New Face of Republican Party. Bannon is Racism+Climate Denial Personified.
November 17, 2016
Steve Bannon, soon to be perhaps the most powerful man in the White House, given Mr. Trump’s hands off, checked out management style, is the entire package rolled up into one fat, ugly, Neo-Nazi ball.
But all I know is one of the worst people on God’s green earth was just instituted as the chairman and CEO of the Trump campaign.
– Dana Loesch – former co-worker with Steve Bannon
President-elect Donald Trump has famously called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese, but the man he has chosen as his chief White House strategist advances a far more elaborate conspiracy.
Stephen Bannon has called government support of alternative energy “madness.” His conservative website, Breitbart News, relentlessly pursues the idea that global warming is an invention of activists, university researchers and renewable energy industry profiteers determined to assert global governance for their own gain.
“Pure scum” is how Breitbart News describes the alleged schemers, and the site suggested that the Vatican had been taken over by Marxists after Pope Francis urged the world to protect the environment and slow climate change. Bannon has cited a faked TIME magazine cover, purportedly from the 1970s, as evidence that scientists once thought the world was cooling.
Global warming hoax theories are among a wide range of extremist views that were circulated on the pages of Breitbart News under its executive chairman, Bannon.
The site’s at times overtly racist, anti-Semitic and sexist content has prompted many to protest Trump’s selection of him for a key post, and one that does not require Senate confirmation. The outcry has come from civil rights advocates, top Democrats and even some Republicans. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate group activity, reported in Aprilthat there had been a noticeable shift at Breitbart to more overt anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and racist rhetoric, making it, in effect, “the media arm of the alt-right.”
“Steve Bannon’s appointment should make us very nervous,” Sen. Bernie Sanders posted on Twitter. “We’re going to tell him and Trump that we will stand together and not be divided up.”
There’s been less attention to Bannon’s denial of climate change science, and the conspiratorial views on clean energy he has promoted via Breitbart. Advocacy against climate change action has been a key aim of a major financial backer of Breitbart, the reclusive hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. He reportedly played a key role in installing Bannon at the top of the Trump’s campaign in an August shake-up. Mercer, a major donor to the Heartland Institute, Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and other conservative organizations that deny climate change, was among the top campaign contributors of the 2016 election. He spent $23.5 million to help elect Trump and other Republican candidates.
With overheated rhetoric and mischaracterization of fact, Breitbart has repeatedly said climate change is a corrupt swindle that is damaging the economy.
“We could be energy independent,” Bannon said in a radio interview he conducted for Breitbart’s radio program on Sirius XM Patriot. “There is an American renaissance, and an industrial renaissance in front of us, if we can just get the government out of our way.”
In the interview, which followed Trump’s energy speech in May in North Dakota, Bannon was questioning Trump economic adviser, Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation, who had just published a book, Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy. But the interview gave Bannon a chance to expound on his own views on energy policy and provides a window into the energy policy direction Bannon will push Trump to pursue in the White House.
Bannon, whose new job will involve developing strategy for working with Capitol Hill, is particularly harsh on Republicans in Congress. He criticizes them for agreeing to include support for renewable energy—”much of this nonsense”—in the omnibus budget bill passed at the end of 2015. (The legislation extended multi-year tax incentives for wind and solar generation as part of a deal that also lifted the 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports.)
“Whether you believe in alternative energy or not, one thing we can tell you for a fact—whether it works or not, that’s all to be seen in the progress of time—it’s up to its neck in crony capitalism,” said Bannon. “The venture capital guys getting bailed out, the private equity guys getting bailed out, subsidies for these things.
“Why [have] the Republicans not had a more full-throated saying, ‘No, we’re just going to shut this stuff down. We don’t care if the president vetoes it or not, but we’re not going to fund this continual madness?’
“And by the way it is madness, at least according to your book, this alternative energy which really tries to compete with dollars for fossil fuel,” Bannon said to Moore.
Moore countered by saying, “I’m not against renewable energy. I’m just against taxpayer subsidies.”
In fact, worldwide subsidies for fossil fuels are currently $493 billion, more than four times more than those for renewable energy, according to the International Energy Agency. In the United States, current direct budget subsidies for renewable energy are larger than those for fossil fuels, but oil, gas, and coal continue to receive $3.4 billion annually and benefit from decades of taxpayer subsidies, including those that led to an electric grid reliant on centralized, mainly fossil-fueled power.
In one attempt to quantify the subsidy advantage fossil fuels have enjoyed,DBL Investors estimates that the cumulative value of federal subsidies for oil and gas have totaled $447 billion since 1918, compared to the $6 billion in subsidies for renewables since 1994.
I have a bit of experience with Bannon, given that I was the editor-at-large of Breitbart News for four years, and worked closely with Breitbart and Bannon.
