A bit about Trump’s main man Stephen Bannon

David Horowitz profile of Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon

Trump, then trailing in the polls, shook up his team and made Stephen K. Bannon the CEO of his campaign. Within weeks the Trump ship began to turn around, then move forward until the final long push through the battleground states where the shape of a presidential winner at last came into view. While Donald J. Trump on his own had already changed the political landscape, if he had not hired Steve Bannon as his chief executive officer, it is doubtful he would be president-elect today.

What he brought to Trump when they turned the tide of the campaign.

First, unlike Trump he had for decades been involved as a conservative partisan in the political and cultural wars that traditional Republicans were losing. He knew the terrain and its pitfalls as Trump, whose careers were in the popular culture and business could not.

Second, Bannon brought Trump his experience as an entrepreneur who in Breitbart.com had built one of the largest media sites in the world. Unlike others, Bannon was never horrified by candidate Trump’s stream-of-consciousness Twitter feed though he saw the need for more discipline in its contents. Unlike Trump’s critics, Bannon understood how important it was for the candidate to break free from the mainstream media filter that was busy crucifying him. With a feed that reached 40 million followers, Trump was able to speak directly to a larger audience than the hostile networks or the cable news shows could provide. Bannon helped Trump narrow his Twitter focus and become more effective as a candidate.

He also helped to persuade him to use teleprompters at his public events. This limited the degree to which the news media could distort his remarks and turn them against him. The teleprompters helped Trump to stay on message although the impulsive personality and direct address that so endeared him to his followers was still evident in the ad libs and asides which spiced his remarks. The results were immediately positive, as Trump began to climb in the polls.

Most importantly, Bannon and Trump shared a courage unique in Republican quarters. Call it character. The ability to stand firm under fire.

Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Cross Post: John Adams Australian of the Year

Without question, the most internationally famous, influential and impactful Australian in 2016 is Julian Assange.

Through Wikileaks, Assange had a big hand in the 2016 US presidential race through the publications of e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.

E-mails published by Wikileaks, which Assange has confirmed did not come from a state actor, including the Russians, exposed systematic mass corruption and criminality throughout the American as well as the global power structure.

Wikileaks’ publications demonstrated that American political, financial and media elites were working in concert to rig the American political system in favour of Hillary Clinton in order to serve domestic and global political interests.

Assange ultimately destroyed Hilary Clinton’s candidacy by providing multiple smoking guns to millions of Americans who suspected that the political, media and financial systems were rigged against them.

The impact of Wikileaks’ recent publications will be long lasting throughout America and the world. The creditability of institutional American media outlets such as CBS, NBC, ABC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN has been irrevocably damaged.

Trust in these organisations to faithfully inform the public has collapsed and demand for alternative media outlets is now surging. This has significant long-term ramifications for the formation of public opinion and the development of public policy.

Given the non-responsiveness of the American political system and gross public policy failures which have ravaged America for the past three decades, Wikileaks’ publications now provide Americans with a basis to demand action that restores trust in America’s political, economic and cultural institutions.

Wikileaks’ contributions have also served Australia’s national interest in two important ways.

Firstly, Assange exposed that the Clinton Foundation has been significantly funded by the same Middle Eastern governments who, in Hillary Clinton’s assessment, have also been funding Islamic State.

This revelation now provides the western world, under a Trump administration, the best opportunity to destroy Islamic State and its affiliates, as Trump does not have any conflicts of interest hindering his ability to protect America and its allies from radical Islamic terrorism.

Secondly, through the political destruction of Hillary Clinton, major war, death and destruction between America (and its allies) and Russia has been avoided.

Over many recent months, Putin and his Government repeatedly warned publicly that the build-up of missile installations near the Russian border by NATO with offensive capability and Clinton’s insistence of an American dominated no-fly zone in Syria would lead to major armed conflict with the possibility of nuclear confrontation between Russia and America if Clinton were elected.

Trump’s longstanding commitment to restoring relations between Washington and Moscow is a welcomed development to world peace.

With such a record of achievement, there should be no question that Assange clearly deserves the 2017 Australian of the Year award.

The award’s criteria are threefold: a contribution to the community locally, nationally or globally, an inspirational role model and demonstrated excellence.

Assange exceeds across all these categories through liberating the citizens of the world with the truth, demonstrating phenomenal moral and physical courage and creating the world’s leading international publishing house of secrets with a perfect 10-year publishing record of authentic and original source material.

Of all the named finalists for the 2017 award, their efforts pale into insignificance compared with what Assange has accomplished in 2016.

After three consecutive years of controversial award recipient selections designed to promote an ideologically tainted political agenda, the Prime Minister and the Australian Day Council would be wise to restore the award’s creditability by bestowing the award to Assange on a meritorious basis.

To millions around the world, Assange is a noble hero risking his life to expose the truth, consistent with humanity’s highest ideals.

He is my Australian of the year.

John Adams is a former Coalition advisor. This op-ed was first published in The Spectator.

Posted in Cross Post | 89 Comments

Is there a full moon?

Is there something in the air?  The dingbats are out in force.

Commenting on the appointment of Greg Hunt as the new Commonwealth Health Minister, the leader of the Greens, Senator Richard Di Natalie commented:

“Greg Hunt nearly killed the Great Barrier Reef, imagine what he’s going to do to our health,”

Di Natalie won’t come out and reject the Marxist views of those in his party and parliamentary group, but sure he will espouse this.

Fair dinkum.  Who votes for these people?

Posted in Uncategorized | 35 Comments

Standard errors of sub-standard theory

Apparently, Trump has almost entirely overlooked economists for any of the major posts which has led to this article: Economists Contemplate Life on the Outs. The President-Elect does not seem to value economists very highly, which the following reaction might help you understand why.

“Donald Trump doesn’t matter,” Yale’s Robert Shiller, the outgoing president of the American Economic Association and a winner of the 2013 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, said during a discussion of the long-run prospects for the economy. “He’ll only be here for four years and he’s gone.” Shiller later admitted that could be wishful thinking: “I’m a natural optimist, so I don’t want to speculate on how bad things could get.”

But the response that truly made me laugh is this where, to translate, economists are said to be perfectly aware how bad things might go but focus on the most likely outcomes even though improbable seriously bad events often occur instead. Here it is in their own words:

In their academic research, the more [economists] know about something, the more they emphasize their standard errors. The closer you get to the op-ed page or policy advising, the standard errors shrink down to nothing. You look at the predictions that economists made about what would happen with Brexit, what would happen with the election of Trump, what would happen with the downgrade of U.S. debt, etc., and a lot of those were appallingly wrong. I think we need to do a better job conveying some of our uncertainty, some of the standard errors around what we do.

The real story is that they don’t have a clue since they have been following standard macro with its emphasis on aggregate demand for eighty years. Shunting these people to the side is one more example of Trump’s good judgment. If he really does cut spending and cut regulations and only spends public money on what genuinely adds value, he will be doing pretty well most of what needs to be done. But having said that, I do note that the adjustment process may – may – lead through a relatively steep valley before things finally begin to improve. And now that I have covered all possibilities, we can sit back and see what actually happens.

Posted in Classical Economics, Economics and economy | 33 Comments

Tuesday Forum: January 17, 2017

Posted in Open Forum | 1,797 Comments

Heads up from Keith Windschuttle on the Aboriginal recognition agenda

A note on a very important volume from Quadrant Books. The Break-up of Australia: The Real Agenda Behind Aboriginal Recognition sounds a warning about the slippery slope that will lead from the apparently innocent recognition of the “First People” in the Constitution.

Massively researched, well written and above all, vitally important as a warning to all people of good will who have been taken in by the well-meaning but misguided efforts of people like Tony Abbott who are in favour of recognition.

An overview from the author. To buy.

Posted in Australian Story, Rafe | 105 Comments

Trump and Australian political dithering over energy costs

What is wrong with these people?

We have state leaders from South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland purposely rejecting the low cost energy option of coal that nature has provided and opting for renewables that will always cost three times as much. And we have an apparent consensus of politicians in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania rejecting fracking, the technology that has rescued US energy supplies and proven itself harmless in spite of a million wells having been drilled.

Today Matt Canavan has raised the issue of new coal fired generators.  That is such an obvious route that it is seldom suggested by politicians.  We can have endless power at one third the cost of wind and with an ocean more reliability but we have demonised the product so much that it is difficult to see anyone investing without a government assurance against regulatory expropriation.

Tony Abbott has once again proved himself to be a superb leader when not actually in government by counselling the undeniable benefits of getting rid of the renewable subsidies that cost us $4 billion a year and wreck the competitiveness of the electricity supply while also undermining its reliability.

Unfortunately, Turnbull’s response has been to assemble a commission under the Chief scientist Alan Finkel whose preliminary report is predictably off the planet in proclaiming the future lies with renewables and consumers want these (as they do if governments force them to!)

In response to Abbott’s proposal both Canavan and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg (presumably under political directives) are ruling out canning the subsidies to renewables on grounds that the subsidy is legislated.  On such a basis we would never have dismantled the border tariffs that held back our living standards for 50 years.  Having a bunch of rent seekers force through a subsidy and then say we cannot touch it for 15 years is a prescription for economic decline.

The latest patch up of the fall-out of this is a new series of subsidies to keep the Alcoa Portland aluminium smelter in operation.  We are likely to see a repeat of the endless government support to keep car plants in business, support needed because we refused to allow market forces to tackle the elements that were making them uncompetitive: inflexible labour market arrangements and, of course, regulatory induced high energy costs.

Few of our politicians understand anything about energy costs and even fewer want to put in place policies that liberate the market, allowing Australia to have the cheapest energy in the world thereby regaining the status we had until 15 years ago.  That’s because they are responding to the pressure from the elites in NGOs, the public service, business and academia.  All of these have their separate reasons for wanting to foster high cost energy – reasons that range from the venal to the aspirations for political control of the economy.

Those same elites are heavily focussed on rescuing green energy in the Davos meeting now underway.  We have politicians there but not at the Trump inauguration!  At least Canada’s Trudeau recognised that going to the World Economic Forum in Davos on 20 January would be a mistake and chose instead to cancel his attendance and stay home.

Fortunately for Australia Trump will force us to mend our ways – his pull-out of the Paris climate change agreement undermines it and gives us an excuse to rescind the harmful energy policies we have in place.  And his low tax, reduced spending, regulation cutting agenda will also force us to follow suit or plumb the depths of economic decline that other countries have experienced by focussing on anti-market policies.

Posted in Uncategorized | 78 Comments

The WSJ speaks to General James Mattis

This interview is from 2015 but still pretty interesting.

(HT: John Adams)

Posted in American politics, International, National Security | 18 Comments

Humanitarian Arrivals

Just posted in the Inner Sydney Morning Herald, as story about refugee arrivals:

Half of Australia’s 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees to be settled by just one Sydney council

It’s (relatively) late and I am tired so I won’t go into why:

local governments need to be properly equipped to meet their settlement and social cohesion responsibilities.

Is there some sort of multi-lingual garbage collection service require?  Perhaps some sort of social cohesion responsibilities in local planning decision?

The thing that got me was the chart:

I am not familiar with the suburbs outside of Sydney, but the Sydney ones are not inner city ones where the greens live.  Glebe, Ultimo, Newtown and Marrickville are way away from Fairfield and Liverpool.  I suspect not too many green voters are dealing with “social cohesion” or congestion associated with large numbers of humanitarian arrivals.

And the lone representatives from SA (Subsidised Australia) are Salisbury and Playford.  Is this where Sarah Hanson-Young lives?  I somehow doubt it.  What about Tasmania?

Not too much skin in the game for the strongest advocates.

Posted in Uncategorized | 42 Comments

Are the media really this clueless?

If the insight of the media into all things is as penetrating as their insight into Trump’s attitude to themselves, these people are as stupid a bunch as I have ever seen. This is from The New York Times even: Trump Team Considers Moving Press Corps, Alarming Reporters. He is not thinking of excluding these left-wing clowns, but increasing the competition!

Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary, issued a statement on Sunday that did not address the issue of a dedicated work space. “While no decisions have been made, there is enormous interest in covering Donald Trump,” he wrote. “The current briefing room only has 49 seats, so we have looked at rooms within the White House to conduct briefings that have additional capacity.”

Do they really think they are the soul of objectivity, that there is no other perspective on events other than their own? Do they really think that Trump feels he can trust them to report accurately and without bias? I only go to the traditional media to find out what the left thinks about policy and events, and thus to find out the sensation du jour. I go to everyone else to find out what is actually going on and for a proper perspective on policy. It is to everyone else that Trump intends to provide room for them to report.

Posted in American politics, Media | 25 Comments