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3 pros and 3 cons of Steve Bannon’s political death

Steve Bannnon’s record was a mixed bag of war and peace–pragmatism and ideology

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Steve Bannon is officially out of the White House. The man whom many described as the ‘brain behind the Trump campaign’ has run the course of his political career with many suspecting that he may shortly return to journalism/media.

For both those who admire and detest Steve Bannon, the man took on mythical proportions. Much of what was said about Bannon on both sides of the political divide was grossly exaggerated. That being said, he was one of the few members of the Trump White House who was a genuine ideas man in an age where anything but technocratic thinking is often frowned on.

With this in mind, here are the pros and cons of the political death of Steve Bannon.

THE PROS

1. Threatening a trade war with China 

Steve Bannon was recently quoted saying the following about the possibility of the US actively fighting a trade war with a nuclear superpower which also happens to be the world’s most dynamic economy:

“We’re at economic war with China. It’s in all their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path. On Korea, they’re just tapping us along. It’s just a sideshow”.

These remarks could potentially be deeply damaging to the US economy if translated into policy. Already, Donald Trump has signed a memorandum authorising the US to investigate allegedly unfair trade practices in respect of China’s use of US based intellectual property. Many in Washington are openly using the word ‘sanctions’ to describe what could result from the entire ordeal.

With America being utterly dependant on Chinese imports and with Beijing owning substantial sums of US sovereign debt, such a trade war (as Bannon himself called it) would be catastrophic for the US economy and could further heat up the many proxy conflicts the US is waging against Chinese commercial interests.

Bannon has long defined his policies as existing in a framework where a clash between China and America is inevitable to the point of being desired. Such dangerous, Manichean views could make many bad trends befalling the globe even worse.

2. War with Iran 

Steve Bannon was in the United States Navy in the Gulf of Oman during the 1980 US hostage crisis in Iran. Bannon’s ship was in the region as a adjunct to Jimmy Carter’s ultimately failed attempt to rescue the American hostages.

This event almost certainly coloured Bannon’s deeply anti-Iranian views. Along with former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Bannon was deeply fanatical about the need for America to assert aggressive policies towards Iran even though Iran poses no threat to the United States.

By being a member of a Washington choir which is dangerously close to escalating tensions with a major Eurasian power, when it comes to Iran, the peace camp needs all the allies it can get.

3. Support for Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi’s India is a country that is needlessly provoking China by infringing on territories widely agreed to be Beijing’s sovereign land. This reckless move by Modi brings a nuclear armed India closer to war with the Chinese superpower than at any time since 1962 when the too considerably weaker Asian powers fought a short border war which China resoundingly won.

Modi is also testing the patience of India’s traditional Russian ally by purchasing overpriced American weapons in order to ingratiate himself with a country that many Indians feel does not hold their short or long term interests. Modi’s pro-Israel sentiments have not only eroded New Delhi’s traditionally fair approach to Palestine but has aliened Syria, a potential market for Indian goods and services.

India’s current ‘trade war’ with China has not hurt China in any significant way, but has done a great deal to retard the progress of an Indian economy filled with potential.

On the domestic front, Modi’s Hindutva policies have led to the discrimination of non-Hindus in India. Muslims and Sikhs are finding their lives and livelihood threatened like never before in modern India. Violence against minorities is now a common feature in Modis’ Hindutva ‘paradise’.

With America facing down a self-made and damaging trade war with China and with America’s once comparatively unified social fabric descending into sectarian strife, Modi if anything should be a model of what America should not do.

Steve Bannon thinks otherwise.

READ MORE: Narendra Modi’s version of Non-Alignment is fooling no one and is bad for India

The Cons 

1. Detente with Russia 

Steve Bannon favoured not only detente with Russia but favoured constructive relations. Bannon understood that modern Russia is a moderately conservative society whose Orthodox Christian traditions resonate with many Americans who are dismayed with the hedonism and perversion that is inexorably linked with post-modern liberalism.

With Bannon out of the White House, a voice of not only reason but of enlightenment when it comes to Russia has been lost.

2. Realism on Syria 

Steve Bannon seemed to implicitly understand that Syria and her partners are going to be victorious in the conflict and that beyond this, they are fighting the kind of Salafist terrorism that is a danger to mankind itself.