Here’s what you need to know about Bannon, as well as new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
1. Steve Bannon Turned Breitbart Into Trump Pravda For His Own Personal Gain. Back in March, I quit Breitbart News when it became clear to me that they had decided that loyalty to Donald Trump outweighed loyalty to their own employees, helping Trump smear one of their own reporters, Michelle Fields, by essentially calling her a liar for saying that she had been grabbed by then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
Andrew built his life and his career on one mission: fight the bullies. But Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed. Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s legacy. In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew’s mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda…the facts are undeniable: Breitbart News has become precisely the reverse of what Andrew would have wanted. Steve Bannon and those who follow his lead should be ashamed of themselves.
Not to say “I told you so,” but I did tell you so.
2. Bannon Uses Celebrity Conservatives To Elevate His Personal Profile. Bannon began receiving conservative media attention for his documentary Generation Zero. And he began elevating his profile by latching onto Michele Bachmann with his documentary Fire From The Heartland. But he truly insinuated himself into the circles of conservative power by making a 2011 documentary about Sarah Palin, The Undefeated. His connection with Palin upped his brand in the movement significantly. He soon began appearing on Fox News with Sean Hannity fairly regularly, became personal friends with Hannity, and met Andrew Breitbart. He insinuated himself into Breitbart’s business by lending him office space, then made a documentary starring Breitbart, Occupy Unmasked. When Breitbart died, his business partner Larry Solov offered Bannon chairmanship of the company. Bannon then turned Breitbart into his personal domain, making himself a regularly bylined columnist (certainly rare for a major media company) and installing himself as a radio host on Breitbart Radio on Sirius XM. Finally, he used his role as Breitbart CEO to turn the outlet into Trump Pravda, creating a stepping stone to close connection with Trump. Breitbart publicly burned bridges with everyone to maintain its Trump loyalty. That was Bannon, a scorched-earth personal opportunist.
3. Bannon Took At Least One Major Breitbart Investor For A Serious Ride. One of the main investors in Breitbart News is Robert Mercer. The Mercer family put millions of dollars into a Ted Cruz super PAC during this election cycle, even as Bannon manipulated Breitbart News into a Cruz-bashing Trump propaganda outlet. The spokesperson for the Mercer family was Kellyanne Conway, who has now been installed as Trump’s campaign manager. I have been reliably informed by sources associated with the pro-Cruz super PAC that for months, as Bannon was using Breitbart News to promote Trump, the Mercers were defending Bannon’s neutrality to other Cruz supporters worried about Breitbart’s dishonest coverage about Cruz.
4. Breitbart’s Staff Lusts After Trump Involvement. Long before the billionaire officially entered the presidential race, Bannon was close to him; in April 2014, the Trump offices described Bannon thusly: “MAJOR SUPPORTER OF MR. TRUMP.” The new team at Trump headquarters will undoubtedly include all the Breitbart staffers who openly lusted after power within the Trump campaign: Joel Pollak, the Breitbart lawyer who desperately wanted to be a Trump speechwriter, and wrote a disgusting hit piece about me personally when I left and accurately accused the website of becoming an adjunct to the campaign; Matthew Boyle, the pseudo-journalist who reportedly bragged about becoming Trump’s press secretary; Milo Yiannopoulos, the Trump-worshipping alt-right droog stooge. They’re all in with their Godking, now.
5. Under Bannon’s Leadership, Breitbart Openly Embraced The White Supremacist Alt-Right. Andrew Breitbart despised racism. Truly despised it. He used to brag regularly about helping to integrate his fraternity at Tulane University. He insisted that racial stories be treated with special care to avoid even the whiff of racism. With Bannon embracing Trump, all that changed. Now Breitbart has become the alt-right go-to website, with Yiannopoulos pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.
6. This Is Precisely The Sort of Corrupt Media Relationship Breitbart Used To Abhor.Andrew Breitbart used his memoir, Righteous Indignation, to target one thing above all else: what he called the Democrat-Media Complex. He hated the merger of the Democrats and the media, and particularly despised their lie of objectivity. Breitbart News never claimed to be objective. But until Trump won the nomination, leadership at Breitbart News maintained that they had not become a loudspeaker for Trumpism. That was obviously a lie, and one Breitbart would hate. HATE. Now, it’s clear that Breitbart News is indeed Bannon.com and Trumpbart News. That’s pathetic and disgusting.
8. Bannon Is A Legitimately Sinister Figure. Many former employees of Breitbart News are afraid of Steve Bannon. He is a vindictive, nasty figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies. Bannon is a smarter version of Trump: he’s an aggressive self-promoter who name-drops to heighten his profile and woo bigger names, and then uses those bigger names as stepping stools to his next destination. Trump may be his final destination. Or it may not. He will attempt to ruin anyone who impedes his unending ambition, and he will use anyone bigger than he is – for example, Donald Trump – to get where he wants to go. Bannon knows that in the game of thrones, you win or die. And he certainly doesn’t intend to die. He’ll kill everyone else before he goes.
Bannon’s ascension is the predictable consummation of a romance he ardently pursued. I joked with friends months ago that by the end of the campaign, Steve Bannon would be running Trump’s campaign from a bunker. That’s now reality. Every nightmare for actual conservatives has come true in this campaign. Why not this one, too?