Friday, August 18, 2017

Kelly ousts Bannon: what will Bannon’s deplorables do?

Stephen Bannon Out at the White House After Turbulent Run (New York Times)
     Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled chief strategist who helped President Trump win the 2016 election by embracing their shared nationalist impulses, departed the White House on Friday after a turbulent tenure shaping the fiery populism of the president’s first seven months in office.
     Mr. Bannon’s exit, the latest in a string of high-profile West Wing shake-ups, came as Mr. Trump is under fire for saying that “both sides” were to blame for last week’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va. Critics accused the president of channeling Mr. Bannon when he equated white supremacists and neo-Nazis with the left-wing protesters who opposed them.
     “White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”Mr. Bannon’s outsized influence on the president, captured in a February cover of Time magazine with the headline “The Great Manipulator,” was reflected in the response to his departure.
Back to Mercer's Breitbart.com
     Conservatives groused that they lost a key advocate inside the White House and worried aloud that Mr. Trump would shift left, while cheers erupted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when headlines about Mr. Bannon’s ouster appeared. Both the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average immediately rose, though they ended the day slightly down.
     His removal is a victory for Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general whose mission is to impose discipline on White House personnel. A caustic presence in a chaotic West Wing, Mr. Bannon frequently clashed with other aides as they fought over trade, the war in Afghanistan, taxes, immigration and the role of government.
     In an interview this week with The American Prospect, Mr. Bannon mocked his colleagues, including Gary D. Cohn, one of the president’s chief economic advisers, saying they were “wetting themselves” out of a fear of radically changing trade policy.
Mercer: keep your eyes on the money
     Mr. Trump had recently grown weary of Mr. Bannon, complaining to other advisers that he believed his chief strategist had been leaking information to reporters and was taking too much credit for the president’s successes. The situation had become untenable long before Friday, according to advisers close to Mr. Trump who had been urging the president to remove Mr. Bannon; in turn, people close to Mr. Bannon also were urging him to step down.
     By Friday night, Mr. Bannon was already back at the far-right Breitbart News, chairing an editorial meeting at the organization he helped run before joining Mr. Trump’s campaign and where he can continue to advance his agenda.
     Mr. Bannon can still wield influence from outside the West Wing. He believes he can use his perch at Breitbart — which has given a platform to the so-called alt-right, a loose collection of activists, some of whom espouse openly racist and anti-Semtic views — to publicly pressure the president….

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Summer runnin' down








Bannon’s remarkable interview: “[Ethno-nationalists] are a collection of clowns”

