Steve Bannon seems to share the same position of Rasputin, the Mad Monk, Bismarck, the inventor of Realpolitik, and Karl Rove, in his ability to manipulate, a Western head of state. In this case Donald Trump, President of the United States. Bannon is a shady Right-wing operative who took over the Breitbart Network after what George Packer in The Unwinding: An Inner History Of The New America (2013) write that on March 1, 2012, in the full flame of glory, less than a year after scoring his biggest coup in the shape of Congressman Anthony Weiner's erect penis self-photographed behind gray briefs, shortly after leaving an evening of wine and talk in a Brentwood bar, Andrew Breitbart collapsed from heart failure and died at age forth-three. Bannon took over the ownership/management of Breitbart News as the heir-apparent to Andrew Breitbart.
BACK TO THE FUTURE WITH A TRUMP CLONE
In the Forward to Laurence Rees' The Nazis: A Warning from History (1997) historian Ian Kershaw write that history does not directly repeat itself. But ‘ethnic cleansing’ and racist-nationalist war in the former Yugoslavia, and the potential for catastrophe in the unstable remnants of the one-time Soviet Union, give scant grounds for comfort in today's Europe.
Only in knowledge, as the philosopher Karl Jaspers declared, can the recurrence of the evils which Nazism embodied be prevented. Perhaps we ought to add: together with the readiness, coming from knowledge, to defend inroads into freedom and to reject nationalist and racist intolerance before it is too late.
Laurence Rees in the Introduction to The Nazis adds his jeremiad to Kershaw's. After listening to one of his former Nazi interlocutors who stated that only now, with the fall of Communism and the democratization of his country, was he free to tell his story. What this man said (and he was just one of the many, many interviewees we filmed over the last three years) was repugnant, but it was important. We must listen to what such people say in an attempt to understand how Nazism was possible. In the words of the German-born philosopher Karl Jaspers: 'That which has happened is a warning. To forget it is guilt. It must be continually remembered. It was possible for this to happen, and it remains possible for it to happen again at any minute. Only in knowledge can it be prevented.'
Rees declares that it has never been more important than now, as the twentieth century ends, for us to remember Nazism and listen to the memories of those who experienced it. [And Americans have elected a president who patterned his election campaign on the great Fascists dictators of the 1920s (Mussolini) and 1930 (Hitler himself).]
Rees posits that for many years, certainly in the arena of 'popular' history, there has been a concentration on the character of Hitler (there are more biographies of Hitler than any man who has ever lived) and an approach to the history of this period through his psychological make-up. But this has meant that, for many, the Nazi period can be easily dismissed; since there will never be another human being with the same genetic constituents as Hitler, they argue, we are all safe. Many Germans have been able to say, in effect, "We fell under Hitler's spell' and so absolve themselves of responsibility. By looking at the workings of the Nazi state, and, only where relevant, the character of Adolf Hitler, a very different and more disturbing picture emerges--a picture in which there was massive voluntary collaboration with the Nazi regime; in which many Germans were happy and content under Nazi rule in the 1930s; in which members of the Nazi elite lied when, after the war, they claimed they were 'acting under orders'; in which thousands eagerly profited from the downfall of the Jews; in which a majority of Germans in 1932 knowingly voted for parties committed to overthrowing German democracy.
Individual Germans and their allies must take responsibility for all this and more. In our interviews many did. The story they told is not a comfortable one and it cannot easily be brushed aside, for in the end Nazism, a creed born in Germany, brought into the world new knowledge of how low human beings can sink. Hitler did not do this on his own.
Could something similar happen again somewhere in the World? I am with Karl Jaspers: 'it remains possible for it to happen again at any minute.'
News that Steve Bannon, White House Chief Strategist, is being removed from the National Security Council is a signal the NSC is being transformed back to a more traditional structure, according to two Iowa political scientists.
During this hour of River to River, Jim McCormick and Wayne Moyer join host Ben Kieffer.
"I see it as moving away from more of a populist approach to foreign policy and much more towards a traditional security approach to foreign policy," says Moyer, who is Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College.
Not only has Bannon been removed, but intelligence leaders will return to the council along with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
Jim McCormick, Political Science Professor at Iowa State University, says the move is likely a manifestation of National Security Advisor H.R. McMasters' influence.