During his campaign, Donald Trump continuously rejected illegal so-called regime change in Syria and vowed not to repeat the mistakes of Barack Obama in funding and aiding terrorists in Iraq the Levant.

While the Syrian conflict is in its final phase, Bannon was correct on Syria from both a pragmatic and moral position. This honourable position is sadly not shared by the majority of the Washington elite.

3. Venezuela and North Korea 

Steve Bannon’s pragmatic side came to the fore in respect of his opposition to recent US threats of war against North Korea and Venezuela.

Bannon rightly realised that North Korea is a ‘sideshow’ conflict and further urged restraint over Donald Trump’s recent threats to Venezuela. 

While war on North Korea is unlikely, Venezuela remains a tempting oil rich country for US war-hawks to pounce on.

CONCLUSION: 

While there were many good reasons for Bannon to go and an equal amount of reasons for Bannon to stay, the sad truth is that his departure from the White House was at least publicly, for all the wrong reasons.

Bannon is associated with a right-wing mindset that some conflate with the white supremacist thinking of the Ku Klux Klan. The fact that Bannon disavowed groups like the KKK seemed not to matter in a modern America where a good narrative trumps a mundane truth with worrying frequency.

There is of course a chance that someone in the White House felt that Bannon’s China remarks were a step too far. There is some circumstantial evidence which points to this. 24 hours prior to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States in April, Bannon was removed from his position on the National Security Council. It was a move that almost certainly reassured those who do not seek an digressive US stance towards China.

It could well be that behind the scenes, concerned individuals realised that Bannon’s remarks on China were inflammatory and deeply dangerous. The proximate timing of his removal is close both to his mad remarks on China as well as the violence in Virginia that many wrongly blame Bannon’s ideology for inspiring.

The truth may be somewhere in between. What is known is that Bannon’s record was one which drifted between common sense and madness. His pragmatic side was ultimately distorted by his more ideologically based pronouncements. This is true whether one loves or hates the man and what he stands for.

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Rastislav Veľká Morava
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Rastislav Veľká Morava

Part of what the elites coined as “Globalism” is really just Global Exploitation. They found that in China with a communist government willing to exploit their own people as low wage, slave work force for the west.

True “Globalism” would mean “Global” Environmental Standards and a “Global” Minimum Wage. That would defeat the purpose of Western Factories off-shoring to China or anywhere else, and then good luck to China..

India waits in the wings…

CumExApostolatus
Guest
CumExApostolatus

Modi gave no pushback in late 2016 when the war on cash started in India. I wonder what forces were behind that? Cui bono?

Debbie Beane
Guest
Debbie Beane

USAID, Bill Gates and other entities that push for biometrics required in every move we make. When the news on India’s situation arose, I watched an informative video by James Corbett. You can see a list of sources he used, here:

https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-313-demonetization-and-you/

CumExApostolatus
Guest
CumExApostolatus

Thank you. I’d seen that video from Corbett.
Mine was a rhetorical question since I HOPE we know who runs banking around the world.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

“Bannon was one of the few members of the Trump White House who was a genuine ideas man in an age where anything but technocratic thinking is often frowned on.”

Fully agree. Without Bannon and Gingrich, the actual presidency term is as good as dead. They were the only two thinking brains in the team.

Ann Watson
Guest
Ann Watson

Steve Bannon is an Israeli – he can’t but be good riddance because of that

Kasimiro
Guest
Kasimiro

Could Steve Bannon‘s influence on the future decisions be greater in the medias than in the White House? The President’s decisions are made out of the house anyway. Aren’t they? ………. The Generals in the White House are patriots and so the better insurance not to force the President into a war which he doesn’t want. As long as the army cadre support Donald Trump he can sleep well. The Generals in the government is better than in the fields. They know well enough that the US can’t go to war any more like before. The mic will have to… Read more »

Walter Dublanica
Member
Walter Dublanica

Bannan will stay because we Americans are frustrated with Congress & the military. Who is going to take us out of all this mess?

Walter Dublanica
Member
Walter Dublanica

Bannan is absolutely right about the need for America to have friendly relations with Russia which is a White Christian country. Who wants a war with a country that has 7,000 nuclear weapons??

