groups—is just politically stupid.

But the size of the basket remains one of the most relevant questions of 2016. Two nights before the election, a top Clinton adviser asked me and another reporter a question:

“What percentage of Americans do you think are racist?”

We didn’t know the answer, and neither does anyone else. What we do know is that the tolerance of half of the electorate for Trump’s rank racism against Muslims, Mexicans, and others remains one of the most shocking developments of a shocking year.While Trump’s racist demagoguery may have intensified his support, there’s no evidence in turnout numbers that his incendiary comments expanded it. Exit polls suggest that most of his voters backed him in spite of his rhetoric, not because of it, though it’s impossible to know that for sure. Racism is not the kind of thing you admit on a little form distributed outside your polling place.

Dogs Don’t Like It

Political operatives often tell the story of a dog-food company president who complained that his company had the best ingredients, the best packaging, and the lowest price, but sales were flat. Why?

“Dogs don’t like it,” someone piped up from the back of the room.

Clinton had the best résumé of anyone who ever ran for president, the respect and admiration of those who worked with her, and—as she showed in her moving concession speech—most of the other qualities we look for in the White House. Her campaign was not as bad as depicted in some quarters this week; “Stronger Together” was a reasonably good theme, and her videos and TV ads were excellent. It made strategic sense to tar Trump as unfit for high office.

Clinton ended up as the Velcro candidate—everything stuck. Her paid speeches to Wall Street, Clinton Foundation complications, and WikiLeaks staff indiscretions all blurred together with Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, and the emails to turn her into a caricature of a corrupt politician—a nominee who seemed as if she had something to hide even when she didn’t.

Historians should judge the news media harshly for allowing these flaps—none of which was a bona fide scandal—to dominate the final days of the campaign. The email story will be remembered for generations not for anything Clinton did but as a symbol of how “false equivalence” in the media can have huge historical consequences.

Meanwhile, Trump’s scorched-earth approach to the final weeks—attacking “Crooked Hillary” relentlessly at every stop—dampened turnout by reinforcing pre-existing doubts about Clinton.

For all of the deeper explanations, that alone may have been enough to tip a close election, as Clinton will forever believe. History is a game of inches.

source–jonathan alter, the daily beast,

What Stephen Bannon wants to do in Trump’s White House-

What Stephen Bannon wants to do in Trump’s White House–58hf.,b58

Bannon is best known for his domestic positions, particularly his populist nationalist views on trade and immigration. His detractors accuse him of trafficking in racism and anti-Semitism, which he denies; his defenders believe he has a rare gift for identifying and channeling the nationalist and populist energy building through America and around the world.

Less discussed is Bannon’s fascination with the military and global affairs. Sources who know Bannon say he’s likely be an influential adviser to Trump in the international arena.

Sources close to Bannon say the best way to understand his approach to foreign affairs is to observe the structure and content of Breitbart News. The website supports nationalist movements wherever they arise and advocates a merciless approach against radical Islamic terrorists.

Bannon admires right-wing nationalists and hard-line illegal immigration opponents in Europe and elsewhere. He wants to work more closely with them and sees them as part of a worldwide movement to overthrow the “globalists,” according to multiple sources familiar with his thinking.

Bannon is a longtime skeptic of international alliances like the United Nations and the European Union. He cheered on Brexit — the decision made by British voters in a June referendum to leave the EU — and he admires French National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

“He definitely recognizes populist nationalists around the world,” said a source close to Bannon. “He noticed that before most people did.”

“Mostly he’ll be focusing on an America-first foreign policy, taking care of America’s interests in whatever negotiation the country is engaged in,” the source added.

Bannon views himself as far-sighted when it came to predicting the Brexit movement in the United Kingdom.

Bannon saw the Trump campaign as the American expression of what happened in the U.K. with Brexit: a popular revolt against a complacent and condescending elite. It’s why he always insisted, even privately, that Trump would win despite polls indicating otherwise.

Like Trump, Bannon is also open to working more closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to a source familiar with his thinking.

