ACTION ALERT: Stop Bannon's Plan to Destroy Cabinet Agencies and Wage War on the Press
February 25, 2017
The Daily Kos & Hon. Nancy Pelosi / US House of Representatives & Lynn Elber / Associated Press & Leslie Salzillo / The Daily Kos
At the CPAC convention, Stephen Bannon, the Chief Advisor and intellectual heft behind the Twittering infant that sits in the Oval Office admitted that Trump's cabinet appointees were selected, not to lead the agencies, but to destroy them. Bannon also escalated his rhetorical war on the free press, warning that, under the Trump administration, "It's going to get worse every day for the media."
Bannon Admits Trump's Cabinet Nominees Were Selected To Destroy Their Agencies
The Daily Kos
(February 23, 2017) -- At CPAC this week Stephen Bannon, the Chief Advisor and intellectual heft behind the Twittering infant that sits in the Oval Office, provided a little glimpse of the future he has planned for all of us.
In the clearest explanation for why nearly all of Trump's cabinet choices are known mostly for despising and attacking the very Federal agencies they've been designated to lead, Bannon explained -- in very clear language--that they weren't appointed to lead these agencies, but to destroy them:
Atop Trump's agenda, Bannon said, was the "deconstruction of the administrative state" -- meaning a system of taxes, regulations and trade pacts that the president and his advisers believe stymie economic growth and infringe upon one's sovereignty.
"If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction," Bannon said. He posited that Trump's announcement withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership was "one of the most pivotal moments in modern American history."
The crippling or wholesale elimination of Federal agencies that ensure we receive such things as clean air, clean water, fair labor laws, fair housing standards, anti-discrimination laws, financial protections, food and drug safety, national education standards and the like, has been a goal of far-right "thinkers" for decades.
The rationale, propagated by corporate and industry-funded think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, has always been that that the existence of these "unelected" agencies represents a mortal threat to American "sovereignty and self-government." This is exactly the line Bannon was peddling at CPAC today. It is delusional, right-wing garbage.
The reality is that these extensions of the Executive Branch -- the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education, for example -- exist to serve the interests of all the American people, performing the painstaking and complex task of regulating the very things that make all Americans' lives worth living.
They perform this function because history has clearly shown that neither the Congress nor the states are remotely up to the task of doing it. They have neither the time, the expertise, the manpower, or the ability to handle such mammoth responsibilities in a country of 330 million people.
For example, these are the Department of Labor's core functions:
The purpose of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
In carrying out this mission, the Department of Labor administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws and thousands of federal regulations. These mandates and the regulations that implement them cover many workplace activities for about 10 million employers and 125 million workers.
When EPA responds to a massive toxic waste spill or a Deepwater Horizon explosion, or simply tells a coal company that it can't pollute the surrounding air and water with its carcinogens, it is taking on a task on behalf of all Americans, not just the locals who happen to be affected.
When the Department of Health and Human Services administers a nationwide program of medical care for the elderly, it is responding to the needs of all Americans, not just the well-off.
The nature of "Federal" agencies is just that -- to preserve uniformity throughout the country so that (in theory at least) no single state or locality is treated with preference over others. The hundreds of thousands of people who work for these agencies are there because of their expertise and their dedication. They are not politicians. They are not "elected." But they do work for all of us.
Bannon knows that there is no realistic substitute for these Federal agencies. When Bannon talks about dismantling the "Administrative state," what he's really talking about is allowing corporations and industry the absolute right to do whatever they want, whenever and wherever they want, regardless of its harmful impact on American citizens.
"Deconstruction," in the pie-in-the sky fevered dreams of the Heritage Foundation, means exactly what it sounds like, as the report linked above illustrates -- a process by which no Agency regulation for protection of the public may occur without Congressional approval.
In practice, with the current composition of the Republican-dominated Congress, this amounts to complete corporate predation, the absolute elimination of our ability as citizens to halt corporate malfeasance. In essence, he's talking about corporate-enforced slavery, aided and abetted by a Congress corrupted through and through with corporate largesse.