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Theresa May survives another week in ongoing Brexit fiasco (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 153.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s Brexit survival, as the UK Prime Ministers appears to be heading to Brussels so she can coordinate with EU technocrats in order to meet a November deadline to move the unpopular agreement through all channels of British government.

It is still a very fluid situation. May has made it through a tough weekend where support to oust her never materialized, but the week ahead is anything but certain. For now May’s Brexit position looks secure.

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“Brexit. A Deal That Pleases No One,” authored by Daniel Lacalle via dlacalle.com…

The agreement announced between the British government and the European Union has been received in the United Kingdom with criticism from all sides. The defenders of staying in the European Union consider it very negative, of course. However, and this is the most important part, it is unlikely that the conservative party itself will support this agreement in parliament. Jacob Rees-Mogg has called the agreement “a failure of the negotiators and a failure to deliver Brexit.” Boris Johnson has said that it turns the United Kingdom into a “vassal state” and Nigel Farage has described it as “the worst agreement in history”.

Including the entire United Kingdom in the customs union and maintaining the payment of 10 billion pounds a year to give the European Union veto rights to the most important decisions is something that most conservative members of parliament will reject and that does not satisfy the Labor Party – which is also not pro-EU, let’s be clear – nor the liberal-democrats.

That is the great problem facing the government of Theresa May. That not even the government as a whole supports this agreement. The resignations that have been registered prove it. Even if the rest of the government decides to accept this agreement as a lesser evil, it is very difficult for the parliament to approve it.

At the centre of the controversy is a negotiating process that the European Union has left as a United Kingdom issue. But by letting the United Kingdom deal with its own divisions and problems, the EU also lost the perfect opportunity to offer British citizens and the rest of Europe a refreshing, leading and exciting project. And that is the big problem. That Brexit has been seen in many circles in Brussels as an opportunity to advance in the political and interventionist project, instead of moving towards a union in freedom for global, economic and political leadership.

The problem of the UK government is that it is led by a person, Theresa May, who must present a proposal to leave the EU when she has always been an advocate of remaining (Theresa May initially campaigned for the “Remain”). Thus, it is not surprising that the parliament arithmetics in favor of this agreement is not at all clear.

The British Parliament has more members in favor of Brexit than against, but it cannot be THIS Brexit.

Boris Johnson and the pro-Brexit hardliners may see an opportunity to weaken Theresa May and force a change of leadership that will bring a new leader more committed to a better deal.

Moderate Labour, who have been terrified for months with the radical drift of the Corbyn team, may also see an opportunity to weaken the leader who tries to take Labour to the far left.

My perception is that if there were a second referendum the result would probably be the same. In the United Kingdom there are no voices with political weight and real popular support to defend the European Union project. In the United Kingdom, the debate is either seeing the European Union as an annoying partner or as an impossible danger to solve.

Citizens in Europe see Brexit with sadness, logically. In the United Kingdom, news arriving from the European Union do not encourage a remain stance. High unemployment, unresolved immigration problems, lack of global leadership, high taxes, the specter of a new debt crisis in Italy and other risks. Pro-Europe UK leaders offer no other argument to citizens than the so-called Project Fear, a massive economic risk. However, British citizens see UK unemployment at 75-year lows, while in Europe they see the slowdown of the eurozone and the budget crisis of other countries, and do not find an unquestionable reason to stay in the club.

The UK citizen who votes for Brexit does not seem convinced that the only solution is to belong to a union that demands more control but offers less growth and employment.

The reactions to the agreement have not been very euphoric in any case. It seems something that was presented to fail. The pound and stock market did not react as the EU negotiators would think once the deal was seen as unlikely to pass parliament. In the bond market, Gilts strengthened as UK bond spreads fell while eurozone peripheral yields soared. The opposite of what would be seen as an EU victory.

Reaching an agreement that benefits everyone is difficult, but not impossible

The problem in the United Kingdom is that the agreement that would satisfy the pro-Brexit is impossible, and that the agreement that would please the pro-EU is impractical. That the message of economic ruin is not bought by Brexiters and not even the Remainers see the marvels of the EU membership.

