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The Resistance accepts Bannon’s declaration of war



The white supremacist Bannon threw down the gantlet the other day to the “opposition party,” which—if he recalls correctly—won the popular vote by a whopping 3 million, making Trump in many respects an illegitimate President.

Bannon, who just last Fall declared his publication, Breitbart, “the platform for the alt.right” with its anti-Semites, homophobes, racists and conspiracy theorists, had trouble separating “the media”—by which he means media critical of his leader, not toadies like Fox “News”—from those of us who are opposed to the current regime. “It’s going to be a fight,” he promised, with regard to his regime’s relations with us. “It’s going to get worse,” as if it could, after this shockingly incompetent rollout. Then he declared, with Hitlerian fury, “If you think they’re going to give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.”

I could almost picture him spewing saliva and slamming his fist into the table.

Speaking for The Resistance, I’m honored to accept Bannon’s challenge. We did not ask for this war, but we gladly, proudly accept it. We fight for our country: its traditional values of openness, honesty, fairness, decency, truth. We fight for the slogan on the Statue of Liberty, we fight for the oppressed and downtrodden who often cannot fight for themselves. We fight for women and their right to control their own bodies. We fight for the LGBT community and the right of transgendered youth to use whatever public bathroom they want. We fight for Mexican immigrants and the humane treatment of their families, even if they’re undocumented. We fight for the environment: our air, our waters, our forests and prairies, and for the critters who lived on this land before we did. We fight for truth—that species that has been put on the endangered list by this pathologically mendacious President. We fight for the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

We fight against the racism Trump revealed during his years of lying about President Obama’s birthplace. We fight against his smearing of Muslims, in a thinly-disguised attempt to rally the most xenophobic white elements of our society. We fight against his embrace of a theocratic, anti-democratic religious sect, militant Christianity, and all the dangers it poses. We fight for scientific inquiry, and against ignorance and superstition. We fight against this regime cutting taxes on the richest among us, including the billionaires he promised to “drain the swamp” of, but who now run his Cabinet. We fight against the “deconstruction” of our foreign policy and the needless antagonism Trump has engendered among friends like Mexico, Canada, Sweden, Great Britain, France and Australia–who’s next? We fight against the secret ties, bordering on treason, between Trump and Putin. We fight against this President’s evident tendency—so common among chicken hawk Republican white men—to instigate overseas wars that will butcher more American kids. We fight against his absurd wall, which will further drain the Treasury of tens of billions of dollars and will accomplish precisely nothing, except to insult Mexicans.

We can work with this President in certain areas, particularly the infrastructure. Repairing our roads, bridges, tunnels, sewer systems, subways and dams is a very Democratic thing to do, which is why we are skeptical at this point that the tea party Congress will vote to fund such a big program. Should such a bill be proposed, Trump can count on the support of Democrats. But I’m not holding my breath that Trump will follow through.

Meanwhile, Steve Bannon, challenge accepted! Bring it on! You rally your folks and we’ll rally ours. We’re ready to roll. Your Congressmen are encountering us wherever they go, in town halls, in the streets, in the hallways of the Capitol, through email. You, Bannon, and your basket of deplorables, and above all your President—not mine—have done something Democrats were unable to do this last cycle: Unite us. And, as the old civil rights saying goes, The People United Will Never Be Defeated!

  1. Brad Smith says:

    Good for you Steve, and thank you! The more that we speak out PUBLICLY, ie not just to our close and allied friends, the better off is the world. Bannon is pure evil. Trump is pure greed. And America is heading towards fascism. I’m in the wine biz, have over a thousand friends on FB, and am extremely vocal without being histrionic or prone to conspiracy theories. Just the facts. I know that many of my acquaintances do not share my views. Even more are afraid of and/or upset by politics. I get into some heavy debates but haven’t lost any FB Friends, which means people are listening.

  2. Thanks, Brad Smith. I really don’t understand why everyone is not upset by this disgusting regime. I think people who voted for him are sticking their heads in the sand. Their egos are preventing them from perceiving the truth.

  3. From The Wall Street Journal
    (February 24, 2017):

    “Some Media Outlets [New York Times, CNN, Politico and BuzzFeed] Excluded From White House Briefing”

    Reporters from several major news outlets, including the New York Times and CNN, were excluded from attending a White House press briefing on Friday, an unusual move that underscores the increasingly strained relations between the new administration and the media.

    The move prompted a sharp rebuke from the White House Correspondents’ Association, which said it “is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House.”

    The White House initially had planned the event as an on-camera briefing with press secretary Sean Spicer in the briefing room but later restricted it to a smaller, off-camera gathering in Mr. Spicer’s office.

    While holding a smaller press briefing isn’t unusual, the White House broke from protocol in barring journalists from the New York Times, CNN, Politico and BuzzFeed — which have been criticized by President Donald Trump and his administration for their reporting — from the event. Reporters from the Associated Press and Time Magazine boycotted the event in protest of how it was handled.

    “Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet said in a statement. “Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”

    Politico said in a statement: “Selectively excluding news organizations from White House briefings is misguided, and our expectation is that this action will not be repeated.”

