Editor’s Note: We’re quite certain we’re not your number one political news source. But we’re also pretty certain you know we pay attention to what the fuck is going on. Whether it’s what to eat, drink, surf, skate or listen to — we want you clued in — but it doesn’t stop there. What’s going on right now in the “real world” is way beyond politics. It’s just plain fucked. We are privileged enough to run around this planet a lot and we like to think we encourage equality at all costs. Be it refugees, or middle America. We care about you. Which is why we needed to know just what has happened to the country, especially in recent weeks. We landed at LAX over the weekend and were greeted by a sea of protesters for the second weekend in a row. So we called our political reporter in SF for some clarity. Let’s call her Heleanor S. Thompson, because she definitely has a real job that probably actually pays her for these thoughts. But she’s the only person we know who can help explain the severity of it all. This is what she wrote us. And it didn’t make us feel any better. But knowledge is power. Let’s start there. —Travis
A white supremacist is running the country. No, not Donald Trump (although he’s probably a white supremacist, just not as publicly). I’m referring to the White House Chief Strategist and recently promoted navigator of the National Security Council: Steve Bannon.
Titles aside, if you don’t know who Steve Bannon is, you might be aware of the website he edited for four years before leveling up at the White House: Breitbart. Bannon, a self-described advocate for white nationalism, would define the blog as a conservative, anti-mainstream media, news source. People with souls would define Breitbart (which once hosted a section called “black crime”) as neo-Nazi propaganda. They would prefer to be called the “alternative-right.”
Bannon is your American president. A man who hailed Dick Cheney, Darth Vader, and Satan (in that order) as role models is the unelected purveyor of American policy. And if you haven’t deduced this already, let me be the first to tell you: We’re fucked.
To understand just how fucked we are, let’s take a gander into the sewage system that is “Breitbart News.” When I first started screenshotting ridiculous Breitbart headlines a few years ago, I never thought I would be revisiting them to predict American policy, and yet here we are!
Some lowlights: “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy,” “‘Would you rather your daughter had feminism or cancer?’” “Gay rights have made us dumber, it’s time to get back in the closet,” and “Data: Young Muslims in the West are a ticking time bomb, increasingly sympathizing with radicals, terror.”
Congratulations if you avoided puking on your keyboard. Sorry, it gets worse, because beyond those context-less headlines are budding executive orders waiting to be signed (if they haven’t been already). In his first week in office, Trump defunded grants for domestic abuse victims, suspended aid to nonprofits that discuss abortion, enacted plans to build that stupid fucking wall, banned border entry to Muslims from countries in the Middle East where he doesn’t do business (I’ll get back to this), and flat out denied climate science. Who cares if earth is on its third consecutive hottest year ever? Drill, baby, drill like it’s 2002 and pipelines are bottom lines.
(Relevant and disturbing aside: Trump also joked about having “another chance” to invade Iraq and take their oil during his first official address to the CIA. Joke is one way to term it, threat is another.)
We can reasonably assume that Bannon was at the helm of drafting these orders since the president had real business to attend to after he was sworn in — like whining about the low turnout at his inauguration, personally reprimanding the National Parks Service director for factually representing that crowd size on Twitter, delegitimizing his own election by asserting millions of people voted illegally, and watching Finding Dory with his family. I forgot to add tweeting, which, along with feasting on cable news, is the favorite pastime of our nation’s oldest and second heaviest president.
While the Commander in Chief kicked up his heels during his first weekend in office, Bannon began tightening his puppeteer strings on Trump’s tiny hands.
The president’s Muslim ban was hardly his own idea. Bannon reportedly wrote the executive order himself: It was vetted by approximately zero legislative experts and was previewed by none of the relevant agencies before implementation. The new director of homeland security found out about the order while watching CNN. You can’t make this shit up.
Nothing is more bitterly ironic than the fact that our twisted puppeteer’s last name contains the word ‘ban.’ Except, maybe, that the order banning Syrian refugees from entering the United States was signed on Holocaust Memorial Day.
The White House’s attempt to protect our country from terrorists already prevented some real suspicious characters from entering the country. That is, until a federal judge granted an injunction on the order, permitting the roughly 109 people detained in airports nationally to be released.
We’re talking an especially menacing five-year-old Iranian boy who was traveling to meet his mother in Virginia; a professor; a wheelchair-bound elderly couple from Iran who were also returning to their family; and an Iraqi man who was a translator for the American army that was granted asylum before the ban.
Feel safe yet?
So let’s get back to probably the most terrifying and overlooked story of this past weekend: Bannon’s position on the National Security Council makes him more powerful than the Joint Chiefs of Staff, AKA the generals who run our military. Did I mention that Bannon has also dabbled in producing movies whose plot lines could be summarized in one sentence: Western civilization is under attack.
Bannon loves carnage and willfully creates chaos; he has never tried to hide that. I use the word “carnage” specifically because Trump also used it to describe a bleak perception of reality during his inauguration speech. Regurgitating lines that Bannon again wrote himself, Trump commanded, “this American carnage stops right now,” as if he is the only one who can save us. Trump has a messiah complex that is definitely larger than his hands and actively manipulated by his handlers.
While the so-called “resistance” is mildly inspiring, it fails to recognize a basic tenant of dictatorships: They don’t give a shit about clever signs at a protest because they don’t give a shit about the law. They are above it. After the acting Attorney General refused to defend Trump’s immigration order (since it is un-fucking-constitutional) he fired her and replaced her with someone who would. It’s that easy.
This is not to say you should allow totalitarians to win. Flood the streets. Raise more hell because we’re already here. Donate to the American Civil Liberties Union. Send Trump a fucking postcard explaining how much you loathe him and his bullshit policies. Find a refugee, Muslim, or anyone else who these trolls have marginalized in your community and let them know you will protect them. Throw a brick if necessary.
Resisting, by definition, means refusing to comply. Just like Trump’s administration is above the law, you should be too when it’s morally acceptable. Protesting is legal, organized acts of civil disobedience are not. Start thinking like the Weather Underground.
There is also an exploitable caveat in this regime: Trump is, among many insufferable things, chiefly a narcissist. One who is enraged by something so trivial as the size of his hands, how he is portrayed on SNL, and whether people think he is rich. He’s also still technically president: If he continues to feel this slighted by public opinion, he will lose it, and inevitably be impeached.
Sure, Mike Pence would admittedly be worse by any measure, let’s just cross that bridge when we get to it.
Trump’s first week as president might prove to be the proverbial canary in the coal mine and no one should be surprised: This is what he promised to do. And he will continue to deliver on the “disturbing campaign rhetoric” that people thought he would magically shed the moment he swore an oath. Bannon will continue to pull the strings (with a little assistance from Russia).
But if the American people have one defense (beyond the ACLU), it’s that Trump already broadcasted his cards and Bannon’s vision for America exists like a playbook on Breitbart. A gambler has never cashed in by being predictable.
So I’ll close with truthful, not alternative, facts: Bannon is running this fascist clown show. Trump is his tool. It’s always OK to punch Nazis, it’s even encouraged! We, the youth, are capable of revolution. —Heleanor S. Thompson
Defeating the enemy means researching your enemy. Try these news sites, compare and contrast. This isn’t going away.