Economically, it has been a mistake to present British citizens with the idea of “either the EU or the chaos”, because it does not work when there is not a clear, exciting and global leadership project.

The United Kingdom, one of the voices that defended economic freedom and open markets in an increasingly bureaucratic European Union is an essential partner to advance in Europe. Reaching an agreement that benefits everyone is difficult, but not impossible.

I have never bought the “EU or chaos” argument. I believe that both parts can benefit from a mutually beneficial deal. I am convinced that, even if this agreement is not approved, the British government will reconsider and present a solid plan for its citizens.

 

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Rise of the Western Dissidents

The only reason Assange is being targeted is that he tangled with the highest levels of the western establishment. He is far from alone.

The Duran

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Authored by Allum Bokhari via Breitbart:


We’re used to Russian dissidents, Chinese dissidents, Iranian dissidents, and Saudi Arabian dissidents. But those who rightly believe the west is superior to authoritarian regimes must now contend with a troubling trend — the rise of the western dissident.

Chief among them is Julian Assange, who for a half-decade has been forced to live in the tiny Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed political asylum since 2011. Assange claimed that he would be extradited to the U.S. to face charges over his work at WikiLeaks if he left the embassy, and was routinely mocked as paranoid for doing so.

This week, we learned that Assange was right and his critics were wrong. Thanks to a clerical error by the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia, reporters were able to confirm the existence of sealed criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder.

Because the charges are sealed and the evidence is unknown, it’s impossible to say if the case has merit. But it likely relates to WikiLeaks’ release of unredacted diplomatic cables in 2011, which forced the U.S. to relocate several of its foreign sources.

Some allegations are more serious. While he was alive, neoconservative Senator John McCain maintained that leaks provided to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning, which included the diplomatic cables, caused U.S sources to be murdered.

Those who see Assange as a villain will end the story here. What is typically left out is that WikiLeaks originally released the diplomatic cables in piecemeal form, with names redacted to prevent loss of life and minimize harm.

It was only after a Guardian journalist’s error led to the full unredacted cables leaking to third parties on the web that WikiLeaks published them as well — and not before Assange attempted to warn the office of Hillary Clinton, then U.S. Secretary of State.

In other words, WikiLeaks behaved precisely as any responsible publisher handling sensitive material should, redacting information that could cause harm. The redactions only stopped when they became pointless. Assange is unlikely to have won more than a dozen journalism awards if he were completely reckless in his publications.

The Pentagon later admitted under oath that they could not find any instances of individuals being killed as a result of being named in Manning’s leaks to WikiLeaks, contradicting Sen. McCain’s allegations.

At worst, Assange and WikiLeaks can be accused of negligence, not deliberate recklessness, in the way it handled sensitive material. But as Breitbart Tech reporter Lucas Nolan points out, a far stronger case can be made against Hillary Clinton for the way she handled State Department emails — yet we see no criminal charges against her.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the only reason Assange is being targeted is that he tangled with the highest levels of the western establishment. In that, he is far from alone.

In the late 2000s to early 2010s, western governments targeted all manner of individuals associated with Assange and the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, including Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda, and The Guardian newspaper.

This was the early growth period of the internet, when the web had become a truly popular medium but had yet to be censored by pliant social media corporations. It was a time of profound unease at the power of the internet to undermine authority, both through the dissemination of information as in the case of WikiLeaks and Snowden, and in the new mobilization of political forces, as in the case of Occupy Wall Street and the SOPA/PIPA protests. Heavy-handed crackdowns against individuals and groups that were seen, rightly or wrongly, as symbols of the web’s early anarchic tendencies, like Kim DotcomAaron SwartzAnonymous, and LulzSec, were not uncommon.

These days, however, a new class of western dissident has emerged — the populist dissident.

Populist Dissidents

Who would have thought that the highest court in Europe, home of the enlightenment, would uphold a case in which a woman was prosecuted for blasphemy against Islam?

Who would have thought that Britain, the birthplace of liberalism and the free press, would ban an independent journalist from its shores for satirizing the same religion?

Who would have thought that Germany, whose living memory of the totalitarian Stasi is just three decades old, would put its largest opposition party under surveillance?

