Posts Tagged ‘Steve Bannon’

French far-right leader meets with former White House strategist Steve Bannon, said she needs help, complains of “judicial harassment”

October 13, 2018

Marine Le Pen, the French far-right leader, has met with former White House strategist Steve Bannon and signaled her interest in his project to help European populist parties.

Louis Aliot, a vice president of Le Pen’s National Rally party who is also her companion, said Friday on BFMTV station that she met with Bannon a day earlier in Paris.

© Philippe Huguen, AFP | Marine Le Pen and former US President advisor Steve Bannon at the Front National party annual congress, on March 10, 2018 in Lille, France

According to Aliot, Bannon wants to provide “technical assistance” for nationalist parties ahead of next year’s European elections but that he “doesn’t want to play a (political) role.”

Two years on from helping to mastermind Donald Trump’s successful campaign to become U.S. president, Bannon has his sights set on Europe and he is planning a foundation, called The Movement, to boost far-right parties.

“We’re not going to say ‘no’,” Aliot said with regard to getting help.

Le Pen’s apparent interest in working with Bannon stands in marked contrast to comments earlier this week when she said that only European voices should “shape the political forces … to save Europe.”

Meanwhile, Le Pen’s legal situation grew murkier on Friday as investigative judges upped preliminary charges against her over the alleged misuse of European Union funds by her and her party.

She is a suspect in a case over payments to parliamentary assistants in the EU parliament who reportedly worked elsewhere, including at her party headquarters.

Le Pen stepped down from her post as a European parliamentary deputy to become a French lawmaker after last year’s legislative elections, but remains shadowed by the case in which some 15 people have been placed under investigation, including Aliot.

On Friday, a judicial official said Le Pen was now being charged with misappropriation of public funds rather than breach of trust. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and asked for anonymity.

Le Pen has other legal issues to contend with, one notable one with regard to her posting of photos on Twitter in December 2015 that showed executions by IS extremists. She was handed preliminary charges in March for distribution of violent images. Le Pen posted the images after the November 2015 Paris attacks by IS that killed 130 people.

Le Pen said Friday that an investigation has also been opened over her September Twitter post of a court document ordering she submit to a psychiatric exam in the case.

“This judicial harassment is becoming terrifying!” she tweeted Friday.



‘Stupid imperialist thinking’ by US caused China trade war

October 6, 2018

The co-author of Unrestricted Warfare, which triggered rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, blames the White House for getting it wrong

Asia Times

It was the Chinese book which triggered a trade war. After reading Unrestricted Warfare, former White House political adviser Steve Bannon came to the conclusion that China was waging an economic battle against the United States.


He was wrong, according to military strategist and co-author Qiao Liang.

Firing a verbal Exocet at the hardliners in Washington, he told the South China Morning Post:

“The US is declining because they have so many problems, which were all created by themselves, but they put the blame on China … because they are still using outdated and stupid imperialist thinking to judge China.”

Unrestricted Warfare impressed Bannon when he read it in 2010.

Penned by Qiao, a retired People’s Liberation Army officer, and former colleague Wang Xiangsui, who now teaches at Beihang University, the book has a simple premise.

Since they argued that no country could challenge the military might of the US through conventional means, the only option was to bog down the world’s superpower in economic and information warfare.

“The whole [Chinese] strategy is to avoid kinetic warfare and focus on information and economic [warfare],” Bannon said last year.

Recalling an early meeting with Trump during the presidential campaign, he raised the threat posed by China.

Unrestricted Warfare Cover

“I told him China has been engaging in an economic war against us for the past 20 or 25 years,” Bannon said and Trump “agreed” with him. Still, Qiao has dismissed this interpretation as “a misjudgment.” He also stressed that Trump’s attack on China was misguided.

“No major power has ever been totally replaced or devoured by another power,” he said. “A superpower’s fall was caused by its [own] decline.”

Yet this latest broadside from Qiao, a noted hawk in Beijing, comes at a time of rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.

On Thursday, Vice-President Mike Pence accused China of military aggression, commercial theft and human rights violations as he cast the world’s second largest economy in the role of a bully.