Breitbart News has bureaus in London, Jerusalem and Rome and has plans to open new ones in Paris and Berlin.

Bannon strongly opposes German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A source familiar with Breitbart’s internal dynamics said the new Breitbart Berlin website will focus “on the Islamic refugee crisis that Merkel created.”

The former Breitbart chairman has little patience for the idea of U.S. “nation-building” overseas. He loathes the foreign-policy legacy of President George W. Bush and took pleasure in defeating the traditional wing of the party this cycle. But he’s no isolationist. He favors aggressive military action when required.

Bannon is close to retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and John Bolton, Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations. He bonded with Flynn over their mutual anger with what they saw as the Obama administration’s inadequate response to radical Islamic terrorism, one source said.

Bannon is facing criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for his associations with the “alt-right.” Many have cited claims by Bannon’s ex-wife in divorce papers that he didn’t want his children going to school with Jews. Through a spokeswoman, Bannon denied the charges.

Critics have called out Breitbart’s intense focus on crimes committed by blacks and people in the country illegally. Particular headlines have also caused a furor, as when an attack on Bill Kristol described the neoconservative commentator as a “renegade Jew.” The internal Breitbart defense is that the author of the article, David Horowitz, is himself Jewish.

After commending Trump’s appointment of Priebus as chief of staff, the Anti-Defamation League condemned the Bannon appointment. “It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house,’ ” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL.

They say he’s got a short attention span and urges his reporters to go “buck wild,” meaning to take their attacks on ideological enemies to extremes not accepted in conventional journalism.

None of them recalls hearing Bannon make an anti-Semitic remark. One source recalls feeling uncomfortable, listening to Bannon ranting about black rioters in Ferguson, Mo. These sources criticize Bannon for binding himself to a movement that they say has virulent anti-Semitism and racism within it.  “While he might be playing footsie with the alt-right, and he doesn’t have a problem engaging anti-Semites … he is not himself an anti-Semite,” said a former Breitbart employee who fell out with Bannon.

“He’s a staunch supporter of Israel,” the source added. “I think it’s the media’s overblown reaction thinking that he’s going to tell Trump to institute anti-Jewish policies. It’s quite ridiculous.”

Asked how they expected Bannon to operate within Trump’s White House, these former Breitbart employees said they expected him to be loose and unstructured. He’s a prolific generator of ideas and does not view himself as belonging to one party or the other. He’s likely to pursue some unusual alliances, those who know him say.

“I think you’re going to see a lot of interesting stuff,” said a source familiar with Bannon’s thinking. “And you’re going to see them forge alliances on the world stage with some interesting characters.”

source–jonathan swan, the hill, jonathan greenblatt, adl,

The Steve Bannon Bogeyman

The Steve Bannon Bogeyman–58hj., b58

Bannon, who stepped in to serve as CEO of Trump’s campaign this summer, was just named chief strategist and senior advisor of the president-elect last week.

Why are the anti-Trumpers right to attack Steve Bannon? Because he is their worst nightmare.

He is a nightmare not only for Democrats who supported Hillary, but also for those renegade Republicans who signed up for the #NeverTrump suicide mission. Steve is more intelligent than they are. He also commands formidable street smarts and political savvy. In short, he is a one-man, industrial-strength swamp-draining apparatus.

More than anyone else on the political scene at the moment, it is Steve Bannon who will take Donald Trump’s central campaign promises — on Obamacare, on immigration, on the economy — and assure that they move from the realm of possibility to the realm of settled policy.

Politicians say a lot of inspiring things on the hustings. None manage to do everything they promise. Some never do much of anything. Donald Trump seems poised to get a lot done, and it is Steve Bannon who will instantiate the hammer with which Donald Trump will address the many outstanding nails he will confront when he takes office.

It is perfectly understandable that Trump’s opposition fears and loathes Steve Bannon. They would have to be insensate morons not to appreciate that it will be largely through Bannon’s instrumentality that Trump will accomplish his program.