Just a few years ago, all three would sound far-fetched. But cases like these have become common as elites in virtually every western country mount a panicked attempt to contain the rise of populism (the goal, in the words of a Google executive, is to render it a “hiccup”in history’s march towards progress).

Look at the case of Tommy Robinson, the British critic of Islam who was dragged through Britain’s courts on fuzzy contempt-of-court charges. Sentenced to an astonishing thirteen-month imprisonment, Robinson was eventually freed after a successful appeal and now awaits a final trial before Britain’s Attorney General. Shaky charges that have been successfully appealed were exploited to persecute a British citizen who was inconvenient to the establishment. And there’s still a further trial to come.

Then again, Britain is a country that routinely bans foreign politicians and media figures from the country for being too right-wing. Michael SavageGeert WildersLauren SouthernPamela Geller, and Robert Spencer all enjoy this dubious distinction. Theresa May, who was responsible for internal affairs and immigration when Spencer and Geller were banned, is now the Prime Minister.

But it’s not just Britain. Not only has Trump’s White House, supposedly an ally of populists, failed to publicly intervene on behalf of the American citizens banned from the U.K. for expressing populist viewpoints, but it hasn’t even investigated allegations that far-left Antifa activists were able to stop conservative Rebel Media personality Jack Buckbyfrom entering the country by spreading false criminal allegations.

Julian Assange, a left-libertarian may share little ideological ground with right-wing critics of Islam. But they all share at least one thing: persecution by western states coupled with anti-establishment political speech or activities. They are also targets of the security establishment — Assange because of leaks that have exposed their secrets, and the populists because they refuse to censor themselves to avoid angering Muslims. (The UK justified its attempted ban of Geert Wilders by arguing that his presence in the country could lead to “inter-faith violence.”)

We also see attacks on free speech, with governments and politicians across the west pressuring Silicon Valley to suppress its critics. An unaccountable, unelected elite can sweep away a person’s livelihood in minutes, and cut their political message off from millions of American citizens. As I wrote in my column two weeks ago, the overarching trend is the gradual destruction or delegitimization of every tool, digital or otherwise, that non-elites use to express their preferences. Does that sound like a free society, or a controlled one?

You don’t have to agree with any of the individuals or groups listed above to see that surveilling political parties, blocking journalists from entering countries, jailing critics of religion, upholding blasphemy laws and censoring the net is the behavior of authoritarian nations, not liberal democracies. Yet this is the disturbing pattern we now see in the west.

Worse, foreign authoritarian regimes now provide safe harbor for western dissidents, in the same way that the west does for foreign dissidents. Edward Snowden, accused of violating the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 for blowing the whistle on the NSA’s mass surveillance of Americans, has for years resided safely in Russia, a country that persecutes and even kills its own journalists. Before that, he sought refuge in Hong Kong, a “Special Administrative Region” of the People’s Republic of China, an even more terrifyingly totalitarian state.

Will there now be a quid pro quo, with Russia and other authoritarian regimes protecting our dissidents while the west protects theirs? Or will western countries remain true to their liberal traditions, and stop its alarming attempts to surveil, suppress, and persecute a growing number of its own citizens? On present trends, a dark and dystopian future seems to loom on the horizon.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to [email protected].

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Zuckerberg’s “War Face” Has Driven Key Executives Away, Stoked Tension With Sandberg

About a dozen senior or highly visible executives disclosed their resignations or left Facebook in 2018.

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Via Zerohedge


Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gathered around 50 of his key executives and told them that the company was at war – more specifically, under siege from lawmakers, investors and angry users over the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal and Russian influence on the platform.

Zuckerberg, according to the Wall Street Journal, told his top lieutenants during that June meeting that while executives can move more slowly and methodically on key decisions during “peacetime,” he would be acting more decisively going forward, said people familiar with the remarks.

The result? Tension which has boiled over to the point where several key executives have left the country – as well as friction between Zuckerberg and longtime COO, Sheryl Sandberg.

The 34-year-old CEO believes Facebook didn’t move quickly enough at key moments this year and increasingly is pressing senior executives to “make progress faster” on resolving problems such as slowing user growth and securing the platform, said people familiar with the matter. Mr. Zuckerberg also at times has expressed frustration at how the company managed the waves of criticism it faced this year.