"This is really the traditional foreign policy types taking over," says McCormick.
The two also agree that the path forward to address the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons will be difficult. The U.N's National Security Council could invoke the "responsibility to protect doctrine," although Russia's seat on the Council makes that unlikely.
"It really is up to the international community and the Trump administration to step up to take some action here," says McCormick. The Trump administration has said combating ISIS is the more demanding concern in Syria. A "safe zone," or "no-fly zone," could be imposed, "but that would involve American commitment," says McCormick. "I'm not sure that the Trump administration is ready to make that commitment."
Moyer agrees and says President Obama was reluctant to put U.S. troops on the ground, or to aid rebel groups because they were allied with Al Qaeda.
"I think Trump will also be extremely reluctant to put American troops on the ground, and I think he may also feel some constraints in terms of giving aid to the rebels," says Moyer. "One thing that is different is that Obama at least was very much opposed to the Assad regime. Trump has not shown that so far, and I suspect there will be a change on his part to show more opposition to the Assad regime." http://iowapublicradio.org/post/bannon-removed-national-security-co...
Steve Bannon and Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner appear to be battling it out for influence at the White House these days. Don’t count Bannon out yet. He’s a man on a mission. Inspired by a dire view of what’s coming. Bannon’s a big fan of the book “The Fourth Turning,” which says it’s time for a global catastrophe – war, economic collapse – to clear gridlock and start again. We’ve got the author, and a critic. This hour On Point, reading Steve Bannon’s bible. — Tom Ashbrook
Neil Howe, author, historian, demographer and consultant. Co-author, with William Strauss, of "The Fourth Turning" and "Generations." Founding partner and president of LifeCourse Associates. Managing director of demography at the investment research firm Hedgeye and president of Saeculum. (@howegeneration)
Washington Post: Where did Steve Bannon get his worldview? From my book. — "Reflecting on the decade we’ve just lived through, we can probably agree that the 1930s parallel works well. In the economy, both decades played out in the shadow of a global financial crash, and were characterized by slow and disappointing economic growth and chronic underemployment of labor and capital. Both saw tepid investment, deflation fears, growing inequality and the inability of central bankers to rekindle consumption."
TIME: Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon and the Coming Crisis in American Nat... — "Strauss and Howe’s major prediction has now obviously come true: Few would deny that the U.S. has been in a serious political crisis for some time, marked by intense partisan division, a very severe recession, war abroad and, above all, a breakdown in the ties between the country and its political establishment."This program aired on April 11, 2017.
STEVE BANNON'S BIBLE
The book that has influenced Steve Bannon's ideology is William Strauss and Neil Howe's The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy (1997). And in Donald Trump, Bannon has found an acolyte. This willingness on Trump's part to "believe" can be found in the fact that Fred Trump and his son Donald were faithful attendants of the Marble Collegiate Church pastured by the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale, whose philosophy was "the power of positive thinking." The Fourth Turning is basically a popular history, thereby a myth, of White American historicism leaving out, or glossing-over, all the shameful stuff such as the massacre of Native Americans, slavery, segregation and imperialism.
In Chapter One: "Winter Comes Again," Strauss and Howe write what George Packer echoes in 2013 in The Unwinding: "America feels like it's unraveling." Strauss and Howe post that though we live in an era of relative peace and comfort, we have settled into a mood of pessimism about the long-term future, fearful that our superpower nation is somehow rotting from within.
Neither an epic victory over Communism nor an extended upswing of the business
Cycle can buoy our public spirit. The Cold War and New Deal struggles are plainly over, but we are of no mind to bask in their successes. The America of today feels worse, in its fundamentals, than the one many of us [White people] remember from youth, a society presided over by those of supposedly lesser consciousness. Wherever we look, from L.A. to D.C., from Oklahoma City to Sun City, we see paths to a foreboding future. We yearn for civic character but satisfy ourselves with symbolic gestures and celebrity circuses. We perceive no greatness in our leaders, a new meanness in ourselves. Small wonder that each new election brings a new jolt, its aftermath a new disappointment.
