Smash & Grab

Steve Bannon charged with money laundering and conspiracy

What’s with these fucking guys anyway?!

How much money do they need?

A quick Google search of the former president’s über ally and far-right noisemaker suggests the man’s worth to be anywhere from $9-$48 million, current estimates having it pegged at a cool twenty mil. Now he’s charged with trying to skim a million bucks from the ‘We Build the Wall’ scam?

That’s like somebody with $10 on hand, stealing the buck and change tip left on the table next to him. The difference being the guy with ten dollars actually needing the extra cash. I guess 9 or 20 or 48 million only goes so far these days. What with inflation and such.

Now, I get money’s money, and guys like Bannon and his former boss are master bullshit artists who might not possess anywhere near the amount of wealth they claim to have except, of course, come tax time. Hell, what money they do have could well have come via the same route Bannon attempted to pocket the Wall money, fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, etc., etc. This is just how they do, this million dollars their way of conducting business.

It’s the grubby sordidness of it that gets me.

Now, of course, grubby sordid chic pretty much describes Bannon’s aesthetic. Unlike the former president who desperately tries to mask his own sordid grubbiness in blue suits, white shirts, red ties, spray on colour and glue on hair, Bannon simply lets his pasty dissolution fly. Entitled white male has no fucks to give. Your drunk uncle. The corner tavern regular with his designated bar stool and a penchant for scarfing scraps of food off the plates of other customers.

If he wasn’t so politically dangerous, he’d be a kind of a fascinating figu—a captivati—an oleaginous, squalid figure in a way a lot of sociopaths are.

Steve Bannon. A superhero’s alias. Steve Rogers. Bruce Banner. Oscar Madison during the day, Captain… Sergeant… Doctor… ??? Yeah, I got nothing. No superpowers spring to mind except, maybe, drinking everyone under the table, making off with their wallets and keys while they’re passed out.

Steve Bannon. Supervillain then. The anti-Peter Thiel. Sloppy and disheveled in the day, Mr… Dr… Reichsführer… Nope. There’s no Jekyll/Hyde alter ego for Steve Bannon. The criminality, the villainy is entirely the point. Your laws do not apply to him, natural or legal. After being charged last week, he was released without bail. What the fuck’s that about then? I thought. The man’s loaded. He presumably has a passport. A prime candidate to travel to someplace with no extradition treaty. Hungary maybe?

What am I thinking?

Guys like Steve Bannon seldom-to-rarely face any real consequences for their actions, guilty or not. Like his former boss. In fact, there’s every reason to believe he’s going to come out of any of these proceedings richer and more infamous with the crowds he preys on than he already is. Like Alex Jones. “It was a very powerful, spiritual day for me,” Bannon told fellow far-rightzi, Charlie Kirk on Friday, post-fraud etc. charge (greasy Stevie just don’t give a fuck), about the day he was charged back in 2021. “A lot of things came into high clarity… one of the best days of my life.” And as he made his way to give himself up, he bellowed for the gathered cameras, microphones and onlookers about his political persecution and attempts to shut down his voice in the lead up to the mid-term elections.

Political persecution. A political prisoner. A martyr to the cause. Send $15 and donate to his legal fight. Be a true patriot.

This guy.

There are not enough eye rolls.

Just another scam artist. Ideology for sale. An agitator for profit emphasis always on the profit.

But those he always seems to be skimming from, those donors to the We Build the Wall and all the other right-wing sites and causes for the grift? Don’t they see it? If you handed over your money to be used for a specific purpose you believed in, and discovered that instead the cash was lining the pockets of the benefactors, wouldn’t you be a little miffed at the perps? Disillusioned even? Surely, there must be the true believers who view the big, beautiful Wall as something more than a symbol, a metaphor, a fundraising opportunity. An actual, honest to god wall of concrete and steel that would keep out all the dark-skinned rapists, drug dealers and job stealers.

Will we see any outrage at being fleeced from them?

Or do they hunker down behind Bannon’s political persecution rhetoric, not for a second believing they’d been had? Instead, seeing the charges as nothing more than further proof of Deep State nefariousness. The out-of-control liberal elites once again going after one of their own.

Better and more comforting than being taken for an easy mark, a gullible rube.

More troublesome for me, though, and, in all likelihood, far more widespread among the far gone, far-right cult members, is that none of it matters. Of course the Wall was bullshit. Of course conmen like Steve Bannon would stand to make money from the concept. That’s just a given and utterly beside the point.

It’s the blatant criminality that stokes all their fires. It’s the outrage making that spurs them on. Offending sensitive liberal pieties is the point. Law and order for others. Lawlessness for us. They are foot soldiers in the politics of nihilism that forms the core of thinking for players like Steve Bannon, a politics that has given up on solutions and the common good because it’s too difficult and might demand a little personal sacrifice and compromise.

And if he and some of the other smarter, scheme-ier ones make a few bucks along the way, what’s the harm in that?

This is America, after all.

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