His speech preceded a report by the Pentagon that China represents a “significant and growing risk” to the supply of materials vital to the US military.

The roughly 150-page document was seen by the Reuters news agency ahead of its formal release.

“A key finding of this report is that China represents a significant and growing risk to the supply of materials and technologies deemed strategic and critical to US national security,” the report said.


Get Ready for Trump’s Trade War With China to Be Long — and Ugly

September 26, 2018

U.S. investors have shrugged off fears of a China-U.S. trade war, but as tensions rise, investment economists and strategists are grappling with a new idea: The battle may not end anytime soon.

The U.S.-China economic conflict will be long and ugly “with little chance of a deal anytime soon,” TS Lombard economists Larry Brainard and Charles Dumas write in a note to clients. While China was prepared in late May for talks on trade, that has changed given the events of the subsequent months, they say.

Now, the duo write, the leadership in Beijing has concluded that the “U.S. is determined to check the country’s rise via demands that strike at the heart of the economic model on which Communist Party power rests.” As a result, China is taking a harder line, in part to avoid the leadership being seen as negotiating with a gun to their head, they say. “The current mood in Beijing is to take a tough position on future talks by demanding that the US demonstrate its sincerity before agreeing to new meetings.”

Trade Tensions Spike Between the U.S. and China

Following another round of tariffs between China and the U.S., the business community is pushing back. Photo: AP

The latest round of tariffs, on $250 billion of imports from China, begins at 10%, but is set to rise to 25% in January. The pair expect the conflict to escalate, so that the 25% rate covers the bulk of Chinese exports to the U.S.

That, they say, would drive a redirection of Chinese trade, ultimately serving as the catalyst for the rise of an Asian trading bloc with China at the center.

The good news: China’s trading partners in East and Southeast Asia should benefit over the medium term. Chinese companies have moved manufacturing to Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries in previous U.S. tariff cases, highlighting what could happen in the near future.

The complexity of U.S.-China trade will likely lead to a multitude of strategies to cope, with larger suppliers better able to adjust. The Global X FTSE Southeast Asia ETF (ticker: ASEA) is down 3% so far this year, compared with a nearly 8% decline in the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets index.

The bad news: A trade realignment wouldn’t be so good for markets. The crumbling of a world based on multilateral trade and a shift toward regional blocs will in the long run reduce equity valuations, the duo write. As a result, they say, a bear market is a major risk over the next two to three years.

DataTrek Research’s Nicholas Colas says he hasn’t turned bearish yet, but is also watching the China situation closely, especially after comments in recent days about the trade war from two well-placed people. The first was an interview in the South China Morning Post with former White House senior advisor Steve Bannon, in which he said the Trump administration plans to make the trade war with China “unbearably painful” for Beijing as they try to reindustrialize America and halt China’s goal of achieving technological superiority.

Colas writes in a note to clients that while the remarks by President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist should be taken with a “big grain of salt,” the publication of the interview in a Hong Kong newspaper suggests it is the message the administration wants to give to Chinese leaders ahead of Trump’s speech Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly.

Bannon’s interview comes on top of a prediction last week by Alibaba Group Holding(BABA) Chairman Jack Ma that a trade war will “last long”—as in 20 years or more. Politically connected billionaires talking about issues in which they have expertise “do not typically wing it,” Colas writes.

Richard Bernstein Advisor portfolio strategist Dan Suzuki took a less gloomy view of the impact on China. In a note Monday, he writes that a 25% tariff on $250 billion in Chinese exports to the U.S. would represent 0.44% of China’s gross domestic product. The real cost would be lower, he says, because the yuan, China’s currency, has fallen 9% since a high it reached in February. A weaker yuan makes China’s exports less costly in dollar terms.

The takeaway: All eyes are on China.

Write to Reshma Kapadia at

Trump is ‘a symptom and not the cause’ of the trade war with China

September 17, 2018
  • Escalating trade tensions between the United States and China would have manifested with or without Donald Trump, experts said at the Singapore Summit on Saturday.
  • “I think we must not exaggerate the importance of Trump,” said Dani Rodrik, a professor at Harvard University, pointing to structural problems in the world economy.