Not long ago, America was more than the sum of its parts. Now, it is less. Around World War II, we were proud as a people but modest as individuals. Fewer than two people in ten said yeas when asked, Are you a very important person? Today, more than six in ten say yes. Where we once thought ourselves collectively strong, we now regard ourselves as individually entitled.
Yet even while we exalt our own personal growth, we realize that millions of self-actualized persons don't add up to an actualized society. Popular trust in virtually every American institution--from businesses and governments to churches and newspapers--keeps falling to new lows. Public debts soar, the middle class shrinks, welfare dependencies deepen, and cultural arguments worsen by the year. We now have the highest incarceration rate and the lowest eligible-voter participation rate of any major democracy. Statistics inform us that many adverse trends (crime, divorce, abortion, scholastic aptitudes) may have bottomed out, but we're not reassured.
Optimism still attaches to self, but no longer to family or community. Most Americans express more hope for their own prospects than for their children's--or the nation's. Parents widely fear that the American Dream, which was there (solidly) for their parents and still there (barely) for them, will not be there for their kids. Young householders are reaching their mid-thirties never having known a time when America seemed to be on the right track. Middle-aged people look at their thin savings accounts and slim-to-none pensions, scoff at an illusory Social Security trust fund, and try not to dwell on what a burden their old age could become. Seniors separate into their own Leisure World, recoiling at the lost virtue of youth while trying not to think about the future.
We perceive our civic challenge as some vast, insoluble Rubik's Cube. Behind each problem lies another problem that must be solved first, and behind that lies yet another, and another, and ad infinitum. To fix crime we have to fix the family, but before we do that we have to fix welfare, and that means fixing our budget, and that means fixing the inner cities, and that's impossible unless we fix crime. There's no fulcrum on which to rest a policy lever. People of all ages sense that something huge will have to sweep across America before the gloom can be lifted--but that's an awareness we suppress. As a nation, we're in deep denial.
[However, Bill Clinton's "fulcrum" of the pen took care of all these social indices union busting--poverty and discrimination--which insured that White lives have not mattered since the 1980s--and as a subset neither have black, brown, or red lives.]
While we grope for answers, we wonder if analysis may be crowding out our intuition. Like the anxious patient who takes seventeen kinds of medicine while poring over his own CAT scan, we find it hard to stop and ask, What is the underlying malady really about? How can we best bring the primal forces of nature to our assistance? Isn't there a choice lying somewhere between total control and total despair? Deep down, beneath the tangle of trend lines, we suspect that our history or biology or very humanity must have something simple and important to say to us. But we don't know what it is. If we once did know, we have since forgotten.
Wherever we're headed, America is evolving in ways most of us don't like or understand. Individually focused yet collectively adrift, we wonder if we're heading toward a waterfall.
If you listen to Trump's "Make America Great Again" speeches they sound very much like echoes of talking points from Strauss and Howe's The Fourth Turning.
IT'S ALL HAPPENED BEFORE
Like Kershaw and Rees, Strauss and Howe believe that the reward of the historian is to locate patterns that recur over time and to discover the natural rhythms of social experience. However, Strauss and Howe believe that at the core of modern history lies this remarkable pattern: Over the past five centuries, Anglo-American society has entered a new era--a new turning--every two decades or so. At the start of each turning, people change how they feel about themselves, the culture, the nation, and the future. Turnings come in cycles of four. Each cycle spans the length of a long human life, roughly eighty to one hundred years, and a unit of time the ancients called the saeculum. Together, the four turnings of the saeculum comprise history's seasonal rhythm of growth, maturation, entropy, and destruction:
nThe First Turning is a High, and upbeat era of strengthening institutions and weakening individualism, when a new civic order implants and the old values regime decays.
nThe Second Turning is an Awakening, a passionate era of spiritual upheaval, when the civic order comes under attack from a new values regime.
nThe Third Turning is an Unraveling, a downcast era of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions, when the old civic order decays and the new values regime implants.
nThe Fourth Turning is a Crisis, a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one.
Each turning comes with its own identifiable mood. Always, these mood shifts catch people by surprise.
In the current saeculum, the First Turning was the American High of the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy presidencies. As World War II would down, no one predicted that America would soon become so confident and institutionally muscular, yet so conformist and spiritually complacent. But that's what happened.
