Hiding In Plain Sight

Reading time 3:02; Viewing time – 4:38  .  .  .

In Ronald Radosh’s essay in the Daily Beast last August, recounting his conversation with Steve Bannon shortly after Bannon become CEO of Trump’s presidential campaign, he wrote:

Then we had a long talk about his approach to politics. He never called himself a “populist” or an “American nationalist,” as so many think of him today. “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.

Shocked, I asked him what he meant.

Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” [emphasis mine]

As recently as February 23, 2017 at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Bannon declared the top three priorities of this administration, one of which is “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

Perhaps you have significant dissatisfaction with “today’s establishment,” the “administrative state.” I surely do – but do you really want to bring it all “crashing down“? Apparently, Steve Bannon does.

Whatever Bannon’s reasons for his desire for national anarchy and chaos, no matter his rationale for destroying the American firmament, if Bannon has his way, a lot of people are going to get hurt, and I don’t mean the gold plated set; I mean ordinary Americans for whom their country will no longer work, and you just might be one of those people.

Here’s the scary part: Bannon has the president’s ear in everything, including national security and nuclear weapons. Consider that the president has a loose affiliation with facts and reality and has demonstrated with his Muslim Ban Executive Order that he has a ready-fire-aim mentality. Plus, he has the unique ability to contradict himself three times in a single sentence, so it’s not at all clear if he has any firm convictions. And Steve “burn-it-down” Bannon has this malleable-fact president’s ear on all issues.

What could possibly go wrong?

If your goal were to “destroy all of today’s establishment,” your first steps would be to take power away from whatever might challenge you. That is to say, you’d want to undermine public confidence in the very establishment you want to destroy.

For example, you might attack our intelligence communities by comparing them to Nazis. That way, when the CIA, FBI and NSA present incontrovertible proof of Trump conspiring with the Russians to hack and steal the election, Americans won’t believe them.

You would continuously vilify reporters, newspapers and broadcast, cable and online news organizations so that when their investigative journalists uncover the blackmail that Putin has on Trump, people won’t believe the actual, reality-based facts those organizations bring to them.

You would have your Attorney General attack freedom of the press by subpoenaing a journalist who simply reported on the Malheur Natural Wildlife Refuge occupation case for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

And you would work to delegitimize the courts and our judges by attacking Judge Gonzalo Curiel and by calling Judge James Robart a “so-called judge” and blaming any future terrorist attacks in the U.S. on Robart. Likely, you’d also attack the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th District with a threat of “see you in court,” which arguably is a dumb thing to say, since the Court of Appeals is a court, plus Trump had already lost his case. Nevertheless, the drumbeat of attacking and undermining our institutions goes on.

I’ve speculated in these essays (here and here and here) about what Trump really wants and more than once have suggested that Trump is looking for an excuse to declare martial law, much the way George W. Bush came to the White House looking for an excuse to invade Iraq. I have supposed that Trump’s true objective has been to make himself a de facto dictator. That may be accurate, but what is hiding in plain sight is that Trump and the evil angel constantly whispering into his ear want to bring America crashing down. They are engineering revolution that will kill our democracy.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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10 Responses to Hiding In Plain Sight
  1. Allan Shuman Reply

    Regarding Paul Winsor’s comment, I think that Trump’s “base” is beyond embarrassment. I believe that the key lies with the “mainstream Republicans,” both in government and in the general population…. those people who support Trump as a means to their political ends rather than those who regard him as their savior. They must come to a point where they recognize that the danger outweighs the political gain…. and as Trump continues to be more and more easily distracted and, well, “wacky,” that possibility increases

    Any attempts aiming at converting the faithful will be futile. They are impervious to evidence or what we may regard as reason. But the “regular” Republicans see Trump as a means to an end. So does Steve Bannon, the puppeteer. But their ends are not the same, and as the craziness increases the hope is that that fact will become so apparent that the “regular” folk will finally raise their collective hands, as Mr. Winsor suggests, and declare “Enough !”

  2. Andrew Rowlas Reply

    Hello, Jack.
    Gratefully I am now receiving once again your blogs. Steve Bannon also is an arch Catholic conservative who belongs to groups who are fighting the Pope on grounds that he is straying away from traditional Catholic teachings.
    Also, some progressives believe that neither American political party is free from the influences of big money and we are being ruled by a “duopoly.”
    Just some thoughts to share with you.
    Thanks and take care.

  3. Steve Grossman Reply

    Excellent, Jack. All true, unfortunately

  4. John Calia Reply

    At the end of the day, perhaps they are striving to create a federal government that is observant of the 10th Amendment to the US Constituion:

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

  5. dominickpalella Reply

    Jack, why do you keep describing our political system as a democracy? Isn’t it more accurately described as an autocratic republic, since we elect people endowed with autonomous authority to rule over us? If we elect individuals to make decisions for us that we have no right to interfere with the first day they take office, how is that democratic? If we want a true democracy, we need to vet and elect people who agree to follow democratic principles, like citizen involvement in their decisions. http://TrueDemocracyNow.org

    • Jack Altschuler Reply

      Of course, you’re right, Dominick: this is a republic, not a pure democracy. As I understand it, the distinction is that the government was to be made up of we the people, not kings, that our elected representatives would generally carry out the will of the people and, thus, rule by the people. The plutocracy we now have isn’t working as we the people want; hence, my call for saving/restoring our democracy, not burning it down.

      • Steve Grossman Reply

        I would call this an oligarchy

        • Steve Grossman Reply

          Winters (2011) p. 26-28. “Aristotle writes that ‘oligarchy is when men of property have the government in their hands… wherever men rule by reason of their wealth, whether they be few or many, that is an oligarchy, and where the poor rule, that is a democracy’.”

          • Jack Altschuler Reply

            The more things change . . .

  6. Paul winsor Reply

    Yes, Steve Bannon is using President Trump as a conduit to achieve his ideological aims. President Trump’s ego will enjoy Bannon’s attaboy whispers in his ear. Trump probably will and is acting on Bannon’s aims. Stopping Republicans in Congress in 2 years and replacing Trump in 4 years is a way to prevent this.

    If Bannon is planning a coup over Congress, judiciary, free press and the people within the next 23 months, then, to succeed, the resistance has to be cunning instead of alarmist.

    Good luck with impeaching Trump by 2018.

    So what cunning things can be done to undermine Bannon’s public relations superiority.

    Many of his voters think he s doing great, just what he said he d do. The government system (protections) is slowing him down. The left is “rallying and screaming” because they lost. So anything negative said by the opposition or resistance improves the PR superiority.

    What would Trump’s people hate more than what they love about Trump now? I think it has to be something that embarrasses them so much they blush, give their head a shake, snap out of it and say enough is enough, this is crazy.

    This is “the emperor has no clothes ” type of scenario.

    Is this a reasonable track?