Escalating trade tensions between the United States and China would have manifested with or without Donald Trump, experts said at the Singapore Summit on Saturday.

While the U.S. president’s “crazy” ways have worsened it, he’s only a symptom of world developments that have hastened the tensions, and not the cause, pointed out Dani Rodrik, a professor at Harvard University.

Image may contain: one or more people

“I think we must not exaggerate the importance of Trump,” said Rodrik, who is a professor of international political economy at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

“I think Trump is very much a symptom and not the cause … Whether Trump is president of the United States or not, in many ways we’ll be facing such tensions,” he said pointing to structural problems in the world economy and competition between rising economic and political powers. “These are broad-based reactions to the kind of economic policies that we’ve pursued in the last quarter century.”

“Unfortunately, Trump isn’t making it easy for us because of the crazy way in which he’s managing it,” added Rodrik.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup

Dani Rodrik

He said the upside of it all was that Trump has “instincts” but unfortunately, no long-term strategy.

Some examples of his “basic instincts” were that “exports are good, imports are bad,” Rodrik said. “Whatever is good for me must be bad for you, and vice versa,” he added.

“On the other hand, he’s not the kind of person who follows through, he can be easily diverted,” he concluded.

The U.S. and China have been locked in a trade battle, imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on each other. In Trump’s latest move, he reportedly approved tariffs of another $200 million on Chinese goods which could be come as early as this week.

Image may contain: 2 people

George Yeo, Singapore’s former foreign minister, said at the conference that the “big story” here was the rise of China. The trade war is but one manifestation in the tensions between the world’s two largest economies which could go on for years, he added.

There’s a growing anxiety in the U.S. about China’s rise, said Yeo, who is currently chairman of logistics company Kerry Logistics Network. He pointed to how former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said it was an “economic war” and not a trade war.

“For Peter Navarro, it’s Death by China,” Yeo added, referring to Trump’s trade advisor and fierce China critic, who wrote a book of that title.

“It’s not difficult for an economic war to become a political war to become a real war,” he said.

Both superpowers need to find some kind of “accommodation” in this multi-polar world, Rodrik stressed. China may say that it knows how to manage its economy, and the West needs to recognize Asia’s largest economy has its own model.

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and water

“On the other hand, I think China will need to understand that it has been a free rider on the system created by the U.S., of openness, and it would have to provide a certain amount of … policy space for the Europeans and the Americans too,” he said, adding that this would be an example of “peaceful co-existence.”

“China is playing the long game,” Rodrick’s said, and the question is how the world can accommodate such a new power.

“I view Trump really as a temporary phenomenon, there are deeper issues,” he concluded.

New Woodward book raises old questions about methods — “Be Very Afraid”

September 13, 2018

Consider Woodward’s methods. Extended sections of [Woodward’s] recent efforts have been fabricated … In his books, he recreates behind-the-scenes events based upon bits and pieces of talk given to him later…


Bob Woodward’s new book Fear: Trump in the White House, is filled with extended accounts of behind-the-scenes conversations between major players in the Trump campaign and administration. There’s no need to give examples; almost every page has dialogue that is presented, in quotation marks, with the implicit assurance that the author knows precisely what was said.

Of course, Woodward did not hear every word uttered by every character in the book. So any reader would ask: How does he know exactly what they said? Woodward anticipated such questions in a note to readers, explaining that, “When I have attributed exact quotations, thoughts or conclusions to the participants, that information comes from the person, a colleague with direct knowledge, or from meeting notes, personal diaries, files and government or personal documents.”

By Byron York
Washington Examiner

Image may contain: 2 people, eyeglasses and closeup

Woodward’s note raises an obvious question. If Participant A, for example — whether it was Kellyanne Conway, or Steve Bannon, or Gary Cohn, or someone else — told Woodward what he or she said in a particular conversation that occurred months earlier, how could Woodward be confident that they recalled just what was said? So even if Woodward accurately recounted what Participant A said she said, how could he, or anyone else, be certain that that is what was actually said? Shouldn’t Woodward have written that this is what Participant A recalled about a conversation, rather than this is the conversation?

The answer, of course, is that it is not possible for Woodward to know precisely what was said, quotation marks or not. But even as controversy swirls around Fear, it’s important to note that questions about Woodward’s quotes are nothing new. Fear is not the first time these questions have arisen in connection with a Woodward book. In fact, many of Woodward’s books have raised precisely the same questions, leading to similar, and similarly unsatisfying, answers. Here is a look back at a few of the how-does-he-know questions that have surrounded Woodward efforts in the past.

In 1999, Woodward published Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate. The book included in-quotation-marks recountings of conversations that took place in the Clinton administration. Critics wondered how Woodward knew what was said. On July 6, 1999, Washington Post columnist and former ombudsman Geneva Overholser, in a column headlined “Rules Not Made to be Broken,” wrote:

Now consider Woodward’s methods. In his books, he recreates behind-the-scenes events as if he’d been in the room — full of detail, characterizations and direct quotes, much of it unattributed. Thus “Shadow” quotes Hillary Clinton from conversations she held alone with individuals such as former Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry and former White House lawyer Jane Sherburne — in passages written as if Woodward were present and describing the scene.


This causes confusion, and not just for readers wondering who told Woodward what and why. Both McCurry and Sherburne said recently that the conversations Woodward reconstructed between them and the First Lady are inaccurate. “The dialogue that Woodward describes or has in my mouth and hers…does not resemble what I recall of the conversation,” said Sherburn.

McCurry said, “If I left Bob Woodward with that impression that I was giving him direct, verbatim quotes, then we must have had a serious misunderstanding, but I would not have quoted her. That’s not the way I remember that moment.”

“Woodward stood by his account,” Overholser added. “He told The Post that McCurry had not objected when Woodward read him the passages before publication. And he called Sherburne’s account ‘false.'”

In the Washington Monthly on Oct. 1, 1999, critic Art Levine addressed the same issue with Shadow:

Woodward’s liberal use of quotes raises questions about craft and technique that may be of interest only to fellow journalists. Still, most of us feel queasy about using direct quotes if we’re not confident that those words were said exactly as we write it. My guess is that Woodward is simply more willing to run with the gist of what he’s told, dressed up as exact quotes remembered with curiously total recall by his sources and supplemented by their meeting notes. He is clearly pushing the envelope of recreated dialogue further than previous New Journalists did. Personally, I can’t remember exactly what I said at lunch last week, let alone in meetings a year ago. The more troubling issue raised by all these hard-charging quotes that enliven Woodward’s books, including Shadow, is their strikingly self-serving quality and Woodward’s complicity in promoting his subjects’ preening self-portraits. Typically, his subjects are also saddened and angered to discover dark truths about the president they defended…


Asked about his practice in a January 2000 appearance at the National Press Club, Woodward said, “I extensively use quotation marks in conversations that — where I was not present, but I’ve talked to people who were present. Lots of people keep diaries and notes. And if you were to go to a courtroom where somebody is under oath, and they were to relate a conversation that occurred, it would be accepted in all courts in this country, state or federal or other, that somebody can say “Yes, this is what somebody said.”

In 2004, Woodward published Plan of Attack, about George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq. It was filled with quotes of conversations between top Bush administration officials. In response, the New Republic’s Gregg Easterbrook wrote this on May 3, 2004:

Extended sections of [Woodward’s] recent efforts have been fabricated in the literalist sense, with speculative conversations placed in quotation marks. What is presented may be similar to what was actually said but cannot have the verity Woodward claims (unless George W. Bush and Colin Powell taped their private conversations). Woodward and his editors have thus cheapened the quotation mark, changing its meaning from “what was said” to “whatever sounds about right”…Does Woodward crave attention so badly he can no longer write a book that conforms to the standard disciplines of nonfiction and to standard distinctions between truth and conjecture?

Around the same time, The Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson drew attention to an anecdote in Plan of Attack in which some top supporters of the Iraq War, among them Kenneth Adelman, attended a dinner organized by Vice President Dick Cheney. Of course Woodward quoted what was said at the dinner. “Though the quotes that Woodward offers us appear to be direct,” Ferguson wrote, “they are in fact direct quotes from a source, Adelman, who is quoting himself through a haze of memory and self-congratulation months after the words were uttered…”

With much criticism in the air, on April 25, 2004, Howard Kurtz, then with CNN, asked Woodward about Plan of Attack. Woodward said his quotes were accurate. From their conversation on April 25, 2004:

KURTZ: There’s been some criticism, as you know, about the way you reconstruct conversations and put quotation marks around things. It’s really people’s recollection about what they believe they said a year ago.

WOODWARD: What it is is what they said, or what’s in notes or what’s in the records. And, as you know — and I asked the president. I said, “Well, what did you say to Colin Powell when you called him in and told him it’s going to be war?” He said, “I told” — this is the president, quoting him — he told Powell, “Time to get your war uniform on.” It’s pretty vivid and clear, recollected by the president on the record. He could go into a courtroom and say it, and it would be admitted as evidence. I’m not reconstructing anything. It’s reported from the participants, witnesses and the record.


In 2006, Woodward published State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III. On Oct. 15, 2006, Sunday Times of London reviewer Simon Jenkins saw an old problem:
We must…take on trust extended passages in direct quotes that the author cannot have heard and for which there cannot be available recordings. Can Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Paul Bremer or Paul Wolfowitz — assuming they are the sources — really remember pages of verbatim conversation with the president? And when so many quotes are derogatory, Woodward’s sources must have some axes to grind.

Finally, many years earlier, in 1987, Woodward published Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA. In the New York Times on Sept. 30, 1997, reviewer Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote:

Aside from citing [former CIA director William Casey], Mr. Woodward identifies few of the 250 people he talked to for this book, and none of the 100 or so with whom he held multiple interviews. Moreover, his use of quotation marks even for remarks not precisely recalled or documented is not reassuring.


So the questions about Fear: Trump in the White House are nothing new. They were not fully answered when they arose in connection with previous Woodward books. And there is no reason to believe they will be fully answered now.

Italy’s Matteo Salvini Says He Has a Plan To “Save Europe”

September 9, 2018

Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has joined with similar European elements in US former-presidential adviser Steve Bannon’s Brussels-based Movement. Their focus is on next year’s European elections.

Matteo Salvini

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said next May’s European elections were an opportunity for the far-right network to become the main parliamentary group.

The elections were a chance for “historical change and the last opportunity to save Europe,” Salvini said while attending a politicial and economic forum in the Italian northern town of Cernobbio on Saturday. “We are working to be the main European parliamentary group and forget that sad socialist parable that has brought unemployment and insecurity,” he added.

His comments came a day after he met Steve Bannon, who has set up a foundation in Brussels called “The Movement” intended to link far-right elements across Europe. Bannon has previously described the goal of the “loose association” having enough populists to “command by negation” the European integration policies of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s President Emmanuel Macron.

Mischaël Modrikamen@modrikamen

Le NYTimes et ⁦@sudpresse⁩ , les premiers attentifs aux développements importants qui se préparent sur la scène européenne ! 

Mischaël Modrikamen obtient le soutien de Matteo Salvini

Il est le politique belge actuellement le plus suivi par la presse internationale. Mischaël Modrikamen, le président du Parti populaire, était en Italie cette semaine.

The Movement’s executive director Mischaël Modrikamen welcomed Salvini’s participation, saying the fact that the minister was on board “will clearly show that this is the place to be for the unifying of the populist movement in Europe.”

Modrikamen said he saw members of The Movement meeting in Brussels to hammer out common positions and to coalesce as a “blocking power.”

Steve Bannon in the Czech RepublicSteve Bannon in the Czech Republic

Italy’s leader of the Brothers of Italy, another national conservative party, Giorgia Meloni said on Friday she would be joining Bannon’s Movement. Both Bannon and Salvini are expected to speak at her party’s rally in Rome later in September, she said.

Dutch Popular Party leader Geert Wilders was also at the Cernobbio meeting and posted a photo of himself with Dr Jacob Frenkel, Chairman of international bank JPMorgan Chase, and a former governor of the Bank of Israel.

Geert Wilders


Pleasure to meet Dr. Jacob A. Frenkel, Chairman JPMorgan Chase International and former Governor of the Bank of Israel at in Cernobbio, Italy.

Salvini met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in August and the two agreed they were “walking down the same path” after they discussed forming a anti-migration front to oppose the French president’s policies.

Mainstream conservative parties in the European People’s Party (EPP) have indicated that Salvini’s Lega (League) party would not be welcome among their ranks. EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger said in an interview with La Repubblica that Salvini’s League was “not in line with our values,” he told the paper.

Bannon has developed links with European conservatives, including the former head of Britain’s UKIP, Nigel Farage but Germany’s populist AfD appears to have rebuffed his advances.

jm/bw (AFP, dpa)

Revolution and financial crisis will wrack US says Bannon

September 5, 2018

America is heading for a revolution which will “cut like a scythe through grass”, Donald Trump’s former chief advisor Steve Bannon predicts in a revealing new film.

The man credited with putting Trump in the White House warns in a documentary that premiered at the Venice film festival Wednesday that “if you don’t allow for some way to spread the wealth, there will be a revolution in this country.”

“We are going to have another financial crisis — anyone who is smart sees it’s coming,” Bannon told Errol Morris in a series of long interviews for “American Dharma”.

Image may contain: 2 people, closeup

The film was shown in Venice as critics reeled from “22 July”, a harrowing reconstruction of the 2011 attacks in Norway carried out by far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik, in which 77 people were slaughtered.

“I believe you need radical restructuring,” Bannon declared. “It can’t be a pillow fight. You need killers to get change.

“That is why Trump is president,” he told Morris, who won an Oscar for his confessional film “The Fog of War” about the architect of the Vietnam war, Robert McNamara.

“It was clear as daylight that someone like Trump was coming,” Bannon added.

The political strategist claimed a “superstitious” Trump was heading for a crushing defeat in the 2016 election when he took the reins of the campaign.

– Black arts and “jujutsu” –

He admitted he relied on some PR “jujutsu” to rescue Trump after the leak of his “grab them by the pussy” remarks to Billy Bush threatened to sink the campaign.

This included bringing women who had accused Bill Clinton of rape and sexual impropriety to a crucial television debate.

But Bannon refused to say whether he had a hand in the WikiLeaks dump of Hillary Clinton’s emails minutes after the so-called “Access Hollywood” tape of Trump’s remarks was released.

Bannon, in Venice for the film premiere, said he didn’t know Trump before the campaign, but saw his potential.

The then-head of the right-wing news website Breitbart said he had simplified the campaign to a series of populist slogans: “Build the wall” (with Mexico), destroy the Islamic State, confront China and “get the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan”.

He urged the president to “drop the hammer” as soon as got into office with a flurry of executive orders including the hugely divisive “Muslim ban”.

“If you hit the media with five things at a time, three will go through. They can only handle so much,” he said.

– Told Trump not to sack Comey –

Bannon revealed that Trump could be naive — “he thought the New York Times would wish him well when he won” — and fired FBI chief James Comey against his advice.

“Sacking Comey was a mistake. The institution of the FBI is going to bleed you out after that.”

He added: “From the beginning there has been a nullification project against the 2016 election. It is not the Deep State, it is there on the surface.”

With a wry smile, Bannon denied penning Trump’s highly-contentious “American carnage” inauguration speech. “No, he wrote that himself.”

Nor was Trump corrupt, he insisted. The multiple financial scandals he has been embroiled in “is just the real estate business”.

But the former Goldman Sachs financier said he won the election for the billionaire property tycoon by portraying Clinton as “the head of a corrupt, creaking elite and Trump the agent of change like Obama.”

Clinton lost because “she walked into the trap — she campaigned against me and Breitbart. If she preaches identity politics and we preach jobs and hope, you have it,” he said.

