Steve Bannon: Richmond Boy Made Good… Er Bad

Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon

by Les Schreiber

Virginia has contributed much to the political growth of the United States: George Washington as leader of the Revolutionary Army and first president; Patrick Henry as fiery supporter of the Revolution; Thomas Jefferson as author of the Declaration of Independence and third president. More recently, Doug Wilder became the first African American to be the elected governor of a Southern state since Reconstruction.

Now, the most famous Virginian at the national level is Steve Bannon, a graduate of Benedictine High School and Virginia Tech. Some national publications have indicated that he has more influence with president Trump than even even the Veep. His role has been magnified by his elevation to the National Security Council, the  only political operative in U.S. history to be given such a distinction.

Bannon also is also an avowed anti-Semite. According to divorce papers filed in California vited by the New York Times, Bannon wanted to remove his children from the Archer School in Los Angeles because he thought there were too many Jews there and they were all “whiny brats.” According to this deposition, he was offended by a collection of books that explained the Jewish festival of Chanukah.

Bannon’s website Breitbart News referred to a conservative columnist as a Renegade Jew and in writing about famous investor George Soros that “Hell hath no fury” like that of a Polish American Jew when he senses that he has not received appropriate deference.

The Anti-Defamation League has written that Bannon, through the Bretibart website, has advanced ideologies that are antithetical to American values by including, ant-Semiticsm, misogyny, racism, and Islamaphobia.

The New York Times reported recently that in 2014, Bannon attended a conference of conservative clergy where he referred consistently to the writings of an obscure Italian philosopher, Julius Avola. Mussolini based his 1938 racial laws restricting the rights of Jews in Italy on Avola’s writings. The Times further reports that last March Bannon’s website, Breitbart, stated that Avila provided the foundations for the Alt Right movement that Bannon champions.

Bannon does not seem to be fit to hold so lofty a post in government.

Virginia’s Republican members of Congress such as Rep. Dave Brat must vocally disavow Bannon’s repulsive ideas and work to remove him from any role in the Republican Party. Their continued silence in the face of this information that they are morally and intellectually bankrupt. Their failure contaminates what true conservatism is about.

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18 responses to “Steve Bannon: Richmond Boy Made Good… Er Bad

  1. Les, I don’t know if Steve Bannon is anti-Semitic or not, but I don’t take it on the word of the New York Times, which hardly provided a balanced appraisal of the evidence. For an opposing perspective, read this column by Alan Dershowitz, hardly a fan of Bannon.

    The Times article strikes me as another lazy hit job by a publication that has abandoned any pretense of journalistic objectivity. Surely you are a sophisticated enough consumer of the news not to take anything the Times says without a grain of salt. When the supposed “newspaper of record” publishes such an defamatory accusation with such flimsy proof, it’s no wonder that the news media ranks even lower in the public esteem than Donald Trump.

    Given the flimsiness of the charges, I’m guessing that you probably won’t be getting a disavowal from Brat.

    • Thanks for sharing the Alan Dershowitz article. It’s excellent. A must read for anyone interested in what’s going on today in America’s political culture, and in the minds and emotions of those writing about it on the “highest levels.”

      What got us here?

      And Congrats Acbar. Alan’s another Yale Man! In Law however.

    • Mr. Bacon: I read both pieces and hardly see “the hit job” you describe in the Times. The writer, for example, quotes several people saying Bannon is NOT anti-Semite and underlines the Bannon is a very hard worker taking advantage of the inability of many to think. He’s, therefore, like P.T. Barnum, “never giving a sucker an even break.” Please read the recent writing by several “alt right” writers, Mr. Bacon, as they tell us they have so devalued truth in their fake news and attack pieces that they are apologizing for what they’ve done. I’m no fan of the NY Times either — especially since they ran a huge number of “Augusta National” stories before the country club added a female member — but they, like you I suppose, try to live to the Sigma Delta Chi code of ethics. They are, however, human and screw it up; of course they do. Breitbart, and Mr. Bannon, make zero attempt to try for “fair play” and “objectivity.”

  2. Well, here’s to careless reading of posts.

    I’m reading Richmond Boy Made Good etc, and thinking “How did Jim come up with this crap?” I keep reading, thinking “Has Jim lost his mind? How could be ever buy into anything the New York Times says these days?” At the end of the post, I finally look up at the byline and everything becomes clear. Jim, you’ll forgive me if I was about to start in on you.

    It was not always this way. Most of us grew up with the Times. Read it every day. It was the paper of record, whatever you wanted to say about the politics. I got to know a number of these guys when I was in college and after. They were top drawer: Clifton Daniel, the managing editor until Punch Sulzberger kicked him aside around 1969; Scotty Reston, who lived next door in D.C. They had the highest standards.

    The New York Times today has no better a reputation that the National Enquirer. Strike that. The Enquirer is more reliable. To quote a current deplorable: “Really sad”

  3. How about the Anti-Defamation League?

    Five Things to Know

    BANNON HAS EMBRACED THE ALT RIGHT, A LOOSE NETWORK OF WHITE NATIONALISTS AND ANTI-SEMITES.

    http://www.adl.org/sp/stephen-bannon-backgrounder/bannon-backgrounder.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/#.WKtsY_krLIV

  4. Hey Jim – and here I was about to pay tribute to you as a mensch [stand-up guy – people have different definitions…]

    Kudos anyway for featuring guest bloggers – but I had the same misunderstanding – might rework the way your blog byline shows when you have guest bloggers.