But that is no excuse for the campaign of hysterical calumny directed at Steve Bannon’s character.

Readers of Saul Alinsky will remember Number 13 of his Rules for Radicals:

“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

We have lately witnessed a florid example of this mendacious Alinskyite tactic in the disgusting attacks on Bannon for being a white supremacist, anti-Semitic spokesman for the “alt-right.”

That’s one oddity. The other oddity is how futile their efforts are. The whole lumbering, moralistic anti-Trump/Bannon machine is like a gigantic gasoline-powered antique truck with a broken transmission and faulty valves. The anti-Trumpers and Bannon-bashers stomp down on the accelerator, but all that happens is that the engine roars and smoke billows out of the tailpipe. The wheels don’t spin. There is no traction. The large, decrepit vehicle goes nowhere. It’s all sound and fury, signifying irrelevance.

source–roger kimball, pj media,

Why Steve Bannon’s white nationalism should scare America

Why Steve Bannon’s white nationalism should scare America–58hj.,b58

Anyone who is amazed at Trump’s temerity in putting a white nationalist into the White House has gravely misunderstood the power of racism in fueling his campaign, and the desire to “turn back the clock” to a time when white men supposedly ruled supreme.

Above all, they’ve forgotten the cardinal rule of Trumpworld: attachment to profit and the Trump brand is a means of increasing influence and power over others. As CEO of Breitbart News, Bannon is key to that strategy, in America and beyond.

Bannon is most famous for his stewardship of Breitbart, the right-wing media outlet that many liberal Americans first became aware of when its reporter, Michelle Fields, was manhandled by Trump’s then-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Fields then resigned when her employer tried to discredit her.

This episode served as an introduction to one of Breitbart’s, and Bannon’s, central platforms: the denigration of women. Breitbart News uses misogyny as clickbait, blaring headlines like “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech: They Just Suck at Interviews.”

Some point out that Trump voters are not racists, but merely men and women who feel forgotten and marginalized, both socially and economically. This may be true for some, but given the prominence of racism in Trump’s campaign platform, these much-vaunted “other” reasons are but threads in a tight veil of illusion Trump voters have woven for themselves. It’s sad to have to remind people that Trump could have appealed to the downtrodden without inciting violence against people of different origins, appearances and faiths.

Bannon’s appointment signals that racism will be a lever of the actions taken by the Trump administration. As a historian of fascism, I can tell you that Breitbart has been serving up a textbook-worthy campaign of racist indoctrination. Don’t buy into it further. Otherwise, you’re going to develop nearsightedness and a crick in your neck from looking away from things you’d rather not see.

In the week since the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center has logged 200-plus incidents of racist violence. These episodes may well grow in number, and eventually involve someone you love or respect through your work, volunteerism or extended family.

And here’s where Bannon’s “equal partner,” Reince Priebus, comes in. Trump’s new chief of staff should wear a lapel pin that reads “I’m here to lighten your guilty conscience” by playing the part of the decent mainstream man who keeps the rogues under control.

But remember: In business, Trump has long pursued a “divide and conquer” strategy, pitting opposites against each other to ensure his own control. The Bannon-Priebus pairing may pit the tea party and Ku Klux Klan against the GOP of Paul Ryan, but come January 2017, they are one and the same, and their fortunes are linked: They are the Trump administration.

Trump thinks big, and he also loves to have the last laugh over his enemies. While we dismiss Bannon as a fringe element, Trump will be exploiting Bannon’s talents as a CEO, who once worked on Wall Street. Breitbart is Trump’s conduit as he reaches for a leading share of the growing international market for right-wing populist propaganda.

Axis 2.0 is shaping up before our eyes, with Marine Le Pen, France’s leading right-wing politician, proclaiming that she and Trump are “building a new world together.”

Bannon will help Trump lead that world. The significance of his appointment cannot be overstated. It’s time to come to terms with what a Trump administration is going to mean for all of us.

source–real clear politics, cnn, ruth ben-ghiat