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Meet Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon: Team Trump’s newest chief — and the Pied Piper of the alt-right

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Who is Stephen Bannon really? Trump’s newest captain is more auteur filmmaker than Washington insider. Here are 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the Breitbart news exec.

1. Stephen Bannon directed a full-length documentary film on Sarah Palin called The Undefeated, which received a score of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. 0%, folks.

2. Before Palin, Bannon had Bachmann. The Breitbart exec’s 2010 film Fire From the Heartland about 2012 presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann, was funded by Citizens United, which launched a $75,000 advertising campaign to boost the candidate’s performance in Iowa. Bachmann ultimately finished sixth in the state’s caucuses.

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3. Bannon has consistently had high hopes for “outsider” candidates in the 2016 election, but not just Donald Trump. Just after the first GOP debate in August 2015, Bannon praised Carly Fiorina for being one of the “declared winners.”

4. He’s also a long-time Ted Cruz supporter. “I wanted you on long before you had the cover story in National Review,” Bannon told the Texas senator in February 2012.

5. Bannon was a big believer in the idea that social media would rock the 2016 election.

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“Remember, with no money and no support in 2010, the Tea Party won a huge victory and that was all because people got off the sofa, went to a rally, found their neighbors, went on Facebook… used social media with no money at all. We totally disintermediated, which is a fancy term for saying we moved the political parties out of the way, and people took control of their own destinies. That has to happen. If you’re frustrated, this is not going to happen in one election,” Bannon said, at the 2012 Road to Repeal rally at the U.S. Supreme Court.

6. He directed three documentaries in 2012; one based on the “The Corruption Chronicles,” a litany of anti-Obama propaganda.

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7. He made a doc called Occupy Unmasked in an attempt to implicate the Obama administration in the 99%’s rage. The film was distributed by Mark Cuban’s Magnolia Pictures, but even Fox News found its evidence “inconclusive.”

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8. Then there was The Hope and The Change, also about Obama and funded by Citizens United, which Fox News’ Megyn Kelly totally roasted Bannon over. “I haven’t seen the film because it hasn’t been released yet, but they’re saying that in this film you show events in a way that’s not accurate and not fair to President Obama,” she told Bannon.

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9. He wouldn’t let Donald Trump bash Roger Ailes on his show. While Bannon and Ailes are now both on Trump’s payroll, Trump wasn’t too happy with Ailes’ work just six months ago. In a Feb. 18, 2016 interview with Bannon, Trump went off on his usual “unfair media” rant. But Bannon drew the line at the Fox founder, cutting off Trump.

“In my opinion, I get treated the worst by far by Fox. And I do like Roger, he’s a friend of mine, but he’s a friend of mine who won’t do anything for me, I don’t know if that’s called a friend,” Trump told Bannon.

“Let me pivot back to Mexico,” Bannon responded, cutting Trump off.

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10. He owes part of his fortune to an early stake in Seinfeld.


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Elections 2016

Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines

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Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.

"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.

More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.

At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.

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Elections 2016

Chief Justice John Roberts issues New Year’s Eve warning to stand up for democracy

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In a progressive welcoming move, Chief Justice John Roberts issued his New Year's Eve annual report urging his fellow federal judges to stand up for democracy.

"In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital," he wrote. "We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability."

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Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why

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According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.

As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."

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