Bannon is a fanatic, a clear and present danger to the America we all know and care about. Unfortunately, his fanaticism, poured into the ear of someone as fundamentally incurious and vain as Donald Trump, brings us closer to the wholesale destruction of this country than any of us could have expected in our lifetimes.
ACTION ALERT: War on the Truth:
Bannon Aims to Destroy the Free Press
Steve Bannon's speech at CPAC yesterday was TERRIFYING
Hon. Nancy Pelosi / US House of Representatives
(February 24, 2017) -- Steve Bannon's speech at CPAC yesterday was terrifying. Bannon stood up and declared a war on the media and facts. He actually called the media the "opposition party."
This is disturbing. Bannon is trying to undermine the press. He's the same guy who's said the media should "keep its mouth shut." Now he's trying to persuade conservatives to follow him.
Bannon is trying to undermine the press so the Trump Administration can skirt accountability and avoid telling the truth. But a free press is protected by the Constitution. We can't let the alt-right undermine it.
The media is not an adversary. We rely on it to hold leaders accountable. Add your name to stand up to Bannon and stand up for the truth.
This year at CPAC, Steve Bannon stood up on stage and called the media the "opposition party." His animosity for freedom of the press is terrifying. Bannon is trying to undermine the press so the Trump administration can skirt accountability and avoid telling the truth. We need to hold them more accountable than ever.
Sign below to stand up to Bannon.
ACTION: We need to take a stand. Bannon and his war on the media and facts needs to end. Sign here to stake a stand.
White House Bars Major News
Outlets from Informal Briefing
Lynn Elber / Associated Press
WASHINGTON, DC (February 24, 2017) -- News organizations including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and Politico were blocked from joining an informal, on-the-record White House press briefing Friday.
The Associated Press chose not to participate in the briefing after White House press secretary Sean Spicer restricted the number of journalists included. Typically, the daily briefing is televised and open to all news organizations credentialed to cover the White House.
"The AP believes the public should have as much access to the president as possible," Lauren Easton, the AP's director of media relations, said in a statement.
On Friday, hours after President Donald Trump delivered a speech blasting the media, Spicer invited only a pool of news organizations that represents and shares reporting with the larger press corps. He also invited several other major news outlets, as well as smaller organizations including the conservative Washington Times, One America News Network and Breitbart News, whose former executive chairman, Steve Bannon, is Trump's chief strategist. When the additional news organizations attempted to gain access, they weren't allowed to enter.
The White House said it felt "everyone was represented" by those in the pool and the invited organizations.
"We decided to add a couple of additional people beyond the pool. Nothing more than that," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
When asked by a reporter attending whether he was playing favorites, Spicer said the White House had "shown an abundance of accessibility," according to an audio recording of the briefing later circulated by the pool.
The pool included Reuters, Bloomberg, CBS, Hearst Newspapers and CBS Radio. Others in the briefing were Fox, NBC and ABC. Bloomberg reported that its reporter was unaware of the exclusions until after the briefing.
John Roberts, Fox's chief White House correspondent, told anchor Shepard Smith on the air Friday that Fox supports complaints being filed by the White House Correspondents Association and pool TV networks.
"You can speculate, Shep, that there might be some extenuating circumstances as to why those people were not invited, we're going to look into that further . . . ." Roberts said.
In a statement, the correspondent association's president, Jeff Mason, said the group was "protesting strongly" against how the briefing was handled by the White House.
CBS News said in a statement that it was the pool's radio and TV outlet Friday. "We recorded audio of this event and quickly shared it out of an obligation to protect the interests of all pool members," the news division said.
When Spicer was asked by a reporter at the briefing whether he was playing favorites, he said he "disagreed with the premise of the question," according to the audio.
"We've brought more reporters into this process. And the idea that every time that every single person can't get their question answered or fit in a room that we're excluding people. We've actually gone above and beyond with making ourselves, our team, and our briefing room more accessible than probably any prior administration. And so I think you can take that to the bank.
"We do what we can to accommodate the press. I think we've gone above and beyond when it comes to accessibility, and openness and getting folks -- our officials, our team."
