Open Thread: Steve Bannon, the New Karl Rove?

As in “the guy who’s about to have a major meltdown, live and on camera”? Somebody has it out for the man, because one doesn’t bring in professional assassin Olivia Nuzzi for just a puff piece…

When Steve Bannon was the chief strategist and senior counselor to President Donald Trump, he spent his days and often long into his nights in an office on the first floor of the West Wing, separated from the Oval Office only by his neighbor Jared Kushner and the presidential study…

The last time I saw him before he was fired in August, West Wing construction had forced him across the driveway into a temporary office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. His central whiteboard had been relocated to basement storage, and a smaller version had been wheeled in and positioned by the desk. Anywhere Bannon is existing, it seems, becomes a kind of pop-up war room.

Since leaving the White House and its adjacent properties altogether, he’s moved his operation back into a war townhouse he calls the Breitbart Embassy. Breitbart News, where he’s the executive chairman, is headquartered in the basement; upstairs, he hosts glitzy parties and plans his hostile takeover of the GOP. And, depending on which sources you believe, the Breitbart Embassy is also where he happens to live…

During his time in the White House, rumors circulated in D.C. about the Breitbart Embassy; he was thought by many in the White House press corps to be living there despite having claimed to put a barrier between himself and the website he ran that served, during the campaign and thereafter, as Trump’s very own Russia Today. During the campaign and into the current administration, there was little meaningful difference between Breitbart’s coverage of Trump and Trump’s own press releases. Under Bannon, Breitbart also incubated and amplified voices that played at the edges of right-wing extremism. In 2016, Bannon referred to it as “the platform of the alt-right,” but attempted to move closer to the middle — by hiring staff with traditional journalism backgrounds — once the alt-right became synonymous with neo-Nazism.

Even now, with ethical constraints in the rearview mirror, Bannon is unwilling to admit that he calls the Breitbart Embassy home. A source with knowledge of his real-estate holdings told me he lives in Northern Virginia and stays at the Embassy when his schedule demands it, but provided no further details or proof. Another source close to Bannon told me that wasn’t true, and for what it’s worth, the general consensus here in D.C. is the same. “Steve lives on the top two floors,” this source explained, “so Steve will do his meetings at the second-floor dining-room table.”…
Read more



Evening Open Thread: In God We Trust – Richard Spencer, However, Must Pay Cash!

I’m pretty sure that UF did NAZI see this coming:

Remember, when dealing with neo-NAZIs, white supremacists, neo-fascists, neo-nationalists, and other extremists you want cash or money orders or an electronic funds transfer and you want it up front before providing goods and/or services.

Also, obligatory:



Late Night Horrorshow Thread: Meanwhile, Down in Tennessee, the Nazis…

Kudos to Blake Montgomery, at Buzzfeed — “Here’s A Play By Play With What Happened With Those White Nationalists In Tennessee”:

White nationalists said they gathered in rural Tennessee Saturday to raise awareness about refugee resettlement and a shooting at a church. But they were also there, by their own admission, to rehabilitate their image. They never made it to the church.

The Nationalist Front — an alliance of white nationalist groups including the KKK-affiliated Traditionalist Worker Party, Vanguard America, the neo-Confederate League of the South, and the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement — converged on rural Tennessee for three events throughout the day: a rally in Shelbyville, about 60 miles outside Nashville, a separate rally in Murfreesboro, and a vigil at a church in Antioch. Local news had also reported that police at Middle Tennessee State University warned students of a possible torchlit rally Friday night, but that did not materialize.

The same groups came together with others for the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August. During that rally a man who marched with Vanguard America allegedly killed an anti-racist protester with his car and injured 19 others.

In the end, the Murfreesboro rally was replaced with a private picnic, and the vigil never happened.

Brad Griffin, who blogs under the name Hunter Wallace for the white nationalist site Occidental Dissent and helped organize the rally as a member League of the South, told BuzzFeed News that the Nationalist Front had “accomplished everything it set out to do” and that the Shelbyville rally “went great.” He traveled from Montgomery, Alabama, to attend…

About 100 white nationalists — and roughly 200 counterprotesters — gathered in downtown Shelbyville on Saturday morning. Police kept the two sides on opposite sidewalks with metal barricades. Police banned protesters from bringing a laundry list of items, but several white nationalists were allowed in with shields and helmets. Some gave Nazi salutes throughout the event.

Each side spent most of the event trying to shout the other down. Several white nationalist leaders spoke on a range of topics, among them the “degeneracy” of the other side, the promise of a white ethnostate, the perils of globalism to white workers, and their vision for a health care plan…

Around 1 p.m., the Nationalist Front left, and protesters dispersed soon after. The white nationalists planned to hold a second rally in Murfreesboro.

The city of Murfreesboro had made extensive preparations in anticipation of the rally and counterprotest, including boarding up the windows of businesses on the town square, deploying the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, busing in horses for mounted police, and setting up barricades throughout the square.

But instead of going to Murfreesboro, the Nationalist Front called what seemed like an audible and drove to Henry Horton State Park, 55 miles away, for a picnic near the birthplace of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of the KKK. Still, several white nationalists showed up in Murfreesboro, confused about where everyone else had gone. At least one decided the drive wasn’t worth it and went home…
Read more



Reports from Tennessee: Nazi Snowflakes Have No Stamina

Local reporter Natalie Allison has a whole bunch of short clips from the rally in her Twitter feed. And a nicely observed story in the Tennessean:

9:20 a.m. Shelbyville: About 40 minutes before protest was set to begin, more than 50 counter-protesters were waiting to get through a security checkpoint.

A woman is dressed like the statute of liberty. One young man has an “Antifa” flag, the sign for a movement of anti-Fascist, far-left protest groups, draped around him.

There were no signs of white nationalists yet…

10 a.m. Shelbyville: Chad Bagwell, 30, of Centre, Ala. was among the first to arrive on the white nationalists’ side. When he got there at 9:30, the convoy of other protesters hadn’t arrived and police weren’t letting him in to the protest area.

Bagwell held an American flag and was wearing a red Make America Great Again hat. He said he planned to bring a Confederate flag, as well, but forgot it.

He said he learned about the rally through a friend on a social networking website. His friend thought he might enjoy attending the White Lives Matter rally, Centre said, which he understood to be about refugee resettlement.

He drove two hours to attend Saturday’s protest.

“I don’t have nothing against refugees, but I do think they need stricter vetting for it,” Bagwell said…

10:05 a.m. Shelbyville: The first members of the League of the South, a white nationalist group that helped organize the White Lives Matter rally, have arrived and are making their way through security…

11:20 a.m. Shelbyville: At least 160 white nationalists have come to the Shelbyville rally. More than 300 counterprotesters are there…

Wesley Lowery, for the Washington Post:

Local residents and leaders spent most of the week anxiously wondering how many would travel the rural highway that snakes south from Nashville over Christmas Creek into Shelbyville for a “White Lives Matter” rally planned by several national white supremacist groups.

Such rallies have turned violent, even deadly, in recent months, sparking fears that the Shelbyville gathering could as well. Once the white supremacists showed up — the rally started about an hour late — there was yelling, but no violence.

Rally organizers had anticipated about 175 people, while Tennessee’s racial justice and liberal groups were unsure of how many of their members would attend. Ultimately it appeared that about 300 people attended — about 100 “White Lives Matter” attendees and twice as many counterprotesters…

Organizers included the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group; the Traditionalist Worker Party, which wants a separate white ethno-state; Anti-Communist Action, a right-wing group that believes America is being threatened by communists; and Vanguard America, a white supremacist group that believes America is inherently a white nation that must be preserved. This rally, they said, was specifically about immigration and refugee policies.
Read more



Open Thread: Richard Spencer, Public Emergency

Richard Spencer is a slimy opportunist who jumped on the “us whites are an imperiled minority” gravy train when Trump’s candidacy demonstrated there was an opening for other grifters. The half-bright cowards and losers who draft into his tailwind can actually be dangerous. Per the Washington Post, “‘Kill them’: Three men charged in shooting after Richard Spencer speech”:

About 90 minutes after Richard Spencer’s speech Thursday at the University of Florida — which generated so much controversy that the governor declared a state of emergency days before the event — a silver Jeep pulled up to six to eight protesters near a bus stop and confronted them, according to Gainesville Police Department spokesman Sgt. Ben Tobias.

The men, whom police identified as white nationalists, threatened the group, making Nazi salutes and shouting chants about Hitler, police said.

One of the people in the group, who were in their 20s and heading home after protesting, hit the Jeep with a baton. It pulled over.

Tyler Tenbrink, 28, of Richmond, Tex., jumped out with a gun, authorities said. According to the Alachua County sheriff’s arrest report, Colton Fears, 28, and William Fears, 30, of Pasadena, Tex., encouraged Tenbrink to shoot, yelling, “I’m going to f—— kill you,” “Kill them” and “Shoot them.”

Tenbrink fired a single shot that missed the people, police said, and hit a nearby building…

Three guys with guns, versus ‘six to eight’ protestors — truly, the flower of white manhood.

Spencer’s publicity grab seems to have gone off about as expected. Lois Beckett, in the Guardian:

The white supremacist Richard Spencer took the stage at the University of Florida on Thursday after his supporters threatened to sue if he was not allowed to speak.

But minutes after he began to talk, the majority of the crowd of hundreds in the auditorium stood together, raised their fists, and started chanting “Go home, Spencer! Go home, Spencer!”

For the next hour, most of the crowd stayed standing, booing and chanting over Spencer’s remarks as he angrily compared the crowd to a mob and to “immature preschoolers who aren’t ready for ideas that might get a bit challenging”.

“You can’t hide,” the audience chanted back at him, “You support genocide!”

Over the screams and boos, Spencer answered a series of audience questions but spent much of his time berating the crowd, many of them University of Florida students, for heckling him.

“You are trying to shut down a dissident intellectual,” Spencer told the roaring crowd. He reproached them for not appreciating “the most important free speech event of your lifetime”.

At one point, Spencer did a quick little caper onstage, dancing along to the chants against him and waving his arms sardonically…

Spencer is Sideshow Dick — except the Simpsons cartoon character had better writers.
Read more



Late Night Open Thread: Doubling Down

When life gives you a new version of an old Nazi-punching video game to market… own the fuck out of your Nazi-punching.

Thereby chafing the highly refined sensitivities of a group that usually delights in screaming snowflake! and flaunting FUCK YOUR FEELINGS t-shirts…

Critics aren’t exactly arguing that the Nazis were nice, decent folks, but they say that in co-opting the president’s tagline, the video game company is quietly equating Trump supporters with Nazis.

Others claimed that the video game — or at least its marketing — is simply parroting the aims of the antifa, a loosely affiliated group of mostly communists, socialists and anarchists who aim to stop the advance of white supremacy, sometimes violently.

Is it good to give people in that group tacit justification to attack people who fit an ever-expanding definition of Nazis?…

The definition is hardly “ever-expanding”; marching with Nazi flags and screaming Jews will not replace us! has fit the parameters ever since the 1930s. It’s just that you didn’t used to see them mobbing around American college campuses, at least not with their faces unmasked.


Read more



Open Thread: “Donald Trump’s Despicable Words”


.

It’s become a truism that professional comedians are doing some of the best Trump denunciations, but this Washington Post column from Alexandra Petri deserves wider attention:

Of course they gathered with torches, because the only liberty they have lost is the liberty to gather with torches and decide whose house to visit with terror. That is the right that is denied them: the right to other people’s possessions, the right to be the only person in the room, the right to be the only person that the world is made for. (These are not rights. They are wrongs.) You are sad because your toys have been taken, but they were never toys to begin with. They were people. It is the ending of the fairy tale; because you were a beast, you did not see that the things around you were people and not objects that existed purely for your pleasure. You should not weep that the curse is broken and you can see that your footstool was a human being.

But to rejoice in that discovery you have to stop being a beast first, and they have not. Why would they? Trump promises to turn the world back and bring the curse again. That is implicit in his every speech, a dog whistle strong enough that every dog in America is deaf and in constant pain.

Here we are in the year of our lord 2017 and the president of the United States lacks the moral courage to condemn Nazis and white supremacists. And they are not even making it difficult. They are saluting like Nazis and waving Nazi flags and chanting like Nazis and spewing hatred like Nazis. Maya Angelou was not wrong. When someone tells you who they are, believe them. Especially if what that person is telling you is “I am a Nazi.”…

“So important,” Trump said. “We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.”

Maybe. But there is nothing more pathological than the desire to be liked by everyone all the time. If you are continually attracting Nazis and white supremacists, you shouldn’t say, “WOW, everyone LIKES ME! Great!” you should ask yourself, “Where in my life have I gone seriously wrong?”…