On Friday, that tension was on display when, during a question-and-answer session with employees at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., he blasted a fresh round of critical news coverage as “bullshit,” according to the people familiar with the remarks. –WSJ

One Facebook employee at the Friday session asked if the company could mitigate leaks by publishing internal reports on how frequently offenders are found and fired. While Zuckerberg said that Facebook does fire leakers, the root cause is “bad morale” thanks to negative press coverage.

And while the WSJ notes Zuckerberg has taken on ambitious annual goals, such as learning Mandarin and reading 25 books, this year his biggest challenge is fixing Facebook through his tougher management style, according to a person familiar with his thinking (so says the WSJ). Perhaps the Facebook CEO hired a drill sergeant to coach him on bringing out his inner-Alpha?

According to the Journal, Zuckerberg and Sandberg have had confrontations over his new management style, after she had long been afforded considerable autonomy over the company’s teams which handle communications and policy.

This spring, Mr. Zuckerberg told Ms. Sandberg, 49, that he blamed her and her teams for the public fallout over Cambridge Analytica, the research firm that inappropriately accessed private data on Facebook users and used it for political research, according to people familiar with the exchange.

Ms. Sandberg later confided in friends that the exchange rattled her, and she wondered if she should be worried about her job.

Mr. Zuckerberg also has told Ms. Sandberg she should have been more aggressive in allocating resources to review troublesome content on the site, said one person familiar with the matter, a problem that the company still struggles to fix. –WSJ

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg seems to be pleased of late with internal improvements, telling reporters last week that Sandberg is a “very important partner to me, and continues to be, and will continue to be.”

Privately, Zuckerberg has told executives that some of the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal was just “hysteria,” to which Facebook simply didn’t mount an effective response.

Clash of the tech titans

Zuckerberg famously has butted heads with the co-founders of photo-sharing app Instagram, over his desire to share user location data on the main Facebook platform in order to help better target ads. The now-resigned Instagram founders strongly opposed the idea, and abruptly left the company in September.

The founders of WhatsApp similarly bailed on Facebook after disagreements over how to best extract revenue from the messaging service, according to people familiar with the matter.

And most recently, was the departure of Oculus VR co-founder Brendan Iribe, who was forced out by Zuckerberg in part due to a disagreement over the future of the virtual-reality handset, the people said. The decision to leave was reportedly “mutual.”

All told, about a dozen senior or highly visible executives disclosed their resignations or left Facebook in 2018. In May, Facebook announced a major reshuffling of top product executives in a way that helped free up Mr. Zuckerberg to oversee a broader portfolio within the company.

This turmoil at the top of Facebook has made it difficult for the company to execute on some product decisions and shore up employee morale, which has been sinking over the last year along with the stock price, which has fallen 36% since its peak. Many employees are frustrated by the bad press and constant reorganizations, including of the security team, which can disrupt their work, according to current and former employees. –WSJ

Doing whatever it takes

Facebook has come under fire recently – most notably after a New York Times report that the company used GOP operatives to smear the company’s detractors and promote negative news about competitors Google and Apple.

When the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal broke – the resultant rebukes from Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google executives sent Zuckerberg ballistic. The Facebook CEO “later ordered his management team to use only Android phones —arguing that the operating system had far more users than Apple’s,” according to the Times.

Facebook then went on the offensive against the fellow tech giants.

On the advice of Joel Kaplan – a well-connected Republican friend, Bush administration official, and former Harvard classmate of Sandberg, Facebook began to go after Google and Apple.

Mr. Kaplan prevailed on Ms. Sandberg to promote Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman and fellow Bush administration veteran, to lead the company’s American lobbying efforts. Facebook also expanded its work with Definers.

On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians’ use of Facebook.

The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company’s political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients’ enemies. –NYT

Facebook has responded, initially saying they didn’t put out “fake news” against their competitors, and they had no idea what their marketing department was doing. On Friday, however, Sandberg said she took full responsibility for the actions of the communications team.

Facebook has tried to move forward following its various scandals; spearheading efforts to reign in data harvesting, and looking for someone to oversee its corporate, external and legal affairs.

Hopefully whoever is ultimately in charge of oversight won’t be scared away by Zuckerberg’s war face.

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