    A Wall Street Journal reporter attended the briefing, along with representatives of other news organizations, including ABC, CBS, Bloomberg, Fox News, Breitbart News, the Washington Times and One America News Network.

    Journal editors said the paper was unaware that other outlets were being excluded from the session.

    “The Wall Street Journal strongly objects to the White House’s decision to bar certain media outlets from today’s gaggle. Had we known at the time, we would not have participated and we will not participate in such restricted briefings in the future,” said a statement from Dow Jones, which publishes the Journal.
    CBS News said it was serving as the TV and radio pool outlet for the event and felt obligated to attend on behalf of other news outlets. Bloomberg News also said it was a member of the press pool and that its reporter only became aware that other outlets had been barred from attending just as the event was beginning.

    When asked during the briefing why some outlets weren’t allowed in and whether it was a punitive move aimed at outlets that have offered critical coverage of the president, Mr. Spicer defended the administration’s efforts at accessibility.

    “We have shown an abundance of accessibility and have brought more reporters into this process,” he said. “We’ve gone above and beyond in making our briefing room more accessible than any prior administration.”

    The White House did invite to the briefing representatives of the press pool, a small group of journalists who take turns covering White House events and who share their reporting with a larger group of media outlets.

    The briefing exclusions happened just hours after President Trump’s repeated criticisms of the media as an “enemy of the people” at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He has maintained an antagonistic relationship with the media, which his top advisers have referred to publicly as an “opposition party.” The president and administration officials have routinely dismissed critical stories as “fake news.”

    “Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like,” CNN said in a statement.

  4. From The Wall Street Journal
    (February 26, 2017):

    “Donald Trump to Skip White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner”

    Having denounced several leading news organizations​ as the “enemy of the people,” President Donald Trump on Saturday said he won’t mingle with any members of the press at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

    Mr. Trump tweeted that he won’t attend the April 29 event, though he didn’t give a reason. “Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” he wrote. Presidents typically speak at the dinner, a major event on the Washington social calendar.

    Asked about the president’s reason for skipping the dinner, White House press deputy Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”: “I think it’s kind of naive of us to think we can all walk into a room for a couple of hours and pretend that some of that tension isn’t there. You know, one of the things we say in the South: ‘If a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her?’”

    The last president not to appear at the event was Ronald Reagan, who in 1981 was recovering from injuries he received from an assassination attempt. Mr. Reagan addressed the dinner by phone, though.

    “If I could give you just one little bit of advice: When somebody tells you to get in a car quick, do it,” Mr. Reagan said, referring to John Hinckley Jr.’s attempt to kill him outside the Washington Hilton, the same venue where the press dinner is held.

    Mr. Trump seemed to leave open the possibility of participating in future dinners: his tweet notes that he won’t be attending “this year.”

    The correspondents’ dinner is an annual Washington ritual that has evolved over the years into an A-list social event complete with pre-parties and after-parties. Hollywood celebrities mix with reporters, members of Congress, White House officials, lobbyists and cabinet secretaries in an evening dubbed the “nerd prom.” Gawkers line up at the Washington Hilton to take pictures of arriving guests.

    Presidents typically deliver a speech, with guests in formal wear lifting a glass to the commander-in-chief.

    While the dinner has drawn complaints about apparent coziness between government officials and the press, it also serves as a forum for awarding scholarships and honoring exceptional journalism.

    Mr. Trump’s announcement comes at a tense moment in White House-press relations. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, Mr. Trump said, “We are fighting the fake news. It’s fake—phony, fake.”

    That same day, the White House held a press briefing and didn’t invite several news outlets, including the New York Times and CNN, whom Mr. Trump has singled out for criticism.

    A Wall Street Journal reporter attended the briefing, but the publication wasn’t aware at the time that other outlets had been excluded.

    Dow Jones, which publishes the Journal, said in a statement that “had we known at the time, we would not have participated and we will not participate in such restricted briefings in the future.”

    In a statement after Mr. Trump’s tweet, Jeff Mason, the WHCA president, said the dinner would go forward without Mr. Trump.

    “The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump’s announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic,” Mr. Mason wrote.

    It isn’t clear if Vice President Mike Pence plans to attend. Mr. Pence’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Several senior White House officials plan to be there, the White House said.

    The Wall Street Journal plans to attend the dinner.

    Tensions between the news media and the Trump White House have sparked a debate about whether the dinner should proceed and follow the same format.

    Some outlets that routinely attend the dinner have considered backing out or canceling after-parties. Comedian Samantha Bee has said she would host an alternate dinner on the same night at a different venue and donate proceeds to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    One administration aide said there had been internal talk about whether Mr. Trump should attend the dinner. Mr. Trump was in the audience for the WHCA dinner in 2011, when then-President Barack Obama tossed a few barbs his way.

    Mr. Obama lampooned Mr. Trump for questioning whether he was born in the U.S. Having released his long-form birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii, Mr. Obama quipped that Mr. Trump “can finally get back to focusing on issues that matter like: did we fake the moon landing.”

    Calvin Coolidge was the first president to attend the dinner, showing up in 1924, according to the correspondents’ association website. No less a critic of the media than Richard Nixon also appeared at the event.

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