The Second turning was the Consciousness Revolution, stretching from the campus revolts of the mid-1960s to the tax revolts of the early 1980s. Before John Kennedy was assassinated, no one predicted that America was about to enter an era of personal liberation and cross a cultural divide that would separate anything thought or said after from anything thought or said before. But that's what happened.
The Third Turning has been the culture Wars, an era that began with Reagan's mid-1980s Morning in America and is due to expire around the middle of the Oh-Oh decade, eight or ten years from now. Amid the glitz of the early Reagan years, no one predicted that the nation was entering an era of national drift and institutional decay. But that's where we are.
The Fourth Turning is history's great discontinuity. It ends one epoch and begins another.
Strauss and Howe posit that history is seasonal, and winter is coming. Like nature's winter, the saeculum winter can come early or late. A Fourth Turning can be long and difficult, brief but severe, or (perhaps) mild. But, like winter, it cannot be averted. It must come in its turn.
Here, in summary, is what the rhymes of modern history warn about America's future.
The next Fourth turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium, midway through the Oh-Oh decade. Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the lank, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation, and empire. Yet this time of trouble will bring seeds of social rebirth. Americans will share a regret about recent mistakes--and a resolute new consensus about what to do. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.
The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort--in other words, a total war. Every Forth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind's willingness to use it. In the Civil war, the two capital cities would surely have incinerated each other had the means been at hand. In World War II, American invented a new technology of annihilation, which the nation swiftly put to use. This time, America will enter a Fourth Turning with the means to inflict unimaginable horrors and, perhaps, will confront adversaries who possess the same.
Yet Americans will also enter the Fourth Turning with a unique opportunity to achieve a new greatness as people. Many despair that values that were new in the 1960s are today so entwined with social dysfunction and cultural decay that they can no longer lead anywhere positive. Through the current Unraveling era, that is probably true. But in the crucible of Crisis, that will change. As the old civic order gives way, Americans will have to create a new one. This will require a values consensus and, to administer it, the empowerment of a strong new political regime. If all goes well, there could be a renaissance of civic trust, and more: Today's Third turning problems--that Rubik's Cube of crime, race, money, family, culture, and ethics--will snap into a fourth turning solution. America's post-Crisis answers will be as organically interconnected as today's per-Crisis questions seem hopelessly tangled. By the 2020s, America could become a society that is good, by today's standards, and also one that works.
Thus might the next Fourth turning end in apocalypse--or glory. The nation could be ruined, its democracy destroyed, and millions of people scattered or killed. Or America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying shared values to improve the human condition. The rhythms of history do not reveal the outcome of the coming Crisis; all they suggest is the timing and dimension.
Strauss and Howe declare that we cannot stop the seasons of history, but we can prepare for them. Right now, in 1997, we have eight, ten, perhaps a dozen more years to get ready. Then events will begin to take choices out of our hands. Yes, winter is coming, but our path through that winter is up to us.
History's howling storms can bring out the worst and best in a society. The next Fourth turning could literally destroy us as a nation and people, leaving us cursed in the histories of those who endure and remember. Alternatively, it could ennoble our lives, elevate us as a community, and inspired acts of consummate heroism--deeds that will grow into myth-like legends recited by our heirs far into the future.
"There is a mysterious cycle in human events," President Franklin Roosevelt observed in the depths of the Great Depression. "To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation has a rendezvous with destiny." The cycle remains mysterious, but need not come as a total surprise. Though the scenario and outcome are uncertain, the schedule is set: The next Fourth Turning--American's next rendezvous with destiny--will begin in roughly ten years and end in roughly thirty.
How can we offer this prophecy with such confidence? Because it's all happened before. Many times.
4:09April 18, 20174:32 PM ET
44:22April 20, 20173:28 PM ET
As the first American president to be elected with no prior political or military experience, President Trump has had to adapt quickly to the responsibilities of public office.
"The magnitude of the job is sinking in for him," White House correspondent Maggie Haberman says. "The degree to which whatever he does is going to impact millions of people and the responsibility of that is slowly settling in."
Haberman has been covering Trump since the early 2000s, when she worked for The New York Post and The New York Daily News. In 2015, she joined The New York Times, where she covered the Trump campaign before moving on to the White House.
