The Real Steve Bannon Revealed!

Steve Bannon (photo credit: Don Irvine via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

A marvelous interview with Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has suddenly appeared in, no less, The Hollywood Reporter: Ringside With Steve Bannon at Trump Tower as the President-Elect’s Strategist Plots “An Entirely New Political Movement” (Exclusive).” It is a perfect antidote to the McCarthyite insults being heaped on Bannon by the elitist left and its handmaiden, the mainstream media.

Bannon is a provocateur. No sin in that; the left has a plethora of provocateurs.

By every account he is an open-minded, generous (albeit demanding) soul. The media’s efforts to smear him are the most shameful application of “Tailgunner Joe,” guilt-by-association tactics seen since the days of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Wolff quotes Bannon:

“I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist,” he tells me. “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver” — by “we” he means the Trump White House — “we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. That’s what the Democrats missed.”

Wolff goes on to observe:

Breitbart, with its casual provocations — lists of its varied incitements … were in hot exchange after the election among appalled Democrats — is as opaque to the liberal-donor-globalist class as Lena Dunham might be to the out-of-work workingman class.

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The Gold Standard: Copernicus, Newton, Priestley… and Trump?

From left: Sir Isaac Newton and Donald Trump

Sam Kriss, in The Atlantic, has a wonderful new story, “Flat-Earthers Have A Wild New Theory About Forests,” in which I find an oblique allusion to… myself.

Still, among all the bizarre, self-enclosed universes the internet has to offer — gold-standard bores, UFO chasers, people who believe that cartoons are real in a nearby dimension or that the secret rulers of the world are betraying their existence by leaving little clues on the currency — the flat-earthers are special.

No, I’m not a UFO chaser, nor a believer in cartoon dimensions, or a proponent of the theory of secret rulers of the world. As to the latter, I once published a blog debunking, rather re-debunking, the alt-right canard that a Rothschild said something like “Give me control of a Nation’s money supply, and I care not who makes its laws.” (It’s a totally fabricated quote.)

I’m a gold standard bore. And I’ve been called, by a Washington Post Magazine (humor) columnist, “the second most conservative man in the world” for my gold standard advocacy.

There is a delicious irony in lumping a gold standard geek in with premoderns like Flat Earthers.

The gold standard’s pedigree runs from Copernicus (who dispelled the allied theory that the Sun goes around the Earth and also wrote brilliantly in favor of the gold standard), Sir Isaac Newton (founder of modern classical physics who, as Master of the Royal Mint, accidentally invented the modern classical gold standard), and Joseph Priestley (the discoverer of oxygen, who wrote at length about the gold standard). Continue Reading

The Anti-Science of William Jennings Bryan and Paul Krugman

Cartoon by Grant Hamilton, printed in “Judge” Magazine, 1896. (Public domain image)


July 9th was the anniversary of the most famous speech of any presidential campaign.  William Jennings Bryan, in a speech to the 1896 Democratic convention, declaimed “You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”

Although Bryan lost the general election to pro-gold William McKinley (and lost two other presidential races) that line still rings in the popular imagination.  It represents a handy epithet against the gold standard by those who are unfamiliar with its history or superior track record.

As, in 1896, noted by The Nation and reprised there last week, rather surprisingly but for Karl Marx’s recognition that “money is by nature gold and silver:”

His speech to the convention was an appeal to one of the worst instincts of the human heart—that of getting possession of other people’s property without the owners’ consent. That is what is meant by free coinage at 16 to 1. All business and all obligations rest to-day, have rested for nearly a quarter of a century, on the gold dollar as the unit of value. It is proposed now to substitute a silver dollar for it worth about half as much, and to make this depreciated coin applicable to all existing bargains and contracts…

This speech swept the young silver-tongued orator to a presidential nomination. Bryan provides a fascinating historical juxtaposition to George Gilder’s exposition of the science behind the gold standard, in The 21st Century Case for Gold: A New Information Theory of Money, commissioned by The American Principles Project, whose sister organization I professionally advise, here reviewed by me, also last week.  

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