During a panel discussion last December, Spicer said that open access for the media is "what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship."
Reaction to Friday's events from the barred outlets and others was swift. Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief and publisher of the Los Angeles Times, called the newspaper's exclusion "unfortunate."
"The public has a right to know, and that means being informed by a variety of news sources, not just those filtered by the White House press office in hopes of getting friendly coverage," Maharaj said in a statement. "Regardless of access, the Times will continue to report on the Trump administration without fear or favor."
Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, said that "nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties. We strongly protest the exclusion of The New York Times and the other news organizations. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest."
CNN's Jake Tapper took aim at the White House as he kicked off "The Lead with Jake Tapper" hours after the briefing.
"A White House that has had some difficulty telling the truth and that has seemed to have trouble getting up to speed on the basic competent functioning of government, and a president who seems particularly averse to any criticism and has called the press the enemies of the American people -- they're taking the next step in attempting to avoid checks and balances and accountability.
"It's not acceptable. In fact, it's petulant, and indicative of a lack of basic understanding of how an adult White House functions," Tapper said.
The Committee to Protect Journalists also condemned the move by the White House.
"We are concerned by the decision to bar reporters from a press secretary briefing," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in a statement. "The U.S. should be promoting press freedom and access to information."
Elber reported from Los Angeles. AP Writer Frazier Moore in New York contributed to this report. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Bannon Makes Stunning Threat to Media:
"We're Going to Make It Worse for You Every Day"
Leslie Salzillo / The Daily Kos
(February 23, 2017) -- On Thursday, during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon admitted Donald Trump's goal (Bannon's goal) in appointing new precarious cabinet members to head protective government agencies like the EPA -- is to dismantle and "deconstruct" those organizations altogether. You can read that Daily Kos story here.
On the same day, during a joint CPAC press conference with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Bannon threatened the media with a quote that is undeniably one of the most odious and perilous public statements made against the free press by a White House official, on record. Chris Cillizza with The Washington Post cites Bannon.
"It's going to get worse every day for the media," Bannon said, insisting that the "corporatist" media would continue to see Trump pursue exactly the sort of economic nationalism that journalism allegedly despises. Then he added this call to arms: "If you think they are giving you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken."
Cillizza says the message from Bannon was unmistakable: The enemy of Donald Trump and his team, is not really the Democratic Party, it's the media. He adds that presidential administrations and the press have often experienced adversarial positions.
But what Bannon and, by extension, Trump are up to is something very different than simply an adversarial working relationship with the media. Bannon doesn't want to change the media. He wants to totally dismantle the media. He wants to break its back and leave it for dead by the side of the road.
What is somewhat ironic, more than disturbing, and almost comical, is that Bannon is telling reputable reporters, including those at the Washington Post, that the White House plans to destroy them. And rather than stand up to him, reporters rush back to their laptops to write up the story, staying respectfully neutral, while indirectly serving as a right wing echo chamber.
Bannon and Trump are using the press to threaten and berate -- the press. When will the press, in unity, tell Bannon and Trump, to respectfully go fuck themselves? It's obvious Bannon and Trump desperately need the press to survive.
The mobster-like headman incessantly use the press every day, and seem to forget that it was the media that held their hands throughout the 2016 campaign and essentially walked them into the Oval Office.
So why do most of the press/media accept the degradation, which has become constant, and why do they keep going back for more? Something has to give, because Trump and his cast of hate-filled, lying fear mongers, should not be allowed to use American media as a beacon for tyranny. What's that saying Dr. Phil likes to use?
"We teach people how to treat us."
Meanwhile, Steve Bannon, the man who Time Magazine labels the "The Great Manipulator," is living up to that name as he continues to feed, build, and control conservative extremist news rags like Breitbart. Most everything that goes out to Donald Trump's base of fanatics is calculated, right-wing, and dangerously anger-provoking insidious information.
This country was built on liberty and freedom. The very core of our First Amendment is free speech. When we see what appears to be a 'President Bannon' -- and Donald Trump seek to destroy the free press/media, they seek to destroy American democracy and that should be unacceptable on all accounts.
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