Haberman describes the president as a homebody who hates interpersonal conflict. Looking ahead, she predicts that the reported feud between Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and strategist Steve Bannon will not result in Bannon's dismissal any time soon. "The 'you're fired' guy actually ... really doesn't like firing people and, generally speaking, will try to leave it to other people," Haberman says.
On what it's like inside Trump's Oval Office
We have not seen this leaky a White House in my memory, in forever, just in terms of the back and forth. And he surrounds himself, and always has, with people who are very focused and interested on the personnel issues. ...
His chief of staff, Reince Priebus ... is in a very unusual role, in terms of what we have seen of a White House chief of staff in the past. We're used to a White House chief of staff playing something of a traditional gatekeeper role. Trump doesn't like gatekeepers. Trump's office style is much more Grand Central Station than therapist's couch, like the door is always open; people come in and out. When my colleague Glenn Thrush and I did an Oval Office interview about two weeks ago, people were just constantly moving in and out. It was really a cast of thousands it felt like.
On why she thinks Trump hasn't yet made any trips abroad
He is uncomfortable sleeping outside of his own bed, which I know sounds strange to say about a 70-year-old leader of the free world, but you're talking about somebody who during the campaign, most nights — not every night and there were times when it was not feasible — but he would fly home from pretty far distances. ... He would fly home to sleep in his own bed. He is a homebody, and he's incredibly provincial and he is approaching the job in that way.
I do think that his preference is never going to be being far from home. The thing that I keep hearing about this president over and over from people close to him is he's very lonely. He is unused to living alone. He has always had someone living with him. He is on his third marriage. He has a young son. He spent, as I said, almost every night in his own bed, it wasn't just about his own bed — it was about the familiarity of his family.
On reporting on Trump for The New York Post and The New York Daily News as he became a celebrity in the 2000s
Trump was in frequent contact with Page Six, the gossip page at The New York Post, which I think played a pretty big part in introducing him to the city and then the country at large. He was very used to a type of story approach on Page Six where he maintained good relationships with them, and he recognized that he was sort of a commodity in terms of gossip gold.
But in terms of stories that were about him, it was either things like ... him holding a press conference to say that he wanted to rebuild the Twin Towers. It was usually in the realm of stunt, because that's really what he was doing. In the 2000s ... that was really when he moved out of being a real-estate developer and into the celebrity realm, so it was a different kind of Donald Trump, but he was omnipresent.
On how Trump's way of talking has changed over the years
His vocabulary was more specific. When he was in an area that he actually knew and understood and had some sort of emotional and intellectual connection to, he was more at ease, and it was reflected in how he would talk. Even now, frankly, when you get him talking about business or you get him talking about real estate, he speaks with much more fluidity than on almost anything else that he's involved with as president.
It's funny — there's a video of him that's been kicking around the Internet for a year now, and it's a video of him in the '90s, I think it was '95, doing a review of Citizen Kane — and he's a big movies guy, Trump. He loves Sunset Boulevard, and one of the reasons he loves Mar-a-Lago is it sort of reminds him of that kind of a movie set and there's a grandeur to it, but he gave this very, very long exposition on his views of Citizen Kane and what "Rosebud" meant and he sounds very different. He sounds much more at ease with the subject matter, the timbre of his voice is different.
On reporting on Trump at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago
He loves Mar-a-Lago. ... There is this social greeter aspect of him at Mar-a-Lago that I had never seen before until I was there, and he loves it. It's like watching a kid host a party, and he goes from table to table, and he talks to people and he asks if they're having a good time and "What are you eating?" and he knows details about their lives.
There's a huge patio, and he sits in a corner of the patio — it's a table for about 10 — usually his wife Melania is there. And then he sort of roams around the patio, and people are spread out and they're watching him eat. And there's a bar area a little closer to the inside of the building that people hang out at before dinner is served and then eventually you gravitate out.
For him there is a socializing contact element that I think he just loves. But I think ... you can't hold national security meetings on the patio of what is essentially a restaurant, and he is adjusting to why that is different and he doesn't love these adjustments. http://www.npr.org/2017/04/20/524873266/journalist-describes-the-lo...
THE INVISIBLE HANDS THAT SHAPED AMERICA’S RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY