“New political order”…”can’t be stopped

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in the US senior White House Staff have said  “there’s a new political order that’s being formed” and “if the party and the conservative movement are together, it can’t be stopped”.

BBC via RNZ: Bannon hails ‘new political order’

Steve Bannon vowed at a conservative conference to bring together those of “wide and sometimes divergent opinions” in support of “economic nationalism”.

“We are a nation with a culture and a reason for being,” the normally behind-the-scenes adviser told the audience.

He said the president was “maniacally focused” on pursuing his agenda.

“I’ve said that there’s a new political order that’s being formed out of this. And it’s still being formed,” he said.

The former editor of Breitbart News Network appeared with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.

During his appearance on Thursday, Mr Bannon repeated his attack on the media, describing members of the press as the “opposition party” who are “always wrong” about Mr Trump.

“I think if you look at, you know, the opposition party,” Mr Bannon said, referring to the media.

It’s likely to be no coincidence that Breitbart fan Cameron Slater has been calling the New Zealand media “the opposition party” for the past few months. It’s a bit pathetic, but those trying to overreach for power often try to talk up enemies to go up against.

“How they portrayed the campaign, how they portrayed the transition and how they’re portraying the administration – it’s always wrong,” he told Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which hosted the conference.

Referring to the “corporatist, globalist media”, he said: “If you [the audience] think they’re going to give you your country back without a fight you are sadly mistaken.”

Pot calling kettle black with gross exaggerations saying the media are “always wrong”.

“The truth of the matter is [Trump] brought together the party and the conservative moment, and I’ve got to tell you, if the party and the conservative movement are together, it can’t be stopped,” Mr Priebus said.

With Republican majorities in both the Senate and Congress a lot can probably be done, but Trump’s administration has already found out that another check on power, the US courts, can at least slow them down.

Breitbart defence of ‘indefensible’

A further development of the Milo Yiannopoulos issue discussed here yesterday:

Politico: Breitbart editor-in-chief calls Yiannopoulos comments ‘indefensible,’ but mounts a defense

Breitbart’s editor-in-chief, Alex Marlow, called Milo Yiannopoulos’ comments about pedophilia “indefensible,” “troubling” and “upsetting” on the company’s daily radio show Tuesday morning.

But Marlow also defended the Breitbart senior editor, columnist and overall provocateur as a victim of a coordinated attack whose “appalling” words needed to be understood in the context of Yiannopoulos’ personal history.

Milo’s personal history is controversial. It is ironic for Breitbart to be complaining about ‘a coordinated attack’.

“It was something that was a total surprise to people in the Breitbart organization that there is video that surfaced that appeared to show him justifying sex between an adult and a minor, at least in certain circumstances which was very troubling and upsetting,” Marlow said on the radio show.

“He seemed to be speaking from personal experience as a gay man; he also revealed he’s a victim of child abuse himself. He himself told me he’s never had inappropriate contact with a minor since he was an adult. … it’s all very upsetting and something we take very seriously at Breitbart.

We’ve been going through things and trying to figure out the best way to handle this, but the bottom line is the comments on the video are not defensible, and I think most people [agree] with that.”

It’s not clear what Yiannopoulos’ future with Breitbart will look like.

Internally at Breitbart, tensions are high.

The site, which became a champion of President Donald Trump during the campaign, now has its former chairman Steve Bannon as Trump’s chief strategist in the White House.

Some Breitbart staffers, speaking on the condition of anonymity, say they are incredulous at the site’s silence to its own employees about how they’re handling the Milo situation. There’s no indication, aside from Marlow’s public comments, that employees have been addressed directly.

Several have expressed a willingness to leave the site should the company not part ways with Yiannopoulos. (Washingtonian reported about six have said they will walkout).

Marlow said answers will come later on Tuesday when Yiannopoulos holds a news conference in New York City to discuss his future with Breitbart. The news conference is being organized by a public relations company different from the one Brietbart uses.

Notably, Breitbart’s website has not written one thing about Yiannopoulos this weekend.

That appears to be correct. I have just done a search:

breitbartmilosearch

They don’t even say that CPAC has dumped him as a speaker.

 

 

More Breitbart ‘fake news’

The Breitbart news site has been accused of spreading ‘fake news’ about an alleged Muslim attack on a church in Germany. This has been debunked by multiple sources.

This raises concerns for a number of reasons:

  • The ex CEO of Bretibart, Steve Barron, will soon become Trump’s chief strategist in the White House.
  • Breitbart plans to set up a German language site (and also a French site).
  • Germany is having elections this year.
  • Whale Oil wants to imitate Breitbart  in New Zealand.

Guardian: German police quash Breitbart story of mob setting fire to Dortmund church

German media and politicians have warned against an election-year spike in fake news after the rightwing website Breitbart claimed a mob chanting “Allahu Akbar” had set fire to a church in the city of Dortmund on New Year’s Eve.

After the report by the US site was widely shared on social media, the city’s police clarified that no “extraordinary or spectacular” incidents had marred the festivities.

The local newspaper, Ruhr Nachrichten, said elements of its online reporting on New Year’s Eve had been distorted by Breitbart to produce “fake news, hate and propaganda”.

The justice minister of Hesse state, Eva Kühne-Hörmann, said that “the danger is that these stories spread with incredible speed and take on lives of their own”.

Tens of thousands clicked and shared the Breitbart.com story with the headline “Revealed: 1,000-man mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve”.

It said the men had “chanted Allahu Akbar (God is greatest), launched fireworks at police and set fire to a historic church”, while also massing “around the flag of al-Qaida and Islamic State collaborators the Free Syrian Army.”

The local newspaper said Breitbart had combined and exaggerated unconnected incidents to create a picture of chaos and of foreigners promoting terrorism.

Dortmund police on Thursday said its officers had handled 185 missions that night, sharply down from 421 the previous year. The force’s leader judged the night as “rather average to quiet”, in part thanks to a large police presence.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily said Breitbart had used exaggerations and factual errors to create “an image of chaotic civil war-like conditions in Germany, caused by Islamist aggressors”.

Breitbart is unlikely to be deterred by belated debunking of their slanted and misleading campaigns.

Bild, Germany’s top-selling daily, also predicted trouble ahead – pointing to the fact that Breitbart’s former editor Steve Bannon had been appointed as US president-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

It warned that Breitbart – which plans to launch German and French language sites – could seek to “aggravate the tense political climate in Germany”.

Meanwhile in New Zealand Whale Oil is trying to revive it’s imitation of Breitbart – and already has a history of anti-Muslim posts.

How Whaleoil can become New Zealand’s Breitbart

Whaleoil can become New Zealand’s Breitbart if the subscription numbers continue to grow. We will use the extra income to hire more staff and we will train interns. Given the appropriate resources, we will expand services which may possibly include news aggregation from sources you can trust.

When you subscribe to Whaleoil you become part of our plan to once again imitate what works overseas and to replicate its success here in New Zealand.

Sources you can trust? Breitbartising Whale Oil might appeal to those who want to be told what they believe, but the trust levels here are already very low.

Because of this Whale Oil rarely gets traction in social and mainstream media for any of the campaigns they try to run – they have been complaining about the lack of media interest in their daily barrage of pro-Israel anti-NZ Government posts.

Any ‘news’ posted by Whale Oil should be viewed with a healthy degree of skepticism, whether it is from their own ‘tip line’ or unnamed sources, or from ‘trusted sources’ like Breitbart. Both have records of political skulduggery and dirt – and Whale Oil has been promising to get dirtier this year.

The ‘new news Sheriff in town’

Fortune magazine reports on an advertising stoush involving Kellogg and the controversial US news site Breitbart.

Kellogg to Stop Advertising on Breitbart Over Values Difference

Cereal maker Kellogg said on Tuesday it would stop advertising on Breitbart.com, saying the far-right news site’s values conflict with its own.

The popular site, until last summer run by Steve Bannon, one of President-elect Donald Trump’s top advisers, has been criticized by many as having a racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic slant. Kellogg’s move stemmed from customer complaints, according to the company, which makes popular cereal brands like Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies.

“We regularly work with our media buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that aren’t aligned with our values as a company,” a Kellogg spokesperson told Fortune in an e-mail statement. “This involves reviewing websites where ads could potentially be placed using filtering technology to assess site content. As you can imagine, there is a very large volume of websites, so occasionally something is inadvertently missed.”

Fortunecould not immediately reach a Breitbart representative, but the site slammed Kellogg for the move, telling the Associated Press in a statement that Kellogg’s move was “to its own detriment” given the size of its readership. According to ComScore, the site had 19.2 million unique monthly U.S. visitors in October, significantly up from a year earlier and a record for the site.

Kellogg’s move was an act of “economic censorship of mainstream conservative political discourse” and is “as un-American as it gets,” Breitbart said in its statement to AP.

Some claim that the way that Breitbart operates is not very ‘American’.

Other brands have also pulled ads on Breitbart, including Allstate, Nest, EarthLink, Warby Parker and SoFi, according to Digiday. Last week, AppNexus deactivated Breitbart News after an audit of the site’s content determined that it violates the advertising network ban on hate speech.

Advertisers can and should choose who they want to associate their advertising with.

Whale Oil sees similarities with it’s own problems with advertising and revenue in Advertising is New Media’s Achilles heel.

Advertising revenue is Whaleoil’s Achilles heel too, which is why we have introduced our new subscription model.

When you subscribe to Whaleoil you get the benefit of google ad-free content while helping to bullet-proof Whaleoil from left-wing attacks on our advertising revenue.

And from advertisers choosing who not to be associated with.

Breitbart News is the new News sheriff in town and is expanding rapidly but the establishment who preferred the old News sheriff still have a few bullets in their arsenal. If they can’t beat the new News by being better they will instead try to beat it by crippling it economically.

It is a bit like the ageing Sheriff with arthritis trying to get rid of his rival not in a gun fight but by talking the local store into refusing to sell him any supplies for his ranch. He might be the better gunslinger but how long can he last without any supplies?

A quaint martyrish metaphor, but business is business when it comes to advertising.

With your support , we can ensure that Whaleoil becomes the new News Sheriff in town.

Hardly new – Whale Oil has been firing shots at old media for a decade. And this ‘News Sheriff ‘ has a bit of a tarnished star.

 

US abuse of charities in politics

There are a lot of abuses in the US involving money in politics. Huge amounts of money are involved, being used to try and attain huge amounts of power. Regulations and laws are generally pathetic when it comes to controlling abuses.

The Washington Post has a story that shows how easy it is to abuse the intent of charities as a way of financing political activism tax free.

Trump adviser received salary from charity while steering Breitbart News

Donald Trump’s chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon accepted $376,000 in pay over four years for working 30 hours a week at a tiny tax-exempt charity in Tallahassee while also serving as the hands-on executive chairman of Breitbart News Network.

During the same four-year period, the charity paid about $1.3 million in salaries to two other journalists who said they put in 40 hours a week there while also working for the politically conservative news outlet, according to publicly available documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

The salary payments are one part of a close relationship between the nonprofit Government Accountability Institute, a conservative investigative research organization, and for-profit Breitbart News.

Breitbart News openly and actively promoted Trump and trashed Clinton. Bannon was employed as a Trump campaign advisor in August, and will now become one of Trump’s most senior assistants.

The ties between the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) and Breitbart call into question the assertions the institute made in filings to the IRS that it is an independent, nonpartisan operation, according to philanthropic specialists and former IRS officials.

Bannon launched the institute in 2012, shortly after taking the helm of Breitbart. He sought tax-exempt status from the IRS by describing the institute as an education group to help the United States and other countries maintain a “higher quality of life” through “promotion of economic freedom,” according to IRS filings.

The institute’s board of directors included Rebekah Mercer, director of the conservative family charity, who has become an influential adviser to Bannon and Trump, disclosure forms show.

So it’s a tax free sham, like many US political organisations.

Under federal code, tax-exempt groups known as 501(c)3 public charities must “not participate in, or intervene in [including the publishing or distributing of statements], any political campaign on behalf of [or in opposition to] any candidate for public office.” 

That’s a joke.

GAI spokeswoman Sandy Schulz told The Post the institute “is and always has been in total compliance with all 501(c)3 rules.”

So is that, but like others they get away with it.

Rob Reich, a political science professor at Stanford University who studies philanthropy, said the IRS regulations are poorly written and difficult to enforce. As a consequence, ideologically driven charities across the political spectrum are taking advantage of the agency’s minimal oversight.

Huge amounts of money slosh around with impunity in the United States’ corrupt democracy.

Trumped up campaign?

How many people thought that Trump was just deliberately being controversial and provocative to attract attention and once he actually started campaigning for president he would get serious to show he was capable of doing the job?

It hasn’t happened, and doesn’t look like happening.

But did he ever seriously want the job?

Michael Moore thinks that Trump Is Self-Sabotaging His Campaign Because He Never Really Wanted The Job In The First Place

Donald Trump never actually wanted to be president of the United States. I know this for a fact.

This has been suggested elsewhere.

Trump was unhappy with his deal as host and star of his hit NBC show, “The Apprentice” (and “The Celebrity Apprentice”). Simply put, he wanted more money. He had floated the idea before of possibly running for president in the hopes that the attention from that would make his negotiating position stronger. But he knew, as the self-proclaimed king of the dealmakers, that saying you’re going to do something is bupkus — DOING it is what makes the bastards sit up and pay attention.

Trump had begun talking to other networks about moving his show. This was another way to get leverage — the fear of losing him to someone else — and when he “quietly” met with the head of one of those networks, and word got around, his hand was strengthened. He knew then that it was time to play his Big Card.

He decided to run for president.

Moore describes how Trump was surprised by how much support he receioved and got caught up in the game. But now…

Many now are sensing the end game here because they know Trump seriously doesn’t want to do the actual job — and, most importantly, he cannot and WILL NOT suffer through being officially and legally declared a loser — LOSER! — on the night of November 8th.

Trust me, I’ve met the guy. Spent an afternoon with him. He would rather invite the Clintons AND the Obamas to his next wedding than have that scarlet letter (“L”) branded on his forehead seconds after the last polls have closed on that night, the evening of the final episode of the permanently cancelled Donald Trump Shit-Show.

Trump is trying something though. He has revamped his campaign team, again, after an awful couple of weeks where the polls have dumped him.

But he seems to be preparing for more of the same rather than softening or seriousifying his campaign.

NYT: Donald Trump Appoints Media Firebrand to Run Campaign

Donald J. Trump named as his new campaign chief on Wednesday a conservative media provocateur whose news organization regularly attacks the Republican Party establishment, savages Hillary Clinton and encourages Mr. Trump’s most pugilistic instincts.

Mr. Trump’s decision to make Stephen K. Bannon, chairman of the Breitbart News website, his campaign’s chief executive was a defiant rejection of efforts by longtime Republican hands to wean him from the bombast and racially charged speech that helped propel him to the nomination but now threaten his candidacy by alienating the moderate voters who typically decide the presidency.

It also formally completed a merger between the most strident elements of the conservative news media and Mr. Trump’s campaign, which was incubated and fostered in their boisterous coverage of his rise.

Mr. Bannon was appointed a day after the recently ousted Fox News chairman, Roger Ailes, emerged in an advisory role with Mr. Trump. It was not lost on Republicans in Washington that two news executives whose outlets had fueled the anti-establishment rebellion that bedeviled congressional leaders and set the stage for Mr. Trump’s nomination were now directly guiding the party’s presidential message and strategy.