– Modern ‘serfs’ –

Bannon admitted that he is a product of the same “scientific-engineering-management-financial elite” he blames for bleeding the American “common man” of hope and jobs.

But he was now “on a mission to turn the Republican Party into a workers’ party. You may have better food and clothing than an 18th-century Russian serf, but you are the same. They have you hung up on credit card debt… and their algorithms control your life.”

He is also helping what he calls the “patriotic right” in Europe, claiming that “Brexit wouldn’t have happened — Nigel Farage said — without Breitbart in London.”

“Neo-Nazis are an invention of the oppositional media, they are totally meaningless. The left-wing media is giving the neo-Nazis a platform,” he argued.

Bannon said he is not bitter about being sacked by Trump in August 2017 in the fall-out from protests over a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“I didn?t take it personally,” he said. “It was the order of things” — part of his belief in dharma, the Hindu concept of duty and destiny that order the Universe.

After Trump’s election, Bannon said, he was “just another advisor in the White House (but one) with a big bark.”


Farage: Bannon plan could help populists to EU election victory

July 29, 2018

Ex-Ukip leader predicts sweeping advances for anti-EU parties in March 2019

 Former White House strategist Steve Bannon. Photograph: Moritz Hager/Reuters

The intervention of former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon in European politics could help rightwing parties become the biggest bloc in the European parliament next year, according to Nigel Farage.

The former Ukip leader predicted sweeping advances for anti-EU parties during next May’s European elections, aided by the new project announced by Bannon . Bannon, one of the architects of Donald Trump’s US election triumph in 2016 and the former head of the rightwing Breitbart News, aims to establish a pan-European populist foundation .

Farage told the Observer that, Eurosceptics could become the largest political grouping on the continent and predicted that anti-EU MEPs could secure between 176 and 235 seats in the European parliament elections next May. “My view is that somewhere between a quarter and a third of seats in the European parliament are going to be Eurosceptic and Euro-critical,” he said.

“You could – and it might not happen for all sorts of cultural and left/right political reasons – have a Euro-critical group that is the second biggest in parliament. With a bit of luck and a following wind it could even be the biggest,” Farage added.

Bannon’s foundation, called The Movement, will be based in Brussels and dedicated to campaigning aggressively for a large, anti-EU faction in the European elections next spring. Bannon said last week he had already started raising funds amid speculation that former English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, currently in jail, might be offered a leading role in its UK wing.

Robinson, whose imprisonment has made him a cause célèbre among the international far-right, could be released this week following his appeal against a 13-month sentence for contempt of court in May.

Farage also revealed that Bannon wanted to offer a rightwing antidote to the centre-right European People’s party (EPP), currently the largest party in the European parliament, and the European Socialists (PES), a social-democratic political grouping that includes the British Labour party, the Italian Democratic party and French Socialist party.

“You’ve got two groups across Europe who are very highly co-ordinated at what they do at elections. This is an attempt to get Eurosceptics to do the same thing,” said Farage.

He added: “The mood for change is very strong. Even though Britain is floundering with Brexit, across the rest of Europe, the Eurosceptics are on the march. Euro-critical and Eurosceptic movements are advancing at a very rapid pace everywhere.”

It has since been claimed that Bannon is also forging links with leading Brexiters, including Boris Johnson, who resigned as foreign secretary this month, environment secretary Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the European Research Group, the hard Brexit wing of the Conservative party. All three are potential rivals to the prime minister and Bannon believes all of them could help deliver his ambition to undermine and eventually paralyse the EU.

However Robert Ford, professor of political science at the University of Manchester and co-author of Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain, was unconvinced that Bannon could dramatically shape Europe’s political landscape.

“I think shares in Bannon are overvalued. This idea that he’s going to become this pan-national Dr Evil figure producing this big radical right alignment … there are some big barriers to entry. Influence in the US doesn’t really translate to influence in Europe.”

A survey of national opinion polls released by Reuters found that Eurosceptic parties could expand their strength in the European parliament by more than 60% at next May’s elections. It predicted that numbers of Eurosceptic MEPs after next May’s elections would rise to 122 of the 705 available seats.