    ….but now that I’m keyboarding away….I agree the Times has become even more of an echo chamber (remember the old joke about the NYT headline, “Meteor Destroys Earth! Jews, Blacks Hurt Worst”…)

    But your commenters are failing by simply defending Bannon by dissing the New York Times. What is the word for attacking the speaker when it’s not a person but a newspaper….ad diarii!?!

    • Kimberly, Maybe Bannon is as bad as they say. I just don’t believe it based on the fact that a handful of facts, some of them demonstrably taken out of context, are repeated over and over in print, cable news and the late-night “comedy” shows. I have become exceedingly distrustful of any accusation of racism, bigotry, etc. because it has become the default position of the Left.

      By any objective criteria, there is less ethnic bigotry in our society today than in its history. But the level of hysteria has been ramped up to Civil Rights-era levels when bigotry actually was rampant. You’d think Bull Connor was still setting dogs on freedom marchers!

      There still are a few real bigots out there. But when the boy cries wolf not two times or three times but hundreds of times, the accusations lose their sting. It’s all part of the background noise. People stop believing it.

  5. re: ” By any objective criteria, there is less ethnic bigotry in our society today than in its history. But the level of hysteria has been ramped up to Civil Rights-era levels when bigotry actually was rampant. You’d think Bull Connor was still setting dogs on freedom marchers!”

    how do you reconcile this:

  6. Count me among the careless readers. I missed noticing Les Schreiber was the author and reacted thinking it was Jim Bacon speaking. Suitably chastened by the response I got, I tracked down the actual address Bannon gave at the Dignitatis Humanae Instiute conference in 2014 and listened to it twice. I don’t know the specific works of Julius Evola (not Avola, not Avila), but Bannon certainly did not quote him directly. I am, however, willing to take the ADL’s word that Bannon is not an anti-Semite along with their concerns about alt-right comments from others about Bannon. (See LarrytheG’s link above.)

    For another view of two Times’ articles about Bannon and the distortions in them, check out the Knights of Columbus site about halfway down the page under “THE NEW YORK TIMES AND STEVE BANNON.”

    Off to write 100 times, “I will be a more careful reader.”

  7. How to reconcile? It’s easy, Larry. It comes from Pew Research

    • Larry,
      Can you say the words “Push Poll”?

      Just take the first one you cite: Gallup. The form of the question in Gallup leads inexorably to the conclusion. “Are new Civil Rights laws needed to reduce discrimination against blacks?” (BTW: Notice the use of the word “blacks”, not “minorities”). Look at the assumption in the question: that blacks are discriminated against in the first place. Now, you lefties will howl that “Of course blacks are discriminated against” Not the issue I’m raising. There is no definition of the problem, or its extent, before they ask about the need for a solution, namely “new laws” Once you say the word “discrimination”, the answer becomes obvious. No one wants to be seen as “discriminating” against “blacks”. So they are “pushed” into answering, “Yes, of course I want laws that reduce discrimination against blacks. If there’s discrimination, I guess we need new laws.” By any other name, a push poll.

      Second poll: AP. Setting aside that AP may be the singularly most biased general news outlet that exists (Reuters, maybe? IDK), look at the use of the word “sometimes”. How could anyone answer that minorities are “never” treated roughly? Of course, they are, but “more roughly” than who or what? What does “sometimes” prove? Does “sometimes” start to have no meaning when the Washington Post reports that twice as many white people were shot dead as black people in 2015. (Wait for it…wait for the pounce by the lefties on this blog. Ready?):

      “But whites make up 62 percent of the population and blacks 13 percent. There, gotcha”

      Except…Bureau of Justice Statistics reveal that blacks were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 biggest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15 percent of the population in these counties. What have we proved?

      And the poll question doesn’t mention “whites”. What is a minority group? Are Asians part of this deal? What about Ouigurs? Hmongs? South Sudanese? Yazidis? Are “whites” now a minority? What is “white” anymore?

      Moral of the story: Avoid using push polls to support your argument. The argument will inevitably be filled with holes and sloppy thinking through incorporation of questionable statistics.

  8. Les,
    George Soros is from Hungary, not Poland.

  9. One other thing, it is truly amusing to see the conservatives on this blog go through such mental gymnastics to find something good to say about Donald Trump,w hose first month in office has been an incompetent, unmitigated disaster (immigration ban that federal court immediately shoots down — thousands of innocent travelers turned upend — Mike Flynn lying and resigns — HUGE questions about links to Putin and so on.

    So you have to come up with Alan Dershowitz to make everyone feel better?

    As for the NYT (and WashPost), I say thank God for them. They have to sense to label an obvious Trump lie a lie. Their reporting has kept the country in the know about a dangerous new president. They also reported vigorously about Hillary Clinton (the Foundation and so on).

    Too bad so many participants on this blog still rely on the right wing echo chambers of Fox or Breitbart, sometimes moving slightly upscale to sources a tad less scruffy. (Annother “Yale” man, say what?)

  10. Dear Jim,

    Did I miss something here? That’s what I get for doing what politicians claim to do in not seeking reelection, spending more time with “the fam.” ;-))<

    Andrew

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