Party veterans responded Wednesday with a mix of anger about the damage they saw Mr. Trump doing to their party’s reputation and gallows humor about his apparent inability, or unwillingness, to run a credible presidential campaign in a year that once appeared promising.

So it looks like the Republicans will continue to rip themselves apart over Trump.

Ex-Fox Ailes and Breitbart involvement makes it look like media trying to take over the party thinking they can lurch the once grand old party rightward, which they may achieve, but they have already made a mess of it.

Nicky Hager may have done National a big favour warning them off Slater and Whale Oil before they could do too much damage.

In the US maybe overplaying their hand thinking their madness would be widely supported has warned Americans off a train wreck, and saved the world from a potential debacle.

Twitter clamping down on trolls

Twitter has announced that they have decided to clamp down harder on trolls, and at the same time have permanently banned a high profile abuser. This is an overdue toughening up, as Twitter had establish an unenviable reputation as an unsafe place.

A lot has been written about the problems. From Why some people choose to take on their Twitter trolls:

Twitter has an abuse problem — one that has been documented over, and over, and over again. For years now, choosing to have an opinion on social media is to be forced to decide how much time and emotional space to give others.

Some stand up to the bullies and abusers, but this can be challenging when dealing with anonymous cowards. Others simply give up and go elsewhere, and that may be a flood that Twitter is trying to stem.

Buzzfeed News: Twitter Permanently Suspends Conservative Writer Milo Yiannopoulos

The move comes less than a day after the notorious internet troll led a tweeted harassment campaign against Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones.

Twitter has banned one of its most notoriously contentious voices. On Tuesday evening, the microblogging service permanently suspended the account of conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, a day after he incited his followers to bombard Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones with racist and demeaning tweets.

“People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter,” a company spokesperson said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News. “But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”

Yiannopoulos, who currently serves as Breitbart’s tech editor, has been hailed as a voice of the new “alt-right” movement. As such, he has made a living as a provocateur, continually inflaming tensions between progressive branches of the internet focused on identity politics and the fervently anti-PC segment that constantly trolls it.

For years, Yiannopoulous has used Twitter not only to voice his controversial opinions, but to direct his legion of followers (388,042 at the time of this writing) toward his opponents. As a result, he’s been temporarily banned from Twitter a number of times for violating its terms of service and stripped of his verified status.

But this week he went too far. According to Twitter, it was Yiannopoulos who led theharassment campaign against Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones — an effort that inspired the SNL cast member to leave Twitter. The barrage of tweets, many of which decried Jones for being black and a woman, were the final straw for Twitter, which is working to try to solve its harassment problem.

I’ve been the target of ongoing harassment and abuse myself. Most people probably don’t dig their toes in and refuse to be driven off as strongly as me, quite understandably.

It won’t be easy changing the cultures of abuse that have established themselves on Twitter.

Many people seem to think that the Internet generally and services like Twitter give them an unfettered opportunity to be arseholes who aim to shut others up and drive them away. Like Yiannopoulos:

According to the company, Yiannopoulos’s permanent suspension isn’t a matter of speech as much as a matter of behavior — specifically, a violation of Twitter’s rulesregarding the targeted abuse of specific users.

“They made a very dumb decision right before I had the eyes of the world media on me. I think they’re going to come to regret it,” he said. “Anyone who believes in free speech was sent a very powerful message today, which is that you’re not welcome on Twitter.”

If Twitter do it right then it will be people like Yiannopoulos, who misuse their power and gangs of bullies and other people’s online facilities,  who are not welcome any more on Twitter.

“With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives.”

Abusive arses are the cowards who bring no-go zones on themselves.

And those who act responsibility will have more freedom to speak without risking being targeted and harassed by trolls.

But the test of whether Twitter is serious about cleaning things up is how they react to less high profile abuses that go on.