Steve Bannon, Unrepentant, The American Prospect
Robert Kuttner, 8-16-17
Trump’s embattled strategist phones me, unbidden, to opine on China, Korea, and his enemies in the administration.
     You might think from recent press accounts that Steve Bannon is on the ropes and therefore behaving prudently. In the aftermath of events in Charlottesville, he is widely blamed for his boss’s continuing indulgence of white supremacists….
     But Bannon was in high spirits when he phoned me Tuesday afternoon to discuss the politics of taking a harder line with China, and minced no words describing his efforts to neutralize his rivals at the Departments of Defense, State, and Treasury. “They’re wetting themselves,” he said, proceeding to detail how he would oust some of his opponents at State and Defense.
     Needless to say, I was a little stunned to get an email from Bannon’s assistant midday Tuesday, just as all hell was breaking loose once again about Charlottesville, saying that Bannon wished to meet with me. I’d just published a column on how China was profiting from the U.S.-North Korea nuclear brinkmanship, and it included some choice words about Bannon’s boss.
. . .
     Far from dressing me down for comparing Trump to Kim, he began, “It’s a great honor to finally track you down. I’ve followed your writing for years and I think you and I are in the same boat when it comes to China. You absolutely nailed it.”
     “We’re at economic war with China,” he added. “It’s in all their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path. On Korea, they’re just tapping us along. It’s just a sideshow.”
. . .
     Contrary to Trump’s threat of fire and fury, Bannon said: “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.” Bannon went on to describe his battle inside the administration to take a harder line on China trade, and not to fall into a trap of wishful thinking in which complaints against China’s trade practices now had to take a backseat to the hope that China, as honest broker, would help restrain Kim….
     Bannon’s plan of attack includes: a complaint under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act against Chinese coercion of technology transfers from American corporations doing business there, and follow-up complaints against steel and aluminum dumping.…
. . .
Why would Bannon alienate his "clowns"?
      “I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense; I’m getting hawks in. I’m getting Susan Thornton [acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs] out at State.”
     But can Bannon really win that fight internally?
     “That’s a fight I fight every day here,” he said….
     Bannon explained that his strategy is to battle the trade doves inside the administration while building an outside coalition of trade hawks that includes left as well as right. Hence the phone call to me.
     There are a couple of things that are startling about this premise. First, to the extent that most of the opponents of Bannon’s China trade strategy are other Trump administration officials, it’s not clear how reaching out to the left helps him. If anything, it gives his adversaries ammunition to characterize Bannon as unreliable or disloyal.
     More puzzling is the fact that Bannon would phone a writer and editor of a progressive publication (the cover lines on whose first two issues after Trump’s election were “Resisting Trump” and “Containing Trump”) and assume that a possible convergence of views on China trade might somehow paper over the political and moral chasm on white nationalism.
     The question of whether the phone call was on or off the record never came up. This is also puzzling, since Steve Bannon is not exactly Bambi when it comes to dealing with the press. He’s probably the most media-savvy person in America.
     I asked Bannon about the connection between his program of economic nationalism and the ugly white nationalism epitomized by the racist violence in Charlottesville and Trump’s reluctance to condemn it. Bannon, after all, was the architect of the strategy of using Breitbart to heat up white nationalism and then rely on the radical right as Trump’s base.
     He dismissed the far right as irrelevant and sidestepped his own role in cultivating it: “Ethno-nationalism—it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.”
     “These guys are a collection of clowns,” he added.
     From his lips to Trump’s ear.
     “The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
     I had never before spoken with Bannon. I came away from the conversation with a sense both of his savvy and his recklessness….

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cal State Long Beach President: "Our grandfathers and grandmothers fought Nazis in order to preserve democracy."


Dear Beach Community,

The hate and violence on display over the past few days at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville, Virginia remind us that racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, neo-Nazism, and intolerance for “differences” loom over our democracy. While every American has a constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully, even on the most odious of platforms, I write today to affirm our campus values.

We have zero tolerance for violence. Threatening others with weapons or fists negates one’s right of assembly. Driving a vehicle into a peaceful crowd is a form of domestic terrorism.

Our grandfathers and grandmothers fought Nazis in order to preserve democracy. Nazism targeted Jews, the Roma people, disabled individuals, homosexuals, and many others they considered inferior members of the human race. There is no place in the U.S. for Neo-Nazis, Identity Evropa, white supremacy or white nationalists.

Further, we have struggled for hundreds of years in our nation to guarantee full constitutional rights to Indigenous Nations, all people of color, women, people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and ages, to name just a few. This struggle continues with daily reminders of our responsibilities to be vigilant, outspoken, and committed to the defense of liberty and justice for all.

As more groups gain full participation in our civic and economic systems, our nation becomes stronger. Our country is not a finite “pie” of opportunity. Rather it is the global beacon of ever expanding possibilities for people from all walks of life who work hard and honor the Constitution. Those who believe others’ success diminishes them are simply wrong.

At The Beach, all groups who obey our time, place and manner regulations can rent venues or march across our property. But no group is permitted to threaten the physical safety of anyone. Free speech is protected by more speech, not by violence. Campus leaders and our University Police Department stand ready to protect all members of our campus community.

We welcome vigorous debate. We value diversity. We will not, however, tolerate any insider or outsider who plans to do harm to people or property. Our job as Americans is to create a more perfect union during each generation. The founders, imperfect as some were in behavior and beliefs, gave each of us the challenge to continue this great experiment in democracy. At its core, democracy is built on protecting the rights of everyone. A majority can rule justly only when minorities are helped to flourish.

Let’s talk. Let’s listen. Let’s pledge our lives to liberty and justice for all.

Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D.
President

*

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary