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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Vetting Steve Bannon, Trump's strategist

Let it all hang out.

President Donald Trump employs Steve Bannon as his chief strategist. Trump first engaged him as an advisor such that he did not have to have Senate approval. When Trump reorganized the National Security team and promoted Bannon to a seat at the table, that move requires Senate approval and candidate vetting.

The vetting of persons in high places in government are not just an administrative detail. It is done on behalf of citizens to ensure integrity and security.

Using the same process that I recommend in my book, How to Select an American President by James A. George with James A. Rodger (c) 2017 Archway Publishing, consider Steve Bannon.

Who is Steve Bannon? Look at his resume.

The short version of his resume is on Wiki as shown here. (This article uses information from Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Bannon, as people usually check Wiki for information.

Steve Bannon


  • White House Chief Strategist
  • Incumbent Assumed office
  • January 20, 2017
  • President    Donald Trump
  • Preceded by    Position established
  • Senior Counselor to the President
  • Incumbent Assumed office
  • January 20, 2017
  • Serving with Kellyanne Conway, Dina Powell
  • President    Donald Trump
  • Preceded by    John Podesta (2015)
  • Personal details
  • Born    Stephen Kevin Bannon
  • November 27, 1953 (age 63)
  • Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
  • Political party    Republican
  • Spouse(s)    Cathleen Houff Jordan (divorced)
  • Mary Piccard (1995–1997)
  • Diane Clohesy (divorced 2009)
  • Education    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (BA)
  • Georgetown University (MA)
  • Harvard University (MBA)
  • Military service
  • Allegiance United States
  • Service/branch United States Navy
  • Years of service 1976–1983


When I first reviewed it awhile ago, two strengths are apparent: Academic achievement and Military Service. He is intelligent and has demonstrated allegiance to the nation through military service.

Because his employment by the President is at such a high level, much due diligence is appropriate.

Raised in a working-class family, Irish-Catholic, and pro-Kennedy, he graduated from Virginia Tech in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in urban planning and holds a master's degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. In 1985, Bannon received a Master of Business Administration degree with honors from Harvard Business School. This background is relevant and honorable.

Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Pacific Fleet and stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.

Having military service of this type and level is highly-valued for persons in the executive branch of government.

Now, consider what Steve Bannon did upon leaving the US Navy.

After his military service, Bannon worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department. In 1990, Bannon and several colleagues from Goldman Sachs launched Bannon & Co., a boutique investment bank specializing in media. Through Bannon & Co., Bannon negotiated the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment to Ted Turner. As payment, Bannon & Co. accepted a financial stake in five television shows, including Seinfeld. Société Générale purchased Bannon & Co. in 1998.

Now, Steve is on the money with successful investments.

He engaged in environmental research. In 1993, while still managing Bannon & Co., Bannon was made the acting director of the Earth-science research project Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. Under Bannon, the project shifted emphasis from researching space exploration and colonization toward pollution and global warming. He left the project in 1995.

He was successful in the film industry. In the 1990s, Bannon became an executive producer in the Hollywood film and media industry.

He next transitioned from entertainment to politics.

Bannon persuaded Goldman Sachs to invest, in 2006, in a company known as Internet Gaming Entertainment.[38] Following a lawsuit, the company rebranded as Affinity Media and Bannon took over as CEO. From 2007 through 2011, Bannon was the chair and CEO of Affinity Media. During this time, Bannon spoke at the Liberty Restoration Foundation Orlando Florida on the Economic Crisis of 2008, the potential impact on Medicare and Medicaid and his 2010 film Generation Zero.

Bannon was executive chair and co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, where he helped orchestrate the publication of the book Clinton Cash, from its founding in 2012 until he left in August 2016. For the years 2012 through 2015, he received between $81,000 and $100,000 each year; the organization reported that he worked an average of 30 hours per week for the organization.

In 2015, Bannon was ranked No. 19 on Mediaite's list of the "25 Most Influential in Political News Media 2015".

Bannon also hosted a radio show (Breitbart News Daily) on the SiriusXM Patriot satellite radio channel.

His ventures turned to the far right. Bannon was a founding member of the board of Breitbart News, a far-right news, opinion and commentary website which, according to Philip Elliott and Zeke J. Miller of Time, has "pushed racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic material into the vein of the alternative right."

In March 2012, after founder Andrew Breitbart's death, Bannon became executive chair of Breitbart News LLC, the parent company of Breitbart News.

Is Breitbart a primary source of "fake news?"

Fake news websites deliberately publish hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation to drive web traffic inflamed by social media. These sites are distinguished from news satire as fake news articles are usually fabricated to deliberately mislead readers, and profit through clickbait.

The New York Times noted in a December 2016 article that fake news had previously maintained a presence on the Internet and within tabloid journalism in years before the 2016 U.S. election. Before the election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, fake news had not impacted the election process to such a high degree. After the 2016 election, the issue of fake news turned into a political weapon between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; due to these back-and-forth complaints, the definition of fake news as used for such polemics became vaguer.

The answer about Breitbart that I found from another analyst is this.
"On the one hand, Breitbart News Network focuses on stories that denigrate Islam, promote far-right political candidates and attempt to portray left-wing political figures in a poor light. So its viewpoint is fairly clear. 
On the other hand, it’s never pretended to be anything other than a publication designed for an ultraconservative readership, so I give it points for honesty, at least. 
As a reader, I’m not too concerned about whether it (or any publication) is biased. Anything written or produced by humans has a viewpoint. I’m more concerned with knowing what that viewpoint is, so I can take it into account as I read."  
Journalist Andrew Smith

A different and more critical assessment is offered by Mother Jones and NPR.

"They're smarter than your average racist. NPR explains further: 
The views of the alt-right are widely seen as anti-Semitic and white supremacist....Most of its members are young white men who see themselves first and foremost as champions of their own demographic. However, apart from their allegiance to their "tribe," as they call it, their greatest points of unity lie in what they are against multiculturalism, immigration, feminism and, above all, political correctness. 
"They see political correctness really as the greatest threat to their liberty," Nicole Hemmer, University of Virginia professor and author of a forthcoming book Messengers of the Right, explained on Morning Edition. "So, they believe saying racist or anti-Semitic things — it's is not an act of hate, but an act of freedom," she said.
Being racist is "an act of freedom"! Ben Shapiro, a conservative who used to work for Bannon, said this: 
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 [Milo] Yiannopoulos pushing white ethnonationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist meme makers." 
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/11/steve-bannon-racist-lets-find-out
The Senate should interrogate Steve Bannon about his views.


Right-wing extremist

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