2018 midterm elections set to be most expensive in history

July 29, 2018

The upcoming midterm elections will be the most expensive in U.S. history, with $1 billion in TV ads already booked or aired.

With the Republicans holding narrow majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the parties are locked in close combat, three months ahead of Election Day.

“This is President Donald Trump’s first re-elect,” former White House strategist Steve Bannon told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Friday. “This is gonna be an up or down vote. It’s a referendum on the Trump presidency.”

At least $170 million has been spent on television spots for Senate primaries, The Hill reported Saturday. Democrats and the GOP have reserved $230 million worth of ads in states like Nevada, where GOP Sen. Dean Heller could lose his seat to a Democratic challenger, and Missouri, where Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, is trying to hold on to constituents who voted for President Trump by a 19-point margin.


With a solid chance of winning back the House in November, Democrats have committed $135 million in ads for the party’s candidates, while the defending Republicans plan to spend at least $146 million.

Heated primary fights in states like California drove up spending on gubernatorial races, with $250 million already spent on media buys. At least $90 million worth of ads have been booked for governors’ races in the coming weeks.

All told, that’s a staggering $1.02 billion on TV advertising alone. Add in costs for staff, polling, field offices and fund-raising, says the Center for Responsive Politics, and the total spent on the major races this cycle balloons to $1.6 billion.

Currently, the GOP has a large funding advantage over the Democratic Party.

And President Trump says he will fork over plenty of political capital to help Republicans hold on to Congress.

“I am going to work very hard, I will go six or seven days a week when we’re 60 days out,” he said Friday.


Hungarian PM welcomes Bannon’s anti-EU project as ‘diversity’ in thinking — “It isn’t EU elite thinking”

July 27, 2018

Hungary’s right-wing prime minister Viktor Orban on Friday welcomed the idea of Steve Bannon’s new anti-European Union group, The Movement, saying it was time that someone from the United States came to Europe to spread conservative thinking instead of liberal values.

Image result for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, photos

FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

The Brussels-based group, which Bannon – U.S. President Donald Trump’s former strategist – has chosen as a platform, aims to help like-minded nationalist, anti-immigration groups across Europe. Bannon told Reuters the objective was to boost the anti-EU presence in the European Parliament at May elections next year.

The founder of the group told Reuters he could also see six or seven leaders, notably from Italy and central Europe, joining forces to sway the European Council of national governments.

Orban did not openly say he would team up with Bannon’s group or back his platform, but that he “wished a lot of success” to Bannon’s project.

Image may contain: 1 person

Steve Bannon, who left the White House last year

“America is made up of not only liberals,” Orban told state radio.

“We are here, as well, an American has said, those who are conservative … and even Christian democrats … why couldn’t we have our voice heard in Europe as well? And a man who thinks this way came over here, who was a special advisor to the U.S. president.”

Orban said Bannon, who was sacked by Trump last year, realized that there was room to spread conservative values in Europe, and this was a positive thing as it has brought “diversity” allowing Europeans to see a conservative face of America. Orban did not go into further details.


Bannon was in Hungary at the end of May, speaking at a conference in Budapest, and he also met Orban.

Orban has been a strong opponent of the EU’s migration policies, and built a fence on Hungary’s southern borders in 2015 to keep out migrants, saying protecting the EU’s external borders was the only way to preserve Christian values.

Orban was reelected for a third consecutive term in April on a strong anti-immigration platform, and his Fidesz party firmly leads opinion polls ahead of May’s European parliamentary elections.

Fidesz has also demonized Hungarian-born U.S. billionaire George Soros and the liberal NGOs he backs, and has passed laws to narrow the scope of activity of civil groups that are accused of helping illegal migration.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

George Soros

Orban accuses Soros of encouraging mass immigration to undermine Europe, a charge he denies.

Orban has led eastern European opposition to EU quotas that aim to distribute asylum seekers around the bloc, criticizing the open-door policy that German Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaimed at the height of the European migrant crisis in 2015.


Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Andrew Bolton